Did you know that Primark is an Irish company based in Dublin first opened in June 1969 in Mary Street? Well I didn’t! Primark has expanded in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland (known as Penneys) Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK.
Primark, in April 2014 announced that they will be opening stores in the United States with the first one opening in Boston. Woohoo. They look like they are properly expanding so perfect timing to go and drum inside their elevator at the Oxford Street branch!
A musician who writes his or her own music and wants to take things to the next level has to be much more than just a musician to achieve goals.
A modern musician needs to be, or to become an entrepreneur. Ideally, it would be super essential to know the basics about websites, HTML and how to manage Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube other social media websites and understand the fundamentals of social media marketing. (Note that I’m not talking about becoming a sales person here. I’m talking about engaging your audience and building a relationship. This is a huge difference).
Music is so widely available these days, and the fact that the majority of music releases come from independent artists and not from labels means that:
a) the record industry is promoting mainly commercial music
b) they do not take risks signing new music
c) an independent artist is on his or her own.
A lot of musicians are still dreaming of a fat, juicy, super amazing and extra-fantastic record deal but is this really something that we should aim for?
First of all, as we all know music sales are under. CD sales are declining. MP3 sales are going down and streaming services seem to be getting a bigger piece of the pie but companies like Spotify, Deezer, Rdio, LastFM are all struggling too. The royalties a musician receives from streaming are minimal and musicians are complaining about it. It is true. The $0.007 per stream on Spotify is proper nuts. Streaming is a very new concept and will hopefully grow together with the royalties musicians are receiving (we live to hope).
Record labels lend money to an artist and help with the promotion, distribution but these are all dollars that you have to give them back. They’re a business they need to make a profit, don’t blame them; it’s perfectly normal.
The old marketing model of the record labels does not necessarily work nowadays. It was working when media was limited. The plan was to bombard the audience with advertisements about a brand new release in the hope that people would run to the music store to purchase the brand new album. Now things have changed. Labels are not making enough money back from their artist releases, and the old promotion trick does not work anymore. regularly they don’t manage to make their money back, and artists are sometimes dropped. Doh…! while they are still owing money to the record label. Not a good place to be don’t you agree?
Because of this, record companies do not want to take risks. If they decide to sign someone, that someone has to be previously a proven success. It has to be a band or artist who is so far playing sold out gigs, selling merchandising, having a massive and engaged following.
How do you do that? Very good question… the answer is WITH A LOT OF WORK!!!
Recording great music
Building your own website
Updating your website
Having super online presence
Building relationships (online & offline)
Networking (online & offline)
Listening to others
and the list goes on.
Now the sad thing of the story is that a lot of musicians do not get this. I didn’t get it in the beginning too. I released my first EP, and I was waiting for success to come.
Knock knock? Anybody there?! By all means… nope!
So I started researching. There’s a plastic little box that it’s called laptop and inside it, there’s a thing called browser. If you open it, there’s another petite thing that says Google where you can type. Type sentences like ”how to promote my music” or ”how to properly release an album”. All answers are there.
Many, or actually the majority of modern bands split up. It is an ugly result. And we are not talking about the average Jane here but for good bands that are made up of very talented individuals. Unfortunately, because musicians are busy making music fail to understand all of these things. I’ve seen it with people I have worked with and other bands/artists whom I follow or used to follow that have now split up.
You’re on your own. Accept it, embrace it and keep working your arse off. Then if you get to the point after all this hard work when record companies are starting to follow your online profiles or getting in touch with you be careful. Don’t start jumping around. Think, balance it all out and wonder what kind of results would this deal bring to the table, and if you are going to be better off working independently or by signing that damn paper.
The first years of a music project’s life are the toughest so musicians need to work insanely hard, educate themselves, and listeners need to realize that if they like a band or artist, they need to support them so that they can carry on making music. Making music is a VERY expensive sport and there are more difficulties along the way like … Getting heard.
Music is no peanuts. I love what Lady Gaga said during an interview: ”People now treat music like a McDonald’s cheeseburger…” if listeners don’t support the musicians, musicians will have to stop making music. So people… If you like someone’s music, share it. Buy it. Go to the gigs. Support.