Some of you may already know who Gary Vaynerchuk (aka Gary Vee) is. For those who don’t, Gary is a brand builder, digital marketing guru, investor and venture capitalist who describes himself as a guy who simply “builds businesses” and “day trades attention.” You might wonder what this has to do with wanting to be a recording artist. Well, making a career from your art is a business like any other, and one of the most important qualities for anyone in any business to have is the ability to spot trends early. In your case, you have to set trends both musically and stylistically, as well as figure out what the next cultural wave is so you can permeate that and capitalize on it. Our business thrives on that “attention” Gary talks about, and the concentration of the majority of that “attention” has been constantly shifting in the last 10 years or so, and most recently, at a rate exponentially greater than ever before. Where radio was once king, now social media takes reign with artists doing most of their own heavy promo lifting by using their social influence to create tidal waves of buzz at the touch of a “post” button. Still, this is one example. Creativity is really the key, and, also, some basic understanding of marketing. Most of the teen and “tween” influencers (some with as many as 16M followers- see @lelepons -numbers that are competitive with some of the industry’s biggest stars), however, didn’t study this formula, they’re just products of their tech savvy, desensitized-to-over-exposure generation, and the most willing to put their most intriguing assets out there for everyone to see. It is because of that, that they are winning the game. They don’t over-think, they don’t see it as a task. They’re just being,…fearlessly. For those of you who weren’t born into this natural-knack-for-gaining-social-influence generation, here are a few reasons why every aspiring artists should follow Gary Vee and people like him.
The proof is in the pudding.
It’s amazing how many artists still believe just being introduced to the supposed “right” people in the “biz” will get them where they need to be. Why? Please try walking into a bank right now, look a banker straight in the face and give a valid reason why said bank should just hand you over a million dollars simply because you’re “good.” It’s basically the same thing you are doing when you ask someone trying to survive in the current state of the entertainment industry to take their valuable (they have to pay bills, too) time to just help you and solve all your problems. Here’s the thing. In business you have to prove you have a formula that will produce ROI (return on investment). In this case, you have to PROVE to a manager that you’re worth the time and effort, PROVE to an investor that they can recoup, and PROVE to venues that you can draw a crowd. It’s not impossible to do these days, though. We have proof. Proof in (real) numbers, proof in (real) engagement, proof in analytics which are now provided to you right on the home page of your Instagram! It’s a brilliant tool. USE IT. Find out what you have to offer and to whom, then figure out where their attention is and GO GET IT. Ah, it’s a fine time to be a creator!
Artists need to think like creative marketers.
We’ve mentioned this in previous posts, but reiterate it because it’s so important. Recent post on Gary’s blog discuss the value in “documenting” vs. “creating,” which is important to think about, especially if you’re on a budget. You should definitely pay attention to quality as much as possible, but there are ways to engage by just being you and letting people into your day to day versus feeling pressured to always think of new content. That can hinder people’s consistency and be exhausting.
Most creatives need to be more money-minded.
Now, before you start sending messages about how it is about the art and not the money, we are in no way disagreeing with that. AT ALL. At the end of the day, you have to deliver a great product. DON’T open a bakery if the pastries are terrible. However, DO understand how to be smart with your money when investing in your bakery. There is value in learning from people who know how to grow a business from say 3M to 60M a year like Gary Vee or David Frangioni, IDA’s founder, for instance, who has also founded some of the biggest companies in the world. It’s not enough to just fling money at your dreams. You have to understand the value of money and, more importantly, your time and energy, in order to be strategic and not wind up in the same spot where you started, except hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and broken-hearted.
We’ll leave you with this food for thought from Gary’s Instagram: