The music industry is in a pit. The future is uncertain, and people just aren’t paying for music anymore. Thats what the RIAA will tell you as they sue, sue, sue in full panic mode. The industry is scrambling for a way to make money off album sales, something they say is vital to the future of music. How and why would record labels produce albums if they don’t sell? How can bands create music if there aren’t any labels around?
Enter DIY music production stage right. Anyone with a computer, an interface, and a microphone is a walking music production studio today. Even if you can’t afford Pro Tools, there are a number of music production software solutions available for free. Personally, I find Reaper to be my favorite. Its easy to use, lightweight, and does everything I need it to do.
Another very simple one is Audacity, a cross-platform open-source sound editor. This is what I first started out with before I switched to Reaper, and while it doesn’t have as many features, I thought it was worth mentioning for its simplicity.
So, you’ve got your studio taken care of, what about publicity? If musicians can’t get the promotions that a big corporate record company can give, how can they expect anybody to hear about them? Well, we do live in the information age, and with social networks blasting off everywhere you shouldn’t be too hard pressed to find someone to listen. Utilizing mailing lists, facebook, myspace, youtube, twitter, along with many others, Oniracom has been able to significantly increase fan participation with artists and the music they create. Like Matisyahu’s http://wheresmatis.at/home, it’s possible to map out and update your entire tour on the fly. Fans can know as much about your music, your tour and where you’re at as you dare to tell them.
Which brings me to my final point, that you don’t need album sales to make money in music. In my opinion, the best way to make it as a band is to go on tour, sell your merchandise, and give your music away to anyone that will listen. If you can, plan a small tour in your local area, and do it often. People will forget a band they only see once at some bar, but if you keep coming back making the effort to entertain, they’ll make the effort to bring their friends next time around. If you’re good, you might just go viral, and when the big corporate record companies notice all the tickets and merch you’re selling and try to send you a contract to get a piece of the pie, you can send back a picture of your finger and throw it out with the rest of the trash.