Bob Baker's The Buzz Factor
Music marketing tips and self-promotion ideas for independent songwriters, musicians and bands.
Music marketing ideas for DIY artists, managers, promoters and music biz pros
October 15, 2007
Seth Godin on Radiohead & the Mediocre Middle
"Sure, they can get attention and succeed doing those things because they are already household names. How's a lowly indie act like me supposed to compete with that?"
The answer: You don't have to compete on that level. Borrow the idea and apply it to whatever situation you are currently in.
You may not persuade Wal-Mart to be the exclusive seller of your next CD, but you might make a special sales arrangement with a single indie record store in your town. It's not the grand scale that counts. It's how you position yourself to connect with more fans -- whether the number of fans is 1 million, 10 thousand, or 10.
In this post, Seth Godin points out that forward thinking indie acts have been giving away MP3s and asking fans to pay what they like for years. It's only now that well-known acts are jumping on the bandwagon.
Most industries innovate from both ends:
The mediocre record companies, mediocre A&R guys and the mediocre acts are struggling to stay in place. They're nervous that it all might fall apart. So they wait. They wait for 'proof' that this new idea is going to work, or at least won't prove fatal. (It's the impulse to wait that made them mediocre in the first place, of course).
- The outsiders go first because they have nothing to lose.
- The winners go next because they can afford to and they want to stay winners.
- It's the mediocre middle that sits and waits and watches.
So, in every industry, the middle waits. And watches. And then, once they realize they can survive the switch (or once they're persuaded that their current model is truly fading away), they jump in.
The irony, of course, is that by jumping in last, they're condemning themselves to more mediocrity.
So, do you want to be mediocre and complain that you don't have the clout to compete? Or ... would you rather innovate, experiment, and have fun promoting yourself in new and daring ways?
Go for it. You just might find yourself with a growing audience -- on a scale that is just right for you.
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What About Bob?
Bob Baker is an author, speaker, teacher, indie musician and former music magazine editor dedicated to showing musicians of all kinds how to get exposure, connect with fans, sell more music, and increase their incomes.
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