Apologies if this is a little incoherent. It’s just one of those “blogs” where I just write whatever comes to mind.
This evening I started talking to a member from a fairly unknown, unsigned band that I’m Facebook friends with. After the pleasantries; how are you, how’s the band and so forth, my friend said being unsigned “sucked” and that it’s tough to get noticed in a sea of bands. The latter fact is something I regularly believe in.
I often think the internet has been good for smaller bands, as it has helped them get noticed but the downside to that, is that there’s too many bands wanting to get noticed, and the end result it that it’s hard to pick out the good from the bad, and some bands with great potential just get forgotten about.
As for being unsigned, I questioned if a label was needed. I think depending on the bands aims and work ethic, they don’t necessarily need a label. The band I was talking with are dedicated; released an EP last year, recently recorded some new songs and are aiming to record a full-length later this year.
They’re also open to have feedback, good or bad. Again this is something I think is essential and I respect. There are some bands who don’t listen to feedback (from fans and critics) and tend to stick to what they know or even adapt to whatever sound/style/trend is currently popular. This is something I don’t like. I find bands like that false and not true to themselves.
If you were involved in the music industry and had the chance to work with either a hard working, determined band or a trend-following band with a potential short shelf-life, which would you go for?
However as I discussed with my friend, bands who tend to follow trends (and in some cases quickly signed by labels) are often (quickly) forgot about.
This brief discussion reminded me of a feature I did last year; ‘How To Promote Your Band The Right Way.’ I liked putting this article together. I thought it’d be ideal to have different people from different areas of the music industry. I also felt I covered a wide-range of topics that may or may not help a band promote themselves; online, offline, playing live, free downloading, social networking etc.
My aim for that feature was to give some sort of guide and advice on how bands can promote themselves. I see some bands who tend to focus on some areas more than others. For example some ridiculously over-use social networking sites; Facebook is the be all and end all of the internet.
If I had the chance to sign a band or work with a band in some capacity, I would want that band to be honest, hard-working, with realistic aims; trust me I’ve seen enough press releases or band bios claiming to be the next whatever - I find it off-putting and kinda stupid really. I also like to see bands who are organised; however big or small your band is - put together a “press kit” (bio, links, facts etc) not just a Facebook link, it makes you look lazy.
If you’re a band or artist who are all the above (honest, hard-working, dedicated, realistic and organised) then you’ll have mine and I’m sure plenty of others respect.
Over the past few weeks I’ve spotted a few articles online stating guitar music is on the decline, and you know what? It’s a big fat fucking lie!
It annoys me that publications like The Guardian tend to assume that because guitar-based bands aren’t selling tons of records, they’re on the decline. Admittedly rock music and it’s several thousands of sub-genres isn’t setting the charts alight; especially the singles charts (but who buys singles these days anyway besides the general commercial radio listener.) Whilst the album charts is in a similar position, although this week’s Top 10 includes releases from Kasabian, The Vaccines, and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, and Enter Shikari are current at number 1 in the midweek chart.
Although sales of guitar bands isn’t brilliant, I think articles like the Guardian’s and comments Kaiser Chiefs’ Nick Hodgson tend to forget guitar bands are doing better in the live music market.
Like I said in a similar article on Alter The Press last year, the number of festivals is vast; although last year some suffered and were ultimately cancelled, but nevertheless the sheer range of festivals in the UK alone shows that guitar music is alive. Whilst a quick look at any venue or ticket websites shows there are a range of bands touring, often multiple times a year.
Away from the live music area, guitar bands are still receiving airplay on daytime radio; at present The Black Keys and Twin Atlantic are on BBC Radio One’s daytime A-List, whilst Pulled Apart by Horses and Band of Skulls are on rotation.
So there you have it; guitar bands are still selling records, still touring, and still receiving airplay.
Is guitar music dead? No you’re just tied up in hyping the likes of Lana Del Rey and Ed Sheeran to take any notice.