Adapt... Or Don`t

The way the music is going is the way the world is going.

Things that use to work, don't work that way anymore. So, what is one to do in that situation?

Adapt.

If you can't, you have two options:

1) Quit while you're ahead
2) Keep on doing what doesn't work

Sound too ominous?

Not really. Let me explain.

Change is what life is all about. Think about it. We may want things to remain the same in a relationship but they don't. A job we've had for years requires us to get re-trained or risk being laid off or fired.

Somehow life gets in the way of our plans, and we have two options... change things, or pretend everything is just fine and face the consequences.

Well, life in the music business is no different.

The changes that have been going on for the last decade or so, present a similar situation for any musician or band.

Change, adapt, or not.

Technology changes have been the most common trend in our business. Think of it: a decade ago there was no Twitter or Facebook, or MySpace. Social networking was an email event, or at best a discussion group.

The economy has changed dramatically too. Unemployment and the housing market have brought challenges to everyone. And that means your fans have been affected by these and other social changes.

What are you going to do about it?

Face the fact that your fans are, like the rest of us, are trying to deal with technology and economic issues just like we are.

So, we have to adapt to these changes, as uncomfortable as that may be, or not.

What is your decision? Are you going to adapt to as many new technology tools as you can and learn how to communicate with your fans in newer and more efficient ways, or are you going to remain stubborn, set in your ways, refusing to adapt to these new technology tools?

And the same goes for our economic problems. If indeed the economy is affecting all of us, and that means your fans too, what can you do to get their business, their money, when times are tough and fans of music have so many other musical choices to choose from?

Are you going to give them some 'special deals', or reward them with free songs, or tickets to your live shows, or contests?

What can you think of to attract your fans to support you more?

Or...

You still have that other choice... do nothing. Just deny reality and pretend that nothing is different today in artist/fan relationships, and that the old analog technology you relied on in the past is just fine.

Yeah, do that. That's a real smart idea. Don't change, just deny as best you can.

Throughout his fprty year career in the music business, FourFront Media & Music's Christopher Knab has shared his experience at many industry conventions and conferences, including the New Music Seminar and the Northwest Area Music Business Conference.

Knab was owner of a San Francisco music store, co-owner of the 415 Records label, and station manager at KCMU Radio in Seattle.

He currently provides a unique consultation and education service for independent musicians and record labels. His new book is entitled "Music Is Your Business".

Christopher Knab

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