"Making it" without gigging

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
rbro
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"Making it" without gigging

Post by rbro » Tue May 30, 2006 8:09 pm

I'm at a point in my life where it is very difficult to be a gigging musician. I'm really excited to have discovered Live and am cranking away on a bunch of tracks right now. I'd like to release a CD eventually and promote it and my original music vigorously on the internet. Eventually I may get to a place where playing in bars and clubs and getting home at 4 or 5am is a possibility again, but not in the short term. Anyone else having succesful music "careers" and NOT playing out?

jerry123
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Post by jerry123 » Tue May 30, 2006 8:35 pm

I engineer. I've produced. I've helped build studios. I used to write for commercials and (even better) infomercials. I've even helped produce a couple of tracks for DJ labels. All without gigging.
Sometimes it better being behind the scenes. I've found that one artist will sometimes need to pay 5 or more people just to get something they can sell themselves. That's a ratio I can deal with for now.

rbro
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Post by rbro » Tue May 30, 2006 9:20 pm

Yeah, but what if you ARE the artist???

jerry123
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Post by jerry123 » Tue May 30, 2006 9:50 pm

Then, you gig.
If an artist wants to be known for making great music, the most important thing is that they get known at all. You need to have friends who are into your sound, people willing to be your 'street team' for promotion, people with access to venues that want you to play there...stuff like that.
This is simply my view from my experience, but how many artists are you hooked on that are not on a label, not playing gigs anywhere, have no releases or releases that you can't get because they are not online or accessible to you. That's the word, you need to make yourrself accessible to the crowd you want to cater to. Not saying it does not happen, I've found artists on various web sites that are great(take a scan though the myspace thread on this site!) but it can be tough to support an artist that is not very accessable.

rbro
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Post by rbro » Tue May 30, 2006 10:09 pm

jerry123 wrote:Then, you gig.
If an artist wants to be known for making great music, the most important thing is that they get known at all. You need to have friends who are into your sound, people willing to be your 'street team' for promotion, people with access to venues that want you to play there...stuff like that.
This is simply my view from my experience, but how many artists are you hooked on that are not on a label, not playing gigs anywhere, have no releases or releases that you can't get because they are not online or accessible to you. That's the word, you need to make yourrself accessible to the crowd you want to cater to. Not saying it does not happen, I've found artists on various web sites that are great(take a scan though the myspace thread on this site!) but it can be tough to support an artist that is not very accessable.
Well I want to and hope to be able to gig again when I can free up the time to do so. But now it's just not feasible. It's hard enough finding the time to write and record my stuff. I'm sure I can record, produce, release and promote my stuff online to kingdom come, but getting down and dirty out in the clubs right now just ain't happnin. I was curious if there are others who've had some success without playing their stuff live. Don't get me wrong, playing music live is just about as good as it gets, but it's just not practical for me to do that right now. Sooooo...anyone out there releasing their own music with any success WITHOUT performing it live?

jerry123
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Post by jerry123 » Tue May 30, 2006 10:14 pm

Perhaps you could get in touch with a DJ or label and produce tracks to be spun. I know a few studio guys who produce for labels from full studio rigs. No possibility of playing out but quite successful when it comes to getting material to those who do play out.

rbro
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Post by rbro » Tue May 30, 2006 10:19 pm

jerry123 wrote:Perhaps you could get in touch with a DJ or label and produce tracks to be spun. I know a few studio guys who produce for labels from full studio rigs. No possibility of playing out but quite successful when it comes to getting material to those who do play out.
Thanks, but you're not getting my drift here. Sorry if I'm being unclear. I create my own music. The thought of producing other people's music sounds intriguing to me and one day I may venture that way. Right now I'm really only interested in creating and promoting my own music. I'm just wondering the feasability of doing that without giging in support of it. I'm wondering if there are others that have had some success without playing their own original music live.

jerry123
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Post by jerry123 » Tue May 30, 2006 10:37 pm

I was suggesting getting your tracks out to DJ's.

Sales Dude McBoob
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Post by Sales Dude McBoob » Tue May 30, 2006 10:39 pm

rbro wrote:
jerry123 wrote:Perhaps you could get in touch with a DJ or label and produce tracks to be spun. I know a few studio guys who produce for labels from full studio rigs. No possibility of playing out but quite successful when it comes to getting material to those who do play out.
Thanks, but you're not getting my drift here. Sorry if I'm being unclear. I create my own music. The thought of producing other people's music sounds intriguing to me and one day I may venture that way. Right now I'm really only interested in creating and promoting my own music. I'm just wondering the feasability of doing that without giging in support of it. I'm wondering if there are others that have had some success without playing their own original music live.
I can't think of any one I've known who's made it without gigging. Hang on a sec... I can think of anyone I've known who's made it with gigging!

:wink:

kramerica
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Post by kramerica » Tue May 30, 2006 10:54 pm

Gigging in your hometown should only require a once a month committment. No one wants to see someone more than that on a regular basis (granted, I did go on Phish ter back in the day). Most friends that are in bands here in Chicago have all found that playing out more than once a month is actaully counter-productive - you'll end up with smaller crowds, less interest, and you won't be invited back to the venue.

And most artists I listen to these days I discovered thru Rhapsody, forums, or friends. Check out the internet. It's pretty amazing. :wink:
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rbro
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Post by rbro » Tue May 30, 2006 11:11 pm

kramerica wrote:Gigging in your hometown should only require a once a month committment. No one wants to see someone more than that on a regular basis (granted, I did go on Phish ter back in the day). Most friends that are in bands here in Chicago have all found that playing out more than once a month is actaully counter-productive - you'll end up with smaller crowds, less interest, and you won't be invited back to the venue.

