The State Of Stardom

Everybody does not know your name.

No one is as big as they used to be in the pre-internet era. No one reaches everybody, no one is known by everybody, never have individual stars meant less. Platforms are the stars, from Spotify to Facebook to Amazon.

You can be famous and broke.

If you’re not polishing your star 24/7, it’s fading. Fans can never get enough of you, the only people complaining that you’re publishing too much are those who are jealous, not fans, and want to bring you down.

You build your own star. Sure, intermediaries help, but you record on a laptop and can distribute at no cost and the means of disseminating your message are at your fingertips. If you’re waiting for someone else to do it, you’re gonna be left behind.

Charts don’t count. They’re for insiders and looky-loos.

The money is on the road, so why are you spending so much time in the studio? Every time you hit a town media explodes, both traditional and online/social network, when your album comes out you’re lucky to get a local review, and after release date, you’re in the rearview mirror.

Hits mean less than ever. Lady Gaga toured for years without one. Then again, her ability to sell tickets was based on her previous hits.

Mystery is history. If you’re not airing your dirty laundry, no one can bond to you. Yes, they want to know what you ate for breakfast. Yes, they want to know if your significant other refused sex last night. The twenty first century is a digital age wherein the humans provide humanity, one thing a chip cannot do, let your freak flag fly.

TV works for old audiences. Same deal with print/magazine/major publications. If you do not appeal to oldsters, save your time and money.

True stars can say no. Most stars cannot.

Hate goes with the territory, don’t react. Unless getting into online battles is your thing, but then you become a brand, not a musician, and brands fade faster than music.

You know what’s going on in your own silo, but not anybody else’s.

Cash is king and don’t expect your handlers to say no and forgo their percentage, that’s your job.

Don’t listen to the stories of social media stars. Their fame and income does not last, they are of the moment, their acts do not translate to other media, they are fads. And what we know online is fads eventually fade away and do not radiate. Anybody e-mail you a joke recently?

The audience is online native, connected all the time, you should be too.

Ignore anti-tech screeds. Your career is based on tech.

Major labels are a smaller slice of the pie than ever. They control a lot of hits, but almost none of the penumbra, and the penumbra is where the action is, all the genres that don’t rain down immediate cash with brain-dead youngsters.

Data is everything. It tells you who and where your fans are. You should be able to reach all of them with an e-mail or a tweet or an Instagram post.

Musicians are about content. Posting on social media without it makes you two-dimensional in a three-dimensional world. You’re selling story. A picture needs an explanation. Your whole life is a narrative, surrounding around your music.

Be yourself, don’t worry about offending those who do not care. Most likely the ones with opposite political viewpoints just want to inhibit your creativity and shut you down.

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