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Thursday, January 23, 2014

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Understand What You Need to Understand

We're in a new era where media is as prolific as content. The notion that you just need to "be there" to be successful is rampant. "Get online, do your thing, and the audience will find you" seems to be branded in minds everywhere.

Indie artists have dozens of services to put their music in front of people. Radio stations have streaming services to get their programming heard. People who want to create radio programming have dozens of choices on which service to use for creating their own station. But how many succeed online?
"Online there are many things that need in-depth knowledge, but which people attempt with the narrowest of knowledge margins."

When hearing "whoa, be the person who doesn't know what they don't know" most people conjure up a vision of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld uttering similar words in a press conference. I'd like you to digest them under the context of this article about conservative columnist David Shield.

We live at a time when there are numerous items we must be aware of, and understand how they work. It's the latter part of this which flies in the face of previous wisdom.

We never needed to know how a car moved, beyond turning the key and learning a few basic driving rules. But get involved in an email campaign and you had best know: 1) how to gather addresses, 2) proper ways to create content for short attention spans, 3) average open rates, and 4) response templates. You can add to this simple things such as knowing how to construct a subject line so the email doesn't get sent to the trash folder, or avoiding the word "free" within the email's content (which many times produces the same results).

Online there are many things that need in-depth knowledge, but which people attempt with the narrowest of knowledge margins.

Many indie artists sit in a time warp when believing their music is so good that people will stop and listen on request - or that all the artist needs to do is post a song on social media.

Another misconception is how a NEW artist should be paid every time their song is played on a radio station. That's not today's reality, where hundreds of thousands of artists are vying for consumer attention. Understanding that it's the radio station which is taking a chance on audience tune-out when playing a new artist's song is critical at this time when the internet has made music competition ubiquitous.

Other problems plaguing those involved in music concern the amount of time required to post a song on SoundCloud (or similar services), then how much effort is required in responding to an email, if a response is ever required. Taking into account the extremely small percentage of response one can expect from any posting is another misunderstood piece of data.

Here's an example of wasted motion. There's a war going on between DirectTV and Weather Channel; DirectTV has replaced WC because the latter has raised its rate. Weather Channel has taken to airing commercials that people should contact Dish in protest - only, those who have Dish Network aren't seeing those pleas! They no longer get Weather Channel.

In a recent move, Weather Channel has petitioned Congress, sighting "...accurate weather information is imperative for public safety and, therefore, an issue meriting congressional attention." (Radio industry execs, does this sound familiar?)

What Weather Channel doesn't understand is that weather reports are ubiquitous in our new media world and, like music, the song remains the same regardless of its origination point. For those in the radio industry, it's interesting to note Weather Channel has backing from Bain Capital and The Blackstone Group, names attached to Clear Channel and Cumulus.

Understand what you need to understand is the antithesis to "we don't know what we don't know."

In our new technological age, it's imperative that you not only know where the key goes and how to drive the car but also where those barriers are that you can't see. Being online without knowledge is analogous to driving at night with no headlights.

Content is everywhere. It doesn't matter if its programming or song. And for those using the "C" words, "compelling content" is a subjective statement; no person can claim they produce it until after the audience shows up and shares it.

Until you understand what you don't understand about how the internet has changed whatever you are trying to do, doing what you try is like waving a wand in the wind. The result is meaningless and without effect, and usually sans response.

Study. Grow your knowledge base. If you have the money (which many of us don't), hire someone you trust to take the reigns.

Most important: To just climb on-board new media and believe you're making grand inroads is a fool's thought. Nobody likes to believe that's where they stand, especially after they've done loads of work to get nowhere.

Today's indie introduction is to...
Rap artist Mama Chill
sample song
LowDown Dirty Raw N Street

Download Song


When an artist has the power to please they should be given a chance to be heard.

Give Mama Chill's "LowDown Dirty Raw N Street" a listen.

Add it to your playlist, free!

There's a large number of new talent waiting to be found, online.

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