(noise)letter: The Old and New Music Industry Models — and How You Can Have Both

It's been a long time. To be honest, I lost steam on the (noise)letter for the last few months and needed some time to regroup on where Noise Gate was headed, given our world's circumstances. And in the midst of all that, the last thing I wanted to do was add to the noise.


A lot can happen under the cover of noise... That's the entire reason I started this agency. As a way to help bands cut through the noise, inspire a unique sound or strategy, and find their own place in the industry. The way to do that has changed dramatically, even just in this past year.


At one point, having a tight and innovative live show would get you on bigger bills and in front of more people. For the last year, it's been (almost exclusively) about how you livestream your music and funnel fans into your online universe.


At one point, racking up followers meant racking up fans. Now, volume is a vanity metric and is not considered an indicator of the quality of your listeners — it's more important to assess how deeply they engage with you as an artist using new metrics and new ways of tracking behavior.


At one point, reaching new audiences was dependent on generating buzz online through magazines, news outlets, radio, and blogs. Now that there are more platforms than ever, you have to know how to make your pitch stand out AND leverage other means of social proof.


At one point, playlist placements were literally everything. Now, there are so many ways to get your music to the right people, and if you aren't spending regular money on social media advertising in tandem with other outreach, you're bound to miss opportunities.


At one point, a musician's only job was to write good music. Now, musicians have to be producers, marketers, techies, multi-instrumentalists, and content creators.


It's a lot of evolution, and by far and large, I don't think it's a bad thing. It's the nature of change and progress. I believe that some of these evolutions are permanent — as permanent as anything is in the music industry — and some will ebb and flow as the world re-emerges. And I believe that ALL of these are worthy and important goals; a solid live show and a solid livestream strategy. Playlist placements and Facebook ads. More followers and more engaging content.


Working both sides of change is a sign that we're listening, and that our next move is informed by all we've been given.


Just because it's changing doesn't mean we have to abandon all we know or all we've built of our music industry. Through all of this change, one thing has stayed the same:


Musicians who make creative, quality music will still stand out and cut through the noise.


Putting together a unique live experience is infinitely easier when the music is tight. Pitching to a publication is more hopeful when the music is unique and well-executed. Playlist placements are so much easier to score when you have a strong musical identity. And your listeners are much more likely to stick around if you give them something of quality that they can't get anywhere else.


Is it true that some bands got a jump start when the pandemic hit? Absolutely.


Is it also true that some artists dug their heels in and figured out how to build a successful platform with no experience, no help, and little to no direction? ABSOLUTELY.


Wherever you are on the journey, you can do this. There are so many tools and resources out there for you. If you feel stuck, look at the past, the present, and the future, and make a game plan.


Do you need a fresh take on songwriting? Do you need to dig in and understand digital marketing on a more granular level? Do you need help knowing what technology you need for a livestream setup? Do you need recording advice?


Ask, and receive. Find your weapons and start training.


To your success,

Naø 🖤


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