June 8, 2011
Recently, a few of us at Fast Horse were given the opportunity to develop a marketing plan for a local rock band with the goal of growing their national following and creating new and interesting promotional tools. We’re still in the early stages of planning. To inform our brainstorms, I’ve been turning over this simple question: “What makes an artist or band popular?”
I used to think I understood the music industry, but the further we get from the original success metric — album sales — the more difficult it has become to define success and popularity.
The biggest problem, as I see it, is music has been downgraded to a conduit, a byproduct, an excuse to put a buxom bombshell or dimpled-and-six-packed crooner in front of a crowd. It makes me long for the days when music was the product, the thing. (I was born in 1984 — such an era probably predates me.) Imagine how self-indulgent it must’ve seemed the first time an artist or band put their image on an album.
Back to our band — whom we will name at a later date — our planning has focused entirely on the music. We want to bring their music to life with ideas that are creative, artful and honest. We’re aiming to create a fully immersive listening experience that’s inspired by and respectful to the process of writing and performing music. As music purists, it’s easier to sleep at night knowing we’re not peddling snake oil.
We believe the band’s music will make them popular. We only want to make their megaphone a little louder.