I have had some music laying around that I earmarked once upon a time for a re-listen in a proper way. Proper to me in this day and age means headphones.
Burning Yesterday is the first band and their album from 2009, “We Create Monsters Not Machines.” Burning Yesterday is based in Nashville. The sound is polished and for an independent band, they sure sound like a major label act. All the songs are pretty solid.
If you like bands like Red, Papa Roach, Breaking Benjamin, Skillet and Disciple then you would rate this album very highly. If you don’t mind those bands, then you will not mind this album. If you don’t like those bands, then you will not like this album.
From all the bashing that the album format has gotten, one thing I do like are the connections. For example, on this album Robert Venable was the producer. For those that do not know, Robert Venable has worked on the following albums;
- Megadeth – The System Has Failed
- Spoken – Illusion
- Love and Death – Between Here & Lost
- Disciple – Horseshoes And Handgrenades
- Disciple – O God Save Us All
- Seventh Day Slumber – Love and Worship
- Seventh Day Slumber – Anthem Of Angels
A point of interest is that in their electronic bio, it states the following;
“We Create Monsters Not Machines” was produced by Travis Wyrick (P.O.D., Disciple, Pillar, Since October, 10 Years).”
CD Baby also states the above comments, while Allmusic and Wikipedia has the producer as Robert Venable. My interpretation is that Travis Wyrick was used in a songwriter/executive producer role, while the actual album was produced by Robert Venable.
So if the album is good (and it is that good that it made my Top 20 for the year) why didn’t it set the world on fire? The answer is simple. COMPETITION IN THE MARKETPLACE and TIME.
2009 was a tough year for any new artist releasing music. Actually every year is a tough year for any new band. For the fan base that Burning Yesterday is trying to appeal to, they had to compete against the following bands and their releases for that year;
- Red – Innocence and Instinct
- Pillar – Confessions
- Breaking Benjamin – Dear Agony
- Casting Crowns – Until The Whole World Hears
- Thirty Seconds To Mars – This Is War
- Seether – Finding Beauty In Negative Spaces
- Daughtry – Leave This Town
- Stryper – Murder By Pride
- Chevelle – SciFi Crimes
- Veer Union – Against The Grain
- Adelitas Way – Adelitas Way
- Three Days Grace – Life Starts Now
- Skillet – Awake
- Madina Lake – Attics To Eden
- Halestorm – Halestorm
- Thousand Foot Krutch – Welcome To The Masquerade
- Smile Empty Soul – Consciousness
- Decyfer Down – Crash Love
- Ten Second Epic – Hometown
- Cavo – Bright Nights, Dark Days
- Papa Roach – Metamorphosis
- Muse – The Resistance
- Burn Halo – Burn Halo
The thing is I could go on forever about similar sounding bands and styles that had reasonably good albums released in 2009. For any artist that is starting out, piracy should not be their biggest concern. Their biggest concern should be competition. How do they compete in the market place in this day and age. Piracy should be used as a metric of demand.
So Burning Yesterday spend their time and money on getting a good production team and recording an album of good tunes. They actually entered the studio with producer Travis Wyrick in 2007. The album came out at the start of 2009. So they release it into a market place, that is saturated with hundreds of new releases on a daily basis. Apart from the core audience who are aware of the band, it doesn’t spread.
My view has always been the same. Musicians are entrepreneurs. They are people who organize and operate a business, taking on the financial risk to do so. They have to give people a reason to buy their product against all the other competing products. The Michael Jackson superstar business model created by the record labels in the early Eighties is dead and buried. It is never coming back. Different superstars will rise within different genres and communities, however they are the ones that will need to create the buzz.
The days of record labels breaking really great bands to the public are over. It is the bands that need to break themselves. Sure, Record Labels can be useful as distribution agents, however the final marketing starts and ends with the band.