#1
Has anyone, small or large, done this? My band's has, specifically formed to 'sell out' as soon as we possibly can.

I don't think it's a bad thing if your ultimate goal is to make a lot of money. As a pure business proposal, your band has a product that some major label wants to sell. In my eyes, that's what it comes down to. But then again, the band I'm in isn't trying to change the face of music.

I completely respect the emotions, passion, and effort in making a difference in the music scene. Even though my band pours our emotions and shows passion in our music, with each part of a song we write we ask ourselves, "Will this sell?"

So are there any bands out there that made it anywhere selling themselves right off the bat to a big label?
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#2
Well cover bands are pretty much that structure (with the exception of labels).

Otherwise if you're trying to get signed as an originals band you have as much chance as the next guy.
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#3
honestly everyone is kind of selling to a lable... I mean most people in a band would like to be able to make a living off of it. like alan said, selling out is exactly what a cover band does, just with out the label.

also I just wanna point out that even if you are writing music that sounds exactly like the things they play on the radio, you stand no more or less of a chance to get signed than the band just making music that they like. case and point I've seen several bands that have the radio friendly sound but have been trying to get signed for the last like four or five years.
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#4
Anything will sell, it's just a matter of finding the right market to sell it in.
And that's what most bands do, even if they regard themseves as the most original and innovative band around, they still usualy wish to become well known for what they do, so they obviously want to sell as much of their product as possible.
There are lots and lots and lots of people who like innovative and original bands, so just being original and innovative is automaticaly setting yourself up for that particular market, just as playing more commercial stuff is.

It beats me how bands that were once hailed as inovators can later be called 'sellouts' simply for becoming popular playing the same music that made them inovators, but that's what often happens, so what does this tell us?

It basicaly tells us that those who accuse others of selling out are often talking out of their arse.
#5
Quote by SlackerBabbath
It basicaly tells us that those who accuse others of selling out are often talking out of their arse.


The whole stereotypical concept of "selling out" is flawed in itself anyway. A record label wouldn't sign a band if they didn't have the sound they were looking for.

So you'll NEVER get the situation where Mr Evil Record Company approaches brutalz band and goes "we want to sign you, but you have to make your music more radio friendly", instead the record company simply signs a different band that already has a "radio friendly" sound.
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#6
Quote by AlanHB
So you'll NEVER get the situation where Mr Evil Record Company approaches brutalz band and goes "we want to sign you, but you have to make your music more radio friendly", instead the record company simply signs a different band that already has a "radio friendly" sound.


You are right; now, you won't see that. But the idea persists because it used to be that this was quite common. Just look at End of the Century by the Ramones and compare it to their first four albums. Eventually, the labels just got smart enough to not sign bands they didn't like.
Actually, I go by Dave, but there are already too many Daves on this forum.


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#7
If you're ultimate goal is to make money then you should just find another business model, you'll be better off.
#8
Quote by kangaxxter
You are right; now, you won't see that. But the idea persists because it used to be that this was quite common. Just look at End of the Century by the Ramones and compare it to their first four albums. Eventually, the labels just got smart enough to not sign bands they didn't like.


I'm not sure what your point is. The Ramones were signed because they were a punk band at the time when punk was getting really popular. Phil Spector produced that album you are referring to, as the Ramones liked his work with The Beatles and The Beach Boys, and you're surprised that the band doesn't sound like the stripped down original album?
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#9
Bad? No, not if you only want to make money. Anti-musical and unartistic? Yes, absolutely.

Although the competition is REALLY fierce in this "industry". Sorry to say it but the chances of you becoming really famous are low.
#10
Quote by Sóknardalr
Bad? No, not if you only want to make money. Anti-musical and unartistic? Yes, absolutely.

Although the competition is REALLY fierce in this "industry". Sorry to say it but the chances of you becoming really famous are low.


