If you are sick of reading about marketing your band on myspace, or how to get people to buy your mp3’s, or come see your show, this post aims to help you regain a little focus on the big picture by taking the emphasis off all the made-for-musician free advice floating around the web and focus for a moment on where our current music opinion leaders get their music marketing inspiration. Often this inspiration comes from highly creative and innovative sources outside of the music industry. For this reason, I’ve chosen to write about the importance of wisdom. Every appearance of the word wisdom in this post has a unique link to a different place of wisdom. None of the wisdom destinations are music-centric. But all can be applied to your music business.

By James Pew

Turn on your wisdom magnet.

Always be looking for and open to wisdom.

Consider two types of wisdom

  1. The simple that we often pay little attention to even when following it.
  2. The impressive and profound, provoking thought, and inspiring creativity.

Recognize the difference but realize that wisdom is wisdom regardless of which type. Don’t underestimate the simple it is often the most profound.

You never know when wisdom will present itself.

If your wisdom magnetic is perpetually charged, you can pick up empowering wisdom when you least expect it. But if you’re not constantly open to receiving wisdom, it can consistently pass you by.

Places you may consider Likely to find wisdom.

Classrooms, books, seminars, blogs, forums, mentors, etc. are traditional places we default to when in need of wise advice. As an indie artist you are not only an artist, you may also be an entrepreneur, a marketer, an event promoter, a road manager, a booking agent, a web designer, among two dozen or so other things. So attending classes, reading books, blogs, and forums about music entrepreneurship, music marketing, music management, music event promotions, music web design, etc. is probably the best place to start.

But remember, all the other indie artists are sponging the same music-centric advice that you are. So try looking beyond those music focused resources for a while and take in some of the method found in places specializing in, for example, general marketing.

A big part of being successful in the music business is being interesting and unique.

By broadening the scope of information resources you use, and studying successful techniques of non-music industry sources, you may find inspiring ideas not yet considered, or fully implemented, in the music business. As long as you can make the connection, and relate what you discover, about branding for example, to your music business.

Places you may consider – unlikely to find wisdom.

Listening to songs, watching movies, talking with friends or family etc., are some of the places you may find great ideas and wisdom if you’re receptive to it. Take for example Tradition is the illusion of permanence or, Our lives consist of how we choose to distort it – two quotes from Woody Allen’s film Deconstructing Harry – apply these to yourself and your approach to the changing music industry, and you’ve got some solid ideas to base and form strategies. And that’s from a movie I saw last week!

The point is wisdom is everywhere, and the wisest choice is to let it find you.

Cliche’s

Cliche’s are well… cliche. Take for example, A failure to plan is a plan to fail, or the one about the dangers of assumption and how an ass is made of the people involved.

Cliche’s become cliche because people repeat them. People repeat them because they make sense in broad and diverse ways. And most importantly they are wise.

Take a closer look at a few cliche’s now and then the two above are universally accepted and often universally ignored. Why is that?

Complexity Theory

To mathematicians and scientists complexity theory has something to do with chaos, and how all things affect all other things in a world connected throughout the spectrum of natural and unnatural systems. This is the butterfly effect talked about in Jurassic Park.

This is romantic sci-fi stuff. Its cool and interesting. It blows our minds. So much so that it has led me to believe that we no longer appreciate simple theories, ideas, or wisdom.

My own complexity theory is that lust for the clever and complex impairs one’s ability to fully see or appreciate the simple. Consider the billion dollar diet industry and Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma. In Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food, you can find under the title some profound yet simple wisdom it reads:

Eat food, not too much, mostly plants

Instead of taking this advice to heart, North Americans are more likely to continue spending the billions on diet pills, books, scams, and plans.

Occam’s Razor

Occam’s razor is another scientific theory often paraphrased like so – “All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best.”

Not quite as impressive as the butterfly effect of chaos-theory, doesn’t make a very good movie premise either. The unromantic wisdom rooted in the world of everyday life can be the most useful, most profound, and sadly the most overlooked.

Here are my top 5 favorite pieces of wisdom.

1. The harder I work the luckier I seem to get. Thomas Jefferson

Repeat this to every person that thinks luck is the only way to succeed in the music business.

2. Unlearn what you have learned. Yoda

This does not mean forget what you have learned. It means place it aside so it does not interfere with the learning of new things. But always keep it in within your reach.

3. Learn the art of rushing. Freddy Gabrsek

When we are first learning something it is recommended we go slowly and pay close attention to the details and subtleties of what we are doing. To follow that wisdom inevitably leads to mastering the task. This is when the art of rushing can be applied. Now that you’ve mastered the correct procedure your next challenge is to perform it quickly with the same level of accuracy and quality expected from a master. After all, you are an indie wearing many hats and fulfilling many tasks you haven’t a moment to lose. So rush dam it but do it artfully.

4. Do what you love and money will follow. – Marsha Sinetar.

Do not endlessly chase money; raise it if you need seed money but get on with doing your thing and focus on doing it well.

5. Do the Never Seth Godin

Find out what’s the always. Do the Never.

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Looking for Wisdom beyond Music Resources by James Pew is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

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