Bands. We all love their music and merchandise. But it comes to a point where every band is producing the same item as each other, just with a different design and band name attached to it. That's just as bad as jumping on the 'band'-wagon, going with what is popular and going against the whole purpose of being original (which in turn might question the originality of the music).
Yet when bands moan that they are not making money on merchandise, have they not thought that the items they are selling are near enough the same as every other band going? Fans demand a lot and as music downloads slice a 15 inch deep wound within the music industry's sales reports, bands are having to turn to other ideas to generate profit.
In time, music downloads may well die a natural death as tapes, vinyl's and CD's keep selling and they too became succeeded by another form of media. Question is what will replace music downloads? Streams seem to be the most likely option, but are we relying too much on the digital age to convey our music? Let alone the band's having their products sold through merchandise stores like Grindstore and Loud Clothing?
Let's take this back to the merchandise topic and ask ourselves, what are eight ideas that bands could potentially invest in, that could be cost-effective and unique in every dimension.
Of course not all bands would be able to afford these ideas and we are fully aware of this, but the whole idea of this post is to generate ideas for bands in general and to point out gaps in the merchandise market.
"There is a strong demand for Michael Jackson's music and merchandise, and that will only increase as more material surfaces in the years following his death" - Adam Kluger
The now defunct Melodic Death Metal / Metalcore band The Dead Lay Waiting took this route (read it here), and inspired themselves to design, order and sell syringe-shaped USB's. We all use them, whether to transport school, college or uni work, for business work or purely just to transport files across from one place to another. So this is a great way to 'connect' with your fans more and to expand your technological side of the band's merchandise repertoire.
There are plenty of USB custom designers out there, so comparing offers is fairly easy. As for the bands, as soon as they have their USB's delivered and ready to sell, once sold they can begin to realize that they, like Nokia, can connect with people - in this instance the fans.
Sites to visit:- USB Makers / USB2U / Vistaprint / Design!t Flash
Those handy writing tools known as pens are perhaps the most common item you would find in anyone's hand at a place of education or anyone who has to deal with paperwork at any given time. Now Iron Maiden have done this before (click here to buy), but because pens aren't that all too expensive at purchasing custom made, this is an ideal merchandise idea for any band.
Especially when sites like Vistaprint can produce 5 pens at the best price of £12 (click here). Sure they will eventually become useless; unless the option for refillable cartridges was there, when the ink runs out or the spring mechanism goes, but this is quite the novel idea for bands to sell to their fans. So instead of 'writing' a riff or two, they could 'click' into the idea of investing into pens for their fans.
Sites to visit:- Vistaprint / Pens Unlimited / Custom Ink / Promotion Pens
iPhone / iTouch / iPod covers
Most of us, if not the vast majority, either own an iPhone, an iTouch or an iPod (classic per se), so why not have bands design their own covers like India's Demonic Resurrection have done(click here). Again some bands might not be able to afford this, there might be a way around this in as far as bands asking designers whether they could sell these covers without any fee being passed to the designer, and the band earning a percentage of sales.
It would bid farewell to the basic, boring cases which stores like Apple and Carphone Warehouse sell. Moreover it feels a little more personalized - unless you purchase the same model, make, color and case, then it WILL be interesting. These could always be made to order and this would probably be the better option, rather than stocking them.
You could always password protect the device or maybe, just maybe, in the future implement finger scanning software... we're digressing here... let's get back to the merchandise article.
Sites to visit:- Case App / Cafe Press / Like My Case / Custom Funk
Sure some bands like AC/DC and Iron Maiden have already released their own signature alcoholic drinks, but with beer kits becoming so readily available and the ability to make home made alcohol already established, the potential for smaller bands to do this can become realistic.
Can you imagine bands unveiling alcohol pertaining to their own country? What if they used a portmanteau to make their drinks known? Let's have a few examples:
Rammstein + Jagermeister = "Rammeister"
Crossfaith + Sake = "Crosssake"
Arkona + Vodka = "Vodkona"
You get the idea.
The wine though would bode well if AC/DC performed at the Australia and New Zealand music festivals 'A Day On The Green' (click here for an article we did about this festival), just imagine drinking the AC/DC Platinum wine edition, in a vineyard, whilst they're playing in their home country, how cool would that be? OK maybe not as cool as Rammeister though....
