Detroit Hip Hop Artists Capitalize on Social Networks

You have heard from Hubert Sawyers III on this blog before and this time he is telling the story about a hip hop artist he is working with personally to build a grassroots campaign to fund his debut album via Kickstarter. From “Progress Report: Using Social Capital to Generate Startup Capital,”

When I first met David Allie Strauss aka D. Allie, I was not aware that he would become someone that I would be in constant contact with years down the road. Back then, D. was just another dude that I would share the occasional microphone. I have since retired my dreams of hip hop supremacy, but I am glad to see Dave still at it. He has impressed me with his growing cachet from years of performing, bartending and overall hustle to make his dream a reality. As a former brother-in-the-struggle in the realm of music, I realize music is mainly seen as just entertainment to the end-user and most artists aka entertainers rarely have the end-user in mind. These days, me and D. are on the verge of becoming business partners, mainly because he understands the end-user aka YOU are his boss(es). (Emphasis mine.)

Ah, if only every artist thought like this. It is important to embrace the fact that your audience is your customer, and your customer is your boss. Your job is to make them feel special, wanted, needed, (and if you are Justin Bieber), loved.

I met Dallie a year or two ago at a Tweetup as well as seeing him around town and I remember him distinctly, mostly because he was a nice person. He remembered me and bothered to take time to chat. Maybe he was thinking ahead, maybe he knew, two years ago, the importance of social capital, maybe the fact that he did not blow me off like a lot of cooler-than-though artists do is the reason I donated to his Kickstarter campaign and genuinely want to see him succeed.

Maybe? Absolutely.

A common theme I see creeping up in arts blogs as well as conversations “in the field” is a very us vs. them mentality. From the tone of the writing to the ideas expressed, there is very little that makes me want to be a part of the arts community online, despite the fact that I have every reason in the world to be wholly invested: I consider myself an artist, I come from a family of fine artists, musicians, composers, dancers, and actresses, and uh, I write a blog dedicated to the arts. And to be perfectly honest, most art blogs turn me off. There is so much complaining, so much name-calling, so much blaming for the state of affairs the arts are in, and little responsibility, little genuine community-building, and little problem-solving. (I may be missing something – so please, leave links in the comments.)

So, when I see this project, from someone I’ve met, who was nice to me, who isn’t a complainer…but a doer…I’m all about it, and you should be too.

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