Bob Lefsetz covers the same material a lot but every time he manages to sneak in a few new things to make you think.
This is, I think, his best set of rules so far – although I don’t agree with them absolutely!
For example, he reckons that you shouldn’t bother with Twitter and Facebook until you have traction – I disagree, they can create traction and your most evangelistic fans will want to be there to help you from the start.
Still, it is a great set of rules – I love his emphasis on development and practice before promotion and marketing, which is what we aim to preach as well – and every musician should take them in.
1. It doesn’t matter what kind of music you make.You build your own audience. There’s an established niche for every genre. From folk to metal. Don’t worry about playing to everybody, just play to somebody.
The last thirty years, the MTV era, has been about giving people what they want, which is just like what they’re already consuming. Major labels and major media, most especially radio, had control of a narrow sieve and if you didn’t fit, you couldn’t play. That is not true today. Those powers mean ever less. You can reach your audience easily online. You’ve just got to start.
2. You’ve got to be good.
This is about practice. We’re in a music era, not a marketing era. Ignore those who tweet and Facebook their goings-on instead of focusing on the music. It’d be like Steve Jobs selling Dell. It wouldn’t blow up overnight. Even better, Ferrari selling Smart cars. A great marketer is nothing without a great product, focus on the product.
Play for three or four hours a day. Take lessons. Play in your garage before you play in public.