This past weekend, I watched an insane film. It was an indie film called “Escape From Tomorrow.”
I saw the cover and thought it looked interesting. So I Googled it. I read that it was trippy, odd, and that the filmmaker employed some truly guerrilla techniques to make the film.
And I was hooked. I actually enjoyed the film – even though it wasn’t the highest production quality or the most realistic plot line.
But I learned a pretty valuable lesson after watching this odd movie. And it’s the reason people don’t like your music – and how to get them to like it.
[wc_box color=”primary” text_align=”left”][wc_heading type=”h1″ title=”It’s all about expectations.” text_align=”left”][/wc_box]
Let me play out a scenario for you. You want to show your metal-head friend some of your favorite music. You describe it as “hardcore” and “amazing.” You hit play, and Beethoven’s 9th starts to play. Chances are your friend is not going to like it.
Why? Because you didn’t set up the right expectations. Using non-descriptive words (amazing) and inaccurate words (hardcore) led your friend to believe that he would hear something completely different. He was surprised by what actually played, and since it didn’t match his description of “amazing” immediately, he rejected it.
It’s basic human nature. But if you can set up the right expectations for your music, chances are people will enjoy it much more.
Much like my experience with the film. Had I not been expecting it, I would have totally rejected the plot and some of the ridiculousness that ensued. But I had the right expectations going into it, so I actually enjoyed it. Here are some tips for setting up good expectations before you share your music with someone:
1. Give them an accurate description of your music without linking it to some famous artist. This is a shot in the foot. If I say my music is like Keith Urban, but I play it and it isn’t quite as good, I’ve given the listener the impression that my music is not that good. However, if I describe it as “pop country with upbeat lyrics,” the listener isn’t going to immediately compare it with anything.
2. Tell them something about the story. A quick line about the lyrics is a fine way to tie the element of story into your description. Everybody loves a story, so hook them with it. Instead of “my lyrics are about drinking beer, driving trucks, and pretty ladies”, try something more like “my lyrics look at the life of the average American from a new and interesting perspective.” Much more enticing.
3. Share a quick production note that will hook them. When I read about what the filmmaker had to go through to create the film, I instantly wanted to see it. Do the same for your audience. Did you record the entire album using only “vintage” guitars? Was the entire songwriting done in a log cabin in the woods? It worked for Bon Iver!
Use these three pieces of info to introduce your music to someone, and I’ll bet they listen and enjoy it much more than they would have otherwise. Why? Because it’s all about the expectations.
Of course, you need good quality music and recordings to start with – become a member today and start improving your skills!