Yesterday Bob Lefsetz published a article entitled Music vs. Social Networking. I always love to read what Bob has to say. There is a lot of debate if what he says matters, that is not the point for me. What he says often makes you think and discuss.
Bob is absolutely right in this article, great music has to come first. But I counter, if you make great music and nobody knows about it is it great? Does it matter?
I don’t see it as case of one vs. other, you need both. Great music first and then a way to let people know about your music. Radio, TV and magazines are not going to tell anyone you have music. You have to tell people.
If all you want to do is record your music for yourself, then forget about the social networks. But, I think most of you want other people to hear your music. If that is the case you are going to have to do some networking to spread the word about your music.
If you make a great record you don’t have to tweet, you don’t have to be on Facebook, you don’t even need a website.
Over the course of the last decade the debate has flipped. From cranky oldsters complaining that they don’t want to do it the new way to wet behind the ears newbies who are computer literate but are second or third rate musicians.
We can smell the hype. We know when you’re working it.
Your fans don’t come first, they come second. You’re first.
If you don’t want to respond to e-mail, that’s fine.
If you don’t want to stand by the merch table at the end of the show, that’s perfectly o.k.
You don’t have to explain the lyrics or blog.
You just have to make great music.
But that’s the hardest thing of all to do.
Let’s put it this way. Dane Cook became successful by spending all day on MySpace, interacting with people. But I’ve yet to find a single person who thinks he’s funny. Try listening to his routines. They’re like your high school buddy who’s funny over french fries trying to play to everybody, it makes you wince.
There’s a huge gap between amateur and pro.
Do you have to tweet to hit .300?
Do you have to be on Facebook to post a triple double?
Do you have to be nice to everybody in the stadium to throw a touchdown pass?
OF COURSE NOT!
Everything’s upside down.
One thing Dick Clark had right, about the most people can say about music is it had a good beat and I could dance to it. We know when something impacts us, when we believe it’s great. And when we find something this good, we want to get closer, we want to tell everybody we know. Come on, do you want to screw movie stars because they called you at home or because they’re beautiful and in great flicks?
Social network if you must.
But it’s no substitute for incredible music. At all.