Up until recently, and in a caveman sort of way, I divided the tasks of building a music business into two rock piles: a pile of things related to creating music and a pile of things related to selling music.
In the creating music pile I accounted for iteratively improving songs based upon fan and professional feedback, and in the selling music pile I accounted for monetary feedback; you either sold music or you didn’t.
Recently, I evolved from lumping tasks into two piles to lumping tasks into three piles. Create and sell has become - create and validate and then sell. In fact, the sequence has become create-validate, create-validate, create-validate, and then sell. Thanks Steve Lawson.
While this is not information that makes the earth spin in reverse, adding a third classification column to your to-do list does cause you to perform discrete actions that you may not have taken otherwise.
For example, when you approach validation as an essential task to be executed efficiently, as unbiased as possible, and without prejudice or lasting consequences, you end up reclassifying products or services previously lumped into another pile.
On Saturday, as I wondered about the simplest way to validate music using the criteria I just described, I ended up reclassifying the music community site Aime Street out of the interesting-way-to-barely-sell-music rock pile to the music validation pile. For me, this action shed an entirely different light on the value Aime Street generates for artists.
Aime Street is a music community site that has a unique pricing model where tracks start out as free and as popularity increases the price of a track goes up. I only recommend sites that charge flat fees to artists and I steer clear from sites that extract percentages. However, when I reclassified Aime Street as a music validation service instead of a place to sell music, a new recommendation emerged.
Aime Street probably isn’t going to put a lot of money into your pocket, but I have to say that Aime Street is the fastest way to validate music that I have tried to date; it’s also fun. I would have gladly paid them a flat fee to validate songs within their community.
I simply uploaded music to Aime Street and over the next 48 hours I watched as the price of the tracks rose and the recommendations rolled in. It was hardly profitable, but it was gratifying and comforting validation. I’m surprised that Aime Street is not growing as rapidly as some of the other music sites on the Internet; as a music fan, this site really appealed to my sensibilities.
Similarly, I am trying the site called OurStage for the same reason. I really like the unique voting funnel that OurStage offers, but the gratification will not come as rapidly as on Aime Street. My guess is that both of these sites will yield the detailed validation or invalidation I’m looking for ninety days from now, albeit using entirely different methods.
The bottom line: setting out to purposely seek validation is not only important; it enables you to reframe your approach to sites, services and relationships. The saying “necessity (to validate) is the mother of invention” applies here…