The Long Courtship

I was reading an article about the current race in the U.S. to name someone to run for the Republican party…I should note that I am not endorsing anyone or either side here, I’m going to be talking about music!

Take Mitt Romney…he recently won in Iowa, though barely.  I don’t really understand U.S. elections, but in simple terms he tried to win Iowa four years ago and essentially did as well now as he did then.  Four years ago, he lost to another candidate…oh, I should also mention that he won this time with fewer votes…so like…it’s victory, but not ‘Fist Pump’ levels.

The thought I had came when I read this line in said article:

That’s not much progress for a candidate who has been courting Iowans off and on for five years.

That changes the whole story to me!  It’s not like this guy went to Iowa four years ago, dicked around for awhile, then came back hoping opinions had changed…he’s been courting them.  He’s been going back to the state, making speeches, having parties, and trying to sway the favour of one group of people for four years…and in the end he was where he was four years ago, except this time with a bittersweet win.

Two things come to mind:

  1. It takes hard work to even take small steps.  Romney ‘won’ but only just, and those four years of ‘courting’ may be what pushed him ahead of his competitors.
  2. If people don’t like you no amount of market research, schmoozing, advertising and face time can fix that.  Romney may have won because people were sick of everyone else, or the whole biz, which gave him an edge.

Now, think of this as a musician.  If you’re playing the same city…over and over again…and no one is coming to your shows that really means you haven’t reached your audience.  To reach them you need to find them, court them, give them what they want.  Play great shows, engage them online, offer super fans special bonuses like backstage hangouts or hang out at the bar after the show.

But…if you’re playing over and over again…and courting people…and four years later you’re exactly where you were…you have to ask yourself: do I ‘love’ this?

If the answer is yes, then hell keep DOING it!  We need more musicians who are playing because they love it.

If the answer is no…then I think it’s time to reassess your situation.  I’d say it’s time to read the signs and realize that people just aren’t that into you.

** I’d like to add a positive un-Lefsetzy coda…People aren’t into you as you currently are.  Maybe it’s time to experiment:

  • try something new
  • collaborate
  • co-songwrite with another band
  • do a side project
  • try a different creative outlet for a few months
  • go on a vacation and bring your guitar for inspiration
  • learn a new method of recording that changes how you think about songwriting (I’m currently learning Ableton which is a big change)

…it’s never the end, just maybe a sign that things need to go a different direction

And again for citation purposes, the article was in CNN and you can read it by clicking here, though honestly…I stopped reading at about that quoted line up above!!

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