So there’s something of a confession I need to make. Band advice articles aren’t really that helpful. I mean don’t get me wrong – I do genuinely believe that I am helping people with this blog and I do genuinely enjoy writing for this site. Reading articles like the ones that I post here is only going to help your music career – but I don’t know if these types of articles are the be all end all. I wonder this because I have had limited success following the advice from articles on segments of the music industry I don’t have as much knowledge in. If I followed all the articles I read, then booking tours would be easy, getting sponsorships just a matter of sending enough emails and getting a record deal just a question of having a clean Facebook page that properly showcases your band and what they have done. Things are never this easy though – and to assume so is really just an insult to you and your band as a whole.
So what should you be paying attention to? If articles aren’t the be all and end all (Though let me emphasize again – they can be very helpful) what actually matters in the music industry? The answer seems to be other people. People who have been through it all. People who understand the madness and the terror that comes from an industry of people trying to rip each other off and fighting for their own personal gain. Success in the music industry can’t be distilled into a few words – though some words can help – every band has their own unique position and that’s why I recommend they seek consultation. Every band needs to set up their own network and find their own place in the world. That’s why bands have managers and consultants and labels and all that good stuff. Sure it would be easier to just be a band but that’s a LOT of work if you want to have all those connections set up yourself. It’s the knowing people though that is going to help long term.
The personal touch is always going to dominate in the music industry. The personal touch is the reason that countless people have jobs – because they can handle specific accounts and specific careers. They can show us a way forward for our individual visions. There is just so much stuff out there and so many different situations that expecting some article on the internet to be able to help you is frankly ridiculous. This isn’t like any sort of hard science – and in fact part of the difficulty of my profession is that as a band manager and consultant I am providing a soft skill. It’s sometimes hard to quantify what a band needs – and there is no science to it. While there certainly are things that have been shown to be helpful again and again I don’t really know if they are going to help everyone all the time. I’ve found that there are always exceptions – and if you try to follow the rules that all these articles nicely lay out you are probably going to be a bit disappointed.
So ask around your local scene – ask the dudes who have been here forever, as the dudes who are moving and shaking, ask your friends who have no experience in the music industry but who seem to be fairly wise. Everyone can contribute and help grow your brand and allow you to better understand your specific niche. If the music industry is about creating your own void, then why bother following the rules of the countless others who are all stuck in the same place? Millennials will always talk about disruptive marketing and how new products can totally revolutionize an industry simply by taking advantage of 21st century technology. Well your band can be just as disruptive by using a 21st century mindset. I mean – we all saw how long it took the majors to adapt to piracy, and we all understand the simple brutality of this industry – so why not be willing to constantly evolve? The only constant is change and the sooner you accept that the better off you will be.
Perhaps I should amend my initial statement – articles can be good for you as long as you read them en masse. The choices then are to study every possible situation or just get really angular on your specific one. While obviously studying every possible situation is the ideal unless you want to be a band manager or something you probably can’t budget the time for that. You need to realize then that 99% of the articles that you are going to read won’t apply to you – unless they are about more general things like your ethos. If you can’t afford to have an encyclopedic knowledge then just keep going to people who do and ask them what’s up. Ask them to help you out and ask them for guidance down a path that we all have difficulty with. There are a lot of distinct challenges brought up by the music industry and properly understanding them is a question of looking to those who seem to have started to figure it out and then trying to pick their brains as much as possible.
You won’t be the only one picking these peoples brains and you need to be sensitive of that fact. We are all trying to do or best in an industry that has historically been really hard to get by in. You still need to do it though. Try to catch on to people before others figure out what they’ve gotten. It’s obviously a question of knowing how to read others and that is a skill in and of itself , but its’ one that you can increasingly not afford to go without. If the night is dark and full of terrors it’s those who have started to find the money who have seen the light and it’s those people who are going to be able to take you by the hand, or at least point you in the right direction. Yeah they need to be paid – but if you’re serious then it will always be worth it.