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  • Musical monopoly in my home town....*rant*

    This is more a rant than a question or discussion, but I'd appreciate some advice.

    I recently found myself going back to my home town for a few days and I decided to take a look to see if there's any music clubs/jam sessions/anything remotely interesting gig-wise to go to.

    Something that really got me was the fact that this one rock music group seems to be doing the grand majority of the events. Fair enough, they organize many of their own events as any other music group does, but it seems that for even independent events, this one group gets all the attention.

    Prime example: there is ONE music recording studio in my hometown. It used to be that it was all gigs by local bands, and there was a decent amount of variety too. Then it changed hands and now this rock music group gets nearly ALL the gigs and time, and then occasionally there's some idiot 'music technology' students down there playing three-chord crap. Bearing in mind that playing at this gig venue used to be a BIG honour, it's now become a joke. I've heard some of this group's music and to be honest, it's not that good.

    In the meantime there are a couple of other music groups there in that town who would LOVE the opportunity to play live gigs, and some which are going under (or have already done so), and particularly where big gigs are involved. When I was a kid, I used to go to all sorts of gigs of different genres of music and it was great, and it's quite sad to see this happen.

    I'm really frustrated and really unsure as to what to do, or even if there's anything I can do to ensure this folk group I've joined is even going to do any sort of live gig.

    I'm sure there's people out there who want to hear more than rock music.
    Originally Posted by Motorik


    [Prog rockers are] all babes. It's like the Miss World contest, but with sudden changes of time-signature.

  • #2
    Keep playing. What else can you do?
    Video playing guitar at the beach - www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4OTqDn0JqE
    Music video - Maersk rescue from pirates, original pictures, NAVY SEAL museum - www.youtube.com/watch?v=22fJQ8t8ZY8
    Broken Hearted Surfer - Original Surf music and video featuring local Florida surfers - www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aFXhNoRhHw

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    • #3
      Phil- Usually a band gets all the attention because they have draw. If the band isn't drawing, then the gigs either wouldn't be happening or they will soon dry up. You mentioned that the band isn't that good, but ask yourself: what are they doing that is getting them so much attention? Clearly, they have some kind of angle and are doing something different; or maybe it's the fans / general public? Who knows, but your rant seems to single out rock music in general and the local "scene" without elaborating much on what they are doing right, other than self-promotion.
      Epihpone LP and Dot.
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      • #4
        Phil- Usually a band gets all the attention because they have draw. If the band isn't drawing, then the gigs either wouldn't be happening or they will soon dry up. You mentioned that the band isn't that good, but ask yourself: what are they doing that is getting them so much attention? Clearly, they have some kind of angle and are doing something different; or maybe it's the fans / general public? Who knows, but your rant seems to single out rock music in general and the local "scene" without elaborating much on what they are doing right, other than self-promotion.


        I single them out because they're essentially strangling even other rock bands. As I said in my OP, there used to be a real music scene there where you could find many different bands in a genre all doing their own thing. You could also go and listen to a wide variety of genres of music at major venues. Now to listen to something that isn't this terrible three-chord nonsense, it's like trying to join the Secret Service- it's completely hidden. And if you want to play folk/jazz/classical/anything that isn't rock then you face a massive struggle because a lot of groups have gone under from lack of gigs.

        As to WHY they're getting attention, I'll tell you why: money. They do a lot for charity fundraising (which is admirable) but it's being used as some sort of muscle for getting gigs other bands have to actually earn the hard way. Also, they have their own facilities which other bands could only dream about, including a huge recording studio/film studio. All of this is free to their members, and so they have an unfair advantage when the likes of my own band is shelling out
        Originally Posted by Motorik


        [Prog rockers are] all babes. It's like the Miss World contest, but with sudden changes of time-signature.

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        • #5
          I single them out because they're essentially strangling even other rock bands. As I said in my OP, there used to be a real music scene there where you could find many different bands in a genre all doing their own thing. You could also go and listen to a wide variety of genres of music at major venues. Now to listen to something that isn't this terrible three-chord nonsense, it's like trying to join the Secret Service- it's completely hidden. And if you want to play folk/jazz/classical/anything that isn't rock then you face a massive struggle because a lot of groups have gone under from lack of gigs.

