The Times They Have A Changed
I have to start by saying I am not one to complain publicly about anything in particular. In this case, I sincerely want to express my feelings about a particular topic…the music scene!
There is no getting around that getting into the music business was always difficult. However, booking a show in music’s hay day was very different. Venues had their own built in crowd! You didn’t have to bring people down or sell tickets to 100 of your own people. What is the goal in that? If I sell 100 tickets to people who already know my music, what purpose does it serve? The point of playing out, is to gain exposure to new ears. When venues back when had built in crowds, that’s how you gained exposure. AND a promoter, would actually..PROMOTE! I know, crazy right? It was their job to pack the place out. Not the artists! That’s why you are called a promoter, because you promote the venue and the gig and pack it out with the appropriate crowd. “Promoters” these days, all they do is collect money. They don’t promote at all. And if they do, it’s in their venue which has no traffic otherwise. Even better is when they book acts that shouldn’t be on the same bill. I like, hip hop, I like hard rock, but you should not have two acts like that back to back. Now you are lowering the chances of exposure to the suitable demographic, and weakening the chances at a successful show in general. But from my experience with many venues and many “promoters” this is how they all operate. Because they don’t care if you get exposure, they don’t care if you have a great show. The only thing they care about is how much money they walk out with personally. For them it’s really easy to say “you have a 20 minute set, sell 100 tickets at the door for $15 each, and I’ll give you $150.” Which is pure horseshit, because you just made $1500 off me busting my ass day and night, and you did nothing! Pure fact is, they’re getting paid for doing nothing. If you want the big cut, then you should be doing your job. Otherwise stop calling yourselves “promoters” start calling yourselves “thieves”, or just admit your only job is to shake hardworking people down. How about you work on promoting your venue enough where it gets it’s own built in crowd every night, and just start hiring bands that belong on the same bill for purpose of entertainment for your guests. Nah…why not just keep screwing over every band you meet, seems smarter right? Ya douche!
Then there is the actual music business itself! Back in the day you actually had to be good in order for people to listen and sign you. Now, all you need is a social media following and you my friend got yourself a deal! I legitimately sat down with a very important person in the music business, and they had ZERO desire to even listen to the product. Artist Development used to be real, they would find you based on quality, buff the rough edges off, and send you out on the road to gain a real following. They’d get someone to book you across the country opening for big acts with a similar style. Now, artist develop is seeing if you already did that on your own so they can come in and scoop up all the credit and all the money.
There was also a great way to find new artists, the radio! Now, that doesn’t exist, unless you choose to listen to A.M. radio, which let’s be honest, nearly nobody does. The way it was for older generations, you’d go find a disc jockey, shove a bill or two in his pocket..then he’d give it a spin or two and if they got requests for it he’d obviously play it again and again. This going on until someone obviously hears it at another station, plays it also..then your name goes around like wildfire! That’s when the record companies started coming around seeing what you had to offer as talent.
In current times, if you have a million views on youtube, a bunch of followers on facebook, and a good amount instagram fans..well shove over..we don’t want to hear what you sound like, what for? No need! You suck? Oh well, let’s autotune you. You can’t entertain worth a dam? Whatever! We’ll just throw 20 dancers on stage to mask the fact that you aren’t worth watching. Because obviously, that’s what makes talent! “Uh, let’s put an extremely repetitive mind numbing beat behind this person, add a ton of auto tune and effects on their voice..sweet now let’s go influence the youth of the world and increase stupidity! Cool? Cool!, print it!”
You can’t get your foot in the door, unless you’re already represented, and you get represented unless your foots already in the door. Catch 22 much? It gets to the point where you realize, you’ve been digging in the trenches so long, that you’re actually just burying yourself. Putting all your eggs in one basket, just see them crack. Everyone’s blowing smoke at a rat race to no where!
Something has to change! The industry needs a change in the right direction. There is real talent out there that gets squashed and shit on every day by the big wigs of labels. They even know how to find great talent and make it worse, I don’t know how they do it, but it’s the worst kind of magic spell to cast on anyone. It’s the icing on the cake that’s been baking too long.