the world wide web as the new record label
There is a lot of hub bub out about the web replacing the traditional music label. This news has been heralded by many indie artists (myself included) as the savior of our kind. The web has leveled the playing field between artist and corporation, empowering us indie musicians to make our own destiny within the music business by connecting directly with our fans. While this is true, and I am a huge fan of the tools the web has to offer, I want to stress something to my indie colleagues – the web, while it offers us a way around the traditional record contract, is no more of a savior than that elusive record deal ever was.
Many of us artsy types aren’t so good at the business stuff (or refuse to embrace the mindset as we view it to be too “corporate” or some self-defeating bullshit like that). We think if we are the best at our craft, and stay true to our artistic vision, some suit will swoop down and rescue us from obscurity. We know we will eventually have to fight the corporate machine for our creative freedom, but in that model, the worst case scenario is we come out a martyr for our art, which fits nicely within the narrow confines of our suffering artist self image.
What I am stressing here is this: do not allow a web marketing strategy to become the new savior of your music career. While a web presence is a crucial element, it is just that, ONE element. Endlessly adding friends on myspace does not mean these people will show up at your gig. Spamming every media contact’s inbox with press releases ain’t gonna do much but piss people off (and so on and so on). See, I write today’s little rant because I found myself expecting the same thing from my web strategy as I had of a record deal some years back. I had a great concept album and a cool viral strategy for the video series, time to start printing the tour tshirts. While I am proud of how far things have come over the last year, there is a lot of ground to cover, and I know now I was avoiding some fairly tough decisions (as I had in the past) waiting for my digital ship to come in. Life would be a whole lot easier if we could just be more honest with ourselves from the get go. Stupid brain.
Reminds me of a Langhorne Slim song:
I’ve always been waiting for something
someone to come pull me through
now I see that it’s all up to me
there ain’t nothin’ no one else can do