Today marks the release of Everest's Ownerless so it's a fitting moment to check out what Pollard has to say, especially about the role of sponsorships, plus a few touring tips.
In his interview with Goetz, Pollard discusses his experiences with Sebadoh where he was a young man learning everything he could to his growth with Everest before sharing some of what he's learned. Note that a lot of what is often described as those things DIY artists need to do are also the things bands on indie labels are needing to do because the game has changed for everybody:
"The day of a studio executive coming to a young band and saying, 'Here's $250,000 to make your record, and here is some living money and a tour van and a big, fat checking account for tour support' are gone. Now, bands have to become clever on their own about how they want to market themselves and how they can afford to tour, get out on the road and pay gas and shortfall prices when tours are not making the kind of money they need to cover expenses."
Even though signed to a label, Pollard points out that you still have to think of your band and your music as your business:
"We've had to find ways to grow our own business, whether that is through finding a sponsor to underwrite some of our touring and get us out in front of people, or taking on our own ecommerce and making money off that on the road."
But he sees the situation as a positive one for artists:
"Now, I think, more than ever, the artists are holding the cards. As long as they don't get into those 360 deals and start losing future profits before they even make a dime, they can find ways to make money, whether it's through publishing, licensing songs...But now I see a lot of sponsorship happening. I think that's just the way things are going."
While sponsorship and sellout still remain closely connected for some music fans, Pollard feels they need to wise up:
"Fans of music can't look at bands taking corporate sponsorships or partnering with brands as a negative thing anymore. They're bringing the bands to the fans...True fans of music and bands need to understand that when they see Portugal. The Man with a Jagermeister logo on their tour poster, that's the reason that they're in that club that night. They couldn't afford to get there otherwise."
Goetz asked Pollard about what tips he had for a young band just starting to tour:
"When you show up on time and even early and are ready to go, most of the clubs you play when you're just starting out have staff people who will show up an hour late and don't care about you. So, I think advancing is important and making sure you have a club head person who knows you are coming and is prepared."
Another important area is promotion:
"When you're out there driving and driving, thinking about the show, if somebody doesn't promote it correctly, that can be totally frustrating. Try as much as you can to promote the shows yourself, because most promoters on a club level do the least possible for the budget they get. And sometimes that means no one comes to the show."
Be sure to check out the interview for Russell Pollard on social media and other topics.
Everest's Ownerless is available today via digital, CD and Vinyl releases. However there are currently no signs of a cassette or Nintendo cartridge release.
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) blogs about business at Flux Research: Business Changes and about dance at All World Dance: News. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.