In my wanderings round the web, I’m seeing two very distinct groups of musicians.
- Those who are part of a sharing/discovery/recommendation culture, and
- Those who are (often incessantly) requesting help from that culture, but not demonstrating any willingness to be a part of it.
Not surprisingly, they don’t tend to get much spill-over outside of the people who are already their fans.
As I’ve said before, the single most powerful currency online is gratitude. It flies in the face of every bit of old school marketing advice you’ve ever received about how to accrue ‘value in your assets’ and all that BS, but we’re not dealing with an old school market. We’re dealing with a situation where in the eyes of music listeners/buyers/downloaders, there are two types of music people:
- Them, who are part of the old establishment, who don’t ‘deserve’ help because they are part of the problem, and
- Us, the new world order, those who have grabbed the transformative potential of the web, who see the democratised potential for discovery as an overwhelmingly positive thing. We are part of the solution.
I just wrote a piece for Music Think Tank about this – it’s entitled ‘Transformative Vs Incremental Change‘.
What’s clear is that to expect transformative community support within the context of an old-school broadcast-only output makes you look like a tool. Sure, your fans are still going to find you and probably buy your music. They care, they already know you. But the potential for discovery is severely curtailed by you expecting a whole lot from people but giving nothing.
Toby Moores, AKA @Sleepydog, calls this ‘Reciprocal Altruism’ – you share with the group, knowing it’s good for everyone including yourself. This isn’t hippy bullshit, it’s just acknowledging that the future is too complex to go it alone. (Toby is, without doubt, one of the sharpest transformative thinkers I’ve ever met. Genuinely brilliant.)
So, this week’s challenge for those of you currently taking but not giving is this:
For the next 48 hours, don’t mention your own music online.
Seriously. Just talk about other people’s stuff. Tell your audience about the great artists you’ve gigged with over the years:
- Blog about them (if needs be, start a new blog for it.)
- Tweet about them
- Post Facebook updates about them
- Comment on their Myspace pages about how awesome they are without trying to add the embed codes for your own album in there too.
Seriously, you need to go cold-turkey on the narcissism. Remember, You Get What You Give.
And if you’ve got any cool stories of music discovery through mutual sharing/recommendation, please add them to the comments!by