No One Knows Everything

Myself included.

This may seem obvious, but it’s a big change from even a few years ago. You see there’s so much in the pipeline, so much more happening.

And why is this important? Because people proffer themselves as experts and you listen to them 24/7.

Let’s talk about the jam band scene. Unless you’re in it, you don’t know about it. Are you familiar with the music of Goose? Have you even heard of the band? They’re the hottest new/burgeoning act in the jam band scene, but you won’t see them in the Spotify Top 50, none of the places where you traditionally went to find out what was happening.

Hitsdailydouble is radio-focused. Mostly stuff on major labels who will pay them to promote it. If you don’t fit that niche, and everything is a niche these days, you’re unaware.

But if you subscribe to “Relix,” and go to a few festivals, have friends in the scene, listen to SiriusXM’s Jam On, you know.

How do I know? Promoters. Promoters are the best source of information when it comes to what is truly happening these days. If you can sell tickets, that means you’ve got a fan base. And many acts with a fan base are rarely, if ever, featured in mainstream media.

And then there’s hip-hop. Listen to the end of my podcast with Joe Coscarelli. There’s a hip-hop scene in Milwaukee now, one in central California. I had no idea until he told me. Turns out that rappers are like the rockers of yore, but instead of playing clubs in their hometown, they’re in their bedrooms leasing beats, rapping over them, and putting them online.

As for online… Forget YouTube and TikTok, 60,000+ tracks are added to Spotify each and every day. Most of them are worthless, but not all of them. How do you separate the wheat from the chaff? Playlists might help, but they’re not the definitive statement.

And then there’s radio. Stations and high paid label promotion people will tell you how important it is in moving the needle, and then you can’t find someone who listens to terrestrial stations.

Yes, there’s disinformation along with misinformation.

What does this mean?

Trust yourself. Trust your experience. Forge your own path.

Zach Bryan is totally indie and then the biggest new act, certainly the biggest new act in country music. I wrote about him and I heard from many people who consider themselves clued-in who’d never heard of him, never mind listened to his music.

Rufus Du Soul plays the Hollywood Bowl? Once again, most people have never heard of the act.

You can be doing quite well and be relatively unknown, this is not the way it used to be.

In the pre-internet era, a pro in the music business knew every record. They may not have heard it, but they at least knew the backstory, what it sounded like. Today records go top ten that they’re completely unfamiliar with.

I could expand this into politics, and I will for a minute. He who speaks loudest, and it’s usually a he, is believed most, irrelevant of the veracity of their words. Institutions are not trusted. And if you confront the delusional with the facts, they won’t cop to the truth, no way. And believe me, politics is much more important than music.

Oftentimes a #1 position is manipulated. A show listed as sold out was in a scaled-down venue. So you not only need to know the landscape, but the tricks!

Never ever has music been more ripe for disruption than now. Everything’s on the table, there are almost no rules. And the pros oftentimes are as ignorant as the hoi polloi.

Music is a game of creativity. If you’re imitating others, you’ve already sacrificed. But if you follow your own muse and gain an audience, you can be successful, just don’t expect anybody but your fans to acknowledge this.

I won’t say no one knows anything, but no one knows everything. So take everything the self-appointed poohbahs say with a grain of salt. Check their qualifications. And if they start weighing in on everything…either their knowledge is very thin in many areas, or they’re lying outright.

The music business is one of intimidation. Everybody is a bully. They want to convince you you’re wrong and can’t make it. Don’t listen to them.

But don’t complain when you get no recognition either. Either what you’re doing is working or it’s not. It’s in your hands. If you’ve got no traction there’s something wrong with your music, your plan, your marketing, your social media campaign.

You start from scratch. And you build it from there. And if you’re young and plugged in chances are you’re more hip than the established players, who don’t want their vision clouded.

Kids were hip to TikTok way before the labels, the entire music industry. They pooh-poohed the progenitor,, and thought it was history when it rolled into what became TikTok and they couldn’t have been more wrong.

It’s chaos out there and you’ve got to establish your own roadmap.

There are experts. But you’ve got find them and test their knowledge to qualify them.

Instead of thinking there are fewer avenues of success, fewer successful genres, think just the opposite. There’s room for everybody today. And there’s room to change hearts and minds and make fans.

Once again, it’s not top-down, but bottom-up.

And many times those at the bottom are more in touch with the landscape than those at the top.

Don’t doubt yourself. Go forward.

But be prepared to slog hard.

And to learn.

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