Political Lessons for the Music Business

Political Lessons for the Music Business

Was in the gym today, walking by multiple televisions all turned to news, and caught the following headline, which I’ll paraphrase…

“Romney and Obama Spend a Bajillion Dollars on Last-Minute Swing State Advertising”

There are three good marketing lessons here, which you can immediately apply to your music business:

1. Focus on What Matters

I’m in Tennessee. It’s the buckle of the Bible Belt. Obama will take Memphis and Nashville, but he won’t take the state, because he doesn’t stand a chance in the rural areas. Because of this, he’s not wasting his the final days of his campaign here. And because Romney has already won Tennessee, he’s not here either.

Instead, both candidates are going to the states that are still up in the air– Nevada, Ohio, Florida, Colorado, Iowa, and Virginia.

As a musician, there are “battleground states” within your career. These are activities that sell music, get people to shows, build relationships with fans, and make you money. If you’re doing something that doesn’t fall into these categories, like a politician going to a state he’s already lost, you are not moving your career forward.

2. There is a Big Difference Between 1st Place and 2nd Place

Little things make a big difference.

After this election is over, when we look at the numbers on November 7th, about 50% of people will have voted for Romney and the other 50% will have voted for Obama. What happens to one will be a completely different experience from what happens to the other though.

Part of music business success is simply outlasting everybody else and that is a very fine line. It’s not unlike that old joke about how to outrun a bear. If you haven’t heard it…

“Outrun the Bear”

Two campers are walking through the forest when they suddenly encounter a grizzly bear.

The bear rears up on his hind legs and lets out a terrifying roar.

Both campers are frozen in their tracks.

The first camper whispers, “I’m sure glad I wore my running shoes today.”

“It doesn’t matter what kind of shoes you’re wearing, you’re not gonna outrun that bear,” replies the second.

“I don’t have to outrun the bear,” says the first camper. “I just have to outrun YOU.”

3. Don’t Quit Five Minutes Before the Miracle

If you’re still in the game, there is still an opportunity to win and winning in the music business can happen at any time. Don’t quit until the opportunity is over.

Is the opportunity ever over? No. Not when you make your own opportunities.

Keep at it.

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