Do you know the biggest secret to building a long-term music career? It's so easy, yet so many musicians have no idea. It's leveraging your music as a service to your end users.
Make no mistake about it, the music industry is a service industry. Your success is determined by how many people you serve, and how well you serve them. Even the biggest artists in the world provide a service to others. When Justin Timberlake or Taylor Swift sell out arenas, they are providing a service to every attendee. Yes, they're the ones in the spotlight, but the service they are providing is entertainment. It's this simple... Serve Others!
Going Old School
I learned the importance of serving others when I first started licensing my songs back in 2004. At that time the only way to deliver them to Music Supervisors was on CD, sent through the mail. Every 2 or 3 months, I’d compile all my new songs onto a CD, create CD labels, print my own cover and tray card for the jewel case, write a customized letter to each supervisor, individually package and address them in a padded manilla envelope, and then take an overflowing box to the post office. WHEW!! That was a LOT of work!!
When all was said and done, every few months I’d spend many hours, and a few hundred dollars, sending out all these CDs.
Fortunately, early on, I was able to spend time with a few music supervisors and get a first hand understanding of how to best serve them. I learned what was involved with their jobs, and that they didn’t have time to listen to, and categorize, every song they received. It quickly became clear that if I was going to be successful, I had to make their job as easy as possible when it came to finding, and licensing my music.
With that in mind, I devised a method of printing out basic descriptions for each song on the CD tray card. This was a very primitive form of metadata, as you can see in the image below, but it worked quite well.
I remember the first time I handed this CD to a Music Supervisor. Her reaction is forever ingrained in my brain because it was at that moment that I KNEW I was on to something! She said, "THIS... is perfect!! I wish everyone sent us CDs formatted like this!"
Without even listening to the music, she could look at the case and instantly know which songs mighty fill the various requests she had.
Service = Success
Thankfully, delivering music today is easier than ever… and FREE! Plus, a vast amount of metadata can be embedded onto the audio file itself. Those dozens of hours spent burning, printing, labeling, and mailing CDs can now be used to create more music… which leads to more licenses… which allows more personal, creative, and financial freedom.
It’s really a wonderful industry to be a part of right now, especially given the fact that we are living in the Golden Age of Television with over 500 TV shows currently in production.
But, achieving success starts with a service mentality. It's not about you... it's about THEM! Whether you’re working on an album, writing music for placements in TV shows, or building your fanbase through live performances, you must always provide the best service possible to your end user.
- What is the service I’m providing to others?
- What can I do to distinguish myself from those who are providing the same service?
- How can I positively impact the lives of those I’m serving?
While technology will continue to change the way music is consumed and delivered, NOTHING will change the fact that your success is determined by how many people you serve, and how well you serve them.
What are some ways you can serve your end users with your music? Share with us in the Comments Section below:
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