Used to be you practiced in your parents’ garage, got gigs and eventually recorded. The recording was the icing on the cake.
Now it’s reversed.
Now you record first, and you may never ever play a gig.
First and foremost because there’s nowhere to play.
Second, no one wants to pay.
Third, no one wants to hear you be lousy.
So today, if you want to make it, buy a Pro Tools rig and not only figure out how it works, spend endless hours perfecting your recordings (after taking endless hours to write your songs!)
This is the opposite of everything you’ve been told to do. Not only did you have to establish a live base, supposed professionals said they could hear through a demo, it didn’t need to be perfect. Now if the recording isn’t close to perfect, forget it.
I know this is confounding, with all the money now on the road as opposed to in records, but that’s only for the well-established. If you’re just breaking in, it’s about recordings. As for live gigs, most of today’s breakthrough acts don’t play that much anyway. The Beatles did 1,000 gigs before most people heard of them, today most acts don’t even do 1,000 gigs in their career!
Of course there are exceptions, like the Alabama Shakes.
But the exceptions don’t make the rules.
Make your recordings. Pass them around amongst your friends. See if they catch fire. If they don’t, go home and make more.
As for spamming so called “filters” with your MP3s, it’s a waste of time. Filters want to see virality. They want to hear about your music from multiple uninvested (i.e. not related, not your mother or brother) sources. They want to feel the buzz.
Of course, it’s so easy to record that you’re now competing against millions. So whereas you used to be able to be a mediocre cover band and be known throughout your town, now you have to be truly exceptional or no one notices. You’ve got to cut the latest “Call Me Maybe” or close.
Anybody who tells you to build a rep on the road is clueless as to how hard, almost impossible it is.
Major labels want insurance. They want hit songs and a live base and a huge fan club. Do you know how many acts can slip through that sieve? A handful.
But you can beat the system.
By creating one great track.
That’s all Carly Rae Jepsen had.
That’s all PSY had.
And sure, they paid their dues, these were not their first tracks. So don’t expect your first tracks to break through either. Hell, Carly Rae Jepsen is 27 and PSY is gonna be 35 at the end of the month!