This is a rough one, but also one that I guess could technically be perceived as a positive thing – that’s that when it comes down to it, there’s a lot of shitty music out there and a lot of bands that are just bad at being bands. Now I know this sounds inherently elitist and like I’m trying to poo poo certain genres of music. That’s not what’s happening though, in fact that’s quite the opposite of what the situation is. I love all forms of music, I make a point to have a diverse listening palate, and I think you can tell that from the songs I suggest in these articles. Of course, that’s not the point of it all – and this is where it gets weird. For every well presented band you find and smart group who understand things like ‘art direction’ and ‘good production’ there are a dozen who simply don’t give a shit, who don’t understand basic things and who don’t end up getting anything done because they don’t pay attention to what helps their band grow.
As a matter of fact I would say that it’s challenging to accept that there is so much bad music out there. It’s the sort of thing that makes me legitimately wonder about the human condition, simply because I don’t get how a lot of these people are able to function in the world with all of this happening. I’m not trying to be a dick here, I’m just looking at things objectively. It’s hard to make good music and it’s easy to not have a very clear idea of the relative merits of your band. This leads to people simply not understanding what this entire industry is about and then feeling like they’re getting fucked over because they don’t follow a lot of the basic rules that this blog is about. These bands simply don’t put the effort in, they send a few promo emails on their own to the first twenty blogs that pop up and don’t understand why they get no coverage. They barely exist online and their actual impact on things is minimal, except of course for music stores.
So where are these bands? You like every band in your scene right? They all seem to be trying really hard? Or I mean at least you think they are. This is where things become problematic on multiple levels. First and foremost I think that it’s easy to forget that there are a ton of bands on your scene who simply don’t give a shit about being the scene. Like, they exist but they don’t really play shows outside of bullshit corporate mainstream gigs no one cares about anyway and they don’t have a real following, they just occasionally sell tickets to their friends. Again – this isn’t really something that you hear about a lot because these bands aren’t actually making moves of substance. They just don’t connect to the scene, the bars, the people doing real shit and it means that they are never going to actually progress. They aren’t making a real and tangible effort to grow their band, so of course you’re not going to run into them, since you’re doing your very best to make things work out.
Beyond that – there’s a ton of bands who are just like, dads who don’t want to work at it. Again that’s totally cool, music is supposed to be a fun thing and in many ways getting together with your buddies to play a few tunes is the purest form of appreciation of the art form. But the issue comes up when people start to act entitled, “We’ve been around a while, why don’t people care” Well we’ve been over this a bunch – no one cares, to the point that even the other bands you’re touring with don’t care. Why? Because they don’t understand that there is a real future in this if you’re willing to put the work in. So instead they become a part of the weird underbelly of this whole thing, of bands who technically exist but who refuse to take in outside advice and who only play two or three shows a year for no other reason than that they don’t seem to really understand or care enough to want to make something actually happen for themselves.
Ultimately that’s what a lot of it boils down to, these bands don’t want outside opinions or just want to pay people to suck their dicks and then wonder why they don’t get anywhere. That’s fine – again if you’re just doing it for fun then why the fuck do I care? The issue is that these same bands start whining and failing to understand what’s going on with the industry when they fail to understand that their making bad music and not trying to market themselves in any meaningful way is what makes the suits so bitter and jaded and unwilling to listen to new bands. It’s not a question of people being assholes, it’s the fact that all of these godawful bands out there who pay shitty PR companies to help them get positive coverage from publications no one reads because music journalism is a circle jerk think they are gods blessing to mankind.
Man – that got bitter for a second there, but it’s also the way things are. It’s the way things have always been in an industry that is traditionally very difficult to get a heads up on and in an industry where we find ourselves continually struggling to sort through all the noise. It’s this noise that makes people not care, and it’s these legions of bad bands acting entitled who make it so that people have really stopped caring. I now that’s not something we want to face, but of the myriad of problems facing the industry sometimes it’s your peers who are the ones who are spitting in your face and making a point of holding you back.