Steal like an artist

In a recent podcast, "Steal Like An Artist" author Austin Kleon  says there is "honour amongst thieves."

"There is a right way to steal and there is a wrong way to steal."

"A great artist steals in a particular way."

So for this week's Blueprint, I'm doing something different. I'm going to steal quotes from the podcast and use Visualize Value style assets to transform these quotes into simple assets for you to understand.


The first thing we're going to talk about is "Imitation".

Is there such a thing as an original idea anymore?

Electronic music was built on sampling. Bootlegs, mashups, remixes and edits are something every artist does. You are not the only one doing what you are doing, you're just doing it differently in a way that is unique to you.

The key is to not imitate but to transform your creation into something new - something only you can do.

Bad theft = imitating

Good theft = transformation

"Transformation is the key to innovation"

The key to being an innovator and not an imitator is to steal from more than one person. You want to steal from as many people as possible and transform their ideas into your own.

The Socially Sound Blueprint is a constant transformation of other people's ideas. An article on Lil Nas X  inspired the first Bicep case studies. I took inspiration and thought to myself - I can do that and I did.

Before I read "Steal Like An Artist", a podcast with Rio Ferdinand on Steven Bartlett's 'A Dairy of a CEO'  inspired me. Rio talked about stealing all of the best traits and habits from the Manchester United dressing room. That's when it started to click for him and he became an elite footballer. When I started stealing from other artists and writing about what they do, I became a better marketer.

When I say to you steal other people's ideas, that doesn't mean steal another artist's drums and claim them as your own on a track. But you can steal the way Moxie markets her radio show. How Fred again..,  creates home studio videos or how Anotr and No Art only use red lighting for their parties - just like Circoloco.

That's exactly the ethos of this newsletter. I'm showing you ideas that you can steal and transform into your own.

That's how you find your voice or your sound as an artist.


I'll leave you with this.

Austin Kleon introduced me to the term 'scenius'. It's a made-up word that combines genius and scene. Hear me out.

Every artist has the desire to be an individual but they also have the desire to be part of something bigger. To be accepted within a scene.

Isn't it ironic that the key to being successful in the music industry is to be unique only for the industry to sign you on labels and book you for festivals where you sound like everyone else?

More from The Blueprint…

If you like these animation-style assets, I am sharing them on the Socially Sound Instagram account. Yesterday's post had more saves than any other Socially Sound post so far. Send me a signal in the DMs and let me know.

Peace ✌️

Andrew at Socially Sound 🧢

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