Sites to visit:- The Home Brew Shop / Home Brewing / The Brewmarket
Let's go a bit on the insane side..
Being in a band is more than just being able to string a few notes together and linking that up with lyrics-cum-poetry and drumming sequences, not everyone can understand the true concept and meaning of being in a band.
Moreover, some bands do understand what it means to be in a band, but ironically not one that actually deserves attention. It's not the music that is the problem (or maybe it is, who knows?), it is more to do with numerous decisions undertaken by them that places a banner over their head saying "doomed to fail", what with already Metalcore clearly going beyond saturation point and local scenes fluctuating in fan support, the last thing the music scene needs is a thorn stuck up it's ass, that being unsigned bands who need to come back down to planet earth.
With that in mind comes five top reasons (in no specific order) why unsigned bands get it wrong, reasons that hinder their success or simply cause them to shut down after a few months to one or two years with only one near-credible release out, just to say "I was in a band".
1. Flash descriptions on Social Media.
So ok your band has a social media presence, you're on Facebook, Myspace, Reverbnation and various other sites. Therefore you have the need to write a description about your band and your ultimate aim is to become successful, but hang on a minute you only have 300 likes and a handful of followers / listeners, and you're writing things like "up and coming"? This is one major cliche unsigned bands should avoid like the plague. You are not up and coming until you start receiving a massive buzz in your area, please keep it realistic. Also trying to convince people your shows are "kick ass" or "brutal" is asking for trouble, simply because these are your own words and do not originate from your fans, therefore ask your fans for their opinions and then draw a consensus on what has been said: if they say you're 'rubbish', 'untalented' or similar expressions, then go back to square one and think what you are doing wrong, don't just kick the can in and shut the band down. Information sells, therefore make it 100% legit and not 100% superficial.
2. Conflicts with other unsigned bands
Look just because the other bands in your area have rich parents, or you fell out with them and their subsequent band-members and / or fans, does not mean you should start kicking up s*** about one another, you're just as much a part of the music scene as the other bands and so therefore by constructively working together to develop the scene into a musical factory; diving into the Taylorist 'scientific management' theory here, you begin to establish connections that you might later need to rely on. As a band you might not like other musicians as people, but they are after exactly what you want too, that is to be successful. You know, when rock bands started arising in the early days, there was little conflict between them because they wanted to establish the genre, that said Metal Music is the only rock genre not to have died. As the cliche goes, "If you can't beat them, join them".
3. Expecting too much to happen
Here is another cliche, "give and you shall receive". Bands who are in the mindset that everyone owes them the pathway to being famous are living in cuckoo land. You have to work your way up to the top, by showing work ethic to a professional level, you're more than likely to garner attention than some other band who has the attitude of "we have a release out, review it for us", "we want to play London, give us a gig or book us", "we want to play Wembley, oh wait...", the fact of the matter is that in order to gain success and become known, you have to work for it in order to earn it. Don't expect everyone in the music industry to lay down the red carpet for a band consisting of four, five or more schmucks just because you have played in your capital city by supporting another local-ish unsigned band. Tour the UK and maybe Europe, hook up with bands touring near you e.g. signed bands, get their PR and booking agents details and utmost attention that you would want to open up their gig for them, they may decline but you can only ask - they may even take your details down for future consideration.
4. Made up genres and songs sound copied
Being in a band is about innovation, challenging the rule book of music and setting yourself up to be different from every other unsigned band who seems to want to nick a riff here and there or just cannot be bothered to think for themselves. "We are different, we make our own music" is a statement that is highly overused, be honest with yourself, what exactly sets your band apart from other unsigned bands? Look at these signed bands and think what have they done differently? Motionless In White, ChthoniC, Apocalyptica, Black Veil Brides, Within Temptation, Nightwish, etc... well if you haven't worked it out and you're in a band, then you have been caught out. Distance yourself from your musical influences as much as possible, whilst retaining the best bits you like about them, you may now think that's a contradiction, but it's even more contradictory when people detect a riff that is used by a known band, you will be caught out; this applies to all elements of the song. Oh and made up genres? That's the music journalists job. Heck we're considering to acknowledge "Winter Metal" as a legit umbrella term.
What on earth is djent? It's Technical Prog Metal. See? And who came up with djent? Meshuggah.
Need we say more?
