Power to the people (By Kenny Love)
Have you ever patronized a business establishment and felt that the customer servers’ attitudes were that they were doing you a favor by their establishment being open? I’m betting you have, at least, once.
And, if so, how did that experience make you feel? It is likely that you had reserve about ever patronizing that particular business again.
Let’s apply this experience to another business that also has a history of similar arrogance… the Music business and, particularly, major record labels. I’m not certain if their arrogance began with their inception, but I am aware that it contributed significantly to their downfall.
Beside the manner in which they have, historically and notoriously, treated prospective unsigned artists, as well as their incumbent artists, they equally disrespected what was surely their bread and butter…music buyers.
This was evident through their ongoing “gatekeeper” style of separating their artists from their fans to unrealistic degrees.
The Internet is arguably the saving grace for all artists because, for the first time, it has allowed unsigned and independent artists the opportunity to truly, pardon the pun, “connect” with their fans, and not simply from the performance stage. Equally, it has served as a beacon in the night for major label artists to drop their labels.
This ability to now connect has enabled artists to create and maintain familial networks of a greater number of devoted music fans and buyers. You see, most people resent censorship in any form and, particularly, when the censor’s very survival is based on their input.
The demise of major record labels should be a pointed example to up-and-coming independent artists and labels of how even Goliath-type organizations cannot ignore the “pocket power ($)” of the people.
During this rebirth of the music industry, artists and labels alike need to review both past and current case studies of why we are where we are today in this industry, for better, or worse. Concurrently, they also need to focus on any and all alternatives from past business mistakes.
As continues to be proven, customers, clients, fans and buyers are who, literally, make or break careers through sales, or a lack thereof. After all of the marketing and promotional bells and whistles have been rang and blown, ultimately, it’s that simple.
To borrow AT&T’s phrase, they want (and demand) to “reach out and touch” you. Ensure that they can through, not only creating vehicles for them to do so, such as newsletters, discussion forums and other communicable avenues, but also through active participation in them, to a degree.
For, if you and your career are not presented to your fans and buyers as “user friendly,” your competitor’s just might.
In addition to serving the Music industry as a journalist, Kenny Love is also president of MuBiz.com, a radio promotion, media publicity and administrative service for independent musicians and recording artists. Visit the site at www.MuBiz.com.