It’s always a good idea to have merchandise available, even in the early days of an artist’s career. Before getting into accessories, or cut and sew garments, it’s best to start with the simple, time tested T-shirt.
In a perfect world, an A&R person should be able to hear a great song through even the crappiest recording. However, considering the ease with which bands can make their own inexpensive, high-quality, and professional-sounding demos, there is simply no reason to turn in a poor recording these days.
No matter what you hear about the shrinking influence of radio, it is still the most significant driver for selling records in today’s market. Getting the right song played on radio at the right time can make all the difference. The single most important factor involving radio for any band, at any level, is to capitalize on the airplay. Radio likes to know listeners are responding favorably to their programming.
It seems like there is something new every day to be challenged (if not flustered) by. Unless you are a 24/7 web geek, it might feel like you are permanently behind the development curve, always missing out on the latest technology that could miraculously catapult your band into super-stardom.
Not at all. For the type of music I sign at Roadrunner - which is lifestyle - all the bands will live or die based on whether they are able to kill it onstage. Live performances are the true tests for any lifestyle band; it's where they "sell it."
It’s always a good idea to copyright your material. In the United States, a musical copyright is created when the work is fixed in a tangible medium. In layman’s terms, this means when the work is tangible like on sheet music, or on a CD. However, you should still “register” the copyright.
Although it is much easier to find new music online these days via Facebook, YouTube, Myspace, music blogs and you can get lucky just by spending time online searching, the sheer volume of it all makes finding high-quality like trying to find a needle in a haystack. So, I still very much rely on my network of contacts to filter all the worthwhile bands up to me.
If it is within your financial means, even though you are an unsigned band, hire a publicist. Many are affordable; it just requires a little elbow grease and some effort to find the right fit and you just might be able to work out a "bro" deal with someone, be it on the national or local level.
Any quality unsigned act will have people clamoring to work with them. That being said, an artist should hold on to the controls of their own destiny as long as they can. The time to allow someone in to represent an act usually occurs when the tasks of handling their own business begin to conflict with creation of the art. There is usually a point at which keeping up with the business of creating the art becomes distracting to the art itself.
In our new series, "Dear Record Label," we went to Roadrunner Records -- home of Slipknot, Rob Zombie, Opeth, Megadeth, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Trivium and more -- and asked them the tough questions that young bands should know the answers to. Each week, we'll be bringing you advice from members of the Roadrunner staff to try and get you on track to get noticed.