You paid your dues from hotel to motel, honed your chops playing live, got ripped off on the pay from the promoter, had some fights and some good times and maybe, just maybe, you might have made it to the top to rock ‘n’ roll.
Today, artists expect to get instant success. But, what artists fail to grasp is they get to define their own success.
Is success about reaching everybody and getting rich?
Is success about establishing a career on your own terms and controlling your own destiny?
So forget all the crap about streaming payments, piracy, YouTube videos payments and copyright issues because for any artist, it always comes back to the live show.
For a fan, it’s an experience they can’t get anywhere else. You see, the records weren’t perfect. In some cases, rushed, so the band could go back on the road again. And even the shows had problems, but the bands would take you on a journey and explore new paths with the songs, have sing-a-longs and jam out the endings. Today, the live show is a clone of the recordings, because bands take their time to get the recordings perfect.
Remember when Bob Rock was asked to produce Metallica. He heard the first four albums and hated the sound/mix on them. He watched them live and thought to himself, wow, how can I get the power, the sound and the energy of the live show in the studio.
So stop focusing on Spotify and revenue. That area is a game that some play well. But for most metal and rock artists, they can’t win there, so they need to go the other way and focus on the live performance. Use the data the streaming services give you about super fans and work out ways to reach them and play the cities they reside in.
Opportunities are rampant, if you allow yourself to see the landscape differently because you are investing now for revenue later. If you want it to work immediately, then focus on recordings. And then if you get some traction, you need to be able to play live.
The good thing is the internet allows the word to be spread but there are so many words trying to spread, it’s hard to get people’s attention, so you need to double down and focus on the building blocks, the ability to play your instrument. So focus on chops.
Music is cultures greatest invention and the record labels signed artists based on the music more than the commercial potential. With some A&R development, an audience would come as a career is built.
Now artists are a star today and gone tomorrow. And streaming put the public in control. It took away the power of scorched earth marketing tactics from the labels.
Songs that go nuts on streaming happen months before the rest of the mainstream pick up on them. And every so few years something new comes along that becomes mainstream. Classic rock gave birth to prog rock to punk to metal to hair rock to grunge to industrial to nu metal and so forth.