Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Top 5 Reasons it's GOOD to be Indie!

Yesterday Dana and I recorded an interview for an internet radio show (more info to come on that when available), and it got me to thinking about why it's so great to be an Indie artist right now. So, I decided to come up with MY top 5 reasons it's good to be Indie.

1. There are no RULES: As the Majors have shown us over the last few years, there's really no plug and play, guaranteed formula for success in the music industry anymore. The old way of doing things is dead, especially for us Indies. The standard approach of write music, play shows, build following, get radio play, land record deal, doesn't have to be the path to success anymore. We're only limited by our creativity and our willingness to explore new ideas and forge new trails.

2. Everything you need is at your fingertips:
Never before has it been so incredibly easy to make music, record music, and reach and audience with your music. Of course this also means that competition for an audience has increased, making it more important than ever that we be all around better performers with a stronger business savvy. Only the strong will survive.

3. Labels are no longer necessary: Besides funding, what are you looking for in a label? Most labels these days don't put a lot of effort into artist development, and most Indies (myself included) are reluctant to give up creative control to the money men. Unless you just want the bang that having some money behind you could make, there's really nothing that a label offers that an enterprising artist or band can't do for themselves. In this day and age of internet connections, there's really no need for middle men. Why give up your control? Why make money for others?

4. You control your pace:
With the increase of internet exposure, it's possible to reach more of an audience without having to kill ourselves on the road, as much. Not to diminish the need for touring, but it is so much easier to build our fanbase now through virtual means, allowing us to choose the pace of our travel, as well as our growth.

5. Releasing music is FREE, or damn near: With the accessibility of quality home recording equipment and the ease and popularity of digital media, we can release as much material as we want, at virtually no cost. Even some Indie labels are embracing the "Digital Only Release" trend. If the majority of our sales are going to come from download, why put the money into CD duplication? If it's for a physical product to sell at shows, there's always drop cards. I'm sure that we could all find better uses for our money than to be laying in a stock of CDs that people are not buying, right?

So, anyway, that's my top 5 reasons. Drop me a note and tell me why you think it's awesome to be an Indie.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Are you truly Passionate about your work?

Do you really, I mean REALLY, love what you do? Do you have an unequaled passion for how you spend your time each and every day?

Sometimes it's hard to tell if we really do have that passion. I know I have my moments of thinking, "what the hell am I doing?", but I recently found out that I know exactly what I'm doing, and more importantly, why.

Taking a bit of time away from your pursuits every now and then makes you realize what you've got. It makes you realize how much of a passion you really have for what you do. Or, conversely, it could make you realize that you've just been wasting a boatload of time on something you couldn't care less about. Either way, you've learned some very valuable information.

Also, if you're in a position where you feel you can't take any time off, what so ever, than you definitely need some time off. Step away, even if it's just for half a day and center yourself. You'll probably see that you were overworking yourself on something that really requires better effort instead of more effort.

Take a little time for yourself. You'll be miles ahead.

Monday, July 19, 2010

You Can't Do It All

Okay, so maybe that's a misstatement. Some of us CAN do it "ALL", but not all a the same time.

The past few weeks have shown me that, despite my strong desire to do so, I can't focus on all of my ideas at one time. I'm a multi-tasking MOFO these days, but there still gets to be a level that I reach where things start to suffer. So, I'm just saying that sometimes it has to be okay to back burner something for a bit. Don't have to totally give it up, but prioritization needs to rule, right?

We've got a lot going on here at Serious Vanity these days, and it's certainly a full time job. So, some of my side projects and hobbies have suffered a bit and I think that I'm just going to have to be okay with that. At least for the time being. Why? Cause I want to succeed with what I'm doing here. I want to turn Serious Vanity into the business I know it can, and should, be.

Focus is the key and I'm there.

Now, on a side note, this is our 14th Birthday this week! Yep, Serious Vanity Music has been around for 14 years. If you're not following our FB or Twitter pages, I'll link them below. We're doing a 14 day Birthday Bash sale. Keep an eye out for our deal of the day. It should be coming to you shortly!

