Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Phillip Phillips and The Myth Making It

I know little about the artist Phillip Phillips. I will forever associate his music with the 2012 US Olympics Gymnastics coverage, as one of his songs was featured heavily there. I also know that a couple of his songs on in solid rotation on the radio.

One evening, I made my way over to his Playlists on YouTube and listened to his most recent album, Collateral. It was good stuff!

What caught my eye, however, were the stats on a number of the songs. Consider My Name:

Personally, I'd be blown away if I produced content that racked up 8,500 views. With that said, I'm astounded at how few views the songs on Collateral have accumulated. Here's a guy with a video that has logged nearly 80 *million* views, and has more than half a million subscribers. And yet he can put out an an album over a year ago, and comparatively nobody has listened to it.

I can't help but see this through the lens of building a business and other creative endeavors in my life. One wants there to be a rule: I'll bust my butt to 'make it' and then I should be able to coast from there. As Phillip Phillip's music shows, this rule doesn't exist. Here's a guy who by all measures has 'made it.' And yet, he has to hustle like any other artist or entrepreneur to keep making it.

I find this both comforting and alarming. Alarming not because of the effort that's involved, but because if you're doing this right, it means that failure is always an option. And comforting, because this is a great equalizer.

In short: past performance is not an indicator of future outcomes. Even if you're a fancy music star.

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