Summer music series: Always move forward

I write about strategies to turn fans into customers and customers into fans. I also share ways to use real-time strategies to spread ideas, influence minds, and build business.

Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead  |  Personal branding  |  Music  |  Marketing  |  Best Practices

Vibesleftsmall When Grateful Dead spiritual leader Jerry Garcia died in 1995 and the band stopped touring, many long-time fans found themselves suddenly without a reason to gather with the many friends they made on tour. It was a sad time for those people for whom the band was an important anchor in their lives. At the same time, members of the Grateful Dead wondered what to do next.

In today's installment of my Summer Music Series (which is running all of this week) I want to touch on the idea of moving forward.

In our careers, we have a choice -- We can remain stagnant, doing the same thing in the same way and within the same industry year after year.

Or we can constantly reinvent ourselves for to take advantage of the future.

In this short video, which I made at Gathering of the Vibes with my friend Tim Washer, I talk about how this festival serves as a way to move the Grateful Dead tribe forward even now, 16 years after the death of Jerry Garcia and the breakup of the band.

Direct link to Discovering the essence of Gathering of the Vibes 2011 on YouTube

Vibes rightlarg In 16 years, Gathering of the Vibes has grown into a premiere northeast music festival that combines legendary artists with emerging acts to appeal to a wide cross-section of live music enthusiasts. The festival plays an important role in exposing the next generation to live music. "It's a tribute to the power, influence, and longevity of the music of the Grateful Dead that many teenagers and younger kids come to the Vibes with their parents and grandparents," says Ken Hays, founder of Gathering of the Vibes. "The cross generational influence is a tribute to how the community has sustained itself. It's particularly gratifying to me to have kids who are inspired by more than just video games."

I talk more about the festival in this piece I wrote for the Huffington Post Gathering of the Vibes Music Festival Moves the Grateful Dead Tribe Forward

Indeed, Grateful Dead music moves forward as new artists reinterpret their work. For a terrific example, consider this Scarlet Begonias Juanito Pascual interprets Grateful Dead in Flamenco Style Live

Same old song and dance

Every day I run across people who are doing things the same old way.

  • Executives spend boatloads of money on traditional advertising and forbid employees to use that newfangled social media stuff.
  • PR people write press releases and send broadcast spray and pray pitches and then hope for coverage rather than creating content themselves.
  • Marketers let real-time opportunities pass by as they meticulously plan their future marketing & PR campaigns.

How are you reinventing and moving forward?

As I watch the careers of music artists who succeed over the long run (the Grateful Dead, Elvis Costello, and Jane’s Addiction are three that come to mind) the common thread besides good music is re-invention and moving forward.

What are you doing to move forward for success?

Summer Music Series

  • Monday: What YOU can learn from the music business. People are passionate about music. How can you tap into that passion?
  • Tuesday: Do what you love. I interview Grateful Dead percussionist Mickey Hart to learn what has kept him pushing his work forward for more than 50 years.
  • Wednesday: How music fans support nonprofits and causes. Draws on an interview with Andy Bernstein, executive director of HeadCount.
  • Thursday: Always move forward. I write about the Gathering of the Vibes music festival and how it moves music forward. Includes an article I wrote for Huffington Post and a video with quotes from Perry Farrel, Elvis Costello, Wavy Gravy, and Ken Hays.
  • Friday: How brands engage with live music fans. I interview rock photographer Jay Blakesberg and we explore how to tap into music fans and the bands themselves to promote your work.