The Social Musician – Thoughts on musician recoil to the word “sales”

  • February 9, 2014

I’ve recently been listening to the CD baby podcast for independent musicians and it has really gotten me thinking about the non-music side of Smooth Sailing.

When I was younger I thought that if I JUST made the best music that I could that I would be discovered because that bullshit idea had been programmed into my brain. Maybe for 1 in a billion you are just in the right place at the right time and you don’t get fucked over by a major label, but for many musicians, the dream of music will remain just a dream.

I don’t want Smooth Sailing to be a dream.

Which leads into social media method for connecting with fans and people in general (rather than sitting on my ass and embracing the Narcissistic idea that I’m so good and people will come to ME, which plagues musicians in the digital age, including my younger self). It’s been an interesting process learning about how to genuinely connect with people online.

I’m a neuroscience and psychology major, and I started getting really serious about music for sheer enjoyment and as a cathartic outlet in my 1st year university.
I had always looked at Sales and Marketing as the dark side of psychology, with mental health professionals and psychiatrists on the good side. I think this is what a lot of musicians, to their detriment, think about the sales side and think that selling automatically means selling out.

Selling out in my mind is compromising your values for a dollar. I.e. if Monsanto came to me and said hey we want your track for $10000, and I said “Well you guys are scum, but 10000 is a lot, so fuck it.” Selling (good selling anyways) is believing in a product or idea so much, and being so enthusiastic about it, that you want people to have it. That’s pretty much it. There are good and bad ways you can go about it but the principle is the same. So if a musician doesn’t want to “sell” promote their music, maybe they aren’t sold enough on their own music! The way I see it now, if you truly believe both in yourself and in your music, the marketing aspect takes on a whole different feel and is not purely this energy draining chore.

I actually find that connection inherently enjoyable and I think if more musicians grasped that then this whole marketing yourself process becomes much less of a pain or thorn in your side.

I like connecting with other people, in fact it’s one of the things I enjoy most in this world, and hopefully you and I will have or have had an opportunity to do so either through you relating to my music, or us touching base online/offline.