I just finished reading an article called “The Content Conundrum: How to get people to view what you create”, that was published on the website, Smartcompany.com.au
Of course it got me thinking about rock and metal music and artists.
FACT – It’s getting easier to get content out in the world for musicians. iTunes, CDBaby, Soundcloud, Tumblr, Facebook, iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Instagram, website, WordPress and many more. Due to this ease, the web is saturated with content.
As the article alludes, “the challenge is no longer how to publish content, it’s how to find an audience for it.”
FACT: There is so much competition, how does an artist stand out and compete for someone’s time. Back in the glory day of the recording industry, the record labels would be competing for the listener’s dollar. Now it is record labels and artists themselves competing for the listener’s time, attention and maybe their dollar.
For example, it’s funny how a lot of bands or artists don’t think about uniqueness and branding when it comes to deciding what band name or artist name they should go forward with. I was listening to a melodic rock band called “Rain” today. I wanted to know more about the band, so I Googled the words “Rain band.” Of course I knew that the term “Rain” would bring back everything to do with actual rain. To my amusement, the term “Rain band” also brought back everything to do with the weather term “rainbands”. Do you get where I am getting with this? Other bands I listened to today are called “Prime Circle”, “The Black Rain”, “Redline” and “Vaudeville.” Google these band names and tell me if you get the bands website or Facebook page as the first search result.
Motley Crew is not unique, Motley Crue however is.
Metallica is unique. Metal Britannica is not.
Megadeth is unique. Mega Death is not.
Aerosmith is unique. Aeroplane is not.
Coheed and Cambria is unique. That’s it.
Judas Priest is unique.
Queensryche is unique.
Pink Floyd is unique.
Twisted Sister is unique.
Volbeat is unique.
Dream Theater is unique, however Dream Theatre is not unique. Get the difference one little letter change has achieved.
Every artist should aim to have their name to come up as search item result number 1 in Google. If I type in “Tool” in Google, I get 6 returns for the band Tool and 4 returns for other forms of tools, like Tax Tools, Definition of Tool and so forth.
If I type in “Rush” in Google, I only get 2 returns for the band Rush and that is because they have a history in Google’s “SEO” algorithm. I guarantee you, that if a new band called Rush came out on the scene today, there web presence would be lost as the name is generic.
What are you doing different compared to what all the other artists are doing? By using the phrase that you are “putting your heart and soul into the music”, just doesn’t cut it these days. What reasons are you giving for the fans to connect with you and for the fans to buy from you?
If you want to be a millionaire by playing Djent music, then you are dreaming. It will not happen. You could have a career in music, however you will not be rolling in the cash. If cash is the reason why you got into the music industry, then get out right now. There is more money to be made in banking and the technology sector.
Which area or space are you trying to occupy with your music?
Remember the movie Highlander, “there can be only one.” Look at technology. Facebook is unrivalled at the moment. Sure there are other little players on the scene, however all the social media fame goes to Facebook. Amazon has the online shopping experience cornered. Google has the search area cornered. Apple did have the innovation market cornered, however they stopped innovating and Samsung is rising up to take the crown. Blackberry is dead as they refused to see that the future lays in apps. One will become dominant and the other will fall.
Music is the same. Sure, we all have our little niche bands that we love, however there is always one band that rises to conquer all.
Metallica have no challengers at the moment for the Thrash, Rock and Metal crown. Of course, I still love Slipknot, Stone Sour, Machine Head, Megadeth, Slayer, Trivium, Killswitch Engage and so on, however none of those bands can rival the juggernaut that is Metallica.
Avenged Sevenfold and Five Finger Death Punch are fighting it off to be the current conqueror of the Modern Metal movement. Of course, other bands exist in this era that fans also like.
Killswitch Engage are the kings of the metalcore movement in the U.S. Of course there are a thousand wannabes however, Killswitch remain unchallenged.
Dream Theater are the undisputed kings of progressive rock and metal.
Coheed and Cambria are kings of their comics and sci-fi world and they get a fair amount of crossover fans.
If any artist looks back at the careers of the bands/artists that influence them they would see that those artists didn’t release the same content as their competitors.
Metallica in 1991 released an album vastly different to what the other thrash bands released in 1991. They are still selling copies of that album, while all the other releases from their competitors have no traction today.
Motley Crue released a sleazy heavy classic rock album with “Dr Feelgood” in 1989, a far cry from the glam rock and pop metal/rock releases that the other competing bands released.
Guns N Roses released a very heavy blues rock album with “Appetite For Destruction” in 1987 and they stood out from the pack. Axl Rose is still doing victory laps on this album.
Dream Theater released “Images And Words” in 1992, which was totally different to the hard rock releases of the day. When compared to the new wave of Seattle sounds coming through, “Images and Words” was a total outlier.
The blog states that “Content should be influenced by a blend of audience needs, brand positioning and values, and corporate and communication objectives – and these are likely to be unique to your business and enable you to find a unique voice.”
The way I view the above comment is as follows;
I call it “The Led Zeppelin Fix.” When you have one of the largest bands in the history of music call it a day in 1980, what are all the hard rock fans of the band going to do. “Zebra” took in a decent cut, however it wasn’t until “Whitesnake” released their self-titled album in 1987 and “Kingdom Com”e released their self-titled in 1988 that fans of Led Zeppelin had their “Led Zeppelin fix”.
When a novice listener hears the albums mentioned above for the first time they will never notice the obvious influences. Kids these days do not know enough about the history of rock and metal music, in order to make the comparisons. They are too busy trying things out.
This is what Dream Theater is trying to do with their new album. They are trying to make it a great reference point for any new fans hearing the band for the first time. Time will tell if they have succeeded.