This post is part of The Renegade Musician Series.
What is the trend of the day?
As I write this, it’s platforms like Substack, Patreon, Medium, Twitch, Clubhouse, TikTok, and Telegram. In the future, it will be something else. That’s a guarantee.
If you can’t take subtlety, let me bludgeon you over the head with a dose of reality (spoiler alert):
All these platforms are going to follow the same trajectory. There will be early adopters and a few success stories. Everyone will jump on the platform. The algorithm will change, and it will get harder to grow an audience. From there, it will just keep getting harder and harder, until everyone jumps onto a new bandwagon, the platform gets shut down, it gets discontinued by the provider, or it wastes away in internet obscurity. Rinse, repeat.
In the meantime, artists are losing the audiences they worked so hard to attract and build over the course of months and years. Didn’t anyone think to come up with a backup plan?
I’ve been teaching this for as long as I can remember but listen well – begin building your email list TODAY.
Now, I don’t take issue with any of the platforms of the day or even the ones to come.
But a Renegade Musician knows that when they’re building on someone else’s property, they’re building on rented land. Sure, they take advantage of the tools available. But they prioritize building their own platform. They build assets. Two things – a website and an email list.
How many Facebook groups have been deleted? How many YouTube channels are getting demonetized or outright banned? How many personalities and content creators are getting shadow banned and de-platformed by Amazon?
I don’t know about the future, but as I write this, that number is sky high, mostly because of the pandemic, as well as the insane politics and censorship it has brought to the fore.
In 2020, as lockdowns were beginning, my friend was looking to post a meme about past pandemics on Facebook. Before he could even post, Facebook alerted him that his post wouldn’t be seen by anyone.
I’m sorry, but if you still think building exclusively on rented land is a good idea, you’re out of your gourd. Censorship can only be exercised by publishers, not social media platforms. And yet we stand by and allow it to happen. We cast our vote by playing by their rules instead of creating and living by our own. We devalue our constitutions and charters of rights by adhering to values other than freedom.If you still think building exclusively on rented land is a good idea, you’re out of your gourd. Click To Tweet
You need a space you own, and control, and you need it now. You need to build it into a robust empire with rich multimedia content, music and merch (a store), and calls to action to join your email list. You need to be aggressive in growing it, and patient in seeking results.
Your home base is crucial to your success. It doesn’t just help you book shows, as one of my young musician friends so naively said. It protects you against loss. It’s risk management of the highest order. It’s also your perpetual sales engine if you do it right.