Don’t Change For The Critics

Only Trump has figured this out in the social media age, one with incessant messages, most of which go ignored.

Used to be even if you were ultra-famous, you never heard from the hoi-polloi. The average citizen was a nobody who could only vote by consuming or not. Furthermore, there were few offerings, and real estate was precious, on television, in record racks, and the game was to find something that appealed to everybody.

That game is over.

Be happy if you have an audience at all. But if you do, you’re gonna have haters.

You see you have what someone else wants, the aforementioned audience. And those people below the attention status of yourself are angry, they think they’re better than you and deserve the attention, and as a result they try to tear you down, make you blink, hopefully so they can take your place.

Even successful entertainers are victims of this paradigm. Howard Stern has a rabid fanbase, but unlike in the pre-internet era, he’s inundated with negative social media comments. The key is not to blink.

Used to be it was about research, you tested the audience, tried to deliver what it wanted, shaved off the rough edges, pleased the boss.

First and foremost, today YOU’RE the boss. If you’re pleasing someone above you, you’re doing it wrong. That’s one of the problems with doing corporate sponsorships, the chilling effect. The man doesn’t say what you can’t do, but you’re wary of doing it, you’re inured to those bucks.

But the key to success today is making your own bucks. Hell, that’s one of the reasons Trump won, irrelevant of the truth of the matter.

And in a world where there’s no universal fact-checker, where there’s no single news outlet that can hold you account, you can lie with impunity. Rock stars wrote this script. Hell, they’re even employing it today! All those shows they say are sold out, a lot of them are not. It’s all about image. And it used to be the mainstream didn’t care about music, so there was no ink, but today there’s so much information, the mainstream gets no traction re the faux pas of even bigger constituents!

Look at Ticketmaster. People don’t stop railing against it, governments investigate it. But Ticketmaster doesn’t care, it’s aware it’s fronting for the greedy acts, they’re the ones responsible for fees, i.e. the fees are not commissioned, it’s the only way for Ticketmaster to make money! There’s usually no profit in the tickets themselves.

So Ticketmaster doesn’t fight back, and neither should you!

And then there are those who still can’t fathom someone moved their cheese. Blowhards who believe they can stop the juggernaut of streaming. Bitching they’re not making as much as they did in the physical/sales era. Well, let’s go back to sixteen baseball teams. Three networks. The era of no smartphones. The future arrives, he or she who is caught in the past is ultimately irrelevant.

But that does not mean they don’t attack you.

It’s so easy to do, just fire up your app of choice!

So the creator…is overwhelmed.

This is a new paradigm and there’s no instruction booklet. Kinda like when FM went rock. They were inventing it on the fly. The usual suspects were talking about ratings and three minute ditties but it was what was on FM, longer, different, that ultimately triumphed.

It’s hard to stay the course. But that’s why people like you to begin with!

Look at Frampton, who catered to a theoretical pop audience with “I’m In You” and went straight into the dumper, overnight. It’s taken him decades to rehabilitate himself.

But it happens faster now. And the truth is you’re remembered for your successes, not your failures. Which means the biggest people can fail, but when they succeed later, the failures are forgotten. Bieber has had a lot of stiffs with his hits.

And if you’re trying to be the biggest, you’re gonna get blowback. This is what Taylor Swift doesn’t realize, they don’t hate her music, but her! First her “aw shucks” behavior and then her retaliatory songs and then her girl squad and now her rainbow-embracing. She’s trying to appeal to people who don’t exist! She’s got her fans, she should be happy with that. As for the slings and arrows, she can’t stop complaining about them, when the truth is they’re a badge of success, she should just ignore them!

Art runs on emotion. So when someone hits you unexpectedly, it’s hard to fathom, it changes your mood. Which is why, supposedly, artists didn’t read their reviews. But today, you just cannot avoid the feedback. You’ve got to have a thick skin and brush it off. Otherwise, not only did they win, you probably compromised yourself.

Your fans want you. It’s your fans who will spread the word. The rest are irrelevant.

And the markers have changed. Like with the Blanco Brown track. It may not be number one on country radio, but if you have traction online, who cares? And genres are nearly irrelevant. Country artists rap and… All those people agitated about lines and crossing over…THE AUDIENCE DOESN’T CARE!

But too often artists fall for it.

You’re on your own path.

And if you’re not, you’re me-too, and nobody wants me-too in the internet age, we’re all looking for fresh and different. That’s one thing Hillary missed, which is why she lost. Never forget, research will tell you where you’ve been, but not where you’re going.

It’s those who think outside the box who gain attention and become victorious in the long run. It’s much easier to imitate what’s out there, and you might get a moment of fame, but then you’ll be instantly forgotten. That’s another facet of the internet era, you can get universal press, be a kingpin (queenpin?) in your era, and end up broke in your hometown slinging burgers. Which is why those with a brain get an education and find their way, you don’t want to end up as Snooki or Rebecca Black.

They are out to get you. Assuming anybody cares at all.

And if they’re needling you, what they want most is a reaction. Respond and you’re doomed. Trump and AOC blocking people on Twitter is unfathomable to me. Almost no one is gonna see the hate, and by calling it out, you create a conflagration.

Which means that even the famous don’t have it all figured out.

But you’ve got a chance. Yes, you can promote yourself for free online, but beware of the incoming negativity.

It’s a new game.

But one thing’s for sure, when you veer off course, by acknowledging haters, when you adjust because of the criticism, you’re on the wrong road, you’ve left your mission and are in a backwater.

We’re looking for singular heroes (heroines). We’re looking for people to believe in.

Forget the idiocy, like Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop. It’s only the intelligentsia who truly care, she’s got traction with them and they’re pissed they didn’t think of it first!

But Goop is a sideshow, without many acolytes. Without all the hate she’d be doomed.

Yes, hate can bring you attention, but still, you’ve got to ignore it, you can’t acknowledge it.

Techies were the artists of the last few decades.

But that era is over. The internet is solidified. There’s no radical change coming in the immediate future.

So we’re back in the era of art, a message can have much more impact than a product. The software of music and movies and TV is now much more important than it was in the past two decades.

Everything you remember, from Jimi Hendrix to David Lynch, started on the outside, and don’t forget “Twin Peaks” wasn’t Lynch’s first project.

You must pay your dues. The more immediate attention you get, the quicker you will fail, we learned this in the MTV era.

You can woodshed in public, and if you’re good, you’ll gain some followers. The key is to keep developing and not change your viewpoint.

And that’s hard to do, because everybody is telling you to.

Comments are closed