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from grassroots to mainstream – bands path to success today

recently on a bands support group, someone made a post where they got into it with a local radio station for why they were not playing their favorite rising band. this is a topic i could talk to for hours. easily. you see, back in around 2000, i too was sick of radio. had been since the repeat nature of the 80s forcing me to hear michael bolton at work 4 times a day.

no one should ever suffer so much.

but nothing i could do. you were FM or you giggled at the AM you heard out of chicago on a clear night. gotta admit the chicago thing was kinda cool.

around 2000 i was knee deep in my career at microsoft and had the time, money, and desire to prove all these “unsigned” bands could do better than the ones i hear so often during the day. so i started and over the last 18 years i’ve seen a hell of a lot come and go. audiences being one for sure and that *is* tied to the rotation and what the station chooses to play. however even the smaller internet radio stations have a role in this “grassroots movement” going on today in how bands succeed.

arguments over downloading have become a moot point. bands just don’t sell what people can stream 24×7 for “free” and herein lies the catch – where the money goes for people paying to stream music? doesn’t go to the artists. bill out there now hoping to pay them more but it also removes “public domain” from older music.

Control. it always seems to be the key. they lost control in download days and have been working to regain it ever since.

I’ve seen many bands hit the road that should have succeeded but died out due to lack of funds. I’ve seen the relevance of record labels fade as their debt ridden contracts were no longer of value to up and coming bands. Record labels are redefining their role in the digital age.

as is radio. as we all are.

we simply want music. lots of it, the best of it, and to our own tastes. that has forced the rise of playlists and now bands make a playlist to share – there goes radio’s audience. i can make my own playlist and slap abba right after metalica if i want. haven’t yet but it’s good to know the option is there.

what we don’t have is the central control and distribution of music anymore that channeled the path to success – ie $$$, fame, fortune, the entire gambit.

while a lot of bands died off along the way, many should have cause they were a product of the system, not the heart. aka – much of the late 80s and the massive overflow of the one hit wonder. today’s new up and coming music may not be as easy to find as it used to be – but it’s also a hell of a lot better than it used to be as well.

heart. today’s bands have it and want it for all the right reasons.

radio isn’t easy. it’s also no longer the path to success as there really isn’t one other than great music, great attitude, and a shitton of hard work i see every day in many bands such as messer, jibe and blacktop mojo. these are in fact the complete package that simply doesn’t come along often that are hard at work behind the scenes every hour of every day in order to succeed.2

dallas radio doesn’t know what to do with these bands either. maybe a late hour on a sunday night? there’s simply so much more than that and shows like reckless rock radio on knon do an incredible job at playing all bands old and new that have one thing in common – great music. smaller stations as well as internet radio has a lot of flexibility in what they play and why. radio really doesn’t. the people in fan groups are not fans really, but “fanatics” and there is a huge difference. a fanatic is the one who discovers the bands and will do whatever it takes to get them heard.

even create a radio station in 2000 when the rest of the world was podcasting.

but these bands/audiences are not the target audience for mainstream radio. we’re kinda the pioneers that have the indescribable joy of watching bands go from playing on a flatbed trailer to opening for bon jovi.

but the fans and majority of the people need / want familiarity. that is even more important today cause radio is in a struggle and what used to be major is about to be what the local town newspaper used to be – local info a huge draw. while radio has always been that way it no longer is how new music gets heard. and not many have made the jump to the internet radio stations that flood the ip waves with up and coming music and that voice will continue to diminish.

that’s me. that’s the artists sharing who they run into. that’s the fanatics beating the shit out of a program director who is under orders to not change anything nor take chances. everyone in here would view this as a HUGE missed opportunity to showcase new music and start a trend, not live in the aftermath of yesterdays ideas.

but these are hard sells in a world where $$$ is hard to come by for the radio station already paying huge fees to simply play the music as it is. Change up what the paying crowd likes too much, you lose the paying crowd. catch 22.

the path to success that hasn’t changed is simply produce great music and provide great entertainment. oh, and hard work. more hard work than most fans wille ever realize. this is also how bands got over in the past and continue to do so today. the efforts of support groups on facebook and social media, internet radio stations and other areas are the formation of the “grass roots” movement that sees the tide coming long before the storm and get to appreciate even more of it along the way.

for sure – keep on pushing corporate radio with requests of these new bands. give ’em hell and maybe one day what’s left of radio will learn they must drive the content, unique content, in order to take that next step. there’s literally 10,000 places i can hear AC/DC today so why be one of 10,000 when you can be one of the few here.


watching your favorite band take off.

long rant but as you can see if you’re still with me here – been doing this for a long long time and if you want to support new music, then listen to the many stations out there that *do* play it.

wow. maybe i did talk for hours.  🙂



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