Some people will disagree with me and others may be upset, but I’m here to tell you that your music is way less important than you think it is. In an era of over-saturation, there are few standout hits and artists that can garner the attention they need from music alone. If you’re a quality artist – but not garnering the attention you want, you should consider if your music alone is worth people’s attention.
Admitting the truth is hard sometimes. For most artists, their music is good, but not worth the national or international buzz they so often seek. On the bright side, however, the mega-stars we so often praise for their music aren’t really worth the attention either. The difference between them and the overlooked musical artists is not always the music quality, but the extent of their other ventures.
Take Kanye West for example. He makes high-quality music, which many dislike, but nevertheless, he acts and moves on so many other creative ventures that boost his music platform. At the end of the day, West is a great musician, but an even better marketer and businessman. He understands the power of connecting narratives, especially around creative ventures.
Every move West makes, people watch. Not because everyone cares about his music, but because he is making bold decisions in every area of his life. He makes loud, outrageous statements, driving attention to his projects and ventures, which in turn keeps him and his music in the public eye. The tactic that West and many other high-profile individuals use is an aged, but useful way to keep public intrigue.
Robert Greene, the author of The 48 Laws of Power, shares the importance of keeping public attention through calculated moves. In essence, public relations and marketing should start with the individual and his or her ability to put their own self under public scrutiny, in order to redirect the attention to their desired channel. Artists can learn a lot from abstract observation of “the greats,” especially about their practices for stirring up engagement.
Any artists that I produce or develop are always put through careful planning to discover and expand a social cause they can tie to their brand. Whether they are fighting mental health stigmas, pushing for rights as an activist, or simply taking a controversial stance, it is important to get people to care. A decent song from a new artist will gain much less attention than a decent song from a new artist who is passionately outspoken over the homeless crisis in LA. Tying a brand to a greater cause is one way to generate higher quality and higher quantities of engagements.
If there is one big lesson I have learned from working with record labels and artists, it’s this: the ones who always win are the ones that can create attention and use it to take care of their people. The same is true for artists. Those who are most successful are the ones that can generate controversial buzz, withstand the pressure and redirect the attention to different channels. Build a community of creative outlets and drive traffic to them.