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How to deploy empathy within the music business

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Written by: Matt Lillywhite

Empathy is one of the most incredible traits that a producer can possess. It’s also one of the main reasons as to why many people in the music industry become incredibly successful. What a lot of producers struggle to understand is that this single trait can propel them to the top of the music industry. Empathy can create amazing relationships that lead to opportunities. During this article, we’re going to discuss how to apply empathy to your music career so you can accomplish your goals.

Whether you are a producer, record label owner, or any other position within the music industry, you have to constantly be thinking about how the other party feels in a situation. For example, a label could understand that newly signed acts want to play international shows, and thus in addition to traditional label services, they could help the artist with networking connections such as potential booking agents. This ability to deploy empathy against a second (or even third) party is something that gains you respect, and a lot of useful connections within the music industry. After all, what you are essentially doing is understanding humans on a psychological level and reverse engineering their ambitions.

Producers often self-promote their artistic brand on social media without giving a single thought as to how they may go about making their audience happy. Anyone who has even the smallest understanding of consumer psychology will know that saying “listen to my new track it’s out on Spotify” hardly ever works when tested against casual music listeners. Instead, deploying empathy and reverse engineering their ambitions will have a much higher conversion rate. As an example, fans absolutely love interacting with their favourite producers. Therefore, you could create a post getting people to upload a picture of them listening to your track on Spotify to their Instagram story – in exchange for the chance to win a 5 minute Skype call with you. Not only does this incentivize the fan to listen to your music… but it also spreads awareness amongst the friends & family of your existing audience throughout the world.

Likewise, record labels & PR companies should also be using empathy within their daily lives in order to satisfy their existing network of contacts. For example, if any of your employees have problems (such as low pay rates), you could discuss with them opportunities as to how they can generate more revenue in order to sustainably feed their family & live a reasonable life. Examples include more work hours, a higher amount of daily tasks, and many other options available to almost every business. By deploying empathy within the company, it creates a great culture that encourages a strong & positive work ethic throughout the music industry.

Instead of talking about what you expect from your record label & PR employees, ask what you can do in order to improve their lives. Some people prefer better work-life balance: respect that. Others are financially motivated for great results: that should also be respected. Ultimately, you need to reverse engineer the psychology of those you work with.

By listening to the needs & wants of your record label employees, fanbase, and a network of contacts within the music industry, it allows you to ultimately get better results, a stronger company culture, a more engaged fanbase, and even an increased work ethic amongst those you interact with. If any of those outcomes sound good to you, then deploying empathy towards the people you work with will ultimately drive your success towards the top tiers of the entertainment industry, and create long-lasting relationships that will last for many decades to come.



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