How To Tell The Difference Between Critics, Lovers, Frenemies, and Haters

Sweetheart Pubstack #33

We’re Rachel Hurley and Frank Keith IV, co-owners of the Sweetheart Pub. We’re music industry veterans with over 30 years of combined experience in the music business, having worked in licensing, talent buying/booking, label management, tour management, and more. Once a week, we’ll publish a new edition of this newsletter, where we’ll share some philosophy and actionable advice on all facets of the music industry. 

We’ve been putting together a weekly playlist of seven songs (just enough to keep your attention) every week — check out The Sweet Spot to hear what we’ve been listening to.


What we’re thinking about this week…

This Facebook post from 8 years ago (Credit Unknown)

Critics: These are smart people who know something about your field. They are taking a hard look at your work and are not loving it. You’ll probably want to listen to what they have to say, and make some adjustments to your work based on their thoughtful comments.

Lovers: These people are invested in you and are also giving you negative but rational feedback because they want you to improve. Listen to them, too.

Frenemies: Ooooh, this quadrant is tricky. These people really know how to hurt you, because they know you personally or know your work pretty well. But at the end of the day, their criticism is not actually about your work—it’s about you personally. And they aren’t actually interested in a productive conversation that will result in you becoming better at what you do. They just wanna undermine you. Dishonorable mention goes to The Hater Within, aka the irrational voice inside you that says you suck, which usually falls into this quadrant. Tell all of these fools to sit down and shut up.

Haters: This is your garden-variety, often anonymous troll who wants to tear down everything about you for no rational reason. Folks in this quadrant are easy to write off because they’re counterproductive and you don’t even know them. Ignore! Engaging won’t make you any better at what you do. And then rest easy, because having haters is proof your work is finding a wide audience and is sparking conversation. Own it.

The general rule of thumb? When you receive negative feedback that falls into one of the top two quadrants—from experts or people who care about you who are engaging with and rationally critiquing your work—you should probably take their comments to heart. When you receive negative feedback that falls into the bottom two quadrants, you should just let it roll off your back and just keep doin’ you.


The Latest

S*** You Can Do Today

Crowdsourcing has been around for ages, but have you thought about utilizing it beyond “help me fund my next project”? 

Here’s a thought: crowdsource your next music video. Okay, okay, maybe you can’t quite “do this today” -- but you can start a plan today! 

You basically have two options as far as vision: 

  • A 100% crowdsourced video

  • A mix of crowdsourced footage and high-end cinematography

...and it’s pretty much carte blanche from there. As long as you engage with your fans to make it happen -- “create with us” is a pretty damn enticing call-to-action. You could simply have fans send in footage from a series of live shows, or you can make it a little more proactive, something like having fans submit videos of them lip-syncing the song in various settings. 

You can incentivize this as well; consider giving away free merch or tickets to the first 10 submissions, etc. 

One key here once your vision for the video is in place -- be thorough in your instructions when promoting. Make it as simple as possible for any interested fans to follow through. Give clear instructions, down to little details you might take for granted -- make their job easy! 

You’ve got your mailing list, you’ve got your social media … this is another opportunity to USE THEM TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. 

Also on this note, consider setting up a Community phone number to have fans text you videos (or any content for that matter) directly -- you’ll then have their phone number (which is as effective, if not MORE effective than e-mail) to contact them directly in the future for whatever reason. 


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Free Advice

Have a follow-up question for one of our guests?

Got a tip? Did we (*gasp*) get something wrong? Our line is always open -- hit us up and if we use your question or response in a future newsletter, we’ll give you credit and link your socials.


Don’t Forget!

As we often receive requests to work with artists who don’t have the budget to afford a full campaign, we’re launching an “Office Hours”-style consulting service where you can book us for 30 or 60-minute blocks of one-on-one time. 

You can learn more here (scroll down past campaign details)


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