Music Industry Decline – Hang On In There, Or Just Let Go?

 

It’s a weird time to be a musician as we try to come to terms with music industry decline.

Never before has being a musician been so under-valued as an art-form or a career choice, and I think it’s probably going to get a little bit worse before it gets better.

So you have a choice – do you hang in there and keep plugging away, or just give up now and concede defeat to save yourself the imminent struggles of the years ahead?

Music for Elevators

I think one of the reasons for the mass antipathy is that all music now resembles background music.

I don’t mean that it sounds like what you would expect to hear in an elevator, but the actual placement of it is predominantly as a complimentary aid to sell something that people actually want.

Music has always been used in advertising of course, and as the historically reliable tangible sales have fallen so rapidly, advertising is one of the ways that many artists seek to make some money by getting ‘sync’ or endorsement opportunities.

This used to be called ‘selling out’, but now it’s just the only way of selling anything at all! And that won’t last long. Once big business figures out (and most companies probably already have) that they can pay an artist nothing ‘for the exposure’, that avenue for financial compensation for your songs and recordings will dissipate too.

But there is a bigger evil at work here, the biggest advertising scam of them all; reality TV singing competitions. The poor guys who go on there hoping to be noticed for their talent cannot fathom that they are all extras to sell a television show, and that the careers of the ‘lucky’ ones who eventually do make it through are, for the most part, short lived and rarely taken seriously by the public…..or the industry.

Generally, when the show ends, the interest ends.

 

music industry decline

 

It’s no secret that the programme is engineered to make good viewing, and edited to show the contestants in whichever light the producers want, but what it all boils down to is that the next generation of ‘music lovers’ are experiencing this phenomenon and being duped into thinking that this is what music is; a bunch of very average vocalists, who do not write nor generally play an instrument, singing karaoke to a backing track. What cuts deeper still is the increasingly popular prime-time show ‘Lip-Sync Battle’ – that’s right, people don’t even sing now!

How these shows survive whilst Top Of The Pops got cancelled is a real testament to how people view music, they just don’t care.

What people actually want

It’s gross, but you can’t argue with statistics.

Just because you feel that this shift isn’t right, and all your peers share your view, we live in a democratic society, and decisions are made based on results. I couldn’t believe that the Conservative party won the last election in the UK, and by an unexpected landslide.

In a similar fashion, Donald Trump is currently dropping jaws around the world with his flabbergasting popularity. But I’m a liberal, and as an artist or creative reading this then you probably are too, and so for those like us, this is what is known as an echo chamber, or ‘living in a bubble’. The Tories got into power last year because the electorate voted them in – end of!

We live in a time of convenience and ‘shoulder-shruggery’, where the number of young voters drops year by year. These young people are the liberals, the voice of a new generation, but in this moment they can’t be bothered to talk.

They don’t care about us

In much the same way the general populus of your potential audience do not care about your band.

Why would they?

People have become programmed to like celebrities not artists. They cannot be bothered to take the gamble of looking for something new when there is a much more convenient, comfortable and affordable option within their grasp.

More and more sports events are being shunned in favour of watching them at home – saving money on travel, extortionate tickets and over-priced drinks. But what about the atmosphere you say? Ah, yes the atmosphere, that’s what you’re paying for when you attend these events.

So what atmosphere is there at a small local live show?

Let’s face it, they generally blow!

 

local-gig-empty-room
My mates, the Naysayers. Great band – empty room!

 

Protest all you want, but they do. 90% of the bands are terrible, the sound in venues leaves a lot to be desired (meaning the remaining 10% of decent bands still don’t have much of a chance to impress) and the steady decline of attendees to these shows is resulting in even less of an atmosphere. If a young person today gets dragged along to their first local gig the chances of them having an awe-inspiring time are very slim. It’s a vicious circle.

Music needs a visionary

What the music world needs is a visionary, a rebel, someone pushing the envelope.

These artists are probably out there, but how are you going to hear about them? You won’t find them signed to a major recording deal. The gentrification of our pop-stars is most probably a fallout from the instability of labels in the digital age. It used to be that calculated risks could be taken on talented artists that may have also exhibited personal flaws. In this climate you just can’t have baggage – A&R’s jobs are hanging by a thin thread, and why risk your employment on someone that is going to make your life difficult and get you fired?

