"People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it."
Why does Justin Bieber make music? Is it because he wants to share his view, wants to inspire the younger generation to change the world? Or because he wants to get rich.
Let’s skew a bit older. To Katy Perry. Why does she insist on making new music with the titles of classic tracks? Because she wants to make us think about the history of music, and mindbend us, or is she looking for a hook to get us to pay attention, to listen, to give her money.
The Beatles didn’t do it for the money. Sure, they wanted to get paid, but they didn’t expect they’d get rich. They enjoyed going to Germany, getting high and pulling girls. As did so many of the British Invasion musicians. They did it because they were passionate about music and wanted to share their take on the blues, some wanted to be faithful to it, some wanted to improvise. Isn’t it funny that we still listen to Peter Green and Jimmy Page all these years later? Who were sure interested in the lifestyle, boozin’ and screwin’, but were driven by the music. How many years down the line will we be listening to Justin Bieber and Katy Perry?
And then we’ve got the original rappers, the MC’s. When L.A. erupted after the Rodney King verdict, my first thought was Ice-T was right. Made me look at him and his work in a completely different light. Ice-T needed to tell the truth. As did Public Enemy. And once rap turned to rims and ho’s…its popularity began to wane, because it was clear the purveyors were doing it first and foremost for the money, and that just doesn’t inspire us, that’s not what we believe.
I just watched this TED talk. Wasn’t gonna, but someone I trust recommended it, someone who’s never recommended anything before.
I’d never heard of the guy, but TED’s a brand name I trust. Then again, the way they treated Sarah Silverman has tarnished the image, made me shy away. Are they putting on these talks because they’re interested in anybody who tests the limits, who stretches our brains, or only authorized folk. Believe me, Ms. Silverman makes you think. Isn’t that what TED’s supposed to be about?
And at first I’m surfing in another window while listening to Simon Sinek speak. But then he hooked me. Telling the story of airplane flight. How the underfunded, undereducated Wright Brothers triumphed over their competition.
And Simon explained why we buy all this Apple gear. It’s why the company is doing it. It’s not just another computer company extending the brand, it’s on a mission, to create high tech, beautiful products that enhance our lives, make them better. That’s why we buy not only the Mac, but the iPod, iPhone and now the iPad. We want to own them to evidence what we believe in.
Do we believe in today’s Top Forty acts? Do we believe in the American Idols? Absolutely not. Because why they do it just doesn’t resonate with us.
And how about the labels, and the RIAA and IFPI? How come we don’t support them?
Because we don’t agree with the unspoken why. Which is that they want to protect their lifestyle. They say they want to save music, but based on the music they sell, who could believe them?
Those who lead inspire us. We buy posters and t-shirts to show that we’re on the bandwagon, that we believe too. Who’s buying a t-shirt of the flashes in the pan? Who wants to be caught in a Tiffany t-shirt today?
Why are the major labels in business? Not to bring us the best music. Jac Holzman was on that mission, when he started Elektra. Same deal with Ahmet Ertegun at Atlantic. They loved the music, they wanted to bring great stuff to the masses. The money wasn’t first. Riches and fame came as a result of their passion.
In other words, we’ve got it assbackwards today.
The wannabes always ask…HOW CAN I GET PAID?
The major labels say…YOU’D BETTER PAY, YOU’D BETTER NOT STEAL!
And the classic acts tell us…YOU’D BETTER OVERPAY TO HEAR THE SAME SONGS AGAIN!
Huh? Where’s the appeal of that? Who’d want to associate with that?
And believe me, people want to associate with what they believe.
That’s the key to the music explosion.
That’s the key to iPad sales. Most people who bought one didn’t even have a use for it. But they wanted to evidence their belief in Apple, in information technology, in revolutionizing the way we consume entertainment.
Do you think the movie studios want revolution? How about the labels? They’re against revolution. Which is why they can’t attract the early adopters/believers, which is why their businesses are open to being stolen by innovative entrepreneurs.
We’re in interesting times. And now, more than ever, you’re either a thinker or a follower. It’s about conception, ideas… He who cogitates wins. Watch this and get on the bandwagon: