All too often, artists say their goal is to “be famous” and on the cover of Rolling Stone or another magazine.
When really, what the artist wants at heart is to make music for the rest of their life without working a day job that sucks their soul.
You don’t need to be famous to meet reasonable goals in music.
If you can convince just 1000 fans to pay you $5 a month for your content, you’ll be earning $60,000 per year! Obviously, that doesn’t factor in business expenses but it’s a great figure to start with.
Listen now to learn more about the lie of fame, as well as four other detrimental lies that are commonly spread in the music community.
What you’ll learn:
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Nine Mistakes Most Bands Make During Their Careers
The Six Figure Home Studio Podcast
Welcome to Episode 33 of the Bandhive podcast.
It is time for another episode of the Bandhive podcast. My name is James Cross, and I'm here with Aaron Gingras of Suburban Samurai. Quick side notice. Matt will be back as soon as possible, but he's got a kid on the way.
Congratulations, Matt. So he will be back when he's ready. But right now he's swamp preparing for kid number two. So good for you, Matt. Congratulations. We look forward to having you back, hopefully on the next episode. But if not the next one, the one after that. In the meantime. Erin, how are you doing, man? It's only been an episode or two, but I've missed odd number episode, so I think we're on number 33. It's good to be back on an odd number. It feels more like the natural flow of things.
So maybe this is just our correction. Get back into the regular order and hit the ground running again and go back to evens for Matt and odds for you. So aside from missing the odd numbered episodes, what's new in your life? Oh, man, here's a totally non music factoid for you. I guess I grind my teeth when I sleep because I kid you not the other day I woke up and part of my teeth was missing and I did not remember being punched in the face. My mouth moved in such a way in my sleep that I broke part of my front two teeth off.
So, thankfully, wherever we do go these days, not many places, not often, but I'm wearing a mask. So nobody would have known if I didn't tell our listeners. But, yeah, I broke a tooth and I'm trying to figure out how to get I gotta ask. First of all, you said two front teeth. So is it 1232? Well, just because I got to say if it was your two front teeth, I would have known what to get you for Christmas. That being said, I think it's gonna be a bear to get that tooth fixed.
Yes, there it is. Aaron basically dared me to make that pun e split the second one in there, too. With the Chipmunks Peng. So there we dio I got a chipmunk spun and a bear tooth pun in there So I'm up to and Oh, for puns being awful. I'm glad to hear you're okay. Aside from chipping a tooth, that definitely doesn't sound fun. But here's to having a new front tooth and not having to wait till December for that tooth to be fixed. Yes, Santa Claus And got nothing on Middlebury Dental.
Very nice. Very nice. Not a paid sponsorship for the record. Eso for this episode Aaron, I see you have a great outline here. I'm stoked because we had a great reaction. Thio Episode 29 nine Mistakes most bands make during their careers. And it seemed like a lot of people really kind of resonated with that. And so we have something similar that you came up with, which is five music lies. Do you want to tell us a little bit about the mindset behind this before we jump right into number one.
Yeah, so five music lies, as you said, similar to the Nine Mistakes episode. But rather than specific things you might do is a band member or a musician, these air all more 10,000 ft broad stroke industry level. Or they tackle some of the maybe urban myths of the music business. A couple of these air? Probably. It's something you heard about when you were growing up in starting to play music in your early teens. Those sorts of things and the first one I am directly and purposefully targeting because I've got a beef with point number one.
It's the word famous. I have a personal beef with the word famous. It sounds funny. Sounds silly, but actually I am quite serious when you think about it, the word famous. I think it is a really great job of separating people from one another. And again, this entire point is totally my personal point of view. So in no way shape or form absolute truth. But hopefully you hear a couple of points of logic that you haven't run into before, but yes, so one. The word in my opinion separates people from one another.
It creates like an US versus them environment. It lends itself to glorifying a lot of behavior, which really shouldn't be glorified. Or at best it skips over Ah, lot of the detail on the nuances of the hard work that goes into the business. And again that could be business that somebody's manager knocks out. Or it could be the artists themselves again. One of my opinions about the word famous is arguably it plants a subconscious notion in your head that somehow they're better or they didn't start out right where you are that there's somehow fundamentally different and untouchable when that's not the case.
Obviously, we should know that a lot of people who are recognized for their talent are recognized for their talent for a reason. You know they are amazing or they have. That X factor also should point out that, you know, while there are many artists that have ah, head start with regard or respect to their economic or social status or boost from their family, you know, basically hey, somebody's got rich parents. That's how they did it. That's the way a lot of people are able to do what they do.
