Tag Archives: Spotify

Why We’re Already In The Zombie Apocalypse

Artist illustrates modern day life and it's terrifying Source: Steve Cutts / Via stevecutts.comenhanced-buzz-wide-30322-1440435962-9.jpg

Artist Source: Steve Cutts / Via stevecutts.comenhanced-buzz-wide-30322-1440435962-9.jpg

You have a band and a fan base that is supportive of your music. Excellent. But you hear news and industry reports that music sales are down, that music streaming is rising and that more and more people are consuming music yet not buying it. We’re already living in the zombie apocalypse. The Walking Dead is a reality. Let me explain.

The Zombies Walk Among Us (And May Be Us)

If I’m not careful, I can waste a ton of time on Facebook. We all can. Youtube is even worse because video is more appealing than any visual medium. Yet many people aren’t aware of their habits towards media consumption, be that streaming music on Spotify, binge watching videos on youtube, or spending all day on Facebook looking at the endless stream of content. This is where the zombie invasion has influenced our behavior towards media and entertainment (music in particular).

Music streaming and media consumption is not inherently a bad thing. However, if your listening experience is driven by an automated program that plays song after song and you never emotionally engage with the music, the artist, the melody or the message. You then have the attitude of a zombie towards the medium itself. Nothing gels or connects that you can build on.

There are hordes of people who consume music all day long, but never engage with it emotionally. Consumption without engagement is the behavior of a zombie that we can see in TV shows like The Walking Dead, video games like Dead Rising, or movies like World War Z (which was a novel first).

Many music listeners are on the big streaming platforms. They have “favorite” bands and artists but own zero music in their library. Hell, they don’t even have a music library. They think that their Pandora Playlist or Spotify playlist constitutes a library. Sorry, that’s not the same thing.

When the mind is not engaged with what it’s doing, or what it’s consuming, you don’t create connections that last. The listening experience doesn’t lead to a search for more music from that artist. As soon as the song is finished, it’s on to the next song. Do you want an audience that isn’t engaged with you and your music experience?

Commercial radio has been programming music stations for decades with this mantra:

feed them the same thing over and over again, program the listeners to only be subjected to a handful of artists because we don’t want them to think or have an opinion that something better may be out there

This is one reason that the big record labels and the big radio stations are trying to get indie radio shut down right now. They want to program to zombies who aren’t paying attention and don’t have engaged minds. They want to control the listening-engagement experience so that they have all the power to determine what music gets consumed.

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

In the hit TV show The Walking Dead, there are armies of the undead walking around looking to consume human flesh. They don’t care who the individual is, they just crave flesh. It’s just like people who consume music without thought or care. They will listen and move on to the next song or artist or video or whatever. They “like” you in the moment and when the song is over they’re on to something else.

Why The Walking Dead Is A Metaphor For Music Zombies

The Walking Dead is a show more about the people who are living than it is about the zombies, which is what has made it the #1 show on network television. The people in Rick’s group are another great analogy of the world we live in currently as DIY and indie musicians. Rick’s group is one of a number of humans living in groups across the country. Groups together are strong, and benefit everyone in the community when they decide to live in a community. Individuals out on their own against the hordes of zombies don’t fair well. Often they struggle just to live day to day, or end up victim to the walkers.

Each member of Rick’s group (or family) is a very talented and crafty individual, similar to how your Super Fans operate. Each of them have a particular skill set that adds greatly to you and what you’re doing. As Rick’s group keeps going, they carefully add members to their family and bring people in to help them survive against what awaits them on the outside. This is also the world we live in.

It’s too common and too difficult for us to try and reach the masses because the masses aren’t paying attention for more than 3 minutes. Masses are interested in instant gratification, not becoming an ardent follower and supporter. Those passionate music lovers are out there, sometimes as individuals and sometimes in small groups. When you find them, bring them into your world and give them something they really want: music worth experiencing and a connection with the artist who makes it.

Do these two simple things to survive in the music industry zombie apocalypse. Be on the look out for passionate individuals who not only consume music, but attend shows and buy albums. How can you find them?

