A few years ago, I took a comedy improv class at Portland’s Brody Theater. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done. Why? It taught me the art of saying yes.
It’s applicable in all areas of life, but when it comes to being a musician and a business owner, I find it extremely important. We are hard wired to say no, for some reason. You know, like how toddlers over use the phrase once they learn it? Maybe it’s because as they explore the world around them, that’s all they hear...DON’T TOUCH THAT! YOU CAN’T GO THERE! I SAID NO! How strange...
At any rate, in music I have found that the art of saying yes is part of what will determine your success, whatever that may be. The only rule in improv is to always say yes, which means, if someone offers a thought or idea, you go with it, you find a way to enhance it, and together you end up somewhere intriguing....or together you crash and burn...at least you’re not alone! Ha! The art in it, is learning how to think outside your box. You’re learning to let go of your pre-conceived expectations of where the story is going, and you discover that the end result could be much bigger and more vivid than you had first imagined.
How do we apply this in the arena of music? Let me share four things with you...
Say yes to sending your music to radio stations.
Let us shirk the fear of rejection and say yes to sending your music to any and every local station that fits your sound. You never know where it will land, who will say yes, and what doors will open because you took such a leap of faith. If you believe in your music that much, then you should step confidently towards making sure everyone hears it.
Say yes to some free shows.
What I mean here is find the things you’re passionate about, the causes you believe in, and offer them some of your creative energy. Don’t be afraid to put on a free show with them in order to spread the word about the cause. You’ll feel great about moving something you believe in forward, but you’ll also find yourself tapping into an audience that believes along with you.
Say yes to interacting with fans.
This should be self explanatory. These are the people buying your music. Don’t be the pretentious snob who thinks that fan interaction is for the lowly. That’s a surefire way to kill your career fast. Find ways to interact with them on social media, hang out with them at shows, engage with them through your email marketing platforms. Treat them like you would the hottie you’re trying to get to pick you above everyone else to be in a relationship with...then give them a reason to stay with you!
Say yes to merchandise.
Always. Always. Always. And not just CDs. I have coffee mugs that I sell. Why? Because I’m a coffee junkie and so is most of the world. It fits in with who I am and who my fans know me to be. *Ahem* There will be some wine glasses coming soon....
Merch can be stickers, posters, key chains, shirts, hats, mugs, wallets, iphone covers, and of course CDs. This is more than just an opportunity to double your profit at shows, it’s also a way for your fans to market your product with you. Free advertising, so to speak. I understand the intimidation in spending cash you have little of up front, but that should just be incentive for you to double it back all the quicker. You’re not buying something to keep in your basement or attic, you’re buying product to sell! Just say yes.
It’s an art for sure, but it’s a worthy art to learn if you’re serious about having any level of success in music. It obviously works when it comes to creativity as well, but for now, we’ll leave that piece to you and encourage you to look beyond just saying yes to your musical partners and apply it to helping you branch out and build your band as a brand as well. Give it a shot. Let me know how it goes. ;)
Feel free to post any success stories in the comments section below.
Until next time,
Take care of your hearts & ears.
~Listen With Your Heart~