Atlantic, Columbia, RCA, Elektra - Although these record labels are still very much alive and well today, they are also a symbol of days gone by, a time when artists were snatched up in their near infancy and coddled into stardom. Labels were responsible for making people into larger than life characters, making sure they get airtime by famously buying out some of the biggest radio personalities of the day, and making sure that bands get to play at venues that best fit their stature as performers. Record sales dominated, the money was rolling in and there was enough to go around for both sides and then some.
What these companies could have never planned for was the word "free." With the natural progression of technology, websites like Limewire, Napster and Pirate Bay devastated the music industry by providing for the first time a way to listen, view and own music without the hassle of actually paying a dime for it. Lets all be real for a moment. We've all been there. We've all dabbled in torrents and downloading our favorite band's albums before. We're not here to play the blame game, but never the less the music industry has had to completely reinvent itself to stay afloat. More bands than ever before are being forced, or even by choice, to be their own agents, their own labels if you will. While there is something to be said about stylistic freedom that comes along when being a Do-It-Yourself band, the problem is more rooted in the shear workload involved. Instead of focusing on making great music and putting on a good show, now many bands are responsible for branding, promoting, creating relationships from scratch, finding gigs, financing tours, maintaining a website, buying and selling merchandise, etc. The music can sometimes take a back seat, so rather than a band pumping out an album every two to three years, what we get instead is an EP every four or five years and the band never finds a way to gain traction with large audiences.
Despite all of these added burdens, somehow DIY bands are still finding ways to create top-notch quality music. The tragedy today is that they are not being heard. We are all on the front lines of our favorite bands. We are their foot soldiers, the ones who carry the torch to other potential fans. Supporting your favorite bands can only lead to what you want in the end – more awesome music. In the infamous words of the actor and artist Shia LaBouf, “JUST DO IT!” Don’t let your local band’s dreams be dreams. Help them find their audience and we can guarantee your time will be well spent.