Just about a year and half ago I started getting into some really cool modern marketing books, all spawned by my desire to promote my band and study marketing in general. Amongst a range of books I came across Hugh Macleod’s gapig void blog (via twitter if I remember right) and I found his posts that are now a book called Ignore Everybody.
I printed all his blog posts out, his candid and direct tone were a wake up call and when he said that the best way to be creative was to ignore everybody, well it was quite a shocker! I also happened to be reading a lot of Seth Godin stuff at the time so it was all mind blowing stuff together.
In Ignore Everybody Hugh describes that essentially no one gives a damn about your creative idea, so if you want to go ahead and make it in your music business, arts or whatever.. it is best just to ignore everyone and go ahead and do it anyway.
Ignoring everyone is hard at first
This was hard for me to swallow at first but I gradually got used to the idea and started accepting it slowly….and in a weird, paradoxical way I started setting myself free. One of the first things I did was to painfully chop down my band’s mailing list. I had put on anyone who showed a vague interest in the band on the mailing list but in reality they were just being polite most of the time. I was so used to excitedly annoucing to the whole lot
hey, hey I am doing this, look look here, now!
that it was hard for me to think that no one cared really. But slowly I started a mailing list totally from scratch instead, people who were into the same music, who loved going to gigs, who themselves were in bands, a smaller bunch of people who voluntarily subscribed with what I have to say with respect to making music in the band :-)
Sex and cash theory
I also love his sex and cash theory, essentially he says that the creative person has two types of job roles, the creative sexy type and the boring but cash generating one. Every artist has to do both to survive and also feed their creativity. He gives the fantastic example of the software engineer coding for faceless corporations during their day job (“cash”) and then coding to make games or other free-ware world changing things in their spare time (“sex”). As I worked in a software type job myself at the time I could see what he meant.
In terms of being a musician I translated it as the fact that you do crowd pleasers and cover songs (“cash”) that you might not like doing any more (sort of like Metallica only playing their early music coz the fans want it…) but it will bring in enough cash for you to let you do your own material.
Although I don’t like playing too many covers as they are always a pain to get right (and there are always anal musicians and others who say..”yeah but you got that bit wrong”) covers are worth it for the sake of generating a nice party atmosphere when the right moment calls :-)
You don’t need expensive guitars and recording gear
The first acoustic guitar I ever bought 13 years ago for £60 is the guitar I still use to compose all songs, I have recorded with it and after that I only ever bought one more guitar a year later, my electric guitar. All these years I learnt how to get the best sound of both guitars; I didn’t need any more guitars to get a better sound. The same goes with recording, I used basic software, normal spec PCs and shock horror..a PC mic to record and learn everything I learnt about demo production.
Over the years I saw others buying expensive guitars and even more expensive recording gear…but they never took the time and patience to master the basics first..they dived straight in with the good gear.
“The more talented you are, the less you need the props”; that pretty much sums up my philosophy on mastering lo-fi stuff first.
Get blogging and use all media
Thanks to Seth Godin and Hugh Macleod back then in late 2008, I got blogging and started this blog up :-)
Yes, starting and maintaining a blog requires a whole different skill set
Yes, it is hard work
Yes, it takes time away from making music
but as it says in the book, not one medium alone will ever capture the attention of your audience. You have to use music, words, videos, photos and anything else that you can.
There is no barrier to the internet marketer or book writer to reach masses of people. I know I started blogging and haven’t looked back since, I got my band blog going and even set up a London musicians networking forum just by a blog!
Keeping the day job
The one thing I didn’t agree with from that book was to keep my day job. Because to me that wasn’t part of my plan (by the time I was reading all this I was beginning to hate my job life, luckily I had an alternative!). So I did exactly the opposite six months ago and left my day job…to become self employed instead.
He mentions that there is a danger that when you make your hobby your living as well, you devalue it and can actually start hating your hobby towards the end. Personally I now have more time for music than I had before, obviously it is not my living so I don’t depend on it to feed me but I think it *is* possible to leave your day job and dedicate more time and effort to your music.
This book is definitely a good kick up the old backside if you are a musician (or a small/big :-) business wannabe) and have run out of things or got stuck in the same rut, the central theme behind it to “ignore everybody” is what you have to believe in really. His tone is candid, frank and at times strong with the odd expletive thrown in..so kinda rock ‘n roll. He’s made it through drawing cartoons on the back of business cards…which in itself is a whacky thing!
If you’ve also read that book or would like to I’d love to see your comments down here.