Bands as Beggars

Ever been to a show that was going well, the band was playing some decent songs (that maybe you’ll check out later at home), and between songs you get some awkward request to buy their shit on a table in the back? Some part of you maybe feels guilty about not supporting enough independent music, so you go to pick up the band’s EP (with no idea if you’re going to enjoy it, a blind buy). My collection of CDs from shows is sitting somewhere in my parent’s basement. We personally think that it’s an unfair consumer experience, to have to buy music you haven’t really had the time to become invested in, which is why we give our music away for free.

Another common parallel scenario is bands using twitter as a sales or advertising channel. I always try to follow the bands I like, but too often I have to stop doing that because it’s just a flood of sales pitches and other forms of spam (they might as well start selling viagra). Simply put, if you have nothing of interest to tweet, don’t use twitter. If you have nothing of interest to say between your songs (which we paid to hear you play) don’t speak. Every interaction I have with you (the band) should be positive and make my life better. I’m weary at this point of even giving a band my email.

The whole scenario is telling of the state affairs for small bands these days. They have nothing of value to sell (or so they think), so the ask you to buy something you don’t really want, to fund their extended adolescents. When I was younger, most of my favourite bands had jobs (outside of the band). Most of these bands built their sound within their means without ridiculous amount of studio time and without expensive equipment. They slowly built their way up to touring, working from their hometown outwards. So many bands have the ridiculous notion that as soon as they play two shows and release a song they should be able to support themselves with their hobby and quit their jobs. It’s as if they think that there aren’t that many bands out there competing for their attention, that the average indie pop they put out is on par (in terms of culture significance) with the white album.

If your music is good it will spread (with time). There is no need to bombard the few people who pay attention to you with sales pitches, kick-starter campaigns, or other guilt trips. Respect them, gain their trust and hopefully success will follow.

Related Links:
A Quick Note About Kickstarter
Boo-Hoo Broke Bands Quit Asking Charity