This is another way of saying, “Don’t put the cart before the horse.”
A while back I read a great book called Behind the Glass. It was and is a popular book within the music community. Back when I first got an internship at a recording studio, I was given the book by the assistant manager of the place. Later, I let a friend borrow it, and I never saw it again. I’ve been meaning to purchase the book ever since.
At the beginning of the book, Howard Massey, the author, conducts an interview of five record producers. One of which is Tony Visconti. On page thirteen Tony says this:
A common mistake that’s being made today is getting the order or protocol reversed. People think, have, do, be: If I have this equipment, I can do it, and I can be it. That’s not the way it works: It’s be, do, have. Everyone says, “How do I get a great guitar sound?” It’s really simple: You put the amp there, you tweak, you play, you put the mic there-and a microphone is pretty much a mirror-you put the mic in front of that great guitar sound. That’s where you have to do it in the first place. So many people think that, if they get all this gear, it’s going to make them sound great, but the opposite is true. I know that things are going to change-30 years from now, I don’t know what we’ll be recording on. Maybe a tomato, I don’t know. But it doesn’t matter-certain principles will always apply. They applied two hundred years ago when Mozart was alive-you have to really be an artist. And being an artist means that you have to woodshed, you have to put time in, you have to practice. That is where good sounds will always come from-how you record them is irrelevant. A great performance transcends all that.
Be. Do. Have.
That short quote from the book has stuck with me ever since I first read Behind the Glass. It’s become a mantra of sorts for me, making sure I keep my priorities in order as I progress in my career as a producer.
Owning gear can quickly become a distraction. Focus on constantly sharpening your skills. That is your real asset as a record producer.
And grabbing a copy of Behind the Glass for yourself isn’t a bad idea either. Here’s a preview with links to buy.
I’ve been trying to get around to writing this blog post since April. That’s the month my friend from college, Matt McCloskey, released his record. All along the way I’ve been very inspired by how he has gone about putting everything together-from the writing/recording process, to how he gives away his music, and employs a “participation is marketing” strategy to publicize everything. Matt gets it.
So I thought my opportunity to write about Matt releasing his record had escaped me, until he told me that he was about to go on the road.
Matt put together a tour that is taking him and a band from Texas to New York and back, via Alabama, Tennessee, and Chicago. He’s thought up a theme of sorts to provide a story to the tour, and set up a website/blog where this story unfolds in pretty much real time.
On the recorded music front, Matt set up a website where you can either buy the record, or submit your email address and download the record for free. In this download, Matt even offered something I thought particularly forward-thinking. In addition to the standard mp3 format and the not-so-standard AAC format, he also included the option to download the record in full quality AIFF format. This is something I’ve seen Nine Inch Nails do as well, and although we do offer mp3, AAC, and FLAC via Radical Notion Digital, I have intentions to offer AIFF as well in the future. But it’s inspiring to see Matt making this available now, and acknowledging the value some people find in owning the full quality format (like us producers/engineers). That’s good marketing, friends.
So if you want a good illustration of an artist who gets it, and is employing marketing strategies that are relevant to music fans today, with examples of “participation is marketing,” and giving fans a reason to buy, add Matt McCloskey to your file of case studies.
Check out the links below, and if Matt is coming through your town on his tour, go out and see him. And tell him I said hey.
Dropping in today just to say I’m back. Thanks for your patience while I skipped out the last two Wednesdays.
I did have a blast on the west coast, hanging with Mother/Father in LA and Seattle. Perhaps too much of a blast, as I evidently picked up a cold in Seattle. The weather there got me ready for autumn, as it felt like Nashville feels in late October.
The west cost response to Mother/Father was incredible. I’m so glad we booked this tour. There were a lot of fans who were very enthusiastic about the band, and I personally got to connect with a lot of people. So if you’ve since found this blog, thanks.
From here, things are going to be pretty busy. We have a lot of stuff planned for the next phase of Mother/Father, as well as Radical Notion. And I guess I’ve also got to hash out some topic ideas for this blog, too.
I’ll be back tomorrow with the regularly scheduled content-an example of a recording/performing artist friend of mine, who I think is doing a brilliant job of new marketing (and getting good results).
Thanks again for being loyal readers and subscribers.