If David Bowie or Kurt Cobain – hell, even The Beatles – went in for a meeting with a top label exec today, they wouldn’t get the deal, even on the strength of their demos.

The top selling artists of last year were Adele, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Sam Smith & Justin Bieber. Boring, huh? Boring and safe. But the public love them! They buy all their music and go to their sell-out shows. Why? You may ask, when you’re much more talented than them, and you play instruments and write your own songs! It’s so unfair.

Are you agreeable?

I’ve worked as an in-house producer for a management and development company (one of the more ‘reputable’ ones) with tight relationships to the major labels, and in my years there I really got to go through the looking glass and see the inner workings of the industry.

And it was, let’s say, ‘eye-opening’.

A lot of very talented people came through our door, and I had the pleasure of working with a few of them. As I write this, they are still on the path to a career, ticking off the boxes it requires to get a shot at a label.

You may have noticed when I mentioned last year’s best selling artists that they were all solo artists. That’s a big help if you want a deal. Not just because one person is less expensive to put on tour or in the studio, but also because they are more likely to be ‘agreeable’.

Being ‘agreeable’ is probably the best trait you can possess if you want to succeed with a major, in that you pretty much have to agree on everything they say. I’ve met people with amazing voices, talented multi-instrumentalists and good songwriters who just won’t get a look-in because that isn’t really what the industry is looking for.

If you think that you’ll be signed on the strength of your songs as a solo artist, believe me your compositions will be cast aside or relegated to album tracks in favour of songs by their established writers. They’ll also use better musicians than you for your recordings, and honestly, your voice doesn’t matter that much because with recording technology you really can make anyone sound good (N.B. this is why all modern pop singers sound the same!).

 

record-company-meeting
There’s usually less suits and murders but ‘Empire’ paints a pretty accurate picture of behind the scenes at a label

 

They won’t tell you these things in an initial meeting – quite the opposite – but if you display any kind of attitude that suggests you might not be ‘agreeable’ to these terms they will smell it on you and you won’t be invited back. This is why the music that you hear on the radio is so homogenised, you think it all sounds the same – it does! It’s the same writers and producers with a singer using all the same programs to manipulate their voices.

Of course majors do still have bands to cater to the dwindling fans of ‘real’ music but it’s worth noting that their annual hype bands are getting smaller in number year by year. The space-rock 3-piece Muse were dethroned last year by 2-piece Royal Blood as the major player’s token rock band. So just forget about signing that major label deal for now, it isn’t the 90’s anymore and these companies will not pick you from obscurity and put you on MTV.

Music has lost its Mojo

So what is the problem and how can we fix it?

Basically music has lost it’s mojo. If you’ve ever misplaced your mojo you’ll know very well that others can smell your desperation. You become a big turn-off, and whinging about it just makes it worse!

There’s still a lingering sense of entitlement within parts of the independent music community, and that is at the root of its decline.

Yes, in an ideal world artists should be paid for their work, but there are always others that will do it for free. So many music venues are closing in cities around the world, or converting into restaurants, and we complain about this, but people need food. They don’t need your music right now.

There are often arguments about musicians playing at venues for free, countered with ‘You wouldn’t ask a plumber to work 4 hours on a Saturday for nothing!’ but, people need plumbers, they don’t need your music!

It’s not your fault, it’s just that music has lost it’s mojo, but remember, whinging about it makes it worse. There will be naysayers who tell you it’s your choice to do your ‘hobby’ on a weekend, which is pretty insulting to a talented musician. The outside world views it as a hobby because on the rare occasion your mates from the office come to see your band, you’re playing to an empty room. It sure looks like a hobby. And the bar isn’t taking any money, so they’re wondering why they haven’t converted that band room into a dining room already…..

Time for a change

We’ve established by now that everything sucks and is pointless, but we can take some small comfort in the fact that there will probably be a sea-change.

It’s often cited that music goes in cycles, and what is popular one day will be replaced by something new and innovative in a decade or so. But let’s not rest on our laurels, what can we do to speed up that process so we can start to see the benefit?

The indie music ‘community’ really needs to pull together to build up confidence in independent music again. You can be disheartened all you like by your lack of success but complaining will not achieve anything, quite the opposite.

