The Long Haul
For all you musicians out there.
Words of wisdom, from The Lefsetz Letter, by Bob Lefsetz.
1. Focus on the music. Get it to the point where the audience only needs to hear it once to get it.
2. Let people listen for free. Then sell the physical product as a souvenir, and put out unique product online.
3. One great track is better than ten mediocre ones.
4. Don't worry about confusing the marketplace with more product. It just allows new fans to discover a plethora when they finally tune in. Meanwhile, the Internet allows the fulfillment of the true fan's dream, a steady flow of product. In the old days, you were a fan of a band in high school, their next record came out when you were married. Today, you can put out new songs while students are still in the same semester! And you should!
5. You must work live. It's the best way to connect with people. You've got to be so good, you close the audience. Performing is a different skill than playing in a studio. Start honing your chops now. Play anywhere and everywhere you can. Not focused on the money, but the development of stage skills.
6. Radio is gravy. People no longer believe radio builds career acts. Don't be beholden to the airwaves. See them as just another outlet.
7. Make videos. Creativity is key. We're returning to the age of MTV. Either play live, demonstrating your skills, which is how Andy McKee built a career on YouTube, or come up with an OK Go-type video. Wow us visually. The means of production are now in the hands of the proletariat. Hell, you can get a Flip HD camera for $150 and you can edit on your computer...
8. Experience counts. Everybody gets better the longer they do something.
9. Haters abound. If you're not being criticized, you're not doing it right, you're only playing in front of family and friends. Hate intensifies the bigger you get, especially in the Net world, where everybody gets a voice. There is no protection. Wander into the world and experience the slings and arrows, toughen your skin.
10. Respect your audience. Don't send unsolicited MP3s, don't send unsolicited fliers. Everything should be opt-in.
11. Let your audience participate, let people help you. They're dying to! Stay in the houses of fans on the road. Let fans design fliers and t-shirts. Give them tools to promote you. All they want in return is attention, and a bit of access. These sneezers are your key to success. Treat your core fans incredibly nicely.
In the old days it was about being nice to the PD. Now you go directly to the fan.
12. Put up live videos.
14. Be available on every social networking platform. Of course, Facebook, but a new act could make headway using Foursquare. Hell, have your fans come meet you at Starbucks!
15. Press is a bonus. Press is ignored by most people. It's seen as hype. Just keep thinking about being one on one with your fans.
16. Don't think any one opportunity or gig is the key to success. You never know what will break you through. And most times, it's later than sooner. And, if it happens too soon...momentum tends to peter out.
17. Release dates are irrelevant. You're in constant marketing mode. But the best marketing is a great track, that will be spread far and wide.