The Effects Of The Internet: “Making It”

WWhile each and every musician has his or her own motives and influences behind the choice to pursue music, the ultimate end tends to be the same regardless of who you are. The dream of being signed and “making it” will typically be at the forefront of any musician’s mind because it could quite literally spell the end of any reason to worry.

Actually, it doesn’t, but if it did then this would be kind of a pointless article.

There’s more to the infamous “making it” than people seem to realise. A lot of hard work has always gone in to making successful music, and successful music is essential to a successful musician. Then again, while most bands and artists are generally honoured and praised for creating music that is true to their own preferences and styles, it is rare that those things coincide with that which is commercially successful. In fact, the phrase “sell out” is usually made in reference to a band or artist who radically changes their own style in order to better suit the emerging market in which their music is being released. Sadly, it’s also a phrase that is passed around as an insult referencing the actual meaning, but such is the way of people in general.

Making It!

In order to be signed onto a record label, whether large or small, you have to have three things behind you:

  • A sound that suits that particular label.
  • A band that bring something new and unique to the table.
  • A large and dedicated following that reaches beyond their home town.

You can see why the first two may interrupt each other. The first one follows the route of commercial success, following the sound, style and standards of the record label that wishes to sign you, or that you wish to be signed to. The second is more personal, and is just as likely to keep you or your band from being signed if you are too unique. Additionally, you have to make sure that you are not too special, or you’ll simply be too far away from what the label wants to be of any use to them. A label such as Roadrunner, with a reputation for metal acts, might be a little perturbed by “Folk Metal” or “Dance Metal”. You have to make a very strong pitch for these people.

The internet has opened the door for much easier contact directly with record labels. It has also allowed the birth of many new record labels, as well as distribution methods that cut out the label middle man completely. With your music online, you could become like an actress waiting to be “noticed”. This breeds complacency, but, in truth, there’s no downside to it as long as you don’t deny your own life in waiting. The act of making music is, in itself, experience for making more music. Using uploaded mp3s and other forms of media, you can put together entirely digital CDs and distribute them online using links and sale options. You can also upload your media to programs such as iTunes, where people can purchase it as long as they can find it.

This means that the power of record labels now largely rests in advertising. Distribution is as available as ever, in fact, more so than ever before, but it means nothing if people have no idea who you are. This is where the following comes in. In order to create fans of your music, you need both wide-ranging music and you need it to be out there; available for anybody to see. The more forwards and forceful you are with your music, the more people will end up listening to it, and the more fans you might end up with. So, with this in mind, surely personal advertising is potentially as powerful as any advertising that record labels can currently offer?

So, do bands need to make it any more?

Tom Colohue is a fiction writer and music instructor from Blackpool, England. Though his main works are in the realms of fantasy, he also writes modern fiction for multiple websites, as well as theoretical and practical music lessons for magazines.

Also read The Effects Of The Internet: Music Distribution