I read Jeff Price of TuneCore‘s response to an article in Digital Music News questioning the validity of measurement tools related to the success of new artist’s in the digital world. Some excellent thoughts posted, I encourage you to read them. Here is my response:
It is back to the future. Great songs matter, not albums. Building a fan base matters, not marketing muscle. Making a living matters, not being a rockstar. The real question is how does one now measure success? Yes we are all competitive, so we need a chart. Or do we?
Is success measured by gross income across a weighted multitude of income streams? Would that be based on a calendar or fiscal year? Interesting concept the IRS would love.
Should all the indie distributors and artists report in to Nielson? Why, so numbers with a hint of authenticity can continue to create false impressions? What about streams, blog posts, search requests, touring schedule, and so on.
The point of your post is well taken. The old measurement tools are imperfect. The old guard is sadly blind in the woods. However, music creation is thriving. Success is measured individually. The music business is alive.
Having spent the past few years ‘off the grid’ I decided recently to start exploring social media in earnest. I am now punching out tweets and fb status’, and have even launched this blog. Yes, there is something very compelling about completing a concise thought in less than 140 characters. However, my thoughts are longer, and my memory shorter.
I want to learn how to write again. I think I forgot how.
I just witnessed two of my friends publish books. Their commitment to sitting and writing everyday was impressive. Their timeless discussion over the choice of words was inspirational. It encouraged me to read through old material I had written over the years that had been stored in a wooden file cabinet – business ideas, project plans, poems, lyrics, short stories. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading it. I was reminded of how poor a writer I have become.
But now, ouch, look at my syntax, look at my dangling participles, look at how I started this sentence with ‘but’. Wow, I have to correct spelling errors again, capitalize ‘I’, and think in complete sentences. I have forgotten the rules of ‘to be’, the uses of ‘is/are’, and the meaning of ‘wit’. Damn, wtf is an adverb again?
Twenty-years ago I only had to answer a phone or knock on a door. Fifteen-years ago I had to answer a phone and check my email. Ten-years ago we added a bit of texting. Now I have to fb, tweet, linkedin, email, txt, blog, etc.
I think I’ll send a hand written note to a friend. How much are stamps now anyway?
When I first joined Facebook a year ago, I invited a few friends to join me. They were not my childhood ‘lifetime’ friends (most of whom have yet to join a social network), but were close friends that I was socially involved with. We shared some very funny and intimate moments.
Soon thereafter I ran into someone who mentioned he had thousands of ‘friends’ on FB. I was surprised. Why? He explained to me that it was his personal broadcast network. So of course, I went on to invite a few hundred people. The intimate social aspect of the experience evaporated. A large majority of the posts now are self-promoting or business related.
I have become a more active participant in the world of blogs and tweets. There are people that I have always wanted to meet, but have not yet had the opportunity too. Well, I can now follow them. But, they do not have to follow me. I read their words, their thoughts, and now, I even know their whereabouts. Somehow I feel like I know them. Yet, it is weird that I have never met them. It is creepy. They are ‘Friends in my Head.’
Recently I ran into a ‘friend in my head’ at an event. I was introduced, and I had forgotten that we never met. I jumped right into a discussion related to one of his blogs. He has millions of followers. I knew a lot about him. But, he didn’t follow me. He only knew a bit about my past, and from what I had posted on his blog. We didn’t know each other equally.
Kurt Vonnegut said in 2001, in a brilliant mashup dvd/film One Giant Leap, that ‘most people’s best friends are on TV.’ Now, many people’s best friends are ‘in their head.’
One needs to think about the superficiality of the depth of their followers if they are looking for a personal social experience. To many, there is a reduced value to multiple followers. We are now ‘grading our friends’ and are becoming a ‘stalker society’.
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