Howlin’ at the Moon

— You can blame the lagging effectiveness of your brilliant marketing strategy on the over-saturation of your audience, and the over-population of social media, but that shouldn’t stop you from shifting gears and inventing a new strategy from the pool of unlimited possibilities.

— You can point to the economy, curse technology and blame the pandemic for the decline of your project or business, but that’s not going to help grow your company or make you a better CEO.

— You can belittle your crew, berate your audience and blame yourself, but that wont make you a better communicator or thought leader.

— You can criticize the current explosive transformation of the entire entertainment industry for rejecting your art, your talent, or your brilliant ideas, but that’s not going to make you a better artist or a smarter entrepreneur.

Important because after your howlin’ is done and the moon has set, the sooner you refocus your attention on what is truly wanted & needed, the better.

Choke, Pause & Flinch

The Three Stooges that forever chase every artist & entrepreneur:

Don’t Choke:
Stand your inner ground and recall the 10,000 hrs. you’ve invested in your career. Trust the experiences you’ve had, honor the knowledge you’ve acquired, and have confidence in your talents, abilities & skills. No one can question the hard work you’ve put in, the people and projects that have benefited, and the rewards you’ve reaped so far.

Don’t Pause:
Distraction wants you to pause what you’re doing and give your attention over to something more mundane and less essential. Don’t Pause! Keep your two eyeballs on the ball, and your third eye on your impossible dream!

Don’t Flinch:
Reminder: Behind every great jaw-dropping success there’s an artist or entrepreneur who faced a difficult internal struggle at a critical moment of choice: Choose “Fortitude” and possibly become a legend. “Flinch” and possibly become an unexceptional footnote.

Important because when doubt takes center stage, and your insides are “shake’n like a leaf on a tree,” have faith in that deeper wisdom you’ve attained to help navigate the perplexing labyrinth you often unexpectedly find yourself entangled in.

Every Step We Take

The reason we take so long to make choices and decisions is because we’re afraid of making the wrong choices and decisions. That’s because as independent artists & entrepreneurs we live and work in a domain of uncertainty. Our livelihood depends on what we create or manifest on our own. And every step we take and every choice we make has profound consequences that we alone are responsible for.

Important because the truth is, once we look deep inside, past the hoopla of concern and consideration, we always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.

Let The Cards Fall?

What a crummy slogan: “Let the cards fall where they may.”

Why would you hand over your fate so easily?

Why would you give the cards so much decisive power?

How can you just stand by and let the cards fall, without at least making an attempt to have them fall your way?

Important because sadly, we still believe we have no control over the cards we are dealt.

Buffalo Chips

While it’s true that continuous chipping away gets you closer to the goal, it is also nevertheless true that what you’re actually chipping away is everything that doesn’t align with your commitment to advance & succeed. What you’re actually chipping away are activities & behavior that slow your progress to a crawl. What you’re actually chipping away is that which blocks the path to the goal. What you’re actually chipping away is everything you are no longer willing to put up with.

Important because if you plan to build a Buffalo in 2022, you need to start chipping away at all the stuff that doesn’t look like a Buffalo.

Mind Games

Reminder: The enemy is not our bank account, our timeline, or the unreliable, cantankerous people we work with. Those are external circumstances that can be worked out, untangled and negotiated.

The enemy is that relentless chatter between our ears, which constantly questions and doubts every step we take, every thought we think and every choice we make, often to the point of mental exhaustion. Not so much like the voice of doom, more like a continuous streaming download of what-if’s, what-for’s, why-not’s, and how to’s.

Important because unlike other enemies, the way to win over this one is to not resist at all! Not like Gandhi, more like constantly shifting your focus back toward your work, the work you love to do, the work you were born to do. And to the degree you can keep re-focusing your attention back to the task of the moment, to that degree the chatter will subside. Swami Muktananda said: “The purpose of your mind is to question and doubt everything, allow your mind to do its job, while you give all your attention to doing yours.”

