This is the reason that if I could give a prospective creative only one piece of advice about platform, it would be this: Build a list. Specifically, an email list. Why? Imagine that, for reasons entirely outside of your control, there was a media and industry blackout of your work. Imagine that, due to some controversy or sudden change in public tastes, you were suddenly persona non-grata. Imagine if no publisher, no crowdfunding platform, no retailer, no distributors, and no investors would touch what you’ve made.
Think about a band like Iron Maiden — radio hasn’t played their kind of music since the mid 80’s. MTV hasn’t played their kind of videos in almost as long. But in that time they’ve put out a dozen albums which have sold millions of copies. How? Because their relationship was directly with their audience. They had a platform. They have an enormous email list.
As creators, to do our work without a platform is to be at the mercy of other people’s permission. As business people, to not have a platform means we are dependent on having a certain job, or backing. Someone else must fund us, someone else must give us the green light, someone else must choose to let us make our work. To a creative person, that is death. It’s not a career, it’s a dependency. Having an audience that we own? That we’re bound together with like hand and fist? That is life. Yet as I’ve said before: this does not just happen. It must be built.”
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