Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Objective #4, Be Different, Get Discovered

It sounds so easy, "Hey guys, lets get discovered!" Or how about, "Lets get a manager, then we'll really make it."

Both of these, as wishful as they may be, are not true. All serious jobs require hard work- music is no different. No matter what field, no matter where you live, there is always someone better or higher up than you. Everybody and everything is in a total competition. A lot of bands, as good as they might be, have it engrained in their minds that their music will get them fame. Just because you are the best band in your town, doesn't mean anyone outside of it will think that way. I have a friend who played High School basketball. He was the best player I have ever seen, and was never outmatched by anyone. When he made it to college he made the team, but he was the twelfth man on the bench. Yeah, my friend was upset, but he understood. There are so many people that can do what you do. Even if you apply yourself and work the hardest, unfortunately nothing could happen.

I know so far this sounds depressing, but don't worry I'll get to some light in a bit. For any musicians reading, do a test. Go to Myspace music search and type in the style of music you play. Now look at the thousands of bands that come up. Next click on where it says unsigned, and look at the thousands there. Talk about competition huh? Here is where you can take it to the next level. Click on a few of the top ones. Check them out, listen to their music, look at the page design. What do they have that you can do better? What do they have that you can't do better? Take some notes. What do you like, what don't you like? Bring these things to attention next time you meet with your band. Strive to beat it. How do you think we learn in the first place? We see someone else do it first. Take what you observe as the ground work of what you want to be.

I can equate the same thing to writing. To be a good writer you need to first read. Read about things that you are interested in writing about. To be a sports writer, read sports columns. To be a music reviewer, read reviews. And to be a blogger, read some blogs. Blogging and journalistic writing can be two different things. If I'm blogging, I'm having a conversation with using my speaking my voice. I can say "I" and "me" with no fear because this is a personal talk. When writing something for the Advance or if I'm reviewing a band, it has to be professional. You can't refer to yourself, or any past experience. You state the facts, and keep it to a formulaic pattern of: intro, body, closing.

Just like music, blogs have their fair share of competition, perhaps more too. Anybody can blog. You don't even have to know how to complete a sentence to log into here and start mashing buttons. What makes my blog different or better than anyone else's? For one, it's my target audience. I didn't have the goal of setting out to interview Linkin Park and Jay-Z. My goal was simple and small, lets do Staten Island. Go ahead, go Google search for blogs about Staten Island music. You will find mine and Ben Johnson's of the Advance. I don't have much to worry about. Start small and build a big reputation with that, and then see what big things come your way. Find something specific and home in on it like I talked about in post #2 on "Branding".

Recently I've been thinking about hosting events under the blog. I've also been trying to contact charities and organizations to get the band involved with them. If you could attach your name to something and do work for a good cause, that sets you off from a whole group of people. It's easy to garner community support if you support the community.

Be different, stand out, and always try your hardest whether an audience of one or ten thousand.

This has been part 4 of 5 for my online journalism class. 5 will be out tomorrow night to wrap up the series.

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