Rock star? We can do better

Pamela Anderson and Kid RockThe growth of “rock star” as a job title or description totally baffles me (unless, of course, you are paid to perform rock music to arenas full of screaming fans. Then it’s pretty spot on, I guess). People call themselves rock stars. People call other people rock stars. People even post jobs looking for the next rock star account executive.

Social media rock star! New media rock star! Marketing rock star!

Really? Let’s take a quick look at some of the qualities that define the average rock star:

  • Detached from reality; live in their own world of limos and riders
  • Massive egos that are inevitable when stadiums full of people hang on your every word and gesture
  • Often forced to stay in a rut for fear of alienating fans with a “new sound”

Meet the session musician

Now I’d like to introduce you to a lesser-known player in the commercial music world. The session musician.

Session players are the guys and gals that get the call to help out in the studio when an artist or producer wants to find that certain sound. If they’re lucky they’ll appear in the liner notes but they’re not usually mentioned in the Rolling Stone articles. They’re heard but not seen.

So what are the qualities of a good session musician?

  • They listen to what’s already there and fill in the gaps as needed
  • They are versatile enough to play different styles as the situation warrants
  • They aren’t in it for their own glory, they’re there to help the rock stars find theirs

I don’t know about you but, as a consultant and strategist, I’d rather be described that way. I’d rather my clients get the glory. We should get hired because of what we’ve done for others, not for what we do for ourselves.

How about you? Would you rather be a rock star or a session musician? Or if you’re on the other side, which would you rather hire?

Creative Commons License photo credit: The Real Darren Stone


  1. To continue the metaphor
    Social media groupie: doesn’t actually do anything with social media but keeps the rock star happy. Apple?
    Social media manager: Skims most of the money allocated to social media, leaving the rockstar destitute.
    Social media drummer: keeps the beat, but is more than a little unbalanced. Loren Feldman.
    Social media bass player: The quiet one, but gets plenty of action. Seth Godin?
    Social media backup singers: Retweeters.
    .-= Hey, you should check out Bob LeDrew´s last blog ..Risk is never simple- with kites- reactors or festivals =-.

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