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What do music fans want from the bands? The Labels? The Promoters? Help us out!

Discussion in 'ProgPower USA' started by FuturesEnd, Oct 26, 2009.

  1. FuturesEnd

    FuturesEnd Member

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    Greetings, music fans!

    We live in a world where, over the past 15 years, it has gotten even harder to create marketable music that supports itself. What I am referring to is not necessarily making a ton of money in the music business to support the artists desire for a Ferrari and beach front property in Monte Carlo, but in the way that will allow the artists to put together tours, record better quality albums, and bring the fans the merchandise that they want.

    With the advent of the internet, quality recording software and hardware at far more reasonable prices than ever before in history, it has become much easier for the bands to make themselves known to the world, but it still takes the kind of money to deliver great records and to hit the road in support of them that - let's face it - most artists just don't have.

    We know from our own experience as fans and from talking to so many people, that so many of our favorite bands - especially in the prog/power genre of metal - don't ever seem to get to the United States if they are from Europe, or if they are from this side of the ocean, out West toward California to play. The issue - more often than not - is the lack of funds that it takes to make something like that happen.

    A number of the smaller record labels that sign music from our favorite genre of music don't generally provide tour support, merchandise, or the kind of high visibility advertising that could create the sales necessary to putting their bands on the road. We have also seen this kind of thing for some of the higher profile bands that we know and love. Futures End has been very fortunate in the kind of support that we get from Nightmare Records, the fans, and the promoters and are very grateful to have gotten the kind of commitment from all of you that it takes to start the machinery of success. It has been an incredible blessing.

    The band, our management, and our label have all gotten together on the issue of illegal downloads and have all agreed that there is no way for us to fight it. It is a losing battle and for some reason it actually seems to generate some disdain for the bands and the labels that simply wish to be compensated for their efforts. It is really our goal to try and find a way to bridge the gap between the artists and those who wish to possess the music in terms of both the illegal down loaders, and those who pay for the music alike.

    So here we are asking you to help us out, to help us understand what you would like to see from us as a band, from our label, from the promoters and management, that would generate interest that will translate into sales of music, merchandise, and tickets for live events. We are officially asking to pick your collective brains and see what ideas you all have that may make the business of making music, then playing it live for you wherever you are in the world easier. What can WE do for YOU, the listeners, the fans, the promoters, and the media?

    Help us out! We would love to hear your ideas! You can post them here, or email us at: christian@futuresendmusic.com

    Thanks everyone! We are really excited to see what kinds of things would make the difference for you all!

    Christian Wentz
    Futures End Cheese Grater
     
  2. Wherewolf

    Wherewolf New Metal Member

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    First off, GREAT POST! AND Amazing cd! Unfortunately the "media" owns you, once the cd is released or "available" it's out there for free. I think owning the cd is the best for numerous reasons. Now to answer your post: The best thing yo can do is MERCH. Tees, free cd giveaways, be available for interviews, create the demand for fans to want to read them, be realistic, in other words, "give it away", play shows anywhere and everywhere for as much or as little as possible there is no such thing as a free gig if you are selling MERCH and beating people in the face with your music. The fact that you posted this and post frequently is the best thing you can do as well as asking your fans in threads like this what THEY want, you already are well on your way. Keep FUTURE'S END a main band, that's key...the minute you start doing side projects and such, it waters down the integrity of the band. FUTURE'S END has to be number one to every band member and be consistent in EVERY aspect of the band, ie., small tours, big tours, no tours just gigs...keep that ongoing, when the industry and the fans see stability in the band you are more likely to get that bigger break. So many bands have become one-offs or only "projects" and that is whats killing individual bands success. To answer your post in a nutshell....keep FUTURE'S END a main priority hell or high water and keep reaching out to fans and media, play as many shows as humanly possible, I know it cost money in the beginning but you need to get out of your hometowns and bang on doors to play..even if it's a 2 week tour 2 states away! This post was a great way to even answer your own question! I hope I made some sense. BEST POST ON THIS BOARD EVER!
     
  3. Diabolik

    Diabolik Member

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    Great starting post and a great reply. For me....with pirating..I agree. It is to huge to stop. Myself...I never download or file share. I am from the school of going to the store and buying CD's or ordering online. I think as of late a great thing lots of labels are doing is adding a dvd of a live show or studio stuff or even tour stuff with the CD. I think it is another incentive for those buying the CD to get that little extra. For those who buy CD's will pretty much always go after that version of the release. I would rather pay a few bucks more for the deluxe version if it has a dvd with it. Most of the extra really cant be bootlegged other than posted on Youtube or something...but if I am going to watch a live show or something...it will be on my tv / dvd player.

