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September 14, 2010

The ghost in the machine

For most of the 20th century the only ways for musicians to appeal to fans were at live shows or though the media, which had limited space and were tightly controlled. New communication technologies have changed all that, allowing musicians to display their creations as MP3 or online videos, and to communicate directly with fans.

The new media work both ways: by allowing fans to find and contact musicians and by allowing musicians to find and communicate with fans. When fans show up at gigs, or buy merchandise online or discuss the musicians' latest efforts in social media, they are conferring esteem onto the musicians.

The 21st century technologies make it very easy to collect and maintain esteem in the form of email addresses, online sales, and social media activities but esteem still has to be generated by the timeless process of impressing people and building relationships based on that good impression.

Some of the work can be done using automated widgets and email scheduling software but musicians have to realise that their job does not end when they leave the stage. They must adopt work practices including regular participation in social media and frequent engagement with their fans online, offline, and, where possible, via mainstream media.

Maintaining esteem is easier than building it. Maintenance only takes a memory - building it requires making an impression!


New technologies have made it easier for musicians to gather esteem and maintain relationships with the people who supply it. But technology cannot help with the basics - relationships are best built when musicians meet people and give them a reason to confer some esteem.

This post is the summary of Part 2 of Dr Huge's "How the record industry got it so wrong". The latest version of the complete ebook can be downloaded here and a hard copy can be ordered here.
Posted by DrHuge at September 14, 2010 5:00 PM

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