Dragging Your Feet

Too often we spend more time thinking about it than doing it. It’s a high cost for such a petty payoff. We must continuously stand toe-to-toe with, and take action on those responsibilities that are truly wanted & needed (in our careers and personal life) in order to get closer to what we say matters most to us.

Important because we artists and treps are notorious for dragging our feet, until the resistance to do the work is exceeded by the (mental) exhaustion of avoiding it.

Aspirations

Take a look down the bumpy road ahead at who you will become after you achieve your biggest goal and your impossible dream. Here’s my hunch:

The brilliant, fascinating, talented person you aspire to be will no longer need to prove anything to anybody, for any reason.

The person you aspire to be is no longer concerned with how much it costs, only with how much value it adds.

The person you aspire to be is less concerned with “do they like me?” and more concerned with “did I give them the very best I’ve got?”

The person you aspire to be will finally be free from instinctively reacting to the expectations of others.

The person you aspire to be is more than willing to give back, lend a helping hand and offer coaching, guidance and direction to others who may be knee-deep in the hoopla.

Important because wouldn’t you agree that all of these are within reach right now? Wouldn’t you also agree that the brilliant, fascinating, talented person you aspire to be is getting restless? Perhaps it’s time to ramp it up!

How to Play Hide & Seek

Rules of the game:

1. Stand next to a tree and shout as loud as you can: “NOT IT!”
2. (Sorry, you’re IT!)
3. Cover your eyes and count to ten.
4. Then shout as loud as you can: “Ready or not here I come!”
5. Now start hiding & seeking.

HIDE from those who say: “I’ve been in this industry long enough to know better!” 
While that may have a nanometer of validity, the truth is, we have ALL been in the NEW entertainment industry for the exact same amount of time!
SEEK A&E’s that are knowledgeable and experienced in the way our industry is operating today, and exchange views & ideas with them.

HIDE from the temptation of copying, imitating or plagiarizing other’s work or style.
SEEK inside yourself that unique spark that only you have that matches your vision of how you would do it, if and when the opportunity presents itself. Because every artist fits perfectly into a little corner of the vast entertainment spectrum. And although the competition appears steep, there’s no shortage of work in our industry! There’s always room for another hit song, another jaw-dropping performance, another great story, another breathtaking work of art, or another worthy business adventure.

HIDE from setting small goals that keep you stuck in an illusion that you’re getting somewhere.
SEEK to raise the bar from doable to impossible. Because deep down inside you know you’re capable of playing a much bigger game.

HIDE from thinking that “success” has to match your definition.
SEEK to be open to any of the many ways that success will present itself throughout your lengthy career.

HIDE (actually run) from those who say: “Oh well, that’s just the way it is in show business!”
SEEK those who realize that unlike the fixed protocols and common trade practices of other global industries, the entertainment industry is a unique empire unlike any other on earth. Where contracts are unconventional, deals are off-beat, timelines are fluid, and negotiations are like buying a neck-scarf at a street fair—everything is negotiable! Right down to the color of the ink on the contract! And when someone says “that’s just the way this industry works,” that tells me they talk like they’re in the bigs, but they play the game like they’re in the minors.

Important because although hide ’n’ seek is a game we learned as kids, it has become a worthy and valuable grownup game where we can change the rules to suit our needs and play the game ad infinitum. Have fun!

No Big Splash

You don’t have to produce astonishing feats or amazing achievements—you just have to produce. If you can resist the tug to impress everyone with a big splash, and instead pursue the audacious process of expressing your unique talent & exceptional skill with exhausting honesty and unguarded authenticity, you’ll end up with more loyal fans, more repeat customers and ultimately more career longevity and personal success.

Important because if nothing else, a pro has confidence and faith in herself. She is not out to impress everybody, and lives to express her art from the inside out. And in doing so, inspires all of us.

