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Entries in indie (15)
It was towards the end of a long, cold, 2 month tour around Europe promoting my new album, just about to head to Portugal to finish off and enjoy a bit of sun. I got an email from a fan in Switzerland saying something like “Hey, check out this video, it’s pretty cool but the best part is the music ;-)”
I clicked the link and it lead me to a video on Eurosport/Yahoo Europe. The video was by Red Bull and was of a guy called Daniel Bodin doing an amazing 220ft jump on a snowmobile, from an Olympic ski ramp. The music behind it was my song “What Am I?” from my second album “The Rooftop Recordings.”
It is a new world order for musicians. There’s also a high degree of change in the world of radio. Expectations, though, shouldn’t be changing all that much due to the complexities of rising to the top in a still very difficult system.
I’ve recently become intrigued with DIY, Youtube sensation Alex Day. Coverage of his ongoing artistic success has been popping up here and there for the last year and I finally sat down to review and digest the different possible factors that have led to his success in hopes of revealing a path I may be able to co opt for my own musical efforts.
In the increasingly difficult world of getting your music heard, indie artists are being supplied with unparalleled tools in the form of social media, web sites specializing in “helping” musicians with marketing, and audio platforms which promise unlimited access to the public.
This is part 1 of a 2 part article I wrote strictly based on my professional experience producing and engineering and managing artists. Since 2006, I’ve been involved as a key member in several music groups, labels, and production teams that despite all their potential to achieve greatness, fail and fall apart, often at critical moments.
Do you ever feel like modern society is like a million screaming kids with A.D.D. unleashed at a Chuckie Cheese?
We’re just bouncing off the walls, interrupting each other, there’s no order, we just go and fling ourselves into the next unconsciously interesting experience…
A successful artist was just an artist who did the right things, the right way, and didn’t quit.
I’ve never met a dumb musician. Seriously.
So is it the structure, the discipline, or the determination?
So in part one of the Indie Artist Launch Plan we addressed what seem to be the two major problems as well as the importance of BUILDING a solid foundation.
The importance of creating the structure - built of the right habits, the right people, and the right attitude are the fundamental building blocks to the success of an Indie Artist Career today.
Got your attention? Good. Now obviously there is no ONE path to launching a career as a musical artist, whether you are going the Indie Route or aim to get picked up by a Major Label…
But I fear that the overwhelming DIY concepts saturating the already overloaded artist/musician is causing analysis paralysis and/or an unneeded amount of complication surrounding what one really needs to do to build your foundation as an Independent Artist or Band.
Throughout this two part article series I am going to do my best to break the component parts down to understandable and slightly over-simplified concepts to leave you with what I believe you’ll find very valuable insight and a message that you can apply to your life/career in some helpful way.
Or, screw it… If you read this article, 4 million dollars will fall out of the sky and land on your doorstep, and the girl/guy of your dreams will instantly show up in your life… Ok. NOW you’ll read!
But today, in retrospect of what I know now, and from working with artists and bands to progress and develop their career, launch albums, and get more clear on what they need to do and as a DIY Indie Artist, there are a few things I would do differently to build the foundation of my musical career…
This is what I would like to share, and exactly what I would have liked to have had someone tell me eight years ago, so hopefully you will be able to benefit from this.
Having been hearing about the growing success of the band Pomplamoose many times now, I decided to check them out and listen to their music/interviews and watch some of their videos to get a feel for who they were-both as artists, and see what we could learn from this independent band who have carved out a living with STRICTLY their MUSIC, using a 99% web-based business model. Listening to them in the first interview with Tech Crunch’s Andrew Keen, Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn answered several very basic questions, of which, although the interview could have been hosted better to get down to some more insightful questions, the resulting insight I continue to find the more I learn about this powerhouse duo remains consistent with the very simple mantra this band has so very successfully modeled for us as independent musicians in our brave new music business. Pomplamoose, who have now turned down all of the “big three” major labels – are in fact making enough money to live in a fully paid for house, primarily off iTunes revenue, and don’t see the need OR the strategic advantage to sign with a major record label. The bottom line is that Record labels today - are more like general contractors who hire other companies to do things for the artist, (when, with a little knowledge and ambition one could go hire that company directly) and decision makers for those who don’t want or don’t know where to start with building their own business model. Perhaps not as extreme as “the powerful praying on the ignorant and powerless,” but something close to that, is what perpetuates most of the unknown yet talented and intelligent signed acts that you’ve never heard of.
It’s true that industry professionals and artist mind sets could not be farther apart. They are on two totally different sides of the game, yet working together as a team. All industry people probably receive anywhere from 15 to 200 emails or calls a week from indie artists wanting to work with them or get their advice. This is not an exaggeration. Most of these calls/emails are unfortunately misguided and are not going to get the artist anywhere just based on their approach. As an indie artist I am sure this must be incredibly frustrating… constantly sending out emails to industry people and not receiving replies. You’ve been told that to be proactive you have to mail, call, email, and send presents to industry representatives to get their attention. This is NOT true… let me help you out here.
Artists are giving away way too much free music. The belief that giving away free music will result in future sales are too far-fetch. Also with the advancement of new distribution models cutting down the dollar value on music (Cloud/Subscription models), we are entering a stage where the public is becoming too accustomed to free music. Sure illegal downloads are here and will continue to be here, but artists must not fall into the trap of allowing their fans to dance to the tune of music is a free commodity.
As of today, you will find a new menu item in the Music Think Tank menu that is simply labeled 100.
The Indie Maximum Exposure 100 blog was created by a team of industry experts and by artists that are making a full-time living from their music.
The 100 is an essential read for all artists; it’s a clear and concise guide to 100 important things every artist should consider. Check out the Indie Maximum Exposure 100 on Music Think Tank. Here’s a category list:
The Entire List (100)
Fostering Relationships (13)
Making Money (12)
Mindset/ Who You Are Being (16)
Online Resources (Where to Submit) (20)
Recording and Releasing Material (8)
Social Media/ Internet Strategy (16)
Touring/ Live Performance (15)
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(Updated Feb 25, 2014)