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Progressivism: 4 Easy Ways Artists Can Stay Relevant

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By Dillon Roulet

Keeping up with the times is something almost everyone struggles with.  It’s a challenge to step out of our comfort zone and try something new.  However, in a professional setting, the only way to survive is to submit to the idea of change.  For musicians, progressivism can sometimes be an especially challenging concept.  However, it is imperative that we continue to adapt to new trends, and stay relevant to our fan base.  

 I’ve picked four basic methods every musician can implement to ensure they are ‘with the times’:


Update Your Website

This is something that can make a HUGE impact on the perception of a musician.  No one wants to click on a link to some circa 1999, Windows Millenium-Formatted Web page, that obviously was coded before the rise of  the Macbook Pro.  If people see you haven’t updated a website in a few years, perhaps this will lead them to believe the band has not been active for that time frame as well.  A website is a monthly investment of time, energy and money.  Invest wisely, and hire a web designer.  


Do The Social Media Thing

Social media is one of the easiest ways musicians can stay relevant.  I am in no way a social media expert.  I do not spend my days contemplating my next tweet, or stalking the number of likes on my Facebook posts.  Likewise, I don’t expect my clients to either.  The best way, in my opinion, that musicians can utilize the power of social media is to choose one or two outlets that you are the most comfortable with.  Work within these mediums, but consistently update your content, and interact with other bands, pages or fans.  If you’re an individual of few words, perhaps the Twitter Twatter is a satisfying solution.  If you feel constrained writing less than 140 characters, maybe Facebook is more your style.  Also, pay attention to where you receive the most traffic.  You want to have a virtual presence wherever your fans tend to congregate, otherwise you are wasting your time.  


Brand Yourself Relevant

One of the best ways to ensure your music transcends the concept of ‘eras’ is to gain sponsorships, and partnerships with hip, and modern brands.  I am not talking about limiting yourself to the usual, equipment-related endorsements.  Think outside the box, and look for unconventional, but creative collaborative opportunities with companies and brands.  For Example, the ultra-modern, ultra-trendy New York designer, John Varvatos has recently launched a fabulous new campaign for his line of menswear.  Who does he partner with for the face of this new campaign?  None other than Country Music superstar, Willie Nelson.  At first I was taken back that such a seemingly opposite pair could collaborate in such an awesome way.  But seeing one of my favorite designers and one of my musical idols come together has sparked a new found attention for both parties.  Since the launch of the campaign, I’ve bought multiple JV jackets, and several Nelson albums I previously did not own.  I’m not the only one taking notice.  Partnerships like this can ignite steam for all involved, and benefit musicians in countless ways.  


Youtube Youtube and More Youtube!

I could write an entire article over the importance of Youtube in artist development (and perhaps I will).  Youtube is such an awesome tool that artists can utilize.  Personally, I feel that it should be in a separate category than other social media sites, simply because the nature of youtube for musicians is unparalleled on any other forum.  You have the ability to let your audience see exactly what you want them to see.  You can create vlogs, discussing whatever is on your mind, give updates to your tour, or new career moves.  And, most importantly, visually communicate with your fans.  It is one thing for management to retweet fans on an official account, or respond to a Facebook message.  However, it is an entirely different experience for fans to see their artists proactively providing feedback to fans.  Youtube also provides great opportunities for earning revenue, via the Partner Program, as well as a place to collaborate with other users, musicians, and brands.  It is a great place to highlight sponsorships with companies, and any endorsments you may have accumulated.  Do not ignore the Tube!  Get an account!


I’ve only picked four Ideas for this list, because I personally cannot stand redundant lists of 10+ items, and feel these are the most important for artist development.  If you want to hear my thoughts on anything else, feel free to add me via linkedin and twitter and we can start a conversation!  


Happy Music Making!


-Dillon Roulet


I work for an entertainment, digital, and business media consulting firm.  I specialize in Artist Development, and manage a small portfolio of bands and solo-artists.  I also run a consumer data and market research firm, specializing in analyzing Millennial Generational trends.  You can add me on Twitter , or Linkedin  if I tickle your fancy.  

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