In spite of all the vitriol I’ve aimed at the industry, and coming across like a bitter 30-something who never quite made it, I believe being an independent musician has never been easier and it’s never been a better time to build it all for yourself.

There are amazing companies you can use to deliver your music to all the online platforms such as Ditto Music, CD Baby & Tunecore. Bandcamp is also a brilliant initiative to set up your own online store, and discover other great local bands. The market is flooded with amazing free or cheap apps for musicians to use for recording, rehearsing and artwork. The majority of people involved in these initiatives are musicians themselves who have been through similar experiences and are using their knowledge to create something to help us.

With all these affordable resources at our disposal an indie musician really doesn’t need a label to push on. But what we need to do as part of the community is stop thinking of ourselves so much and take a look at the bigger picture.

Let’s work together

Start going to gigs, and not just your own!

Don’t leave it to everyone else. That’s what everyone else is doing, so essentially everyone is not doing anything. We’ve become, as a people, victims of the cushy world we live in. No-one wants to go to local gigs at the moment, because there’s no atmosphere.

Why go out when we can stay in and watch Netflix? Seriously, why? I’ve been out and it’s boring and loud and annoying. But what if it was good? What if there was an atmosphere? What if I find my new favourite band that will change my life? What if there were hot guys and girls there to hook up with?

The onus is on us to do our part to make live shows desirable again. We need to create a sense of FOMO , and that will only happen when people outside the community start thinking that something is going on inside the community, and want to become a part of it. We need to vote with our feet and attend shows, put our money where our mouth is and buy stuff from the merch stand. Change comes at a price, and that price is not having a cosy night in on Friday, but rather popping to your local dive bar and checking out what’s on.

Your actions as a music-lover directly affect your success as a music-maker. We can’t say “I’m just one vote it barely counts”. The numbers add up, and there is strength in numbers. If you truly believe that you have what it takes to wow people at your gigs then you need to start getting people there by going to others.

Do you ever watch music films or documentaries and pine for times gone by wishing you were part of that scene? Then make your own scene – it can still happen! We cannot expect random punters and potential fans to go out to shows if we can’t do it ourselves. It’s up to us to help the public appreciate live music again and to do that we all have to get involved in the process.

If you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem.

 

 

Featured image: a derivative of Campino Out-Stage Diving by Montecruz Foto // CC-BY-SA

Email this to someoneDigg thisShare on FacebookShare on RedditShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Lee Jones

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below
Lionel Mrocki - March 15, 2016 Reply

Many valid and fair points.

Also relevant:

Venues’ costs of doing business have increased. Insurance, wages, liquor licences, compliance with food and beverage legislation/regulations have meant that they can’t afford risky ventures such as live music.

Fewer “atmospheric” venues exist since gentrification of the more colourful parts of town has resulted in pricing the venues out of the market, and this impacts the critical mass of venues required to support a thriving scene.

The average person gets (my guess) 90-98% of their music “free”. They don’t perceive paying for it, and this translates into a cultural reluctance to pay for music and musicians.

Music on movie and TV soundtracks, radio, illegal downloads, burning copies of CDs, free internet radio, music in retail stores and workplaces. If I could get fed for free as often as I hear music for free, I’d stop paying for food too. So musicians lose value, and aren’t respected.

Sure they’d notice if the music suddenly stopped, but that’s not happening.

    Lee Jones - March 15, 2016 Reply

    Thanks for the feedback Lionel – I agree with pretty much everything that you’ve added.

    There’s plenty making the lives of musicians tougher but we can work together for the good of all of us – but we have to want to!

      john smith - March 17, 2016 Reply

      Why does this website use such a washed out hard to read font, i had to highlight everything to see it…lot of good points in the article. but kids moaning aobut no good music is because they are being dictated to by the business. The only way to be original is to do what they don’t want you to do then they’ll come running. Sleaford Mods great example, but not the only one. So try to find your ORIGINALITY, CREATIVITY and FREEDOM and go to gigs to learn, network and most of all to have a good time…

Randy Skaggs - March 16, 2016 Reply

What an excellent article – couldn’t agree more with what you said. I run an independent online radio station and the new music and wealth of talented artists is not only amazing, but refreshing. And it feels dam good knowing I’m helping (in some small part) get their music heard. If I can bring even 2 people out to their gigs, then I’m happy.