They don't have some of the hurdles that you or I might have. And some people. Lot of people have hurdles that I don't even have to deal with. But many don't and many, many people, many artists who you and I have both heard of probably have a much more difficult time day to day than than you are, I realized. And maybe that's sort of in a weird way illustrates another thing. They're talented at that. They kind of make something that's super difficult. Look so easy again. It's subjective.
That's kind of my favorite point under this. First point is, they're wildly successful artists throughout the world who you just you've never heard off and a cool way to think of that would be pick your favorite band again just because I'm I'm from the US, you know, pick your favorite band from the U. S. Chances are, if you go halfway around the world, the people walking around on the street over there may not have heard of that band. So famous is like a totally subjective term, as is successful.
That's another point for another episode, but it's it's a word that means different things to different people and often in the Western world. It's usually Hey, they've been on the cover of Revolver or some popular website or, you know, television show. And the last point that I wanna make under this bullet is while it's valuable, and it's a smart thing to always want to strive to do better. I don't think you should ever forget that. There's an industry tail that's like a mile long. Basically, what that means is, you know there's a minority of hyper successful artists.
Jennifer Lopez is the Mariah Carey's, the YouTube, Nickelback, Taylor Swift, those people. And then there's an entire sort of middle class. The range of that is enormous. Um, and a lot of seriously successful pop artists who have been on SNL who have toured the world probably lives somewhere within that middle range, as do bans, who do really well on work tour but have never made it past that point there, the king of their castle on a festival to her. But they just you know, they can't really hold their own in arena or a theater or a large club tour.
And then there are bands. Who are you know lower Middle who either I may never have heard of them, and we may go the rest of our lives without ever hearing of them. But they do okay with what they dio, and it's either enough to support them financially if that's what they're after, or it keeps them busy or they're recognized in some other light. And then, of course, you know they're the people who are working towards either one of those two things to recap. Don't ever not strive to do better.
But it's important to realize that the people that we typically see on TV are hyper successful, and that does happen to people every now and then on. But it does take a lot of hard work, but it's much more realistic to envision yourself in sort of that middle class. And again, that's not in any way, shape or form referencing socioeconomic class. That's just the middle class of musician in terms of either net worth within the industry or the size of somebody's network or popularity at any given time.
So those air a few of the reasons, James, Why I hate the word famous. It's missing. There's so many reasons there to really dig into, and I feel like we could do a whole episode about this. But I just want to add how many people here listening have heard of the band. Pomp Lemus. How many people here have heard of the band? Postmodern jukebox? My guess would be probably between a quarter to a half of the people listening. No, those bands. How many people have heard of patryan?
Probably everyone. Well, guess who started Patryan! The singer of Pomp, Lemus, Jack Conte, Pomp. Lemus was making bank basically doing a subscription model, and he said, Hey, you know, I want to open this up to all artists And he was already making a living full time, doing what they were doing with Pomp. Lemus. And now he's one of the richest musicians out there because he owns patryan or at least owns part of Patryan. He might have sold parts of it off. I'm sure he did. And then Postmodern jukebox, their band, who does like early 19 hundreds, I think 19 twenties, 19 thirties style big band jazz covers of modern hits.
They tour nationwide not right now, but when there's no pandemic, they tour nationwide and again, that's how they make their living. Those are two bands that do really well that have a very niche following, and I would not be surprised, and I can't say for sure if they are followers of the 1000 True Fans model. It really would not surprise me if they are. We've talked about it in the past. We probably should do an entire episode about it in the future. But for right now we're going to move on to Bullet Point number two, which is, Ah, very divisive topic amongst local bands, especially pay to play.
And by now, I think probably about 75% of the people listening either have tuned out already or are screaming during their commute and look like they have road rage to anyone who's around them. But they're just screaming because pay to play is so awful. Here's the thing. We're not talking about pay to play in the sense of paying to be on a show with five other local bands at some dingy bar. That's probably not a good opportunity for pay to play, but there are times when a larger band will offer slots on their tour as a buy in.
Whoever opens the tour has to pay, and that's really an investment. If it makes sense for you and your band, it could be worth it. It could be awful, but it could be worth it personally. If I were to ever negotiate a contract for that, I would make sure that certain sales goals are met for each show. And if they aren't that, at least some of the feet would be refunded. So if it's, you know, 1000 cap room, then you say, Hey, like we need at least 800 people to show up or it's not worth it for us.
For every 100 people, less than 800 knock 10% off of what we're paying or something like that. But it also could be a local thing. If the right club offers a deal for Ah summer concert series or even one show, then it's possible that it would work. If, for example, you are a but rock band, it sounds like Nickelback and Nickelback is playing, and the venue, for some reason, is a medium sized club of like 800 cap that Nickelback is playing like Yo this show is going to sell out. We only have one opening slot.
