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#145074 by toxicmetal11
Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:41 pm
My band is playing a gig on Fri, April 22nd as two guys who have been around the scene for decades and one who is only 19 and is coming into this with a whole lot of talent but no business sense. I formed the band so I guess I'm the one who has the monumental task of figuring out how, what, where, when and if. EPKs, web sites, Facebook, Twitter, business cards, four song demos. The Internet has allowed thousands of talentless idiots to get a piece of the pie with a click of the mouse. Its sick. Why does half the United States want to be a star? To see some new Hip-Hop artist CD cover with the muscle dude leaning against a shiney new Mercedes sporting a look and pose that screams "I got it going on, and I never even paid no dues" I can't type anymore, its got to be obvious to everyone at this forum what I'm getting at. I'll leave ya with this: I'm 50-yrs-young and barely look 40 (the pic on my bandmix site if you click on the url was taken a year ago) but I don't have a clue if I'm just doing an excersise in futility. Originally I wanted to be a studio musician, pumping out prpfessionally recorded CDs onto TuneCore and making it clear that I will never see the inside of a nightclub or play regional tours. No way. Just dig my music and leave it at that. Apparently this is not ppssible.Anyone out there agree? :evil:

#148654 by Skwxwu7mesh
Tue Jun 21, 2011 5:03 pm
I'm not sure you ever got around to discussing the title of your post; the mental image of that hip hop album cover really derailed your train of thought.

I think a lot of musicians are still stuck in the dot-com-economic-bubble-era mindset that the internet is going to make them a lot of money with little or no effort. While technology has definitely made various parts of the recording/promoting/distributing process faster and more affordable, you still have to physically cover a lot of ground. You can upload every song you ever wrote onto TuneCore.com, but who there is looking at artists they've never heard of? Word-of-mouth is still the most valuable form of advertising. That means that when you get on a stage, the crowd can't consist of people that you know and personally invited to the show. You need to go to an open-mic night and play your song to a crowd of strangers, and leave an impression good enough to get you a gig there on another night. That hip hop artist may not have a shred of talent, but you can bet that he kept getting up on a stage until he found an impressionable audience. When you reach the point where people know who you are and what you do, whether they like your music or not, your dues have been paid.

Times have changed more than a lot of musicians are willing to admit. In the golden age of album sales, live performances were merely another form of advertising an album. Now that concert tickets are $60 and any album ever made can be downloaded for free - whether you take part in piracy or not - the tables have turned. A kid I grew up with had a crappy band, very similar to the crappy band I was in at the time, and some of our bandmates even went from one group to the other, back and forth during that period. He now has a band that tours all over the country, playing big festivals, and they even have a few albums out. I don't know of anyone that likes them, but they make a living doing it...and I'd wager that their money doesn't come in the form of album sales, but by travelling all over the country and relentlessly promoting themselves. They've paid their dues, and it only took them...eight years? Somewhere around eight years of pushing the same sound, the same look, the same band.

What's probably lacking on a local level are venue owners or promoters that have any real interest in providing new start-ups a place to cut their teeth. There are countless musicians (mostly guitarists, for some reason) who are now in their 40s and 50s, still trying to get local gigs, and getting somewhat bitter about the fact that they haven't caught a single break. Craigslist is full of them. I'm surprised that none of them see an opportunity to step outside of their role as a musician and open a small venue. Many of these musicians already own enough sound and/or lighting equipment to cover such a venue. I can actually think of a guitarist who did just that, after his band opened for likes of Steppenwolf but ultimately went nowhere, and he opened a guitar store, eventually expanding it until he was hosting half a dozen local bands a night, and offering all sorts of promotional services, from live recordings to promo photos to press kits. Had he been a better businessman, it may not have dwindled down to the remarkably crappy music store that it is today, but in his defense, a Guitar Center did open just a few miles down the road, and most of the guitar shops in the area went under...but for a good while, that place was packed with people on a nightly basis. I can even remember being in a crappy band that was working towards getting a gig there, as in, it was a goal that we had set for ourselves. Anyone could get a gig there, and just about every local band around at the time did. Hell, how many vacant buildings are there in your neighborhood at this moment, and could rent possibly be any cheaper? How many of these aging musicians personally know the owner of their favorite local bar?

Exclusively being a studio band has only worked for one group, and that came after touring non-stop for what, seven years? (Hamburg in 1959, 1960...)

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