It’s okay to not have a brand new album on Bandcamp Friday, or ANY FRIDAY. There’s a lot of people in this world who’ve still never heard your album. There’s people that still haven’t heard Metallica’s “black album!”
So talk about the thing you do on social media. Don’t hide it. It’s not “gross” promoting your work. You don’t roll your eyes when you’re painting, doing another vocal take in the studio, or delivering your final design concept to a client, so don’t you roll your eyes when 99.9% of the world doesn’t even know it exists.
You are the caretaker of this art, and it’s not going to market itself. Be proud, include a link, send it to some friends. Don’t hide the potential joy of someones life for another minute.
I posted this video on Twitter, which has a shelf life of about 10 minutes. Blink and you’ll miss it. And without paying up, most of my followers won’t see it anyways.
But the video lives here, on my own site. We’re all renting on social media, but our websites are our homes. Two months from now it’ll be near impossible to find the original Tweet I made. It’ll be a lot easier for someone to find this video via a link, on the open web, and via search engines.
There was a time when we didn’t spray a firehose of images, videos, and words into our eyeballs for multiple hours, every day. Around the clock.
During that time we still made albums, published magazines, made videos, and everything else.
The thing I hear a lot, if we abandon social media, is how will we be found? How will our music get heard? How will our videos get watched?
Look, they will.
Back in the day you’d hand out flyers for the show you were playing that night. Put the flyers in the local music shop. Hand them to anyone wearing Chuck Taylors or a nose ring.
Social media is where you hand out flyers, but at a certain point you gotta head back to the venue and play a show.
We’ve all bought into the 24/7 social media marketing life style, heading both directions; both as the consumer and the advertiser.
But there comes a time when you gotta put the phone down and work. You’re going to have to miss that meme, or that person who did the thing, or that random video.
Trust that the wonderful people in your life will send you some of the highlights. Also be okay with missing shit.
Like, how many memes have you missed when they first came out? Then you discovered it three months later. Still funny, right? Great. What’d you lose? Nothing.
Get into your studio, your space, put on your headphones and make your art. That’s the thing that people will discover three months from now. That clever Tweet or funny IG story is nice and all, but it’s gone in a day. Poof.
Put your top stuff on a site. Your writing, your photos, your music, your whatever. Give it a home where people can find it. And keeping filling it up. Keep adding. Make it your home.
People will find you when they find you, and it’ll probably be for your art, the magic you bring to the world.
Anyone (literally) can get their song up on YouTube.
You don’t have to out run a bear, you just have to out run your friends.
Set up a site for your album. Put up your lyrics, your photos, your stories. You wish a cool media outlet would do a feature on your new release, right? In the meantime, do it yourself.
You’d post a link to that cool press if you got it.
For now, build your own “press” and post that link instead.
You dream of your killer live stage set up – lights, video screens, dancers.
Make your website your stage. Fill it with your art, your ideas, your dreams, your colors, your imagery.
Because someone else just starting out in stage design is looking and listening and watching.
Because someone else is just getting started in costume design. And video editing. And graphic design.
Put more of yourself out there, in full form. Attract your people, your fans, your team.
Today isn’t the time for just posting throw-away Tweets that wash away in an hour. Not time for “stories” that float off like a plastic bag in the breeze.
Buy a domain name, set up a site, and stake your place on the internet. Your home. Your HQ. The source for your magic and your art.
Don’t just add a photo and post a link. Rip open yourself and get more of yourself onto the screen. Answer interview questions you’ve not yet been asked, list your favorite horror films, post that video of yourself making coffee in the morning with your music in the background.
Your music is part of life, part of existence, part of the human story. Don’t let your music fight all by itself on a crowded playlist, which is just two steps away from looking like a Google Sheet:
Control your destiny, your branding, and your look. Put together more of what you do, and who you are, in a space that you control.
During a recent Instagram Stories doom-swipe session, I noticed Kendriana post about one of her posts being removed because IG thought it broke some rule. A physical trainer I follow had their entire account wiped out because of some unknown one-and-done rule breaking (thankfully they got their account back).
With each day that passes, it’s never been more important to move your followers to your website. To your email list. Get your biggest fans to follow you to a platform you own.
Social media is so enticing for artists, photographers, musicians, etc because of the instant feedback. The interaction. The release of endorphins that come from instant validation.
The entire system is built on that, but it’s a system to benefit them, not you.
You feed their system day and night with content, with engagement, with interaction. In turn, they harvest your user data, habits, track what you look at and like, and sell it to advertisers.
So long as you keep feeding social media your time and effort, they will make lots of money.
The alternative is update your own website. Send an email to your newsletter subscribers.
Neither give you the instant feedback, but stop and consider that instant isn’t alway better.
Sometimes you need to let your work cook.
Make your site something that’s so rad that people would miss it if it were gone (via Seth Godin). Make it something that is a part of people’s lives. Something worth typing into an address bar (or even bookmarking).
Make your thing so great that people will trade you their email address and the sacred access to their inbox just to keep up with you.
When you spend four hours a day on social media, you helped sell a lot of ads.
When you fill your site with two years worth of content, you had a body of work. Anyone with a web-browser can see your talent.
Neither is “the thing,” I don’t think. Though I won’t know if I don’t keep at it. It helps that I enjoy the process.
Running became a thing. Been doing that since 2016, and more often than not I’m wearing a running shirt instead of a band shirt. How’d that happen?
Sitting in front of me is a fancy pants MIDI-controller, which makes working in Abelton even more fun. I’ve looked, and I’ve been toying with Abelton for since December 2017, so I guess that’s one of my things now, too.
The thing is, none of these “things” needs to be a thing. I’m probably not going to be an iconic producer or marathon legend, but that’s okay. That’s still living.