Groups and Groupies 101
Why do most bands not make? I can tell you exactly why in five words; they make the wrong choices. How do bands make it big? Again, I can tell you in five words; by making the correct choices. OK, I know those answers are very vague so let me elaborate a bit. Here is what I see most bands doing wrong. Usually every ten years or so one or two bands will come out with a new sound. Musicians hear these bands and say “Wow, Band X are making all of the money and getting all of the girls, so I’ll start a band that sounds just like them”. The problem here is that within a year or two there are tens of thousands of bands who sound just like band X. Yes, a few of these bands do make it but the odds are like winning the lotto. Remember grunge with Pearl Jam, Creed and ten thousand garage bands trying to sound like them? Original sounding bands stand out. Some great examples would be Metallica back in 1983. At the time most bands were trying to be either like Duran Duran or Kiss but Metallica had a very different offering and their song composition was very strong. Another example would be Nirvana in the early 1990s when hair metal was at its peak. These days there are tens of thousands of bands trying to sound like Meshugah or Lamb of God. I doubt many of these bands will make it.
Another huge problem I often see are bands spending far too much time competing as individual musicians and not spending enough time on song writing. Who made more money John Lennon or Steve Via? Concentrate on song writing. Individual musicians get caught up in the “I’m better, he’s better” trap. I can’t tell you how many 14 year old guitarists I have heard on YouTube who can blow away 95% of pro lead guitarists. Most will never be known because guitar is a competition for them not a means of creating art. Don’t get me wrong, it is important to master your instrument, but spend an equal amount of time on song writing. Amazing song writing will always land you a lot more attention than amazing musicianship. It is a fact.
If you have some originality and have also composed some very good songs, you then need to make the right decisions to obtain money. Yes, that evil word stops so many bands dead in their tracks and sends them to the ever-growing abyss of great unknown bands. You need money to record your demos at the highest quality. You need money for marketing advertisements. You need money for gear and money to tour. The best way to get it is to find a trustworthy manager who can help you attract backers, labels etc.
Before I move on to groupies I will say this. Always have a good plan. Having no plan or a poor plan will end in disaster every time, and to make a good plan you need to do a lot of research. So good luck!
Groupies, are you pissed off because your favourite artists are not on the TV, radio ad seldom play in your town? Are you sick of hearing the same type of music in clothing stores and clubs? Well, first ask yourself this question. Do I support my favourite bands as much as I can? My guess is regardless what your answer was, most of you do not. Do you make every effort to go and see your favourite bands when they play live? Are you an active fan on all of their social media pages? Do you buy their tee-shirts CD (Physical copy or via digital download)? I think we all have at some point borrowed music from the internet. My rule of thumb is if I download something and I plan to keep it, I will buy it. Usually I purchase a physical copy as I can then put it on my MP3 player and also have the higher quality .wav files, artwork, and a reliable back up. What is the importance of this other than the band and label making more money? Well, if the band and label make money there will be a much greater chance of another CD. Moreover, one of the ways that Labels, radio stations, TV stations, magazines, and webzines measure an artist’s or genre’s popularity is by the amount of money it generates. If a person that wants to start a heavy metal magazine goes to a venture capitalist (A financial backer) for money, the backer will looking into sales in the industry. If there are not enough sales no money is offered, and what might have been a very awesome metal magazine never sees its first issue published. Also, join every social network site your band has. The amount of online followers is also used by the industry as a gauge of popularity.
Finally be proactive in supporting your favourite artists. Share links, tell friends, request your favourite band’s music on the radio and most importantly go to their concerts. Doing these things can make the world of difference to both your favourite band and the genre as a whole.
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