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How to make it big.

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Active Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3
Topic starter  

Does anyone know of any books that talk about what steps a band could follow to make it big, or talks about how other bands made it big(ie the beatles)? Im very interested in how these monster bands came to be monsters as it seems to be based on more than just good music.

Opinions of how bands get famous are always welcome of course.

Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 121

Its just luck man. There is this idea... the flavor of the month syndrome... and whatever that flavor is... people will eat. :)


Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5840

How it worked in the 60's no longer applies to today's market. Up until the Monkees came on the scene, no-one had ever heard of a manufactured band before - everyone of them had paid their dues in pub, club and Working Man's circuit. They were invariably "discovered" because a manager or producer happened to be in the audience one night.
These days, it's completely different - many groups are put together by the record company, with a specific market in mind.

Whether these bands or groups make it big, is still down to a huge portion of luck - getting the right song produced by the right producer at the right time to be released at the optimum moment for the paying customers to buy. There are any number of bands and groups, who have never achieved anything like their potential, because their "big" record came out at the same time as another, that totally eclipsed theirs.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
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Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2171

Also remember that many record labels choose one or two bands who fit a mold and hype those bands. They push those bands' records to the radio stations, they promote those bands heavily at clubs, etc. The other 20 bands that fit that mold that they have signed get scant attention.

Basically, they're held in reserve in case the one or two they are trying to promote don't take off.

If you want to be "big" then you're playing the lottery. You have to have some talent, and you have to have some stage presence, but when it comes right down to it, it's just being in the right place at the right time.

On the other hand, if you want to make a living as a musician, that's much easier, though still hard work. It starts with learning to be a serious musician, which means getting all of the basics of musicianship under your belt. If you can read music, play in any genre at a passable level, work well with others, have a good personality, etc., then there is a good chance you can make a passable living in the music world.

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST

Honorable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 314

I read a book called "The Garage Band Cookbook" which I liked because it touched on the (small) business side of the music scene. It also talked about being "discovered" not by a record exec but being noticed by a band member of a larger nationally touring band who might refer you to another gig as a sideman or for a larger project than the one they saw you at. Again luck does prevail, but then again some make thier own luck.

I also read "so you want to be a rock and roll star" by Jacob Slichter (drummer for Semisonic) which was enlightening about the music business with the major labels.

Other things I have heard are:

If you want to make a small fortune in the music business...start with a large one.

When you play to an audience you want them to feel (insert emotion here). When you play for executives/promoters etc., the only emotion you want them to feel is GREED !!! No one cares if you sing out of the phone long as people buy whatever it is you are selling you will be hired.

To get on the radio...that is Adult Contemporary AAA radio in a major will cost you $1 million dollars.

However one thing has become the equalizer for getting your music out there the I-N-T-E-R-N-E-T. Those who figure out how to separate themselves from the rest of the pack will find success in this medium AND pocket more ($) for themselves. Using this medium the startup costs are so small ANYONE can do it. Even with a small amount of sales you still can pocket more ($) for yourself than you would with major label backing. The (%) the major labels give you are pittence, but in thier defense they also front lots of ($) on your behalf so high risk = high reward.

Just my .02

Ambition is the path to success...persistence is the vehicle you arrive in!!!