    It is nice to see a band asking what the fans want. too many bands out there sit back and wonder why things are not happening for them. You have to make that step to make it happen.
     
  4. AeonicSlumber

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    Honestly, just get out there and tour. That's what you need to do. If agencies don't want to book the band, then DIY it punk rock style. I find alot of metal bands complain about sales and then are afraid to take matters into their own hands and and just get on the road and tour. The first few times you get out on the road, you may lose money sure, but in the long run if you keep at it just like with anything you will benefit.
     
  5. Diabolik

    Diabolik Member

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    I agree....the D.I.Y. way to do it is a great way. You dont always need a fancy light show, the best club or a big back stage. If a band can come out and just play a great set. You will win new fans over with each show. I have seen some great shows (punk / hardcore ) in the oddest places and still had a great time and was blown away. Thinking outside the box sometimes is the best way of thinking.

    Also mingling with fans and hearing what they have to say always helps too. Nothing is worse than when bands think they are above fans. I lose so much respect for them. For example....last week I met Eliot Gould and Tia Carrere (from Waynes World). Both were super nice and went out the way to make themselves out there with fans. Not just a nice to meet you and goodbye...they both took time to sit and talk. I definetly have more respect and will be interested in seeing something they do next. Any little bit helps. There are too many bands that think they have hit rock star stardom. News flash....you havent.

    My hats off to Future's End for making this post. Hopefully others will learn from it.
     
  6. Daybreaker

    Daybreaker Red, Hot, and Heavy

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    I think one of the biggest things bands have to do now (and many do) is make their fans feel as special as possible. Like, posting on boards often, hanging out after shows, maybe even so far as to include a note when people order cds through the band's website. Like "Thanks so much for buying ____ we had a blast recording it..." and then have a cool story about one of the songs. I think with more and more people not buying cds, making this extra effort for the fans that still do will mean so much.

    Case in point, John 5. I went to a clinic of his a while back with some friends I brought and I'm not even a big fan of his. But, three years ago he was a super cool as hell guy at the Rob Zombie Lacuna Coil show that my opinion of him is "cool dude," and I respect him a bunch. I saw he was coming for a clinic, thought hell he was a cool dude and went. Shit, imagine if I was actually a fan.
     
  7. Stingray11214

    Stingray11214 OSA Triumvir

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    Do you really want to at least put a curb on pirating? LOWER YOUR CD PRICE! There is ZERO reason that a label like Nightmare should be charging $16-18 for a CD. It is not like Lance is greasing the palms of Clear Channel or Infinity, or putting you on major arena tours. It is a good starter label that does little than let you say, "I have a CD!" This is NOT to knock Nightmare or other small labels, mind you, but to point out a point of fact. You want to move product, make the price reasonable, and people will buy. Also, you need widespread distro to get your music into those who don't travel to the website. That is how I got my Katagory V, Code of Perfection, and Moonlight Agony CD's. Saw them in the store, and picked them up after going though it.

    Secondly, you need red-hot merch to sell. I have been to several club shows that involve local bands, and the merch was beyond amateurish. There is nothing like having fans wear your cool T-shirt around town (Just like I wear my Nightwish and ProgPower X shirts around the neighborhood.). That is FREE advertising. People see a Future's End T-Shirt that looks cool, and they start asking about it, or at least go looking for it. If you are serious about making it, the merch angle is critical.

    Don't get me started on promoters. Metal promoters have more respect for power/prog acts that have only an EP, whose address is in West Bubblefuck, Poland than they do for bands like Helstar, Future's End, Zandelle, Suspyre, KatV, Outworld(R.I.P.), and I can keep going. And these promoters wonder why prog/power metal is little more than a blip on the radar screen. Nobody is saying make them all headliners, mind you. But, put some of them on a tour instead of trying to reach out to some cock rock band from some igloo in Greenland to be an opener. You want to build a scene long term? You need to start pushing American acts. More of them means more money for you long term.

    Sorry for the rant.
     
  8. SkiBumMSP

    SkiBumMSP Member

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    Excellent posts by everyone. I also want to add that as long as a band produces QUALITY music that is actually WORTH BUYING in the first place helps out in the long run as well. I hear to much banal/vapid crap out there, that it would not even be worth the bandwidth and hard drive space to download illegally, let alone, to actually pay for! It is so refreshing to find a band, such as Future's End, that puts out good, quality music. I did buy a copy of the CD at ProgPower and I am sure as hell glad I did. Hell, I can't wait to see them play again on the Power Cruise this spring.