5. Fan control and bands buggering off
So you have been asked to play a gig, that's great no? You have just finished your set and then say bye-bye, or you stand outside until your set comes up and then go in the venue to play, or you turn up late (which is even worse). Promoters get pissed off by all of these and we don't blame them. If you were invited to a business meeting at work, you wouldn't turn up sloshed with your tie in your mouth and you weeing your pants, nor would you turn up to a gig stoned or drunk. You wouldn't either leave the meeting early (unless of course your missus is giving birth, or an emergency arises) would you? The same applies for a gig (unless a major emergency arises as stated), furthermore make sure you haven't got anything else booked that day or if you are getting transport make sure it's adequate. Promoters tend to time shows in accordance with public transport, so there is little excuse to bugger off early. Oh and tell your fans they are just as bad, this makes certain people laugh because those fans who pay anything from £3 to £20 to see a band (in general), and then bugger off afterwards, either because they have a poor excuse like they were only their to see their mates band (so what? They aren't bloody Iron Maiden nor Asking Alexandria!!!) or they don't care about the other bands, not only is it a waste of YOUR money but then why persist on moaning about supporting the scene when you f*** off (bands and fans this applies to) after your mates band just finished their set? Some promoters have said they will not allow anyone back in once paid admission, we think this is a damn good idea (smokers will have a cornered area). Don't moan about the scene if you're one of those who does this.
Just to reiterate the above, if you have to leave due to transport issues e.g. last train of the day, then that is totally acceptable (I think we've all been there), or if you have an early start the next morning at unearthly hours e.g. meetings at 9am that require transport, we have daily jobs or education of some sort so that can also be plausible. Credit goes to our reader Louise Yardley for pointing this out (we hadn't thought of this).
Moldova, a country situated in Eastern Europe bordering Romania has a long, secretive and unknown history, but as you read through this article there is some hope for it's flickering metal and rock scene. In 1991, Moldova gained independence from the USSR and as a result left it free to roam and trade willingly, furthermore it's glistening capital Chisinau reflects the relics of the post Soviet Union era and the remnants of the intense cold war.
So in regards to the Moldovan music scene, I spoke to one musician, Mr. Alex Glavnenco of the Melodic / Alternative Metal band Alive about how the music scene in Moldova is facing issues regarding selling CD's, it would seem that the digital age is causing this trend to happen and yet most would agree this is happening on a global scale. But for a country that once was under control by the USSR and for just over 20 years independence has much changed in the wake of the digital age onset?
Alex acknowledges that his band only prints a couple of physical copes for each release usually just to have it in it's physical presence, so naturally you would instantly slap 'rare' on each release as it would obviously seem that each copy was numbered. He goes on to say that even though they release a certain number of physical copies, no one in Moldova buys them and so reverting back to the statement of printing a certain number of copies.
Furthermore the claim that the music scene is dogged by pop and folk songs and that metal in particular rarely gets a look in. Given that there are only a handful of bands that play decent music, even still certain bands usually just play covers at weddings and in advertising to generate income. So this is quite interesting in that bands look for other innovative ways to generate income due to the lack of CD sales, yet in the West we're always harping on about people should buy CD's to support the bands but in Moldova it seems to be the complete opposite!
With such a small scene and what seems to be a completely deflated level of support, there seems to be bleak hope for the Moldovan metal scene, what with around five or so metal bands in current existence and who are limited to play at small clubs from which Alex states that they have at maximum between 50-100 capacity (even this turn out he says is very rare), yet our average venue in the UK as around 2 to 4 times that! So there seems to be a massive contrast to what Western Europe experiences to what Eastern Europe dreams of. Regarding the metal bands, they usually end up going to play in nearby nations like Russia, Romania and The Ukraine and it's all down to the band's persistent enthusiasm that gets the Moldovan metal music out there.
The saddening fact is that there is such a weak rock and metal scene out in Moldova, according to Alex "average people listen to schlager and folk music. Nobody pays for CD's and doesn't need them as they will download the music, as I said previously, metal and rock is all enthusiastic. We invest money and don't even think to get anything back. If we play some shows and get a hundreds dollars or so its great, but these shows are really rare", here again it seems that here in the UK we take most things for granted yet over in Moldova it's harder to get anything out of something.
