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Knowing Your Priorities

Brian Toye
May 31, 2011

A note to new bands out there:

Everybody seems to have a band and everybody seems to be asking you to buy tickets to their show. This is just the the way the “indie” pool operates (so know it, accept it, and expect nothing more from it than stage time). Since one unknown band cannot fill a venue...and its safe to say even 5 unknown bands cannot fill a venue, your band is forced to sell tickets prior to the show in order to earn the right for stage time. You know the drill, the supernova's and the radio contests etc...I know that it can be frustrating to have to spend energy lugging gear city to city playing gigs you are not being paid for AND have been forced to sell tickets for. Its also annoying for fans who are harassed day in and day out to buy tickets or “vote” for your band when you don't have a pro sounding CD out yet. Its easy, as a band, to get caught up in this cycle and forget that the most important part about being an artist is focusing on creating art.

Songwriting should be an artists first and foremost priority...not playing shows and not selling tickets for some organization or venue. It is, in my opinion, best to spend a couple years going through all your written material with your band members and arranging it into the best songs possible. Demo these arrangements and shoot them off to various producers. The next step involves hiring a producer to further tweak those songs and help in the process of recording. Once you have a professional sounding product you will find that playing battle of the bands will be a lot more worth while. With an album completed, you can now sell at shows you are not getting paid to play.

I'm not saying don't play shows if you're a new band. Play lots of shows, get comfortable up on stage and learn to play tight with your band members. Just don’t get caught up in the battle of the bands (results) and supernova's and radio contests (results) if you have not already produced a professional product. I am simply suggesting to focus on songwriting and CD production first :)

- Brian Toye -
We Make Records