Consistent readers know there are four primary focuses that make up my “brand,” such as it is: writing this thing everyday, solo tunes, the TLTL podcast, and playing guitar in the Allen Stone Electric Experience.
This approach, depending on who you ask, is dumb, evidently so much so that I’m often asked about generalization vs specialization. People don’t use those terms, but I do because I wear glasses and am re-reading Dune.
Generalization means diversity.
-You’re better prepared for the euphoric peaks and brutal valleys that define this line of work. A more generalized artist can experience downturns to some of their products and still keep on truckin’ with more successful offerings, which in turn can drive traffic to the rest of the business.
-The logistics of keeping multiple businesses on track can be harrowing. There’s also the “huh?” factor - generalized artists are more apt to get the “I just don’t get it” treatment, usually coupled with the assumption their art isn’t as good because, shit, how could it be? That guy over there’s going all-in, after all.
Which brings us to specialization.
-Sweat relief, just one thing to focus on! And people in this business like saying, “Oh, so-and-so, she’s the person who does X,” so specialist have a higher perceived value.
-Putting your eggs in one basket, while easy to understand, is also risky. Tour flops? Record’s not selling? T-shirts get devoured by gremlins? By specializing, your livelihood comes from one place, and there’s less security - if the well dries up, you’re screwed.
Clearly, I’m no expert. Ultimately, it comes down to authenticity, and a career in the arts is a lunatic endeavor at the best of times - regardless of career approach, it’s important we celebrate and support each other, and continue building a community of crazy ninja badasses.