          As to WHY they're getting attention, I'll tell you why: money. They do a lot for charity fundraising (which is admirable) but it's being used as some sort of muscle for getting gigs other bands have to actually earn the hard way. Also, they have their own facilities which other bands could only dream about, including a huge recording studio/film studio. All of this is free to their members, and so they have an unfair advantage when the likes of my own band is shelling out
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-c1JDsmREI
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPUXD...eature=related
          https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sister-Wives/37203218181
          http://www.sisterwivesband.com

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          • #6
            I agree with Lifeloverwg. At the same time, I totally condone bitching about a tough situation. Absolutely, come rant in the forum, rant in real life to your friends and family, whatever you need to do. But in the end, when that becomes tiresome and unproductive, you either have to find a way to adapt or find another outlet or market for your skills. Truth be told, it's tough. I find that very often my band has to compete with bands that have HUGE followings because they have been around upwards of 20 years, yet my band is much better but has only been gigging for like 15 months. It gets frustrating, and like you, I am not immune to bitching and whining about it. However, I have to keep at it, keep plugging away, and, as my Dad used to say when I was a kid, "You throw enough **************** up against the wall, some of it is bound to stick!"

            Just concentrate on being the best band you can be. Get your act together as good as you can and maybe learn a thing or two from them. Try booking charity gigs, benefits, and public free shows in parks if it comes to that. Anything to get you some exposure. Maybe you can get yourself into a multi-band festival with the band that is highly regarded and thus siphon off some of their fanbase to your band. I have done that as well.

            Be prepared to take some resentment! My band is playing against a bunch of bands in our genre and I can assure you that the better we get and the more of a name we build, the more of a "threat" we are seen as, and this has caused us to take some heat. Since this band has a sort of monopoly, you might be best served by being more obsequious and flattering to them. If you get to play on the same stage as them, come off like you see them as mentors and show then genuine admiration. You may get some of their spill-over gigs and they may befriend you and help you.

            I was NOT so inclined to do that with the bands who I am competing with simply because I am not playing in a market quite as closed as yours.

            Lastly, this sounds like you may be enmeshed in a very small town. If so, and you can't seem to make any headway right now, by all means GO TO OTHER TOWNS in your area. You want to know something? I live in Brooklyn and play in a Grateful Dead cover band. Brooklyn is practically where DISCO was invented! lol So do the math.

            I am not even going to try to compete against bands playing dance music. So I play very few places in Brooklyn and MOST of the places my band plays are in Long Island, sometimes pretty far out into Eastern Suffolk! One place we play in, a bar called Beau's in a town called Greenlawn, is like FIFTY miles from my house, and mind you, I live in NY City! So yeah you may have to do some traveling.

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            • #7
              If one has a product that's in demand, one will find opportunities.
              Less demand means less opportunities.
              Very simple.

              Sucks to fall out of favor, but that's life.
              If your market is showing favor to this band, then that's what your market wants.
              For cripe's sake, somebody buy that kid a freaking DICTIONARY already!

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              • #8
                One thing not mentioned here, so far, is personal repoire. Some people have a natural charm and likeable wit about them. Schmoozing comes very easy and both patrons and clubowners alike feel relaxed and at ease with these people, sometimes allowing easy access into cliques, regardless of how great their bands are or what style of music they play. These qualities actually work better for gig promotion and business than just having a good band.
                "Many (bands)have retooled with that marketing concept in mind without understanding that the party experience is supposed to be for the audience and NOT themselves" - wheresgrant3

                Still HCBF's reigning "Sexiest Forumite"....Dont hate me because Im beautiful

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                • #9
                  Curious Brit wants to know where this hometown is...
                  Guitar '98 Godin SD [SD Custom Custom @ bridge] / '98 Gordon-Smith GS1 Doublecut >> Vox AC15CC1

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                  • #10
                    If one has a product that's in demand, one will find opportunities.
                    Less demand means less opportunities.
                    Very simple.

                    Sucks to fall out of favor, but that's life.
                    If your market is showing favor to this band, then that's what your market wants.


