Saturday, 23 March 2013

Band ladder - A career map

The stepping stones in the music industry vary in skill and distance. Knowing where you are and where you been helps you to understand the path you wish to take and the goals you want to fulfill in your career. Consider this blog to be a simple road map of a musical career.
Even if you know where your journey started its always better to understand the bigger picture and plan your route accordingly to learn and adapt.

The ladder explained below is an example to the bigger picture of how musicians begin their journey and offers an insight into the possible avenues within the music industry.

Obviously it's not always that simple and for some of the headings mentioned I will no doubt do a blog further down the line and expand on them but for now we begin with the listener.

He starts listening to music whether that be what his parents listen to or that of the 'popular' top 40. After developing his own taste he decides to pick up an instrument and go out into the world to find musical success.

Bedroom practise
Having his genre of music in mind he foresees himself playing a packed out venue with his band mates, but first he has to practice – usually in his bedroom. At this point he can have an elder teach the basics, have lessons taught unto him whether that be in school or private or lastly just pick up the guitar and learn by his own ear if he is lucky enough to process the skills to do so.

Forming the first band
Sooner or later a couple of his friends who share the same musical interests and goals decide to play together. Their parents offer the space of the garage for them to make their noise. Alternatively if they are lucky enough their school would encourage them to group together and explore the fundamentals of how a group works, psychology, give and take, commitment and talent come together.

Rehearsal room 
After a few years and incarnations of the band the young musician finally has his group to take on the world, but to take on the world you need to be good at what you do and need to rehearse some more. Spending a day or 2 a week rehearsing in the garage or professional rehearsal space just as long as all members are disciplined and growing together. Depending on the future goals 1-2 days a week is enough for now.

Alternative routes at this point would becoming a session musician ditching the band altogether.

Local support
After socializing he makes friends with other bands, sharing class rooms and watching them play at their own gigs. His band soon gets an offer to support their peers at a gig, accepting the support slot the band have their first performance to show what they're made of.

Recording a demo
The band, now familiar in local social circles. People are asking to hear their music more and more. A decision is made to produce their first demo in the studio just to settle the demand.

Gigging / Mini tour
Happy with the quality of their recording the band decides to go out on the road locally to gain more popularity with the demo production and tour the local venues.

Fan base
It's at this point many bands get stuck on, but not for our band in question. The tour goes well and the band gain more recognition and form a decent sized fan base.

From now on the last 3 steps are repeated changing only for the venue sizes.
Unfortunately (depending on how you see it) it is at this point record companies will take interest after all your hard work (... and steal it).

Sign a deal
Popularity depending – you have your fans and a decent sized music catalogue. A label makes contact and asks to represent you. The band accepts a deal being asked to re-record their album and go on tour to promote it.

Record and tour
Similarly to what the band was doing before they got signed, they will have to record an album with the label to the labels standards. To recoup the funds lost spent on recording the album the band will have to tour to make that money back again repeating the core steps before.
Only by repeating the core steps (in yellow) can you gain more fans, a larger music catalog, prestige, a Rock-God hall of fame and maybe even some money. 

Venue sizes increase
Based on how successful your home made productions are and the more fans you gain. You start playing bigger venues to match the demand - Seen by tour 1, tour 2 and tour 3. Again with repetition you promote your most recent production.

Congratulations you have completed the journey of the music industry, from here on out you can retire or go back to the core steps mentioned previously because you still owe the label money. If you lack money you can always re-release something from your back catalogue for a little extra income.

Good luck! 

Have you thought about Your Role In The Music Industry? 

 Or where it could eventually lead you? Your Role In The Music Industry Part 2 

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