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Read This Book

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Bongolation, Aug 9, 2004.


  1. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star? by Jacob Slichter. Pick your review from those provided.

    If, among other mysteries, you want to understand how a band can go platinum and never see a cent from the record sales, here's your answer.

    If you thought payola was illegal and a thing of the past, here's a clue-up.

    If you thought ability and hard work were particularly important to bigtime music business success, guess again.

    If you thought the music business was anything besides a festering cesspool...well...
     
  2. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    This stuff is self-evident anytime you turn on the radio these days. But the book still sounds interesting.
     
  3. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    I should add that it's not a "down" book at all.

    It's mainly funny, in that "I don't know whether to laugh or cry" way, but despite Slichter's remarkable lack of ill will, the actual details are really grim.

    Anyone who consumes, or aspires to create, mainstream broadcast pop really needs to read this book.
     
  4. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    I will get and read the book, if anything just to learn about the caloric intake from cunsuming pop culture. :D
     
  5. Dan Molina

    Dan Molina TalkBass Secular Progressive

    Jul 17, 2002
    Murr Town, California
    Hmmm by reading this book will I learn why on earth Ashlee Simpson became famous?
     
  6. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Probably.

    At least "how" if not "why." :meh:
     
  7. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    That's not true, wishbasses are way cheaper than that :p
     
  8. Kurisu

    Kurisu

    Nov 19, 2003
    Saskatoon SK
    hahahaa :D

    I saw this book at the store yesterday. Looked really cheesy. As in, "here's a book that will show you how to be a rock star!"

    I guess I should look again?
     
  9. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    There are many ways for a band to succeed, this guy seems to forget that, or not mention it.

    Few things I noticed

    150,000 recording budget - many great albums have been recorded for much less.

    The things about "needing professional instruments", I think the band would have a nice enough instruments if they are on the verge of a major label signing. If they decide to go get a couple PRS Singlecuts, a new Warwick, and a brand new DW drumset with the complete Neil Peart set of Paragon cymbalsl, then that is their perogative, but it isn't required.

    Some things he didn't mention

    1. Signature guitars - a friend of mine who works at a guitar store says Zakk Wylde gets a good precentage of every one of the Bullseye Les Pauls, whether they are Gibson or Epiphone. I would imagane anybody with a mass-produced "signature" guitar has a similar deal.

    2. Bands who haven't been extremely famous very long but are ridiculously wealthy. Incubus, Nickleback, Creed; all are bands who sold their soul to make a dollar and are/were extremely popular.
     
  10. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    I noticed a few financial excesses there too. Maybe the instruments are for the video shoot. You could do the 30 day Guitar Center return policy deal to whittle that expense down.
    The catered food...some of the production staff may have demanded that, but you could try to get around it...bag lunches.

    It's true that some of the best rock 'n' roll has been done on the cheap. Whomever gets this kinda deal offered to them has to have some consulting help figuring it out, or they have to do it themselves.
     
  11. Kurisu

    Kurisu

    Nov 19, 2003
    Saskatoon SK
    Are there any websites, news articles, stories about how a band would survive in this musical climate? Obviously one band can't change how the business works, so there has to be a way to survive while still making a respectable living for your family. right?

    I know that Dave Matthews toured around frats and colleges and built a large follolwing before they even signed a deal. From what I read that deal is very favourable for them. Is this the only way to do it? Basically sit down at the table with some sort of power, in order to balance the bargaining process? It seems logical to me.
     
  12. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    There's probably little if anything about the science of getting noticed, negotiating a deal, and enjoying relative prosperity being a working band. Plus, most of the acts are young kids that see the carrot and not the stick behind it. It would make for interesting reading for sure.

    The "Matthews" blueprint is probably a better way to do it. How much negotiating power did Matthews's band have initially? (I wish I knew) Or, were there other offers for them to entertain so they could play various proposals against one another? Oh yeah, it helps if your band is good too.
     
