Anita Elberse of HBS wrote about how master violinist Joshua Bell was ignored by busy DC Metro commuters and the career lessons for artists.
Here is an account of what happened in the metro (entitled Pearls before Breakfast”):
Anita Elberse describes the importance of a strategy for presenting your work:
Bell’s performance at the metro station was purposefully devoid of any indication that suggested he is, in fact, a superstar worthy of people’s attention. It was the worst marketing strategy imaginable: the wrong location, the wrong time, and (with his street clothes) the wrong image. If the goal had been to attract attention, even a few little adjustments would have gone a long way: picking a place in the station where commuters naturally stand still, placing a banner displaying his name, or hiring a few fans to serve as his cheering section, to name just a few examples. In many ways, everyone who is competing for attention in the workplace needs a strategy, too — even paying attention to seemingly minor details can go a long way.
Here is more Joshua Bell, this time with proper lighting and microphones, playing Shubert’s Ave Maria:
(The funny thing is – the Metro station video is where he’s been seen the most on YouTube, that has about 3 times the views of his next-biggest video.)