The concept of creativity has a fascinating history. For the ancient Greeks, a concept of art, in Greek is “techne”. This forms the root of the words “technique” and “technology”. Creativity then followed a pattern of rules even under the influence of inspiration and imagination.
Of course, for medieval Christians, the word Creation from the Latin “creatio” was in no way related to human activity, rather it was reserved for the concept of “creation from nothing” being an act of God.
In the Renaissance, philosophers and artists began to float alternative notions where Creativity was related to freedom of expression with the Latin “excogiatio” identifying creativity as being more devising, considering and contriving something new i.e. a divergence.
It was 1950, when JP Guilford, as new president at the American Psychological Association, proposed that creativity was essential for human society. This sparked a modern scientific quest for creativity studies leading us to today in 2021, a post COVID society seeking creative solutions to a variety of 21st century challenges.
What does that mean for the millions of creative beasts working in a Music Industry that has been decimated thanks to global COVID lockdowns?
What is the collective creative solution that music as a product, offers humanity? Oh boy, let me count the ways. But the real challenge here is not the music. It is the psychology and culture of the business that surrounds the music where we need clarity before we can begin to account for its social creative solutions.
For the majority of musicians, the ever-present vision of making it as a big star, looms large. Yet the reality is, that a very small number of artists will make it big, thus inevitably leading to a pandemic of poverty and mental health issues in the Music Industry.
We need to explore why that is so. Why do music artists seek fame and fortune instead of building their business? Why is it a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll?”
If we jump into the deep end of the current digital ocean, we literally swim past trillions of creative content items. To say the market is saturated is like saying it stings a bit when your leg is being amputated. A truly terrible visual but it’s the same in the current market. Our Social Media experience over the past decade has birthed new generations of digital creators. Blogs, Podcasts, Vines, Videos, Lives, AMAs, Hangouts. We humans literally have a Creator Studio at our fingertips where we can film, record, write, edit, produce and share with our followers in a matter of minutes from our phones. We live in a world where anyone can influence millions of followers. What would once take a large budget and team and a few intensive months can be delivered in 1000th of the time and cost.
Music fans are not only consumers, but they are now creators.
The competition for an emerging music artist is not just the big labels and legacy artists or their emerging artist peers but their fans themselves.
It costs a truckload to record and release. So if you are going to do that, you need to have a clear understanding of your ROI in all the levels of your value hierarchy not just financial.
So to begin to establish your strategy of ROI, how can music artists cut through the noise and be heard in this vast ocean of content?
To start with, music artists can no longer see themselves as separate to the business process. They need to be real about what it is that they are actually doing. A wishlist for fame and fortune can sit on your Vision board but it will be on the Balance Sheet where reality will seriously slap you until you establish your true core strategy.
No one is coming to make you a star. Let that sink in. No one is coming to make you a star. You are the one that you are waiting for. Not an agent, manager, publicist, label, promoter or even fans. You are the greatest asset in your career. You are the greatest resource in your music business. But until you inventory the why, how, where, when, who and what, you will be vulnerable to your own wish list fantasy as well as the market forces.
Humans in the 21st century are for the most part, time poor, which of course is a primary feature driving our addiction and dependence on technology. Faced with this deep ocean of content, rather than drowning, we deploy our often unconscious hierarchy of values when choosing which content to consume. This is why a healthy understanding of your target market and your niche is key in your ability to cut through the noise and find your superfans.
F**k fame. Shoot for sustainability. In this world of climate change and a commitment to green sustainable living, operate your business like you would to save the planet. Chart the Vector of your Music Business. Carve your Vision, Know your Values. Uncover your Voids, Have a bloody good Vent and Map out your Variants.