Independent Rockstar

Insight for Independent Musicians

Musicians Can’t Compete With Machines.

No, I’m not going to try to convince you to replace your bass player with a robot (though in some cases it might be worth considering…), but I am going to suggest that machines might be better suited for some of the things that you’re burning yourself out by doing.

For example, how many times have you or someone you know said something like ‘crap! I’ve been slacking, I haven’t sent out a newsletter in weeks I need to remember to send one out tomorrow… but I have to work until 6 and then I have rehearsal and… [blah blah blah]’.  Well, did you know that there are services out there that allow you to send emails automatically at whatever intervals you decide?

They start sending in a timed sequence that starts on the day someone signs up for your mailing list.  You don’t have to remember a damn thing or take any more time out of your busy schedule once you have it set up!  You can create a sequence of emails that tell your story as an artist, unite people behind causes you believe in, tell amazing stories about your last tour, communicate the amazing things that came together to make your last CD something special and send them to offers to purchase your music and merch.  Maybe you’re aware that this technology exists but you haven’t implemented it yet.  Well it’s only the single most effective way to sell your music online (if it’s done right) so maybe you should think about it..hmm?

Another key element of being successful as an indie artist today is getting traffic to your website and online profiles. If your music is good then technology can help you do that too. More on that later…

What it boils down to is that technology gives us the power to leverage the value and beauty of our art to reach more people, more efficiently.  Just think about what it must’ve been like when they invented the printing press.  Can you imagine trying to be a successful author without it – trying to produce each book one at a time??

Machines can’t create art.  Nor can artists compete with machines when it comes to leveraging the power of what they produce.  Here’s a video of Steve Jobs in the 80’s that illustrates this point:

So how else can we use technology to bring in more fans without burning ourselves out?  Well, if you can create a spark of intrigue, desire and/or demand then I’ve created a new tool with my friend John that can turn that into some real social media action. Your job is to make good music and start the demand. If you can do that then you can think of this little tool as a ‘bicycle’ for your social media buzz:

About Scott James

Musician / Blogger / Web Designer / MBTI Nerd living in Hollywood, CA
Scott James

10 Responses to “Musicians Can’t Compete With Machines.”

  1. Kat Parsons says:

    Love the Viral Music Player!

  2. John O.Reilly says:

    I’m already on the earlybird list,can’t hardly wait:-) Scott!! How have you been?

  3. This is definitely a two edged sword,
    we live in a day where talent & desire alone
    can easily be trumped by lack of the right
    technology. In my studio I use an
    older 4 track mixer & effects processor with
    my students, I haven’t had the money to
    upgrade yet, & one of my students looked at
    me like I was a dinosaur for not having
    the latest iRig…we may call this situation
    unfair…in the old days I was one of two
    leading guitar authorities in a 200 mile
    radius, that was before the internet…
    now I have to spend 30 hours a week online
    promoting my business just to make ends meet.
    In the old days I went twenty feet off shore
    with my talent to catch 50 pound bass, now
    I go 6 miles off shore in search of gold fish…
    Too many fishing poles in an ever smaller pond…
    but somehow we find creative ways to survive,
    yes my apologies if this sounds like a rant,
    but I feel I’m voicing what millions of
    musicians are feeling.

  4. And I have to post on last comment
    to finish my rant…as if the
    situation wasn’t hard enough,
    my main new competitor in this
    region has a marketing degree,
    and a big budget…yes,
    man alone cannot compete with
    machines, as a friend of mine
    recently said ‘He who has the
    most toys & the biggest budget
    wins’…so I am finding creative
    ways around this situation, I’ll
    keep you posted, as I’m not ready
    to throw away my music career &
    400K invested over decades, yet.

    • Yeah, adaptability and constant learning are key. Letting go of what’s worked in the past can be very difficult and stressful, which is a big reason why the industry has had a rough time for the past 12 years or so. It always comes down to the things you can’t see. I think one of the best ways to start seeing those things is to get feedback from people who are succeeding. I recommend checking out some of John Oszajca’s stuff. John’s a good friend of mine and he’s got a lot of experience and some great tips:

      • Thank you Scott for your timely advice,
        I’ve always been a survivor,
        so I’ll keep you posted,
        it’s about to get very interesting
        around here…BTW, your site is the
        main one I recommend to my students now
        who have professional aspirations in
        the music biz…great work & I look
        forward to your upcoming articles! Susan

        • Thanks so much Susan, I appreciate you recommending the site! I checked out your YouTube channel. It definitely sounds like you’ve got the goods. I look forward to hearing about your future successes!

  5. Man is indeed cannot compete the machines! But then there are some that the machine cannot make it, only humans. Nowadays, there are a lot of new technologies that helps human to do the job. Great post Scott!

    Merlin Moon