They’re at the music venues you attend and perform at. They’re buying music from other bands and merch from tables. Attend other shows and start conversations with the people there on why they love the band you’re both watching, how long they’ve followed the band and how the music has impacted them. Make the connection with them so you can share your music with them and build a true community together.

Do you know who to Michonne or Darryl is in your fan base? They’re your Super Fans. Here’s how to find them.

Gain Super Fans With My Upcoming Book. Be The First To Get It Upon Release (coming very soon!!!)

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The Changing Attitudes Of Real Music Fans

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Write, blogger, and true music fan Dan Carlson

As I get older, I realize that my preferences for music enjoyment have shifted. I’m not just talking about a changing attitude towards certain genres but also the way music impacts me.

Strangely enough, an old friend from college posted something similar on his Facebook page, which lead to a long thread of several people commenting on their changing attitudes towards music, especially as we (collectively) get older. Seeing that the music industry has shifted significantly in the past 5-10 years, and that artists who want to really grow their audience should look towards attracting real music fans, I decided to talk directly to my friend and get his perspective.

Dan Carlson is a writer, blogger, and true fan of good music. He writes for himself and a few larger publications. His blog post Shuffled & Paused is what led to the original discussion. I asked Daniel a few questions about his listening preferences to get a better grid for this shift. Also, the conversation will shine a light on how you as an artist can learn to attract fans of whole albums, fans who buy instead of stream, and those fans who love discovering new music. Here are the questions and Dan’s response:

How important is a good album beginning to end for you to want to buy it?
Dan: The cop-out answer is “It varies,” but it’s true. It helps to think of two categories of purchases: artists I’m already familiar with, and those I’m not. If it’s an artist I know and have previously enjoyed, then I might be predisposed to like them and not worry as much pre-purchase about the entire record. If I’m sampling someone new, I’ll listen to snippets of a few songs; if there are a handful, or even just a few, that I hook into immediately, I’ll be inclined to pick it up.
I also expect to spend some time with an album, too. I know I’m going to listen to it a couple times at first, then repeatedly over time, then maybe revisit it later. Some albums I love every song, some I love even though I skip one or two tracks each time through. If I wind up loving most of the album, I don’t hold the outliers against the whole, if that makes sense. (Random example: I really liked the soundtrack to “Inside Llewyn Davis,” even though one of the songs is not my style. So I just skip it)
How have your music buying preferences changed in the last 5-10 years?
Dan: They’ve gone down overall. Part of it’s because I don’t regularly visit music stores any more, and once you’re in the store, you’ve already got the momentum to make a purchase. I’ve bought a number of singles, though, sometimes songs that I loved when I was younger and just wanted to own again.
Would you rather stream a song or album online via Spotify or Youtube than buy an album online (via iTunes or Amazon)?
Dan: I’d rather buy because I like knowing I own a thing. Like, Netflix is cool, but you can never trust its streaming service for reliability. If I really want to be able to watch a movie (and enjoy the best possible picture and sound), I’ll buy it. I stream on YouTube at work sometimes, and my wife loves Pandora. But if I want an album, I want to own it.
What factors do you consider before you buy music these days?
Dan: First impressions are big: Do I like the sound? Do I connect fairly quickly? If it’s a new artist to me, do they remind me of some other artist or sound I like? Do they seem authentic? Also, what are people I trust saying about them? Everyone has that friend(s) or site(s) whose views they trust, and when I see those people mention an artist, I’m more inclined to check them out. Buying online, the cost is usually about the same ($8-$11 for an album), so it usually comes down to the intangibles.

 

Dan also said that he trusts his friends and a few choice outlets to introduce new music to him. This is the power of the Super-Fan (aka your core audience). Once you get in and become a passion for a true music fan, they will share your music with their circles, who are most likely to trust their friend’s recommendation than something they find elsewhere.

Read more of Dan Carlson’s unique insights, as well as his fascinating take on movies on his Blog.