MONDAY BYTES – April 14, 2014
Seems like an odd question for musicians, “What business are you in?”
“One of the fundamental aspects of marketing is that a company [think musician here] has to know what business [she / he] is in.
That may sound like a laughable exercise. But it’s not.
Apple is not in the computer business. It is in the empowerment business.
Nike is not in the sneakers business. It is in the personal goals business.
Molson is not in the beer business. It is in the party business.
A company can’t articulate its elevator pitch unless it truly understands what business it is really in.”
How does this apply to musicians? The idea is to think beyond your immediate “product” and focus on what the product does – on the outcome for the audience.
When you are clear about what the need you fill, then your bio, grant proposals, cover letters, booking inquiries, and interviews are all stronger.
I’m a big fan of the vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth and their bio starts with:
“Founded in 2009 by Brad Wells, Roomful of Teeth is a vocal project dedicated to mining the expressive potential of the human voice. Through study with masters from non-classical traditions the world over, the eight voice ensemble continually expands its vocabulary of singing techniques and, through an on-going commissioning project, invites today’s brightest composers to create a repertoire without borders.”
Did you learn what business they’re in? Not simply the music or the “edutainment” business.
No, they’re business is “mining the expressive potential of the human voice . . . [to help] create a repertoire without borders.”
And here’s the opening of the bio of another terrific ensemble, Gutbucket:
“What happens when you take four highly opinionated, strong-willed and creative composer/musicians and put them in a band together? You might have a volatile problem on your hand…or else you have Gutbucket. The twelve-year-old Brooklyn-based quartet pushes composer-driven, art-rock-tainted chamber jazz into new terrain and boldly proclaims its voice.”
What’s Gutbucket’s business? To push composer-driven, art-rock-tainted chamber jazz into new terrain.
How about this bit of John Hollenbeck‘s bio:
“A drummer and percussionist possessed of a playful versatility and a virtuosic wit. Most of all, a musical thinker – whether putting pen to paper or conjuring spontaneous sound – allergic to repetition, forever seeking to surprise himself and his audiences.” [italics: my emphasis]
Consider: What business are YOU really in? And do you make this clear in your promotional materials?
The idea is to think beyond the immediate product (your music and/or teaching) and focus on what your skills do for your audiences and students.
As always, I’m interested in your experience with any of this and your feedback!
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Dream big, Plan smart, Live well!