14
Jul
08

(Hypebot) – 5 Lies Indie Musicians Tell Themselves

Another great post from Hypebot about the 5 lies that indie musician’s tell themselves while they’re trying to succeed in the industry.  I’m pasting it here, so i can throw my own commentary in.  I just want to gear my commentary toward the urban artists in particular.  But please, check out Hypebot when you get a chance!  It’s a great blog.  One of the best!

1. “The internet leveled the playing field for indie music.” – Big checkbooks and the marketing campaigns they buy still have the edge. The internet just opened the door for everyone.  It’s what you do now that you’re in the now overcrowded room that matters.

Very true. MySpace and all the other popular sites out there are definitely over-cluttered with rappers who don’t have any kind of budget for marketing and promotion.   The door is wide open now, but if you don’t have money (and good music) on your side, you’re just one voice among many.  I think if anything, the internet might be making things a little too easy, judging from some of the material I hear online on a regular basis.  If your stuff is good, than be daring, and do whatever you need to do to seperate yourself from everybody else.

2. “I’m going D.I.Y.” – Sorry, but you can’t Do It all Yourself. You need a team; preferably an experienced one. Just for starters: manager, agent, web guru, marketing and PR.

True, to an extent. You don’t need a team to get started, at least.  You can easily hit the streets and sell your own CDs.  That’s probably the best way of judging how good your stuff actually is.  Plus, you have to get an earnings track record.  Not to mention money just for money’s sake.  Web gurus, booking agents, marketing people and PR firms all cost money.  And top level managers are not going to deal with you if you can’t impress them with your track record of sales and a fan base.  I’ll make the point again that if you’re waiting for anyone to come along and help you build your success, you’re gonna be waiting a long time!  Get out there and take care of the things you can do for yourself, and don’t focus on the things you can’t do.

3. “The quality of the music matters more now.” – It has always started with a great song…or at least a catchy one.  That hasn’t changed and neither has the fact that after that it’s still about hard work, who your champions are and luck.

Very true. A great song is the best starting point, but it isn’t enough.  You definitely need hard work, money, and some luck to get where you’re trying to go.  You can’t control luck, so put in the hard work, be smart about how you spend your money, and the luck will fall into place for you.  Just be ready to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.  I’m not too sure what they mean by “who your champions are”, though.  I could be wrong, but it seems like they mean you need to have someone lift you to a higher level of success.  I totally and respectfully disagree.  The only champions you need are your fans.  If you’ve sold  just one CD to a stranger, then you’re already in the music industry, so you don’t need a connect to get you “in”.

4. “Now that the FCC ended payola, my music has a chance at radio.” – Dream on.  There are still gatekeepers and they still don’t care about you.

True. If you’re not signed to a major record label, don’t even think about commercial radio.  Payola isn’t dead, it just evolved to take a different form.  Major labels still control what you hear, especially at companies like Clear Channel, Radio One, and Emmis.  You can still push your stuff to college radio, though.

Now, about “gatekeepers”.  Don’t worry about them, because gatekeepers can’t make a living without finding artists and music to latch themselves onto.  The only person that can make or break you is you.  Believe me, if you’re successful on your own, the gatekeepers will come knocking.  Just have a can of Raid ready!

5. My sales suck, but so do everyone else’s.” Sure the numbers have changed, but if you can’t get people to pay something for your music then you’ve got a problem…with your music.

True AND False. Yes, if you’re not selling any music, it just might be because your music sucks.  but then again, anybody familiar with urban music nowadays knows how much lousy music is on the airwaves.  They obviously didn’t get there because their music was good.  The sad fact is that in urban music at least, having a big bankroll definitely overcomes having lousy music.

Besides, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure anyway.  There’s a lot of people on the planet, and I’m sure that if you look hard enough and long enough, you’ll find a fanbase for what you do.  On that point, you have to make sure you’re looking in the right place for people to sell your music to.  A lot of musicians seem to think that MySpace is make it or break it as far as music sales, and that’s absolutley ridiculous.  Like I’ve said many times before, MySpace is generally geared toward young teenagers who don’t have the credit cards to be able to buy your music online.  So if your sales aren’t where you want them to be, try looking in a different direction.  Be bold.  press up your CDs, and start out by selling them in your own neighborhood.   Do all the things that you can do for yourself, instead of focusing on the things you can’t do!  You’ll have a much better chance at success!

I don’t disagree with any of Hypebot’s points in this article out of disrespect.  I disagree with some of the points about relying on others, because I have personally sold over 10,000 copies of my CDs (mostly hand to hand street sales), I’ve done a lot of shows, and I’m generally making a very good living off of my music.  Without any gatekeepers.  I’ve never cultivated a relationship with an A&R or record exec (can’t stand most of em in fact), and I’ve turned down 3 record deals to date.   So I think I’m in a position to say that if you want it, go for it!

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1 Response to “(Hypebot) – 5 Lies Indie Musicians Tell Themselves”


  1. 1 glopez
    September 12, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    thanks for the advice bruh cause im definetly gonna need all the help i can get.


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