Forecasting

When I was climbing the infamous ladder of success a five-year plan was important. It was drilled into my young, inflated ego that smart entrepreneurs make long-term plans.

Now that I’ve put the ladder in the garage, it has become clearly obvious that the rabbit speed of technology, running neck ’n’ neck with the turtle speed of the pandemic has drastically deflated that strategy.

Today, unless you’re beholden to investors, long-term career plans are an illusion—a blind guess. And given the blinding speed at which our beloved creative industry is exponentially changing, I place little value on future forecasting. Rather, I remain conscious and aware of what I am rigorously committed to achieving today, or this week, or this month, or this quarter. Not like selling out the future, more like day trading.

Important because planning too far in the future keeps us at a dangerous distance from our destination and supports the excuse that we still have plenty of time to reach our goal.

The Grand Chasm

When you stand on the southern edge of the Grand Canyon you can clearly see the dangerous, rocky, risky, steep, treacherous hike it would take to get to the other side. An ominous trek indeed.

That said, if someone pointed across the dangerous, rocky terrain to the other side and said:

“Look…that’s where your big goals and dreams are! That’s where you’re headed! And hiking from here to there is your only chance!”

Your jaw would drop, your eyebrows would raise and you may say something like: “No way! Are you kidding me! How do you expect me to get there? There must be an easier way!”

Important because the good news is there is no chasm between us and our big goals. It just looks that way from our doubting POV. And while many amateurs look across the imaginary chasm to the other side and say, “there must be an easier way,” the pros are excited by the challenge and committed to the adventure. They research all the possibilities, consult with experienced advisors, and muster up the confidence to stand on the very edge of the great (illusionary) divide that (appears) to separate them from where they are now, to where they want to go, and proclaim “This I shall Do!” And once that happens, the entire universe bows at their feet!

“There is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: That the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves, too.” —William H. Murray—Forbes

Resisting Simplicity

– What project (or projects) are screaming at you to be started, refined, clarified, or completed?

– What confronting issues need to be addressed, before you can move forward?

– What are you avoiding that you know you should be pursuing?

– What is the truth that continuously whispers to you from deep within, that gets drowned out by all the other noise?

Important because there’s a mighty resistance that bubbles up when we artists & treps confront these simple questions. (Read them again…)

It’ll Be Just Like Starting Over

So many folks are calling 2022 a “new beginning.” However, artists & treps are used to new beginnings. It’s where we live every day. If the music isn’t right or the scene has a bug, we record another take. If the painting isn’t right, we paint over it. If our business slides off the rails we upgrade what works and downgrade what doesn’t. If the words aren’t right, we rewrite them, because writing is rewriting, and our showbiz careers are nothing more than a series of daily rewrites, upgrades, do-overs, fresh starts and new beginnings!

Important because as crazy creatives, we slam on the breaks much more often than we floor it, and we frantically flap our wings much more often than we cruise! And while others are making resolutions for a new year, to an artist/trep it’s just another opportunity to improve our work, rethink our strategy, hone our craft, and nose-dive back into the deep end of the pool, where our comfort zone is!

“It’s time to spread our wings and fly
Don’t let another day go by my love
It’ll be just like starting over…”

— John Lennon

Ten Prompts

I wrote 56 blogs & stories this past year, some good, some so-so. However, each one had a prompt, a poke or a prod. Here are ten gems I pulled from the archives to help inspire both of us to keep our eye on the prize, and our hearts running way ahead of our head:

1. When one of us artists/treps produces work that reaches so high, and shines so bright, it provokes all of us to up our game.

2. While these may be tough times for the “prudent,” who busy themselves with the process of getting it right, these are golden times for the “audacious,” who busy themselves with the process of testing new ideas, taking creative risks, and inventing new ways to get their best work out there, any way they can.

3. Fortunately, artists and entrepreneurs are blessed with an amazing ability to create their way out of crummy circumstances, turn failures into a life-experience, and transform a stalled career into an amazing comeback!

