The Brand vs The Song

musings of a professional dreamer

Every so often I have to remind myself why I’m doing this. Lost in amongst the bookings, tour planning, route mapping, poster and flier designing, location scouting, press release writing, publishing, licensing, album shopping, distribution sourcing, website updates, branding, blogging, social networking, event marketing, networking, venue scouting and far too little actual music, I sometimes forget what it is I’m actually doing it all for. Somewhere in there, there is a song. Sometimes I just need to be reminded of that.

Independent artists are constantly bombarded with calls to embrace the business, to diversify, to brand your music and yourself, to strategically align yourself with other brands, and I have to admit to feeling an overwhelming pressure to stay that course as it’s purported to be the only way one can possibly get ahead in the music business these days. But there really is only so much one person can do, and only so much strategy you can focus on before you lose the plot entirely.

This week I have a 20-show tour to finalise, tour posters to design, press releases to submit, various online networks to update, media interviews, business meetings to discuss potential partnerships going forward and a 1500km tour to get through, the actual music part of which will probably occupy the sum total of approximately 3 hours. Things will be easier when I have partnerships in place to ease the load a bit because I realise that so much of my current frustration is purely from trying to juggle too many of these balls on my own. But when you spend so much of your time worrying about where the money is coming from, how you’re branding your product, and how you’re fully utilising all the available technologies, the music sometimes gets lost in there somewhere. When music becomes more about brand and less about the song, we need to ask ourselves if we’re still doing what we set out to do in the first place.

I realise what century I’m living in and that no amount of romanticising about the way things used to be is going to change the way things work (for the most part). Music is a business. But sometimes we need to be reminded why we’re doing it all because this industry puts far too little faith in the people who buy music and far too much in the people that presume to shape the course of it. At the end of the day, behind all the planning and branding, somewhere in there, there has to be a song. Sometimes I just need to be reminded of that.

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© Shannon Hope 2017