ADAPTATION IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY: WILL YOU DANCE TO THE BEAT OF A DIFFERENT DRUM?
We’ve all had that artist or band that we’ve loved for years. The one that we can always go back to and think, “Man, I’m always going to love this band.” The band that brings back memories and instant nostalgia while sitting at a red light and suddenly remembering that one life changing crush you had that you swore your heart would never heal from.
Here’s where my question comes into play. When you think about that one band, was there a time you weren’t 100% satisfied with a new album, a new single, a new sound they were putting out? A new trend in music they were adapting to.
Can a band maintain a career in the music industry without adapting to new trends and sounds? Additionally, if a band changes and adapts to the music industry, will those “lifelong fans” still remain ardent fans and love their sound? Will you dance to the beat of a bands proverbial different drum?
With a landscape of ever changing underground indie bands and Billboard Top 100 artists, the music industry sound itself is a living, breathing entity. No, I’m not stating the obvious and pointing out the living breathing members in the band, I’m talking about the actual music itself. The sounds. The bass, the synth, the guitar, the drums, the virtual heartbeats of a song.
Very few bands have been able to withstand the industry and still have a lifelong career. Of course you have the classics like The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, Aerosmith to name a few. But even The Beatles and Aerosmith changed up their song and sound formula to create great hits.
Aerosmith was almost off the map until the 1986 come back smash up “Walk this way” with Run DMC. Some fans loved it...some fans HATED IT. Couldn’t believe their beloved Aerosmith was collaborating with that loud, offensive rap trio. But it breathed new life into Aerosmith, put them back into the relevant radio playlist rotation and they are still here today.
Now was that a lifeline that had to be taken by Aerosmith to remain a constant in the industry? They lost some fans out of it and they gained some fans out of it. Some say yes they had to do it, some say no they could have survived without it, that’s a late night bar debate if I’ve ever heard one.
But what about bands that aren’t the legends? Your favorite underground indie band that pushes out music yearly trying to “make it big”, still touring and connecting with fans but never in a place to become “a legend”? If your favorite indie band puts out a new album or single completely different from their “sound” are you still going to be a fan? If your favorite indie band changes its sound to stay with the times and adapt to the new ideas and music coming into the industry everyday, will you still go to the shows and pay for the merch?
It can be argued that bands have to adapt to stay relevant. Most listeners and fans adapt with the industry too. Think about it. How many times have you showed a friend a new song from a band you’ve accidentally stumbled upon live or on spotify that was a new sound you had to share?
We all hold that special place in our heart for our favorite bands. Whether that be the legends or our favorite hometown indie rock group. We also, although some won’t admit it, never want our favorite bands to change up their sound because they are just perfect the way they are. But alas, bands need to adapt. Maybe because the sound of the industry is changing, or maybe because creatively they need to expand and challenge themselves in order to keep the drive going.
Next time your favorite band puts out a questionable song that’s off from their “normal” sound, give it a chance. Don’t run, don’t hide, don’t dismiss it. Take the time to ponder the question, “If they don’t adapt, will they be here next year playing my favorite venues and putting out new music?” And then when all the new fans show up, just bask in the glory with pride and say, “I heard them first.”
One of the most anticipated events for Austin, TX has arrived. What’s that you ask? Are you living under a rock?! It’s the Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL). Whether it be your first time attending or you just need a refresher course, FullNote Records has a guide of tips and tricks to survive ACL.
First, and arguably the most important: BREAKFAST TACOS!
Everyone knows the best way to start any day is to fill that belly and get that blood flowing with a good ol’ breakfast taco. Not to mention, they hold a miraculous medicinal hangover cure...my opinion of course. Some of our favorite hometown breakfast taco hot spots include:
Next up! Check out that weather forecast and grab that poncho ahead of time if a shower is possible! Umbrellas are not allowed within the gates of ACL so be ready to hop from stage to stage with your poncho clad self if you so desire. And always, always bring that sunscreen! No aerosol though. The gatekeepers will surely confiscate that.
