A to Z of Making It, Music

The New Artist Lesson

I have come across some good music lately, however the bands/artists that created the music are still languishing at the bottom of the music pile.  So what can bands like Burnside, Tesseract, The Night Flight Orchestra, Polution and Vaudeville do differently to get their brand and music out there.

IS THERE A MARKET FOR YOUR MUSIC?

The common misconception that most bands/artists have is that their music will succeed. The cold hard truth is that no one knows what music will succeed.  That is why A&R people, have a bad strike ratio.  They can find talent, however that doesn’t mean that the talent they find will succeed in the music business.

New bands need to test the market.  You need to see what kind of response you get back.  Find ways to measure the longevity of your song.  Did fans spread it on social media? Did a torrent go up on The Pirate Bay? Does it have seeders? Does it have leachers? Are people streaming it? Are people purchasing it? Are people listening to it on YouTube?

If the song is setting the world on fire, repeat the whole process again with a new song as there is a market there for you.

If the song is not setting the world on fire, take a step back, re-evaluate, create a better song and repeat all of the above as there is no market there for you at the moment.

Burnside created a brilliant album in Evolution that consisted of 13 songs and released them all at once. They relied on an old business model that doesn’t work anymore. They needed to test the market, so that they could see if there is a market for their music.  They should have released a song and measured it’s reach first. If you have an audience of less than 10,000, you should not be spending time creating a 13 song album.  

The Night Flight Orchestra wrote a song called West Ruth Avenue, that in my mind rivalled Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know.  Somebody That I Used To Know found a market, West Ruth Avenue didn’t.  (Yes, I know that The Night Flight Orchestra is a side project, however it is one album that should have found a bigger audience).

TesserAct in my view released a great album in Altered State.  Century Media streamed the album on their YouTube page and it had over 90,000 hits.  The album comes out and it moves over 4000 units in the U.S.  Is this a good thing or a bad thing? The label tested the market with the pre-release stream on YouTube. I think both artists where expecting a better turn out in sales, however this is the wrong view point to have. Fans can now stream their music.

SUPPLY vs. DEMAND

I hope that the bands I have mentioned are not focusing on the payment side of things. Remember Spotify, Pandora, iTunes are all services that you use to get your music out there.  Don’t solely rely on these services as a source of revenue.  It’s a diversified music game. You need to have other strategies for that.  However, before you get to this stage, you need to ensure that a market exists.

Remember that you are a seller and a supplier.  It’s simple economics. Supply vs Demand. At the moment, the recorded music world is over supplied. There is so much music out there, however not all of the music that is released has a demand waiting for it. Demand equals buyers. Buyers equal fans. The artists should be satisfying the needs of the fans.

BUILDING PLACES OF WORSHIP FOR YOUR FANS

It is the fans that will promote you.  No one cares about the music that radio pushes. No one cares about the music that the press and mainstream media pushes.  No one cares about the music if you scream until your black and blue about how great your song is. 

People care and pay attention, when they see fan blogs created in your name (like the John Petrucci forums, the Mike Portnoy forums, the Dream Theater forums and so on).  You need to ensure that you build a cathedral so that your fans can worship your music and spread it.

In the end, you need to have great music marketed to people that will like it and buy it.  Otherwise you will remain in your local suburban market.

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