Facebook owns Whatsapp, practically the most important app on anyone’s phone. However as important as it is it’s ability to run is at the mercy of the Operating System.
Mac O/S or Android can decide to make it incompatible. This is why Facebook has for long thought of making their own device.
Who owns the platform makes the rules.
If you happen to make money from Google Ads you are at the mercy of what Google considers best practices.
Now lets integrate this to the creative economy.
As artists we often are naively at the mercy of mediums or rather platforms we do not control. That is why we tend to grasp the shorter end of the stick.
We make others make money.
There has been very little effort on our part to actually make first steps to create mediums we can control. Of course we can hardly ever control at 100% (Even Netflix is at the mercy of a browser after all) but as it is our control is negligible.
A yoghurt scoop of artists even have their own websites besides it being ridiculously cheap. No effort to build mailing lists or collect data from people who visit their mediums.
On the other hand the mediums hosting them are collecting that data. Meaning to say Soundcloud knows more about the person who favorites your song on it’s platform than you do.
Technically your song is being used by Soundcloud and Audiomack as bait to collect big data just as s crumb on a spider web can be used to catch a fly. All the spider did was build a system of “passive hunting”.
Of course you have the option to buy that Soundcloud data by being a premium user then do your analysis to see how to re-target.
The more we invest in making mediums by us for us the less we have to rant about exclusion or “control” by mediums whose primary beneficiary is not us.
Very easy to theorize. Very hard to implement but not impossible. Most valuable ideas are hard to execute.
What I am talking about requires ability to unite & specialize. For example Plot Mhako has data on which artistes are more read about on Ear Ground than others.
That data if it is big can allow a smart person with entry level knowledge on statistics to recognize a trend, demographic or some commonality which can be useful in creating better content.
So by platforms I do not mean streaming services or download sites. I am looking even into the data curators have. The exploration of media is so broad it encompasses venues, events, devices and anything that facilitates awareness, consumption or distribution of the art.
Curators do play a big role in what is consumed and how it is perceived. They save time for the prospecting consumer.
At a bigger level what comes out at the homepage of Youtube is curated too… except it is done by robots and as long as you use Youtube you are at the mercy of how its algorithm curates. Just as you are at the mercy of what Plot Mhako, Dodger, Zimoyo or Mcpotar think is worth a read if you depend on them to disseminate your material.
But what if you used all these guys to drive attention to your own mailing list so that you would no longer need them “that much” in your marketing?
What if you gave Plot a link to something people can only access upon subscribing to you?
Overtime you would be able to communicate to those people no matter how few without being at the mercy of bloggers or algorithms favoring it or not.
So here is a format which you can refine for your needs.
1. Conform to the algorithm
For your foundational years conform to what the media wants so that they allow they audience to know you.
2. Use the Attention to Build A Database
As you conform leverage on the awareness to simultaneously get a database of people who like what you do.
All curators including myself are somewhat content prostitutes. One year they are team Tocky Vibes, tomorrow it is Killa T and next it is Enzo Ishall.
Don’t wait to realize this when they dump you.
3. Give Incentives For People to Join Your List
As your list grows enjoy control by having exclusive material that cannot be on mediums you don’t run. In fact use it as bait.
Seth Macfarlane sometimes airs deleted Scenes that are not allowed on Fox on his own mediums or events.
4. Continue to Work With Other Media (Unless you get more mileage in rebellion)
Never totally disregard corporate sponsored media. Continue to manipulate it & allow it to use you for your benefit unless your niche gets more credit by doing so.
For instance David Icke is more trusted for not being on Fox as much. On the other hand people who like David Icke may see Tyson De Grasse as a NASA pawn because there is clearly no effort by the mainstream to mute him.
That said. This advice is flawed but not entirely. It has its take aways. It can be best perfected by implementation and counter argument.
But not just counter-argument for the sake of it. Counter argument with alternative solutions.
Let’s hear it in the comments.