4. Chasing your dreams around in another location doesn’t guarantee you’ll catch them, it just expands the circumference of the chase. You’re still you. And no matter how far you go to run down your dream, you’ll still be you.

5. Frustration is a sign that you’re working really hard, mentally and physically, on something worthy of your talent and deserving of your creative expertise. Amateurs eventually get defeated and toss in the towel. Pro artists & treps just get frustrated and keep working.

6. “Clear thinking” is logical, predictable, unsurprising and rational. It can also stifle your creativity and dam up your constant free-flowing stream of crazy, genius ideas. Therefore, the very last thing we want when we’re in the zone of creating, designing or inventing, is to be clear thinking.

7. I know it can be defeating, I have felt the agony of defeat too. However, defeat shows that we’re on the playing field where victory lives. We’re not just on the sidelines hoping to get into the game.

8. Bringing in outside thinking, like a mentor, a thought partner, or an insightful coach, always moves the ball. They provide a unique POV which sparks creativity, ignites innovation, jumpstarts enthusiasm and offers a new perspective on challenging career choices and business decisions. When you’re stuck at the crossroads, ask for direction.

9. Remain aware, awake, mindful and conscious! Have your thoughts, words, actions and heart all moving in the same direction!

10. The most important part of being an “outlier” is an absence of formula. Outliers follow no rules, predicts, manuals or guidelines. Outliers hold on to the trapeze for dear life as they fly without a net! Like that time in 2017, when Alex Honnold climbed the 7500 ft. granite monolith “El Capitan” in Yosemite, with just his fingertips and toes; no ropes, leads or Sherpas. Why would you settle for anything less? Don’t you know there is an outlier already embedded in your bones?

Important because to dream the impossible dream means we need to fight the unbeatable foe. Which means we need to be willing to march into hell for heavenly cause, no matter how hopeless no matter how far!

A Pointless Pursuit

Everything that makes our awesome, creative, entrepreneurial lives exceptional and worthy, including: our razor-sharp intuition, penetrating insight, spontaneous inspiration, and sudden light bulbs over the head, are all threatened every time we choose to pointlessly and repeatedly rummage the Net, fish Facebook, re-check stats or refresh the news ad nauseam. It’s a fool’s errand, that fools us into thinking we’re actually accomplishing something. Plus, it takes us down a time-crunching rabbit hole, that keeps us that much further away from where we want to go.

Important because on the one hand, I do realize the significant value that distraction provides in our creative process. On the other hand, we need to remind ourselves that unless it has a point, it’s a pointless pursuit.

This Should Be Easy

Whatever it is you’re doing or want to do, you have three choices: Bolt. Dig in. Procrastinate.

Important because if you bolt, it’s game-over. If you dig in, you have a chance to create and manifest something special, something worthy of your efforts and beneficial and rewarding for you and all those involved. If you continue to procrastinate, it will most likely start to stress you out and cause anxiety or depression. Especially if others are involved, or your goals and dreams are at stake. Like I said, this should be easy.

The Long And Winding Road

Pro artists & treps know that objectives are not linear, and our ultimate destination is not a straight shot to the land of milk and honey. It’s mostly a long and winding road. Like California State Route 1, Pacific Coast Highway heading north to Big Sur. It’s a 60-mile stretch of switchback turns, dangerous cliffs, frequent landslides, unpredictable dead ends, blinding fog and multiple distractions along the way. It’s also one of the most beautiful drives on earth!

Rules for driving the road less traveled:
If you get distracted, re-focus your sights on the destination.
If you run into blinding fog, pull over and wait it out.
If you reach a dead end, turn around and find another way.
If you come to an unmarked crossroads, follow your intuition.
If you get stuck or lost, ask for guidance.
When you’re at wit’s end and out of options, create another option.

Important because like I said, from an artist/trep POV, the road less traveled is one of the most beautiful rides on earth!

