Who IS your Patron?
WHO is your Patron?
No matter where the emphasis lies, the question is vital if you are to be an Artist. The Internet has given just about anyone with an interest the chance to become said “Artist”. Every artist, however, needs their Patron. So, how to find ’em?
Let the Luddites rant and rave about the dangers of technology…I stand firmly on the side of what has been coined the “Technium“. Never have so many had the chance to sculpt, paint, program, write, play, or “do” Art. When Michelangelo was doing his thing, the Sistine chapel was pretty much “it”. And to see it, you had to go there. Now, virtually everything he did is just a Google search from your admiration, derision, or apathy.
Regardless of how you feel, you can get to his work without ever leaving your house. You can, of course, still book a flight to Italy–and for a small fee–look upon the original yourself. (I found the link via a Google search for “Sistine Chapel Tours”…so caveat emptor, and all that.)
So first…the good news.
Since the world’s population is getting comfy with the idea of accessing _everything_ from the Internet, Lorenzo de’ Medici is no longer the only game in town for the future Michelangelo, regardless of his medium.
You have an interview scheduled with anyone, anywhere, who can find you. And–unless you can convince Bill, Warren, Carlos, or one of the other folks from the Forbes list that your work is worth their investment–you’re going to need quite a few “someones” to help you. The Age of the Patron is all but over. The Age of the Patron(s), is alive and quite well, thank you.
If your medium can be recorded, that means anyone in the whole internet capable population could choose to be your Patron, from the guy down the hall, to the fine folks down at McMurdo Station.
Everyone Else in your talent pool is completing for the same attention. Attention is governed by the only scarce resource that will always remain scarce…Time. You need to provide not just an experience with your Art–you need to provide one that your future Patrons will find worthy of their last currency: Attention over time.
How to do that? The first part is easy. Do what you do to the best of your ability, and continuously look for ways to improve what you do. But, you were doing that anyway, right? Were you?
Every once in awhile, an Artist you love gives a performance that just isn’t up to par…they “phone it in”. Be it a lip-synced song, a half effort with a script, a book that just reads, well, tired.
You can tell when an Artist is punching a clock, can’t you? So can everybody else—your future Patrons. So, first rule of finding your Patrons is simple. Don’t disappoint them–Give your all to your Art.
Rule One: Give your All to Your Art.
How does that find your Patron?
If you’re reading a blog this obscure, odds are you’re already doing it. 😉
Give your all to your art. More than just making your art–millions of folks make music, paintings, and pictures that never leave the Garage or the Basement. The Field of Dreams is the only place THAT worked.
Give yourself the Time to build skills if skills are what your style of music calls for. If your music needs powerful enthusiasm and a powerful stage presence, then study and practice that. Give your Art the time and dedication, and it will reward both yourself, and your future Patron(s). Common sense, you say….
The resources to succeed are absolutely out there if you are solid on Rule One. But don’t stop there…You need more than Rule One to find your Patron(s). The drive to create, and believe in what you’ve created end with Rule One. You need more:
Rule Two: You ARE your marketing dept.–so start marketing!
Find ways to make your work audible and visible. This is the part where artists stumble. This is the part where an Artist does not. There is a reason for the vaunted “Rock Star” ego. You have to believe in yourself and what you do….a LOT…to make it happen. More than just make the music, these days….If you’re making music in the garage, do yourself the favor of googling up some resources to help folks find you. Try the Indie Band Survival Guide, for starters–that will lead to other resources–all online.
Hundreds of books have been written on how to “Make It In the Music Business”, and no offense to the authors–they put in a lot of time and effort–but if its on a dead tree, its probably a Mostly Dead idea. The Old Ways aren’t all the way dead–if they were, like Max said: all we could do is check for loose change. But….
For the most part, the answers live in the Cloud now–nothing else changes fast enough to keep up.
Get inside your Patron(s)’ head: You know what you sound like, and WHO you sound like. Find out where Patrons find them, and you’ve found out where their Patrons might become your Patrons. iPods hold a LOT of music–there’s room for you on them.
You don’t have to stop there. The advent of file-sharing has done more than just make a LOT of music available to a lot of people. It has encouraged breaking down the walls of music tribalism. Country Music lives on the same iPod these days as Pop, Surf, Metal, Rap, etc. People want music to be GOOD these days. Ask anyone under 20 what they like, muscially. Go ahead, I’ll wait…..
They didn’t give you a genre, did they? They said something like, “Oh, I like everything–except maybe (fill in the blank). I like, you know…good music.”
So….all they really want, these Patrons, is to listen to music that obeys Rule One. So, get out there and find ’em. you certainly don’t need to abandon the Old Ways of doing so…just just need to add more to the Old Ways.
Doing the dreaded Bar Gig, for instance.
You know it well…Your close friends are there out of a sense of loyalty, your associates and aquaintances might drop in to see just what it is you’re doing–cause you talk about it all the time, after all–and there are some complete strangers as well.
The strangers are your best chance to find new Patron(s). They’re either there because they found a flyer, saw an internet posting, or they visit the bar every Friday, regardless of whose playing–but they are the only people at your show that don’t have a personal connection to you. Exactly who you need to meet. There might be 5 people, or 500…but any way you look at it, they are your Potential Patrons.
After all, everyone knows something like 250 other people…and if this new person becomes a Patron…a FAN….how many others will join them on the journey? Now how many people will they tell? It depends on the individual–but if you have FREE music for them to give to their friends via CD, or website location, you improve your chances immensely. And if you (politely) obtain their email, and you were to SEND them your music–well now they don’t even need to google you. Now…what if they agreed to send it to a couple of their friends? for FREE?–and in return you give them ANOTHER tune, or a cd, or a t-shirt? Now your in the realm of tiered content, and your Patron is now recruiting for you. They’re happy to do it, you’re happy to see new listeners, and the new listeners just got free music.
You just might have 5 or 6 more NEW Patrons for your next Bar Gig–a gig they might pay to see. A gig where they might buy a t-shirt, a membership at your site (for more and new content, of course) or even sponsor your next recording session (in return for yet more new and interesting content).
And so you go on, playing gigs the Old Way….All while working Pandora, iTunes, LastFM, MOG, and so on and so forth….
Yeah. Now you’re working Rule Two.
I’m working on those rules myself. I hope to find others to compliment them. I hope you’ll share your discoveries with us as well…because the pool of Potential Patron(s) is vast indeed…..
..and there is a LOT of room on an iPod.