                    . . . but there's always this nagging feeling that the market IS there if only you could figure out a way to get the word out.

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                    • #11

                      Just concentrate on being the best band you can be. Get your act together as good as you can and maybe learn a thing or two from them. Try booking charity gigs, benefits, and public free shows in parks if it comes to that. Anything to get you some exposure. Maybe you can get yourself into a multi-band festival with the band that is highly regarded and thus siphon off some of their fanbase to your band. I have done that as well.


                      problem with this, great idea as it is, is that my band is in the position of simply not being able to afford to do too many free gigs. Fair enough if we had a regular gigging schedule but this isn't happening. We need some cashflow before doing freebies is even realistic, yet alone possible.


                      Be prepared to take some resentment! My band is playing against a bunch of bands in our genre and I can assure you that the better we get and the more of a name we build, the more of a "threat" we are seen as, and this has caused us to take some heat. Since this band has a sort of monopoly, you might be best served by being more obsequious and flattering to them. If you get to play on the same stage as them, come off like you see them as mentors and show then genuine admiration. You may get some of their spill-over gigs and they may befriend you and help you.


                      I am not in the position of wanting to be pushed around by what amounts to a bunch of kids. If that is going to be the case I'll just throw my bass into the Solent and get it over and done with.

                      I've had the misfortune to actually have played music with some of these kids and they're hopeless in my view. Bassists struggle with basic chord sheets, unusual time sigs or any theory beyond major and minor scales. For me, someone who genuinely adores music theory, it was so frustrating because I played something then had to spend 10 min explaining it to them.

                      If they want a fair and open exchange of music and musicians, then fair enough, but if it's going to involve arse kissing, then to my mind it's not worth my time and especially for what amounts to leftovers.


                      I was NOT so inclined to do that with the bands who I am competing with simply because I am not playing in a market quite as closed as yours.

                      Lastly, this sounds like you may be enmeshed in a very small town. If so, and you can't seem to make any headway right now, by all means GO TO OTHER TOWNS in your area. You want to know something? I live in Brooklyn and play in a Grateful Dead cover band. Brooklyn is practically where DISCO was invented! lol So do the math.

                      I am not even going to try to compete against bands playing dance music. So I play very few places in Brooklyn and MOST of the places my band plays are in Long Island, sometimes pretty far out into Eastern Suffolk! One place we play in, a bar called Beau's in a town called Greenlawn, is like FIFTY miles from my house, and mind you, I live in NY City! So yeah you may have to do some traveling.


                      To be fair my hometown is something like an hours drive from my location where I am at now, and the only reason I go to my hometown on anything like a regular basis is for work. I pretty much chose to join this band far away.
                      Originally Posted by Motorik


                      [Prog rockers are] all babes. It's like the Miss World contest, but with sudden changes of time-signature.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Seems to me you're just describing a band that knows how to promote themselves and knows what works for them in their market...... Learn from then begin to compete or don't. I see you're in the UK, which is different from our market, but probably not all that different.


                        More like they appeal to the lowest common denominator and then blanket it in a sea of money and bought success.


                        What do you do? You adapt as best you can. My wife's band used to mainly play bars, but their following is mostly over 40 with many well into their 50s and beyond. Most bar gigs are really not a good fit for us as the start times are past our crowds bedtimes.... and most older people don't do the bar scene like they did in their 20s and 30s. This means we have to mostly look for other types of gigs or we make and promote our own. They also now play way more in the summer because they are a good fit for festivals.

                        o
                        Can't see how else I could adapt a jazz gig into anything else. My band is what it is.

                        What we do may not apply to what you want to do, but in every market you only have a few choices. Either find a way to fit inside the current box, change the current box or make a new box.

                        Winston


                        It's getting to that point where I just don't care any more. I accepted that when I began to play jazz, I was putting myself into a minority, but when even that one little place I can play and do my thing is being taken away.
                        Originally Posted by Motorik


                        [Prog rockers are] all babes. It's like the Miss World contest, but with sudden changes of time-signature.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          PhilGould, you can disagree with me if you like, and if you do I respect it, but I am someone who believes that if you have a product that is good and can compete that with the right amount of dedication, salesmanship, marketing, and development, you can eventually find a way into the market to compete. Honestly, while I understand what you're saying and I feel your frustration, if your music and your band is good enough and you are good enough at marketing, you will find a way into the market, period.

