Seth Godin is considered by many to be a sort of marketing guru. To his credit, he’s certainly positioned himself in that light rather successfully, which, I do suppose, earns him the title to some degree.
Through his quirky efforts, Godin connects himself as a marketer with an idea – it’s good to be weird. In fact, it’s strategic to live in a strange niche. This idea carries enough ambiguity to benefit from some discussion; let’s steal it talk about it.
Yes. As an artist, step one is to speak your own, quirky voice – to most genuinely and outwardly project your idiosyncratic ramblings as a rallying call to your people. Unique music is integral to becoming and remaining important in somebody’s life. Step two is to continue being quirky with everything that you do; don’t be content with being yourself musically. It may to safe to say you’re a bit of a geek. Seth Godin would say to embrace that fully. You’re doing a great job being yourself with your songs, now carry on that IDGAF creativity to how you share it, how you sell it, how you perform it. The conventions need not apply to you.
To me, the most inspirational thing about the new music business is the ever-expanding range of tools that empower both the creators of content and those who crave the creative creations. There’s a compounding volume of options – startups, gadgets, opportunities. With this variety, there’s a similar growth in the number, size, individuality, and solidarity of countless communities, each interacting with one another in their own ways. Whether it be EDM fanatics endlessly promoting themselves through Soundcloud comments, or local rappers frequently ReverbNation, there’s a channel for all expression – for all art.
Whether it’s positively or it’s negatively, people respond to things that are out of the ordinary. We’re programmed as mammals to spot and assess these potential threats. (You probably remember taking a discerning look at that ham sandwich, don’t you?) Considering this, artists can create their own blue ocean, their own uninhabited niche, not just through distinct music, but also through the creative manipulation of the very business upon which music moves.
As always – an example to make my baseless ramblings look like something. Here we have Iggy Pop. In 2012, he released an album and approached the occasion from an interesting angle. Après, an album consisting predominantly of French cover songs, was announced through Vente Privee – a members-only shopping platform normally dedicated to fashion, jewelry, lifestyle, etc. The site functions as an exclusive community of designer brand enthusiasts, organizing its constituency around flash-sales. By releasing an album through a website commonly associated with high-end watches, sunglasses, and food processors, Iggy Pop through a bit of spice into the mix – he successfully bolstered the value-adding properties of his value-communication efforts!
Just taking a little risk and throwing even the slightest curve ball can have some interesting effects.
During the acclimatization process of my first semester of college in Boston, I encountered a couple creative people giving this concept a shot. Considering all the new music to which I was exposed through the simple contact effect of joining the Berklee community, I’d cultivated a massive list of artists and songs on my phone. To this day, I still check back now and again to familiarize myself with a new genre or artist. One CD, though, found a way to jump the line and hit my ears without waiting patiently as the rest. As the story goes, this CD was given out on the corner of Mass Ave and Boylston Street in connection with a book, which had been produced as a partner to the music. The intent was for the recipient to listen to the music while they read. Pretty. Cool. Idea. Right?
Unfortunately – both kind of sucked. There was value in the creative approach, but absolutely none in the product. I can’t even remember the name of the book at this point. Wow. It was pretty bad.
So! Lesson learned! Make cool things and don’t just tell me about it. I want to find out, I want to discover it and get a taste of what to expect in the process. Good luck!