Knowing how bad things are already and seeing how bad they’re gonna get with the world economy…well, I’m actually glad where I am right now in the scheme of things. In talking with several bands bigger and smaller than me in the realm of this genre it looks like there are really tough days ahead for artists, and truth be told it’s probably going to wipe out quite a few labels and even more artists who are either not going to have the time to work on music to make financial ends meet, or simply will stop doing it because they can’t make the money they need to keep going with CD sales.
The only thing that really gives me hope is that, as part of a small niche genre, we’re used to struggling. We don’t do this for sales– we do this because it’s our passion. Most artists in this genre are working in their own studios on their own dime and even in the best economic situation can’t invest the money major labels and artists do on a daily basis, so in effect major labels are gonna get fucked a LOT worse than us as most labels in this scene can only afford 1-2 staff people at most, and the vast majority is done on a volunteer basis because it’s a labor of love.
I have faith in our crowds, too. People like this music on the whole not because it’s been forcefed down their throats by crap top 40 radio (I mean seriously, how much radioplay do ANY of us really get?), but instead because they somehow found us, whether it be from seeing us live, word of mouth over the interwebs, or through sheer luck. I tend to think we’re a lot more accessible to communicate with to the people that listen to this music, at least I am, so there’s a closer connection with the crowd, at least in that they know where all the big bucks they shell out for downloads and sales go.
In short, and I’ve said it before, it’s not as much that I see “fans” of what we do, but friends of the artists– hell, you’re our patrons. While that sounds cheesy, the main reason I do what I do is to entertain a relatively small crowd of lovable dipshits who enjoy my little blend of noisy douchebaggery and heavy drinking. Hell, it’s more fun than seeing some fully programmed $80-a-ticket arena rock show…okay, at least better than fucking Hinder.
The world will always need mindless entertainment, especially in times like these. There’s a lot to be said for blowing off steam and just forgetting about all the stupid for a few hours, and to me music’s been there to help me with that all my life. I make no apologies for what I do and think what I do is just as “legitimate” as any other artist out there– if I wanted to make “Important Music” I’d most likely be sounding a lot different– but it’s more fun playing to a bar full of drunks with smiles on their faces screaming along with whatever inanities I spout off than sitting around loading a gun because your 401k is in the tank or you or one of your parents just lost their job.
So, in short- hang in there, fuckers. We’ll ride this bitch out, and in the meantime let’s try and lose our shit in a positive way as much as possible. Another nice thing about this scene is that on the whole the shows aren’t terribly expensive, so support them when you can. There’s going to be some great artists touring next year (I hope to be one of them, actually) so know that while gas prices are down, tour expenses still suck. Make sure to spread the word on upcoming shows so people know to come out, and if you enjoy the show grab a shirt or a CD so the bands can eat and buy gas the next day. Snag a few tracks you like off legal digital download sites and let DJs know what new music you’re listening to– hell, burn them mix CDs to introduce them, as I have a feeling it’s going to be harder and harder for DJs to get into promo pools with all the strings tightening at labels. Mind you this doesn’t mean a WHOLE CD, but a selection of awesome you’ve been into. As a DJ I know I appreciate that, and it gives what you’re listening to a little bit more of a chance of getting pumped over a sound system for you to stomp around to.
Everything helps, so know that it’s appreciated on all levels.
Stick with us and we’ll stick with you. Never forget that.