Lifehacking your way to rock’n’roll stardom


Derek Sivers is a cool bloke. A questionable haircut but still : a great guy.

Graduated from Berklee school of music, likewise some obscure producers such as Quincy Jones or immense jazz guitarists (Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell and John Scofield), he does know a tad about music.

He set up CDBaby, online store selling albums by independent music artist, and now offers consulting services for wannabe musician artists. Incidentally he also happens to be a great blogger often referred to by some Hypertextual heroes like 37Signals. Being at the exact intersection between music industry, lifehacking and attention economy it was just a matter of time before I start waxing lyrical about his work.

He offers on his web page a free book : How to call attention to your music : you just need to register (you’ll then get a nice personal e-mail from Derek himself).

This is a straight-forward short book loaded with advices acquired while working in the music business – either as a musician or for Warner/Chapell.

This book addresses 8 main issues most of music artists are dreadful at. This will teach you, fellow musicians, to :

  1. be considerate with people,
  2. really target your audience,
  3. grab people emotion,
  4. be an extreme version of yourself,
  5. think test marketing to promote your craft
  6. use you social skills to create a network around your music
  7. use the power of words
  8. set up strategies

It reminds that in today’s economy, musician owns about 90% of the responsibility of their success. Think Artic Monkeys or Lily Allen massive success thanks to Myspace and you’ll understand what he means.

It used to be that, as a musician, only 10% of your career was up to you. “Getting discovered” was about all you could do. A few gatekeepers controlled ALL outlets. You had to impress one of these magic few people to be allowed to present your music to the world. (Even then, they assigned you a manager, stylist, producer, band, etc.) As of the last few years, now 90% of your career is up to you. You have all the tools to make it happen.

Hmm .. not being a real digital natives I kind of struggle with that but this sheds some interesting light on the success of the teenage rock scene in France, where band members fully harness web 2.0 to promote their work through buzz and viral marketing.

Great stuff.

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