    Lee Jones - March 16, 2016 Reply

    Hi Randy – thanks for that. We need a lot more people like you giving the indie musicians exposure and helping the community. Keep it up!

Steve Drissell - March 16, 2016 Reply

Nice piece. I own a new venue, have had limited live music but plan to have a lot more. For a publican you must bring a crowd if you want paying. If you’re starting out, it’s probably family and friends, but you need to attract people, collaboratively with the venue. Just my penny’s worth.

    Lee Jones - March 16, 2016 Reply

    Steve – again, couldn’t agree more. The artists needs to bring a crowd so that the venue can have live music profitably. It’s how we expect musicians to be able to bring that crowd when their is apathy from the general public that is the challenge – and I see musicians as being the ones who need to support other bands as the vanguard.

    We’re all in it together!

      Steven Charles - March 16, 2016 Reply

      Thus the eternal conundrum, how does a band develop a following, when there aren’t a lot of clubs, or much of a scene, and when good spots only wish to book those with a following?
      Thus many who are full-time musicians must work primarily private & corporate gigs.
      At many of these we are frequently asked where we “usually play”, where else they can see us, etc. These days, however, it’s almost a rhetorical question, not only because there’s not many places we could be playing regularly, but because when I ask them, “what places do you usually go”, the typical response is a pause, and their realization there are no places they regularly attend…

        Phil Heinricy - March 18, 2016 Reply

        Acoustic sessions and open mics played acoustically are a great place for bands to build a following. In that environment their real ability is on show and the quality of their music will shine through.
        To those who avoid acoustic sessions, because they are in a “band”, I suggest you watch some top line rockers in acoustic “unplugged” sessions. A good song, musician or performer is often even better without all the equipment to hide behind. If you can’t play without all the gear as your crutch, you might as well get out now.

          Lee Jones - March 21, 2016 Reply

          Hey Phil, yes I agree an acoustic night is a great way to show off your songs and network, without having to go to all the trouble of loading in/setting up/waiting around then playing to a non-existent fanbase/empty room and lugging everything out again at the end of the night. Networking is so important and these are great places to get started.

    john smith - March 17, 2016 Reply

    well steve the formula i always used in a starting out band to the landlord was this. 10 people spending 10 pounds = 100 quid in your till split that 50/50 and you’ve got a band playing for 50 quid, which worls out to about 12.50 a band member for an hours work, but in reality its a lot of hours work learning the instrument rehursals travel etc. i think a lot of pubs and clubs these days dont wanna pay the band fuck all but want their audience draw in spending money in their otherwise often empty boozer/club…and before you go onto it I know you have overheads but you’d have those anyway if there was no band/artist and if you’re not meeting those anyway then you’re in trouble…Also in my experience pubs/lo fi venues do no promo for their events and then moan at the band that no one shows…

Paul Bubba - March 16, 2016 Reply

Yeah or you could just be an electronic music producer/DJ (Yes it is just as hard as playing a “real” instrument, maybe even harder), most of them seem to be doing quite well now. If you are still stuck in the age of bands/pop solo acts then it is your loss (I have a deep admiration for these things but I recognize that the time has passed). Those days where people are going down to the pub to see you’re favourite band are well in the past, now most young people will be attending club events and listening to electronic music. Look at the state of the pop industry and how it has gravitated towards more electronic acts, huge artists such as Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran and Ellie Goulding just to name a few have all made major collaborations with popular electronic artists. You are just going to have to accept that this generation has transcended traditional live music through the usage of new and improved technologies.

    Case - March 16, 2016 Reply

    bands/pop solo acts time has passed? some people really are ignorant…

    john smith - March 17, 2016 Reply

    no thats just what you are doing paul and electronic music existed during punk. but we weren’t all a bunch of semi hippy E’d out festival drones that wanted to stand staring at a bloke playing records waving his arms about now and then..i can do that at home in the mirror. Dance music has no show with the odd exception of Goldfrapp, Air and Faithless…so i find your comment flawed. But what has changed is nobody wants to pay for anything and then bitches that the quality goes down…put you hand in your pocket for music. But people would rather buy a scented candle that an album…

Julian - March 16, 2016 Reply

Such a great article – well written, well paced and completely true!
LOL’d at the part when you said 90 % of bands were bad, very true. But that 10%? Wow man, wow.

