Right. Time to write something interesting and hopefully useful for the unsigned musician living in Brighton.

If you’re like me, you’ve been in a band or pushing your solo act for a few years now, waiting, hoping, praying to pop out of the musical bubble that is Brighton and have your life’s work catapulted into the arms of some important manager, label, booking agent or whatever. And then, happy days, right? Let someone else take over the work and fame will follow? Is that really what happens? Is that the end goal? Because it really shouldn’t be.

[pullquote_left]Let someone else take over the work and fame will follow? Is that really what happens? Is that the end goal? Because it really shouldn’t be.[/pullquote_left]

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]’m writing this article not to gripe and moan about how hard it is to “make it” in one of the most difficult industries around, but to encourage you to continue doing what you’re doing… and doing it independently.

DIY. And being happy about it. There are actually several advantages to this, and unsigned musicians should start seeing this position as a positive, instead of feeling bad every time someone says “wow are you still unsigned, why?” beb

Yes, I know it’s exhausting, dragging your (in my case very fucking heavy) instrument from show to show, endlessly trawling the internet to promote your gigs, trying to reach new fans whilst remaining non-spammy and genuine, and of course pouring your hard earned cash into practice sessions, travel expenses, PR and costly recording sessions.

YES, it’s extremely hard to live like this, BUT, the pay off (should you make it) will… be… amazing. I’m not necessarily talking about being tomorrow’s U2 or Coldplay (would you want to be?) but actually making a career out of something creative, and doing it without anyone’s help, is one of the most exciting things you can do with your life.

Being independent is great! Once you get past the first long hard slog (there’s about 7 more to come after that), and you slowly but surely build a fan-base, connections, a tour route and a system that works for you (and some good songs of course), then you’ve made the basis of a successful business. On your own. And you’ll be all the wiser for it too.

Yes, I think it’s great that some artists are signed early on, lucky them, but that doesn’t happen much anymore! I don’t think that there is one way to “make it” as a band, you just have to start thinking about how you can support yourself in as many different ways as possible, and then watching all those smaller payments form one big payment at the end of each month.

Music CAN be your work, your full-time work, you just have to find out which parts of it makes you the money and focus on those. For example, are you a member of the PRS? PPL?

Do you sell merchandise at your shows? Can you teach your instrument to others? Are you attending networking events? Are you touring? Seeking sponsorship? The list is endless, and you’ll find there’s so many different ways to raise funds for your project, and without needing to be signed to a label (which will take a cut of your earnings anyway!).

Once you have enough of these things going on you’ll find you’re too busy to sit and dream about a record deal… you can let it come to you… just get on with it, keep going, because no-one’s going to do it for you…

Words Mishkin

Noises from The Nest: Own It!