Ryan's Gig Guide

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Nick J. Townsend

Music Industry Explained - Part 11

by Nick J. Townsend

Christmas for the Independent Musician

‘Twas the month before January, School Music Teachers grin.
Booked to play in their tribute bands and escape from children.
Guitar Teachers send cards to family and friends.
Inside is a gift voucher for a free first guitar lesson (expires January 2020).

Bands contact local pubs to nail paid New Years Eve shows,
As long as they play cover songs that demean their egos.
Any new Christmas tunes for songwriters to write?
Nah, soon they’ll quit music to their family’s delight.
So all you musicians, that hate December,
St Nicholas laughs at your displeasure.


Xmas Gig Promotion
As Yuletide depressingly draws near, the majority of promotions for events by independent bands radically transforms into a sad and tacky festive frenzy and usually starts with a decorative events page and poster; these are identical to regular ones apart from having a blob of snow hanging off a logo, crude cartoon holly plants embedded round the sides and a gig date guaranteed to be extremely awkward to attend due to the four hundred other unique doomed mirthful music events fighting for jovial dominance all happening at the exact same time. Plus what with all your chums bombarding you with their Yule-inspired media your event can quite easily get forgotten and end up snowed over courtesy of the avalanche of propaganda for Saint Santa Claus.

End Of Year Gig
Typically most bands advertise their last show of the year in December (even if they’ve done no other performances for twelve months) and most musicians foolishly are convinced that their event will be as packed as Santa’s sack due to nothing of any significance happening in December; unless of course you include annual work or office parties, extended late night shopping sprees, a new Star Wars film, pre New Year Celebrations, kids screaming at you for attention because they’re off school, International Ninja Day, family gettogethers and Christmas Day. If you’re lucky you’ll fit in a band rehearsal too; remember to bring mince pies.

The Christmas Number One
On the build up to Noel it’s common to spot an independent band attempting to stir interest in catapulting one of their songs into the number one position of a national music chart that no one has cared about since the nineteen eighties. Usually someone in the band has a eureka moment and suggests “Hey, maybe if we had a more Christmassy sounding song it would perform better this time of year?” to which, the rest of the band discharge a festive star jump and inform all their merry morons that a Christmas Single is currently in production. Sadly, this epiphany would have served them better if planned before the inaugural twelve days of Christmas; first there’s the endless arguments over the writing of the tune itself, followed by countless hours rehearsing all the song parts correctly before entering the recording studio which is normally booked weeks beforehand in advance.

Then there’s the mastering of the composition, formulating an original endearing concept for a music video to promote the Christmas single, booking and financing a videographer or filmmaker to film and spend many weeks editing it. Possible Christmas artwork for the online campaign, booking a professional photographer for a nativity shoot, cost of CD duplication (ideal presents for family) and finally funding the publishing of the single, ensuring that it’s chart eligible and an extravagant uneconomical advertising campaign stronger than that of King Herod’s crusade to restore his public image after Holy Innocents Day. Good luck fitting all that into winter solstice; you should be all set to go by July.

Tribute Band Season
This is a lucrative time for any dedicated live tribute act as being booked for Corporate Christmas, Private or New Year Parties means it’s possible to have the justified excuse to charge extortionate prices for your incredible talent of recreating versions of cheesy tunes that other people wrote. The benefits are obvious as you’ll be paid to spend the evening far away from your own repulsive family and celebrate Christmas in real style with complete strangers. No pressure to promote the show at all because it’s the responsibility of the client and even if it is a complete non event you’ll be totally content to suck more blood out of whoever hired you by demanding they feed you as well.

After Xmas promotion
Any Christmas theme or image adopted by independent artists traditionally continue to linger on their social media for at least a full month after Boxing Day unless they’ve bothered to inform fans that a new year is approaching or order them to have a happy one. January is normally a complete hibernation period for musicians and is about as demoralising as the sound of the many electronic singing snowman figurines sat on shelves during January sales whose batteries are all running insanely low creating what can only be described as an evil satanic chorus.

Historically the tail end of February is the official grand awakening for musicians to update their image and begin any media onslaught and as a result of this mass delay the month of March becomes an orgy of musical output. The reasoning for this increase in liveliness varies; it’s normally a warmer time of year meaning more civilians venturing out to venues with many spending and consuming once again, arguably recovering from an expensive Christmas and there’s also a percentage who after having their heart dismembered on Valentines Day feel inclined to go out more and socialise like Jack The Ripper on a stag night. All these factors are important as live audience increase figures always correlate with optimised band activity.

That’s all for 2019. Have a very merry Christmas unless you’re a complete back stabber, which if you are then I hazard a guess that you work in the music industry. Enjoy your Yuletide wank. Ta Ta.

Nick J Townsend is the frontman and guitarist for British band Weak13. An experienced Underground musician and music promoter, film producer, all round good guy & supporter of original music.

Nick J Townsend is the frontman and guitarist for British band Weak13. An experienced Underground musician and music promoter, film producer, all round good guy & supporter of original music.

Music Industry Explained - Part 11

Ryan's Gig Guide
Published: 31/10/2019

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