I get messages all the time from bands that think if you have to pay for anything, it’s a rip-off. Artists think if they have to pay for something, that it isn’t necessary or is a “scam” somehow. Let me tell you here and now. A band is a business. You have to spend money to make money. If you aren’t willing to spend money on your business, then you are DOOMED. You have to take yourself and your product serious enough to do whatever it takes to push and promote it. The REAL bands… the bands that are successful. They pay for promotion. They pay for marketing and press. They pay for booking agents and advertising. You aren’t going to get ANYWHERE with the attitude that you don’t have to spend money on anything to get somewhere. A good press agent can get you features, articles, interviews, album reviews, and press coverage. A good booking agent can get you on tours and festivals and as support for national acts. A good radio promoter can get you on the Billboard Charts. It isn’t a rip-off. It isn’t a scam. It’s called the music business for a reason. It’s an industry. If you don’t have money, maybe reevaluate your priorities. Maybe party less, get a job, and get less tattoos. Maybe buy less drugs. Make sacrifices. Do whatever it takes.
Having a good team behind you, is what is going to make your band a success. Having a defeatist attitude and being pessimistic and jaded about the industry, is doing nothing for your career. You can sit on your couch and cry about how messed up the music scene is. Or you can adapt and overcome. Defeat your obstacles. And learn how to survive in an ever changing climate. The choice is yours and yours alone. Maybe you ARE doing all of the right things, but you still find it hard to afford these things. Try harder. It’s entirely possible to find an up-and-coming promoter or agent that is extremely talented… and is willing to work with you on price, in order to build their portfolio, and because they believe in your project. They say that sometimes it’s all about who you know and sometimes it’s all about being in the right place at the right time. Putting yourself out there more, doing everything you possibly can to gain opportunities for your band, is only going to raise the chances of any of these things happening. Sitting around complaining and wondering why opportunities aren’t finding YOU… that’s not going to work. It’s up to you! Good luck!
P.S. I’m not saying this in response to somebody not wanting to work with ME specifically. This is literally in response to a musician telling me, “Seeing you charge, “rates” for promotion when that’s something I’m already doing myself is a total turn off.”
I only have one thing to say about this. If you’re hitting up magazines, media sites, clubs, and venues COLD, without having established prior communication. It can be a challenge. Especially if you’re a member of the band, messaging somebody about your band. It can come off as amateur and for a lot of people, it just seems like you don’t have much going on. The moment you have a reputable company or industry professional doing these things for you… the difference in response can be like night and day. A lot of promoters and agents have ALREADY established a good relationship with the people they are contacting on your behalf. It can be much easier to yield results, paying a professional to do this for you. PLUS, it’s their job! You should be spending your time on practicing, writing songs, and perfecting your craft. Hiring somebody who will dedicate their time and effort to these other endeavors… you can really widen your impact and maximize results. It’s a no-brainer.
Noah “Shark” Robertson