In the last letter I touched on how to get your money from internet play. I want talk some more about how to get your music out there, something I've been trying to do and which I’ve found to be very hard. Let me rephrase this; it’s not hard to get it out, but getting it heard is the thing. The old paradigm of getting your music heard… just doesn’t sell records anymore. They have lost the audience. I remember a time when you could take your record to one of the big stations and within three days you would know if you had a hit or not. Radio had that kind of power until the big conglomerate homogenized everything and tied the local DJ hands and started programming all stations they had from one central location. This was the beginning of radio's downfall. The local communities were not getting what they wanted. Radio was becoming disinteresting music wise, while at the same time having complete control over what was heard.
In walked the internet, giving the option to find what you wanted, anytime you wanted it. People started looking to the internet for musical inspiration, and I don’t think radio will ever reclaim the power it once had. Radio will still be in the game, but not as we once knew it. Cutting a CD and getting it to radio stations is not the way to go. All they can do is “deep six it”, they just don’t have the audiences anymore.
When we started our musical career, you had to have a record to get out there, that was true. Now they are talking about social networking like it is something new. Back in the day, that’s what we did. We built our little community. We were called the underground group and only a few knew about us. But now, the social media (Facebook, Myspace & Twitter) is a tool to help to reach more people easier and faster, building your own community. It is so important to build one, cause they will stand by you through the good and the bad days, record wise. You can tell the groups that have built a community while coming up. Most of them are still out there working today. It’s about longevity! In today’s world, your career depends upon how you build your community, how you nourish it and if you’re making good music, they’ll always be there for you. Those of you who know our past history know that Fatback was never a headline group, which was one of the reasons we insisted on making music our way, the way we felt it. We had that freedom. We were our own boss, Manager, Producer, Publisher and Artist. At that time many Artists didn’t have that kind of freedom. It wasn’t about money; it was about playing. Yes, we loved money just like anyone else, but we loved our music better, and the people who were lovin’ our music was the reward. If you asked any of the older members of Fatback, it was all about the music. This is what it’s about today, the music. Give your music to your community for free; let them spread the word for you.
This is the advice I have for all young acts; Take your time and build a strong foundation and keep giving your community music, not just one genre of music, live on the edge. Keep feeding the music to your community every 3 or 4 months. This is what you’ve got to do. From 1972 to 1985 (when we were with the majors), we put out over 35 albums. Wow!!
Hey, you guys from the old school that are still recording and trying to get your new stuff heard; start building you a new community. Remember, you have one thing up on the new guys. You’ve been there already and young music fans love old school acts. They put on a better show. Our problem is finding agencies that are willing to package a few artists and invest in marketing. But I do worry about the future of black music… our music. Black music is the foundation of the music today. I saw what they did to “The Blues,” and that’s a whole new story. There are a few out there who have found ways to update their acts and are building a new fan base.
Update yourself, bring a new look to your old act. Get online and if you’re not online… you’re not even in the game. Get involved with new technology by updating your resources via the internet. How do you expect to hit a home run if you’re not in the game? Just because you’re in the game, remember there are no guarantees you’re gonna hit a home run. But at least you’re up and swinging.
From BlogTalkRadio June 24, 2010, an interview with Bill, Gerry, Johnny and Flip: CLICK HERE!
If anyone wants 48 minutes of non stop digital music of Fatback hits, for free, please send an email to: email@example.com
PS: Please, I would love to hear from you. One bad thing I found about writing newsletters, you always feel like you’re writing to yourself.
Free MP3: “So Delicious”
“So Delicious” from the album of the same name on Cotillion Records, 1985. One of the two album we recorded with Atlantic Records. Lead voices were Ben E. King (“Stand By Me”) and Sandy, with a sax solo by David Sanborn.
Personnel: Bill Curtis Gerry Thomas Johnny Flippen Robert Damper
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