How To Turn Heads With Your Music (2 Ways You Can Become A Purple Music Cow)

To get noticed and achieve any measure of success these days, you need to be remarkable.

What a big and daunting word right?

Being remarkable may seem like this high and lofty thing that only the most talented can achieve, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

All you need to do is stand out. Be, as Seth Godin puts it, a purple cow. Purple cows turn heads.

How To Turn Heads With Your Music

how-to-turn-headsIn this episode of TIM Talks, I talk about the “purple music cow”. In what ways are you standing out from the crowd with your songs?

Do you have a crazy-awesome, out-of-the-box show when you play live? Are you doing head turning things on YouTube that are down right irresistible to share?

That’s what we’re talking about here.

A word of caution though:

Turning heads isn’t always a good thing….

Remember Rebecca Black?

Her music turned heads for sure. She was a purple cow. But not necessarily in a good way.

How did she become a purple cow? A large financial investment (made by her mom) to a production house in California, produced a single and a music video for her song Friday.

And with a little marketing push, it caught on…

….but for all the wrong reasons:

The interesting thing about Rebecca is that she’s become a self-deprecating comedian, taking her experience and using it to build an audience on YouTube around the fact that so many people disliked her song.

She continues to release music, and build up a large audience online. I respect her for that because now she has to work even harder to win over people who may have written her off.

Who knows how many more would’ve liked her if her current music were their first impression.

Or maybe it’s the other way around…. Would she have an audience at all? Who can really say?

I know it’s sad, but this is the world we live in.

The lesson?

“Great marketing only makes a bad product fail faster” -David Ogilvy

If that quote doesn’t make you shake in your boots you should read it again.

Great marketing + really bad = something that turns heads in a negative way.

Standing out because you’re GREAT is the category we want.

Let’s compare the video above with something that is quite the opposite (in my opinion).

Uploaded a few months later was this song by the band Walk Of The Earth….

At the time of this episode being published, Walk Of The Earth‘s video has been played nearly 165 million times.


Because it’s a purple cow. And news about purple cows is highly shareable. That’s how I discovered this video. A friend who watched it thought it was awesome enough to share with me via a text message.

Jack Conte is another purple music cow you can learn from.

His band Pomplamoose (they show up a lot on T.I.M. Talks) uploaded a cover of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” and it went viral within days.

how to turn heads

Some people think viral is a sheer stroke of luck, and can’t be quantified.

I don’t agree….

Here are three reasons their cover went viral, getting them millions of views:

1) Timing.

Ok I admit, you can’t prefectly control this, but you can be paying attention and being ready when the opportunity comes. Just before Pomplamoose uploaded their video cover, Kayne West did his infamous Taylor Swift interruption at the VMA’s stating that “Beyonce had one of the best music videos of all time…”

What was Beyonce’s video?

Single Ladies

There were thousands of searches on Google the next day for “Single Ladies”.

2) A Very Basic Understanding Of SEO.

Fortunately for Pomplamoose, they a knew a little something about search engine optimization (SEO) and tagged their YouTube videos with the proper keywords. And Beyonce’s official video wasn’t on YouTube for another month.

Guess who showed up on the first page of Google? And with a video?

What was the third reason? It was the straw that broke the camel’s back….

3) They were a purple cow.

They did a GREAT job producing and performing a remarkable version of the song.

The result? Millions of heads turned.

The vid:

This is what set Jack Conte on the journey to eventually create Patreon a few years later.

2 Painfully Simple Steps To Becoming A Remarkable Purple Music Cow And Turning More Heads

Step 1: Read From The Best

You’re a developing musician right? You must spend hours each week perfecting and honing your musical craft. May I get in there and add something to your already very full plate? 😉

Remember, you can’t just be skilled. Or even talented. You need to learn how to turn heads.

So here’s this very simple action step:

Learn all you can about the art of viral. Become a master marketer that knows how to create content that spreads.

To do this, you should read and learn from the guys who are the experts on this.

That’s why I suggest the book that this post and podcast episode is obviously based on.

Get and read the book Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable. You won’t regret it.

Another great book to read after that is “Contagious: Why Things Catch On” by Jonah Berger

Jonah demystifies virality, and exposes the wrong view of it being some fluke thing.

[alert type=”info”]Like audio? Download this book for free here.[/alert]

Step 2: Learn From Other Great Purple Artists

The key with this action step is to learn from great artists who inspire you. I talked about this here (episode 2) and here (episode 5)

One little tip for doing this is to go over to Patreon and browse through the different artists in the music section to see what is getting the most traction.

Then get out your Austin Kleon book and go to town….

Here’s another Jack Conte video (I mentioned this in today’s episode)….

Before you bounce, may I ask a favor?

I would be crazy if I put in all this work to create this content, but had no desire for it to spread right?

This is where you come in:

See these fancy little social share buttons on the left (or underneath if you’re on a mobile device)?

Simply take a sec, and share it to the social channel(s) of your choice….

I’m always trying to apply the things I teach on the podcast and write here on the blog to my own audience building. Well, you are that audience (I don’t take it for granted that you are reading this right now) and if there is any “purple” in this post, please share it with your friends.

You rule.

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