Thursday, February 4, 2010

The ‘Difficult’ Second Album

Hey there! I know you've all heard me mention this hot new band from Scotland--The Strike Nineteens--well one of the singers/songwriters from that fab band is my guest blogger. Ladies and Gentleman....David Muir.

There are many clichés in the music world. After all, it’s not what you know, its who you know. It’s about being in the right place at the right time. At the end of the day, when the chips are down, it’s a game of two halves.

Doesn’t make much sense does it?

In my brief foray into the periphery of the ‘music’ business I have came to one conclusion. There are no standards, only benchmarks. What I mean is this – there is no secret formula into making it big. If there is, I have yet to get my hands on this elusive Pandora’s box. Does this mean you should give up? Absolutely not! Why? Simply because the times they are a-changing.
One of my favourite quotes is, “a mind that has expanded to have an idea rarely returns to it’s original size”. The reason I find this so pivotal is that we can use everyone’s experiences to further our own knowledge of what is possible. The benchmarks of others are there like rungs on a ladder to help us upwards and onwards.

My name is David Muir and I am the lead singer/song writer for The Strike Nineteens. Is my band signed to a lucrative record deal? No. Have I given up the day job? No. Have I had a No. 1 hit single all over the world? No. If you ask me if I think we are good enough to answer these entire questions yes, then YES I do believe truly that we are. So what’s gone wrong? Well nothing actually, apart from the fact that in this industry usual rules do not apply. When was the last time you went for an interview and you adequately displayed your skills and attributes only to find out that they gave the job to someone with no experience, no skills and even talent? This is commonplace for the music business as I’m sure it is for many other “Art” driven careers.
I am glad to say that I have woken up to the truth. The dawning realisation hit me like wrecking ball. It was so obvious yet the answer hid in plain sight. YOU HAVE TO WORK HARD. That’s it. No more, no less. I had grown up with the exciting tales of bands that turned up at gigs drunk, had a stack of girls in the dressing room and a fat man with a cigar waiting to say , “You guys are brilliant. Let’s make a ton of money”. No matter how talented you are, no matter good your material is, everyone needs to PROMOTE, PROMOTE and PROMOTE. In this technically magnificent era our job is so much easier. We have Facebook, Twitter, Bebo, Youtube, Internet and so many more portals to get our message out.

When we released our first album, Screams for Denver, we put it on itunes and waited for the cheques to arrive. To put it bluntly, my letterbox was as busy as an Amish Inbox. I couldn’t believe it. I had poured my heart and soul into an album that I was proud of and even let my guard down and talked about subjects that I had bottled up for so long. Why wasn’t it an unmitigated success? Basically, in the whole excitement of launch parties and local paper events I had forgotten something. No-one knew us. No-one had heard of us. No-one knew that our album had hit itunes. It was the equivalent of finding the cure to the world’s fuel problems and launching them into space.

Our second album is imminent and I am glad to say the lessons I have learned in the past 12 months have come to bear on this new project. To such an extent that we are promoting hard pre-launch. That’s right! It’s not finished yet but already the cogs are oiled and starting to turn. By the time the album comes to fruition we will have emailed, Bebo’d, Poked (facebook) and flyer’ed everyone that we know and everyone that they know. It won’t put the album to number 1 but it might get us some new fans in countries that our budget otherwise wouldn’t allow.
We now have regular meetings to discuss promotional strategies and business opportunities. This is a concept that took some time to become comfortable with but the successes we have achieved have help underpin their importance. I look at media radically differently now. Where in the past I may cringe at a poor advertisement, I now analyze it’s pro’s and con’s and try to learn from it. It is a fresh and somewhat strange feeling to do this but I sincerely believe it to be vital.

The most amazing thing is this – I have enjoyed every minute of it and I have met some truly spectacular people along the way. The proof will be, I suppose, that someone will read this in years to come and say “Wow, look at them now!”
Work smart AND hard!

Cheers, peace and love
David Muir.

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