Should You Spend More Time Creating Music Or Promoting Yourself?

Posted by Mike McCready | August 8th, 2009 | No responses

I get this question from time to time from bands and musicians who are seeking their big break.

The world of social media is so new and is changing so quickly that it’s hard to give an answer and it’s even harder to know if any answer will hold true tomorrow. At any rate, I had an email exchange this morning with a very talented artist who asked this question.

I told him that being an artist is hard enough without having to be the best self-promoter. In an ideal world, you would have a manager who is good at leveraging social media. But, since many artists have to do this on their own, I’d advise to do it in spurts. When you’re in creative mode you need to keep the network you’ve built active, but you should allow yourself to disconnect from making it grow while you work artistically. Then, when you have good material and you’re ready to push again, spend your time networking, promoting and growing your fan base.

In the end, you’ll attract fans because you have great music. That’s your goose that lays the golden eggs so don’t ever neglect that. Your ultimate goal is to leverage your social media efforts. You have to push really hard to get your fan base to a level where your fans are evangelizing your music and spreading it around, so your fan base grows when you’re not pushing it personally. It’s like a rocket. It takes 90% of the fuel to get it out of the pull of earth’s gravity, but then it can go to the moon and back on the 10% of the fuel it has left. If your music has what it takes you’ll get there sooner rather than later. Extremely compelling media (and that includes songs) will spread virally. Keep lighting matches and sooner or later one will light the forest on fire.

Mike McCready is an entrepreneur at the crossroads of music and technology. He pioneered the introduction of Hit Song Science into the music industry and followed up with Music Xray, the company he co-founded and serves as CEO. His companies have been the subject of case studies at Harvard Business School, IESE and he frequently guest speaks at many of the top business schools around the world. He helps the music industry identify high potential songs and talent and helps musicians get deals, get fans, & get better: