While the D.I.Y. ethic and aesthetic is a wonderful thing, it can only take you so far. Unless you are fortunate enough to have a band whose members also happen to be professional publicists, agents, booking agents, or any of the other people whose services will prove invaluable to your career, there will come a point when you will have to invest some money into your band if you actually want to be a professional musician.
I love musicians and firmly believe that music is the most important thing in the world. Musicians are left-brained people who want to create. They are compelled to get the thoughts, ideas, and feelings out of their heads and are fortunate enough with the ability to manifest these inhibitions, musically, in ways that many of us can relate to and enjoy. This, of course, is a wonderful thing, except many musicians don’t realize that they are very central to an economy whose success relies on the music that they produce. For many artists, they simply don’t understand that there comes a time when you have to spend money on your career. For many people, it simply comes down to grasping the learning curve. This is the case with any profession; as you advance, you will tend to learn new things, make a zillion mistakes, and come through all the better for it in the end. The problem with many artists is that they develop a sort of stagnation in their mentality. That stagnation will not only limit creativity, it will aalso limit the potential of the band itself, instead of promoting the experimentation and growth of their sound.
When a band finds themselves to have reached a stage where their single has generated a bit of buzz, or they are consistently selling out at local venues, it may be time to have a band meeting about hiring someone to help with publicity to assist the band in moving in a progressive direction. I am constantly approached by musicians for advice about getting over any proverbial humps that they may find themselves stuck on after having attained a certain level of success. I always tell them the same thing; hire a publicist or a marketing firm. In turn, I’m always told the same thing in response: “I/we can’t afford it.” Let’s break this down for a moment. Think about how much money is spent on gear and equipment, traveling to gigs, merch, studio time, pressing CDs, and the time the band spent working on all of these aspects. That is a lot of money, as well as a lot of time spent. Clearly money is being invested in the music, right? If upwards of thousands of dollars, literally, have been spent to get the band to where it’s at now, it almost makes sense to think that after such great investments of time and money, artists would be willing to hire sky writers to spread the word about their work, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.