This is a reply to myself in the previous blog, "What Happened to Built-in Crowds". (This is nothing new, I argue with myself all the time).
I need to get better. I need to sing better, I need to play guitar better, I need to compose better music, I need to write better lyrics.
Marketing and promotion can only help if you're good. At something. Maybe you're not a great singer, but people will come hear you if you're a good guitar player or songwriter. Maybe you're not a good guitar player, but people will come hear you if you're a good singer.
If you're just average, and not really good at anything, your friends will come see you-- for awhile. But to win fans you have to be good, at something.
If you're good, people will open doors for you. They'll tell their friends about you-- "You have to hear this!" Other musicians will invite you to open for them at a gig. The word will get around. That's more important that the best website, the best MySpace or Facebook sites, Twitter, emails, etc.
Of course if you are good, then the-above mentioned promotional tools can really help.
It's hard to evaluate oneself, but I think I'm a decent guitar player, a decent songwriter, and a below-average singer. So I'm taking singing lessons to improve my singing. But I also think I need to improve my musicianship and composing.
I'm going to spend less time on promotion and more time getting better. I want to hear rumors of people emailing their friends saying, "you've got to hear this guy Rob Roper". I want to hear other bands or singer-songwriters approach me and say, "Your music is important, I want to help turn people on to you. Will you open for me next month?" When I hear those sort of things, I'll know I'm good.