    Lee Jones - March 17, 2016 Reply

    Julian. Yep – there’s still incredible bands out there who can blow my head off when they play live!

Case - March 16, 2016 Reply

music has lost its mojo? maybe you just aren’t looking deep enough..

Emilio Larocca Conte - March 16, 2016 Reply

I totally agree with the analysis, but not in the solution. We’re going to feed what we’re facing up and it’s not healty, neverending circle.
I think that a possible solution is to a big change at the root, in the production phase, ’cause the audience needs new symbols, not more money or visibility, to bridge the gap. An artist by his own cannot satisfy this requirement, ’cause everybody can be artist. So, we need to abstract in a world of heroes instead of workers and heroes might be created by a community. No more albums but projects, no more artists but concepts. That would be the switch of the “rockstar”, landing it in through the immagination. By this point of view, collaborations and networking might make the thing easier to fit a quick market of growing demand. Colony instead of bands or single artists. Abstraction instead of realism. We need to dream.

Jaqualyn Taimana Williams - March 17, 2016 Reply

Definitely “food for thought” and I think the free food analogy is probably right on point. I regularly collaborate with and support other artists at open mic nights, helping create the inviting and exciting real atmosphere that people can’t make on their own at home in front of screens. But it doesn’t pay. We have to be creative and savvy in our ways of translating that into revenue for ourselves. I often do shows that combine originals and covers, I have sold self-produced merch and of course I direct people to my material for sale online. It ain’t what it used to be though, that’s true, so I set my goals accordingly and don’t rely on my music for income any more.

Mike Ellison - March 18, 2016 Reply

We need to think beyond pubs and bars. The good old days will never be back. The days when it was enough to simply stand and strum are gone. We can look down our noses at DJs but they’ll cry all the way to their sellout gigs because they’re doing something right that we’re not (they have the crowds to prove it). Bitching about the youth of today with their iPhones and ear buds won’t fix the problem any more than the previous generations who bitched about us. Time to think outside the box for places to play, and be entertaining live performers.

    Lee Jones - March 21, 2016 Reply

    Agreed Mike, standing there singing and strumming isn’t enough. DJ’s do very little (I mean it’s a real skill don’t get me wrong) but they are just a person stood at a desk mixing songs, so they combat that with huge lightshows and crazy stages. The ‘indie musician band’ have to start thinking of ways to make their show more entertaining definitely. Entertainment is key!

    Cal - April 5, 2016 Reply

    That’s not strictly true.

    At least in my local area a) DJs don’t make much at all.
    b) DJs mostly play nightclubs.
    c) Almost nobody ever goes there to hear a specific DJ. They don’t even bother promoting, because nobody gives a fuck.

    The thing is, they’re playing at nightclubs that already have attendance. If there’s a door charge covering it, people are paying to get in, not to hear the DJ.

    People aren’t going out to the bars that play this kind of music, not nearly as much, and people aren’t bothered to turn out for local acts. And like Lee said, you can degenerate into too much whining from that point of view, but what you need is that energetic scene. I really do agree with Lee’s conclusion, if you want the kids to come out, then what you need is to get your band out there to them, and you need to attend gigs. So many musicians don’t even try to, they play one gig once in a blue moon, and they don’t show up to other people’s gigs, they don’t stick around for other acts. It’s a lack of community, and a lack of outright respect, I have a friend who thinks he’s big stuff, but when he’s gotten himself an opening slot, every time, without fail, he bails rather than sticking around for the main act, who gave him a chance to play to their audience.

    The best musicians are most involved, the best musicians are music fans. The greatest musicians in my local scene organise gigs, give slots to other musos, and stick around to see something new. That’s what we need, and a part of that is the relative death of a large number of scenes, particularly the younger ones.

    People will hire DJs to just be background music, but if you’re playing a rock show, you are the event, and that’s what people are less interested in.

      Lee Jones - April 5, 2016 Reply

      Nailed it. Yes DJ’s get paid but a lot of the times (most!) the club knows it is going to sell tickets for entry anyway, the name isn’t often the draw, it is the added entertainment. People want to go to clubs to drink and dance and have a good time, maybe hook up with somebody. That is what live band gigs and venues need to consider. YES the live act is the draw, but if we can also make it so people WANT to go there anyway that is half the battle. And the only way they that will happen is if everyone pulls their socks up a bit. You’re competing with a DJ, and you better believe that their songs are going to sound well mixed.

