I would like to introduce another concept of mine which I called Ego VS Audience or EVA.
The idea is that your music is situated somewhere on a scale between your personal ego and your potential audience.
Every decision in the creation of your music undeniably lies somewhere on this scale. From the lyrics to the album cover. Your music’s overall place on this scale is the sum of all of your decisions.
Too far to the left and no one can relate to or understand your music.
Too far to the right and you have more of a chance of being successful in the short term, but chances are you won’t leave much behind once you’re forgotten.
To put it another way it’s a very careful balance of having soul and selling out. Personally, I’m more inclined to the left side of the scale – not willing to sacrifice how I feel I want to express myself through music at the expense of the size of my potential audience.
Let’s begin with the place where creativity mixes with life experience. Your ego.
As creatives. Our ego is generally sky high, or in the floor. Depending on that last time someone gave us some negative feedback, whether we’re having a dose of the old writers block, or just feeling worthless.
If all you want, is what you want, then it’s not balanced. It’s not all about what you want. Your lucky if anyone listens to 1 minute of your song, let alone 7.
You don’t want to be in the floor either though. But chances are, if you had no self-confidence you wouldn’t be reading this. But for those in that position. Without fail – You’re better than you were before. Every day that goes by, you’re automatically better. Because you’re one day older. Wiser. More knowledgeable. Don’t let whatever put a stop to your dream before do it again.
Now how about all those people you just wish would stop and listen to your creative genius. Your audience.
People listen to and love music because they want to FEEL something. Be taken on a journey. Forget about their life’s worries. That’s not going to happen if your music is only about stuff that only concerns you, or is so complex and musically wanky that there isn’t a hook in sight. I went into much more detail on this last week.
Audiences like that which they can relate to, because it feels familiar. I’ve never met anyone that likes change. That’s why the structure of popular music hasn’t changed in generations.
As you might imagine, the perfect place to be on that scale is right in the centre. Perfect balanced. The place where you have enough creative input to be new, fresh and exciting, keep your ego happy and fulfilled, but not so much that no one gets it. Get your music here and you’ll more than likely have created something legendary!
Needless to say, my Ego VS Audience theory has flaws and exceptions. Bohemian rhapsody. But I wanted to get across the importance of thinking about the people that matter the most in the quest for a successful artist career. Your audience! Forget about them and your chances plummet.
NEXT WEEK: Artistic Longevity. How long is it gonna be before you ‘make it’.