The quick fix. The magic bullet. The formula for success. Ready for it??
Huge bubble burster over here because none of that actually exists in the music industry. Womp, womp. Sorry to get your hopes up. When Ron and I are in meetings with people seeking advice, their questions normally relate to whatever the metric du jour is… as if that ONE thing is how we built his career and how we maintain it.
It’s a funny thing to watch from our perspective because it changes every year or so. Right now it’s Spotify (“What did you do to get Spotify to help you?” is something we get asked every day… and I’ll answer this later*). Before that, it was Facebook fans. Before that, it was about YouTube, iTunes… YOU NAME IT. I can’t blame people for wanting to know secrets on how to beat the system, but I fear that most of them think that if they just get this one thing right then their music will blow up and the hard part will be over.
Can Spotify playlists help? Yes, you will get plays but that doesn’t mean that you’ll get actual fans.
Can Instagram followers change your world? Possibly, but you need to get those people to take action off instagram.
Will selling out a show in your hometown get you a booking agent? Maybe, but the real question is whether or not you can build an audience that consumes your music on a larger scale.
Will video views on Facebook or YouTube make people listen to my music on Spotify? Well that’s the idea, but in general, you can’t bank on it.
So what are you supposed to do? HELLO - all of it.
Unfortunately, if you aren’t looking at your whole career as one giant puzzle that needs to find multiple missing pieces, then you’re always going to be stuck with a half done puzzle (is it a puppy?? A butterfly?? I DON’T KNOW!).
OK - back to the Spotify question. These days it’s allllll SPOTIFY SPOTIFY SPOTIFY. Guys, if you dump all of your effort into one platform, it will screw you over! Does Spotify sometimes pick favorites and facilitate some major changes in an artists’ career? Sure! But with hundreds of thousands of artists on the platform, chances are that won’t be you. So while you need to make a concerted effort to make sure you are doing best practices (more of those here), you absolutely cannot forget that there is more out there. Remember when we all thought iTunes was the end all be all? Personally, our downloads are down 50% year over year. This is a time we should be losing our ever-loving minds, but luckily we’ve built up audiences all over the place, so we’re not totally screwed (for now).
Once again, a reminder that this is a hard business. It’s not for the faint of heart and it WILL take up all of your time if you’re committed to succeeding. If you’re looking for a quick fix to stardom you might as well look up jobs elsewhere because you won’t find that here.
Ok, now go and do all of the things! YOU CAN!
**NO, Spotify does not “help us” in the general sense of just putting Ron on playlists whenever we ask… honestly, he rarely gets playlisted at all. We do maintain a good relationship with them and build them into our overall release strategy, but we definitely don’t rely on them to make or break a song. End of story, quit asking!