Your music is having difficulty being heard because you can’t get people’s attention. This is not a new idea, but it’s one whose problem grows exponentially daily. A few things popped in the blogosphere this week that emphasized the industry should be figuring out how to combat people’s ADD more than anything.
First, in an interview on evolver.fm, long time music blogger Sean Adams bemoaned the slow death of MP3 blogs. While bloggers took over gatekeeper influence from publications like Rolling Stone in the 2000s, these same people are finding their influence waning as people’s individual social feeds are influencing their circles. That may not be an issue for some, but for new artists looking to break, it becomes a problem. As Adams points out, he used to hammer away at an artists’ importance until the audience catches on. Social feeds, on the other hand, are only focused on talking about things that are shiny and new. As he says so eloquently, “I’d argue that an obsession with the new has been more damaging to music than piracy.” That’s a classic symptom of anyone with ADD.
This led to a reminder by Disc & D.A.T. publisher Steve Meyer of a quote made 2 weeks ago by Rio Caraeff, the CEO of VEVO. He said, “Piracy is a bit like the war on drugs, it’s an unwinnable war…but I think the solution is to provide access to entertainment to as many people as possible, through a variety of different models.” While it’s always refreshing to hear that fighting piracy is a waste of time, the solution offered is not ideal either. Providing wide access, which has been growing, seems like a great thing for many. However, this just leads to further difficulties for those looking to break in. With wider access comes larger difficulties in discoverability. Most people, faced with too many entertainment choices, will just default to what is safe or what they know. Couple this access with Sean Adams’ observation, and we just create a constant ADD assault where no new music sticks.
This assault was felt by many thru industry blogger Bob Lefsetz. After commenting on an unsigned artist that actually got his attention, he got assaulted with many more unsigned artists that led him to berate people for sending him their music. This didn’t sit well with many, including my artist friend Syd who asked, “If Bob Lefsetz isn’t listening, who is?” Syd says it’s Bob’s obligation to listen to music, where I believe it’s the artist’s obligation to effectively command attention. Whose issue is it when Bob’s ADD kicks in with the onslaught of requests?
Whatever the communication method, I always respond to the ones who commanded my attention, who breaks thru my personal ADD tendencies. Berating a gatekeeper or listener for not listening is not their fault, it’s your fault. It’s your job to figure out how to get someone to see you and keep them engaged. It is certainly harder, but that just means you have to work smarter. Bob got slammed with artist emails in the last 48 hours. Do you know how many people reached out to him via Twitter to listen to their music in that same time? One. That’s right. Only one. That doesn’t guarantee Bob will hear the music either, but I think I’ll more likely be seen when I’m the only one doing it instead of following the herd.
And whether you agree with any of the above or not, it doesn’t matter. I’m over 500 words in and I’ve got your attention. Enough to mention I help solve many of these attention problems with my latest book Hack Your Hit. I did it by providing worthwhile content. I promoted it solely by placing it on my Twitter and Facebook feeds. You didn’t have to come here. You certainly didn’t have to read this far. To Bob’s point, I didn’t force this upon you. You came to me. And I thank you for it.
To further thank you, I want to hear your stories of how you successfully got attention. Email me your stories in 150 words or less to jay
ADD is a fact of life now in so many aspects of daily life. It’s not pleasant, but it’s reality. To understand that the music fan likely suffers from it is to figure out the best way to work against it. Ignoring it as a hurdle to success just guarantees you’ll trip over it and fall on your face. I look forward to reading your successes and seeing how well you command my attention.