It's gonna cost you 500 bucks to play. Well, if you sound like Nickelback and you're actually gonna play a show, that's good enough. That might be worth it for you. You might be ableto wow, so many people. If there are 800 Nickelback fans there and they love your music well, guess what? You might sell more than that in merch and make that up already. You know, Erin, you mentioned work toward a few minutes ago when we were talking about famous. There are bands who sell $20,000 or more in merch on a single day of work tour.
That's $1 per head like if you think about Warped tour. Typically, the biggest shows about 20,000, like they have some bigger ones, but they're also much smaller ones that are like 8 to 12,000. So if you're doing 20,000 and let's just ballpark it and say there's 20,000 people there, that's a $1 per head that's not so bad at all. That's quite decent, actually, and especially to sort of drive that same point a little further, whether it's the Warp Tour Festival or the Nickelback show thing, like whatever it is that you're thinking of when we're talking about this.
If that's a local show, there is the potential for that opportunity to continue to pay dividends into the future. If it's a local show and you have, ah, certain percentage of the audience totally dig what you're doing, they might all come to your show at the other place down the street 10 weeks from now. And you wouldn't have had, uh, that growth in your fan base if you didn't do whatever you need to do to get on this show. And also it doesn't even need to be a by to get in on the Nickelback show.
It could be you buy in to an opportunity to play at You're nice local club with other local bands, and I could say this gets it any number of topics we've already discussed in past episodes, but for whatever reason, if you wind up blowing the club away, you could be invited back to perform on a bill at a later date and not have to buy in. To be honest, I did that with my high school band, I totally broke the rule I paid to play. There's a very nice club in Burlington, and it's not even his black and white is paid to play.
But it was, you know, you gotta pre buy something dumb, like 10 tickets. That was basically nothing. But that was the venues way to try to generate some sort of interest, some sort of bar sales on You know, this slow night they were probably on Sunday or Monday is to be honest, I don't remember. But that was one way I developed a relationship with a few of the people at that space. And even to this day, I don't keep in regular contact with the people. But the names of the specific individuals who I dealt with they've been there forever.
I think they're still there, and I recognized their names anywhere that I see them, whether they're attached to the club's name or not. And I have developed somewhat of ah relationship, at least at some point, probably back in my years in college, I established a connection of relationship, I guess, is what I'm trying to get at, and I'm not gonna lie and say That didn't help me get out in a couple of shows that it did its valuable There is value to stakeholders or the people who stand in front of the door and decide whether to let you in or not.
There is value in those sorts of people knowing if you're willing to bust your butt or not. I'm not ashamed to say I probably paid 75 bucks to pre by a couple of tickets when I was like 16 years old. But the benefits from that far exceeded that initial purchase price about the return on investment. That's really what it comes down to. Yeah, and to sort of touch on your first point in this. This is not a place that was back alley like red light in the bathroom or something like.
There is a difference between ah, promoter trying to take advantage of people with really white eyes and local businesses trying Thio explore a number of different models to kind of keep busy on their down. Absolutely. I know exactly the venue you're talking about and like you said yet to pre buy tickets, that means you get to resell the tickets for basically whatever price you want. You can give them to your friends, or you can sell them at face value. You can sell them at the discounted value because I'm pretty sure there's like a slight discount when you pretty by them as a band, so you can actually make a little money on it if you get it selling them.
That's the kind of situation where it's good. If some local promoters like, Yeah, it's gonna be 50 bucks to play the show and you're not going to get paid. I probably wouldn't do that. That would not be a good deal. Moving on, Let's hit up Number three. Erin Number three is the lie, that copyright isn't necessary or that it's difficult and complicated to do copyrights. One of those things where the rabbit hole will go, Aziz deepens. You want to go? But at the end of the day, just to take a few hours, educate yourself.
You literally create a profile within the online copyright system. There's a little bit of reading to be done, but it really just takes a few hours and then you're caught up. You're up to speed. You upload your songs. I'm not gonna lie. You do then wait like 6 to 9 months to get your certificate in the mail. But then it's done. So point being the lie would be the copyright isn't necessary or that it's hard, and my argument would be that, yes, it is necessary. And, no, it's not difficult.
It's a very quick process. Like I just said, 75% of the time is just you sort of learning the system. It's an online system. You could always be better, but it's not difficult to use. It's not difficult to figure out you're just gonna have to sit there and do it. That's important to note that the mail it teacher self trick doesn't know that the poor man's copyright. Yeah, 15 years from now, I'm sure nobody's like that's gonna be even less applicable than it is today because people usedto male themselves like cassettes or CDs or whatever, like physical medium of their art that they had.
