Thought Signs

Thought Signs

We often think of our thoughts as random. Coincidental. Unmitigated chaos.

We could be lucid as the clearest glass of water, and still second-guess our better judgment, which we don’t even recognize as our better judgment because we don’t trust ourselves.

The mind, after all, tends towards the negative. Why should it fail us today? The one thing we know we can count on it for is more thoughts that make us feel imperfect, inadequate, and insufficient.

And how many times has the Universe let you down? How many times have you left yourself down? How many disappointments can you endure before you stop trusting?

But maybe the mind is organizing thoughts that need to be expressed to the right person at the right time in the right place. To open doors. We don’t usually live as though that were true, but what if it were? What if we did live that way?

Maybe your thoughts are trying to tell you something. Maybe they aren’t completely out to lunch.

Is it time to quit your job? Move to a new city? Find a new community to join?

It seems insane. Why now? Aren’t you doomed to repeat your past mistakes?

Maybe. But maybe the Universe heard you. Maybe it’s cooperating. Maybe you’re not off in la-la land after all. Maybe what you think about first thing in the morning and last thing before falling asleep is leading somewhere. Will you follow the signs?

Connecting the Dots

Connecting the Dots

You don’t want to be the one doing all the work.

You think you do because you want to take all the credit.

But what you think of as a breakthrough is just incremental progress. And while incremental progress is still progress, and it even seems like the norm, it’s the furthest thing from when you’re following inspiration.

Inspiration causes people to throw their hats over the fence, invest in a business, strike up a new partnership, or sell their home. It sees them taking massive, seemingly illogical actions in a heartbeat. It lays years of struggle to waste and gives way to unprecedented possibilities.

Being stuck in incremental progress is a form of hell. It’s repeating the same day time and again waiting for something interesting or different to occur. And it very rarely does. When it does, it doesn’t last. There’s no inspiration, only sunk cost.

Put connecting dots in the capable hands of the Universe. Partner with the infinite. It can bring things together in surprising and unexpected ways you could never conceive of. The Universe can do it better than you ever could.

292 – How to Book a Show at a Coffeehouse, Hardware Store, or Anywhere

292 – How to Book a Show at a Coffeehouse, Hardware Store, or Anywhere

Have you ever wanted to explore the possibility of performing in alternative venues?

One of the advantages of showing up where no one else is performing is that you can create a market that belongs to you. Plus, price elasticity also applies – you can charge more for the performance than you might be able to in the average music venue.

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, David explains how to book a coffeehouse show. The same approach can work in an array of alternative venues, because businesses do business with other businesses.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:16 – The story of how David booked a showcase at a Starbucks
  • 00:49 – How to approach a store manager to get your show booked
  • 01:37 – Success is not guaranteed
  • 01:48 – Closing thoughts

Sponsors:

  • The Music Entrepreneur Companion Guide: Get the official definitive companion guide to The Music Entrepreneur Code covering, in clarity and detail, secrets to making it in the new music business.
  • Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook: The first of its kind – David’s new premium book covering productivity, featuring content from Music Entrepreneur HQ, his personal blog, his many books, and even Start Your Year the Right Way, which is included in its entirety. Be fully unleashed in accomplishing your dreams and desires!

Transcription:

Hey, it’s David Andrew Wiebe. I’ve told the story that follows in several different ways on different occasions, but the essence of it is this. I’d booked a showcase for three artists at a Starbucks. Afterward, there were other musicians in attendance. They came up to me and asked, “So how did you manage to book a Starbucks?” And then I shared with them the details of how I’d handed a business card to the manager of Starbucks and asked if they were open to having us come in with a few artists to perform. And they were more than agreeable to have us in.

Now, I think here’s the big takeaway here. The fact that I presented a business card made a difference. It wasn’t just, “Hi, I’m David Andrew Wiebe, I’m an artist, I’m a rock musician, and I want to book a gig at your venue.” That’s not how the conversation went.

When she saw the business card, she could plainly and clearly see that it was from a business, not just a local independent musician. But the thing is, you don’t have to have a business to do this. Just about anybody could take the same idea and book in alternative venues. All you really need is a collective. So, you could say, “Hey, I’m from so-and-so artist collective or music collective” or whatever you want to call it, some kind of community, and that could immediately help you create the opportunity of booking in venues that you might not otherwise be able to.

Now, I’m not saying this will work out every single time, but it could certainly broaden the number of opportunities you can get locally, as well as the exposure you can get for your music.

Well, the insight you just heard is also available in my book, The Music Entrepreneur Companion Guide. For a limited time, you can get it for free at davidandrewwiebe.com/FreeBook.

This has been episode 292 of The New Music Industry Podcast. I’m David Andrew Wiebe, and I look forward to seeing you on the stages of the world.

The Right Action

The Right Action

Depends on the situation.

It seems obvious. Yet it is easily overlooked.

Work ethic, productivity, and consistency are often stressed above all else.

If you have things to get done, your default mode will be to grind it out, power through, and keep going.

But ignoring your relationship, your growing fatigue and exhaustion, or important family events, will have consequences.

The right action is the one that’s in front of you. And it may not have anything to do with your default course of action. It may not be obvious.

It may be time to have a date night, lay on the beach, or go to a wedding.

Choosing the right action is usually the hard part.

Can AI Boost Your Productivity as a Musician?

This post originally appeared on Productivity for Musicians.

With the introduction of ChatGPT and other Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based apps and services, people are being drawn to AI like moths to a flame.

It has long been predicted that AI software would have its moment in the spotlight, and at long last, that time has arrived.

But is AI everything it’s been cracked up to be? Should artists take advantage of it? And most importantly, can it be leveraged to enhance your productivity as an artist?