    I have to agree with 'Daybreaker' on just being cool and to recognize your fans. It is a two-way street here. The fans want to hear the band, and hopefully the band wants to get the fans to hear them. Case in point for me personally. I was not really huge on Diablo Swing Orchestra, but after seeing them play at this past ProgPower and getting the chance to hang out with them as well, and seeing just how cool those guys really are - I became fan for life. I have a lot more respect for bands that are willing to go out of their way to truly make their fans welcomed. Many of these bands with whom I've become good friends with, I will support as long as I am able to. This includes buying their albums, as well as seeing their shows whenever feasible for me. This includes everybody from well known acts in the scene, such as Sonata Arctica all the way to smaller, up-and-coming acts, such as The Element (also who I am really looking forward to get to see play on the Power Cruise as well).
     
  9. AeonicSlumber

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    You know there's alot of truth to this. I remember being a 14/15 year old kid asking Phil Anselmo for a picture and he told me no and that kind of hurt me at the time.

    I don't really care too much about chilling with bands at all mainly because my view on musicians has changed very drastically for various reasons. I just don't go up to band people after shows and bug them for an autograph or pic anymore; not my bag among many reasons, but last summer I bumped in to Kelly from Atheist before their gig in NYC and he was one of the most CHILL, down to earth people I have ever fucking encountered. It was unbelievable to think someone who could have easily been very jaded by being treated like shit by the biz in the 90s would be as cool as he was. Out of curiosity I asked about their new album and he asked me for my name, where I am from and just seemed like he had a general interest in the fans. It was actually the first time they ever played NYC in their entire time as a band and he was all smiles; super happy to play here. I think he said it was one of his dreams to do it. Props.
     
  10. General Zod

    General Zod Ruler of Australia

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    If I knew the answer to this question, I'd be in the process of becoming extremely wealthy. I don't say that in jest. The reality is, the system is broken and it's broken beyond repair. What we've seen in the record industry is analogous with what we've seen in the economy over the last few decades; a consolidation of resources. The few major labels that remain, have absolutely no interest in music as an art form. It is a commodity like any other. It is a line item on a balance sheet and nothing more. At the other end of the spectrum are niche labels who have no real means to push their bands to the next level. The demographic that records companies had traditionally targeted, 18 - 32, has been raised on MP3s, believing music is as disposable as the files on their hard drive. For them, music exists solely as an interchangeable accessory to their lifestyle or as a level they need to conquer on Guitar Hero or Rock Band. They feel no connection to the bands they listen to, and why should they? Those bands are nothing more than the products of faceless corporations.

    If I was an artist interested in creating music in today's market, I'd build myself a home studio and become a guru at Pro Tools. I'd sell my music on the net, without the assistance of a label. I'd use my vacations to run self-financed tours, the expenses of which I'd attempt to recoup through merchandising. Unfortunately, I think the idea of making a living from music has gone the way of the dinosaur. I think musicians will have to come to grips with the reality that music will rarely, if ever, come with any financial reward. As a former musician who once dreamed about playing music for a living, I can appreciate how desirable that dream is. Unfortunately, the (MP3) genie has been let out of the bottle and she's not going back in.

    As for Christian and Futures End, I wish them nothing but success. Theirs is the finest debut since Circus Maximus' First Chapter and remains my #1 CD of 2009.
     
  11. AeonicSlumber

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    Dude hang on, you are way off here.

    1) You can't just "lower" a CD price. You realize a label like Nightmare only makes like 6 bucks per CD sold from selling them at normal competitive prices? There are printing and shipping costs involved with CDs and in order to sustain the business of selling records, you can't just "lower the price." This is why there is legal digital downloading.

    2) I sort of agree with your second paragraph. Merch is doing really well and I've found that these days releasing batches of limited designs seems to be hot with kids and such.

    3) Bro, you are waaaaaaaaayyy off here. For one thing, you seem to have booking agents confused with promoters, as do a lot of people in this forum. Promoters are locally based and produce shows for the booking agent who organizes and books the tour. For another, agents just don't go looking for the most obscure bands they can find for the lulz, nor can they just "make" your favorite band an opener. If your band doesn't sell CDs, an agent won't book you. Second of all, alot of the bands you mentioned would deem the expenses of touring to be unfavorable and pass on any offer they may or may not recieve and take an offer that is more financially and logistically sensible. The bands from "Bubblefuck" are either on labels that have bought the band onto the tour or have good tour support, OR have the balls to lay down the cash from their own pockets and throw down every night. The only time an agent ever "reaches out" to an opening band is if the agency is like The Agency Group who has the ability to do such a thing and if the headliner puts in a request for said band. Otherwise, this game is ONLY based on sales or whoever is willing to pay for the costs. I also fail to see the difference in money between a band from Poland and a band from America. The Poles would have to pay for the visas and flights and the agent would take the same cut regardless of who the band is. Plus, if the band from Poland sells more than the American band, it only makes sense to book said Polskis. I fail to see though how this would hurt the booking agent or even the promoter for that matter.
     
