Published Jul 09, 2009What's with Trent Reznor doing something insanely entertaining every few days? Whether he's quitting his band, trying to save lives or putting douches in their place, the Rez always has something interesting to say. Now, he's dropped some poignant advice on the ins and outs of the music industry for new, fresh-faced bands.
He prefaces the post by saying it was "written on a bumpy Euro-bus ride across the wilderness," worrying that it might ramble on. Instead, it's exactly what up-and-coming bands need to hear.
Here are some small samples of his advice:
- Establish your goals. What are you trying to do / accomplish? If you are looking for mainstream super-success (think Lady GaGa, Coldplay, U2, Justin Timberlake) - your best bet in my opinion is to look at major labels and prepare to share all revenue streams/creative control/music ownership. To reach that kind of critical mass these days your need old-school marketing muscle and that only comes from major labels. Good luck with that one...
- Forget thinking you are going to make any real money from record sales. Make your record cheaply (but great) and GIVE IT AWAY. As an artist you want as many people as possible to hear your work. Word of mouth is the only true marketing that matters.
Parter with a TopSpin or similar or build your own website, but what you NEED to do is this - give your music away as high-quality DRM-free MP3s. Collect people's email info in exchange (which means having the infrastructure to do so) and start building your database of potential customers. Then, offer a variety of premium packages for sale and make them limited editions/scarce goods. Base the price and amount available on what you think you can sell. Make the packages special - make them by hand, sign them, make them unique, make them something YOU would want to have as a fan. Make a premium download available that includes high-resolution versions (for sale at a reasonable price) and include the download as something immediately available with any physical purchase. Sell T-shirts. Sell buttons, posters... whatever.
- Have your MySpace page, but get a site outside MySpace - it's dying and reads as cheap/generic. Remove all Flash from your website. Remove all stupid intros and load-times. MAKE IT SIMPLE TO NAVIGATE AND EASY TO FIND AND HEAR MUSIC (but don't autoplay). Constantly update your site with content - pictures, blogs, whatever. Give people a reason to return to your site all the time. Put up a bulletin board and start a community. Engage your fans (with caution!) Make cheap videos. Film yourself talking. Play shows. Make interesting things. Get a Twitter account. Be interesting. Be real. Submit your music to blogs that may be interested. NEVER CHASE TRENDS. Utilize the multitude of tools available to you for very little cost of any - Flickr/YouTube/Vimeo/SoundCloud/Twitter etc.
There's so much wisdom, it's like his own Music School column. The whole post can be found here on the Nine Inch Nails forum.