01 Jan 2016

5 Things You Shouldn't Pay For As A Band


We get it. You're trying to figure out how to promote your band, but cash is an issue. It's the music industry - the previously bloated wallets of label execs have imploded, there are no more cocaine-fuelled parties of excess in change rooms because musicians often have to keep healthy and stay sober for their second jobs. In some ways, it's a sorry state of affairs. In others, you as the band have control, and if you're talented AND smart, you've got the world at your feet.

Sometimes you'll need some help though, which is why we've decided to choose 5 top things you really shouldn't pay for.

If you have a good feeling about one of the following things however, and your intuition is telling you to go for it - we won't stop you. Ultimately everything is your decision. Don't say we didn't warn you though.

Don't Spend Your Money on the Following Things:

1. Compilations.

If you're being asked to pay to have your release available on a CD or online compilation, be wary. Ask yourself these questions. How will it benefit my band? Who will actually listen to it? Will it undercut my own sales? Who receives the money from any sales? Exactly what will this achieve? And if the answer to all of those mean that you're basically being asked to shell out money for nothing, don't do it.

2. Pay to Play Gigs.

Sometimes when you're starting out, you might play for free. That's a choice you make, and up to you. Sometimes you might even get paid a measly ten bucks each when you've taken out all of your expenses, not to mention time spent in promotional costs. Other times you might just be paid in beer. But do you really want to pay someone so you can then basically work for them for free? Seems strange to us.

3. Access to 'Key Industry Contacts'.

Yes, there is a huge music industry out there filled with interesting people who can help your band. Should you pay an illegitimate website 100 bucks to access them though? Nope. Do your research, find out again, how this will work and what you'll receive. Ask the questions.

4. Contests - Pay to Enter.

SOME of these might be worth it, if you end up getting some great exposure or you win some sweet prizes. Again, this is all about research. Check out the past winners, see what they're doing now. Research previous years, ask around and see if any of your friends in bands have entered that competition. Don't just sign up online and give away all of your rights and some hard-earned cash.

5. Pluggers who will 'shop your music' to A and R execs.

Newsflash: we are no longer in the 1990s. The role of the 'A and R' exec is changed, and that's if there's still even that position at a label. Who will these pluggers be 'shopping' your music to? What will the outcome be? Could you do any of this yourself?

Basically, the music industry is completely saturated. There is more music available than ever before, and it's accessible. A and R is a different game, and if someone is telling you that you should pay them hundreds of dollars to get your music into the 'right hands' - find out who owns these hands.

We want you to be successful. Musicians drive Ditto Music - without you, we wouldn't exist. We want to warn you of some of the ways that you could be burnt. We want you to research things before you spend your hard-earned dollars on things that are of no use to your band.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't ever take opportunities however. We are simply telling you to research and be smart about what is being presented to you.

Save your money for a new guitar.