And most artists I listen to these days I discovered thru Rhapsody, forums, or friends. Check out the internet. It's pretty amazing. :wink:
I've played in gigging bands most of my life and I'm coming from a "traditional" rock band kind of background. But that's kind of why I posed the question. I'm coming from the sort of old school approach of - you put together a band, write tunes, rehearse, maybe you make a record, try to get a record deal, gig like crazy locally, try to expand your horizons and tour etc. (not necessarily in that order). Things have changed so much now, that artists can create, produce, market , distribute and sell their own music (or any kind of digital creations really) online, that I wonder if the "need" to gig behind one's own music is as important as it used to be? Also, gigging even once a month, requires still alot of time/work in terms of rehearsals, booking etc.

rbro
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Post by rbro » Tue May 30, 2006 11:12 pm

kramerica wrote:And most artists I listen to these days I discovered thru Rhapsody, forums, or friends. Check out the internet. It's pretty amazing. :wink:
Me too. And that's part of my point. Most of the "new" music I've discovered recently has been online and I have no idea if half these artists ever even perform live!

quandry
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Post by quandry » Tue May 30, 2006 11:26 pm

I too come from a band based background, with similar experiences. I'm not that old (29) but fairly jaded--it is REALLY hard to make a living doing just music these days. The people I know that only do music and make their living doing it (usually just getting by, with a few exceptions) ALL play in multiple bands, gig often, and in most cases teach lessons on their instrument(s) as well. A few run home-based studios and engineer/produce sessions for other people's bands to make $. Others have done work for commercials, tv, even films. Bottom line is it is really hard to make a living just making you own tunes without gigging or serious label support. With the dramatic increase in music being produced by more and more people as technology becomes more readily availible to the common man, it gets harder and harder to stand out in a sea of electronic music. Not to mention that there are tons of smaller labels, niche markets, and rampant digital file "sharing", making it difficult to make much $ on album sales.

Maybe I'm too negative/jaded about all of this, but that's my two cents. The upside is that since I've accepted that, I make the music I want to make, and fortunately play in bands with likeminded individuals that just want to have fun, play good music, with no dreams of chicks or world domination. It seems like most people that make music for their living have to compromise their creativity at some point to pay the bills, which is exactly what I never want to do--to take the thing that brings me the most joy and pimp it out to make money.

It seems like some of the more popular electronic artists I like, such as Prefuse 73, Four Tet, or DJ Shadow aren't exactly driving Bentleys or using the most pimped out gear and computers, which tells me that even they aren't reeling in lots of cash for their efforts.
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Angstrom
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Post by Angstrom » Tue May 30, 2006 11:51 pm

a few pointless thoughts on this !

yep I used to tour a hell of a lot and it built up a groundswell of people who would buy our stuff. It took a lot of effort and drove me insane.

I don't think that the often touted digital media is a replacement from touring, no matter how many bogus "myspace success stories" there are. Simplyfor the reasons other posters have stated .. there are too many people vying for attention - which one is good?

Success (as measured by sales) is built on two types of PR (public relations and personal recommendation ). So, touring builds up PR from the people who go seeing you and recomending you. You can go to local radio while you are in town and do PR slots, hell, you know all this .. but there are many other sorts of PR that don't require shoe-leather.

the type where you pretend you got 70,000 people watching your videocast off myspace and old-world media lap it up- voila instand brand name recognition. Yes, Sandy fucking Thom I mean you!

But thats what you need - brand name recognition.
brand values, logo recognition, marketpenetration .. bleurgh!

Sorry, I work with this shit all day long but it's true, the only way to cut through the fog of other people is to have BNR

Marketing is horrible, but if you want to up your recognition without touring you better read up on some tricks & techniques.


actually Naomi Kleins - No Logo is quite a good starting point.

ishimaru
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Post by ishimaru » Wed May 31, 2006 12:09 am

quandry wrote:I too come from a band based background, with similar experiences. I'm not that old (29) but fairly jaded--it is REALLY hard to make a living doing just music these days. The people I know that only do music and make their living doing it (usually just getting by, with a few exceptions) ALL play in multiple bands, gig often, and in most cases teach lessons on their instrument(s) as well. A few run home-based studios and engineer/produce sessions for other people's bands to make $. Others have done work for commercials, tv, even films. Bottom line is it is really hard to make a living just making you own tunes without gigging or serious label support. With the dramatic increase in music being produced by more and more people as technology becomes more readily availible to the common man, it gets harder and harder to stand out in a sea of electronic music. Not to mention that there are tons of smaller labels, niche markets, and rampant digital file "sharing", making it difficult to make much $ on album sales.

Maybe I'm too negative/jaded about all of this, but that's my two cents. The upside is that since I've accepted that, I make the music I want to make, and fortunately play in bands with likeminded individuals that just want to have fun, play good music, with no dreams of chicks or world domination. It seems like most people that make music for their living have to compromise their creativity at some point to pay the bills, which is exactly what I never want to do--to take the thing that brings me the most joy and pimp it out to make money.

It seems like some of the more popular electronic artists I like, such as Prefuse 73, Four Tet, or DJ Shadow aren't exactly driving Bentleys or using the most pimped out gear and computers, which tells me that even they aren't reeling in lots of cash for their efforts.

That's why you need something plausible to sell. i know i'll never make any real money doing music but selling my shirts and hoodies and other stuff makes a nice amount of cash. There's this grindcore band called The Locusts thats a very good example of this. They have there name on everything. Belts, Badges, shrits, and whatever else is out there. They make more money from the sales than the music. Dieselboy is another example of this. Get yourself a good designer and when you gig bring some shirts and badges for easy money. I've seen horrible bands (Mae, Rob Gee) that have awesome merch.
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2 Antithesis
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