“If the milk industry can make their product seem sexy and increase consumer demand, there must be hope for music.” Gary Arnold, Merchandising Manager, Best Buy. Using that logic, the hope that Spring evokes in all of us should be doubled in the hearts of those fighting the good fight in the ever changing landscape of the music business.
Grassroots groups like The Civil Wars, The Vespers, and The Cumberland Collective are hitting the pavement, taking the bull by the horns, getting back on the horse – whatever you want to call it, but they are getting ‘er done! According to Billboard Magazine, “The Civil Wars had one minute of screen time at the Grammys on Feb. 12, yet scored the second-largest percentage spike in album sales, trailing only Adele, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Up 178%, Barton Hollow sold 36,000 copies in the first full sales week after the band’s Grammy wins in the categories of best folk album and best country duo/group performance. It has sold 358,000 copies since its Feb. 1, 2011, debut.”
Vision. Starting out with a clear understanding of the game, your abilities, and a realistic view of the big picture is key.
Plan. Be sure to not put the cart before the horse. Know where you want to be in 3 mos., 6 mos., 1 year, etc…
Story. Who are you? Why do you matter to the music world? How can you connect to the fans – don’t overlook your story, without a story, you will lack clarity.
Music. Obviously you have to have some sort of vocal/musical/songwriting ability. Smoke and mirrors only last so long. Plastic will melt from the heat of the business, but solid, steel will withstand trends and tides.
Tools. Website, mailing list, social sites… all ways to connect and communicate with the world.
Multi-media. To connect with fans in all the necessary channels, you need photos, videos, bios, blogs, music to share and exchange with your fans.
Patience. It’s not going to happen overnight. If you aren’t ready to play to empty bars, for little to no money, experience more rejection that admiration, you may want to reconsider a desk job.
Money. Funding can come from patrons, tips, show advances, distant relatives, kickstarter campaigns, merchandise, donations, your bank account – regardless of the source, music is a business and it will take financial investments as well as the investments of time and energy.
Get out there all you DIYers and make your music – we need to hear it. Without music and creativity, the world will be various shades of silent gray. “I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music,” Billy Joel.