First off, at 28 years old, I’ve been following DH since you played about 8 years ago in an old church basement in Cincinnati so, naturally I’m a big fan. I’m in a unique situation, similar to yours. I have my Masters degree in Counseling, and a Bach’s degree in Social Work. I work now getting kids who are addicted to drugs off of them, and I love my job. I’ve been playing metal since I was 13 and my band, if I may say, melts faces. But we’ve all made a choice to play as a hobby. We love our families and our jobs here at home. But one question that keeps coming up is: Is there any way to have your music distributed on a national level (by a label or otherwise) without national touring? We just would all really love to go to Best Buy and be like “Hey, that band, Pterodactyl Battle, yeah that’s us. You can buy that here”. So, if in your spectrum of amazingness, possibly from a bubble bath, you can offer some good advice outside of giving up (heard that one), then your spectrum of awesomeness could only increase. Thanks so much (for your music and help)
Stay at Home Face Melter
Dear Stay at Home Face Melter,
Being in a band at home is actually harder then most people think. I have a bunch of friends who are in bands but also have other “careers.” It’s funny because when I was a kid I just thought it was all or nothing, like rock star or bust! You were either in a touring band or your band didn’t matter. Now that I have been slugging it out for this long I can tell you there are many ways of rocking in life, not just the full tilt rock star touring action. So you’re not in a touring band but you want to get your music distributed on a national level with out touring. Can it be done and if so how?
Lets get something out of the way first. Getting your CD in Bestbuy is probably not going to happen if you’re not touring. Also getting signed to a bigger independent record label is also probably not going to happen. I say ‘probably’ because you may be able to prove all of the above wrong by doing one thing: being an amazing, amazing band. Now that’s going to be really, really hard so I would think realistically. The truth is neither of these things needs to be part of your ultimate goal anyway. What I am saying is that you already have a way for your music to be distributed internationally and at very little cost to you. You already have a way to sell your product to the world without a record label OR best buy. You already have… the Internet.
First you need to record your music well. Its going to be self financed at first so play shows, do a car wash, play more shows, work a normal job whatever you need to do to get some cash. If you have a career and other band members do too, then its up to all of you to pool your money for a recording. Remember its like a tattoo, you will have it forever so be willing to spend a little bit more money and time on it then you first thought you should.
Take that recording and put it up on itunes, your website, Myspace, Pure Volume, Sound Exchange or any other website that sells MP3’s. I did that with my own band, Man and Wasp. We recorded the songs ourselves and released it on the Internet ourselves. Now we have a band that never tours, never plays, but has a record available for purchase anywhere in the world over the internet. It allows us to just keep writing songs and not have to think about the pressures of touring in a band.
If you want an actual product, well then, you can very simply start an online store. Bands of your size can get CD’s pressed themselves at places like Furnace CD. It’s actually run by the man who signed darkest hour to their first record deal. You can order say 1000 CDs and then set up a site to sell them through. It may mean doing a little more work yourself and fronting a bit more money but it will mean that you will have an internationally distributed record without having any pressure to tour what so ever.
All you have to do from here on out is promote the site. Play shows, pass out fliers, you can even “cyber” tour (you know just add friends to your myspace and promote your band via the internet). Especially if your career happens to be a boring desk job. Believe it or not you could use that cubical time to do some real “tour” work on the computer.
There is really only one reason for a record label to sign a band that is not going to tour all the time. And that’s out of pure love for that band. How many record labels in 2008 are making that decision? Lets just answer not enough. So fuck it, there is also no reason to sign to a record label if your not going to be touring or doing it full time. You don’t need them. You can do everything yourself, on your terms, and on your time line. That’s what the future of music on the Internet is really, at least I believe. Soon we will all be able to create music and distribute it ourselves straight from artist to listener.