December 3, 2012

Last weekend I was watching an episode of Pensado’s Place where the guest was producer Mike Clink (of Guns & Roses fame).  He spoke about the fact that “Appetite For Destruction” (G&R’s most successful album) took almost 9 months to really take off once it was released.  It wasn’t until their 2nd or 3rd single was released that it blew up into one of the biggest rock albums of all time.  Keep in mind this was 1987, several lifetimes ago 😉

It really made me ponder a bunch of conversations that I’ve had with young or new bands that I’ve worked with or consulted for.  Conversations that centered around making the right first impression because of the fact that unlike G&R in 1987, today you only have someones attention for two minutes and you may only get it once.  The media and entertainment world is a completely different place than it was in 1987.  Attention spans are a fraction of the size they used to be, there is exponentially more content floating around and the filtering system the large content companies had in place are all but extinct.  The average music consumer doesn’t take the time to listen to a song several times unless it hits them on the first listen.  There are exceptions to that observation, but they’re the exception, not the majority.  This condition has also made it’s way up the chain to people in the industry.  A&R, managers, producers, booking agents, etc.

Which is why this so pertinent to young bands trying to get to that next level.  Whenever you go into a meeting, whenever you send out EPK’s, whatever your music sounds like, whatever your show looks like… you will most likely only get one chance to make, not only a good impression, but the right impression.  Don’t assume that after you’ve already sent your demo EP to an A&R guy, he’ll revisit you 6 months later after you’ve written your next masterpiece.  Make sure whatever you are presenting is good enough for you to bet your career on.

A common question I often get… do I really need to have a professional sounding demo, once I get a deal, we’re just gonna re-record it anyways.  First of all, I don’t believe in “demos”.  If it’s not good enough to be a final product, it’s not finished.  This may be your only shot at having the audience’s attention, would you really want to waste it on a sub-standard “demo”?  And by the way, you may not be in the room to tell the listener that the un-finished product that they’re judging you on is in-fact “just a demo”.  The other point to take into consideration is the fact that so many of the other artists or bands that you are competing with for someone’s attention, DID make their product sound professional… so who do you think will ultimately win-out in that scenario???

At the end of the day, all I am saying is that you always have to assume that you’ll only have one pitch to knock it out of the park, so make sure you’re ready, not only with the best material, but the best presentation and the best production possible.


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