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  • Lyle Burns and Christopher Russell

Every Artist is a Media Company

Every company is now a media company. This isn’t a new take or a innovative take. It’s the reality of today’s business landscape. It’s the standard. CEO and Marketing expert, Gary Vaynerchuk has talked about it. Consulting firm PWC has written about it. With the barriers to entry to media creation shattered by innovative technology, there’s very few reasons not to play in the content creation game.

In most instances, the focus is on traditional businesses evolving as media companies, but I want to talk about why this is essential to artists and how they can employ similar tactics.

First off, many artists don’t think of themselves as a business. They know they have to earn a living, negotiate deals, build relationships, and that their ability to do this impacts their career, but they make art and want to focus on that. However, when it all falls down, an artist isn’t any different from a company. Just like Google or Nike, they make a product for consumers and have to stand out from the competition to attract a consumer’s attention and money. With that being the reality, an artist is at a loss if they do not think of themselves as a media company.

So let’s explore a few reasons why that’s the case.

Don’t Get Lost in the Crowd

Creating online content is as easy as 1-2-3. There’s a ton of information out there, grabbing everyone’s attention and sucking away their 24 hours. If you’re not positioning yourself to create the best content to successfully tell your story and engage your audience on an emotional level, then you’ll have a hard time standing out in the market.

In the information age, what people want is content. They scour the internet for it, visiting site after site to find new content to consume, share, and discuss. If you don’t provide content, you become another nameless, faceless, online entity.

Now before you ask, yes, your music is indeed content, but look at your music as the minimum viable product or the foundational product you offer (we discuss this more in our ebook). What I mean by that, is that you can build upon the art that you’ve created. Remember that the music and your brand is your anchor, your foundation, and you can add layers to the story, enhancing the experience for your current fans as well as attracting new ones.

Content Allows You to Reach the Masses

As I mentioned earlier, content is what people are on the internet for.

But not everyone is looking for the same content. A large percentage of audiences want music, but some want videos, others want articles, pictures, and there are even those who desire a mix all of three plus more.

Creating different forms of content gives you more avenues to reach the world with your art and stories. Different content works well depending on the platform. By creating multiple types of content, you can expand your reach and allow more people to discover you and ultimately navigate their way to your music.

It’s Cheap and Accessible

There are too many avenues to create and distribute media content for free or cheap. So many ways that it doesn’t make sense not to take advantage of it.

Whether it’s music, podcasts, articles, long form videos, short form videos, educational platforms, photos, live streams, whatever kind of content it is, there are multiple platforms available for you to generate and circulate new media.

On top of that, in 2017, you can now do this with high quality content. If your concern is that your quality won’t be as high as a big brand, then take the approach of having a more engaging story.

There’s not really an excuse, other than it takes time and effort to develop and produce content, and even them the time and due diligence is worth the reward. As Arthur Ashe said: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” Figure out how to leverage what you already have done or what you have planned and get more content from it.

It Expands Your Creativity and Value

With more content, you can reveal additional layers to your music, your story, and the experience. Furthermore, you can enhance your public brand and image by using content to show the different layers of your personality and interests. This ultimately will give you more depth and allow fans to connect with you in a multitude of ways.

Maya Angelou has a famous quote, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” Creating content gives you more avenues to be creative, which will feed into your future projects. It lets the audience get insight into you as an artist, outside of what they hear musically. Additionally, it can have huge impact on your brand.

Case Study: Action Bronson's Multi-Layered Media Brand

Action Bronson is my favorite example of how to successfully create quality content that displays an artist’s multifaceted personality.

Bronson is an excellent rapper, an iconic stoner and he’s also a professional chef. When he first arrived as a musician, he also put out video of him cooking. Sometimes it would be him teaching recipes, sometimes it would just be him telling stories and cooking. It expanded his platform to the point where he landed an online show, called “Fuck, That’s Delicious”, which expanded to a show on Vice Network. Exposing his skills as a chef has allowed him to do interviews with Vogue, Bon Appetit, GQ with the focus being food. He’s also been able to run food trucks at festivals.

More recently, he landed another show on Vice called Traveling the Stars: Action Bronson and Friends Watch ‘Ancient Aliens,’ where he simply smokes a ton of weed with an eclectic mix of his closest friends in entertainment and they watch the conspiracy / Sci-Fi show, Ancient Aliens, and share their thoughts. The show is simple, but brilliant, as it adds another layer to his life and allows a niche audience of people who enjoy sci-fi, weed, and rap to feel as if they’re hanging out with Action himself. This has expanded his brand as a weed connoisseur which could be prime time as the cannabis industry is growing at a rapid rate.

All in all, Action Bronson’s a busy guy, but building himself as a multi-layered media company has allowed him to deliver his fans more value than just music. Additionally, all of his other content has helped introduce his music to people who may have never heard it otherwise.

Just like Action, you should tell a complete story of yourself as a person, a musician, and someone with numerous passions. It will give you more ways to entertain and engage the world, which will lead to more gateways to EARN MONEY. Action did this by taking content creation seriously, but in a way that made sense for him. He, himself, has stated that he’s not tech-savvy and that most of the heavy lifting of editing videos and uploading them was done by friends and people on his team, but he never limited himself as just a chef or just a rapper. He got content out there, expanded his brand, and saw success.

As a brand and strategy coach, I think it’s crucial to have a multi-faceted and versatile brand, and to do this you have to think and act like a media company.

Go out, be creative, and create fresh, engaging content. Whether it’s lifestyle videos, blogs, music videos, livestream, or whatever else you think is cool, just go do it.

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