Puzzles & Promises

It doesn’t matter if you’re an actor, a writer, a working musician or a successful CEO, all you need to start your next big project are two things:

1) A clear vision of exactly where you want to go and what you intend to achieve.
2) A ruthless promise (to yourself and others) that you will get there.

You don’t need to know how you’re going to get there.
You don’t need to know how you’re going to pay for it.
You don’t need to know who’s going with you.
You don’t even need to know how much, how many, or how come?

You just need to stand tall on your own two feet, point a steady finger in the direction you want to go and make an unbreakable promise that “come hell or high water” you’ll get there.

Important because to the degree your destination is clear, and to the degree you keep your promises, to that degree all the important details will noticeably reveal themselves along the way. Not like hopeful positive thinking, more like constructing a tabletop puzzle.

The Ball

Serving the master of convenience does not move the ball down the court.

Important because the “ball” is what’s most important to you. The court is the rocky road less traveled. The only thing that moves the ball down the court is your courageous commitment to reach the goal, and the intelligent choices & decisions you make to get there.

Dancing With Facts

Fact checking is in my DNA. Of all the books, magazines, seminars and workshops I’ve produced and published in the past three decades, none have contained any gossip, rumor or hearsay.

Back in the day, my editorial team and I would gather the info, expel the gossip, analyze the data, poke the evidence, and explore all the possibilities. Then, we would debate the downside, dispute the upside, argue our point, and consider all possible POV’s. Then, I would make a decision.

That said, once you’ve done the homework and you’ve finally gathered all the facts in any situation, whether it’s a business opportunity or a personal challenge, it becomes much easier to make intelligent choices and wise decisions. When you’re faced with the facts, you may not like what you see, but you’re forced to work with them and discover ways to keep moving forward (whereas hearsay will send you down a endless rabbit hole).

And that’s what you and I and other pro artists & treps do every day. We are constantly challenged to concoct creative ways to use the facts we are presented with to keep us progressing forward, in our careers and personal lives.

Important because over the years I’ve learned that facts don’t always kill the deal, however they do always up the ante. That said, when you’re working with others, requesting factual information in any career decision or personal situation is imperative. If that doesn’t work, insisting may help.

While we’re on the subject, this is one of my favorite books: “Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World” by Hans Rosling

Self Inquiry

If you’ve put in your 10k hours, mastered your craft, racked up a history of experiences and have become such an expert in your field you could teach it, but you still haven’t grabbed the brass ring…

If you’ve met so many influential, industry insiders and have an impressive list of contacts and connections, but you still have not broken through…

And if you’ve achieved an impressive level of success in your career but you still haven’t come close to achieving your biggest dreams, then what you’re left with are the stories you tell yourself (and others) about why you haven’t arrived yet.

Sadly, once you start believing the stories and excuses you tell yourself, and once you start to build a case for the extra work you have to do and the radical actions you have to take just to stay relevant, then you’re either looking at the beginning of the end game, or a lot more of the same o’l, same o’l.

Why? Because you’re looking in the wrong direction! The problem is not out there, it’s in here! And no matter how much you try and breakthrough the walls out there, and no matter how much experience you have, knowledge you’ve acquired, or wisdom you’ve attained, you’re still the same person you’ve always been at the core…we all are!

Important because the only walls left to breakthrough are the ones you’ve built on the inside that prevent you from breaking through any further. Only then will the skills you’ve mastered on the outside enable you to advance up the ladder and finally get a firm grip on the brass ring. Not like a therapy session, more like an honest self inquiry.

Clicking vs. Chipping

Many of the artists & treps I know are blessed/cursed with multiple talents, or have so many weighty things going on at once they get hung-up in which tasks they should be working on today. Which leaves them hesitant to proceed with anything until they figure out what to do next. Huh?

