Differentiating Between Action and Change

Physician Heal Thyself

I was reading an e-book on my iPhone the other day and hit the library tab by mistake which revealed every book in my account.

Since a lot of authors will give books away to try to get reviews (a profoundly unsuccessful tactic that I tried myself once) – there are a number of titles there.  Skimming through them  I thought about the difference between taking action and making changes.

Taking Action is often a cycle that is more of a stationary bike than anyone would care to admit.  For many of us, the cycle works like this:

  • You realize that something is wrong and needs fixing.  Perhaps you’re in a dead-end job, or you need to lose weight or you need to figure out how to get your product out in the world.
  • Realizing that you have a problem – you decide to take action to fix that problem.  You do research and find that someone else also had this problem and came up with a solution – and their book is only $3.99!  You pick it up, and (if you’re really motivated) you read a chapter and perhaps have a few “a-ha!” moments and start to carve out your plan.
  • More likely you pick it up and go make yourself a coffee or a tea to sit down and read it and then get distracted by what someone posted on Facebook and then never get back to it.

I saw (what I may have mistakenly remembered was a) TED Talk that advised people to not discuss projects at the preliminary level with other people because their likelihood to complete them would diminish.  The speaker cited a study that showed that discussing future projects with other people created the same chemical reaction in the brain as actually completing them.  It’s why some people get super psyched about a plan they’re going to enact, have their friends tell them it’s brilliant and then there’s no fire the following day to complete it.

From personal experience, I can tell you that it’s easy to confuse buying something with doing something because by buying something you’re taking action – which is what you said you’d do.

Taking action doesn’t necessarily mean making change.

Change comes from consistency.

  • Consistency means working on something repeatedly (and often daily) until it becomes an integrated part of you.

Change comes from focus.

  • Focus is a skill.  It has to be developed and nurtured.
  • Focus is easier to maintain when options are limited.
  • It is much easier to sit down and focus on a book if it’s the only book in the queue and not have a full queue and have your energy divided between which other books there you should read.

Some people are autodidactic.  They can read a book, assimilate and integrate the material and take immediate action.

Not everyone works that way though and the irony is that people who are not naturally autodidactic will often read a book, not take action on the book, assume that something must be wrong with them because they can see that the material book is working for other people and then solve the problem by buying another book.

Your book will not solve your problem on it’s own.

The actions you take from doing the things talked about in the book however, may.

So please, stop reading this post and start making the change you want to be.

But also please come back – I’ll have a lot more material up to help stay whatever course you happen to be on.

As always, thanks for reading!

-SC

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The Trickle Down Theory In Action

I was listening to the radio as I was driving home last night (I had finally caught up with all my pod casts on my iPhone) and the local classic rock radio station was playing a syndicated run of the Sixx Sense (Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue’s) radio show.  On the show, Nikki mentioned a statement Joey Kramer of Aerosmith made in an interview that Aerosmith wouldn’t likely be releasing any more full length recordings.

“It would be great to make another record, but it’s almost (like) ‘Why bother?’ Records don’t sell and they don’t do anything….There’s really no money per se to be made on records. We used to make a lot of money on records. Now all of our money is made on touring. Artistically, it would be fun to make another record and it would be a beautiful thing if we can put it together. But to what avail, I don’t know. There’s almost no reason to do it, you know, judging from the last one and how it went over.”

(This quote was taken from this article).  – http://music.msn.com/music/article.aspx?news=864585

Aerosmith’s 15th release, Music From Another Dimension sold “only” 63,100 copies during its first week U.S. release – a substantial downturn from previous efforts.

Sixx went on to talk about how no one buys albums anymore and about the business model for releasing singles going forward for both Aerosmith and for his band.

A completely unnecessary plug for Seth Godin

For those of you who have any interest in music as Business – I can’t recommend the completely free Seth Godin’s Start Up School podcast enough. (You may want to take a moment right now and go ahead and download the episodes.  Don’t worry this post is staying right here).  Mr. Godin talks about a number of great things that are applicable to making money in music in the podcasts, but one area in particular can be direct relation to this post.  In one episode, Mr. Godin said that people at the top are always the last to be affected by an economic downturn.  So, for example, Van Morrison will still have people go out and buy Moondance because it’s Van Morrison.  He might not be making the money he was making before file sharing, but he’s making more money than a new, unknown act would be making from music.

So, the fact that a large band is now coming to the same conclusion as every other working band on the planet this late in the game isn’t surprising.

But I think that their strategy is all wrong.

I think it’s all wrong because I’m guessing that they only learned half the lesson presented here and will execute the strategy in the wrong way.

The Dinosaur And Creating False Scarcity

The bands that get momentum from the “singles” models (and I put singles in quotes because I honestly think that only people over the age of 30 even remember what I single release it) get momentum from an aggressive release and touring schedule.  They might release 2-5 eps a year.  They have new tracks out constantly because it’s the new tracks that drive traffic and attention to them.

It’s an aggressive promotion strategy and one that requires a lot of flexibility.

Aerosmith is a large corporate dinosaur – even if they’re not signed to a label anymore.  They need to self-fund releases (and it will give them pause to output money before bringing more in) and, quite frankly, given that every past effort has involved spending years recording, mixing and promoting a new full length release – they’re not going to be able to strip it down and knock new releases out one after another in quick fashion.

But I also think they got it wrong.

Know Your Audience.

Yes, a number of people who are willing to buy music will buy a single rather than an album.

You know who buys albums, by and large?

I’ll give you a few groups off the top of my head.

Metalheads

Prog Rock fans

Jazzers

Those are some specific sub-genres that have fans who get behind bands rather than singles.  People who dig Animals as Leaders will buy whatever new release they have.  Ditto for King Crimson or Allan Holdsworth fans.  They’re not in it for the single.  They’re in it for the experience.

Aerosmith may look back at the ‘80s when 40,000 units sold might not even get you a top 40 release in a given week, but they don’t seem to realize that 60,000+ units is a LOT of units sold in the contemporary music market.

I’m guessing their fans will wait for a new album.

Will they wait for the same length of time for a new single?

There are a few related lessons I’m gathering from this extrapolation on a statement.

Know your audience

know what they expect from you

know your ability to meet those expectations.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens down the road for Aerosmith.  They might have enough backlog to be able to get things out quickly and prove me wrong, but it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out for them in the future.

That’s it for now.  As always – I hope this helps in some way and thanks for reading!

-SC