Music releases, like offspring, he said, need nurturing. Giving birth is just the beginning of the story.
The irony of neither of us not actually having any parenting experience notwithstanding, it was an angle I realized I'd never taken a moment to contemplate.
It made me take a long, hard look at myself. And what I saw, was a bit of a bitter pill.
An occasionally lost soul creating incessantly, without always being at peace with their motivations behind the same. And then walking away from these creations right after, often oblivious to the subconscious feeling of entitlement to the latter's success. Without having actually held their hand through the next step in the process.
Or the required clarity on what 'success' even means to them. All the while comparing this non-existent definition of the same with that of peers during random scrolls down social media and the likes.
It was the kind of epiphanic moment that felt like a cold splash of water on a January morning in Berlin.
What followed was the following correspondence. It felt so powerful that I requested Robert's permission to publish it as a post.
T.L. Mazumdar: Greetz
How're you doing brother? Hope all is well! Was wondering if I may pick your brain on something.
A specific point you'd mentioned during our conversation on the podcast has kept giving me lots to (continually) ponder over. The long-term nurturing of releases (the parenting analogy makes increasing sense every day. Can't just have a kid, gotta take care of em' too, right?). Any chance you could point me towards some literature re: how best to go about this? I've noticed you're a master at it and would be super grateful for any advice, if that's not too intrusive.
Robert Koch : Re: Greetz
You´re always welcome to pick my brain :).
However, I don't really have specific literature recommendations on this. I don't know any.
It's something that's dawned on me over time as I contemplated it.
The book "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran surely inspired a lot of this contemplation, when he spoke about children coming "through you and not from you". Hence the analogy of music being like our children, like we talked about on the podcast.
How exactly the process of nurturing and caring (as well as setting them free and allowing them to have their own life) works though, is something that I think is unique to every individual.
In my case, I make sure I make the music with the best intentions and skills I have to offer. And then try to ensure it has "a good life" out there to the best of my abilities.
This might involve ticking off all the marketing boxes and setting it up for a successful launch, but it might also mean just trusting the process and letting the music find its audience in its own time.
Trusting that the music will find the person who needs to hear it when they are ready.
So it's less about what you want (e.g. "my music is out now and I want everyone to hear it"...which though understandable is not entirely up to you in the first place) and more about trusting divine timing to connect the music that came through you, with the people.
It might be just that one person, it might be thousands. Not something up to you either (the artist).
It's surrendering to allow it to happen, rather than trying to force it to.
So all you can really do is show up every day, work on your art and keep sharing it while making sure it is easily discoverable out there.
The rest is not up to you (the creator).
And I think many artists make the mistake of stopping their creative process after a release because they don't see instant results.
That would be equivalent to a gardener not continuing to sow seeds if they don't bear instant fruit. But a gardener learns to trust the seed to transform into a tree. And in time, bear its fruit.
He doesn't stop the work in the garden in the meantime either. He keeps going. Plants more seeds. Looks after the plants, helping them grow.
But also leaves them alone. Allowing space for growth.
That's the kind of attitude I try to keep in mind in my creative process. It's about accepting the amount of time these things can take, but by no means being passive in the meantime.
As a matter of fact, it's quite the opposite. You can always keep yourself busy by creating more music and making sure it can be heard out there. And then detach yourself from it once it's out and you know you've given it your everything.
In the meantime, focus on the next thing (a project, a record). Chances are just when you stop thinking about what you'd planted a while ago, it'll come back around and surprise you with the fruit you'd hoped it would bear.
That being said, when it comes to the more worldly, boring (but necessary) aspects of "promotion", the process can sometimes be as simple as ensuring a social media presence, maybe hiring PR, etc.
Or maybe even none of that.
At the end of the day, what it really boils down to, is asking yourself:
''How do I make sure my music can be found?''
One way to go about this is to ask yourself: ''How do I find music myself?''
Is it blogs, Spotify playlists, recommendations from friends, record stores, or social media?
How do you come across an artist or a piece of music that resonates?
And then reverse engineer it from there.
If it's social media, make sure you´re on TikTok IG, etc. I recommend concentrating on one of them first and learning the intricacies of the algorithm that makes the content visible.
If it's word of mouth then maybe try to make it happen in the "real world" with concerts, events, and experiences that people attend and tell their friends about.
Most likely it'll be mix of all of the above. But since we don't have unlimited time and resources, it helps to identify what feels authentic to you in your own case and work it from there. Focus on a few areas and try to excel in them rather than trying to do everything at once.
Ultimately it's really about being authentic in the medium of expression you choose. Your music is authentic, so the means of promoting it needs to be as well.
That's why cookie-cutter promotion doesn't really work. People tend to feel uncomfortable doing something just because it "works" for someone else. Finding that authentic voice in the marketing strategy is very much part of the creative process too.
And as much as social media would have us believe that we need to compare ourselves and do what the next person is doing, the truth is that following trends blindly and trying to copy success strategies can actually be quite counter-productive.
The artist's job is to create from a space of authenticity. And inspire others to express themselves authentically as well. It's crucial that this is mirrored in the marketing too.
To quote comic writer and mystic Alan Moore, "only the things you do without the desire of winning or the fear of losing are really pure."
I'd say let`s start there.
That´s my 2 cents on that, hope it helps my dude.