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|An Ever Changing View of the Music Industry
|Most of you probably don't know me. In fact, most people on this website probably won't even see this blog post, and if you do, you probably won't think twice about it. That's the weirdly wonderful thing about the internet. Within the "walls" of the internet lives more information than any single person could absorb. We have the freedom to browse or frequent websites such as absolutepunk.net where we can, if we choose to, register a user account and dive into a world of debate, speculation, friendship, and sometimes even despise. |
I've been frequenting AP.net for years now. I actually remember finding this gem while spending time researching one of my favorite bands, Blink-182. I was young, probably 12 or 13, but I was an avid internet-goer, despite my dial up internet service. I credit this site for opening my ears, eyes, and senses to bands and artists that I probably would have never discovered otherwise. With that being said, when I started focusing on playing music full time, it was only natural for me to aspire to see news postings and headlines featuring my own band's name.
Let's fast forward 10 to 12 years later, or the present day, where I now live and work as a musician, a father, and an IT systems administrator. I've been playing music for close to 15 years now, I've been fortunate enough to travel this wonderful country with my closest friends, and I've got a wonderful family. Don't get me wrong, everything I just listed is more than I deserve, and definitely more than I could ever imagine having at this age, but there is still an emptiness, a void if you will.
Like all young and aspiring musicians, I wanted to be huge. I mean, who doesn't want to be a rock star, right? Exactly. Around the time of middle school, I started sinking my teeth into the ever changing music industry. Playing music and being in a semi-serious band was great, but I needed more. I needed, no, I HAD to know the ins and outs, the rights, the wrongs, and everything in between. I started reading- a lot. I visited AP.net multiple times a day. I read interviews with my favorite bands and artists, artists I didn't care for, and even artists I completely disliked, simply for any insight I could pick up. I started pushing for my band to record, to play shows, to amount to something!
We can skip some of the tedious details because I can see that I am already making this entry a bit too lengthy, but in the summer of 2007, Gentlemen and Scholars started actually touring. We toured for what seemed like forever. We'd route circuits, touring the north east and east coast, coming home for a week or two, and going back out to do the Midwest, or the southern states. This continued on the entire year, until winter of '07. We decided it was time to record new material. An EP would do just fine, so we booked some time at a local studio and dove in. Somewhere between tracking the music for 3 or 4 songs, our vocalist quit. Too young to be discouraged, we pressed on without him, allowing of bassist (at the time) to take on vocal duties. 4 songs turned into 7, 7 into 12, and 12 into a concept album. In march of 2008, we self released The Record, the Keepsake, and the Thief. This album opened the doors to our eventual signing with the now defunct Torque Records and distribution through Victory Records.
2009 saw our first signed release. We released The Fault on October 27th, 2009, after too many complications from our label. Its our fault, we should have held out for a better label, or should have proceeded independently. The Fault was a weird album for us, and one that I really never cared to revisit until recently. My appreciation and love for that album has grown exponentially recently. Anyway, we spent most of 2009 poor and on the road as well. Our pianist (my younger brother) left the band to pursue other interests and for health related reasons, and this really hurt our morale.
We spent the next 9 months holed up, writing, fighting, and teetering on the edge of total annihilation of Gentlemen and Scholars. Friendships were fading, musical tastes and styles were changing, and everything seemed like it was getting worse by the day. What were we going to do? We had no money, we all had to find jobs (I had a child on the way) and none of us were motivated to tour again due to the money needed and the unreliable state of most venues we played. But, luckily we decided to push forward and attempt to record new material. We set up a makeshift studio at my house, and we got busy.
We spent a countless amount of time learning how to record, mix, and produce an album. We knew what sounds, feelings, and ideas we wanted to achieve, but we had no idea where to start. After months of mixing, remixing, recording, re-recording, and re-mixing again, we finally released the Bad Apples EP. Not only was this our first attempt at an entirely self funded release, but this is also the first album we self produced (minus tracking the drums at a local studio.)
We were so proud of our new baby. Hearing those songs brought to life was enough to get us back on course, albeit a slightly different direction. We weren't going to tour, not yet at least. We needed to get back to our roots, learn to target our new demographic, and we needed to learn to increase our revenue without charging for this EP (we had to eat and feed our families!)
There is still a long way to go, but I'm more excited than I've ever been. The music industry is changing quickly, but I feel as though we're close to having a solid grasp on it. We aren't trying to conform to standards, but make our own way. We truly believe that our music should be free, and that's why we'll always offer our music to people who truly enjoy it. I don't mean to stick my foot in my own mouth with that last statement, because yes, we will have a price tag on our new EP. 'Thick as Mud' will be seeing a January 15th release date, with a single released on December 15th. However, we'll always continue to offer the "pay what you want" option for digital downloads.