Let me tell you something that might surprise you. Or maybe you already knew it, and I need to brush up on my music history. The last live Beatles’ touring performance was on 29 August 1966. Obviously, that excludes the rooftop concert because they were not touring then. McCartney announced that they were broken up April 10th in 1970. They hadn’t even released Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band yet?! (May 26, 1967) When you think of the Beatles, you should think of the quintessential band! Obviously, they were still creating and recording during that three year period. But it’s still just fascinating to me that they were not on the road performing during that time.
What I’m trying to say is, the Beatles were always artist (duh) not always performers. Today we have another example of this. Frank Ocean doesn’t get around and play very often. I’m sure you can think of many more examples of this. We rightly idolize these legends, even though they do not always fit the mold we put them in. Any half decent artist is this way, and these folks have changed the game. Today it is easier than ever to get your art out there. You always hear how important social media (SM) is to your craft. I think it’s important to make sure you are using the right avenue. For example, Facebook is not always your best bet. Sure, it is overflowing with a billion people. (That number is correct by the way, which is absurd. Good for Zuckerburg.) Posting something on Facebook in the hopes that someone will pick you up and take you where you want to go is as irrational as going to a football game and yelling “LISTEN TO MY MUSIC.” This is an incredibly stupid idea, literally, everyone else is already doing it and they are probably doing it better than you are.
I am going to backtrack and say that you should definitely have a Facebook presence, but that it shouldn’t be your sole focus. I want you to really sit and think about it. If all you’ve done is post something on Facebook today. Then you are on par with a fourteen-year-old girl and her social status selfies. Actually, you’re a few strokes behind her. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you’re staying busy by posting a photo or a link to a single you released three months ago. You desperately need to have a paradigm shift here because this mentality will kill you. Posting something on the big three SM platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) is STEP ONE of what you need to d today. So don’t spend too much time or stress over it for hours. I highly recommend setting up a SM calendar to keep the whole thing focused and flowing. I use monday.com as my SM calendar at the start of my week, It’s free and easy to use. I’ll hook you up with a link here. Monday.com
To gain a real following, start traveling down and using the more artistic SM platforms. Tumblr, Deviantart, Behance, Pinterest, Soundcloud, Vimeo. I know what you’re thinking. “Dean, most of those don’t have shit to do with music and isn’t SoundCloud dying?” Hang in there buddy. How many likes are you getting via your facebook post? Who is liking that post? Is it your aunt and your old high school buddy? Maybe part of the problem is we are trying to get people to want our music, except, honestly, they don’t give two shits about art.
I think it is time to take our work to other artists! Sure, maybe they won’t like it. Perhaps they are more talented than we are. Hell, in my case they are definitely more talented. I’m not suggesting you have to post anything to these sites. Just be a fan of other artists’ work. Don’t just go onto the home page and start liking posts. Find the stuff you really dig! Find the guys that have five little hearts on their photos, the ones that definitely deserve more than that. Befriend these artists, tell them what you like about their work. Branch off and talk about that movie you watched the other day. Start being a SUPERFAN, that’s how you get superfans. If these artists don’t like your stuff, then who the hell is going to love your stuff? Still, don’t be too hard on yourself. Always keep your vision but accept that we can learn a thing or two from these guys. We can always improve. One of my favorite stories comes from the Beach Boys and the Beatles. When Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys heard Rubber Soul, the sixth album from the Beatles, Brian went straight to his piano and started writing God Only Knows, eventually crafting the masterpiece Pet Sounds. Of course, in 1966 the Beatles came out with Revolver and forcing Brian Wilson into a nervous breakdown. Later in his life, he said
“It wasn’t really a rivalry, though. I was jealous! . . . It was really just mutual inspiration, I think. I would get to hear their records before they came out and I was totally blown away by Rubber Soul. And Sgt. Peppers? I was totally blown away by that. But it was inspirational, too. Then I did “Good Vibrations” and Smile, and it was exciting. I got into it and really produced my head off.”
I love that story. If you are John Mayer, Maroon 5, A Day to Remember, Young the Giant, Taylor Swift. Then you probably can solely use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The rest of us need to extend our reach. Be truthful and honest with other artists. Be frank and honest with yourself. If all you are doing is posting a song to Facebook and hoping it’ll take off. Then you will likely have the same success as shouting at a football game and trying to gain everyone’s attention. Refine your search so you can get to the point where you’re playing the halftime show. It will take time and you will need to gain true fans. Not ones that are related to you! Haha! I’ve been there so I can laugh.