10 Simple Truths For A Delusional Music Industry

1. If you want to earn even minimum wage selling records as part of a band, you are going to need to sell at the very least – 7,000 to 10,000 records.

2. Even very well known artists struggle to sell 10,000 albums these days.

3. You don’t sell records by gaining Facebook likes.

4. You don’t sell records by being on Spotify.

5. You don’t sell records because you have previously sold records.

6. If you are in a band get used to not selling records.

7. If you are in a band get used to not making minimum wage.

8. If you are in a band be fucking amazing live so people pay to see you.

9. If you are in a band and not fucking amazing live, you better have rich parents.

10. If anyone tells you they are making a living selling records, they are lying, they probably have rich parents. 

The solution to being a successful musician in todays industry – get off the computer and start practicing so you get really, really good.

Or marry into money.

Robin Davey is the VP Of Film and Music Development at GROWvision Studios, Editor of FreeMusicAcademy.com and the Director of Live From Daryls House. Follow him on twitter

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  1. What about YouTube?
    What about song placements?
    What about merchandise?
    What about sponsers?
    What about creative album packaging?
    I understand that musicians need to impress as much as possible live, but there are other factors involved when making an income from being a musician.
    Free album at http://www.facebook.com/chancius

  2. You mean “get really, really good” like Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” (#1 song on Billboard currently)? That good??

  3. The last sentence is not correct. You don’t get successful by “practicing so you get really, really good.”
    These days, you only get successful, not by selling albums, but by knowing how to sell yourself! On YouTube, Facebook…connecting with people that like your work and that spreads the word.

  4. Ha ha ha ha,
    I remember when the music is what sold you. I hope you all find a rich girl to marry.

  5. so, awesome, then. You only get successful by selling yourself, so the only successful music is by hustlers. great.

  6. What a bummer.
    I guess it’s time to throw in the towel and stop clogging up the market so more real musicians can have a career again.

  7. What about the songs? If there was a song HALF as good as Eye Of The Tiger, I would purchase it! I don’t buy music today because music today is nonsense. Its all tired singing in the bathroom sounding and everyone sounds the same. We need to press rewind and go back to when timeless songs were made with singers who could sing intricate, interesting melodies, and musicians could play their instrument, and the chords were difficult on paper yet easy on the ears, and the lyrics were cool and about other subjects other than “me myself and I”. Playing well live can only go so far. The question is WHAT are you playing live? What are you shredding on that fancy guitar? Is it some tired, unmemorable excuse for a melody, or is it something as bad a$$ as the rift from “Carry On My Wayward Son”? Because if its not as cool as that rift, or at least half as cool, what makes you think I’m gonna waste my 99 cents and 3-4 minutes of time on it?

  8. Once again another small-mined Hypebot post. If you’re not going to paint the whole picture why paint the picture at all?

  9. 10 Simple Truths For Robin Davey
    1. Bands don’t sell records anymore. They sell song files and compact discs.
    2. Very well known artists that struggle to sell 10,000 song file bundles have poor management.
    3. You don’t sell song files by gaining Facebook likes – but Facebook ‘Likes’ certainly do help.
    4. You don’t sell song files by being on Spotify – but the exposure does not hurt.
    5. You don’t sell song files because you have previously sold records – but if you were smart and stayed in touch with your fans you’ll have a better opportunity to sell song files.
    6. If you are in a band with Robin Davey get used to not selling records.
    7. If you are in a band with Robin Davey get used to not making minimum wage.
    8. If you are in a band and you’re fucking amazing live, you still need to market yourselves. Don’t hire Robin Davey as a consultant.
    9. If you are in a band and not fucking amazing live, start a blog and give lousy advice as an ‘expert’.
    10. If anyone tells you they are making a living selling song files, they are hard-working, have a good team built around them, more than likely own their masters and publishing, and probably have never heard of Robin Davey.
    The solution to being a successful musician in today’s industry – don’t live by anyone else’s definition of success.
    And never trust a man with two first names, especially if one of them’s a woman’s. 😉