  12. TribunalRecords

    TribunalRecords Record Label(s)/Vocalist

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    from a record label's perspective i agree. i try to keep most all full length cd prices $10 via our estore, but naturally as it passes through more hands of distribution it can reach as high as $13.

    i won't even go into my nightmares of dealing with chains like Best Buy in the past, but it was terrible with pricing since i am a small label.

    i think the real problem is the average consumers devaluation of recorded music. since the advent of file sharing and the like people's perceptions are "well, if i can get it for free...why pay for it?!" we all download stuff, i know i do but i also have a 10,000+ cd collection in my house as well. i have done my part in keeping this industry alive and then some. but most people download and just don't give back. the statistics prove it, but they also show the lower price theory works as well since most records debuting in top 5 are more than likely sale priced in the street date week. so there must be a happy medium somewhere. sadly enough, everyone's favorite Wal-Mart was onto something forcing major labels to lower their pricing on catalog titles. sure Wal-Mart was doing it for their benefit, but at the same time they were onto something and being one of the biggest music retailers in the nation they had some leverage.

    there just needs to be the understanding that music isn't made for free and therefore it HAS a monetary value regardless of what anyone thinks or feels. it HAS a value that people must get back into the habit of paying to enjoy what someone else has created. i would love to walk up to a car dealership and drive off with a brand new car, but we cannot do that unless we want to get arrested.

    i not only have a record label, but i am in a band as well. i see it from both sides and as an artist who creates music i want to stab my fans in the neck who actually tell me to my face at shows and at our merch table that they have downloaded my cds and don't actually own anything. sure, it's cool that they are fans but what kind of fans don't support? sure the economy is bad, but once it gets better will it revert back? i doubt it.

    and please don't even bring up the argument about instead of giving a band their money for CD they "at least" buy a shirt. most all bands didn't get into this to make cool shirts, we do it for the love of making music which our fans seem to enjoy.

    :headbang:
     
  13. AeonicSlumber

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    Well Zod, the thing is there are alot of reasons why a band should still choose a label as opposed to going COMPLETELY DIY. Some reasons are obvious. For example, Bob might have a cool record, but how is he really going to reach out to new fans and promote the record? A good label has money and contacts that Bob does not have and this could be beneficial for Bob depending on what he wants with his band.

    However, the less obvious reason is regarding touring. DIY touring is indeed doable and I even recommend bands do it if they really want to dedicate their lives to music, BUT ONLY AS SOMETHING INITIAL AND NOT PERMANENT. If you do enough DIY touring, you should be able to sell enough albums and create enough buzz for either A) big enough labels to gain interest in the band and B) good agencies that would be willing to book the band on big tours. Being on a good label will mean better chances of touring because touring sells records.

    This brings me to my main point though. Not only does touring sell records, but if you do it long enough, you get a bigger guarantee to play gigs. Bands like Nightwish and In Flames who have been slugging it on the road for years, now easily collectively make millions of euros per year on touring guarantees alone. In Sweden, In Flames gets like $100,000 just for one gig. Fests like Wacken also pay their headliners that much because they bring enough asses into the place to validate paying that much. But say your band doesn't get as big as Nightwish or In Flames... well even if you make 5,000 bucks in guarantee money per night + merch sales and the occasional royalty and mech/licensing money, you can easily sustain yourself as a band. It may not be the most glamorous life in the world, but who gives a fuck if it's what you love to do? Having a label on your back yields a higher chance of getting to that state as a band simply because a label has more power, contacts, etc.
     
  14. TribunalRecords

    TribunalRecords Record Label(s)/Vocalist

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    agreed.

    here are some numbers from a touring band. we tour (usually) 8 weeks around the US each summer. we don't hit everywhere, but we start in NC and go up to Maine over to Seattle and down to San Diego and back across I-10 to Florida and NC. so basically each of the 4 corners of the nation.

    it cost us roughly $4000+ in gas alone to do this trip (we paid over $6000 in the oil company "gouging years") that is a pretty hefty burden for some bands to just "eat" a few times just to get going. that doesn't even include money for food and the necessity of survival. we drive a 15 passenger van towing a standard trailer with gear and an average of 1200 pieces of merch (shirts & hoodies), plus 200-400 cds.

    luckily, we are a fortunate band and we more than break even on our tours, but we have fans. bands just starting out will make zero or really low guarantees and lose their asses. on paper for the average person it's seems pretty easy, but do you know what it does to the morale of a band to lose so much money just trying to get started? it's awful, it truly is as i have seen bands on my label break up because of said issues. the road is a hard life for anyone who attempts it. not everyone goes out in a tour bus. most of us play shows, load our own gear, exist on basically no sleep, drive through the night just to get across the country, etc. there isn't much glamour until the big numbers come in.
     
