Life as a musician just gets tougher and tougher doesn’t it? With a plethora of services all vying to bring your music to the masses, with only a promise of pittance in return, it seems like everyone is looking to scam the poor musician out of their dues. Pocketing the profits of the thousands upon thousands of Singles, EPs and Albums bestowed upon the streaming world by the music making elite every month, generating millions of plays, but leaving nothing for those who make it.
Wait a second.
Weren’t, the old, old, days filled with tales of musicians being swindled out of their publishing rights, and being conned into signing record contracts that better resembled a prison term? And then there were more recent plain old, old days, were a musician would earn a dollar a CD, and those nasty record company types would pocket the remainder and claim it was for packaging deductions, and record club discounts.
Lets look at this realistically for a second.
Back then you want your song on radio, you had to deal with payola. Now you want your song on radio, oh yeah that’s right, you have to pay to get it listened to by the people that matter. You know what I mean, through those slightly more legitimate payola schemes, sorry, ahem, I mean “radio distribution services”.
Back then, you wanted your album to be noticed in store, then you paid for good racking and features in the monthly store magazine. Nowadays, you want anything you do to be noticed, you got to make deals with the people who hold the key to connectivity between you and the consumer. Oh yeah that’s right, those bastards want you to pay to reach your audience, hmmm, isn’t that just like them glittering olden days?
Highlighted posts, promoted tweets, increased reach; it is all paid for. Social media advertising is the new record industry payola. It may seem on a smaller scale but if you want to make big waves and be noticed by the people, it quickly mounts up.
We can kick and shout, and moan and groan about this, but hey, that’s the way things have always been, the only difference now is that it is actually accessible to all, not just those big bad major labels who like to throw their weight around.
The formula to success is very simple, and do you want to know what it is? OK, here you go.
Be really, really good, and have lots of cash to spend.
Separately those two things can work and be effective. Though being really, really good, does actually outweigh the cash thing, as long as you stick at it long enough. Then you can earn the money to be able to properly back your endeavors. This is because real talent grows and bad investments always dwindle.
Yeah yeah yeah, I know what you are going to say, “but, but, but, there is more to it than that – you need good management, great marketing savvy, a fantastic image”. Well making the right decisions is part of being really, really, good, and if you got cash to spend then you can smartly invest in those other things too.
The one big factor left to deal with is how do you make the money back. Well, when you are really, really good, and you have used some cash to let people know that your new, really, really, good record is out, and that your really, really, good live show is hitting their town. Then those people decide that your product is worth spending their hard earned money on, because in turn, it makes them feel really, really, good.
Simple right?Robin Davey is the editor of Skindie.com, Director of Live From Daryls House, Head of Music & Film Development at GROWvision and guitarist of the band Well Hung Heart. Follow him on twitter @mr_robin_davey