After the USSR dissolved, Alex comments that "the situation got better just because Moldova became more open and free of Soviet propaganda. Everybody plays what they want, there are many bands, but they are all garage. Talented musicians have day-to-day jobs because they just cant earn money by their music. It sucks, so the situation in rock music is FAR from anything you would experience in other parts of Europe or the USA. Nobody says you can become a rock-star in a week in the USA, but there are possibilities at least. There is completely no way here for this to happen yet".
As for the more international bands, they do come to play but on a rare basis and that is mainly rock and metal music, as for pop music and DJ's (especially Russian) they are more common in playing here, however on a better note the old guard of rock bands which were popular amongst civilians back in the day were expensive to get to play in the country but now they are decreasingly becoming more and more cheaper as Alex stated and he feels that this is good for the Moldova music scene.
He goes on to say that in spring 2013 he had the utmost pleasure in working with Boney-M and in the year gone he worked with DJ Tiesto and Nazareth of whom altogether Alex admits was pleasurable working with and in one year he is ecstatic at the outcome.
Referring back to the Moldovan music scene itself, bands like Infected Rain, Alive, Abnormyndeffect, Aeon of Death, The Ward, Advent Fog, Sepsys, Caligo, Lethal Outcome and Neuromist are all worth checking out and there is a plethora of genres there ranging from Death Metal to Alternative Metal and from Black Metal to Nu Metal. It certainly seems a small scene, but Global Metal Apocalypse supports this scene in it's entirety.
Currently one of the leading Moldovan Metal bands is Infected Rain whose aggressive style of Nu Metal features both clean melodic-like and gritty screams by Lena, hard and cutting edge riffs with a Teutonic dose of emphatic drums and samples, creating something you could say wafts in influences from bands like Exilia, Korn and bands under the modern metal tagline. Mixing musical elements from prog metal, industrial metal, nu metal, melodic metal, symphonic metal and alternative metal, Infected Rain are a band hard to pigeon hole in one genre.
For more info on the history of rock 'n' roll in Moldova, visit:
For Moldovan bands check out:
So the heatwave is somewhat nearly over but summer lives on and here at GMA HQ we've been scratching our heads on what bands we should listen to over the summer. Until it dawned onto us that bands played should reflect the prolonged weather, thus we announce the top ten metal bands you should listen to whilst the summer blasts us all with unrelenting heat, sure some may not agreed with some of the choices but through considerable reasoning we felt that the top ten bands below are the sole bands that are most apt to listen to at 28C+, of course they mainly feature from the North African nations, the Middle East and other barren and or sandy nations, so prepare for a massive heatwave of flame-torn metal music.
Each band will feature a song you should download, click the link to listen to it on YouTube.
Arguably the most successful metal band to emerge from Egypt, Scarab is a six-piece Death Metal band signed to Osmose Productions and have been racking up the international fans with no slowing down. Scheduled to play this years Bloodstock Open Air, Scarab are effectively the more authentic version of Nile; meaning that they sing about Egyptology, the Ancient Egyptian culture and it's associated mythologies. However they manage to weave the traditional Egyptian sound into the metal music and as a result develop a sound that will take your mind to the sandy seas of Alexandria and beyond, immerse yourself in True Egyptian Metal.
Download This: 'Valley of the Sandwalkers'
Come on a Progressive Metal band mixing Arabian elements to their music deserves utmost recognition, of course Tunisia's Myrath have followed the same footsteps as Scarab and got signed to a major European label, except this label is XIII Bis Records (still a French label like Osmose Productions). Myrath have recently released their third album 'Tales Of The Sands' and features a whole host of oriental / Arabian style metal. Prepare to have your spine chilled through the eccentricity shown on the keyboards and the vibrancy of Zaher Zorgati's voice as Myrath deliver another taste of Middle Eastern / Arabian style metal
Download This: "Merciless Times"
Perhaps the most softest of the lot we have chosen, but maNga are without a doubt the most successful rock / metal act from Turkey. Consisting of five musicians; now four as Efe the band's DJ left the band this year, (Ferman - vocals, Cem - bass, Yagmur - guitars and Ozgur - drums) they have stormed the Turkish music scene without stopping, having had their first big achievement with their song 'Bir Kadin Cizeceksin' being selected to appear on the FIFA 2006 game soundtrack and as the years passed they released 3 albums to date, played in London at the 02 Islington and most notable finishing a highly respectable 2nd place at the finals of the Eurovision Song Contest 2010, losing out to Germany but accruing 170 points, prompting some people to state they were the worthy winners as their entry song 'We Could Be The Same' was unreleased whereas the German entry Lena had already had her music played on European radio stations on numerous occasions. The band exclusively mix together nu metal with hip-hop and Anatolian melodies, thus making it rather authentic to their nation, and yes they do sing in both Turkish and English.
