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The State Of The Musician’s Address



This is the state of the musician address, by a musician for the music fans.  We have a lot to speak about on this day.

The world has changed for us, those that have picked up an instrument or sang in front of a crowd in the last 20 years or so. It is now really hard to sell music, venues have embraced the pay to play system, and nobody knows who is supposed to market the performer now. 

The listener does not, in general, want to purchase an album anymore. Ten songs for 10 dollars is too expensive to take a cheap gamble. All that time in a recording studio comes out of a musician’s pocket now, with very little chance of recovering that cost.  Realize this, musicians don’t just do this for the listeners, they do it for themselves as well.  They all want to hear what their songs sound like perfect.

The solution, in my opinion, are singles. One recording at a time. Yes it will sck for hardcore fans and it is more cost effective to record ten songs at once, but listeners will not buy it. Ten bucks is too much for the average person, despite loving the artist live and knowing every song. 

99 cents is not too much. So musicians, if you have an album recorded… release it piece by piece

Touring is rough, particularly for a group.  Three months on the road alone, is exactly that, lonely…the same amount of time on the road with two to three other people is lonely, and like living with band members. Which is like having multiple spouses, picking at your insecurities.

Not only that, but it is expensive.  Your average band is making about what it costs to get to the next gig, and maybe some extra fries.  Think of it like a family of four… the cost per day to live average is expensive, now multiply that by four adults who eat more than children, are sometimes less responsible, and who are really starting to annoy each other.

There is no solution to this, unless artists get paid more by venues, or venues have a “condo” or apartment with separate rooms.

Merchandise is another problem.  Listeners may really want something with a logo on it.  It is great advertising for the artist. T-shirts, shot glasses, and business cards all cost money that most artists don’t have. If an artist has scrimped and saved to get this merch to the listener, they can’ t get a new design until they sell out of the original.

Solution: get a marker and a batch of white hanes T-shirts. Listeners, make your own. If enough are wearing homemade shirts, that could encourage an artist to create merch, but expect to pay for it as well.

The reality is that now, as a musician, it is not as bright as a career, they will likely not squeak out a living even with label support.  The difference between now and before the advent of Napster?

All the artists who play now are more dedicated, talented, and love what they do.. making a better show for all.

In closing,

The internet is the best and the worst thing to happen to music, and entertainment in general.  It does allow for some truly talented folks to get recognition, no holds barred… but rarely does it reward their talent.  No more do we have to listen to no talent hacks, but there will be no more long term superstars whose talent transcends genre, demographic, and general audience.  And to prove it, name one music artist who is a living or dead that would be considered a true legend, regardless if you care for them or not.  Then look and see when their first album came out.

Support your local bands by showing up or purchasing their music.