Pete M - March 18, 2016 Reply

You know who also messed things up? All the idiotic acts who thought it would be a good idea to give away their music. All the acts who allowed their music to be used on a sync for hardly anything. Nothing but a race to the bottom. We are also dealing with a culture change – the active enjoyment of music is not as important to most people anymore. There are more leisure pursuits than there were 30 years ago. People’s main leisure activity? The internet – everyone is their own “star” with their Facebook/Instagram page. Let’s face it, making a living from the selling of music is gone – look at the pathetic sales figures these days.

    Lee Jones - March 21, 2016 Reply

    I really like your phrase ‘A race to the bottom’ it does feel like that sometimes. I’m sure if all musicians had a time machine they’d go back 15 years and be wary of the internet!

Brian Mitch - March 19, 2016 Reply

Hey, I love the article. I am a writer and musician, and i feel the pain as well. We are all forced to have a job that takes away from our ability to create music and share our art throughout. Although this has always been the case, the ability to change that is getting smaller and smaller.
Recording artists, roadies, music affiliates, and ofcourse the musicians all feel the impact of the internet distribution of music. I do have what i believe may be a solution, but a solution to this issue will take a large coordinated gathering or… union if i dare say so… of the people who want to be involved in a solution.

People dont pay for music, they pay for what it makes them feel. With some reservations, i invite anyone who wants to talk on this to hit me up on my Facebook, or email.

Mitchbriand@gmail.com

    Lee Jones - March 21, 2016 Reply

    An interesting proposition Brian, sounds deep! Definitely something has to be done in a union/ socialist sense!

    Sherry Noland - March 30, 2016 Reply

    I’m married to a respected musician who had a successful band in the 70’s with a Top Thirty hit and lots of radio play. His music has been reissued numerous times over the years. The band recently reunited and put out a new CD, got very good reviews, and like most bands today, got a small-label (little promo) and internet distribution. Sales are better than any of my other talented, lesser-known musician friends, which is to say, hardly any at all. Music is in the toilet!

    However, my husband’s music, old and new, is getting played, or I should say, streamed. People are still listening to music, but have a different middleman—instead of record companies and radio stations it’s internet service providers and streaming sites. And that’s where the money is!

    People pay the middlemen for access to music, who are throwing crumbs at the artists.

    This is what has to change:

    1. No denying, or complaining. It’s a new age and there’s no going back. People will continue to stream or download music.

    2. Artists will have to collectively bargain for new legislation to set reasonable minimum play/download fees from all of these access entities, just as they did for radio play in the old days.

    There is still plenty of money in music. But it’s not getting to the artists. We can talk about the decline in quality, but that is directly related to how well we respect professional musicians. Quality isn’t produced ‘part-time’. So, solve the money problem and you largely solve the quality problem.

    Musicians must ‘band’ together, and with a ‘bank’ of lawyers go to Capitol Hill.

    Leadership in this effort will necessarily have to come from those top artists still lucky enough to be making a living! True artists who care about the art form and the future of music.

      Lee Jones - April 3, 2016 Reply

      This is so ‘on the money’ (no pun intended) We’ve got to work with what is available, no point spending time lamenting over the ‘good old days’ and you’re right the decline in quality is directly related to the respect. If a band has the opportunity to commit full-time to music of course they are going to get better and better. Unfortunately these groups all have to support themselves with day jobs so music becomes a part-time thing.

Eli - March 28, 2016 Reply

All music resembles background music? You must have your head firmly planted up your arse. Have a look around mate. All your article does is makes generalisations from what what I’m guessing is a tiny perspective point shoved somewhere in a back alley of a city that is having live music issues. It’s not happening everywhere. It’s not in decline everywhere. Stop spreading your bad seeds with bad writing. Your observations may be in part accurate but don’t paint it as the whole. Get it?

    Lee Jones - April 3, 2016 Reply

    Thanks for your comment Eli. It’s good to get both sides on issues like this. From the feedback I am getting from hundreds of musicians the world over I have to say that unfortunately your view is in the minority and I would take a guess that is yourself, rather than I, that has a ‘tiny perspective point shoved somewhere in a back alley of a city’ Cheers, Lee

Gary Thornton - April 3, 2016 Reply

Sound quality in venues is a huge problem as you have noted. It’s not just in the audience but on stage as well. We have decided that we will not be subject to a sound person that doesn’t know what we want to project. Instead we bought a digital mixer and do our sound ourselves. It may not fill a bar with listeners but those who do go to our shows will get what we want to convey.

