The Underground Musician’s Guide To The Music Industry By Nick J Townsend Frontman and Guitarist of Weak13 and Riff Yard Media Collaborator11th August 2022
Nick J Townsend is an amazing individual. Not only a talented guitarist and vocalist with ‘GENRE FLUID’ band WEAK13 but a master of words with Riff Yard Media. Check out his ‘satirical’ guide for the Underground Musician.
Popular Album Cover Choices by independent artists.
(1) An empty road that the band have never been on leading to nowhere; similar to the POV of an Eddie Stobart truck driver.
(2) Band members looking miserable.
(3) Band members looking happy.
(4) A plain cover suggesting minimalist thinking or thoughtlessness.
(5) A heavily photoshopped woman (possibly the partner of the songwriter) surrounded by or immersed in one of Western cultures major four elements; earth, air, fire or water.
(6) The band logo; which they will change a year later.
Band Press Release
A document released to media outlets containing crucial information and news about a Band or Artist for the sole purpose of generating publicity. Press releases are normally emailed directly to the spam inbox of online or printed music publications, newspapers, radio stations and promoters. The main objective of a press release is to advertise to total strangers an important event, a music release or a career achievement.
Commonly a former University Student justifying their journalism degree by running their own micro music website for approximately one day of the year; (normally January 2nd, a bank holiday or sometime mid September). Website content and income for the blogger is generated by charging bands that are struggling to penetrate the mainstream media and publishing their words for the entire world and for the bloggers seven subscribers to read. Interviews or music news stories are the primary site contents which secretly are also designed to assist the blogger attract and impress future employers in the music industry by promoting their incredible skills in publishing words written by a third party in the third person.
Music bloggers are experts in copy and pasting press releases they’ve received from bands via email and frequently publish everything sent to them without doing any spellchecking whatsoever, including, in some cases, the band email foot notes attached to the press release such as “Hi Sam, can you spell our band name correctly in future and what else do we get for our fifty quid? My phone number is 079xx xxxxxx, please don’t share it with anyone”.
A cunning music blogger will also attend and review a major music festival so that they can associate themselves with the multitude of current major artists sandwiched on the bill; this is achieved all in one weekend using minimum effort; the equivalent to only buying a ‘Greatest Hits’ album and calling yourself a hardcore fan.
Either a qualified news reporter paid to be responsible for an entertainment and leisure section of a printed newspaper or an unqualified music fan that a magazine editor knows will perform donkey work in exchange for a few free tickets, a promo CD and a firm pat on the head. The main goal of a music journalist is to translate anything a musician tells them into English so that humans can understand it and then convert it into a type of news story.
Contacting A Music Journalist
The most effective ways to contact music Journalists are achieved by mastering telepathy, smoke signals or Morse code. Alternatively you can just simply phone the head office, wait an hour on hold, get cut off, call again, discover they’re on holiday, leave a message for Mike with Susan, wait a week, call Mike, speak to Susan again instead who reveals that Mike is busy till Friday, phone Friday, arrange with Mike (who is very busy right now) a more convenient time and day for him to call you, wait all day for Mike only to get no phone call, receive a voicemail days later (if you are lucky) explaining how Mike is rather busy and to call again next week, scream down nearest manhole, call Susan the following week to discover Mike has left the company and been replaced by Maria. Repeat until contact has been established with a music journalist.
A vehicle for generating income and transforming your fans into walking billboards by selling items that display the band logo or related artwork.
(1) Button Badges
Usually, like most merchandise, more profitable if you buy in large quantities and an easy sell if your prices are reasonable. It’s common for bands and artists to give away badges if low production costs can be guaranteed. As far as fans advertising your band by wearing them; a button badge is most effective when exactly two inches away from a strangers eye socket. The bigger the badge size the more humiliating it looks on your fans as fashion has radically progressed since the Seventies.
DIY T-shirt transfer kits using Iron-on designs have the advantage of being cheaper than print shops and successfully make your fans look like they’ve fallen asleep on a HP colour inkjet A4 photo printer. If your T-shirt design is atrocious then don’t panic as it’ll completely disintegrate after a single wash. Custom made screen printed T-shirts created using a professional printing company should give you high quality long lasting merchandise that will withstand general wear and tear, survive washing machine laundry piles and will persuade teenagers to accept you as a real band.
(3) Band Patches
Embroidered or easy-iron or sew on patches are not the most common of merchandise sold by bands; arguably because not everyone wears them and half that do buy them have no knowledge of sewing or ironing so most end up in the bottom draw of a bed side cabinet.
(4) Rubber wristbands
A low cost promotional item arguably recycled from the silicone gel of ruptured breast implants. Unfortunately so cheap and cheerful to make and buy in bulk that they are often viewed as disposable too. The kind of fan that regularly wears one likely has another twenty wrapped securely around their forearm making it much more competitive to get noticed in the vicious battle for arm space.
(5) Band Calendars
Best sold before or within the Christmas period and only useful as a promotional tool for twelve months. Band charity calendars with a nude theme are quite popular despite the imagery being capable of granting Freddy Kruger horrible nightmares.