So You Want to Be in a Rock & Roll Band? - Phase 1 by Sal Canzonieri
Welcome to my first column in Loud Fast Rules magazine. This column will be all about being successful in the music business based on my experiences from playing music since 1975. I'm going to be real and no holds barred about every facet of the music biz from the top to the bottom. It's pretty much advice and discussion, what sucks and what is great. I'm going to tell you what other people won't. Feel free to contact me and let me know what worked for you, if you have some good advice for people.
Loud Fast Rules magazine issue 1

Phase 1: Starting Off Right

There are many aspects to the music world, and every one of them has things that happen in them that can either totally fuck you up or can be great if things work out right for you. These are: the people in the bands themselves; the booking agents; the promoters of the shows; the clubs, halls, etc.; the lawyers; the recording studios; the record producers; the A&R people; the radio stations and the DJs; the internet and music websites; the music shops that carry supplies and instruments; the record labels; the distributors; the record stores; the merch manufacturers; the music press and the fanzines and newstand magazines; and the audience. So, in each column I am going to talk about one of these aspects and it ain't going to be pretty!

First let me say this: the whole music business was set up since the 1940s to rip off people, its all about exploitation. Every step of the way was designed to screw someone out of money in some way or another. That's a fact that people often choose to ignore and as a consequence hardly anything is done to make it better. It can be fixed, if everyone involved does something. Why was it set up to be a rip off? Because selling records is just like selling drugs; there is high profit, an addicted buyer, cut throat competition, and once some nice sum of money gets into someone's hands they want to keep more than their share and not pass it along to the rest of the people who are owed it.

There are a few reasons why the music business can and does rip people off.  One reason is that artists of any kind (musicians, painters, cartoonists, etc.) are not respected in America. Somehow our assine "puritan ethics" that have brain-washed America from day one sees music as an idle pursuit, as it not being "work" because it can be fun. If you have fun doing your work, then these people feel that it is not real work and thus it is "only" play. As a consequence, what happens to artists is not Important. This attitude allows crooks to enter the music business in large numbers because it is easy for them to hide there.

Another reason is that there are way too many bands/solo artists. There are more bands now then there ever were in history!  This is bad for many reasons:

-there are more bands than people are capable of paying attention to;
-there are more people on stage than there are in the audience;
-many bands just copy what other bands do;
-there are too many records for record stores to carry (over 500 new cds are released every week!);
-the quality of the music goes down as music becomes more and more amaturish;
-the clubs cannot handle all these bands and do not know who is good or not;
-people avoid seeing the opening bands at most shows;
-it can take too long to get noticed now;
-the process of becoming successful can be more complicated now;
-with too many bands come too many record labels;
-the music scene is in a state of chaos;
-the pie is sliced way too thin for the average band to succeed;
-most bands cannot live entirely from playing live music or making records;
-many bands are always desperate for any attention and are willing to let themselves be used by others;
-and lots of people think "anyone" can do "it".

(continued on next page)

(c) 2005 BGT ENT / Sal Canzonieri