I think we’d be smart as professional photographers to learn all we can from the new music industry.
Despite those who’ve declared music dead, I’d say that – based on results – their industry is actually in resurrection mode right in front of our eyes. I think musicians are also in front of photographers by a good bit since digital commoditized them first.
Might there be something we could learn about how they are reinventing their ecosystem?
This past weekend I had the chance to hang out at Coachella (ah-mazing by the way) – perhaps the front edge of live music (it’s a music festival with about a dozen live and several other highly interactive music related activities going on simultaneously in a massive open field) and a great environment to observe what could be our future, if we choose it.
So, here is what struck me this weekend…
First, in the music industry (just like the photography industry), standouts are (still) standouts.
What I mean by that is the real talent are working harder than ever and are getting rewarded for it. Those that just “call it in” no matter how skilled they are musically are talked about in the crowd as arrogant and irrelevant.
Application: how hard are you (am I) at giving the entirety of our profession our A-Game? Seems that’s the first thing. If we want a shot, we better be giving it all we got.
Second, the best musicians (just like photographers) are head down working at their craft AND their platform now more than ever. And they sure seem to be getting rewarded for it.
Application: If you were to measure your time, how “head-down” are you (am I) these days? More concerned with drama online or getting busy creating? Focus seems key.
Third, consumers will pay to be moved emotionally and to get access to talent. Do even some rough and conservative math at a place like Coachella and it becomes immediately evident people are getting compensated.
Application:Creating a great experience (in their case music, performance and brand… in our case photographs, customer service and brand) and then embedding that experience in real products (in their case souvenirs, t-shirts, merchandise and music – downloable AND analog… in our case prints, albums and photographs – downloadable AND printed) are mutually critical.
Finally, finding internal integrity is the trump card that makes talent, talented. My hunch is the same is true for anyone who creates for a living.
Application: Are you in alignment with what you are made to do (am I)? If not, I think we’d be wise to take pause, re-calibrate and go again.
What does your hunch tell you?