Trent Reznor offers advice to new musicians and DiS gives away tickets so you can catch the final Nine Inch Nails UK headline dates.
If there was a DiS awards, Trent Reznor would win our "Most gay for..." prize every year. It's for this reason and many others, that we don't have an awards show. But the point still stands, the man is a living legend whose not only an alt- icon of this and the last decade but he's also one of the most 'on it' musicians when it comes to what the fans want, how people consume music and what the music industry of the future might be like. He shows us by doing it.
Oh BOOER, like Radiohead, he's a major established artist, it's alright for him, what about my band The Reprobates and our hopes of a career now that all music is free? Well, Trent has pondered this too and shared his thoughts, as a retort to new bands on their messageboard.
These are the best bits advice from his post:
Establish your goals. What are you trying to do / accomplish? If you are looking for mainstream super-success (think Lady GaGa, Coldplay, U2, Justin Timberlake) - your best bet in my opinion is to look at major labels and prepare to share all revenue streams / creative control / music ownership. To reach that kind of critical mass these days your need old-school marketing muscle and that only comes from major labels. Good luck with that one.
If you're forging your own path, read on.
Give your music away as high-quality DRM-free MP3s. Collect people's email info in exchange (which means having the infrastructure to do so) and start building your database of potential customers. Then, offer a variety of premium packages for sale and make them limited editions / scarce goods. Base the price and amount available on what you think you can sell. Make the packages special - make them by hand, sign them, make them unique, make them something YOU would want to have as a fan. Make a premium download available that includes high-resolution versions (for sale at a reasonable price) and include the download as something immediately available with any physical purchase. Sell T-shirts. Sell buttons, posters... whatever.
Use TuneCore to get your music everywhere.
The point is this: music IS free whether you want to believe that or not. Every piece of music you can think of is available free right now a click away. This is a fact - it sucks as the musician BUT THAT'S THE WAY IT IS (for now). So... have the public get what they want FROM YOU instead of a torrent site and garner good will in the process (plus build your database).
...Constantly update your site with content - pictures, blogs, whatever. Give people a reason to return to your site all the time. Put up a bulletin board and start a community. Engage your fans (with caution!) Make cheap videos. Film yourself talking. Play shows. Make interesting things. Get a Twitter account. Be interesting. Be real. Submit your music to blogs that may be interested. NEVER CHASE TRENDS. Utilize the multitude of tools available to you for very little cost of any - Flickr / YouTube / Vimeo / SoundCloud / Twitter etc.
If you don't know anything about new media or how people communicate these days, none of this will work. The role of an independent musician these days requires a mastery of first hand use of these tools. If you don't get it - find someone who does to do this for you. If you are waiting around for the phone to ring or that A & R guy to show up at your gig - good luck, you're going to be waiting a while.
If you wish to respond or read the full unedited post you'll find here on the NiN messageboard
Right then, wanna see Trent and his crew in action? We've got a pair of tickets to give away to see Nine Inch Nails at Manchester MEN on the 14th July and another pair for the London 02 on the 15th July. For a chance to win, comment below with your suggestions and advice for new bands and we'll pick entries at random. It could be examples of things bands have done that you've liked, things bands/labels do that you really don't like, links to articles to read or simply an idea that you're stunned no-one has tried yet. Oh and please include the city you'd prefer to see NiN in, in the subject of your post. Good luck.