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Perception Vs Reality


Dancebass

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Are there bands in your area that have a reputation greater than the reality?

 

We have a pretty active music press around here, lots of options. Print media, local radio, and several active blogs with decent readership numbers. It's a pretty healthy situation for original bands overall.

 

I should be honest up front and admit that the reason this bothers me is due to my own situation. The #1 comment that my band gets from people here in town is always "man you guys are great, I can't believe I've never heard of you before, that's just crazy!!" That's a fine thing for someone to say and it does make me happy....but, to me this means there is obviously some work that needs to be done!

 

We do promote heavily and we get a decent amount of press and such, so what's the problem?? I started checking out shows from bands that get a TON of press around here. I thought, "ok I better learn something". The thing that shocked me was that many of these bands that are heavily "hyped" in the local press DO NOT have an impressive draw at all!!! WTF??

 

It didn't take me long to realize that some of these bands aren't being covered by the music press, they're being promoted by it. They have press "advocates" not just coverage. Some of these bands have been able to roll that charade into some lucrative opportunities like good out of town bookings, festival shows, record deals, etc.

 

Bitching about it seems pretty useless I suppose, just wondering if this is common.

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Yes. Every band that is more successful than me isn't as good as everyone thinks they are.
:p

 

Well of course not!! :thu:

 

Allowing for difference's in taste, leaving good or bad musicality out of the equation, some of the bands I'm thinking about are actually quite good at what they do.

 

It's just seems dumb to me that some experimental indie-niche band that pulls 30 people at an art gallery downtown gets press-blown all day while there are young emo-kids in the suburbs doing sold out two-nighters at all ages venues that hold 300 kids! The kids in berbs are pulling it off without a whisper mentioned about them.

 

I think it puts the lie to the old "build a following" course of action.

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Well of course not!!
:thu:

Allowing for difference's in taste, leaving good or bad musicality out of the equation, some of the bands I'm thinking about are actually quite good at what they do.


It's just seems dumb to me that some experimental indie-niche band that pulls 30 people at an art gallery downtown gets press-blown all day while there are young emo-kids in the suburbs doing sold out two-nighters at all ages venues that hold 300 kids! The kids in berbs are pulling it off without a whisper mentioned about them.


I think it puts the lie to the old "build a following" course of action.

 

That's something that has gone on forever and in many different areas of endeavor. People in the press will latch on to something they think is "cool" and they get tons of great press as a result. Something gets deemed as "art" while others get dismissed as "commericial". Sometimes it is the very popularity of the "commercial" act that works against them.

 

Wait until the experimental niche band starts selling out big rooms. The press will move on to something else and ignore them too.

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That's something that has gone on forever and in many different areas of endeavor. People in the press will latch on to something they think is "cool" and they get tons of great press as a result. Something gets deemed as "art" while others get dismissed as "commericial". Sometimes it is the very popularity of the "commercial" act that works against them.


Wait until the experimental niche band starts selling out big rooms. The press will move on to something else and ignore them too.

 

 

Maybe that is what I'm looking at here. It's very possible that the press believe that being seen as avant-garde is their primary purpose as apposed to reporting what's going on around town? Not too much of a stretch I guess.

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Are there bands in your area that have a reputation greater than the reality?

 

Mine.

 

We just a full page writeup in a local blues rag.

 

We're not even a blues band; at least not in the "traditional" sense of the word (we play Beatles, Tom Petty, and even a Maroon 5 song)

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Maybe that is what I'm looking at here. It's very possible that the press believe that being seen as avant-garde is their primary purpose as apposed to reporting what's going on around town? Not too much of a stretch I guess.

 

 

 

I think it's a combination of two things: 1) I do believe that a lot of these press guys think they are way cooler than everybody else and are working from the mindset of where that attitude takes them.

 

But more in their defense, 2) I think they feel it is their job to report on the lesser known stuff going on as everyone already knows about the bands filling the clubs every weekend.

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My experience with local rags has been they often times follow the path of least resistance. The closer you come to giving them a story that they have to do as little work as possible to get to print, the more likely you are to end up in it.

 

Wanna get a lot of press. Get good at writing press releases and get them to the rags. Very often they are looking for filler and will print stuff like that.

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Mine.


We just a full page writeup in a local blues rag.


We're not even a blues band; at least not in the "traditional" sense of the word (we play Beatles, Tom Petty, and even a Maroon 5 song)

 

 

Well, I'm sure your first course of action was to fire off a letter demanding that they quit giving you free publicity!!

 

It's a strange thing. I can't hold it against the bands at all, what are they suppose to do about it? They can't give it back!

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My experience with local rags has been they often times follow the path of least resistance. The closer you come to giving them a story that they have to do as little work as possible to get to print, the more likely you are to end up in it.


Wanna get a lot of press. Get good at writing press releases and get them to the rags. Very often they are looking for filler and will print stuff like that.

 

 

EXACTLY. Press can be pretty easy to guess. One thing people don't often realize is these people are often struggling to find stories to fill space and meet deadlines. Give them a story and they'll usually take it.

