Strategy: Innovation

Remember how cool the Polaroid camera was?

I fondly remember my first – oh how vivid the memories. With each fresh box of ten opportunities, I loaded that behemoth with confidence. Hordes of onlookers marveled at my ability to forego the darkroom, reviewing and enjoying the results of my framing within mere minutes of taking the picture itself. In essence, I held in my hands the future and by extension, I was the future. I had found the coolest thing – the newest, most innovative thing to hit the music photography industry for years. I was maybe nine years old at the time, but I’d say I recall quite confidently that all of my friends were after my camera!

 

So what happened? To where went the magic I’d once held in my hands? My friends all of who gravitated towards me for the machine I had – for what sudden reason had I none?

Long story short – the digital camera robbed me of my friends. Grr. The leather-jacket, slicked-hair, greased-lightning cool technology of the Polaroid didn’t sustain itself. It’s complacency as the most innovative camera at the time was the nail in its own coffin. Yes, it figured it out once. But it didn’t stay on board. Instead, the digital camera saw past the buzz of in-camera chemical processes and took a step in a new direction.

Don’t let that happen to you.

You’ve figured out how to stay afloat – but things are changing faster than ever. The way I see it, all of the technology, start-ups, ideas, consensuses, consumer moods, are drifting towards the artists – people are instinctively shortening the distance between themselves and the actual creators of the content they value. These days, the utility belt of tools you wear as an artist holds batarangs of options. But, these options won’t be the answer forever. In order to avoid becoming another polaroid camera amidst the vacillating unpredictability of the music industry, it’s imperative to be responsive and on the forefront of the doing things differently grind.

You just doubled your social media engagement by implementing an if/then trigger system, which aggregated and reposted fans’ instagram photos to Facebook based on your custom concert hashtag – effectively creating a fan-generating, artist-hosted stream of visual content effortlessly? Ballin’.

 

What’s next?

 

Buzz words are pervasive in the entertainment industry, but chances are if what you’re doing is buzzing too much, it’s not a very stable strategy. Being creative is what got us into this mess; it’s truthfully going to be the only thing keeping us in it.

Amanda Palmer earned over a million dollars on Kickstarter. That’s probably not going to ever happen again and should not be a fundamental goal in your indie-approach model. Instead, take a look at some of the newest services available to you and think about how your following might react. Compile an RSS feed and stay on top of some news sources that you find interesting. Don’t stop learning about new artists, businesses, and ideas. Filling the shoes of those who have succeeded before you is a nearly surefire way to guarantee career stagnancy.

I was devoted to my Polaroid. I showed it to all my followers on the playground. As a fan, I was committed to nurturing a viral spread through social. But if the product ceased to say anything remarkable, my friends would stop listening. You know how this metaphor relates to what you do. Best of luck!

Ya Está.

Thanks to those of you who actually do read these, I had a good time writing this semester (even if my topic of choice lends itself to being a bit vague.) I hope to keep blogging, whether it’s here or on a personal site. Feel free to send me thoughts, si quieres.

Most Cordially,

Kyle Billings

kbillings@berklee.edu

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