4 concepts to consider about the current state of artistry.

Uncategorized Feb 05, 2021

 Outsourcing our memory


What do you have to lose? If you won’t invest in yourself why would anyone else?


It’s easy to take for granted that we can answer most any question we may have in seconds. “Siri- what is the definition of quantum physics? “Alexa- play the song that was number one on Feb 5th 1961”. The answer to most any question you may have is but a few commands away. What used to take time and effort to research now takes seconds.


What has been lost in the process?  


We have devalued the acquisition of knowledge. We tend to avoid investing our time into learning because it’s so easy to just search instead. Essentially we have outsourced our memory.


This has affected our culture in profound ways. 


In the past, standards of performance have given us methods to measure our progress. These norms gave us hope that our commitment would yield the benefits we sought.  There was no guarantee. But, we accepted the risks because we trusted we would contribute to our uniqueness. 


If we all have access to the same information at our fingertips, how can we establish a competitive advantage? 


We have become the product.


The recent Reddit, Gamestop and the Robinhood short-squeeze has exposed us. We think we have control using crowdsourcing techniques. In some ways crowdsourcing has leveled the playing field. But has it really?   When we gravitate towards “free” services we are no longer “consumers” of a product. We have become the product.


Think about it. Our culture has been redefined. We have unwittingly been conned into thinking “if it’s online it should be for free” while those who operate these platforms surreptitiously profit from our time and effort. (see “Tim Cook May Have Just Ended Facebook”)


Having a unique opinion has never been more valuable.

Our individuality has been compromised. We all have access to the same information.  We hear the same story, told badly, over and over again because we are all drawing from the same well of information.

The noise has become unbearable. For artists this has become devastating. No matter how much emotion and sweat we put into your work there is a good chance our efforts will be perceived as another random post or song. 


Why would your song, your lyric, your music, be appealing? Being overwhelmed with information is a conundrum with no easy answers…except for an artist who is compelled to share their story. 


If you focus on telling your unique story your output will automatically be different. Regardless of what you do it will be from you.  If you share your work to say “look at what I did” then you are looking for  justification. You are asking for the listener to stroke your ego.  If your intent is to “share an experience or emotion that you will find meaningful the reaction will be completely different.  You will be saying to the audience: “you will find value if you go on this journey with me”. The difference between the two approaches is night and day.  If your intent is to add value you will be as easy to spot as a red hat in a black and white photograph. 


Human connection as currency.


“The purpose of art is to provoke a response”


Music triggers emotions and memories simultaneously. If you have the ability to burrow into the subconscious of the listener your music will become an indispensable part of their lives. 


This is the secret sauce. 


Now, you may already be sensitive to your power to provide this connective tissue. Or, you may grow into this awareness over time. I can say that without exception every successful actor, musician or artist I have known can articulate what their fans want from them. Conversely, history is littered with artists who lose their following by neglecting the interests of their fans.


All of us are filled with memories and emotions we need to share. That won’t change any time soon. In fact, we seek out communities to share our emotions. Having the skill and knowledge to connect humans viscerally may well become a new form of currency in the future. 


If you want to reach a broad audience never forget that it is the relationship between the artist and audience that creates the value. There will always be value in knowing how to connect people to a thought or feeling. If the artist integrates their audience's desires into the work they do a bond will develop. The artist and the audience will both understand and appreciate the value the relationship has created.


Coming soon: 


Part II: Modifying our expectations of success and failure

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