Music Still Makes You Wait
We live in a world with instant access to almost anything we can consume. Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, etc…has brought in an age where retail and media consumption is quick and easy, and it’s only going to get quicker and easier. Few things make you wait these days, and even fewer will in the future…but music will always be an exception. Sure your ability to listen to anything and everything is now at the touch of your fingers, but the ability to truly consume it, isn’t; that only comes with time. You pretty much get the whole product when you watch a TV show or movie. Clothes, gadgets, food, etc… don’t leave a whole lot of room for continual discovery, but music does. In fact, the first time you listen to, or hear, a song is when you consume it the least. You have to become familiar with it. Anticipate it. Then it really begins to open up and reveal itself. And it always be that way. There’s something very special about that.
Texas Country, Red Dirt, Texas Music
Whatever you call it, it’s bigger than Texas and it’s bigger than the region. Hell our guys are playing and being listened to not only all over the US, but all over the world. Look at tour schedules, look at those Spotify year-end reports, look at how many of our guys are doing runs over seas and playing venues and music festivals outside of the region. As the musical landscape and technology continues to change, it will only open up more opportunities for our scene to expand. It’s slowly emerging as a national/international independent music scene with loyal fans all over the world, and if that doesn’t excite you about the future, then I don’t know what will.
Don’t Force Genres and Style
I hear a lot of discussion from up-and-comers about what style they should be going after. Should I go Americana? Should I go heavier? What’s in? What are people responding to? The truth is, it doesn’t really matter. Sure you have some strict genre enthusiasts, but most people don’t really care. They’re multi-paleted. If it’s good, it’s good. Things like authenticity, a harmonious relationship between message, vocals, and music, songwriting, and the ability for the listener to connect, are what makes a band worth listening to. Follow where the music takes it. Don’t worry if it comes out “too country” or “too far out there” or “not what’s in”. Let the songs and natural progression help you find the sound. Don’t force it. There’s nothing that will turn people off quicker than something forced and/or fake.
Traditional Country Music Is Not Dead
There’s still a big demand for traditional and neo-traditional country music. If you don’t believe me, go ask Aaron Watson and Cody Johnson how they’re doing. In fact, they’re the #1 and #3 most streamed artists in our scene, with a combined 1.3 Million monthly listeners on Spotify. Regardless of what mainstream radio would have you believe, there are still plenty of people who want to hear meaningful traditional and neo-traditional country music and there are plenty of artists still making it.
In our scene alone, not only do we have established acts like Josh Ward, Jon Wolfe, Curtis Grimes, and Bri Bagwell, among others, we also have a plethora of young up-and-comers like Randall King, Jake Worthington, Hunter Hutchinson, and Kensie Coppin who will be keeping it churning for years to come! Country music is alive and well; both in consumption and production.
There’s Room For It All
Americana, Southern Rock, Roots, Singer/Songwriter, Southern Soul, Southern Alternative Rock, Texas Country, etc… can all fit in our scene. As long as it’s lyric driven, requires real instruments, authentic, and tells stories of love, life, and struggle then there’s a place for it.
It’s the artists who can either make listeners connect with their music or impart their own deep connection to their music on to the listener, that stick around. There will always be a place for people who can tell relatable stories, stir emotion in people, provide substance , and help the listener express themselves.
Good Albums and Live Shows
You have to have both. It’s a two-fronted war, and with the amount of talent out there, if you don’t have both, it’s a big uphill battle hoping one will compensate for the other.
Likes, Streams, Spins
Facebook likes, Spotify streams, radio spins, etc… don’t really matter, compared to ticket sales. Butts in seats tells the story. Everything else is just a signpost.
Facebook is being opted out of by the younger generation, SnapChat is in financial trouble and experiencing stagnant growth, and there’s nothing new on the rise. Twitter and Instagram are the way to go at the moment and probably for a while.
Organic Word of Mouth is Still King
People recommending music to others (in person, on social media, through a text, etc…) is still the most powerful way for music to spread. Get out there and make people talk about your music. Give them an album and live show that compels them to tell their friends. Marketing and press can be great, but are nothing compared to peer recommendation.