Too often we spend too much precious time just thinking about it. Which leaves us entangled in indecision, and lured into the unforgiving rabbit hole of procrastination. Where we joyfully spend more time “clicking” around the Internet than we do “chipping” away at the opportunities that are starring us right in the face just waiting to be seized.

Important because as creatives, the freedom we have to dance to our own drummer is a treasured benefit of the independent, non-conformist life we live. However, the time we spend clicking when we could be chipping is a big price to pay for such a small payoff.

Hungry Like The Wolf

Artists & entrepreneurs love the chase. That daily tug-of-war that keeps us guessing, keeps us edgy and sharp, keeps us impatient and indecisive, and keeps us searching. Like a hungry wolf perpetually on the hunt down for the next great idea, the next creative conquest, the next solution to an impossible challenge, the next opportunity to show the world the best we’ve got.

Important because even though the hunt matters, what ultimately counts is what we produce. It’s what we finally release, publish, launch, ship or express with our unique, extraordinary talent that will determine if our art, service or product can pass the market test. If it does, then we revel in the victory. If it doesn’t, then it’s back to the hunt, for what we think is the best way to show the world the best we’ve got. The good news is a hard-fought chase is worth every ounce of angst when it produces a worthy feast! Thank God every day, you were born a hungry wolf.

“Triumph bows at the feet of any steadfast artiste.” —Apollo, mythical god of music & arts.

I Struggle For What?

I guess we think it’s going to end some day. The struggle.
That if we struggle today, we won’t have to struggle tomorrow.

However, perhaps it’s not the struggle that wears us down. Maybe it’s the fact that for us artists & treps there never seems to be a finish line, or a fait accompli. That the work we do and the art we manifest just never seems to end. It’s like a new song is screaming for attention before we even finish the song we’re working on.

If we had a real job, we’d know when our shift was over. We’d know that after we sent that last email, and checked the inbox one last time, we could call it a day.

However for the pro artist and entrepreneur, there is no end to the shift, and there is no “calling it a day.” Because in our world there are more beginnings than endings, and more starts than stops.

Important because perhaps the word “struggle” is simply a term that we add on top of the challenging work we do, to give it purpose and value. Perhaps we choose to use the word “struggle” to alert others that we’re working very hard, every day, to achieve something extraordinary. However, I think the very last thing we ought not do, is allow the word “struggle” to become our identity.

I Found a Crack!

In my early days as a young, hot-shot publisher I quickly learned not to get so crazy about flaws and imperfections or I would blow a fuse. Whether we were publishing mags, books, newsletters, seminars, workshops or websites, we always found mistakes after we hit the launch button. Then the finger pointing party would begin!

Everything has a crack and most often the people we work with are typically cracked and flawed as well.

So the 1st goal is to continuously refine and mature our communication skills so we can motivate and provoke our cracked comrades to get it right too.

The 2nd goal, is to just keep working it, improving it, and getting it closer to how we want it, until we’re finally satisfied enough to hit the “GO” button.

Important because although it should be clearly obvious by now, it’s still a good reminder that while most cracks and flaws seem like frustrating failures, they’re actually opportunities for improvement.

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”   —Leonard Cohen

The Way We Roll

You’re an exception, and rules don’t apply to you. It doesn’t matter if it’s stringing your guitar, pitching your idea, or where to invest your money. Rules just don’t apply to you. That’s because artists & treps do their best work in a perpetual state of doubt and uncertainty. Why? Because it’s our job to manifest an extraordinary experience out of nothing, not out of a common formula. That’s just the way we roll! And the only true formula for success for any pro artist or entrepreneur is the one that spontaneously comes to us from in the inner sanctity of our own creative space. Not like magic, more like inspiration that we act on.

Important because we are admired more for the way we did it, not the way we were told to do it.

When Reasonable Minds Meet

Here’s what happens when reasonable minds meet:

— Nonsense takes a backseat to facts.

— Rivalry takes a backseat to respect.

