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Sell out with me tonight

Hey guys, this is Tito, one of the guitarists from Derek’s band Onward We March. Derek and I started the band a few years ago and have always exchanged ideas on how to run the band as a business. We studied business in undergrad, and went on to get MBAs. Needless to say we talk a lot about the band in a business sense. I do all the booking, internet marketing schmoozing at bars, etc.

Derek reached to me a few weeks ago and asked if I would like to contribute to this here blog.

The other day I was at a bar having a conversation with someone I had just met. They had just listened to some of the new songs we had written. Throughout the conversation it became evident that we both came from very different schools of thought on music. I am a very selfish musician. I feel that art in itself should be very selfish. Write what you feel then deal with the business of it later. The other person came from a very consumer minded point of view. She started asking me about who we market to, what our target market was. This is a legit question. I should preface this by saying that most of my MBA courses were in marketing, so I get the importance of running a band as a business, but that question rubbed be the wrong way.

Now before you get all up in arms about a marketing major getting upset about a marketing question, think about the context. This person wasn’t talking to the MBA at that point and time, she was talking to the artist. A selfish artist at that. I told her that I don’t create my art with a specific audience in mind. If you think about the target market before you create your art you are compromising the integrity and sincerity of said piece and thus not creating an honest piece of art. Honesty, sincerity and integrity are vital to what I would call "real" art. I told her that we do in fact create a marketing plan for our music, but not until after our art is complete.

This is backwards from how most products come to fruition. Business identify a demand in the market place and try and create a product to fill that void. Businesses hope to sell out of that product and profit off of it.

I had an epiphany that night, selling out isn’t making signing to a label, playing huge concert halls, making a profit from your art or any of that. It’s putting your passion second to what someone else wants you to do.

Are you creating your art to a marketing plan? Or are you creating a marketing plan to fit your art?

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