The chances of becoming REALLY famous has always been low and it always will be, it's the law of averages, only a small percentage of us will ever achieve 'fame'. So no matter what sort of music you play or how good you are at it, it's basically still a lottery, but the chances of being able to make a comfortable living from it is quite high, provided you are prepared to put the work in.
Same as any other business really.
Last edited by SlackerBabbath at May 10, 2011,
#11
Quote by pandora_grunt
I think you forget one step. You shouldn't be doing this to make a lot of money as the ultimate goal. I wanna get famous to get a lot of money so I can give the shows I want, and reach the ridiculous amount of people I dream of. But doing it for the money shouldn't be a goal IMHO.


Have you seen the documentary "Dig!"? Upon watching that or moving out of your parents house you'll realise how foolish your statement is.
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#12


Have you seen the documentary "Dig!"? Upon watching that or moving out of your parents house you'll realise how foolish your statement is.


That's a bit unnecessary, isn't it? I mean, if getting rich simply to have fistfuls of money lying around for use as tissues or whatever is your thing, fair enough, but there's no need to attack people for thinking of money merely as a means to an end. He's not saying 'it's all about the art, maaaaan, it shouldn't matter if anyone else likes it, as long as you do' or something.

TS - if you want to use music as a way to make money, a cover band or a tribute act is the way, in all honesty. If you're hoping to start an originals band that gets massive and makes all the members ludicrously rich, well, it doesn't matter too much whether you're trying to 'sell out' or not (I assume you merely mean 'play the most commercial music'?).

Music fashions change, and can change quite fast - you're as likely to end up on MTV by exploring the next wave of popular music as you are by trying to play what's common now (as a lot of glam metal bands found out when grunge hit: as a lot of alternative rock bands found out when Britpop and indie started getting big).

Obviously, commercial awareness is important, no matter what sort of music you're playing - refusing to release on anything but vinyl will not get you very far, for example. Refusing to support a bigger act because you don't like them will be a problem. But it's not enough on its own to get you a single hit, let alone several.
#13
Quote by pandora_grunt
But doing it for the money shouldn't be a goal IMHO.


Perhaps you missed the word "only" in this sentence, but money should always be a goal. Without money you can't live, regardless of how hard you put effort into something.

For gigs, try to get whatever cash you can, whether it be from the venue or tips or sales.

If you make an EP, you sell it for cash. You mayn't make all the money back that it cost to make the EP, but ideally you want it to at least even out so that you don't get left struggling to pay rent.

If you make no money and constantly run at a debt, sooner or later you're not going to be able to play anymore - some sort of payoff is required, and this is cash. Alternatively, if you don't enjoy yourself, but you still get cash, you're simply in a position where you don't enjoy your job, and that's not a unique position to be in.

I can give an example. I refuse to play house parties without upfront payment, regardless of a band. Whilst it may seem like a "fun" idea to have a band at your party, quite often you can be stuck alone in a room by yourself, effectively having an extended practice session. So instead of wasting time by yourself on a saturday night, you get paid instead. At $100/hr it can go towards recording costs. Easy. If you don't get paid, it's just a waste of time, and you're wondering what you're doing.

Regardless of that the documentary "Dig!" follows two indie bands who are practically in the same position at the start of the movie, which spans over 7 years or so. One band is doing it "for the music, not money" and refuses to "sell out", whilst the other band is co-operative with record labels and are willing to play their game. You watch the bands as their careers develop over the movie. It's a pretty funny movie, but are must-watch viewing for those who refuse to consider money along the way.
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#14
The best argument I've ever heard came from a band onstage (Reggae band called the Easy-Star All-Stars). They had a break between songs, and came out and said 'I hope you're all having a great time, we're loving being here, it's so great playing to all of you, if we could we'd do it for free all the time...until then, the merch table is over there'.

This would tend to be my attitude - musicians need to eat, deserve to get paid for their work, shouldn't need to be sleeping on people's floors in order to tour, should be able to get new gear and have homes and such. It's the groups who continue seeking to make big profits once they've already pretty rich that many people find objectionable.
#15
Yeah, I see no reason why a person shouldn't get paid for doing a job that they happen to enjoy.
I know a carpenter who enjoys his work, but I wouldn't expect him to do it for free because of that.
#16
Quote by AlanHB
The whole stereotypical concept of "selling out" is flawed in itself anyway. A record label wouldn't sign a band if they didn't have the sound they were looking for.

