Monthly Archives: August 2009

Indie Band Music Business | Survive or Thrive?

Whether you survive or thrive in the music business depends on the ability of any indie band to take stock on where they are right now and where they need to be. Learn more by reading this post entitled Indie Band Music Business – Survive or Thrive?

The goal of the Indie Band Alliance is to teach indie bands – some new and others not so new – the best methods to succeed and achieve their goals. I’m your coach, and while I was thinking of all the many things that I have to share, I came up with a ‘pecking order’ for ranking indie bands in a logical way. This ranking allows me to classify bands and identify the common problems that affect them at any stage of their career.

Here is a breakdown of what I feel are the different levels of indie bands, where do you fit in these rankings?

Indie Band Level 1: Intrepid or Ignorant

While these terms aren’t exactly flattering, they are appropriate. They all apply to the bottom rung of the indie band social ladder. Just because this is the bottom rung it has nothing to do with talent or experience – yes, a band will tend to start out here, but many never evolve beyond this level either. I’ll quickly define each type of band:

Intrepid – Doesn’t have all the answers but is actively seeking them out from wherever they can – online music sites, biographies of successful musicians and bands or by learning from local bands in their scene that seem to be on the right track. The best attribute of the intrepid indie band or musician is that they don’t pretend to have all the answers and are willing to learn from other sources outside of their own experience.

Ignorant – These bands don’t have a clue about how to make it – they are dreamers and partiers first and formost. They learn just enough to get by and avoid learning any more than enough to get by if they can help it. The ignornant don’t know what they don’t know, and by avoiding learning anything new (since this may be closely related to ‘work’) they’re likely to learn very little about how to succeed as a band. At best they will mimic others and get it wrong as often as they get it right, making it difficult for them to figure out what kind of action to take to progress.

Indie Band Level 2: Informed or Irritating?

An informed indie band is one that has gained knowledge and wisdom about the music business, either through first-hand experience or by being wise enough to learn from the superior experience of those that have come before. However, for whatever reason (and there are usually many) they haven’t been able to put what they know to good use. The next step for them is to take action.

Irritating – The irritating indie band knows just enough to be dangerous – but mostly to themselves. They are often irresponsible, unprofessional and burn far more bridges than they build. They’ve formed their understanding of a music career through whatever movies or tv shows they’ve watched. As a result they’re more swept up by becoming famous and living out a fantasy (sex, drugs & rock n’ roll) than having a legit career.

Indie Band Level 3: The Intelligent

An intelligent indie band is continually learning and putting what they’ve learned into action. They are informed and much more likely to act on what they know rather than make excuses. They are more likely to build up a solid following that extends beyond mere family and friends.

Indie Band Level 4: The Inspired

An Inspired Indie Band is one that operates on an entirely different level – they have a soild grasp on what they need to do and put it into action but also mix in something that makes them unique – innovation. They find a way to put their own slant on just about everything they do – giving it that ‘x factor’ that makes a viable career for bands at this level almost a certainty.

Indie Band Level 5: The Icon

Icon status is where an indie band arrives when they reach the pinnacle of their scene and beyond. This is where celebrity – at first within their own scene and extending to their state or province and on to their entire country and beyond – is possible.

So, where do you fit in this classification of indie bands? I think that its safe to assume that the vast majority of bands that aren’t making a living in music occupy the first 3 rungs, with the bulk of them divided between rungs 1 and 2. Yet those that are at level 4/Inspired and above are generally paying the bills or living well with the music they make.

My goal is to help bands towards the inspired level, and at the very least the intelligent level. However, I can’t do it all on my own – you have to be willing to act on the ideas I share – and you’ll also need the talent and drive to go along with it. I can’t help you with that stuff. If you’re looking for songwriting or music theory lessons – you’ve come to the wrong place.

So, are you willing to open your mind and learn what it takes to become an Inspired Indie Band? Or will you happily remain in the ignorant or informed (but taking not action) level?

I invite you to subscribe to this blog, sign up for my ebook and newsletter (coming soon) and open your mind to becoming the best possible indie musician that you can be.

But you have to take the first step! As always, I welcome your comments and thank you for reading this post entitled Indie Band Music Business – Survive or Thrive?