                          You know, not for anything, but there can be MANY reasons why you guys aren't competing right now or why it at least sounds to me like you are faltering. I have seen people who had a product that, to be quite honest, was simply not as good as they believed it was. Not saying that's the case with your group, but maybe it is? For musicians, our bands are like our houses in that we tend to judge them emotionally rather than objectively. When someone sells their home (not talking about a real estate investor flipping a house he doesn't care about) he or she tends to think it is worth more than it actually is because, well, it is their home. I know MANY musicians whose bands are not very good, but they are literally the last to know, and sometimes never realize it. They wonder why their bands don't get the best gigs, have the biggest crowds, and make the most money, yet they have only been a band for a year and they aren't very good! Yet somehow they think they're the ****************! Emotion, not logic. Ha, I know people who have HORRIBLE bands and they remain that way for decades!

                          Now maybe you aren't good enough to compete, even with a band who isn't that good BUT is well established. Maybe you need to be better at what you do, so much so, that it becomes obvious that you are worlds better. Sometimes a band is around so long, has all the right connections, and even though they aren't that good, still gets the name recognition. Now, if you are a very good band and (and this is important) are playing a style that people want to hear, which is to say is marketable in your area, then you will eventually get the notoriety as more and more people hear you.

                          Now if that doesn't apply to you, and I have no way of knowing if it does or doesn't, then maybe you need to do better marketing. Sounds to me like you are SO BITTER against this popular band and look down on them so much that maybe you are blinding yourself to opportunities? Maybe that isn't true either, but it is possible for all I know.

                          My point is that when something I am doing is failing, I try my best to find what I AM DOING WRONG and not look for excuses, such as "this ****************ty band has it all locked up and we don't stand a chance, so I might as well just throw my instrument out." I am sure you are not anywhere near as powerless as your last post suggests, you just haven't thought of a way to get to where you want to be yet.

                          Note: I am not saying any of the specific suggestions about you, your band, your marketing, or whatever are true, only that I believe as most successful people do: That your success depends more on what YOU are doing and not doing than it does on what your competition is doing or not doing. Sure, they may have a proverbial silver spoon in their collective mouths, BUT all you have to do is be good enough and find a way in. Eventually cream ALWAYS rises. So if your band really is the cream in my analogy then you will eventually rise.

                          While I can't say this for an absolute certainty, I can tell you that your posts read more like angry excuses than they do an honest assessment of your situation. Now maybe I am wrong about this, but I can only tell you how I am reading what you're saying, not the absolute truth behind your posts.

                          Think about it.

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                          • #14
                            Is there any way to just go to a place other than there and do your thing? Coffee Shops, House Party, **************** it your own garage. Maybe do them for free, you could sell off things like make your own shirts, sell some food or other little trinkets. Maybe some cd's or vinyl you have lying around? I know you said you need cashflow but that is not something you can really guarantee at the beginning as i'm sure you know. You need exposure and i say you turn your shoulder on this rock group and just do your thing. I understand how frustrating your situation is and that this might not be a solution but it is just a start to some alternatives.
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                            • #15
                              Jazz is not economically viable in anything but major metropolitan areas. It's not popular enough anymore.

                              It does, however, still have some cachet, and if this band you complain about is playing jazz, then they have done a very cagey thing by aligning themselves with philanthropic stuff. Often for events people want a jazz band because it's considered sophisticated, but not necessarily because they like (or even understand) the music itself. Jazz tends to be mellower and works well as background music for events with another focus.

                              So by being tied in with the community that puts on events like that, these guys have made themselves the first-call group when somebody needs a band to add a bit of lustre to an event. But, that doesn't mean that there's actually a market out there for the music on its own merits. It sounds like you want your music to be appreciated on that level. I fear you will need to go to the big city for that to happen, or else resign yourself to infrequent gig opportunities for low/no pay.
                              My band: www.dec8de.com

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