The Hipsters and the Rock Guys.

“ It's time for the music industry to embrace the neohipster digital marketing crowd as the future. Yes they are annoying, arrogant, non-musical know it all’s. But they are also fanatic and passionate about new ways to sell shit. They are full of ideas. They are superfans. They are the Malcolm McLarens of our era. And if you want your gear to sell like never-mind-the-bullocks, you better look past the skinny jeans and PowerPoint manifestos and hire their asses.” Dave McVeigh

 

Why isn’t there a better connection between the rock guys and hipsters when it comes to marketing? The hipsters would seem on the surface to be really good at helping the rock guys. Hell, they act more like rock guys than rock guys do. In truth though, the only similarity to rock and roll that hipsters have is that they dress like indie musicians and thus all look alike. Rock guys don’t care about fashion, hell they ARE fashion. It would seem, however, that there would be a huge sense of “we’re in the same war” and everyone could make money.

Definitions are in order:

Rock guys are folks who work in the MI (music instrument) and pro audio manufacturing world. They build stuff for musicians. They market to the professional and amateur musician, DJ, sound mixer and recording studio users. They tend to have fairly tight marketing budgets and believe that, often wrongly, “if you build it they will come.”

Hipsters (my definition for the purposes of this discussion) are digital marketing experts. They tend to be young and gravitate towards young and fashionable clients. They are the embracers of everything that the rock guys despise, music that arrives on a compressed file, brightly colored headphones, Uber car services.

Don’t get me wrong; rock guys need to be more hip. The rock guys are all very old now and it shows. But unlike an old shoe salesman who is glad to retire, rock guys just get better, assuming that they keep their head in the game. They have the connections-real connections that come from time in the trenches. They know that there is an invisible line that can’t be crossed through “Likes” and “Views” where serious musicians see a product as frivolous. They know that Instagram and Iphone videos mean nothing and that music, real music can still save souls. The hipsters have no concept of that.

Siting at the adults table…

The downside of the Hipsters is that they seem to lack, oddly, imagination. They don’t play well with others. They view “lifestyle” as a real marketing strategy. The rock guys deal with One Direction, Five Finger Death Punch, Joan Baez and Cee Lo pretty much the same and in the breath. The Hipsters heads explode with that.