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Their previous stuff has bored me and I came in here ready to hate. Think I may have to join Team Deafheaven though.
Because they’re bottomless fonts of schadenfreude-based hilarity, duh!
The White House Press Corps: where the news goes to die.
“She is not some poor, struggling, indie musician, and this does not even consider that her husband is also successful. She could have easily supported her tour with the money from tickets alone, much less the $1 million left over from her current kickstarter, but instead she stayed for free at an undocumented immigrants house, and it is fair since that daughter loved Amanda Palmer’s music?”
This right here is what the whole Amandagate debacle boils down to. People aren’t reacting negatively to the notion of a musician relying on the generosity of his or her fans; they’re reacting negatively to Amanda Palmer doing so, despite the fact that she has vast financial resources at her disposal and clearly doesn’t need to. I’m reminded of ODB picking up his welfare check in a limousine.
Or British if you consider Venom the first black metal band (they did coin the term), or Swiss if you consider Hellhammer the first black metal band.
One of my favorite death metal albums this year was Norwegian: Diskord’s Dystopics.
I remember when Jack Osbourne called Meshuggah “Norwegian death metal.” Sigh.
Yeah, bands typically see only a small percentage of the door money. Their revenue at live shows comes mostly from merch sales. At a lot of larger, more ‘pro’ venues, the venue will take a cut of those merch sales as well.
Home recording does work great for many kinds of music, but it’s not feasible for some. Anything that demands high volumes, expensive microphones, or several musicians improvising together is a lot harder to pull off in your bedroom with a laptop and a SM-57. Even in styles that demand studio time, there are plenty of ways to cut down on studio costs. The biggest one, in my view, is to go into the studio with a detailed gameplan and a well-rehearsed set. A tight band will save on an engineer’s hourly rate by knocking out their tracks in just a couple of takes.
Bandcamp basically lets you do what Radiohead did with In Rainbows; you can set it to allow pay-what-you-want downloading.
Actually, I did note that licensing can make you some money; see the paragraph immediately below the “What else?” header.
My goal was to put together a compendium of ideas for how musicians can avoid LOSING money on their music, not for how they can support themselves through their music. If you’re in a band in 2012 and you’re remotely realistic, you aren’t banking on making a livable wage from your tunes. Still, there are ways to make the music itself more remunerative than it is for most folks.
The idea of starting little businesses among the members of the band that bankroll the music is a really interesting one, though. Can you think of any other examples besides the hot sauce thing (which is great, by the way)?
Actually, a lot of bands pocket most or all of their in-person merch sales, regardless of whether it’s a record or a t-shirt. (It depends on their label contract, if they have one, and on the venue they’re playing.) If you see a band live and don’t like their non-music merch, you can still give them money by purchasing an LP or CD.
I alluded to this in the piece, but the problem with touring nonstop and playing live as much as possible is that it can actually cost you quite a lot. Vans and gas aren’t cheap, and if your shows/tour are poorly attended, they can be both expensive and incredibly demoralizing. I’ve watched a lot of bands run themselves into the ground by playing too many shitty shows. Quality will serve you better than quantity.
Thanks, man—great summary.
I feel like the 20-albums thing is plenty feasible for a small independent label, but for a band on its own, it’s probably well out of reach. The thought actually occurred to me because I saw on Zoe Keating’s blog that she has an iTunes content provider account, though she obviously doesn’t have 20 albums under her belt. I wonder how she got it.
There are a couple of other services in this vein (CD Baby comes to mind). I’ve never used one myself, but people seem to have good things to say about most of them when it comes to getting your music on iTunes, etc.
As far as iTunes goes: ideally, you want to get your own label account with them, rather than using a digital distributor/label. The barriers to entry are higher (does anyone out there know exactly how the process works?), but you keep more of your money and you get way more information about who’s buying your music, which can be useful for tour routing and such.
Definitely a useful angle—it cuts a lot of costs (especially for recording/manufacturing) and it can help you build a strong network of allies, which has been a necessity for smaller bands since forever.
Thanks for this! MORE IDEAS PLZ PEOPLE.
You should check out their EP from this summer if you haven’t. I liked it a lot more than the LP, but I prefer noisy/scary BAN to melodic BAN.
Torture doesn’t rank in the bottom half of CC’s catalog if you’re not a Chris Barnes fan, and I can’t stand the guy.
Phantom Antichrist did nothing for me, though. It sounds like the band got together and said “OKAY GUYS, WE NEED TO WRITE SOME FRESH CHORUSES TO PLAY AT WACKEN THIS YEAR!”
It would’ve made my top 20 if I hadn’t included EPs. Awesome album.
We didn’t differentiate between EPs and full-lengths for the purposes of our voting. A lot of my favorite releases this year were EPs; my personal top 20 has 4 of them:
20. Diskord – Dystopics
19. Lord Mantis – Pervertor
18. Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage
17. Author & Punisher – Ursus Americanus
16. Gaza – No Absolutes in Human Suffering
15. Witch Mountain – Cauldron of the Wild
14. Indesinence – Vessels of Light and Decay
13. Antigama – Stop the Chaos
12. Neurosis – Honor Found In Decay
11. Car Bomb – w^w^^w^w
10. Nidingr – Greatest of Deceivers
9. Flourishing – Intersubjectivity
8. Krallice – Years Past Matter
7. Deathspell Omega – Drought
6. Dysrhythmia – Test of Submission
5. Necroblaspheme – XXVI: The Deeper, The Better
4. Pig Destroyer – Book Burner
3. Unsane –Wreck
2. Meshuggah – Koloss
1. Dodecahedron – Dodecahedron
“When we started in 2009, 2010, there wasn’t a New York rap scene. All that shit wasn’t around.”
Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.
This was markedly more civil than I was led to expect it to be! Thanks, guys.
Again, for the record, none of this list is “trolling;” these picks were sincere. But for everyone who complained that Pablo Honey/Hail to the Thief was too high (man, you guys hate Pablo Honey), or that In Rainbows/King of Limbs was too low, I have a message:
YOUR TEARS ARE SO YUMMY AND SWEET! OH, THE TEARS OF UNFATHOMABLE SADNESS!
“Little By Little” is my jam.
Nah, no troll. I really do like Pablo Honey better than TKOL, though it’s close. Not a popular opinion, but I calls’em like I sees’em.
I admittedly don’t pay terribly close attention to bands’ relative sales figures. When you say: “Grizzly Bear isn’t in a common situation — there are many bands on their level (and even “lower”) that enjoy monetary success,” who do you have in mind? What makes these bands/groups different from Grizzly Bear? Do they have lower overhead? (For instance, if we’re talking about a DJ/producer, there’s one band member and almost no gear to deal with, which saves a lot of money.) Or is there something else that’s fundamentally different about their model? If so, that might be a good place to start, at least for the way that bands should handle what money they do acquire.
If someone does come up with a way to monetize rock music more effectively that I consider feasible, I’ll get behind it. You’re right that I don’t have one, or I’d be trying to tell everyone about it. And even though nobody has, I’m still dead set on making music. That’s where my fatalism comes from—even though I wish things were different, I have to deal with them as they are.