Who's Huge? / / Huge's Music / / Huge's Shop / / Huge's Blog / / Hire Huge / / Help Huge / / Huge's Podcast / / Blogroll Me!

November 8, 2010

5 principles for the digital future

There is no sure-fire digital-media recipe for making a living as an Independent musician but these 5 principles underpin the strategy that musicians with long-term sustainable careers take:

1) Esteem. Part 2 discusses this in detail. Anyone who wants a career as a musician must look to build esteem strategically from the various sources: fans, peers and colleagues. It must apply to all aspects of what a musician does, including non-musical ones. Base a career on people who love who you are and what you do.

2) Propinquity - refers to the tendency for things to come to a central point. The Long Tail theory works only when abundant resources can be administered at very low marginal cost and an efficient business of this kind will, for example, update all of their social media statuses at a single point such as Artistsdata.com and collect revenue from all sales points at one account like Paypal.

3) Synchrony - refers to a tendency for all times to become one. Everything a musician does accumulates a benefit over time. When people find the musician's latest release, they want to know about that musician's back catalogue. They will be interested in the aggregated career history and back story that can be found on a blog that has operated continuously for years. Each effort in the present builds on the successes of the past and can be counted on in the future.

4) Personality - everything a musician does should be consistent with the act's personality, even changing over time. This is a key aspect of branding the act but it goes waaay beyond image and sound. It includes life perspective in songs over time (fans age at the same rate as the songwriters), it includes social causes, product endorsements and political statements. This works harshly against one-hit wonders and novelty acts and requires a real human connection between artist and fan.

5) Novelty - giving a musician's sources of esteem regular reasons to think about them is vital for career momentum. Regular blog updates, status updates, new songs, and new shows are good stuff but opinions on current events, reviews of TV shows or movies also add value. Anything that gives fans, peers or colleagues a reason to keep an artist top-of-mind, no matter how fleetingly. Care must be taken not to overdo it though, or you might become viewed as a spammer. It's important to stay focused on one personality.


Successful, sustainable 21st century music businesses will be designed on 5 principles: Esteem, Propinquity, Synchrony, Personality and Novelty. They will tailor these principles to their particular quirks and goals, but will have to ensure that all of them are included in their business design.

This post is one section of Part 3 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 November 8, 2010 8:03 PM

Leave a comment

Who's Huge? / / Huge's Music / / Huge's Shop / / Huge's Blog / / Hire Huge / / Help Huge / / Huge's Podcast / / Blogroll Me!