Music Think Tank

One For All, Or All For One? Solo vs The Band In The Age Of Social Media

Solo ArtistsThe sky is falling…the music industry continues to live a “Chicken Little” scenario. At least, that’s how Paul Adler describes it on Music Think Tank. Many in the industry think that the business model of the self-promoted solo artist has a better chance of success than a traditional band. It might be easier to be a solo artist and you wouldn’t have to deal with all the issues and conflicts that come up in bands. What do you think of solo artists versus a band in the age of social media?

“On the subject of the so-called “cult of personality,” it seems dually fitting that we should see a shift in the collective attention of the music-consuming portion of society to more solo artists as social media shifts, simultaneously, toward more overtly egocentric platforms (see: Facebook, Twitter).”

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  2. I think the trick is to be solo, to get all the profits and creative control, but disguise it as a band. Like Bonobo, LCD Soundsystem, Caribou, M83, Bon Iver, … Cause bands are infinitely cooler and more fascinating. Yeah there’s a Beiber movie, but look at how many Sundance type ROCKumentaries have been made about our beloved bands and the interaction of the internal personalities. The Rolling Stones, Joy Division, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, White Stripes, …
    We like the idea that there’s a bunch of awesome people creating something better than the sum of the parts. Even though it usually doesn’t work as well and everyone makes less money and there’s a lot of drama.

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  4. Derek,
    I absolutely agree, and while we do still love stories of a successful yet tenuous group dynamic, those stories are the archetype and I believe, culturally, we’re starting to shift away from the “rock&roll band” paradigm, as a whole. Most of the bands/solo-act-fronted-groups you referenced are, at this point, borderline seminal or at least very, very widely-known, whereas the artists I’m talking about are relatively young and have achieved a modicum of fame over a period of time significantly shorter than the years-long path to success we commonly associate with groups. Valid point, though!
    -P. Adler

  5. If I was an artist, I would definitely focus on a solo career, which is the most sustainable way to earn a living out of music in the digital era. It allows you to develop a personal direct to fans relationship and it’s much easier to organize in terms of touring (the cost of touring with a band usually ends up with loss making tours). That being said, I love bands 😉

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