Advice: Write Good Music

This weekend I saw a Tweet from Verizon, linking to their article, ‘7 Best Practices for Blogging About Your Business.’ There it is, folks; the death of content marketing. I mean, this has been going on for awhile, but come on, it’s 2015.

A few years back you could get signed from your MySpace page, or break out from a few good music blog posts. Hardly the case today. What worked just a few years ago is dead in the water now. Remember, publicists; take me off your AOL Music email-blast list, they don’t exist anymore.

The best time to ask, “what’s next?” was three years ago. Or five. The second best time is today. In Sophie Benjamin’s Monthly Missive newsletter, she linked to, ‘How the compact disc lost its shine,’ about the time when CDs were selling like hot-cakes, and record execs were busy buying yachts instead of worrying about this “digital music” thing.

So to keep up you can read the many thousands of how-to articles about Facebook, and Twitter, and Instagram, or how to use Periscope and SnapChat to get the word out about your next show that you can stream on Google Hangouts On-Air.

How many people do you know that have left (insert social media network here) in the past year? Right now the social media ecosystem sustains by putting as many updates in front of your eyeballs as often as possible, every day, every hour, every minute.

Is that really how we’re going to continue for the next decade? No way. Things are changing too quick.

So if we can’t predict exactly what’s next, what can we work on today? The basics.

A good live show will still get you places. Early in their career Unsane played a show at CBGB’s in NYC with Sonic Youth. At the show, after a few openers, Sonic Youth started playing. And playing. Long into the night.

Unsane hits the stage at 3am and played their hearts out to less than 10 people. But in attendance was, “Gerard Cosloy from Matador,” explains Chris Spence, “and that’s how we got a deal with them.”

That wouldn’t have happened if Unsane wrote mediocre songs. So do that. Write a bunch of good songs and record them. That “content” is a lot more, “sharable” than your grainy Instagram photo from your messy practice space. Good music played in front of people at shows is also a good strategy, so work on doing more of that, too.

You can be online 16 hours a day and still miss something. Instead, focus your work on writing a good song, putting on a memorable show, and having some decent conversations both online and off. Those things ain’t going away.

Seth Werkheiser is the quiz master of metal trivia at Skulltoaster. He’s also the founder of some music sites you may have heard of, including Noise Creep (2009) + Buzzgrinder (2001). He’s anti-Facebook, anti-clickbait, and anti-growth hacking. You should most definitely follow him on Twitter. Yes, right now.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.