“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?” – Albert Einstein
We all know people like this. The one who enjoys picking things apart. They buy a gadget and after using it a while they disassemble it. If they’re skilled they even manage to put it back together or modify it in some way.
“Yeah, the second hand turns backwards now. It’s kinda cool.”
I used to bug my cousin about his inability to keep things in “original condition”. Nowadays I really admire this trait. He always learned something new by doing it. This childlike curiosity about how and why things work is something we all should receonnect with.
That’s why we need to do research every now and then. No matter our profession, there’s always something we can learn from other fields and experiences.
What’s strange is the fact that scientists, directors, actors, authors, game developers, philosophers and countless other professions have adopted this strategy but the music industry hasn’t embraced it in the same way.
Come on! Let’s get going!
Why shouldn’t we be as informed when writing, recording, producing and performing as those other industries?
Some individuals have made this a habit, but it should really be standard practice for us.
We could see more interesting subjects pop up in lyrics. It might bring about new soundscapes and even create new instruments. The possibilities are endless!
Some time ago I got caught up in a heated debate about how to market a certain brand. The customer showed me an article in the paper that compared their competitors. He asked me why the brand wasn’t in there. I tried to explain that the products in the test weren’t aimed at the brands target audience and the metrics used weren’t the brands strengths either.
Unfortunately he didn’t want to hear any of it and decided that both me and the brands marketing department must be “incompetent”.
He was too focused on the brand being seen and heard in the same forums as their competitors. What he didn’t realize was that the brand had qualities which made them stand out. The main metrics to determine the “best product” were price and potency. Basically “most bang for your buck”.
What the brand actually stood for was premium quality. This meant that they were about 4 times as expensive and as a plus didn’t have to be as potent to have effect. Had efficacy and quality been the main metrics this brand would have blown the competition out of the water.
There were no hard feelings at the end of the day and the split was amicable, we just couldn’t see eye to eye.
I need to clarify that the gentleman was in no way wrong. The brand wasn’t what he wanted it to be. What needed to be done was that the product had to be cheaper and more potent. This would mean changing the source of the ingredients, the manufacturing process and a brand overhaul. Then they’d be competing on the same metrics.
Either that or just create a new parallel brand like Toyota did with Lexus (for those interested in luxury) and Scion (for the Generation Y customers). If you can’t make a product fit your brands image, this is probably the way to go.
In music this is much harder. That’s why we hear belly aching when a band or artist changes image or evolves in a different musical direction. We have certain values assigned to them that reflect on who we are. When that doesn’t match anymore we feel let down.
How we should handle it? Understanding and accepting. From both sides. The artists need to accept that people may not enjoy ALL of their music and the audience needs to accept that artists need to grow. Namaste.
Quotes about research!
“Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.” – Wenher von Braun
“If you steal from one author it’s plagiarism; if you steal from many it’s research.” – Wilson Mizner
“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purposee” – Zora Neale Hurston
“As a research tool, the internet is invaluable.” – Noam Chomsky
“You have to do the research. If you don’t know about something, then you ask the right people who do.” – Spike Lee
“I really love research. It’s one of the things I love most about my job. I feel like it’s me in the lab cooking up the character.” – Kerry Washington
“Research to me is as important or more important than the writing. It is the foundation upon which the book is built.” – Leon Uris
“I believe in research you cannot do enough research; believability comes out of what’s real.” – John Lasseter
“I enjoy research; in fact research is so engaging that it would be easy to go on for years, and never write the novel at all.” – Helen Dunmore
“I typically go overboard when I research new projects.” – Will Wright
“I’ve got research, I have my own life experience I can apply, and I have my imagination.” – Chris Cooper
“I fervently believe in research as a necessity for good design, and I teach it that way.” – Brenda Laurel
“The best way for me to procrastinate as a writer is research.” – Quiara Alegria Hudes