Many of my clients and many of the folks in our mentoring program have expressed to me a feeling of insignificance after the events of the past few days.
Musicians have asked me questions like:
“How can I justify sending out my newsletter to fans when they’re so preoccupied with what’s on the news?”
“Will anyone even come to my show if they’re spending all their money on overpriced gasoline?”
“Why is anybody going to listen to my music when they’re glued to CNN?”
These are all natural and understandable questions for you to ask right now.
Here’s my challenge to you:
Your audience needs you today, more than they have ever needed you before.
You possess gifts that deserve to be shared with as many people as possible.
This week, like the weeks that try us all in private or in public, should remind you that your talents are more rare and more valuable than you believe. Sure, you might surf every indie music weblog and bulletin board around, and maybe everyone you hang out with is a musician just like you. I know that it can sometimes feel like everyone is trying to do the same things as you are.
Pull back to the satellite view with me for a minute.
Very, very few people on this planet understand how to play an instrument, write a song, or even stand in front of an audience. You didn’t get these gifts by accident.
Now, more than ever, is the time for you to share those gifts.
Send that newsletter to express your sympathy for audience members and loved ones touched by tragedy. Unite your audience to help relief efforts. Show them – by your example – that the world keeps spinning.
Echo your audience’s frustration with the state of the world. If you’re playing an inexpensive gig at a small venue, highlight the fact that your audience members can fill up their gas tank with the money they’ll save by hitting your show instead of the next, big arena concert.
Finally, entertain your audience. Let them escape into your world through your music, your lyrics, your art, and your craft. If you sing about the world and about political affairs, let your audience use your shows to share their grief and their anger. If you sing about love and fun and happy days, let your audience come to you for a well-earned respite from the depressing and bizarre news of the world.
As with all things about your music career, the relationship with your audience is the most crucial factor. Putting aside all of our usual discussion of achieving success and breaking away from a boring day job, your audience needs you right now. If you take the time to read this note, you are a beacon, a leader, and a shining example to at least ONE person in your audience – whether you believe it yet or not.
Today is a great day to rededicate yourself to your audience – the audience members you know, and the audience members you have not yet met.
With much love,
Joe Taylor Jr.
Principal, Taylor Creative Management
Athens, Georgia, USA
P.S.: It’s fitting that this is the 1,000th post on spinme.com in its present incarnation as a weblog for working musicians. Since our re-launch in 2003, you have helped me through bad times and encouraged me to shine in good times. As always, my challenge to you works both ways. Today, I rededicate myself to you, the independent, working musician. I pledge to continue to provide you the highest quality news, information, and insight to help you grow your audience and achieve your own goals.
Tell me what else I can do to help you succeed. You can reach me by e-mail or send me a note in the comments.
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-Joe Taylor Jr.,