The music industry is, at the best of times, frightfully intimidating in its vastness. Anyone who has counted the amount of bands/artists who have fallen on their feet just trying to get heard will be aware of this already. The Northern Ireland music scene is no different. So what are the dos and don’ts of ‘getting heard’? What kind of things should you be looking out for? Or, perhaps more appropriately, where the hell do you start?
Here’s a short run down of 5 points bands should consider to try and get their name out there in the music world.
1) Be Original
You may not think it whenever you hear some of the shit that reaches the top 40s but trust me, originality is key. If you’re playing a gig on the same stage as five or six other bands and you’ve only got a couple of songs on your playlist then go out and wow the audience with something they’ve never heard before, something they’ll remember. Of course you want to follow in the footsteps of your favourite bands; of course you want to replicate what they have done in the past. Having artists that inspire you is an important part of building your own sound but it’s also important to think about how you can make something new. Don’t be afraid to divide opinion because, ultimately, being innovative, being spoken about, is what’s going to get you heard.
2) Play Anywhere and Everywhere That You Can
How many times have we seen multi-platinum selling bands being interviewed and talking about the first ever gigs they played in front of twenty grimacing faces in some basement underneath a Laundromat? Everyone has to start somewhere. And the mark of a good artist is being able to perform in any venue and still put on a good show. If you enjoy making and playing your music, it won’t matter where the venue is so much as it will matter how you perform. So that gig that you refused to play in a reconstructed youth club for an under-18 event before DJ what’s-his-face comes on? That would’ve made a great story for when you make it big.
3) Plug Your Music and Get It Released
OK. This was inevitably going to lead back to the question of whether bands are best releasing their music digitally, physically or both. Whilst some people still cling to the idea that having a hardcopy of an EP is far superior and much more substantial than going through ITunes or Spotify to be heard, the rest of us are moving along with the tide of the real world. EPs are great to have but to go solely with physical release is undermining yourself right from the start. Think of who’s going to be hearing your music. As someone who edits music reviews and has worked day in, day out with press contacts and PR agents, it always winds up being far easier to review artists who send their music via email or attach a link to SoundCloud than have to go about sifting through the post for a physical copy which may or may not be delivered on the date it’s supposed to (Royal Mail – go figure). Of course, the downside of everyone and their dog going digital is that the internet gets so saturated with music that it can sometimes feel like you’re drowning in a sea of songs (another reason why No. 1 on the list becomes important!) But ultimately, whichever way you go about getting your music released, make sure to be brazen and whole-hearted in how you do it. Don’t be afraid to send your music to record labels, radio stations or the press but always keep in mind the specific guidelines that each company will have for submissions.Tags: advice, industry insight