Serious Vanity Music
Serious Vanity Records

Serious Vanity Music
Serious Vanity Records

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Social Media and the Numbers Game

Okay, so I just did a bit of a purge on my friends list over at Facebook. Why? Was it because I've had some sort of falling out with people? Nope. Was it because they offended me? No, not that either.

The fact is that I have a tendency to add people in good faith. Especially if they don't come off as being some sort of cam whore. So, in the course of things, I've added several people who pester me every day with the same request to join their group or "like" their page.

Now, we all have our agendas in life, and we all have our motivations, but if a person ignores my page suggestion, you bet I'm not going to pester them with it again the next day.

You see, Social Media will lose it's magic, the thing that makes it work, so long as people continue to approach it as a numbers game. It's really about interaction and building relationships, not seeing who can get the biggest following. You know, I'm not perfect in interacting with everyone on my lists, but I put in the effort. Just like any other thing in life, or in business for that matter, it's the quality of our lists, not the quantity. It's what we can do for the people we interact with on a daily basis, not what they can do for us.

Come on people! At least have other interactions with people if you're going to bombard them with requests every day. It's the Social thing to do!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What happens to detractors?

If Leaders lead, and Followers follow, then what happens to Detractors? I guess the simple answer is that they get trampled under the movement.

In every movement there is only room for leaders and followers. The people who try to throw a monkey wrench into our plans, the ones who try to trip us up or bring us down, need to be treated as stepping stones. Trample them. Show no mercy. Beat them down and leave no doubt that they are nothing in the grand scheme of things. Movements can't be bothered with Detractors, and neither can those within the movement.

Of course, Detractors come in many forms too. Family or friends that want to keep us at a certain point in our lives (consciously or un-consiously), critics, rivals, or even just some unhappy asshat that likes to stir trouble. We, the determined, don't have time for Detractors. They are a detriment to our mission, our goal, our movement.

I know, you're going to say, but "family and friends"? Yep, love'em all you need to, but they have a choice. They can follow, they can get out of the way, or the can get trampled under the movement.

We can't let anyone stand in the way of our dreams, and as Artists, our dreams are all we really have. They're all we really are.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Unwavering determination

It's funny how many ways that our goals in life get challenged. Seems like every turn brings another little barrier to walk around or step over or bust right through. I can't say that it upsets me anymore, really. It's just part of the process.

The important thing is to keep my eyes on the end goal, the pure vision, of what it is that I'm doing in my life. What my destiny is, even if it's a self imposed one. It may be a modest vision, but it is mine and I have to follow it with an unwavering determination.

I guess, truth be told, that there are little challenges like this in every aspect of what we do in our lives. The trick is learning to not be phased by them. Just step back for a minute and look for the quickest and most efficient way back to our path. Whether it means going around them or through them, the important thing is getting back on with the task at hand in the quickest way possible.

When it comes to our achieving our dreams we have to learn how to be machines. Well oiled, fast, nimble, and strong, because you never know when we'll have to sprint, dodge, jump, or bust trough what pops up in our way.

One thing is for sure, stopping and giving up are not options. We're artists and we'll never be happy if we do.

Monday, June 21, 2010

There's no more IDEAL time than RIGHT NOW!

It's true. There will never be a more ideal time to launch our new projects, record our new album, book our next show, or take over our next town or city, than RIGHT NOW!

A lot of times, as artists, we spend time looking for our opening. We try to build the perfect beast and then frustrate ourselves when it never seems to see the light of day. We toil for our perfection. We destroy ourselves over tiny details that just don't seem to come out right. We fixate, obsess, and dwell.

I do anyway.

So, I'm making the conscious decision to say "Fuck it!" and just make the most out of what I've got.

My new band, Tailhook Echo, the one I've been working on for the past two or three years, finally starts rehearsing this next week. I love the songs, I love the sound, I love everything about it, so long as I don't dwell on the little things. But I'm going to launch it and let it be what it is. I have to trust that others will see in these songs, what I see in them. That they will hear what I was feeling when I wrote them. That my art will translate in a way that speaks to others. But, dammit, I have to put it out there for myself. As long as I like it, and my bandmates like it, then I trust it will speak to others as well.

In the words of Sir Richard Branson: "Screw it! Let's do it!