  10. All of it tells me that we should keep making the industry return to where it came from and let it start making profits again. The more you bitch of how the industry is bad (I don’t mind you bitch on social networks because they’re useless) the more people think it must be like that and they LOSE RESPECT FOR ANY HARD WORK. Press and other media keep posting about how miserable it is to have a band, label, to make & release any music and readers being suggested that think it is really that bad and as as in a chain reaction (we’re depended!) they don’t even try to care to buy an album if “it’s going to be stolen”.
    I need you to take an opposite direction and keep posting things to make the old model of the music industry feel as necessary as it is. The more negative opinions are made in public by magazines which have good traffic and a lot of readers, so called ‘opinion-builders’ the worse for ambitions musicians who are not about image but providing valuable sounds to the people.
    There are still listeners to buy their music not for alms but for what this HARD WORK is worth of (considering it’s an ambitious original music but not covers, remixes etc. copycatting). There are bands to pay for music related services like getting reviews (not an idea of a review but an actual hard work done + license to let a band use it since it’s a promotional writing assuming it got a positive rating and can drive listeners/buyers to the band), promotion, artwork design (also for digital releases) etc. because they care for the other party involved into giving their band exposure & recognition. Musicians are not alpha and omega and they must realize they need reliable professionals to do some of the task for them and they need to pay for a know-how and high quality of work. The more ‘gimme for free attitude’, the more crap comes out and no fun for those who demand quality of work. I’m going to have an article about it sometime soon.
    The same way they are media which should care to make the readers know that the must pay for any work linked to letting them listen to music, especially when they enjoy it. They must have been music pirates who started this ‘pay for what you want’ thing or free downloads since it was in their interest to deprive bands of any income. Not everybody accepts giving things away if they involve months or years of work, own knowledge, skills, techniques, know-how, connections etc. I don’t and I want bands to make money because the more they make the more they can spend on ordering professional services. Remember that we’re all linked in the music industry, from a songwriter through music services to stores, distributors and finally, listeners.

  11. Ahh Bob your retort started off so well, but then you completely discredit yourself by mindlessly attacking me and being incredibly rude. This only reflects badly on you, not me.
    I don’t work as a consultant, I offer my advice for free because I don’t have to make money off of it. I make a living by actually doing it not telling people how to do it.
    A ‘Record’ is a term broadly used to describe an album or collection of songs.
    At least I have the balls to actually use my real name, and the female version is spelled with a y not an i.

  12. Selling yourself on YouTube for internet dollars, yeah?
    Best of luck spending them in your local Walmart…

  13. “RIFT” – wtf is a “RIFT” ?
    & you are supposed to be some sort of music lover??
    I really hope we can have an aptitude/ignorance filter applied to the entire Internet very soon in order to remove all the static & crap…….preferably before the Internet drowns in it..

  14. I don’t really understand the issues people seem to be having with “the industry” these days. Poor musicians trying to make it has been the norm since Ogg smashed the first two rocks together. Nothing has changed except how we get the music out to the people.
    Sure, there was a time where, if you got famous, you could make money selling CDs, but the big money was still in live shows. Now, it’s really only the live shows that make money. Not much of a change since most of the money made by selling CDs went to the Labels anyway.
    Quit whining, make more music and get it out there to be heard. Put on a good show and connect with your fans and you’ll make money.

  15. The thing is. I see the music “industry” as everything out side of the artist & their music. (I know, naive)
    Management, Promoters, TV, Radio, Press, Pluggers, Giant venues, Music festivals (I mean in the Glasto sense), Duplicators all of that. Obviously not every band can chuck their gear in the back of a van, unload at a venue and play
    The truth of it is, there are too many middle men, hands out telling you that this is how it’s always been done, these are the people who can help you, this is the only way you can do it, when in fact they’re all scared of losing their percentage of the artists effort. These are the people who dismissed the internet as temporary 20 years ago and failed to adapt.
    This industry that is still so busy pocketing artist royalties that they would rather see music die than embrace technologies that help artists get paid.
    That is your delusional industry. The sooner it wanders out into traffic, chokes on its semolina or dies peacefully in its sleep, the better.
    Maybe the artists craft will be valued as something more than an afterthought.

