This morning, I had coffee with Dave Delaney at a Nashville coffee house called Crema. The place was unexpectedly packed. It had been open for a few years. The coffee was consistently great. What had changed to explode their business? A new office building opened across the street.

This morning, I heard an interview by Warren Littlefield about his new book Top Of The Rock. He talked about how Cheers was the lowest rated show in its first year. He talked about how Seinfeld struggled to find an audience in its first year. What had changed to make those shows explode? They scheduled them with other hit shows to give them proper visibility.

This morning, I read a Lefsetz blog post saying great music doesn’t need social networking to be big. To quote Bob, “You just have to make great music.”

Which one of these stories doesn’t belong?

Let’s pare down to the truth. Believing you don’t need to music marketing at any level of quality is ridiculous. Thinking that releasing songs in certain places at certain times is not a key idea is to live blindly. With so many choices, marketing and strategy is an essential part of any successful song. Social networking just happens to be the easiest and cheapest way to do it today. But if you choose not to tweet, be prepared to spend big in other places. Even if you’re fantastic.

At the same time, you do need to read the tea leaves to know and believe that what you created was great. NBC stood by Cheers because they knew it was great material that needed to be seen. Crema makes great coffee to accommodate the new office workers. If it’s not great, no amount of marketing, strategy or luck will change the equation.

Believing you can become successful just by existing is the worst decision one can possibly make. There are far more examples of long-lasting hit entertainment due to savvy marketing and strategic placement than examples of entertainment hits that “just happened”. Think all you need to do is make great music? Play the lottery. Think you need to put in hard, strategic work to find success? You’ve got a shot.

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  1. Dave Delaney May 1, 2012 at 3:18 pm # Reply

    Jay, it was a pleasure chatting this morning.

    I love your thinking here, you’re absolutely right. The opportunity for luck has diminished greatly due to the amount and speed of information being thrust at us online at any given moment. It’s extremely important to consider strategic marketing now more than ever.

    See you at again at Crema, the coffee shop where everyone knows your name. :)

  2. Steve Meyer May 1, 2012 at 4:05 pm # Reply

    “You just have to make great music.” say the all-knowing Bob Lefsetz.


    I am sure every head of promotion and A&R at every label for any period of time could easily compile a list of GREAT artists and GREAT albums that just never happened at radio and retail for a myriad of reasons.

    Now, with the Internet providing the greatest distribution system ever for artists, it is more important than ever to utilze every marketing tool and strategy available. (Including reading Jay’s book ‘Hack Your Hit’)

    Sorry Bob, but just making “great music” doesn’t do it, and it never has.

    Steve Meyer
    Publisher, DIDC & DAT (DigitalAudioTechnology)
    President/CEO – Smart Marketing Consulting Services
    Editor, Digital Technology:
    Las Vegas, NV

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