Frontline recently shown a special on the music industry and how difficult it is for artists to thrive in it. The show was a disappointment. No where near as thorough as I thought it could be. They have done far better work and I was surprised at how MTVish this thing was. Nevertheless you can see it online.
I’ve seen the episode of Frontline a couple of weeks ago. I thought it was quite informative. I actually took down three pages of notes. I plan to present these notes/thoughts at our next band meeting. I also have been reading a couple books on being a self employed musician. What I learned from the books and the show was…
-The record companies do control and brain wash the Americans. You may think your on an indie label but if you back track it’s a subdivision of a major corporation like sony.
-The record execs. have a “formula”. To be picked up and succeed you fit into it. The only way to decieve them into thinking you fit their formula is by pulling a large crowd on your own. Look at the comparisons between Velvet Revolver and the daughter of the Hudson Brother. When Velvet Revolver was G’n’R, they pulled a crowd when the A&R rep. came to see them play. Since they already was big in their demographic the record company just had to distribute and fund the band (which you end up paying off through tours and record sales). Since then they had the company in their hands and had artistic freedom. And when Velvet Revolver came together they had their reputation to bring them a deal and get them on the charts. The young girl on the other hand was to become just a product the record company hopes sells. This girl is going to need a fluke in marketing to become successful. But she may never experience the success because the company will take all the credit and dump her when she drops.
-An old way to make it is by having a loyal DJ be a fan and play your song on their show. That is not the case anymore. Since major corporations own all the major radio stations over the US it’s impossible for DJs to stray from the very formulated play list.
-Another thing is your look. Today all the different medias control the music business, magazines TV for eg., so you may play your ass off but since your overweight nobody will pick you up. Unless you can draw a crowd on your own (Blues Traveler)
-One good thing is unless they stop making only one hit products, downloading music will still be on the rise. Nobody wants to buy an album with only one good song. This is the downfall of major corporations. Put out a shitty product and your business will die.
-In the End, market yourself and get a fanbase so the record company can eat out of your hands. Rely solely on them to get you out you’ll be nothing but the hot toy around Christmas time and then be in the 99cent bin. I have a comparison of record companies and women, but I won’t go into that.
-There are many resons why you would get shuffled around a record company. Learn to protect yourself before you learn from your own first hand experience. There is a great book called…
THE SELF PROMOTING MUSICIAN
Sorry if this is nonsense. It’s 4:30 in the morning and tired. Hope I didn’t waste your time.