OK so here’s a big one that people don’t want to think about but which remains unflinchingly true the more I delve into the music industry. It’s the simple principle that no matter what you do content-wise, the production quality is not going to be the be all end all. In a world where bands and creatives need to create more content than ever if they want to succeed you need to figure out ways not to cut corners, but rather to create content that is relevant to your audience, platform, and way of branding yourself. I know that this sounds a bit foofy and that there are multiple levels, but we are going to dig in deep – because, at the end of the day, the bands who are precious about their production quality are the bands who don’t actually get anywhere. Meanwhile, you take a guy like Intervals, who understands that bare-bones video content works and his shit blows up. We are about to dig into the how and why of that world.
Now I want to be very clear – I am under no means saying that you should put out shitty content. Furthermore, the foundational content that you are putting together, that is to say, the music, needs to be as good as possible so that you can properly communicate your message to people. If the music isn’t good then it doesn’t matter how much content you create, because at the end of the day that’s the product you are basing this whole thing around. If you are building your house on the sand then you are fucking yourself over. Everything you create needs to be something worth sitting through. That being said if you are creating, for example, video content at scale then it’s probably going to be fairly short videos for social media. What this means is that since these videos are ephemeral no one will remember the specifics after 24 hours. So, they are great to build brand subtly without having to punish yourself spending hours editing.
The thing to remember is how people are consuming content in 2019. When I work, I have my laptop in front of me, my TV playing some sort of soccer match, my phone, and my iPad. That’s four, count ‘em, four screens going at any one time. As you read this article you are probably texting a friend or have something on Netflix in the background. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just important to realize that there is so much content out there now that the way that people are consuming content has fundamentally shifted and that plays to your advantage when trying to create content at scale. Again, it’s not always obvious or easy, but when it comes down to it – people aren’t paying a ton of attention to some small piece of content from a band anymore. That’s just not how we consume. So, while yes you need to be making an impression on them, the pressure for every small detail to be right is no longer there.
Now what a lot of people tell me when I tell them they need to be creating content at scale is that when they post once a week they might get two hundred likes on a post, whereas when they post more frequently the like count goes down. Except it doesn’t. Sure the average number of likes per post goes down, but if you’re getting fifty likes a post for five posts (So 250 overall) and 200 for another… well shit, man. It seems like the five posts is a better deal for you in the long run. I know it’s more work – but if people are engaging with it then it’s going to pay off dividends in the long run. None of this is easy if it was easy everyone would do it. That being said once you make that transition mentally then you know that you are in for something truly special.
So, if you’re trying to figure out how to make content at scale, with the idea in mind that it being top quality all the time is not necessary then what do you do? Well, you start to create honest and authentic video content. This can mean different things for everyone. It can mean telling stories about tour life or it can mean play through videos. It can mean giving the fan a birds-eye view on a rehearsal or it can mean showing off your sick rig. It’s not stuff that has to be high highfalutin’ and it can be improvised too. Remember that we as a culture are so used to being advertised too that the second something comes across as authentic is the second that people seriously want to grow. You need to show off your baseline of authenticity if you want people to pick up what you are putting down and work with you to get to the next level.
At the end of the day – this is going to take a lot of brainstorming and experimentation, but it will pay off. If it’s not paying off it’s because you haven’t quite figured out the hack to do your type of video content yet or you aren’t creating content that is relevant to your audience. These are the things that you need to think about tactically if you are trying to grow your band and reach the next level. Figuring out how you are going to engage with the world around you by giving them the stuff to consume is inherently a very tricky thing, but once you figure it out it can be immensely useful. Double down, create content and see what happens next.
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Matt Bacon is a consultant, A&R man, and journalist specializing in the world of heavy metal. Having worked with everyone from Glam Rock icon Phil Collen of Def Leppard, to post Black Metal titans Alcest, by way of legendary thrashers Exhorder as well as labels including Prophecy Productions and Ripple Music, he has dedicated his life to helping young bands develop. Having started his own blog at the age of 14 he views his career in artist development as ‘a hobby that got out of hand’. In 2015 he formed Dropout Media in order to better support the artists he loves. We sit here now, years later with countless tours booked, records released and deals signed, and loving every minute of it.
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