I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “It’s easy to produce music these days, but hard to promote it.” Well, if you haven’t heard that saying, now you’ve read it. And it’s true. It’s never been easier to create a song, produce it on your computer, and release it to the world. I have 2 words for ya.. “Who cares?” And while I’m thinking about it, I have 2 more words..”So What?”.. I know, I’m harsh.. but let’s look at reality here, because reality will set ya free.
Imagine if you will, that you as the songwriter/artist represent a single drop of water flowing over Niagra Falls, and the rest of the water represents all the other songwriters and artists in the universe. Each drop of water flowing together creates a volume of H2O that can fill a stadium in less than sixty seconds and crush even the hardest of rock. That is what the internet represents to the musically creative in 2014. It’s a cacophony of creativity that mostly represents the mediocrity of the masses. Ouch!
So, what’s a drop of water supposed to do in order to stand out? Go with the flow and enjoy the ride?? This doesn’t have much to do with promotion, but it’s a good analogy when it comes to the amount of music being created these days. There is an over abundance of people who used to just sing their songs in their shower, or jam in their basement or garage. Now, everyone thinks they can become the next Justin Bieber or Ariana Grande cause their momma said little Johnny or Janie should be a pop star.
But how did Justin and Ariana go from kids singing to a hairbrush, to the world’s stage? It’s pretty easy to see how they did it, and their success left clues. Now, I know I am talking about worldly artists here, and most likely, those who read this are “Christian” artists or songwriters. But there are similarities when it comes to seeing an increase in influence. And isn’t that why ALL creatives have profiles on the www? C’mon.. admit it.. Everyone who is online desires to influence everyone else and get rich and famous. (insert sarcasm meter pegged to 100 here)
For those of you who are not familiar with how music artists are discovered this days, it happens usually like so… Kid shoots video with their iPhone, puts it online, and if they are superhuman great, or unbelievably hideous, people watch and share it with their friends. Or, they get on a show like “The Voice,” “American Idol,” or “Rising Star,” and they get seen by the masses and industry and are on their way to superstardom.
One thing these 2 scenarios have in common is the word “EXPOSURE.” Now I’m not referring to the kind of exposure where your toes freeze solid when you were a kid out sled riding in your Jack Purcell’s. I mean this kind of exposure… getting your mojo in front of people and showing them what you got.
Discovery these days is a 3 way street. Artists first need to discover who they are and what value they bring to people. Then the artist needs to define who their target audience is. Ages 2 to 92 is too wide of a range to aim your arrow. A 20 year span is a reasonable range to target. Watch commercials, and see how the big brands target their products to a certain age, income, and culture.
After determining your demographic, then you need to draw back and let your creative arrow fly…Right? Well, not quite so fast.. You better have a quality arrow to shoot. Crooked, or cheap arrows might fly through the air, but they sure as hades aren’t going to hit the target.
In the mainstream world, it’s quite easy.. You either suck or you don’t. But in the Christian world, there’s all this “grey area,” where no one actually sucks.. they are “challenged,” or “undeveloped.” You ever eat an “undeveloped” cake? Doesn’t quite go down so easy, does it? And “challenged”? C’mon.. call a spade a spade here..
There are lots of indie artists and songwriters who are signed to “Microwave Records.” What is that you ask? It’s a label for those who think the first song they ever wrote or the first draft of other songs are ready for prime time consumption. The faster the song is written and produced, the more “God is in it.” Huh? Really? If that was the case, Jesus should have gone to the cross when he was just a babe. Nope.. it took Him 32 years to complete the mission. Why was that? (When you get the answer, let me know, I’m still pondering that one)
So, let’s talk about promotion..Did you know Jesus sent advance teams to locales He was planning on visiting to get a feel for what He was getting into? Yep.. He sure did. And, the advance team spread the word about Him coming and what He was doing in other towns. So, if Jesus and the boys advanced their show, shouldn’t we do the same when it comes to ours?
What I see happening these days are creatives who are addicted to production and allergic to promotion. They love writing new songs, producing them in Garage Band, putting them on “This Nation” and “That Baby” and get all excited when they “trend” or are #44 in their cul de sac. Oftentimes, they sit back, stare at the screen refreshing it to see their latest ranking, and wait for God to magically make them famous. Well.. that usually doesn’t happen.
We’ve been taught (and imho, erroneously) that God handles the promotion for Christians, since He is on our side (only) and wants to give us the desire of our heart (there are 2 ways to take that, btw). “Name it and claim it” oftentimes takes precedence over “make it and promote it.”
One thing is for sure, if we sit back and wait for God to do our work, we will be nothing but a waiter. I hear the local eatery is hiring:) We get confused by the word, “wait.” Those who “wait” on the Lord.. sure it’s in the Bible.. but again, imho (and I’m full of imho) the word “wait” in that context means “to serve,” much like a waiter serves food and drink. So, let’s replace “wait” with “serve” and read that passage again. Now it’s starting to make sense.
So, back to promotion..a wise woman I know tells creatives, “If you don’t tell them you are out there, how will they know you are out there?” And that is so true. Promotion is like flying a kite. You could have in your hands the world’s best made kite, but if you just sit there and look at it, it will never fly. You have to get in motion, get that kite up in the air and then pray like crazy that the prevailing wind will pick up and make it soar!
Here is a great way to tell them “I’m Out There!”
Check it out and let people know!
Feel free to comment below, I’d love to know your thoughts!