 

A couple of weeks ago we had a big local gig and wanted to use that gig as an opportunity to roll out a name change. So I wrote up a mock "interview" with the band and took it and a picture to the local paper. They were more than happy to run it as is.

 

Not only did I get press, but by handing the story to them, what was printed was everything I wanted them to say. No worries about being taken out-of-context, or important points being missed, etc.

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Well, I'm sure your first course of action was to fire off a letter demanding that they quit giving you free publicity!!


It's a strange thing. I can't hold it against the bands at all, what are they suppose to do about it? They can't give it back!

 

Hell no.

 

My first course of action was to ask the guitarist where I could get a copy.

 

LOL

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I think it's a combination of two things: 1) I do believe that a lot of these press guys think they are way cooler than everybody else and are working from the mindset of where that attitude takes them.


But more in their defense, 2) I think they feel it is their job to report on the lesser known stuff going on as everyone already knows about the bands filling the clubs every weekend.

 

 

I'm afraid your #1 point may be accurate. One of the examples that I love to use in order to illustrate my point involves the band Mastadon. It's just such a clear example of why I get frustrated.

 

It is extremely rare for the local press guys to cover the metal scene around here. I get it, I get it, lots of crappy metal out there. The thing that gets me is that Mastadon is a clear case of a band that did it the dirty way. They worked their balls off from the bottom to the top.

 

They NEVER got any press around here until they returned home from their THIRD national tour opening for Slayer!! THAT'S {censored}ING REDICULOUS!!! Seriously, think about that for a second? How many cities out there have a press so far up their own ass that they would fail to mention a band from their hometown during that bands first TWO tours with Slayer???? Even if they do think metal is icky! That's just assinine!

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I'm afraid your #1 point may be accurate. One of the examples that I love to use in order to illustrate my point involves the band Mastadon. It's just such a clear example of why I get frustrated.


It is extremely rare for the local press guys to cover the metal scene around here. I get it, I get it, lots of crappy metal out there. The thing that gets me is that Mastadon is a clear case of a band that did it the dirty way. They worked their balls off from the bottom to the top.


They NEVER got any press around here until they returned home from their THIRD national tour opening for Slayer!! THAT'S {censored}ING REDICULOUS!!! Seriously, think about that for a second? How many cities out there have a press so far up their own ass that they would fail to mention a band from there hometown during that bands first TWO tours with Slayer???? Even if they do think metal is icky! That's just assinine!

 

You may be leaving aside a very important factor: target audience.

 

If the target demographic of the press is not likely to be those that listen to metal, then why would you expect that they would give press to any band in that genre?

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Our town has a weekly entertainment rag. They play up some freaky alt-rock act that plays once a month to 30 people in someone's basement while ignoring or trivializing polished acts that draw consistent crowds.

 

The writeup would be "Be sure you don't miss a rare appearance by (insert name of freaky alt-rock nobodies) in the back room of Joe's Kuntry Kitchen. They will be promoting their upcoming independently produced CD, entitled "The Back Room at Joe's Kuntry Kitchen." Tickets are $5 at the door.

If you're really bored this week, check out (yawn) Sister Hazel, who will be in town (again) playing at (2,000 capacity venue)."

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"man you guys are great, I can't believe I've never heard of you before, that's just crazy!!"

 

 

 

hehehe. I get this alot, or rather did. We are making some progress but still have a long way to go it seems.

 

We pretty much do not have to prove ourselves in our hometown any more but 15-20 miles away we still do- BIG TIME.

 

We do have decent crowds when we play but nothing like some bands in our area. Some are nowhere near a good as we are (IMO) and some are way better than us.

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You may be leaving aside a very important factor: target audience.

 

 

You may have a good point here. When I think about the numerous outlets it does seem like they have tailored their coverage in a way that prevents them from competing with one another directly.

 

Maybe, that is a big part of it. My band does get coverage but it seems like we're always on the very fringe of each publications range. There is no outlet where we would be their bread and butter.

 

We seem to do better in the publications that pride themselves on having a wide range of musical tastes. The thing that pisses me off about that though is that I consider us to be relatively mainstream!

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We seem to do better in the publications that pride themselves on having a wide range of musical tastes. The thing that pisses me off about that though is that I consider us to be relatively mainstream!

 

That may indicate that something in your marketing and promotional materials is not accurately reflecting who you are and what audience you are trying to reach. :idea:

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I play ina cover band. Cover bands don't get press coverage in my area. There is a local music rag that does write about original bands.


Max

 

 

Same here no media press coverage for cover bands only for original bands and all of the original bands that has media press coverage are bands that have sponsors backing them up.

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Don't know if it's still true but in the bad old days the "music reporters" would mostly write about the bands they partied with and kept them "supplied"
:(
.

 

Well in those old days I think "supplied" meant drugs. That I could handle no problem. Unfortunately it seems "supplied" now days means butt sex.

 

I don't need press that freakin bad!!

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