  16. HAHAHAHAHAHA nice.
    Eye of the Tiger? Intricate melodies? Where is Tiffany living?
    And who rewinds now anyway?
    Deacon from Halifax

  17. As an artist, if you do anything for “exposure” in lieu of pay, you’re wasting your time.

  18. So people like you on Facebook. So what? How does that translate into money when they pirate your recordings and 17 people come to your shows and spend money on beer instead of merch?

  19. Creative album packaging doesn’t help if no one is buying the record. Merch? The profit margin is far lower on T-shirts than on CDs (or MP3’s for that matter).

  20. Great Read. You remind of another industry exe who goes by the name of Mr. Biz from the Off the Record Show(onestop industry). I think you guys are just giving people the reality of being an artist nowadays when it comes to making a living. That’s why a lot on indie artists are still holding on the dream of signing with a major even though they won’t ever admit it. Thanks Robin.

  21. Rob we only speak the truth. You never paint the whole picture. One of the many reasons I no longer read hypebot.

  22. I agree Robin. A record can be anything, as in ‘keeping a record.’ I still like to refer to releases as records, whether they’re on CD, mp3 or vinyl.
    In general, nothing’s changed – you’ve still got to be very, very good at what you do, work very, very hard, and be reasonably lucky.
    You should still have your hands chopped off for stealing peoples’ hard work though, ok?

  23. I may be showing my age here, but Ogg was really great back in the day. He was actually the first artist to produce, and known as the father of, “Rock music”!

  24. Musicians just need to understand and start standing up for their rights and there will be a market for music again. ISPs block sites that send spam everyday (spamhaus). Blocking IP addresses seeding illegal media is NO different. Google censors and blocks all kinds of things and just lies to the public that they can’t limit pirate links. One copyright owner can sue an ISP for $150k per unabated repeat infringement in the US. The reason why piracy is 20 pct of US traffic and will double by 2016 is because US ISP do not terminate repeat infringers like the law says – even when they get millions of notices revealing who the repeat infringers are – they are liable to all of the authors and creators whose product is being stolen.

  25. Touring is a $4B industry US. Recorded music was a $12B industry pre-napster now $6B US. Touring has always been a much smaller industry.

  26. Christ…..another score ! (wait I don’t believe in Christ…so its just a #2 score)…ok, carry on !!

  27. I lol’d hard. Nice combo of positive input and trollage. I agree with tossing the word “record.” Outdated vocabulary leads to outdated thinking about potential business models.
    I’ll add a tip: don’t shape the entirety of your business on outdated technology.
    Btw, did anyone else see the post likening ‘Eye of the Tigher’ to ‘difficult on paper, easy on the ears.’ Hilarious

  28. As if someone that didn’t think a song was good enough to buy, they’re going to dish out money to go see the someone play the horrible song live.
    BTW: Every artist isn’t in a “rock band”.

  29. True.
    “Not everybody accepts giving things away if they involve months or years of work, own knowledge, skills, techniques, know-how, connections etc.”
    I don’t know how many times I’ve witnessed great musicians that couldn’t write a good song to save their lives or great songwriters that can mix a decent rum and coke, but not mix their song so that you could tell how great it is.
    Then the musician, songwriter, and mix engineer put together are all clueless about creating a marketing/promotion plan.
    And everything from electricity to patch cords to instruments to computers still cost money – on a monthly basis.
    Recording technology changed the way people listen to and enjoy music FOREVER. It’s an art form unto itself.
    Just like technology changed the way writers, actors, directors tell their stories.
    I have yet to see these folks tell movie and tv folks that they only will get paid if their story is performed live on stage (theatrically) and to hell with the time and money they spend on their digital productions.

