The Good Old Days
How do you get your music noticed nowadays?
Perhaps you haven't even got anything to sell and just need to build a fan base. Over the last few weeks I've seen a few artists trying to get themselves noticed in different ways, and thought i'd share a few musings on how hard it really must be to make it in the music business these days. After all what do bands do now when no-one wants to buy records anymore?
When I first started listening to music, there was really only one way to make money; sell some records. When your band had a record deal, concert tours were paid for by record companies as they made more money that way. They wanted to sell LPs and singles, and they knew that if a band visited a city, their record sales would be boosted; it was a tried and tested model. Singles and albums sold in their thousands; millions if they were lucky, and we were all prepared to shell out a bit of cash each week to have a slice of it.
How different it all is now. A few weeks back I saw a gig in a High Storrs school hall, by an up and coming girl band M.O. and excellent they were too. They’re starting out to try to build a fan base while they start their recording career, and they need those all important Youtube hits and hopefully the downloads to follow. They didn’t make any money from the show, but they did connect with their potential audience, and that’s the important part. They now have an audience for their tweets and Facebook status updates, and their followers feel part of their world in the way I once did when I bought a record and felt I owned a piece of whichever band it was I was following. It’s all about feeling included.
I was invited recently to a CD launch by a much more established band, In The Nursery. Klive and Nigel’s new album is as unusual as ever, and is a soundtrack to accompany the written works of Simon Beckett, and they launched it in the Beehive Works. The album was played in the atmospheric and historic surroundings of what was once part of a group of Sheffield’s cutlery workshops. Eerie blue lighting and police incident tape added to the ambience, but the mission was the same as with the girls from M.O.; promotion of their music.
This weekend at the Harley it’s the launch of the first CD from Screaming Maldini, and it’s going to be quite a party I expect. They’ve a good local fan-base, and they should easily fill the Harley, but what then? They’ve recently completed their first tour of the country, hitting the south coast and London, and have done themselves a power of good, but they’ve done it all by taking holidays from their full time jobs and financed it themselves. Making a living from music, which I’m sure they all want to do, is now dependant on someone liking them enough to pay them to do it. A session on a London radio station is a great prize, but driving down to play it ‘on a school-night’ and then back in time for work next day can’t be done forever.
– Check out Screaming Maldini's Facebook page here
A recent article I read informed us that only 38% of 13 to 19 year olds own a CD. It should have read ‘62% of teenagers DON’T own a CD’.
A friend recently moved into a house and skipped hundreds of videos which had been left behind. No-one wanted them. In much the same way CDs, along with books, will soon be what only old people have on their shelves.
In 30 years time, someone will be moving into the same house filling a skip with CDs and DVDs that were left behind that no-one wants. I suppose they’ll be looking back at our antiquated ways of accessing music and mocking us and our quaint broadband internet and funny little iPods. By then they’ll be using the internet chip implanted in their brain to access the universe wide web! But there will still be musicians out there trying to find unusual and attention-grabbing ways to promote their music, and with any luck, they might just get you to listen.