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Indie Musician Advice: Give it all you’ve got or just don’t do it


You have dreamt about this forever and ever and a day. You can’t think of doing anything else. Ever. You finally get your musical ambitions in order–maybe your artist has just finished an overdue release, or maybe this is your first album. Whatever it is–in every case–money, blood, sweat, and tears have been poured into the thing. The album is mastered, finished, and it’s ready to go out to the world. The next step is putting it out.

Pause.

Remember when you were a wee lad or a young lady, and your mum would harp on to you about first impressions? Or your grandey, or your teacher, or fuck knows who–but you heard it. Come on now, let’s be honest. Someone in your lifetime has said that to you. Well, guess what? They were right. Look here.

I used to be a wee scout back in my former days. I would get tons and tons of demos sent to me. At first, I would listen to anything and everything. But I soon started to see a pattern: I could tell the labels/artists that had something unique. I could see a real difference between those who really took the time to come up with something a little creative, and those who didn’t. (And it usually didn’t have anything to do with who had the most musical experience.)

I could see that for the people who had really given some thought to the whole thing, there was that blood, sweat and tears–embedded into every square inch of the release. Don’t take my word for it; call a radio programmer (someone who gets thousands upon thousands of albums to review), and ask what he/she does with the ones that come in looking like some didn’t give a shit. Call promoters and ask them. I’m telling you that the majority will agree with me. We don’t know what is on that record, but we can tell if someone (you!) put the time and effort into the packaging.

Don’t shortchange yourself. Take the time, nail it, and get it right, or please don’t do it at all.

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