Make music. Let Marketers do Marketing.

To add on to my little rant last week about music marketing, I’d like to add something about the proper role of the music marketer. Today, we’re flooded with brand managers, marketing managers, and just plain managers who want to tell musicians how to make their music before they make it.

Here’s how to be an artist: make art publicly.

It’s the public part that differentiates an artist from a hobbyist. You gotta hang your balls out there.

Right now we have all these managers of musicians telling musicians when to make an album, whether or not to leave it in the can while the manager tries to sell it, when to play shows, where to play shows, and far too many other things about the actual making of art.

These people who supposedly sell the art we make also want to tell us what sells and therefore what to make. I had a licensor tell me once that a song seemed “specific” as if that was cause enough not to consider it. Not “too specific” just “specific” as if I shouldn’t write about actual things. The overall message from all of these marketers and managers to musicians is: make the music we already know how to sell.

Musicians don’t need to learn to make music that sells. Marketers need to learn to sell the music we make.

I used to work for RED Digital Cinema who made crazy cutting edge cinema cameras. Never did we in marketing tell the inventors of the camera we couldn’t sell it because it wasn’t like the other cameras on the market. We had meetings and we brainstormed and we figured out how to sell it. It was hard work. It was uncertain work. We didn’t know what would sell already.

The marketing dynamic in music needs to change to this uncertainty. Nothing could make it more evident that the business side of the music business is awash with a bunch of philistines than the fact that these managers and marketers aren’t seeking interesting music to work with but attempting to reel in the same old shit.

All that said, I realize there are managers and marketers and labels and such doing good work and finding interesting music. They’re just quiet about it. If you’re doing interesting art, hopefully they’ll find you. Just don’t listen to the guys telling you how to do your work. They’re trying not to focus on their own.