Understanding the Music Industry Today

Understanding the Music Industry Today

Understanding the Music industry is the second Part to  the very popular "Reality check for the Irish Artist" and a deeper look into the Music Industry.

The first post were observations and experiences from working in Bars and Venues for over 30 years. I was delighted to get such positive feedback and thank you all very much for your Kind Words. It was meant to be a practical Guide for all artists in Ireland and indeed anywhere really. The same rules apply anywhere in the world.

My second post here is on my observations and experiences since I first began my campaign to help the Irish Artist over ten years ago.

Starting out

It has being a very difficult campaign with many lessons learned in those years. I had little knowledge about the Music scene and no Computer experience so I had a very difficult task ahead.  I invested all my time and resources for those ten years and It became a bit of an obsession for me.  After creating competitions, Events, building websites, talking with some of the best in the business and meeting many 100s of artists from Ireland and abroad, I began to understand the business a little more and identified many things that the Irish artist could improve on to have a more successful Music Launch.

A little about those ten years

The Music Industry has been in transition for many years now and the Major Music companies have taken measures to secure their futures during this transition. These measures have had a very negative impact on Music throughout the entire world. Small and medium sized Labels have more or less become Management companies. Everything has changed .

The independent Artist have had a very difficult time during this transition with many careers seriously compromised by these changes. Although Artists today are fighting back with all the digital and social media tools at their disposal, there are still a serious lack of support systems in place to ensure their success. Many have attempted and are attempting to put these support systems in place today but with so many barriers in place, this is proving to be a very difficult task.


My attempts and failures over the past 10 years have helped me to see some possible solutions and the participation of the Independent Artist is critical to these solutions. I have learned that many independent Artists do not know how to build a fanbase. They have no idea how to build a presence online and do not understand what a real fan is.. They are of the opinion that a facebook or twitter fans is classed as a fan . This is a gross misunderstanding in my opinion.

Email Marketing

I have spoken about the email marketing but it doesn't seem to sink in for Artists today and I have no idea why ? I don't know whether its laziness on their part or a mass denial of its effectiveness. To this day I still can't figure this out? .It is an essential part of marketing and MUST be taken seriously if an Artist is to succeed but they won't listen . What can I do only write this blog? Maybe somebody will see that this.

I will attempt to explain why email marketing is critical for artists in the best way i can . Imagine having a pub in the middle of a busy town . There are lots of people passing by and its is situated in the idea place. It will have some locals but it doesn't rely on them as it has many people coming in from the street . Now go to a pub on the outskirts where there is not too many people . People go there because it is the closest or the local bar . The publican looks after his customers very well as he appreciates them and needs them to keep the business Going . Every single customer that comes into him is critical and he makes sure that that customer comes back. If he doesn't he will never build his business . He needs a loyal customer base.

Artist's Role in Marketing

Well the artist is the publican that is based on the outside. Every fan is critical and must be treated like gold dust. If they dont they will lose that fan. The relationship begins with the Music and performance. Depending on this a relationship can be formed . The artists has no way of building his relationship like the publican has but he build this relationship by getting an email address. Facebook , twitter are useless for building relationships . They have become more and more clickbait and have left people with very little timespans .

One to one is vital

Email is more one to one relationship and is the only positive tool an artist has . Once an email is given to the artist, it is up to the artist to contact the fans and keep the fan interested in them or they will be irrelevant very quickly . The artists does this by updating their fans , sending them some free tracks , tickets and inviting them to their gigs .This is a must . Forget about the random post of facebook . People are sick at looking at these posts as they are not directed at anyone . Your fans needs to know that they are special and that you have emailed them personally . That's what makes the difference . If you can't see that then you are in the wrong business and wasting your time .

Bitching on Social Media

This is a topic that I have being guilty off many times and its a big no no . No matter who has annoyed you or what happened , Don't blab it on your social media. Remember you are a business and businesses are suppose to be professional. This business is full of drama and the temptation to speak out is very tempting . Like i said I have dragged myself in many a situations I regret now . Always keep your business to yourself and let people know that you are well and doing well .  You will burn many bridges if you post all your opinions and dramas on social media .

Burning bridges

Burning Bridges is a very easy thing to do but rebuilding them is nearly impossible . Try and keep positive and deal with everyone in an honest and pleasant manner . You never know when you will need someone you might not realise so always be careful what you say and to who . Everyone is connected to someone in some way so speak well of everyone and there will be no problems .

