There are so many lessons here:
1. Conventional wisdom is oftentimes ignorance. All movements start from the bottom up, and most pundits don’t recognize it, they’re too busy hanging in the club. This is how it always happens in music and how it will happen again. And one thing we know for sure, radio will not be in the lead. All phenomena start online, that’s where this year’s biggest hit, Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” started, not even on YouTube or Spotify, but TikTok. Platforms change the sound. It’s McLuhan in action. And on streaming services shorter and more pays better than long and less. “Old Town Road” is not even two minutes long. And when it’s done you repeat it, not only embedding it in your brain, but causing Lil Nas X to make more money. You’ve got to adjust to the new paradigm, the old one is never coming back.
2. You start off the radar. Especially today, when it’s so hard to get notice. Traction happens way down the line. You’ve got to pay your dues and invest.
3. Warren enacted an all out ground game in Iowa. Knowing that it would pay dividends later. Your marketing plan today is long instead of short. If the total effect is now, you’re losing. People want to be invested, they want to come on along the way, they want to spread the word, they want to own it. So when you carpet bomb, people notice and then they move on, there’s little sticking power. And, you’ve got to spend money to make money/have an impact. In the previous decade great was good enough. In other words, if your work was great, people found it and you. But not today, there’s too much in the channel, you’ve got to work it. The key is to establish a base audience, that you can depend on, that will keep your career alive.
4. People always say you’ve got not chance until you do.
5. The biggest media outlets are always the last to know. TV is too busy talking to itself and newspapers/print think about their audience first, they’ve got giant blind spots.
6. Sincerity triumphs. As does credibility. People have to believe in you. You create this bond when they see you. It’s all about personal interaction. Want to have a career? Go on the road and cement the bond, a hit single is not enough.
7. Everybody wants to get behind momentum, excitement, once you start to break through, you’re a phenomenon, you get the attention.
8. You don’t know who is gonna win until you play the game. Biden was a shoo-in until he was not. History repeats, can you say Muskie, can you say Jeb Bush?
9. After the census, after the gerrymandering, the people decide. And in most cases, politics is not their number one concern, so you must educate them, and usually this happens on a personal live basis. Live means ever more in a digitized world, it’s not only concerts, in a world of marketing falsehoods, where everybody is selling, you can only evaluate and find truth when you’re experiencing it live.
10. Preparation counts. After these barely pubescent one hit wonders will come a swath of musicians, who practiced, who live for the music as opposed to the riches and the fame.
11. It’s a joke until it’s mainstream. People made fun of the Beatles’ haircuts until they wanted one themselves. Indie rock was a sideshow until Nirvana blew up big.
12. Never change to appease the crowd. You’re selling credibility. But it is fine to switch positions if that’s what’s in your heart.
So how did the media get it so wrong? How did the Democratic National Committee get it so wrong?
Because you can’t will the future into being.
This is the story of the era, the toppling of old institutions for new ones. In the sixties it was all about the war. Today it’s all about economics. What future do I have? Can I pay my bills? Can I own a house? No one believes the corporation will take care of you.
Once you go in the wrong direction, you’re history. If Biden loses in Iowa it’s all over. He was seen as a winner, the man who could easily beat Trump, but if he can’t even win in his own party?
So now we’ve got Warren, Bernie, Trump and Kamala.
Biden is fading.
Kamala is faltering.
Bernie is too old in every way, he missed his moment, which was 2016, but he did presage change, he was more in touch with voters than Hillary or the DNC. Bernie acknowledged that the Democrats had moved left. That’s future of the party, the youth, and now they’re taking the reins.
If you thought that Warren couldn’t win, you’ve now been proven wrong.
Get ready for the new reality.