Play the song posted here and listen a bit before you read on.
A friend who has a social media agency has a private chuckle when clients ask him to create “something viral.” He knows that all he can do is help find the best channels for his client’s message, keep the channels open to push the message through enough so it gets attention. Maybe there is something in that message that catches the eye or the imagination of the public. Maybe it goes viral. But then what? Is the client ready to capitalize on the attention to push her product or service? Sometimes a million hits on YouTube is just that - a million views and little else.
The best take away of this story is where the social media guy does all that work for his client. And hopefully the client was doing all the work she needed to do to effectively produce and market her wares.
Before the Beatles became the Fab Four they were one of many young Brit bands with Elvis haircuts, cuban heels and black outfits trying to be noticed as rock and rollers. What they also had going for them was an outsize work ethic. In their early days they would do hours long gigs, in Liverpool and then in Hamburg, Germany. When they got a manager and a record contract they launched into continuous touring, writing, recording and making movies. They were getting big in England but it cracked wide open for them with their first trip to the USA. After all their steady hard work, they went viral.
After touring world-wide through 1965, they were so disappointed with the sound, staging and crowds at their shows they felt they could go no further as a live act. As the world's most famous band they surprised everyone by giving up touring at the height of their fame. They wanted to better focus thier attention and talents toward the studio, where ideas could be played with and blossom from seeds into full bloom.
That early work ethic served them well. That and having an experienced benevolent producer. George Martin had produced thousands of hours of music before he met the Beatles. He took their free-form playfulness in the studio in stride and did all he could to indulge their experiments. The piece you are listening to is version 20 of Revolution. Version 20! If you were around when the White Album came out you know there were 3 versions that made it to vinyl. The electric one, the acoustic one* and the weird one. In version 20 we get a rare behind the scenes look at the Beatles working to bring an idea into a finished piece. The base of the acoustic one is present almost through the whole take but as it plays on we begin to hear the experimenting that led to the weird one, Revolution No.9. It took 20 takes to get to this. The electric version came out 6 weeks later and it became one of the top songs in their entire cataog.
How might the Beatles diligent effort on songs that, 50 years later, are still discussed today and sought out by new generations compare to the spade work you put into your own projects? How valuable is it to look at a challenge you are wrestling with and run more than one test; to try it a few or twenty different ways with different approaches? If your impulse was to go big, ask who might like it as a small or a medium. How many versions should you try to help your revolution go viral?
*This version of the acoustic Revolution is yet another rare demo that is an extended jam. Enloy!