  15. lady_space

    lady_space Porno kitty

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    But this is predicated upon said musician having a good, solid job with plenty of vacation time for touring, that also pays enough to buy said equipment (NOT cheap). I only know from a very limited exposure, obviously, but I wonder how much time most musicians spend actually recording, as well--is that something that can be done around a regular work schedule for most?


    Couldn't agree more, unfortunately.

    Also agree 1000% (yeah, yeah, I'm an English, not math, major :p) that the system is broken. Again, I point to Marillion as a band that has turned to alternative ways to get themselves out there and support themselves with their music, but alas, they have a fanatical (albeit relatively small) fan base and have been around a long time.

    However, those who say the band needs to go out and tour, losing money if they have to, well, who's going to front that money? I can't say the idea is flawed, as I think if you're good, you'll get some exposure and sell some merch, but it can be expensive to tour. And... "if you make even $5K" a night guaranteed??? I wish... not most of the bands I listen to at any rate. I could be wrong, as (again) my exposure is limited, but I think that's a pipe dream for most bands that are popular among our ranks.
     
  16. Pellaz

    Pellaz Tigron of Immanion

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    $5,000 per night to a relatively unknown band touring DIY?

    * boggle *


    I'd like some of what you're smoking.....as apparently, in your reality, I smoke weed. :lol:
     
  17. TribunalRecords

    TribunalRecords Record Label(s)/Vocalist

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    small fanbase? i am not sure if you bought the limited edition of their latest two albums, but i have the version with the THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of fans who pre-ordered and had their names in the liner notes. there are pages and pages of names in tiny print. not arguing at all, mind you.

    they have tons of fans, myself being one.
    :headbang:
     
  18. AeonicSlumber

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    That's not what I said at all dude, please read my posts more carefully and I don't appreciate the potshot either. 5,000 a night is pretty much what your regular headliner bands get paid. Your Suffocations, your Vaders, your Moonspells, Katatonias etc. Bands that have been working hard to get where they are but didn't necessarily slave themselves on the road or break out as big as In Flames or Nightwish or Behemoth who make double, triple, or quadruple that. It takes alot of work to get to that point, but if music is what you love doing, you trudge through it simple as that and at the end you are able to live comfortably off your music. You don't have to be as big as Trivium or In Flames or whatever to sustain yourself, and that's all I was saying.

    Unknown opening bands would be lucky to get 150-200 bucks a night on a big tour. Doing a DIY tour, you'd be lucky to get anything at all, but as I said, you make these sacrifices if this is what you want to do. But yeah, thanks for not reading my post. I checked it for ambiguity and even I saw, in my tired 1-A.M.-needing-to-sleep state that I wrote in big caps that DIY touring should only an initial way to create buzz to get on big legit agency booked tours. So yeah...
     
  19. No Username

    No Username Member

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    <old joke> You want to know how to make a small fortune playing music? Start with a LARGE fortune! </old joke>
    Market forces rule. You gotta wake up to that fact.
    Touring costs way too much money. Stop doing it.
    As Zod says. create music and create cd's with Pro Tools, sell from web site, include t-shirts or other cool stuff with cd purchase or download.
    Feel happy you are putting something out there for the fans to enjoy.

    If the market dictates a tour (like when a promoter says he will give you 20k for 4 gigs) you then gather the band and get on a bus.

    Otherwise...get over it, or sell out. The faceless corporations have painted the small guy into a corner.
     
  20. Diabolik

    Diabolik Member

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    I am all for cd's prices being lowered. It is getting a bit crazy with the cost now. Everyone knows what it cost now to make them and I think a band / label would sell more if they were cheaper. I am more apt to try out a band if a CD is say... $9.99 instead of taking a risk at $16.99. I think a great idea for labels is to have newer acts on a different selling scale at a cheaper price to help get thier stuff out there. They know people will buy a band they already like at the normal price but a band who is newer they could sell for a cheaper rate.

    Whenever Metal Haven ( the store by me) has a sale...I will try out more bands when the CD's are at a cheaper rate. Back in the old DIY punk days where you could get an EP for 3 bucks and an LP for like 8. I would almost try anything out at that price. Sure labels and bands may just break even but I would rather break even than be at a loss.
     

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