And enough with the pay to play shite.

    Lee Jones - April 3, 2016 Reply

    That is a very good idea, I’m really behind using your own mixer, certainly for certain things you know how you like it. But that in itself sometimes can be taken as a but of a ‘middle finger’ by the sound engineer!

Kevin J - April 4, 2016 Reply

Only a small point, Top of the Pops may have been the Holy Grail for musicians at the time, but the BBC’s policy meant it was mimed/lip synched, even back then.

There is NO SUCH THING as selling out, if it means you have to make a minor diversion to get to where you really wanted to go. If you don’t want to sell records, welcome to Hipsterville. And I still can’t believe that bands are giving away or offering “name your own price” downloads, particularly on Bandcamp. Any fool can work for nothing. If you have any self-respect, name your price, and stick to it.

    Lee Jones - April 5, 2016 Reply

    A good viewpoint. I agree every musician has to put a value on themselves, and you’ll often find, the good ones do! It is hard starting out though because it is tempting to give your music away just to be heard, but on the other hand, a lot of the time you can’t even give things away these days!

Jed Wild - April 5, 2016 Reply

I have been saying exactly this for years, I own and run a small recording studio, so much talent comes through my doors that will, in all reality never be heard, so I have also decided to do something about it
I have started an online petition to get local independently signed artists played on prime time local commercial radio
It is gaining strength, but it’s a slow process, if the musicians that this petition affects don’t bother to sign it, then why should the general public?

https://www.change.org/p/ofcom-local-commercial-radio-stations-to-play-independently-signed-local-artists-prime-time?recruiter=250563426&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_for_starters_page&utm_term=mob-md-google-no_msg&fb_ref=Default

Please follow this link and sign

Thankyou

    Lee Jones - April 5, 2016 Reply

    Thanks for sharing this! Good to know you’re trying to make a difference! I have a studio too and I know the exact feeling, you want to get excited for the artists but you know the hard roads they face ahead.

Mike Graves - April 13, 2016 Reply

Musicians and songwriters desperately need an iron clad extremely well organized “Alliance”. No respectable artist will play, create, or allow their likeness to be used, shared, or distributed unless compensation is negotiated up front and bound by a legal agreement each and every time. This is critical. Just like when the mega established bands/artists go out and perform at huge venues or record in the studio, their managers, agents and attorney’s lock in the deals. Period. No released art unless payment is made. Artists that refuse membership in this new “protective” alliance would be frowned upon within the movement and throughout the entire art and entertainment community. (Former signed artist).

Larry Markusson - April 15, 2016 Reply

I remember when my band recorded an album in the 80’s there was no one that could be bothered to listen to it. Now there are lots off opportunities to get your music out there. You have to remember it is called the music business. You have decide if you want to be an artist or play any kind of music to make a buck. If you look back a lot of people had to work at jobs outside the industry before they made it. The big names take over to play the small clubs for the money and the little guy is left to fend for himself. If someone cant use you to make money they will not be interested in your music.

Billy Long - April 16, 2016 Reply

Lars was right…

4/12/2016 – Indie 180 – New Studio First Broadcast | OFNR Forever Inc. - May 12, 2016 Reply

[…] Music Industry Decline – Hang On In There, Or Just Let Go? […]

10 Ways To Improve Your Local Gigs - June 3, 2016 Reply

[…] recently wrote an article about music industry decline and what it can be like to be an independent musician in today’s potentially depressing […]

Jane Rosenbohm - June 6, 2016 Reply

I’ve lost many solo gigs or had my fee reduced because copyright companies threaten to sue venues if they do not buy a license. But after ASCAP does their “magic,” BMI comes along with the same request …. And there are more copyright companies. Big business had lobbied and extended copyright laws to unrealistic lengths. THE COPYRIGHT COMPANY DOES NOT ASK WHAT YOU PERFORM …. So that money goes to the company. Live music will be in memory with vaudeville …. when holograms are common my guitar will sit in a museum next to a lute.

Leave a Comment: