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.
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.