Concert Jazz Pianist | Skillshare Projects

John O'Leary III

Jazz pianist and neuroscientist



Concert Jazz Pianist


Twitter: @jcolearyiii

Your Business or Brand:

I write and perform music. My inspiration exists at the intersection of neuroscience, art, and entrepreneurship. 

11 Questions:

1.) What is Marketing for? What does this department/function/budget exist to do?

Marketing is for telling a story about your brand/business to people who want to hear it. It is for telling stories so vivid and so true that people want to share it with others. 

2.) What are we allowed to touch?

Everything! I am allowed to to touch pricing, product, website, everything! 

3.) What can we as marketers measure?

We can measure how much we get shared/liked/retweeted/favorite-ed/pinned/hearted. We can measure how many people have opted in to receive messages from us, how many Cd's we sell, how many people show up to our concert, how much we get paid, etc.

4.) What can we change?

Internal and external. Are we trying to change our customers and how they spend their day? Or are we marketing to people based on their already existing worldview?

Both. We need to grow our audience, especially kids and people of our generation, but we also market to people who already support artists and buy cds and go to concerts, etc. 

5.) What promise are you going to make?

 I promise to work hard at creating and performing art that honest and well prepared. I promise that I will not pander to them, and that we will listen to each other and grow together. 

I promise myself to work hard to play music that I like and am excited to play and present to others.

6.) What’s the hard part?

The hardest part for musicians is obscurity. Getting people to know about who you are and what you do.

7.) Should your organization be making trends or following trends?

Both. You want to create your own ideas without any regard to trend, but we want to be on the fringes, not way out in left field so we also follow trends that are working right now.    

8.) Where is the risk?

Risk to customer: Is that they will not be delighted. That they will expect to hear great music and leave elated by the experience, but instead they get, meh. 

Risk to me: My risk is that I work hard to express myself honestly and to create and share emotion through music, but the recipient is not moved. 

9.) Who is in charge?

I am.

10.) Marketers spend money. Where are you spending the money? What is it for?

I haven't spent very much money on my music career. I have bought the following:

Band photos

Website domain and hosting

Website design

Recording a record in a professional studio

Taking lessons (although I'm a professional I still take lessons from people who are better than me at specific parts of jazz piano)

I believe that the purpose of money, in the music business, should go to delighting your customers with a great show, with a great cd, a great experience, and on an image that speaks to them (clothing, website).

Also, the music business is all about PLACEMENT. So if you don't live and work in New Yor City you need to hire a publicist, a radio marketing person, and a manager/attorney/agent/publisher with a favorable track record within the music community that is willing to vouch for you.

11.) How should you be spending your time?

#1 Making a great product.

#2 Marketing a great product

The P Words

Positioning (Find a niche and fill it/What does the marketplace look like to someone who cares?): What your music sounds like is very important, because there are too many people that sound the same. To someone who cares, a lot of the music sounds the same. How can you create something that is more scarce and more valuable? 

Having a unique distinct sound is what makes the jazz critics give you praise. 

Snarky Puppy sounds really great and plays really great music, critics don't have much to say, but they have grammy and a ton of people lining out the door to see them play. 

Tigran Hamasyan works mostly in Europe, but he has mostly worked in europe anyways. 

If I own this P, and create my own brand of music, does it make me special? Is it my ticket to success?

Placement: Putting yourself next to people who are influencers. Almost EVERY famous jazz musician became that way by being associated with another previous famous jazz musician. Dizzy and Bird, then Miles, then everyone who played with Miles. Forget about shelf space in music. Life space is where is at, but I'm not going to move to New York and be a starving jazz musician. I do a fantastic at making a living in Tampa, for a jazz musician anyways. You can always be next to the greatest musicians in your town. Now, however, there is INTERNET SPACE. How can you position yourself to next to influencers on the internet? Are you twitter friends? Are you Facebook friends? Can you help someone remotely? 

If I own this P, and create a network of great jazz musicians as acquaintances, does it make me special? Is it my ticket to success?

Promotion: Giving my music away for free will help people hear it. In the words of the great indie singer/songwriter Jonathan Coulton "I give away music because I want to make music, and I can’t make music unless I make money, and I won’t make any money unless I get heard, and I won’t get heard unless I give away music."

Permission: Getting permission to talk to an audience about my news and what is going on with me. 

Purple: Making music worth listening to and telling their friends about it.

PR: Telling stories about my music. Most musicians don't tell any stories about their music. You must tell stories, because like it or not, the people who will see and hear you will tell a story to themselves about you. It might as well be influenced by you. 

Placebo: This is important for music, because when people think they should like it, they do. If you are on downbeat magazine, or on a respected music label, or you get someone they trust to play with you, or endorse you, or say nice things about you, it creates trust spillover. Kind of like when Prince said he liked Snarky Puppy on Twitter. If Prince likes them, so should I!

Pavlov (emphasis on aligning with existing consumer emotions): This goes hand in hand with the placebo effect.

Persistence: The only way to make it in the music industry.

Place: You have to look the part on stage, look the part on your website., etc.


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