— A tug to teach takes a backseat to a desire to learn.

— Winning the debate takes a backseat to resolving it.

Important because even when the most reasonable minds debate the same issue a clear resolve will always take a backseat to an even clearer choice.

Message in a Bottle

“I’ll send an SOS to the world…I hope that, I hope that someone gets my, message in a bottle…” —Sting

Throughout history, creative artists and risky entrepreneurs are the only ones who have always pointed the way out of the darkness and into the light! Heck, the media won’t do that, it’s not their job! We need creatives like you to use your talent, skills and genius ideas to show us the way, and produce and launch your very best work, so that it shines brightly into the darkest corners of humanity.

Important because the challenging times we live in are inextricably coupled with a profound opportunity to use our multiple creative talents to not only entertain, but to inspire, motivate and reach out and make a difference. And now, more than ever, we need to hear your truth, roused from the depths of your soul and passionately expressed in your music, writing, performing, producing, and creative projects. Now more than ever, opportunity is starring you right in the face, waiting for you to make your move.

Eyes On The Prize is Not Enough!

While it’s true that a boatload of advertising and a blitzkrieg of promotion on social media will certainly put a lot of eyes on your work, it is also nevertheless true that once the hoopla wears off and the true essence of your hard effort is revealed, the only thing that matters is:

Did your fans love it enough to share it?

Did your reps love it enough to pitch it?

Did your customers love it enough to buy it?

Did your clients love it enough to return for more?

Did your subscribers love it enough to re-up?

If not, then your strategic media blitz bombed!

Important because I think it’s crucial to get “eyes on the prize.” However, it’s even more crucial to create a worthy enough prize.

Resisting The Inevitable

I used to write about how some folks were waiting for the tech train to slow down so they could catch up. Sorry to say, that train has left the station. A conversation about the future of showbiz is now inseparable from a conversation about technology. From the data analytics that Netflix uses to create content, to the way AI can now compose pop songs and symphonies, to the curation algorithms that  point us to specific entertainment choices, which ultimately provoke us to make a purchase. Heck, I saw that a talent agency in Japan uses AI to determine what actors are the best choice for certain movie roles. That means blaming your agent (personally) for the lack of work your getting is no longer an option!

Important because the entertainment industry of tomorrow has never seemed so close to today. Question is, have you done the deep research? Are you and your reps and partners up to speed with how to promote and sell your art and commerce in today’s exponential marketplace? Are you willing to let go of how you thought the industry was operating, and shift to learning and accepting how it is operating today? I think a deeper probe into the business you’ve chosen would be a smart investment of time and energy.

Scaling The Paywall

I remember so clearly back in the day when the internet was just starting to beat its chest and threaten the very existence of trade magazines and newspapers. In those early days many of my cohorts and competitors were scratching their heads, worrying and wondering what to do and how to proceed with this new costly technology. I would have conversations with Tommy Noonan, VP of Billboard, and Robert Dowling, publisher of the Hollywood Reporter and we would kick around our ideas on the subject. Eventually my partner Eric and I decided to publish our magazine online for free and continue to sell subscriptions to the print edition. Plus, at the time, Music Connection was in a rosy position because we had distribution in every Guitar Center in the country! It paid for advertisers to buy ads in our paper edition because at that time there were fewer online readers and so many more print readers.

Jump ahead 30-years and that model has completely flipped. There are far more online readers and far fewer print readers. And almost every major magazine and newspaper has a paywall for the digital version. You’re teased to read an interesting article, then told to subscribe if you want to read the rest of it. Kinda like back in the 80’s when your dealer gave you a taste for free, then when he saw you had a desire for more he charged you up the nose…literally!

The lesson I pulled out of this experience was: quality dictates value and desire dictates distribution. If your art, music, product, or service has value people will buy it. However, if it’s addicting, people will sign on and pay for it ad infinitum.

Important because figure out a way to make what you offer, addicting.

2022 Posts