Putting Your Best Foot Forward
Most of my friends are extremely creative: I know singers, songwriters, musicians, actors, authors, painters, sculptors, woodworkers, potters, gardeners, and chefs. In short, my friends are much like yours; they are artists who love to create, and who want to share their work with the world. Some simply want to make people smile, while others want fans and potential customers to get excited about them and their work. These days, the most common way to share is through social media — Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
From time to time I browse through Facebook’s news feed, scroll through the pictures on Instagram, and even occasionally take a look at the world of Twitter. And though I’m often amazed by the art that I see (and hear), when I browse through social media sites I’m also often disappointed by friends who post things that aren’t as good as they should be (or will be). Songwriters share songs they haven’t yet finished, singers who post one of their performances while apologizing in advance for singing out of tune, bands who upload gig (or rehearsal) videos with truly wretched audio and video.
I understand that some artists want to share their creations with their friends, fans, and potential customers as soon and as often as they can. I would counsel every artist to think — and then think again — before posting things that don’t show them and their work at their best. When you are an artist, you have a brand. You are a brand. Every time you post a work in progress, a weak performance, or an unwatchable video, you weaken your brand, making it less likely that fans will come to your gig, download one of your songs, or purchase your next CD.
We usually give our studio clients roughs at the end of the day. These roughs are not actual mixes; they’re simply a way for our clients to hear their progress toward the finished project, and are tools to help them decide what remains to be done. When those roughs are posted to Facebook (which is not uncommon) they don’t show the artist or their songs in the best light, and ultimately will weaken the impact of those songs on the listener.
I’m not suggesting artists need to keep their audiences in the dark when it comes to the creative process or the work it takes to get from an original concept to the finished work, but I would think it’s better to show a wonderful result first, and then be willing to share the details of the journey to that end. Ultimately, your fans will have a richer, more detailed appreciation of what you do. However, if their first exposure to your art is not positive, they’re less likely to look for it again.
Remember the old saying (attributed to both Oscar Wilde and to Will Rogers, though there’s no evidence that either actually said it): “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” It may be an old saying, but it’s still true. When you introduce your latest song to your public, you really do want to put your best foot forward.