Download This: "Fly To Stay Alive"
Who cannot love this band? Seriously? Lashing together Black Metal with Thrash Metal influences, the goosebumps this music gives us is enough to make horror movies look like Disney films. Formed in Jerusalem, the band had to move to The Netherlands due to increasing pressure from religious sects, thus meaning that they had to let go of the surrounding Israeli influences, however the band are noted for going to Turkey to record their music as it would seem according to Ashmedi, lead vocalist it gives the band the atmosphere needed to record their music, it makes sense to us seeing as this part of the Middle East / European border features a history that relates to the old civilizations of Sumeria and Mesopotamia; which respectively and funnily enough incorporate modern Iraq and Syria, ironic given the tension between Israel and neighboring Arabic nations, er-hem. None the less Melechesh deliver their unique twist of Middle Eastern Oriental Metal.
Download This: "Ladders To Sumeria"
There aren't many Moroccan Metal bands that actually gain attention outside of the North African Arabian region, so it comes as to no surprise that Power Metal ensemble Analgesia emerge with a sound that rocks the entire nation off its feet. Sure some will argue that bands like Sakadoya should be here, but in terms of developing an atmosphere that mirrors the traditional ethnic sounds of Morocco or as some prefer the Berber culture, Analgesia hit it right on the head. Infusing traditional sounds with the vibrancy of Power Metal to develop a product that truly remains bolted to their cultural influences, consider this lot as a hidden gem.
Download This: "From The Ashes of Morocco"
Without a doubt the most successful Death Metal band from the Middle East, Nervecell is a 3-piece metal machine that spews out Death Metal with Thrash Metal elements. However, none of the members are ethnic Emirati, in fact they comprise of Lebanese, Jordanian and Indian; a testament you could say to the brilliance of global metal. Whilst unlike their Middle Eastern brothers, they don't use instruments that have background heritage in folk music, instead they opt to try to add a Middle Eastern flavour through the guitars, heck it works.
Download This: "Demean"
Music, it defines how we live to a certain extent, allowing us to rejoice and come together as one to celebrate a trait that has been going throughout history, but do the synchronized components of what make up a song or a musical piece actually as an indirect result affect the way we think and or change our emotional state?
It would somewhat seem that way, though there are likely to be some people who would disagree and just regard music as an everyday thing and not care about the psychological being behind the music in question. Music ranges from the softer and older kinds such as folk music, classical and the more traditional kind to the more modern, extreme and invariably complex algorithms that make up the genres of metal music, electronic music and nay say the total disarray of 'noise'.
But can music not only change the way we think, but also solve the endless challenges we face throughout life in the sense that can it conquer our fears, our doubts, our deepest regions of what is known as our subconsciousness? The fact being that we all like different styles of music is apparent, those that tend to listen to metal will tend to shun club and rave music, those that listen to country and jazz may feel rap is repulsive, those that listen to the charts may think everything outside of the mainstream chart music is awful, we all have different perceptions, but is the underlying fact that we actually subconsciously admire all types of music and yet in our more psychological state and human state admit we despise certain music types?
Folk Music seemingly takes the form of having a calming and cultural presence, one that may to the human brain be appealing as relaxing and chilling - strains of this including Folk Metal and Folk Rock may change slightly in the sense that being heavier they might entice an increase of feeling upbeat and more connected to the older styles of folk found within the days of the Gauls, the Slavs, the Vikings etc - however bands like Tyr from the Faroe Islands of whom sing in English, Faroese and Icelandic may alter the latter perception.
Electronic music that focuses on trance, dubstep, industrial, synth and styles similar to the aforementioned tend to place a party feeling on the mind, the sense of adrenalin kicking in and a more happier feeling being instilled, however at times this can also seemingly aid in the mind thinking through complex and challenging tasks such as coursework as it tends to unlock the free thinking part of the mind and thus allowing the individual to wander endlessly through the roaming cyber-fields of the internet. Rave music, drum and bass and club music has a happy and exciting feel to it that gives the brain the feeling of releasing endorphins that make you feel in love, that sort of sensual kick in the music gives the electric feeling.
