So here’s the biggest threat against the music industry right now. It’s a simple one and one that we all run in to time and time again and get endlessly frustrated with. It’s all those goddamn out of touch motherfuckers. It’s the people who think “Oh well you’re just going to stumble into a $4000 guarantee because you work hard” It’s the people who think that a $500 promotional campaign is going to have a significant boost on their draw at shows. It’s the people who think that hitting up a million teeny blogs is going to change their bands future because they get good reviews. It’s all of these people. These people don’t realize the fundamental futility of the industry and the fact that you need to invest money into this if you want to figure things out and that you need to be a bigger and driving part of your music if you want to find real success that stays with you over an extended period of time and over a large region.
Here’s a big thing out of touch people don’t realize that cases them a lot of grief. People only care about top notch products. So even if your idea is good and your presentation solid if your songwriting is shit you won’t get anywhere. By the same token if your idea and music are good but you fail to invest money into it or be realistic about the kind of money you will be getting well then you are also going to suffer. That’s ultimately what it comes down to. If you’re not cautious and smart with your product then things are going to fall apart before your very eyes. Yet time and time again we see people who decide to not listen to wisdom and instead throw away a perfectly solid model and venture because they let themselves bleed it dry or simply don’t pay enough respect to the art form, leaving people questioning your motives and making you look like some clueless asshole left behind by a new way of thinking and product creation.
I think one of the big ways that people are out of touch is that not only do they try and chase money, which we know is not a good idea, but they try and chase money that isn’t even there. I feel like a lot of bands out there seem to think that there are groups on the basement circuit that make a significant amount of money at it – sadly that is not, and never has been the case. By the same token while bands definitely need to win their way up through the ranks you also need to realize that the ones who make it are extremely few and far between. This is not something that you can expect your band to do without a whole bunch of work in other fields. Of course the out of touch band seems to think that they will be the ones who push their way through and become champions simply because their music is good and while having good music is certainly important I think to reduce it to good music and hard touring is nowhere near close to what actually needs to be going on to find any true measure of success.
I think this ties into something else out of touch people don’t realize – there is no money. Like – I know countless bands who seem to think that as shitty a their lives are they are going to stumble into a several thousand dollar licensing placement or get for one show a several thousand dollar guarantee just because they will find someone who ‘really gets it’ and ‘can bring people out’. I have no fucking clue where the idea of a promoter who can bring out several hundred people for an unknown band comes from but apparently people seem to think that it’s something that people can do fairly easily. If someone could explain to me why they think this then I will be very fucking grateful. The best yu can hope for from a promoter is that they put up a few posters around town and do a god job promoting the event on Facebook. That can be a lot of work and a little overwhelming and that’s when the promoter does a GOOD job. So why would you EVER fucking expect a promoter to bring out the masses? These things just don’t happen.
It’s probably easy to see my pent up frustration here. This whole industry has a tendency to drive me utterly apeshit at times. It’s these same people who don’t pull anyone to their shows who seem to get upset when you tell them they can’t open for the bigger bands in their scene. The bigger bands in the scene don’t give a shit because they want to be able to play with the bands who are serious and bring people. The bands who are serious and bring people are the ones who are good enough that their friends want to actually come out to their shows. These things are hard to do. Music is not easy, but people who are out of touch seem to think that they can just write a record ina few weeks and expect people to want to come to their shows. They don’t see the point in investing in PR or any of that important stuff. Instead they just sit back and pout when they find out that sad truth I emphasize time and time again – no one fucking cares.
So yeah – don’t be an out of touch person because that’s just going to make people like me angry and stressed out and when yu make people like me angry and stressed out then the odds are fewer people in power are going to do you favors. People want to work with folks who understand what’s up and who are fun to work with, not people who try and dick you over for a few dozen bucks or who take forever to reply. When it comes down to it – a lot of the conventional ways old heads made money are dead now. A goo friend recently told me a story about a Lou Reed tribute in one of the hippest venues in New York City featuring a ton of guys who used to play stadiums. In his words, “Not a cent of money was exchanged” So think about that next time you dive into trying to move forward with your shitty fucking band.
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