  13. Kurisu

    Kurisu

    Nov 19, 2003
    Saskatoon SK
    :D

    I'm not sure about those questions. I'm not even sure of the deal they have, other than they got a deal they were very happy with, having been able to bargain from a position of strength.

    I remember reading this, though: from the very beginning they had allowed people to tape direct off their mixing board. This way the audience started trading tapes of their perfomances. Good idea, IMO.

    So, anyone with more info, feel free to chime in please.

    Now... to find the next Carter Beauford...
     
  14. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    You need to read Slichter's book.

    Another good source of somewhat different information is Douglas Rushkoff, who has specialized on the mechanism by which bands get courted and signed (and made into sausage and chewed up and spit out).

    Almost none of this makes any difference, and being wildly popular doesn't mean you're making any money, especially if you're one of the band members who didn't write anything and consequently get no mechanical royalties from airplay.

    I do like the idea of a "what is to be done" thread, but it has to be based on a reasonably good understanding of the way things are in the music business to begin with.

    Lastly, appearing to be getting a lot of money out of music and actually having that money are two different things. In order to actually make any money, everyone has to get rich off of you first. The object is to make huge money for the entertainment and broadcasting conglomerates, not the artists.

    The way to make a good living in the record biz is to be one of the huge army of camp-followers who get paid up front to perform services and contribute to the band's recoupable debt.
     
  15. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    I read one the other day that explained how Sid Vicious got famous.

    Which had less talent? :meh:
     
  16. Kurisu

    Kurisu

    Nov 19, 2003
    Saskatoon SK
    I think I can guess most of what he'll say in the book, but I'll order it anyway. The first exposure I got to the "truth" of the industry was Courtney Love's essay. That was an eye opener. since then nothing really surprises me, except that people still fall for the same contract traps.

    But there's still got to be a way to feed your family in this business. And the only way I can think of is to bargain from a position of strength. I know that's not as easy as it sounds (and I never meant it to sound easy) but if you can get to that point, you would be able to avoid the TLC phenomenon.
     
  17. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Your local library system probably has it. Mine has three copies. It's a hot book right now.

    The primary message I got from Slichter's book is that what happens to you as a recording artist is almost totally out of your hands. It doesn't matter how good you are, it doesn't matter that you have fans all over the world, it doesn't matter if you're turning out good material, it doesn't matter if you're good looking. The things that make or break you - usually the latter - have to do with decisions made (and money changing hands) in the record company and the broadcasting conglomerates.

    Over twenty years ago, I was approached by a major label that wanted to sign me. While most people would have gone wild over that I didn't. I didn't even return their calls. Because I was in broadcasting at the time, I knew that nothing would come of it for me, and I'd be ahead trading the whole experience for a broken ankle. That was then, and it's miles worse now. It just would have been a lot of disruption of my life for nothing.
     
  18. Kurisu

    Kurisu

    Nov 19, 2003
    Saskatoon SK
    Yah, already checked - nada. :)

    That is just really depressing, man.

    And yet, there will always be people making music, trying to make it big, and signing those contracts. So the music industry will continue.

    But some won't sign those contracts, and are content to forever wallow in indie obscurity.

    It's all very disheartening.

    Kind of reminds of what it's like to be an author, or an actor, or any profession where there are many people willing to do what you're doing for free. And the people that feed on those poor souls.
     
  19. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    There's Van Gogh, in his time, half crazy, unappreciated, dying a pauper. Then there's the POP culture we suffer with now and the appearance of stardom as being all "party". All that business to do...when does one practice and rehearse?
    Wallowing in "indie obscurity" may have at least the benefit of the artist knowing, with a reasonable degree of certainty..."which way is up".
     
  20. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Request it. Get a friend or two to request it. They'll get it, probably.

    I'm pretty sure it will show up in most big library systems soon as - despite its dumb title - it's a pretty hot book at the moment.

    Amazon used had it for $9 or so, I think.