Posh Spice walks into a coffee shop. Bear with me for a second here… A barista, before egregiously misspelling the pop icon’s name (a la Starbucks), proceeds to ask her what she wants… what she really, really wants. With an eye roll and exasperated sigh, she begins to order her typical iced vanilla latte, extra pump of espresso, froth on top with a sprinkle of cinnamon. But then she pauses…
In our fictional example, Mrs Spice, clearly caught in self-thought tells the barista, who she sees often, “you know what I want, what I really, really want. But do you know why I want it?”
Our barista awakes from this lucid dream. It’s actually me, and I can’t sleep because I want to know why Posh and an entire flood of other artists live the way they do, write the way they do, and perform the way they do.
In a world of passed-appetizer music where we’re told to take the next big hit; it’s time to look closer at why we should be doing so because when we do that, we’re not only creating a more gratifying experience as a music consumer, we’re creating a more lucrative market for artists from a marketing standpoint.
So, we’re making the connection with why why is so important when it comes to selling music. It’s important to understand why it (it being why) sells. How many times have you heard, read, or viewed “check out my new hit single”, or some rendition of the phrase? Probably too many to count, right? If you’re an artist reading this, and you’re not guilty of it, you may very well be in the minority. While that certainly gives a directive, it might not be giving a reason; and sometimes a reason is the difference between downloading a single song, or an entire album.
As a people, we strive for and stan on relatability. Sharing our motivations, morals, beliefs, convictions – and so on and so forth – enables us to connect to the world (people) around us. Bridging the gap between “listen to (buy/support/stream/etc.) this music” and “here’s why you should listen to this music” is important because you’re creating a return audience when they know you or perceive that they know you, as an artist. When you share the why behind your new hit single, you set yourself apart from the crowd and give your audience a look into who you are as a person.
As cliché as it may sound, #relatable… sells. There’s a quite powerful line in an August 2018 article posted on The Making Art Making Money Program that says, “To sell your art, you need to identify, reach, and serve your market.” Think about that for a moment.
Instagram or Insta-fam?
In the world of digital and social media, we might think that it’s easier than it really is to engage with fans. However, for the likes of Taylor Swift, Kanye West, and more – it’s a job within a job. And while yes, we realize they probably have teams of Tweeters, ‘Grammers, and Facebookers working ‘round the clock to give fans what they want, oftentimes the face, voice, and emotions they’re sharing on these platforms are their own… and THEY’RE REAL!
A 2016 article in Quartz points out that artists like these are constantly flooding the web with personal musings, selfies, and clique shots. But what may really be hidden in all of that, is the key to why fans listen and watch them.
When we feel like we know someone, we’re more likely to do something for them. The same can go for our favourite artists. When we have more of a connection to someone and their craft… aka when we know why we should listen to something, we’re more likely to do so.
To wrap it up, it’s time listeners and artists alike start asking why they’re doing what they’re doing. Simon Sinek said it best in a recent TEDTalk, “people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”
Trying it out
In addition to everything above, you should really listen to Sinek’s TEDTalk for more inspiration on why you should be answering why. Being able to reflect on that will help you hone in on how you’re going to use the power of why. A great place to start is in your artist biography online. You’d be surprised to know how many clicks your website and social media get on any given day. Take full advantage of that traffic to grow your name and brand.
Are you releasing a new single soon? Use this as a time to express your why on a personal level with “why I’ve written this song” or “why this message is so important for you to hear”. Use this platform as a call to action for your listeners. When you do that, they’ll make their own personal connections and your work will travel further. The reach will come full circle when they start sharing their why about your art.
The takeaway is this: be active, be consistent, be transparent, and be eager to share your why with the world.