In 2006, Ronald Jenkees started a YouTube channel and put up videos of himself playing keyboards. Pretty soon, people started watching, and telling their friends, and buying his self-released album.
There's nothing really special about the production quality of his videos... They're pretty basic, just like anything else you can see thousands of times from everybody and his brother, who thinks they have something to say via the computers in their bedrooms.
But the authenticity of the videos, as well as the music, is something you don't see often. "Video quality" is more than just a sharp picture, you know.
When I talk about developing a relationship with fans using video, this is what I'm talking about. Every musician using video should strive to do something like Ronald Jenkees is doing.
But is Ronald Jenkees real? As his popularity has increased, so has the number of skeptics who say the whole thing is just an act and that "Ronald Jenkees" is actually Ben Feltes, a guy who studied music at Murray State University in Murray, KY.
The music he makes is good. But, in my opinion, a big part of Ronald Jenkess' appeal is that he's a guy, just like any of us were at one time, in his bedroom with big dreams of making music that the world would hear. The only difference is that he, while still in his bedroom, because famous, at least on some level, and the world is hearing his music. And, he's making a living at it.
Underdog comes out on top.
It's his story that put Ronald where he is. When I say you need a "hook" to market yourself, this is exactly what I'm talking about. It takes your music and makes it 10,000x more powerful.
Don't lie though...
I have no way to know one way or another if what people are saying is true and that Ronald Jenkees is a fake. But I do know that what helps you one minute can be the same thing that bites you in the ass the next.
Like I said, Ronald Jenkees is us. He's the guy with the "big dream" who sits in his bedroom, practicing like crazy, hoping that the right person will discover him, and take him to the next level of music business success...with world tours, big album sales, fame, and respect.
People love this story. People want to help a guy like this.
And if those people find out they've been lied to, they'll turn on you in an instant... Much like they do the homeless guy who asks for food money, only to turn around and spend it on booze.
If Ronald Jenkees turns out to be a fake, good music or not, he'll be slapping a lot of people in the face. It will be 10,000x harder than any lying homeless guy ever could though...because we've all been where Ronald Jenkees is and we want to believe he's who is says he is more than we've ever wanted to believe that a homeless guy would actually buy food with our spare change.
All the kids who believed that you really could teach yourself how to make great music, the wannabe musicians who still believe it's possible to have fame just by sitting in your bedroom and making videos to post online, and the people in the world who don't look or act like everybody else...they're going to be pissed.
Thoughts? Post 'em here.