Gear Acquisition Syndrome- Fellow Musicians, You Are Not Alone.

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Every music composer, artist and performer longs to have the latest and greatest tools to work with.   You keep rationalizing that if you only had that next piece of software, guitar, synth, mixing console or microphone, it will somehow magically transform whatever it is you are doing and provide some sort of noticeable edge.   So you keep buying…and buying…and buying.   Credit cards reach their limit but in your mind you still try to justify why that next purchase just has to be made.   This is a typical case of gear acquisition syndrome (GAS) that many of my fellow musicians (and myself) suffer with.

I was stupidly struggling with whether or not to purchase yet another symphonic orchestral library to go along with the four other libraries that I already own when I stumbled on an article referencing some dismal statistics on the amount of time musicians actually spend getting to know the instruments and software that they already own.  It was sobering.   I looked in the mirror and said to myself…”guilty.”  We live in an age of instant gratification where not taking the time to learn about what you already own is commonplace..   From this point on, I have made a commitment to read the manual,  view more online tutorials, look for updates and pull everything out of what I currently have before spending money I don’t have on questionable equipment I don’t really need.   The end result is that I can actually think about the music I’m creating and coming up with better ideas, rather than what purchase is next.

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Every Musician’s Dilemma: Finding Your Audience

I can’t speak for every musician out there,  but the ones I know (myself included) that are truly passionate about writing and composing,  never think strategically about marketing themselves.   Dedicating any of our precious time towards a public relations-marketing strategy just isn’t at the top of the agenda.    Normally, we’re pretty consumed with entombing ourselves in a small cubicle that is filled with electronic blinking equipment,  fixated on perfecting whatever creative ideas are being fed to us.   Hours turn into days, days into weeks, weeks into years and even decades as we work on our next CD or artistic offering.    Finally, the big day comes when the music is finally ready and we want to share it with the world.   The payback is touching listeners and the gratification of receiving all the glowing accolades that might come our way.    Then the sledgehammer of reality hits,  we realize that we have no clue on how to market ourselves and our music.   We have little or no fan base with the exception of a few friends,  our family and relatives along with 200 pseudo-friends on Facebook who could give a rip about our music.   Ugh.

How do we connect with that large potential audience that might love our music?  Is there an answer?  Well, there is one but it’s the equivalent of walking 4 miles to school everyday in a snowstorm.   Every musician must form a  strategy that centers around online viral marketing.  Our music may have all the ingredients for success, but without a strategy to connect,  we’re going to be continuing to interact with that same group of people I mentioned earlier.   So get ready to do this: blogging (yeah what I’m doing),  promotion via suggested posts on Facebook, enact multiple social media campaigns,  form a keyword strategy so you might be discovered in organic searches,  seriously consider a pay-per-click campaign, start your YouTube channel and use all the promotional tools they have made available,  develop an engaging website,  join professional organizations…and the list goes on.   The potential is there to reach millions of fans but it takes a strategy and a passion for self-promotion.   It’s not easy and there’s really no shortcuts.  If you believe in your music and want to share it with the world,  keep repeating this mantra, “online viral marketing.”