Metal music being the heaviest and more technically challenging style of music compensates a plethora of different music styles, folk, electronic music, pop, rap, etc - it lashes itself with these genres and so fans of the pure music just mentioned can easily relate to it. However the notion is that the more extreme and more brutal the music is, the angrier it is - resonating on sub genres like Deathcore, Brutal Death Metal, Black Metal, etc, that at times provoke mixed reactions. Power Metal for instance has a happy and adventurous feel to it whereas Black and Doom Metal drag out depression and sorrow that makes the listener feel down, all depending upon how they react to the music. Hardcore and similar genres for instance give the sense of unruliness and control, driving the listener forward to potential anarchism.
The fact being behind all music is that it affects us one way or another, sometimes for the good sometimes for the bad, but the harsh reality is, sometimes the most joyous music can be the most dangerous music.
"Music has saved lives if you ask me, music can help people out of dark times and meaningful lyrics that people can relate to can help people realize that their situation isn't all that bad, and some songs are so stupidly funny it will definitely put the listener in a good mood 😊 (Eminem - 'ass like that' for example). I personally listen to all types of music, dependent on what mood I want to be in, if I feel angry, I listen to heavy deathcore to vent my anger, if I want to feel happy and buzzy, some softer music works. For me personally and I'm sure for many others, my music choice changes with my mood, and it's a good way of controlling my emotions and my anger especially, I'm a black metal drummer with Dark Theory, but I often listen to pop and rap as well as metal, music is there to be enjoyed and to sink deep into you, right to your core" - Sam Field (Dark Theory)
Whilst music fans love to listen to records and go to live concerts to see their favorite bands, a vast majority of these bands are either nationally or internationally known and are highly likely to be signed, whilst it is good to support those breed of bands, fans seemingly are being lead astray from the salient fact behind each one of those bands. They came from the underground and started off as unsigned local artists.
With the massive influx of rock, metal and various other genres that are cropping up every so often, (if not every day) the choice for what bands to see is dramatically increasing, not to mention the band numbers that fluctuate everyday due to bands forming or splitting at every point on the globe. When in the UK music fans are probably eating late morning breakfast at say around 10 AM, on the other side of the globe, Australian bands are already sound-checking and American musicians would be sleeping off the gig they have just played. Funny isn't it that music is constantly played 24/7 and yet genres like Heavy Metal per se rarely get noticed as a globally represented sound, regardless of political, cultural or religious constraints that oppresses certain musicians.
On the note of global music, sure the internet has offered a gateway for the torrential flooding of accessible download sites and freedom of information at the click of the mouse button, the harsh reality is that whilst a band may gain sensational popularity via the digital world, in reality their fan base is fractionally smaller (especially when Facebook allows clicks to be purchased - who said vanity hasn't died?), with that there has been a greater recognition for bands from far away countries such as India where Demonic Resurrection were duly signed to UK label Candlelight Records, Egypt spawning off Scarab who are signed to French label Osmose Productions, Taiwan delivering their most popular metal band Chthonic who are signed to Finnish label Spinefarm Records and so on and so forth, so this begs the question, is Heavy Metal going to end up as the most globalized music genre? Given that Africa has 57 nations and out of that only 19 have at least one recognized metal band, that equates to 33% of the continent, so African Metal may well be in it's infancy as far as continental domination is concerned. However the major point in this article is simply why fans should be more supportive of local unsigned artists than they seem to be doing.
There are ten major reasons why fans should support local unsigned bands more:
As a band or artist gains greater recognition and an increasing fan base, entities in the music industry tend to raise their ears to the hype generated and invariably a representative will go to a concert that band is playing at, this is called scouting and applies to predominantly management, PR, record labels, booking agencies and the like, however for the media or press it is a different kettle of fish, it is practically providing an analysis of the concert itself - ironically hype fed through the press can lead to previously mentioned entities to pay attention to that specific band or artist. Note: Facebook likes do not totally constitute the band's true fan base, it can only provide a snapshot image; even that can be manipulated.
