The other day I had the pleasure to spend the afternoon with my son Elijah.
After hanging out and playing with him for a while, the scene turned pretty nasty when the talk of a lollipop surfaced.
Now, anyone who has kids knows very well that when the discussion around candy hit’s the table, you know you’re in for a tough negotiation. They usually nag until that sugar stick is firmly wedged in their mouth without interruption.
Being that it was late in the afternoon and dinner was approaching, I had to pull out my deceptive ninja tricks to keep him from wanting that lollipop he was screaming so loudly for.
As you might imagine, as the standoff continued, the scene got pretty messy. It wasn’t until twenty minutes after a barrage of screams and cry’s, that I finally let him have his way.
Finally, as silence and calm hit our living room once again, I was able to breathe calmly again and re-gain my thoughts. I started watching him in his delight eating his lollipop and started thinking about the whole situation in a little more detail.
Other than realizing that my son is one heck of a negotiator, there were a few other thoughts I had that I think might help you and your band in those moments of panic and doubt though the up’s and down’s of your music career.
1. Never Take “NO” For An Answer
In this business persistence is everything.
I know so many bands that get disheartened by one sour review or one agent who doesn’t like them or one radio station that will never play their music.
Remember this fact and be inspired by it – The Beatles were turned down by every single major record label before they released their first single.
The Offspring recorded a bunch of albums and toured for ten years before having their breakthrough album Smash. TEN YEARS!!
The point is that there are so many times and cases where you just don’t know where or when that big moment is going to arrive and the key is to never stop and never ever, for any reason take NO for an answer.
You just have to keep going, just like my son, who’s father eventually caved in and gave him the lollipop.
Back in the day, our band Noise Addict sent our music to a radio station. We got a letter back and the first sentence they wrote was –
We think your band sucks!
Aside from being totally funny and comical, we took it with a grain of salt and kept going. About five years later that very radio station were playing our song on high rotation.
Once when there was a big push on that album, we took that letter in to them and had a good laugh about it. But the point is that getting a No or a You Suck should only strengthen your resolve, just like with my son persistence to get his lollipop.
2. Find That Little Wedge or Opening and Milk It
When my son went to war for his lollipop, he didn’t just kick and hit me until he got what he wanted (three year olds today are much smarter than that), He pulled reverse psychology tricks on me. He got his little sister to gang up on me and he also started running around the house making a mess until I conceded.
In short, he kept working all the angles until he found that little wedge that caused me to cave in – screaming and crying!
I’m not sure about you but one thing I cannot handle is the constant crying of a kid. It drives me crazy. So after five minutes of screaming and crying, his wedge of opportunity opened and delivered him exactly what he wanted.
The same holds true with the music business. There are so many ways to penetrate and get to the right people in this business. The first trick is to really know and understand who your prospect actually is. This is really a whole process in itself.
Once you’ve covered this ground, then it’s a matter of understanding how to pull their strings and find their soft spots. Finding that wedge or opening to lure them in and get whatever it is your looking for from them.
In most cases, it might just be the need to have a great story up your sleeve to suck them into your world or being able to rattle of some compelling statistics about your band to prick their ears up, but the key is to be able to find that wedge and milk it, just like my little boy did.
3 Frequency Frequency Frequency
I guess the most frustrating part of dealing with children sometimes is that when they don’t get what they want, they keep going at you like a broken record, and I think we all know that the concept of frequency really works.
When a message is thrown at you over and over again in a concentrated period of time, the chances of escaping is very hard.
All successful ad agencies will tell you that a consumer needs to hear a message at least eight times until they’ll act or respond.
I guess for bands, it means that to really create any sort of ground swell you must be out there working all the angles in your music scene so potential fans and industry insiders cannot avoid you.
Play play play. Even if it’s to no-one at first. Even if it’s at your local library BBQ. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that your creating some sort of frequency and consistency.
Email your fans once a week, post on your facebook page every few days with updates. Whatever it is, just keep doing it….. If anything, just for the sake of frequency.
Once an A&R guy sees you in three or four places that he himself is already prowling for new acts, or hears about you from two of his trusted friends or see’s you in a trade journal he trusts, you’ll start to see how the tides turn and the interest in your band will take shape.
Frequency for your band’s profile also involves understanding the different types of “media” (radio, TV, online, print etc) that are out there and knowing how to get free exposure and frequency from them.
Again, there is so much to be said about each topic, however leveraging these “medias” and creating frequency is so important to help attract industry attention and build your fan base.
So there you have it, three innovative thoughts around my super stressful Sunday afternoon session with my son Elijah. I do have to say though that he’s not half as bad as I made out.
If his music career will be anything like his desire for lollipops, you’ll all be hearing much more about him very soon!
By Daniel Kohn
Check out my blog - www.AskKohnny.com
Check out my new book - Inside The Music Biz