Good example

To give you an example I had an artists about 6 years ago severely abuse me on facebook because I wasn't able to give him the information he required . As my services are free I took huge offence this artists would be so rude . He informed me that he was the next best thing to come out of Ireland and that I was fake ? . I unfriended him and blocked him at that time .

About 6 months ago i was contacted on linkedin by the same chap asking for advice on Gigs etc . He obviously didn't remember who I was but I remembered him very well. He got no answer from me and never will . I remember telling him 6 years ago that he broke one of the golden rules and that was burning bridges by being very rude to people . He laughed at the time . I wonder is he laughing now ?

Remember to give credit

Always thank people for any success you have . Being thankful is your greatest tool . Thanks the venue , Thanks the people who came , Thanks your family , Thanks the people who supported you from day one . Thanks the weather etc. This may seem unimportant but you watch anyone successful . They are in constant gratitude and leave no one out . It is a combination of many people and circumstances that have you where you are . Always remember that .

Stay away from Cliques

This is a bit of a confusing one . It is very good to connect with other artists but make sure they are as positive as you . Make sure they have a professional attitude . The clique I am talking about is the negative one . Ireland is full of them . Im sure its everywhere all over the world.  Stay clear of cliques who are highly critical of people and other artists . They will be very judgmental and in constant drama . They will also come out of the woodwork when they see you doing well and will want to involve themselves with you in some way . Always be on your guard and share your success with people that appreciate you and care about you . Keep your circle of friends and artists small with everyone on the same page .

A little recap

So I want to do a little recap  on the important things from the two post ' Reality check for the Irish Artist " and this " Understanding the Music Industry"

  1. Make sure you Music is quality .
  2. Find a local venue to launch and build .
  3. Work with the local venue on every gig.
  4. Connect with artists outside of your area
  5. Invite those artists to your venue and event
  6. Make sure you bring a big crowd and encourage invited artists to do the same .
  7. Be early to set up.
  8. Short sound check .
  9. Let people know who you are and when the gigs starts
  10.  Be polite and no bad language.
  11. Thanks everyone always .
  12. Mix with people after the gigs for feedback .
  15. No Bitching on social media
  16. Be positive everywhere
  17. Don't burn bridges
  18. Stay away from negative cliques
  19. Enjoy the whole process
  20. Keep making Music ..

So that's another post done Guys. I hope it's helpful to you and that you can see the process clearly . If you can follow these steps , it won't be very long before you are on a much bigger stage and taking all your fans from their support. Remember it's all about the fans and making fantastic music ..

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2 comments on “Understanding the Music Industry Today”

  1. Excellent post Michael. Really enjoyed this.Totally see where you're coming from. I remember when we were playing as "Side One" in the 80's we were involved in a Great little set up called The Mood Club.It was Brill having Bands play there just simply for the Love of it..A Small venue, upstairs in the old parliament inn, called, Tommy Dunnes Tavern. Man what a Fantastic Time..And yes totally agree with ya about the Arseholes who are so up themselves they wouldn't know Music if it bit them on the Arse..We always steered clear of that ilk..Thanks a mil for doing what you're doing,and I hope you get the Respect you Deserve...

    1. Im glad you enjoyed it . Yes I imagined my venue as a place , just as that place you described. I wanted all artists from everywhere to come and play. I even had a full house PA and Drums setup for any artist that wanted to get up on the stage I built for them. I had a few rooms upstairs for them to stay too and of course the few pints after the show. I miss talking to them and listening to the music and stories. There is a magic around the artist and music and i wanted to bottle that in a very unique way. Most local artists didn't get that and didn't get to see this. All artists from all Genres were welcome and at one time I had over 30 traditional artists playing together during the fleadh . It was truly spectacular . the music and the passion was a sight i will not forget.. Singers , Comedians , Bands , Songwriters from all corners of the Country graced that stage in those 15 months. I defied everyone who criticised me and berated me for having the balls to try something new and bring back the passion we once had . in the final weeks I filled the stage with as many acts as i could and also had a charity Gig for the homeless with dozens of Artist performing. I left it knowing that i did everything possible and very sad that the very people i was there to help did not support and cherish something very special. This is life today unfortunately and we must move on to fight another day. I will continue doing what i do as i love it and will take from it many lessons . I dont regret it one bit. I got to do something special for a short while. Some people never get that chance..

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