  30. And the biggest touring bands are….SURPRISE!!…the ones that have great songs (SONGS!) that sold.

  31. this is terrible advice, children. typical myopic musician BS.
    fact is, rob was in a band that subsisted on its live product. he played the blues. the songs were good, but not highly original (this isn’t a criticism). they brought the heat live, and got a good reputation.
    as an aside, being a famous blues musician in the UK is sort of a “tallest midget” thing. as one famous american bluesman once said regarding british blues musicians, “ive never met someone who wanted to play the blues so bad who played the blues so bad”. but we will disreard that for now.
    you had success, but your route isn’t the standard nor should be preached to everyone else.
    It ain’t easy, but people are doing it. Producer and writers are doing it. Artists are doing it.
    frankly, im sick of this negativity. i read hypebot so much it almost discouraged me from pursuing music.
    musicians who bitch about the industry and how unfair it is etc: LOSERS

  32. James
    You may only know me for my UK accomplishment but I have resided in the States for nearly 10 years now. I have had much success with other projects that never played live and earned money through publishing etc. “The Bastard Fairies” being one and a vastly different act to my British Blues band.
    My article reflects the current climate.
    You can take my 20 years of experience onboard if you like or dismiss it. But I make a living in the music industry, do you?

  33. Rob, not calling into question your career. its impressive. your a success story in the music industry
    unfortunately, your article doesn’t reflect that experience and success. it sounds like a pissed off kid. and young people like myself could buy into it, which is dangerous
    there are many routes to success (or sustainability) in the music industry. Look at the EDM movement. so much money there. Tiesto was paid $400k for a 90 minute set at Electric Daisy.
    what you should really be preaching is innovation. you saw a lack of great blues acts in the UK and you filled that void. and you were successful. these EDM DJs and promoters saw what the power of a great electronic live set- and its effect on people- and are building a fucking religion around that.
    and this spirit of innovation informs the macro and the micro. as a producer, im constantly searching for sounds- to make my tracks sound relevant, young, edgy, or just convey the right emotion. if you are in a rock band that, say, has a great live product but the studio work just isnt getting attn, consider re-thinkign your sound, instrumentation, or song arrangments. add a fucking synth. add a toy piano. do something.
    let your experience translate into enthusiasm and positivity instead of cynicism and ill read you. talk about the nuances that make attract people to certain music and songs.
    keep churning out these vacant number lists and you are just another music industry loser and critic and thats the last thing we need right now

  34. You proved my point in your reply. Tiesto was paid 400K for a 90 min live performance. Further establishing the point that my advice spans genres.
    You misread honesty for cynicism. THe music industry is a harsh world in which the majority will never make a living. However like Tiesto if you find a formular where people just have to see you live you will have a long lasting career.

  35. way to engage my points robin. this was at best a third-rate post to begin with (which I hope you can admit to at least to yourself at this point)
    Dispense some decent advice (if you have it) and avoid the platitudes. and if you are on a writing deadline, ask the editor for an extension to prevent the reproduction of this type of rubbish
    ill leave you with this- what would the teenage you say to the curmudgeon who wrote this blog post?

  36. I engaged your points in a way that showed that even though you were determined to find holes in my points you directly agreed with them.
    Also this is one of the most shared pieces on Hypebot so I guess you are in the minority in your thinking on the matter.
    My teenage self would completely agree with my assessment – that is why I am still doing what I do.

  37. Robin,
    You speak the truth, but many aspiring artists can’t face it…since they have for so long had their heart set on making a good living doing music they love.
    Those of you who think you’ll be able to make music for a living today and afford rent in a decent shelter, food, heat, transportation to tour live, insurance and all the other things independent adults must pay for…
    …ask yourself how much YOU and your friends have spent on live music this year? Most of it is free in bars, or very cheap.

  38. Paypal to Pirates “No Cash For You”
    And if other ISP’s, Visa, Mastercard etc., did the same, the problem, would be much reduced and chasing any left over offenders may not even be a issue.
    There easy.
    If someones wanted to use my music for some “project”, they could always just ask me first, like normal people.

  39. Spot on! Excellent comment..
    The modern way for the industry to make money, is not sell tracks but to milk musicians of their cash, as there’s so many dreamers now!

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