Local unsigned bands or artists work through one method, DIY. Simply put these are the hardest working breed of musicians, they do not enjoy the same help as signed bands get and so have to put their own hard work to the mettle as to make sure what they do runs smoothly, that involves tour booking, one off show booking, transportation organizing, liaising with other bands scheduled to play on the night (or day) in order to arrange potential kit sharing. Signed bands / artists will go around with their manager (or tour manager), this may be a family member or a representative of a management group such as Transcend Music (who are also a record label). It is down to work ethic that makes unsigned bands and artists the most hard working musicians, that's no to say signed bands / artists don't work their socks off, it's just that unsigned bands as said do not have the privileges signed bands enjoy. The Dead Lay Waiting from Swindon is a notable example, they booked their own shows, toured endlessly across the UK and into Europe and thus landed them a deal with the now defunct Rising Records, but it was down to sheer work ethic that got them there (and now they have played Download and Bloodstock Festival)
Signed bands enjoy a greater flexibility of funding their venture including studio time, their budget has less restriction and is directed into many alleys such as record recording, video shooting, photo shooting etc. On the other hand unsigned bands and artists have to pay out of their own wages to get booked or so it would seem as some venues allow bands to play for free, but the catch is that the tickets bought are subsequently scaled down to each entity, for example: Band A plays at Venue A, they are signed to Label A, touring with Manager A and entourage A, all those need paying and so this reflects in the merchandise and ticket pricing owing also to the band's popularity (see point 1). Therefore as the popularity scales down, so do the prices generally (excluding second hand purchases - note AVOID TICKET TOUTS AT ALL COSTS), this is why usually local gigs are priced at between £3-£5 entry, the higher end of the scale such as concerts at Wembley Arena can reach into £100's of pounds. Sheer punt but it would seem the average ticket price would saddle around the £20 mark.
4. Time availability
Being in an unsigned band means you have to allocate time on a greater scale, meaning working around your commitments and getting time off work can be a little tricky at times, hence why when unsigned bands tour they take time to plan ahead the tour off their own back, signed bands on the other hand do go through the same process but one would think that getting time off work is a whole lot easier owing to the awareness of what musicians do. Unsigned bands however do need finances (refer to point 3) to afford to play concerts and purchase music equipment and therefore as a direct result bands availability may be constricted owing to jobs or education.
5. Fan to band relationship
We all know music fans want to meet their favorite musicians, their idols, their gods and so how great is it to meet them, if only it was as simple, sure hanging behind after a concert gives a good chance of achieving that, but if a band is rushed i.e. need to get to another location for another gig the next day then that poses a threat. Not the same for unsigned local bands / artists, they have a greater time flexibility (refer to point 4) in that they will chat to fans after the show (of course signed bands do too - it depends on how popular the band is and other variable factors), plus some venues have no barriers as such and so become an intimate gig and thus allowing practicality for fans to get closer (refer to point 2). Also on a side note bands on lesser known labels or who are unsigned will usually hang behind the merchandise stall and so thus offering another opportunity to chat to your favorite musicians.
6. Musical freedom
Covers, we all love and hate them, but at times they are fun to watch and hear and so when your local unsigned bands ask the attending crowd to give cover suggestions or shout outs, or jokes to that matter; see where this is going? Signed bands tend to stick to the set list and utilize less time for non-music related things or anything not pertaining to their music. However, signed bands do seem to get the crowd to sing along more to songs than unsigned bands do, they may seem obvious but if a fan attended a gig and some well known bands are playing that the fan does not know, there you go, a problem has arose and so that fan may be inclined to want to meet the musicians and so this develops a fan to band relationship (refer to point 5).
7. Press and outside entities
Local press usually promotes gigs in their newspapers or websites or on radio shows, this enabled platforms like BBC Essex introducing to step into the limelight and give unsigned bands a chance to be heard, this also echoes in the Kerrang! Magazine where their 'local heroes' feature is designed to highlight local unsigned talent, this is done via the bands themselves writing in with their music and the magazine team choosing a band for that weekly issue. Festivals that are locally done also offer an opportunity for unsigned bands and artists to gain attention, especially the all day ones, these usually are low price and are often in aid of charity or the like. Endorsements are also another way for unsigned bands to get more attention, but this comes with popularity (refer to point 1).
© 2011-2022 Global Metal Apocalypse
This page is purely for general music discussions and thoughts that fall into the periphery of the music industry.