This episode about social media content for musicians was previously published on the Profitable Musician Show.
Alex Love, from The Awakened Creative, a musician, who turned to “coach-sultant” for artists, discusses social media content for musicians. He focuses on branding, content, and psychology to help musicians achieve their music career goals.
I didn’t know him until a month ago, when I started seeing his posts on social media and was like, “These are thoughtful, interesting, different perspective kinds of posts that I’m not usually seeing from other musician coaches.” It caught my eye, and then I kept seeing them and interacting. I reached out to him. I’m like, “I would love to have you on the show,” because I feel like we have a lot of the same ways of thinking about how we work with musicians, how we encourage them, the things that they struggle with, all of that. That’s why he’s here. We are going to talk a lot about social media because he does such a good job with that.
Alex started playing piano when he was about ten. His younger sister was playing and was getting all the attention from his mom. He wanted attention too, so he started playing. Since then, he’s been a musician his whole life.
He did piano lessons for four years, then did his grade seven AMEB. It was a standard exam in Australia. He became interested in heavy metal and rock and roll in his teenage years. He learned drums, a bit of guitar, and also a bit of trumpet. He played them for ten years before getting into electronic music. He moved to Melbourne from the tiny country town of Benzel when he was 24 in 2014, and still lives there now.
When he moved to Melbourne, he started studying Bachelor of Music Composition. He started working with one of my lecturers in production, music sequencing, backstage backing tracks, and live concerts. When you study music, you learn a bit about branding and marketing. It was always interesting.
On Branding, Marketing and Social Media Content for Musicians
Most musicians would not say that marketing is fun and interesting. When he was younger, Alex thought it was gross, manipulative, and corporate. It turns out it’s all about empathy, helping people solve problems, understanding them, and providing solutions. For him, branding and marketing are unbelievably creative and fun. You can lead people down the path and connect with people in a different way when you are writing music, and you have that connection with the music, and people connect to the music. Marketing and branding are the same things but they’re different.
Marketing is telling stories and telling stories is fun. Singer-songwriters love telling stories through a song. Marketing is also telling stories in different ways. Alex admits he is finding marketing more fun than music in a lot of ways. He felt grieved when he transitioned from a working musician to an artist consultant because he thought he was giving up his creativity.
It turned out that he had fun with designs every day. He learned how to design and how to tell stories. It was fun for him to explore human psychology and the human experience and talk to people and figure out how they are feeling. It enriches his understanding of the world. It all feels creative to Alex.
About Alex’s Posts on Social Media
He admits he half plays the social media game, and half plays from the heart and the head. You need a way on social media so you can drive traffic and speak to your people. The carousels are usually practical, actionable things because they perform well.
As an introvert, Alex likes to do a lot of introspection. What he’s derived from that is that there needs to be a big perspective shift in general around music careers and social media and marketing. Also, the mindset work and the journey itself.
Alex would encourage musicians to do posts with the tough love thing when they are on social media. He tries and pays attention to how people respond to things. You make a post, and maybe they will come back at you. They have a good point sometimes. A lot of musicians are unbelievably sensitive. Alex is sensitive as well. He is sensitive to that stuff. Sometimes life feels hard.
As a piece of advice to some artists, they need to change their perspective on social media. They need to get over their fears and their self-sabotaging behaviors.
Some artists have a fear of getting too many fans and getting burnt out. Fear of success is understandable. Also, the more you are out on social media, the more you are exposed to potentially getting hurt.
A healthy relationship on social media is focusing on why you are on it and what you are doing this for. Trying your best not to get caught up in the numbers. Alex helps musicians build a meaningful presence online. He has that as my computer background, “A meaningful presence online. It’s not about the numbers.” A healthy relationship would be being on social media for the reason that you are supposed to be on it.
I advise people to have two main platforms, and not go crazy to be on all of them.
Some people are sensitive. For example, some have a problem with monetizing art, but they follow Profitable Musician and do not really agree with the content. If you want to make a living doing music, you are going to have to make a compromise somewhere. That compromise is that you are probably going to have to do it for money at some point. If you care about music and if you want to make a living as a musician, you’ve got to make money as a musician. It’s a matter of finding out the way that you can do that without feeling like it’s horrible.
Often, the people that are struggling with this concept of making money with music or even doing social media content for musicians, in general, are also the people who want to be like a rock star or a pop star. It’s tricky.
It’s a hard conversation to have because these musicians are feelers. It can be hard to let go of the idea that music is this thing.
Once you get your foot in the door with social media and you find that you can do it, you can show up and start posting stuff that you like as well. That’s when you can start packaging it for social media and trying to make it effective because there’s a difference between just posting stuff and posting stuff that works. That’s a whole other story.
Monetizing Social Media
Most of the musicians and artists that Alex works with are monetizing social media content for musicians in a big way. It is some sort of offer or service-based thing in large part. Let’s say that you want to start at Patreon or something like that. That could be an option. Let’s say you’ve got 100 people joining your Patreon, and it’s $20 a month. That’s $2,000 a month. That’s a pretty good start. Let’s say that you’ve got that, and maybe you’ve got some income from a couple of other things as well. That’s not a bad start to a monthly income but the problem is that getting 100 people to your Patreon, even when you’ve got quite a decent following, is difficult.
It’s also a lot of extra work. A lot of musicians don’t want to do that because if they are at this point where they’ve got a decent audience, they are probably already doing quite a lot of work. With that said, you can do that. The key to being a musician, an artist, or a musician who wants to monetize in a fan way with their fan base is if you have an engaged audience and they love you, and they are into you, and you can figure out a way to do something like Patreon or some closed community, that’s a great way to go.
You could do a merch strategy where you don’t just have T-shirts available. You turn it into a story. You use milestones for merch. You keep creating merch. You come up with a plan to increase customer lifetime value. Some people still want to monetize with streams. Alex advises against that being something that you take too seriously unless you’ve got lots of streams but that’s quite difficult.
With musicians who don’t want to offer a service, it’s quite difficult. If you don’t want to do songwriting or some coaching, production work, session work, or offer a merch strategy, some closed community is a good start. You want to do gigs and stuff like that. In my experience, it’s quite a struggle if I’m being totally transparent.
Where to find Alex
Alex is on TikTok and Instagram @The.Awakened.Creative. He also has a website which is TheAwakenedCreative.co.