So you'll NEVER get the situation where Mr Evil Record Company approaches brutalz band and goes "we want to sign you, but you have to make your music more radio friendly", instead the record company simply signs a different band that already has a "radio friendly" sound.


Not entirely true.. I was talking to label reps for Atlantic and EMI last month while they were up here for a showcase, and they both said that they have and do sign bands and change their style or sound or whatever.
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#17
Quote by Zycho
If you're ultimate goal is to make money then you should just find another business model, you'll be better off.


People do it all the time nowadays....
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#18
Quote by Punkrokkboi
Not entirely true.. I was talking to label reps for Atlantic and EMI last month while they were up here for a showcase, and they both said that they have and do sign bands and change their style or sound or whatever.


Examples? No names? What are the reps doing changing bands sounds? Isn't that the producer's job?
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#19
Quote by Metallicuh
People do it all the time nowadays....


People do what? If you mean people change their business models, yeah that definitely does happen alot.

If you mean people make bands designed to sell out, yeah that happens alot too. However, it's not a very good way of making money. There are alot of business ventures that would yield more money and require less effort.
#20
Quote by AlanHB
Examples? No names? What are the reps doing changing bands sounds? Isn't that the producer's job?


They did give examples, but I didnt pay enough attention to the band names lol. There were a few cases of them changing the bands look.
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#21
Quote by Punkrokkboi
There were a few cases of them changing the bands look.


Pfft. Well their job is to market the image of the band anyway :P

Got a punk band? Punk not in? Oh well lets dye their hair black and now they're emo. What my rapper wears jeans and a singlet? Good start. Now lets put a backwards cap on him and some bling, yep he looks a lot cooler now. I'm going to call him Bling Boy.
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#22
Quote by StillSoundRG
Has anyone, small or large, done this? My band's has, specifically formed to 'sell out' as soon as we possibly can.

I don't think it's a bad thing if your ultimate goal is to make a lot of money. As a pure business proposal, your band has a product that some major label wants to sell. In my eyes, that's what it comes down to. But then again, the band I'm in isn't trying to change the face of music.

I completely respect the emotions, passion, and effort in making a difference in the music scene. Even though my band pours our emotions and shows passion in our music, with each part of a song we write we ask ourselves, "Will this sell?"

So are there any bands out there that made it anywhere selling themselves right off the bat to a big label?


My band recruited a singer who had integrated this this train of thought into the group. Suddenly we had a manager, contracts, industry connections, etc. We had every opportunity to sell good records. Problem was that we didn't sell. Shitty situation, our gigs were lame and our songs had no substance. We broke up after a year and aside from being a relevant learning experience, it was mostly a bad time.

I can dig that you want to make money off of your music, but you are going about it the wrong way.

First off, you don't make money off labels, they make money off of you. So think about why you want to get signed so bad...

A record label is like a bank, if you don't have any money, you take a loan out. Everything is good as long as you repay the loan back and it is an investment on the bank's part. A label works exactly the same way. A label hooks you up with industry contacts that you can't get on your own. A label invests their time and money into your band for the sole purpose of selling records. Everything is formulated. Things like building up an image, booking shows across the country, promo, pics, videos, recording studios, merchandising, etc. are all means to sell records. That in mind, if you do sign to a label, your record sales are their payback. Being marketable is a good thing, it only means you can reach larger audiences, but being marketable does not mean you will sell records.

I'm not saying screw labels, having representation is badass and its professional. Just be smart. Don't let other people pay your dues. DON'T LET LABELS DO EVERYTHING FOR YOU!!!

Now if you want your band to sell, you should realize that money in your pocket comes from your fans. A label can't get you fans, it can only help you get fans. Establish a respectable fan-base BEFORE seeking label attention.

Hope this helps.
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Last edited by Attenuare at May 14, 2011,