It's really is such a crazy time in Nashville. The old model seems to officially be broken....actually, it has been broken for several years but I think it is really evident lately. There are so many amazing artists in this town, that if it were the 90's or early 2000's, many would have been signed long ago and on their 3rd and 4th records. I watch some of these artists through Facebook and Twitter and we are all adjusting to the slow painful change in the industry. Even artists that have had major deals and a few hits are having a rough time.
I think it is a "do it yourself" market - a time to build your own audience out of, as they call it, "the back of your trunk"....It is a powerful and scary place. You dedicate your entire life to a craft and realize the fruits of your labor may not be enough. The "big record deal" does not exist for most. For those that do land a deal, they find themselves in a lengthy trap like a jail sentence, where none of their efforts will ever see the light of day.... or they are stuck being a puppet artist making crappy music.....With Spotify and free downloads, no one needs to "buy" a record anymore. The days of the album appear to be dead....
Most of the successful artists in Nashville are putting out complete and total CRAP. I try not to be negative,there's a market for everything and everyone.... but I personally can't listen to mainstream radio. I am lucky to live in Nashville and to be able to get 650 AM and Lightning 100....and I admit it.... I love Spotify!
I kind of like the fact that we are getting back to a "word of mouth" promotion - based upon how great an artist is from his or her live shows and the artist's ability to entertain a crowd. The cream will be able to rise to the top. I feel there is a growing dissatisfaction emerging for mainstream...The past years have been about bringing your daddy's money to the table and buying your stardom.... and look at where that got us... dreadful, soul-less, superficial music!
I'm fine with grassroots marketing. I never got in to music to be rich. I just want to entertain people and be able to make a living at what I love.... It's just really, really hard to make a living right now... Taking a band on the road for a tour is expensive.... hotels, gas, sound, food...Live performance/merchandise is your ONLY profit.... You better hope you're playing five nights a week at big venues and selling 1,000s of koozies......haha!
I've been talking with some young aspiring artists lately.... they come to me seeking advice...If you are an up and coming artist thinking about moving to Nashville in this economy/market, things have changed! Be prepared for a convoluted, twisted adventure with some hard life lessons. Nashville is definitely not as glamorous as you think...... I suggest aspiring artists spend at least five years honing your craft in the bars and fairs before you relocated here. After all, this is the ENTERTAINMENT business. Learn how to entertain!!!!! Sorry to ramble, but that is what a blog is for.. right?
Think I'm on to something?