So, a surprising amount of life in the music industry is building and maintaining databases. I’ve spent the last week of time off due to holidays creating lists of doom and stoner metal festivals as well as updating my music supervisor sheets. Sure I can’t reach to them because it’s the holidays but it’s the principle of the thing. Reaching out and figuring out the way forward for all of my bands and knowing that when the time comes again that I can send emails and go back to growing my portfolio as it where. Having databases is the best way to move forward, the best way to keep your band evolving and to keep on figuring out where your band needs to be and what they should be looking at doing for years to come. The use of databases has increasingly grown in recent years and I think that it could be a weird new era for music as we all realize that we have to increasingly rely on ideas from the traditional business world to really succeed.
First of all – it’s important to realize why databases are becoming more popular. We are at a point in popular music where there are more festivals than we know what to do with .Some are just the same cycle of radio rock bands yeah, but there’s also more independent festivals than ever before, literally hundreds in any given genre. That’s a lot to pick apart I know and you need to be able to sort through them. It’s kind of overwhelming to look at an industry like this and realize how much shit you have to pick through to properly understand it. It’s too much to just keep track of in your head. If you try to do that things are going to fall through and you will end up hating yourself. Instead, in a world that has too goddamn much information for any reasonable person to keep track of we need to sit down and write down as much as possible so that we can save our valuable cerebral processing power for things that might need more immediate attention.
It’s also key to understand that most people don’t have databases because they haven’t sat down and fucking done them. These companies are ridiculously busy and a lot of the time it’s easier to just let this sort of stuff grow organically. I know that sounds brutal and frustrating a lot of the time but that’s just the way things go when your company is trying to make as much money ass possible but you don’t have the time to properly codify things. That being said, I am legitimately surprised that massive databases aren’t more common. I’ve found out that even big companies don’t have databases of just about everything under the sun and that confuses me. While I appreciate that the big money is in the big things and those larger companies have pre-existing partnerships there I feel like not having these sorts of databases to draw upon is pretty much shooting yourself in the foot.
So we’re in a world where you largely need to create these things on your own. This of course means that you need to spend hundreds of hours behind a computer screen using Google, Facebook and various sketchy websites as a way of compiling data. It’s key and it leaves you sending out countless emails for days on end with the hope that someone out there thinks that you are cool enough to respond to and decides to help you tap into the next level of things. I know that’s kind of a nightmare sometimes but it’s a hard knock life these days and as the money continues to dry up people are going to guard their resources more jealously than ever before. I personally believe this stuff should be out there, but at the same time I have cultivated many of the relationships in my databases for years and don’t want just any Tom, Dick or Harry violating them and upsetting my friends. This leads us to why not everyone uses massive databases.
At the end of the day everything, especially for the big boy labels, is based on personal relationships Now I know this is probably the best way for the little guys to get in on the action too, but how are people going to even know you are there until you go out and start sending emails? You need to have a blended approach. The big guys don’t often need databases because they know everyone doing everything anyway. They might have a sheet documenting various contacts and such but it grew organically over the years. For those of us at the bottom of the barrel we can only dream of getting to be a part of that subjectively amazing reality. Instead we have to scrabble, find things in our microniche and keep moving forward. I know that sounds a little too easy and frankly kinda condescending and I get why you would think that. If you’re not an active part of the scene no one is gonna give a fuck, I don’t know what else to tell you.
At the end of the day databases are how you can keep ahead of the game and continue emailing people year round in order to ensure continued success. In a world where most of us are caught with our thumbs up our asses trying to understand the demented realities of a constantly changing industry why not be the one with the biggest list of contacts you can reach out too? It’s only the beginning of a long process to be sure but it’s a vital start. You need to cultivate relationships with the folks on your lists so take notes, make calls and prepare for the next fucked up adventure this industry is sure to throw at you.