I am going to outline this fast and loose because I’m on a deadline and I fucked up. On the plus side, my esteemed editor happens to be EXTREMELY drunk right now at a bar down the street – so I think I have some leeway. The point being – there are a few very simple keys to success in the world of local music and we are going to talk about them. These are things that just about everyone can do and which are basically guaranteed to increase your bands’ draw. The best part is that it does not cost an exorbitant amount of money and most of them are going be fun. It’s really just a case of going to shows, talking to people there, making sure you get an understanding of who is doing what and then building on it.
4. Going to Shows
So this is the thing that people don’t understand. The secret to increasing your bands’ draw is to go to shows. Be social, engage with the people around you. People are looking for underground music if they are the type of people who are going to shows in the first place. The thing is people generally ascribe to an attitude of ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.’ There’s a lot of arrogance if you expect people to just show up at your show if you have contributed nothing to the scene. I guarantee you – your music isn’t that much better than everyone else’s. Why should people spend thirty minutes watching you when you’re kind of lame? Well because you’re their friends. Well, you only get to be friends with them if you are…
3. Talking To People At Shows
Again this is a huge key that people seem to routinely miss. If you talk to people at shows then you will become friends with them. I guarantee you everyone standing at a show is thinking, ‘Oh man – I feel so awkward I wish someone cool would just come to talk to me.’ Well, guess what? YOU can be that cool person! So go be that guy, go shake hands, make friends and grow – you’ll be amazed how it pays off. People want to be a part of a scene – that’s part of why they go to shows, so make an effort to help contribute to that. It’s stunning to me how many people have bands and don’t ascribe to these first two points then wonder why no one cares.
2. Getting A Vibe
This is a key part of the show going experience especially if you are trying to engage deeper with your scene. If you’re smart you’re going to spend a lot of time listening and watching – trying to see who in the scene is a player and who is going to be friendly and supportive of the community at large. Don’t be afraid to ask people who the booker at the club is or try to figure out which bartender is basically running stuff. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – no one will think it’s weird they’ll just think you’re an enterprising individual. Just don’t be a dick about it, show people that you are genuinely there for the music and community and then it will feedback to you. Showing up just to play your set and then leaving is not going to help anyone.
1. Building On This
Then you have to take net steps once you have started to inject yourself into your local scene. This doesn’t mean you need to be booking shows or running the door or whatever, but you need to just need to keep going out and making friends. People don’t understand when I say you need to go to a hundred shows a year to network, I really mean that you need to go to a hundred shows a year to network – especially early on. Otherwise, people just aren’t going to care about you or think what you are doing is interesting. Keep going, keep showing your love and then people will care about you. It’s really the only way.
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The secret to music industry success is supporting your scene! Drop your favorite way to support the scene in the comments! #baconsbits . . . . . #musicindustry #musicbusiness #musicmarketing #supportyourscene #diymusic #diyordie #bandlife #hustle #diyband #undergroundmusic #musicbusiness101 #musicbusinesstips #musicindustrytips #musicbiz #unsignedband #unsignedartist #unsigned #independentband #independentartist #independent
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Matt Bacon is a consultant, A&R man, and journalist specializing in the world of heavy metal. Having worked with everyone from Glam Rock icon Phil Collen of Def Leppard, to post Black Metal titans Alcest, by way of legendary thrashers Exhorder as well as labels including Prophecy Productions and Ripple Music, he has dedicated his life to helping young bands develop. Having started his own blog at the age of 14 he views his career in artist development as ‘a hobby that got out of hand’. In 2015 he formed Dropout Media in order to better support the artists he loves. We sit here now, years later with countless tours booked, records released and deals signed, and loving every minute of it.
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