Starting a band or trying to forge a career in the music industry is difficult. We all know that we have to start somewhere. I had no expectations of MTV stardom, fame and riches. For me music is a need to create something. I like to draw, write music, write lyrics, write short stories, take photos and so on. So I was never deluded that just because I started on a path in the music business that I deserved to be successful.
It’s funny when I think back, but when I started out with bands, the main talking point was distribution.
How do we make our music available?
Today I shake my head that all the talk is about money, streaming royalties, etc.
Now that the distribution problem has been solved, everyone believes that if they write a song and put it out on all the platforms, they should be a star. Guess they don’t know that 20 million songs on Spotify have never been heard.
Thinking about getting paid from the start is wrong. In music, you get ripped off a lot of times before you make any money, provided that you are still around to capitalise. Which doesn’t always happen, as people need to get a full-time job to support their life choices.
Gettin’ ripped off
That’s how it goes
Playin’ in a band
Then arguments come about like; “our music is ten times better than the crap on the Top 40”. Artists forrget that the most important thing is to have a track and an online presence.
Once you start talking about the Top 40 at band practice or to your peers, then you need to make music like the Top 40 and that means you need to get onto radio and all of the other old school distribution outlets.
Of course there are outliers; bands or artists that don’t make Top 40 music, however they have the songs, the charisma and the movement of a whole scene behind them, that ends up gaining traction and penetrates the Top 40.
These kind of artists have been off the grid for that long, they have figured out their act, built their fan base and have the experience on the board. You see when you are an outlier from the Top 40, you are constantly building up your fan base and gaining traction a little bit at a time. Your selling your merchandise. You are constantly releasing new songs as your fans demand it. You get your fans to invest in you. You are selling thousands of tickets to your shows.
A listener is someone who hears a song and then moves on the next one. A fan is someone who presses repeat over and over again after hearing your song. A listener will not invest in you, however a fan will, when they feel like it.
Remember, that music is a business and everyone wants to make money. So they look to the artists who can make them some money. And that is the problem the artists have. The majority of artists don’t really know what they are worth and when you add all of the competition they face to get a listener’s attention, the first thing that gets reduced is the value an artist places on themselves.
One more thing.
An artist could have all of the above, but that doesn’t mean that they are rich. All of those years of hard work means that the artist is still stuck at the starting line. The hard work begins when the artist crosses that line of being a nobody to being a somebody that some people have heard of.
That one last step to success is a giant chasm that is never crossed for many.
The music an artist creates is still the key, the doorway into their career. Good is no longer good enough. It’s always been about the best songs.
I dare anyone to name me all of the tracks on “Theatre of Pain” from Motley Crue or all of the tracks on the “The Wrong Side of Heaven and The Righteous Side of Hell” albums from Five Finger Death Punch or all of the tracks on the “House Of Gold and Bones” albums from Stone Sour or all of the tracks from “Super Collider” or “Endgame” or “Th1rt3en” from Megadeth. As much as we are fans of those bands, we still want the best from them.