Today artists have the power to make, publish and become extremely successful from their own music. The need to use the almighty gatekeepers is over. Thank Napster and Sean Fanning for being real game changers and shaking up the recording business. Now every artist cane set up their own home studio and make excellent sounding recordings. They can use digital aggregators like Tunecore and CD Baby and within days, their music is sitting on Spotify and iTunes along with all of the major label backed artists.
It is a new frontier for artists and as more and more people take up these opportunities what we have is a lot of increased competition. With millions of songs still to be heard and only limited ears and time to listen, how can new music get out there. Nikki Sixx believes that everything he writes is off quality and without an avenue to get that quality heard by the fans he doesn’t have an incentive to spend time and money to create new music for Motley Crue. Gene Simmons, Joe Perry and Yngwie Malmsteen blame the copyright infringers.
Sp how do musicians get their songs heard?
There is the marketing (pitching a product) vs connecting debate.
The marketing to fans is seen as the old rock-star model while the new internet model is all about making connections with the listeners who then decide if they want to be patrons. In a nutshell, people don’t have to pay for music any more however if the music can create an emotional connection, then those listeners will choose to pay for music from their favourite artist. Look at Coheed and Cambria. They are a band that are 14 years deep into their career and their fans are loyal. The vinyl release of their 2003 album “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth” flew out the doors. They are content with the world and the connections that they created.
However other artists are not content and they always want more. Blame MTV for making people believe that every musician need to attain platinum sales to have a career in the music industry. This leads to a distorted definition of making it. To some, making it involves platinum albums and covers on magazines. Guess those artists are in for a rude shock. While for other hard-working artists, making it involves earning a living by creating music. If this means playing in cover bands, doing studio work, busking or whatever else needs to be done, they will do it.
Being in the right place at the right time is still bandied about. The difference today is that “place” can be anywhere. It can be a physical place or a place in the digital world. Lorde got traction from being on Sean Fanning’s Spotify playlist. Volbeat got traction in the U.S by opening up for Metallica. Bands like Motley Crue, Ratt, WASP, Quiet Riot and many other L.A acts go traction by riding the wings of a new cultural movement. Five Finger Death Punch opened for Korn and Disturbed and connected with their audiences. Periphery got traction by via online forums, message boards and a regularly-updated Soundclick account.
It’s still all about great songs, a story/narrative to tell, determination, perseverance and luck. Determination is a positive emotion that involves persevering towards a difficult goal in spite of obstacles. Determination occurs prior to goal attainment and serves to motivate the behaviour that will help achieve one’s goal.
The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand. (Vince Lombardi)
IN THE END, regardless of what the artist does, it is the LISTENERS/FANS that decide. The power is in their hands. And those relationships start like all relationships with a simple hello.