The idea of the purple cow is you need to be something the world hasn’t seen before if you want to achieve superstar status. Everyone has seen a regular cow before, and when you see one on the highway you don’t stop to look at it. However, if you saw a Purple Cow on the side of the road you would stop, take pictures, send it around and tell everyone. That is what your band needs to be, if you want to be one of the bands people lose their minds over. This does not have to be taken literally, you don’t need to be Marilyn Manson, as this example often brings to mind. A perfect example of this would be the band Grizzly Bear everyone and their mother loses their mind over today. A band that is absolutely huge and has young and old people talking. They look like a bunch of average dudes, playing the instruments that average bands play, but what comes out is something no one else right now is doing. Which leads us to…
He often states that you need to be remarkable throughout the book The Purple Cow. I often cite an example to explain this myself. Borat , was an amazing movie, but anyone ever attempting to make it again will fall flat on their face. In music, the fall isn’t quite as hard. But once someone has been, for example, My Chemical Romance, you are never going to be My Chemical Romance. The next band that is as remarkable as them in their genre will sound and be something totally different. Trying to copy them is futile. So put away that make up! But be remarkable can be taken even further. Being “remarkable” means doing something that people think is worthy of making a “remark” about (hopefully a positive one). Remember, simply being weird or obtuse isn’t going to do – it is important to try and do something novel.
In his book Tribes, Seth asserts that people are ready for you to lead them. People want to be a part of something and are waiting for someone to come around and show them something remarkable and then have them follow him. You are never going to be able to get everyone to be your follower, so take a stand and lead a certain group of people. You don’t even need to start out large he often points to Kevin Kelly’s theory that if you have 1,000 True Fans
that will care about every breath you take, your stupidest Twitter
thoughts, you will be able to sustain a living in the music industry.
Free/Unleashing The Idea Virus
Do you have something remarkable? Put some of it out there for free and spread the word. Godin has actually released free PDF/Audio books of some of his work. This got the word out about his ideas (The Idea Virus it still one of the most popular PDF/Audio books in history). Then after they were hooked he put out books where he charged money. As well, he gained respect in his community leading to other gigs consulting. Just as you putting out a song or EP for free and it spreading like wildfire (if it is remarkable) can get you more shows and merch sales.
Too Much Free
One of Seth’s latest hypothesis is too much free doesn’t work. Just in the same way when you walk into a venue and see 1,000 post cards laying around you don’t think to grab one since their worth is diminished by the mass amount of them laying around. Just giving out something free is no longer remarkable. Thing of your initial free gifts as something you use to breakthrough – if you have something worth having, people will pay for the next installment because you’re worth it and they want to contribute (financially or otherwise) to what you’ve doing. As the market for music becomes ever more saturated, more and more things will be given for free. It’s up to you and your band to figure out exactly what you should give away and what you can actually monetize.