And in the case of music, I think it will become less applicable because, like I don't know, everything's becoming digital, but point being the mail it to yourself. Trick does not hold up. Basically, if you're serious about what you do, do it. It's a good investment while your work of art is copyrighted automatically from the point it's created and after it's fixed in a tangible form. So if it's written down or if you have a sound recording of it or a drawing if it's a drawing or Poland, whatever registration with the copyright office is really just official rubber stamp.
That's nice toe have and allows you to file a suit against somebody Should you catch anybody stealing your art and using it in a way that isn't permitted or passing it off as their own? We should point out that you know, we're quite often dealing with two copyrights. There's one P a copyright because the song exists, and then you'd probably have a sound recording copyright as well. If you not the label or your manager could own the sound recording but somebody who chooses to cover your song, they could also own their own sound recording.
So that's where the alcohol gets a little deeper and it gets just a little more complicated. But typically, if you're copyrighting your own work for the 1st 2nd or millionth time You're dealing with two copyrights and again the process couldn't be simpler. Yeah, I agree. It's so important. And this is another thing we could do a whole episode on and in fact was gonna be my suggested topic until you brought up this list. So I'm really glad you brought this up. You know, I took a whole semester long course about copyright when I was in college, and that's just barely dipping my toes in the water.
I'm not an expert. I'm not a lawyer. At some point, we will have an entire episode basically a crash course about copyright with a disclaimer that we aren't Attorneys were not experts. We just know the common sense stuff and the information presented by the Library of Congress. So what we're telling you here is the information that's publicly available. But if there's any type of nuanced situation that you're unsure of, please, please, please, please, please just ask a lawyer because that's the Onley way, to be sure. And even then, you can't necessarily be sure because lawyers do make mistakes, too.
It's their job not to, but it happens. Everyone makes mistakes. So on that note Bullet Point number four with this totally unplanned segue just happening by luck is there's no right or wrong way to do anything that does not necessarily apply to coffee rights and legal advice. The right way to do that is always to ask an attorney, but for pretty much anything else, it's just not true. Whatever works for you is whatever works. That's the best method. As long as you are not impacting other people negatively.
Do what you have to do to succeed, and that's the best method for you. Whatever gets the best results for you without hurting anyone else. So even though we give a ton of advice on this podcast, most of it, as I like to call it, stolen from the six figure home studio podcast. What they call it is an advice buffet. You get to pick and choose what advice you're going to take based on what makes sense now. That's not to say you shouldn't listen to stuff that doesn't seem to make sense, because maybe if you try it, it'll make a lot of sense.
But that means if you try it and it doesn't work, then maybe it's not the right thing for you, and that's totally fine. The music industry is not cookie cutter. Each band is gonna have their own unique needs or solo artists or whoever. When it comes down to deciding what you want to do. You should always have a trusted source to go to and get advice, whether that's us or another podcast or a friend who's in a band whose, like just one step above you or somebody else who's not even in a band.
But they just have been so invested in the music industry that they know what's going on. They're gonna be able to help. You kind of shape your career to get where you want to be, and it's gonna take a lot of time and effort, and that is something that's gonna be for everyone really is. You have to put in a lot of work, but for most things however you do, it is the right way to do it. And that's actually the perfect segue to the final point.
Super short and quick, but to kind of tie into what you were just talking about. The final lie we want to cover is that anybody will care more about what you are doing than you. Absolutely not true. There's no situation where somebody will come and scoop you up and deliver you to a place where you'll find all your dreams have come true and you need not to apply yourself or learn new things anymore. I wish that was the thing, but it's not. It's a point being nobody's going to care more about what you're doing than you.
And the easiest way to do something is just to do it. And that ties right back into it, ear, saying, James, give something a shot short of anything close to the world of what may be considered law. There's an awful lot out there with no right or wrong answer. So get out there, try something. If it works, great. If it doesn't, nobody's going to know what your success feels like better than you. A t end of the day. We just wanna make sure that you walk away from what you're doing.
Feeling good. That's the most important point that I think we want to drive home. That does it for another episode of the Bandhive podcast. Thank you so much for listening. If you aren't already a member, please join us in the Bandhive Facebook Group. You can find it by going to Bandhive dot rocks slash group or by searching for us on Facebook. Once you're in there, let us know what your biggest music lie is. What have you found is the biggest untruth that you believed and now do not.
We'd love to hear your thoughts on this, and we look forward to welcoming you to the community. We'll be back with another new episode next Tuesday at 6 a.m. Eastern time. And of course, in the meantime, as always, keep rockin.
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