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MAKE YOURSELF FAMOUS: The New Music Industry Is Yours for the Taking

It’s probably safe to say that anyone reading this wants to achieve financial stability. Most of you want to be famous, whether you’ll admit it or not. Well I have some good and bad news.  The good news is that today I’m going to give you a way to almost guarantee financial stability and even greatly up your chances of achieving fame. The bad news is, it will take a lot of work on your part.

You’ve probably heard of the artist Moby. I recently watched a video of his in which he said that, “People are becoming a lot more self-reliant and autonomous, which I think is great. I think the actual quality of music has been a lot better because a lot of people are putting out records just for the love of putting out records and not hoping to sell millions of copies.” Moby is describing a key change in the way the music industry operates today. The typical path to recognition is now completely upside down.  The way it used to work is that you would cross your fingers and hope that the right agents, managers and labels picked up your music and made you a star. Today, you get to make yourself into a star. And Moby is right.  I think because of all the power that has been given back to the independent musician, music itself is becoming more high quality again.

So how do you make your career successful? The answer can be summed up in a few words: connect with people.  With the advent of social media, it is now easier than ever to find the most influential people in your industry and connect with them on a personal level. One of the biggest myths of social media is that you should go onto Facebook, Twitter or whatever medium you use and blast out information about what you do. How many of you have wanted to smash your computer with a bat simply because of all the event invitations you get on Facebook? Marketing has become much more about personal relationships.  As Seth Godin says, “You have to stop worrying about how to get one more fan and start worrying about how to please the fans that you already have.”

I like to think of it like going to a party.  If you go into the room with your chest held high and go from person to person bragging about your incredible talent and the wonderful awards you’ve won, you will have effectively by the end of the night created an angry mob of important people who hate you.  You don’t want to be “that guy.”  Instead, you want to be the guy who goes to a party and mingles with people. Be nice, be genuine and have a good time. Drummer Mark Schulman once said, “Try to leave every conversation with the person(s) that you are talking to feeling better about life and themselves.”  If you do this, by the end of the night, you’ll have a gigantic happy mob of people who want to spend more time with you and tell everyone about the cool new guy they met.

Up-and-coming artist Amanda Palmer raised over $1 million using Kickstarter.  How did she do it? She’s the life of the party. She spends up to five hours a day on Twitter and Facebook interacting with fans, making them all feel special, giving them free stuff and giving them opportunities to be part of her crew. When there is a group of cool people at a party, wouldn’t you love to go stand with them and be cool yourself? She gives everyone the chance to do this.

Marketer Ted Cohen said, “I did learn quickly that some of the things you might refer to as a digital stunt— getting a feature on MySpace music or getting a feature on iTunes— those things are all great individual moments, but if you don’t string them together correctly, it’s just a firecracker going off somewhere that doesn’t really mean anything.”  In other words, you can’t just expect fans to come to you and stick around when they see a big picture of your face in a magazine. That’s not how it works anymore. When people first notice you, you have to notice them too and you have to create a relationship with them, a personal one.

The world has become a word-of-mouth business, and social media is a giant party. So join the party, start schmoozing and leave everyone wanting MORE of YOU.

To conclude, use social media to make real, personal connections. Interact with people and track down influential onliners in your industry. If you spend 5 hours a day connecting with fans and striking up conversations that create NEW fans, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a devoted fan base. Even if it’s small, you’ll probably have enough fans to be financially stable. And if YOU work HARD, and dedicate a lot of time to making friends (i.e. fans), you might get even further than you could ever have imagined.

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