Monday, August 2, 2010

Holding a Crowd, & We Don't Mean Online

Over the weekend I was somehow reminded of an extremely jaded and somewhat (re)antiquated approach to pushing your music:  Over-relying on the Internet and using it as the sole avenue for moving out of garageband status and into doing "bigger" things. 

More than ever I felt compelled to do a short post about a band concept that is now and will forever be the element that is larger than life.  An element that will always take the driver's seat when guiding a bands success:  the live show, and the ability to do it well.

As the Internet continues to evolve into a resource for Labels, artists, venues and everything in between we must remember that there is no substitute for a bands ability to perform well in a live setting.  Over time it seems that both the artist and it's potential label have lost sight of it's significance.

If I were to make an overtly judgemental statement it would be that we, as artists get caught up in the midst of the Internet's ability to generate automatic delivery and sometimes get obsessed with the idea of a "release" whether that be an album, a single or whatever else.  The idea that we can potentially connect with ANY listener or record executive, or whomever else overnight on the Internet makes us overly focused on the concept of "overnight success."  In some cases this can make some of these budding musician's dreams dangerously limitless thus flooding the Internet as a resource with musicians whom are arguably not ready to show their creations to an audience.  Be it poor production value, writing, branding, etc.  Through this, it appears that young artists lose focus of what it will take to further their career.  Which, in the most general terms, means getting out and playing live.  Playing live serves as an avenue to bettering one's musicianship, songwriting, presence and more.

Lets be honest, capturing a musical piece or a lyric on record just as you intended it to sound the first time you played it in your bedroom is an incredibly hard task.  Even the world's best producers in the world fail at this everyday.  So how have artists for decades delivered these songs and emotions to their listeners exactly as they should be delivered:  Through live performance.  As a budding musician, understand that online tools are a great way to connect with an audience, but in most cases these online tools should be used to STAY connected with your fans, not relied on to generate new fans.  Sometimes you can strike gold in the latter, but this is much less common.  There is no real substitute for the traditional means of connecting with a new audience.

Try spending time honing your craft in more ways than one, everyday.  It's important to remember that the traditional modes of connecting with an audience have not changed.  Tour if you can, perform your songs like they sound on record and enhance them for the better.  Be prepared at your shows to get information from potential fans (like an email or Facebook contact.)  Offer them a physical product if you can of your latest recordings.  Never forget that there are actual listeners behind your computer screen and don't lose sight of the importance of interacting with them onstage in addition to online.