There’s a really good article by David Byrne in this month’s Wired, about where the music industry currently is and where it’s headed. I get articles like this forwarded to me by friends and family on a seemingly hourly basis, but this is one of the better ones.
To add our $0.02 to the discussion – Speechwriters LLC is and always has been a self-distributed band. It’s a model with more than its fair share of attendant headaches, but on balance we’re pretty happy with the way it’s been working out for us. It’s forced us to learn things like HTML, graphic design, audio engineering, contract negotiation, orienteering, and ground combat, all of which have made us better, more interesting people. It’s given us the freedom to take breaks when we need to, without worrying about violating the terms of our contract or having to produce a sub-par album under duress. It’s given us closets and closets full of t-shirts and CDs.
That said, there are a lot of times when we feel like it’s Thanksgiving 2007 and we’re still at the damned kids’ table. As great as it is to own all our own masters, we tend not to play the same caliber venues as our major-label friends, and the extra $0.33 we get for every song we sell on iTunes loses a bit of its luster when we realize how few we’re actually selling relative to, say, J-Gro.
But, for us at least, the pros have definitely outweighed the cons, and often in ways that aren’t readily apparent to those outside our immediate circle. It’s a topic we love talking about, to the point where we’ll hijack unrelated conversations if left unchecked, so we’re probably going to start peppering the band blog with Hunter Thompson-esque anecdotes from our not-so-illustrious past, in hopes that any would-be DIY rockers among you can learn a thing or two from our successes, failures, and outright disasters.
Happy New Year,