Funny what happens when you have time away from an ongoing project. One thing is that you have a chance for reflection. It’s at that point that you may (re)discover a kernel of what originally motivated you to begin your endeavors. In my case, my time away from the blog has been due to the addition of a little girl to our family. We’re adapting to another person in our midst and coming to grips with what that means for the routines that we all used to take for granted.
But the time away has been good, because it gets me back to the original purpose of the blog. As many of you know, I’m a marketer. It’s long been my contention that helping Black rock move closer to the mainstream isn’t a matter of finding better ways of marketing artists. Rather, it’s about finding better ways to facilitate the discovery of the music, particularly by African American audiences. This was the impetus, also, behind BoldasLIVE: Give folks an opportunity to get know the artists AND hear their music. That’s the point at which audiences can make a better decision as to who they’ll support. Of course, audiences won’t be into every artist they see in this format, but at least they’ll have the full story.
The point here is that it’s about the audience, not the artist. More importantly, artists will have to start thinking like this. As hard as it will be for some, I believe success in the future will be based on an artist taking a services approach. This means knowing your core fans: Who they are, where they are, and what specifically they like about you. And it’s about treating them well, like they’re members of an exclusive fan club. Trent Reznor gets it. So did Black Kids when they released their indie EP for free. Understand that it’s the fans who will rush out to buy or download your new album. These are the ones who will make an effort to get to your shows (no small thing as people get older, start having kids and begin having significantly less discretionary time). They are the ones who’ll talk you up to their friends.
So, yes, let’s get back to our ongoing discussion of the mainstreaming of Black rock and the evolution of the new Black imagination. But know that I’ll also share tools and approaches that may be useful to Black rock artists as they build their relationships with their fans. And without the fans, Black rock will stay on the fringes.