We caught up with our founder & editor David Andrew Wiebe to answer these questions and more.

Artificial, Artificial Intelligence

“First of all, it’s a little premature to call it AI,” said Wiebe. “it’s more like ‘artificial, artificial intelligence.’ It’s not sentient or self-aware. It can’t make decisions for you. Really what we’re dealing with is article compilers, speech emulators, image combiners, and the like.

Yes, it’s quite amazing what they can do with a tiny bit of input, and you may even come away with some usable content. But when you consider that AI is creating derivate work, that it’s taking from different pieces of work that already exist – not creating brand-new work – the context changes entirely.

Look, I do think the technology will continue to improve. But will it ever get to the point of being able to think for itself? The media likes to exaggerate a lot about how it’s quickly becoming self-aware but we’re still basically talking about pre-programmed responses, so we’re just not there yet.

And even though it has the appearance of having popped up out of nowhere this year, even Google products like Gmail and Google Docs, and others like Grammarly, for that matter Microsoft Word, have all featured similar ‘AI’ functionality for a long time. Who exactly is checking your spelling or grammar, pray tell? The same technology. It’s called code.

We get ChatGPT and suddenly everyone’s out of their mind, but this is an instance where appearances are quite deceiving. It could even end up being a short-lived trend.”

Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO)

“In programming, ‘garbage in, garbage out’ (GIGO) is a well-understood concept,” shared Wiebe. “Basically, if you feed gobbledegook into a computer, you’re going to get gobbledegook out of it.

So, this is the first test of whether you’re going to be more productive using AI. Because, again, the quality of what you get depends largely on the input and prompts you provide.

A skilled and experienced copywriter, for example, will have studied effective headlines, researched their audience, looked at relevant industry ads, taken inspiration from parallel industries, and so on. Because they know what good copy looks like, they can create prompts that help them develop sales letters in partnership with AI. And whatever OpenAI products feed to them, they’ll be able to parse and determine what is really going to work and what isn’t, because they’re the expert.

Basically, they’ll be able to edit. They’ll take what is working, edit what isn’t working, and get rid of the rest. Editing is a critical skill for a musician too. But sadly, it seems to be going by the wayside.”

AI Spouts Nonsense

“So, then we come to this issue of editing and fact-checking,” continued Wiebe. “This is the second test of whether you’re going to be productive with AI. It may not be much of a factor with AI image generators, but it applies to any text-based content you have AI create for you.

AI spouts a lot of nonsense. I’ve had it summarize some of my podcasts and blog posts and it keeps talking about SMART goals, which I never talk about in my content. That’s a whole other topic for another time, but even with the best of prompts, AI often doesn’t generate good, factual advice. You’ll often find it trails off in the weeds too.

I had AI generate a press release for me, but it got its facts all garbled. It said I worked with Mariah Carey or something like that. Now, that would be wonderful, but I will openly admit that I haven’t worked with Carey or any major artist, though I have had a few bigger names on my podcast. The bottom line, the press release was completely unusable – a futile waste of time. I don’t think it would have been that much better with better prompts.”

Improving Your Rank in Google?

“So, if you’re thinking in terms of improving fan or customer experience, offering qualified advice, or whatever your other content goals might be… if you don’t make good stuff, it’s GIGO all over again. Give Google garbage, and it will either de-rank you or ensure your article is nowhere near the first-page result. We already have tools to detect AI-written content, so you can bet Google’s algorithm updates will continually deprioritize low-quality fluff.

Don’t get me wrong. Content can still get you traffic. But most of the long-term benefits come from creating well-researched, definitive resources.

Most of the long-term benefits of content come from creating well-researched, definitive resources. Click To Tweet

So, those trying to rank in Google with content shouldn’t straight copy and paste anything AI apps generate for them. For Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you want to create content that’s helpful. Your content can be experience and observation-based, sure, and it doesn’t all have to be research-backed. But if you’re serving bad advice – which AI is quite indiscriminate in dispensing – you should not expect to get much traffic from your content.

Everyone is blinded by acting fast in favor of crafting masterpieces right now – ironically, the opposite of what stopped perfectionists in the past.”

Practical Applications for Musicians

“AI – or really what we’re currently referring to as ‘AI’ still has its place,” concluded Wiebe. “I use OpenAI’s Playground frequently to generate viral headlines for content, outlines for articles or books, social media posts, and even 30-day content plans. It doesn’t all work, but AI can certainly help with generating ideas you wouldn’t necessarily come up with on your own.

This doesn’t mean I use everything I’m given. Anything I use, I will usually edit. Sometimes I will save stuff for later.

Various AI tools can help artists generate everything from lyrical content to guitar solo ideas. Again, it’s just being mindful of making it your own through editing. Otherwise, it’s kind of like plagiarism of a different kind – plagiarism of the hivemind. Remember, it’s not creating something new, it’s more like taking what exists, putting it in a blender, and grinding it up.

I also love Descript. It’s a godsend for podcasters and content creators more generally. It will generate a transcript for your audio or video content automatically. This is something it does a fair job of. There’s almost always some manual editing work involved, mind you.

It also has an ‘overdub’ feature. Essentially, it will take a sample of your voice and let you type in something that wasn’t originally in the audio and emulate your speech. Again, it does a fair job.

What makes Descript stand out is that you can do just about anything you could think of with your content – editing, media highlights, exporting to various formats like PDF, MP3, or MP4, audiograms, and more.”

Conclusion

Yes, AI has its place, and it can boost your productivity as an artist. But it has its limitations. The quality of what you get is basically proportional to your input. Again, GIGO. If you’re going to use AI at all, you need to be smart in how you use it. And the people who are most knowledgeable in their fields are the ones that will benefit most from it.