In what will be a series of interviews, I will try and get the views of different key players within the industry (mainly in Spain) on where the industry stands now, where it is headed, and how recession has affected their operations.
Today: Part 1. The view of a growing band´s manager. The Dirt Tracks.
Inspired by the ambition of the British indie scene, Coma, Masid, Karl, Miquel, and Rafa, present themselves as The Dirt Tracks. They recorded their first single “Never Been to Mars” in June 2011, edited by David himself and mastered at the iconic studios of Abbey Road by Alex Wharton; a single that was presented as part of an UK tour and that lead to very positive reviews due to the elaborate of their work and exciting live performances.
During the first semester of 2012, the band combined its Spanish shows with a tour in Germany, playing 8 gigs around the country and obtaining again a great response from fans and press. On May 15, 2012 they release their second EP The Madding Crowd and have the chance to later present this new album at the Arenal Sound Festival, sharing lineup with such established bands as Two Door Cinema Club, Kaiser Chiefs and Digitalism among others; and with a second UK tour, where it was evident that fans were already begging for a return.
Their bright future now lays on the recording of their first full LP that will be presented in summer of 2013 in the UK and several international music festivals, with the possibility of disembarking on the other side of the ocean in a not so distant future.
And now to the interview…
The Music Industry is becoming a digital world, where the presence of physical elements is on a continuing downfall, and where music is now available to anyone, anytime, anywhere. How has this affected your band management? What are you doing to embrace this digital era?
David and Lorena: Embracing is a way of putting it… in reality we were already born in this new era and what we try to do is to take advantage of its opportunities, the disadvantages are already known enough. That´s why we have different work streams, from a band promotion standpoint:
- Social Media: nowadays it is key. The closer we get to our fans, the more chances we will have to create a loyal fan base. Our first year we relied heavily on Facebook, as it works pretty well in Europe, but looking into the future, we really want to push Twitter. Obviously not forgetting about FB and trying to expand its presence to other countries.
- Live Shows: they are really what is going to support us as a band. We already have over 50 gigs on our shoulders in a little over a year: 4 tours (3 internationally) and 1 major festival. Our live show is very powerful and, additionally, we try to engage the public with different innovations in order to create a more interactive environment to turn the show into an experience more that just a concert per se.
- Blogs: they are gaining more and more importance and we are trying to work them out. They involve extra effort, because there are many that come and go, while others manage to consolidate themselves, which leads to a need of having to constantly check the web, but it´s worth it. We have had very good blog reviews and that helps us build reputation and grow.
- Press: if you work hard, but you don´t tell, no one is going to know. Therefore, additionally to the blogs, general-interest periodicals are constantly updated of our endeavors. It´s another push to build reputation
- Digital Platforms: obviously we need to be in all of them – iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, Nokia, Amazon, etc.
How has the decrease in record sales affected your revenue generating capacity? How are you making up for it?
D&L: Live shows is our main form of revenue, that´s why we don´t stop touring.
And what do you think of this new digital tendency?
D&L: For us it is really an opportunity, because not being tied to a major label gives us the chance to make room for ourselves in an easier way. We have very useful tools in order to be able to reach a lot of people, something that years ago only the “big bands” had. Distribution channels are the same for them as for us, which means we are in the same “stores” as them. Having an audience is something that requires a lot of work and professionalism. What we have to do now is innovate and try to take advantage of these new opportunities that are in front of us.
As an emerging band, you then see this new tendency more as an opportunity than as a threat. What market opportunities would you identify?
D&L: It is an opportunity for sure. We have been able to reach places and countries that we didn´t think possible. They are listening to us in the U.S. and on the other side of the planet simultaneously, one “click” at a time, something that would have not been possible for us before. This way, we can plan possible tours in a more efficient way, as we can identify the market from the comfort of our homes. As we said before, the money is now in live performances, and with the tools we now have in the market, even though an evident oligopoly still exists, the line that existed between major label bands and us independent bands is getting thinner and thinner. Platforms like Spotify pay (not much, but they pay nonetheless) the artist directly and we believe that with time, solutions will arise so that no musical talent goes wasted.
Where do you see the industry then in future years?
D&L: He who would have the answer would have sure success (laughs). We hope to still be there, be bigger and have the capacity of filling larger venues (soccer fields?); that our music is still being heard and appreciated; and being able to live of this with ease. What is certain is that whomever doesn´t know how to adapt quickly will die.
And on top of everything, we are in the midst of a terrible recession. Have you noticed as a band? What have you done to adapt?
D&L: It is possible that we have experienced a reduction in the attendance to shows. It is something we have noticed and that is being commented in the whole industry in general, so it is something that we already expect. However, it is something widespread, and to us it has had a moderate effect and our objective is still to grow nonetheless. We can´t stop and wait and see if things get better. If Spain starts not being a viable option, we will have to look abroad; it´s the advantage of considering ourselves an “international band”. Experience however has allowed us to also reduce costs notably, we are managing to obtain better deals with venues, and we keep making efforts to get people into them.
Well, thank you both for your time, it was great to be able to get your take on the industry. I wish you all the luck.
D&L: Thank you.
Interview originally posted at Naked Playground