How often do you buy something you want vs. something you need? Do you have the disposable income to buy a product or music on a whim, listen to it once, or, in some cases, never listen to it? Buy a coat, dress, pants or shirt and wear it infrequently? Prior to the 2008 economic crash the answer was most likely much different than today.
Our cultural values and buying habits are shifting. More value is being placed on access rather than ownership, or the concept of collaborative consumption. What’s mine is yours to share.
This is a wave that cannot be ignored. The question we all face is: “how do we adapt?”
With the demise of traditional sales channels we have all had to rethink how to sell our goods and services. I wonder how we can all be GREAT at one thing while we attempt to expand our skill sets to include marketing, promotion, sales, etc. I don’t know about you, but there are not enough hours in the day to be the best musician I can be.
What is the answer? Well, if I knew that I’d be on my private jet…flitting about the world on a whim.
I do know this. To stand out from the crowd requires dedication to excellence and the discipline to work hard enough to achieve it. (check out Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers”).
I am about 2/3 of the way through reading “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson. The common theme is Jobs’ obsession with brilliant products. When Jobs came back to run Apple he immediately scrapped 70% of the Apple product line. His view was: “focus on 4 products and make them great”. They were: 1 pro laptop, 1 pro desktop, 1 consumer laptop and 1 consumer desktop. Focusing on making great product enabled Apple to create exceptional value for it’s customer.
Rising above the noise of the Social Web.
We should all, musicians and non-musicians alike, strive for greatness rather than trying to appease everyone (confusing everyone in the process). “Great” will always have value. There will always be a desire for great. Who cares about mediocracy?
The silver lining may well come from the notion of “collaborative consumption”. As we continue to find more efficient means to live our lives I would like to optimistically think that discretionary spending will increase for products and services the consumer considers to be not only “great” but of “great value”.
Art is not going away. It has survived since the beginning of recorded history. Economic and political cycles come and go. Art adapts to these challenges and survives…in large part because of the human need for expression.
Take a lesson from Steve Jobs: focus on creating “Great product”.