Your music isn’t special!
Oh no! I always hated that saying. People will say it all the time, either when they’re trying to get you to have less ego, or they’re trying to convince you to give up the pipe dream, or whatever. But MOST of the time when you hear that is when you’re learning the real ins and outs of music marketing and business. Straight forward business minded people in music will tell you that right away.
It’s mostly to let you know that you can’t just sit around thinking your some kind of genius and expect anybody to respond to that. It’s weird, egoistic, and most of all, doesn’t work. It was always a bit depressing to me but recently I got a very new take on it in my head.
Now I think that’s very GOOD news. At least the concept of it…see I feel like it’s a relief not to have to make every song some epic world changing thing that will certainly go viral. Going viral is like winning the lottery – quite unlikely. And it’s actually MORE depressing to me to think of pinning my hopes and dreams on something that unlikely.
So, it’s really a good thing to realize, it’s not really the music that makes the success. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t want to suck, and the music is really moving and makes a difference, but success in any business is about relationships. Yes you start with a great product, but you don’t have to worry so much about your product being somehow better than everyone else’s, or when you go on stage being super competitive about standing out or making sure every time you sing a song, it’s this insane transcendent experience for everyone in the room and people are like “holy fuck what did I just SEE??”
That’s crap. That’s the surface facing internet culture and our American tendency to go for the icing and not the cake that tells us that every little thing has to be “special” and everything worth consuming has to be world shattering and like nothing ever seen before. That’s an overwhelming thought because it’s impossible. A song is 3 minutes. There are rules you follow, no matter how avant-garde you are, and there’s really only so much one tune can do. Sure, it moves people, sure there may be transcendence. Sure, you can do a concert that just takes people away, or a video that’s just wildly powerful or moving – but that will never be that special in the grand scheme of things. There’s always that stuff. There’s 7 billion creative people on the planet and there’s no end to the powerful, moving, transcendent material out there.
Part of the clickbait strategy is to sell every damn page or video as some kind of crazy amazing hugely weird thing – headline formulas include “you won’t believe what this guy did..” and whatnot..and you do see a lot of “wow!” – 7 year olds playing drums, dude jumping off buildings, whatever. But who cares? No matter how amazing you are, you’re not the only one.
So trying to be special is weird and overwhelming and it’s really not effective because the more you act like you’re special, the more you alienate people. Really, to succeed as an artist is about building a network of like-minded folk, collaborating, and putting your mark out there. No one can do what you do and in that sense YOU are special. But you don’t really need your music to be special, and you certainly need to understand that it won’t be perceived as all that special for the most part. But you can still build a business, and a fanbase, and take your place among the other badass artists that you have something in common with. And that actually will be enough, in fact, it’s even enough to build to rock star status and become famous.
So yeah – your music isn’t special – that’s not because you suck – it’s because music is small – powerful, but small, and everybody does it – so your music isn’t special. And it doesn’t need to be, because YOU are. So you can relax 🙂
Hey – it may not be special, but I think some of my stuff rocks and maybe you will too – easy to find out by getting some for FREE at aarontrumm.com – LOVE!