It’s true. The Music Industry is a pretty tough place to get ahead. From what I can see, Bands just want to be creative and write and play music for an audience and wish they didn’t have to worry about the business side of their band. In an ideal world, someone WOULD take care of all this for the band and in an ideal world, there’d be enough money about to pay someone to do this on a regular basis.
With the advent of the internet came power into the artist’s hands to market themselves. Probably the most game-changing events likely to happen in this lifetime.
What it also meant was absolute divergence of the music industry for bands and for consumers. Never before was so much choice more readily accessible, but also so many bands who were not ready to market themselves or set up with the infrastructure around them to handle fame if it came.
While there were less bands to choose from in years gone by (pre-internet) and it was a case of the major labels pushing these acts to the consumer by whatever means possible, one thing the old guard (managers, record labels, booking agents) of the music industry did do well was invest in bands so they had infrastructure around them to maximise success. Whether or not that meant money for the artist was debatable – see this brilliant article by Steve Albini about his experience with a major label. Major label deals are for some, others will wither and die and owe a lot of money.
In the world of an independent band in the 2010’s, the investment and risk is squarely with the band. Whether or not the band likes it, a band is a small business that can evolve into a large business very quickly. Acknowledging this is the first step. Making the decision that the band is not just a hobby and wanting to take the music you write to a broad audience is the decision to start a business. Hell, even making the decisions to play gigs outside of your own garage is a decision to start a business. You didn’t buy that Marshall Stack to impress the neighbours did you?
This then, means that skills are required within the band and the connections to be able to make what needs to be done, done.
I had an epiphany a few days ago when my bandmate asked if I could show some industry people some of our music, that he didn’t have those contacts. It was a moment that I realised that there a LOT of musicians who do not know anyone in the industry and are battling their way through getting what success they are achieving by themselves, as well as figuring out how the industry works (promotion, distribution, booking etc). Which is admirable!
Sometimes it just takes an introduction, a recommendation or even an hour of information giving from someone in the know. This is what Pricewar is founded on – the idea of non-exclusive, no commitment, skills transfer and connection/referral to industry based on an appraisal of your needs.
More thoughts soon!