Let the industry come to you
Hello all, it’s been a while hasn’t it? I can only apologise for my scattiness as of late, a mixture of being out of the country, out of the office and being too busy whilst in the office has meant my blogging has suffered to the point of inexcusability.
On one of my many jaunts to London I was happily tweeting away about the meetings I had coming up that day with various sync agents, TV channels, lawyers, radio stations etc and an artist asked me how I went about getting said meetings and if I could do a blog about it offering some advice.
This was a couple of weeks back now and after thinking about it quite a bit I honestly don’t think I can.
I’m in a very different position to an artist; I’m running an aspect of a business (trying to get our artists music synced) where I’m selling the fact that we represent over a thousand emerging UK artists. The fact of the matter is we, as a company, have several selling points:
- We have loads of artists therefore loads of choice
- Our artists are hungry for exposure and therefore won’t demand the fees that uber famous artists would do
- The music we represent is new, exciting and (god I hate this word, but it does fit somewhat) ‘zeitgeisty’ (*throws up in mouth a little bit*). This has particular traction in the US where they are quite the fans of the UK music scene
If you’re an artist you pretty much have one selling point; your music. And if your particular music doesn’t fit their particular needs at that particular time then they’re most likely not going to be interested in meeting you.
Please don’t shoot the messenger here by the way. I’m just telling you the way the industry behaves.
In my opinion the best thing an unsigned/indie act can do is get a decent fanbase in their nearest city and then expand that into the enclosing region (I.E. Manchester followed by the North West). If you do that well and get the local music industry talking about you, this will quickly transfer to the national scene through word of mouth.
If you’re good enough the industry will come to you.
And when I say ‘the industry’ I don’t just mean major labels, I mean everyone. From labels to publishers to pluggers to lawyers to promoters to agents to graphic designers to website builders to journalists to bloggers etc.
Several times a day I send and receive emails to various contacts with links of artists who are currently being ‘kept an eye on’ by the industry and in pretty much every single occasion these ‘tips’ come from the utter grass roots of the industry; the student promoter who puts on a gig every couple of months during term time, the intern at a budget studio who is getting some experience, the keen blogger who writes for free in their local music magazine etc. These are the people who will see you at your first gigs when you’re both under-practiced and overwhelmed so the nicer you are to them and the more you improve as they watch you develop the more likely they are to talk about you and slowly but surely the industry will find its way to you.
There is an artist back in my home town who was receiving a fair bit of attention around 18 months ago and myself and a friend of mine who works in A&R went to catch him at a gig to see what all the fuss was about. In all fairness the gig was both well attended and he performed an enjoyable set, I gave him details about Sentric Music afterwards and my friend said hello and said he’d keep an eye on him and what he gets up to in the coming months. Somewhere and somehow said artist got hold of my friends mobile phone number and ever since has called him on a monthly basis, achieving one thing and one thing only; pissing off the person he’s trying to impress.
Now I’m not saying that if this artist hadn’t/doesn’t call my friend on a monthly basis then he’d have been offered a seven figure deal, but he’s definitely not helping himself. He may have also stopped my friend talking about him to other people within the industry which could include someone who is looking for a sound exactly like his and therefore he goes straight under their radar like some form of musical stealth plane.
Hone your craft good people! Work on attaining a fanbase first and foremost then let the rest follow.