I've found it quite interesting to look into the processes that underpin marketing to go along with my journey in making music. Of course, the project started because I love playing and making music of all kinds, but I've also become fascinated with the idea of how does one actually grow an audience. I'll try to be transparent on here and give some updates on experiments I've been running as maybe it will help someone out. Of course, a good product is where all sales should start. So the focus on just making sh*t is probably the core. You can't promote something that doesn't have substance (and provide value!). But here's where it gets tricky in music. It's ultra subjective. It's not as clear cut as a service that will give you a tangible result, with a binary success status (yes or no). So I think this relieves the burden of the creation a bit. Make the product work for you, as there is no telling what the audience will like.
The second piece of advice I've seen prevalent in the music world (and for creators in general) is just to make lots of stuff. Frequency as opposed to high-quality — because you can't really assess quality! No one really knows why the video they posted on a whim went viral while the 6-month scripted shoot didn't go anywhere. So the current state of the world has set us up to: make more things, make them faster, and then pounce on the ideas that take. Yes, I still love the idea of a carefully crafted masterwork, where no stone is left unturned, but right now, when you have no audience and no capital — just make things, fail faster and get better over time. As a side benefit, this gives a potential audience an inside look —they get to see how you grow and may start to root for you based on things outside of the product itself (the music). Because in the end, I think the actual music is such a weirdly small part of what creates fans. Sure, someone might like a song and save it, but for them to come back to you as an artist it all comes down to story. The story of an artist and where they came from can be a relatable common ground that binds fans to artist. Or being the first to seem them live. The fact that someone like Marc Rebillet creates beats on the fly is awe-inspiring to watch, and you'll come back for the intrigue even if you don't love every song.
So the takeaways I'm seeing here are: make more, make faster, fail forward, and provide story.