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When Did the Beatles? ~ Guest Blog by Seth Godin

Posted in Guest Bloggers, Recession Proof Musician | 2 Comments »

I was first introduced to marketer Seth Godin when I downloaded his free Ideavirus eBook years ago, and it changed the way I thought about marketing in general, but especially music marketing. His article below makes a lot of sense, and I’m excited to share it here.

When Did the Beatles Become THE Beatles?
by Seth Godin

When did the Beatles

beatlesrunning_1.jpg …become THE Beatles?

I was looking through a day by day biography of the group last night, and it quickly became clear that the image that we have of the four youngsters running away from their screaming fans didn’t happen overnight.

At the beginning, they were playing two or three clubs a day, dives, making a few pounds if they were lucky. Not for a month or two, but for years and years.

As they got more traction, the thing you notice is how often they showed up on the radio. They were constantly on one radio show or another, or one multi-billed concert or another. The marketing picture probably looked like this:

BeatlesOut.png 200px Outbound marketing in every possible direction. Auditions for record labels, rejections, pitches to media outlets, concerts on spec, concerts for anyone who would show up. This is classic marketing, stuff that’s easy to forget when we listen to the Shea Stadium concert or see the flickr guys on the cover of Newsweek. It’s easy to imagine that suddenly, everyone knows you, wants you and makes it easy for you.

The next stage was brief but essential. That’s when people started noticing them, started showing up, started screaming. At this moment, the Beatles didn’t stop marketing. They didn’t stop doing radio shows at the BBC or flying all night to play a concert in Denver (empty seats) or Kansas. During the transition stage, in fact, the Beatles and their management really poured it on.

One of the most misunderstood and misused phrases in marketing (okay, in business) is Malcolm Gladwell’s, “the tipping point.” The Beatles didn’t tip. Nothing magical happened. Instead, gradually, they shifted from being the chasers into being the chased.

BeatlesIn.png These were the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and the Beatles on tour and the Beatles making wigs and the Beatles making movies and pioneering music videos. It was the Beatles in a frenzy, not sure what was going to come next, but pretty sure that it could all disappear in a heartbeat.

Many organizations reach this stage and stop. They harvest. They take profits and remind themselves that they are geniuses, all powerful and immune to the laws of boredom.

Only by pushing through this stage and by using their newfound power to create the last stage of their career did the Beatles actually become the Beatles.

When we rewrite history (and we do it every day) it’s easy to imagine that Starbucks and JetBlue and all the other poster children for new successes just got blessed. It’s almost never the case, though. It’s just that it’s easier to think of them as winners.


corporate_seth_godin.jpg 150px

Seth Godin is author of ten books that have been bestsellers around the world and changed the way people think about marketing, change and work. His books have been translated into more than 20 languages, and his ebooks are among the most popular ever published. He is responsible for many words in the marketer’s vocabulary, including permission marketing, ideaviruses, purple cows, the dip and sneezers. His irrepressible speaking style and no-holds-barred blog have helped him create a large following around the world.

Seth’s latest book, Tribes, is already a nationwide bestseller, appearing on the Amazon, New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. It’s about the most powerful form of marketing–leadership–and how anyone can now become a leader, creating movements that matter.

Seth is a renowned speaker as well. He was recently chosen as one of 21 Speakers for the Next Century by Successful Meetings and is consistently rated among the very best speakers by the audiences he addresses.

Seth was founder and CEO of Yoyodyne, the industry’s leading interactive direct marketing company, which Yahoo! acquired in late 1998. Godin worked as VP Direct Marketing at Yahoo before leaving to become a full time speaker, writer and blogger. Seth is also the founder of, a fast-growing recommendation website.

He holds an MBA from Stanford, and was called “the Ultimate Entrepreneur for the Information Age” by Business Week.

2 Responses to “When Did the Beatles? ~ Guest Blog by Seth Godin”

  1. Andrew Goodrich Says:

    Thanks for posting this Carla – I follow Seth but somehow never came across this article.

    It’s so true though – businesses or products are evolving things, there is no END. If you stop changing and adapting, you cut the blood to your head and it’s a short-lived existence after that.

    I know I’ve read a lot of band bios and the ones that stick are the ones tenacious enough to keep at the grindstone even after they are finding success. The ones that fall off the charts are the ones who got a lucky break and never had the tenacity to work hard to begin with.

    Good good good advice.

  2. Carla Says:

    My pleasure, Andrew! In my opinion, this article is the best story to remind musicians to keep going. It’s easy to think that The Beatles had it easy from the beginning. But they started out just like the rest of us. And they kept going!!!

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