Lean Production as a Recording Artist

by Global Brand Appeal (GBA)


Lean Production as a Recording Artist

By: Anthony Villiotti

leanthinkingThe typical focus of these articles is usually the idea of running your career [as a recording artist] as a business.  Today’s is absolutely no exception.   In this article, we’re going to compare your repertoire and music offerings as a ‘manufacturing plant,’ and we’re going to discuss the idea of ‘lean production.’  The lean thinking model is a management approach that focuses on eliminating unnecessary business processes and buildup of inventories.  But what’s most important is the fact that it’s all about creating a ‘pull system.’

This model has been around for quite some time but it hasn’t quite made its way to the entertainment industry.  Think of Dell.  Dell has you create your own laptop online before they start producing it, so they are certain that people will buy it – it is completely responsive to customer orders.  This is not completely feasible in the music industry, but we’re going to focus on being mindful of the idea and think of ways we can come closer to this approach.

To create a ‘pull system’ we’re going to screen social media and the internet.  Once you’ve created a buzz for yourself, people will talk.  If you haven’t created enough buzz for yourself where people are talking about you in blogs or social media, use an artist who has a similar voice or brand as you.  Look for what people want from you…or these artists.  For instance, if you’re a male RnB artist who has a similar sound to Tank or Trey Songz, look through forums, blogs, and social media pages and try to see if you can find posts that are speculating about the artist’s next moves.  For example, “Dang, Trey Songz needs to make another baby makin’ hit!” Look for these to get a rough idea of what the demand is.

 Now, one post is not going to tell you what the next big hit will be.  You have to sample many blogs and forums and collect as much data as you can.  There are firms that are completely dedicated to doing this exact thing for major corporations.  This profession is professionally known as market research, but they also include some quantitative research as to past sales or past financial performance.  You can also take a stab at this and try to find market data to find out what the trends in album/single sales have been.  However, the bottom line is that you must conduct a significant amount of research in order to get an idea for what is demanded.

 Additionally, you can create deliberate mechanisms to screen demand such as a survey or a suggestion box on your webpage, but these are less likely to be helpful as an up and coming artist since the reality is that people don’t know you well enough or care about you enough to want new stuff from you.  But if you find a relatively effortless way to make this happen, go for it.  You want as many opinions as possible.

 Finally, one more thing to take into consideration is the scale of your target audience.  Are you trying to phase your way in going from local, to regional, and then to national?  Then your job will be a lot easier from the beginning.  Finding out what the consumer preferences are in Boston is going to be a lot easier than finding out consumer preferences nationwide.

 I am introducing this concept of ‘lean production’ in the music industry as something for you to solely keep in mind and maybe try out if you have the time.  It is by no means the norm – as the biggest successes create demand, rather than react to it.  However, it is definitely something to think about as we’re always trying to stay ahead of the trends.

Global Brand Appeal (GBA)

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