The Last Of The Superstar Musicians & What’s In Your Freezer.
Do you agree with the following?
From the perspective of album sales and tickets sold, its safe to say… We will never see another U2, another Bowie, another Michael Jackson, another Beatles.
Not because there isn’t the talent there. It’s just that for a long time, record labels haven't invested time and money in:
- Developing artists
- Mass marketing.
Investing in prime time TV ads gives little return these days because most of us don’t tune in the way we used to. The only exception perhaps being, major sporting or political events.
We’ll get back to music in a moment… Promise.
In Malcom Gladwell’s Ted Talk entitled “Choice, Happiness & Spaghetti Sauce” ‘he tells the story of Howard Moscowitz, who’s detailed study of spaghetti sauce changed the world we live in.
We have much to thank him for.
When I checked out Howard’s Wikipedia page, I discovered the term “Bliss Point”. this is “The amount of an ingredient that optimises palatability”!
In the words of Moscowitz himself, “That sensory profile where you like food the most”.
Essentially, Moscowitz played a big part in being responsible for all those variations of spaghetti sauce (chunky, lite, red wine, old fashioned…).
Moscowitz has also been hired by Cadbury Schweppes, Campbell Soup, Kraft, PepsiCo and a heap of well-known brands we pay money for, because we love the specific type of thing they make!
Moscowitz identified there are enough people in the world with different enough ‘bliss points’ - for companies to handle more than just a couple of product lines.
In the same Ted Talk, Gladwell also explains how in public most of us will lie (especially to strangers) about what we like because we don’t want to be judged for our tastes.
He explains, in reality, we don’t all love ‘Strong and Bold’ coffee (even though apparently we’ll tell strangers we do).
Here’s my segue back to music…
Guess what? I used to say to my teachers, I loved John Coltrane.
I lied. I didn’t. I didn’t get it. I think I get it a bit more now, but I have to be in a very specific mood to want to immerse myself in ‘Love Supreme’.
Like a great big freshly cooked lobster, it’s hard to get into, but massively rewarding if you have the time. Or did I just add that last bit to be cool?
Recently my wife was telling me how much she loved an album a friend of ours made, and how much she deserves to ”Get out there and be successful”.
For us musicians “Getting out there” is hugely overwhelming, it means different things to different people. And while you’re at it… define “successful”!
It is very unlikely our friend will achieve superstardom, and I’m not sure she even wants it.
My feeling is that her best chance of making a better living (financially speaking) would be to get a sync or perhaps the chance to write the next Bond theme.
So what lessons can us musicians learn from Howard Moscowitz?
• Invest in yourself, because chances are, no-one else will. Bonus… If you invest in yourself, you’re far more likely to do the work.
• Don’t wait for investment or ‘the big record deal’ and DO NOT… use that as an excuse not to do your best work NOW.
• Stop trying to make everyone happy with your stuff. Accept that you don’t provide the musical ‘Bliss Point” for most people.
• Only seek to entertain/educate those who have a specific hunger for your flavour of music/teaching, mixing/art… you can fill.
I think we’ve all known about the demise of the mega bands and artists for a while now, but I’m not sure we’ve really embraced the new opportunities.
If you do the work, you get to be the best in the world to the people who connect with your style and vibe.
The alternative? Be a watered down version of what you wanted to be, because of a record label!
See my blog about “Why You Should Say NO To Management & Record Labels, & What You Could Do Instead”
Yamit did the work. The album is “Sparks” by “Yamit” you can find it on iTunes and most other platforms.
To my palate, the songs are first class and it was an honor to play some percussion on it. Including a Clay Pot! I hear, Joni Mitchell, Carol King, Queen, The Band, Eva Cassidy, Van Morrison, James Taylor… but that's just me…
I don’t really care what kind of noodles are in the cupboard. I’ll buy what ever seems a fair deal or is on offer. When it comes to alcohol-free beer. I know I love the white version of Bavaria beer. When it comes to music… It matters more to me than most things. To the point where I’ll only listen to it if I can give it my full attention. I HATE music on in the background.
As musicians, we can’t expect music to matter to people as much as it does to us. Our only job is to find the people who care.
The ball is in your court.