A hot topic going from ear to ear this year is the new ACL bag policy. There are lovers of it, there are haters of it, either way you must obey it. Straight from the ACL website the bag policy states:
“All bags will be searched before entry. Bag size may not exceed 14” x 11” x 5” (35cm x 28cm x 12cm), or 30 linear inches (75cm) in total, and must have no more than one singular pocket or opening. Backpacks and bags with multiple pockets are prohibited.”
Speaking of Ears...Ear Plugs! This is a music festival folks. It can get noisy and I’m sure the last thing anyone wants to do is start losing that hearing sooner than you have to. Granted I will be an 80 year old asking, “What did you say?!” all of the time, but I hope to keep these sound machines in full hearing health as long as possible. Austin being the music capital of the world, you can find affordable ear plugs at most corner stores, pharmacies, grocery stores, bars etc.
Stay Hydrated! It’s hot, there are lots of people, and you may be drinking alcohol all day but please remember to drink that water! ACL allows you to bring empty Camelbaks and empty water bottles into the festival gates and they provide filtered water station tents throughout the festival. Although the lines look long, they tend to move pretty quickly so you’ll be right back frolicking around before you know it
Create an emergency contact! Of course we don’t want anything bad to happen but hey, you never know and the quicker authorities can get ahold of an emergency contact the better. Have this information in your wallet, as a screenshot on your phone home/lock screen or hey, write it on your arm if you feel compelled! Also, register that wristband and add your emergency contact to it when you do. You may not think this is important but it proves to be every year.
Ok, so I know I mentioned breakfast tacos as the most important tip but we all actually know what it is: PLAN A SOBER RIDE IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE DRINKING! Yes, I’m screaming at you.
Luckily Austin has plenty of access these days to a safe and sober ride to your next destination. Yeah the wait times might be longer and the prices higher but it’s worth it and you know that deep in your sole because it’s been drilled into your head since your 3rd grade “This is your brain on drugs” days.
If you need a little help, here are some options:
Now that we’ve given you all the pro tips on how to survive ACL, stay tuned later in the week for our weekend show suggestions. Not going to ACL? No worries, there is plenty of music all around town to catch! Cheers and happy Festying.
The recent allegations against several leading Austin bands regarding sexual harassment and rape among female fans has created a hot button topic of conversation that needs to be discussed openly. Is Austin’s Rape Culture within the music scene given enough attention? Although when allegations come out, there is a roll out of support from the community reprimanding people and bandmates for not speaking up, but is this enough? In my opinion no, it is not enough.
An ongoing open conversation about awareness needs to be at the forefront of conversation on a regular basis. The old moniker, “If you see something, say something” comes to mind. This may sound cheesy, a PSA ad for teenagers if you will, but unfortunately, it’s not a cheesy ad for teenagers. It’s a sad reality that has plagued the Austin music scene for decades.
Female and male victims of sexual harassment and rape statistically find it difficult to speak up for themselves in fear of being victim blamed. The recent #MeToo movement has done wonders to open up the barriers of conversation, and yet there is still a lack of awareness that is being made among the Austin music community. I can do more, you can do more, we can all do more to create a safe space and an urgent awareness for our fellow musicians and fans.
While struggling with the idea of touching on such a delicate topic as a professional business, I stopped myself and realized right there that, that makes me part of the problem. Not speaking up instantly puts me in a category that is part of the problem. As a business owner directly tied and working deep within the music community, a business that encourages community support and outreach, it is part of our job to use our voice and ability to speak out to raise awareness for such hot topic issues.
FullNote Records gives our word that we will do more. We will speak up and we will support our community and help raise awareness as much as possible. We are a business that prides itself on leading by example. We are a safe space and want it to be known that if anyone is struggling with knowing how to talk about sexual harassment that has affected them or anyone around them, our door is always open. We will do everything we can to lead you to the right place and people. We are here to help take care of this amazing community that we love so much. And most importantly, If we see something, we will say something.
Now, to give everyone a refresher on what the word consent means:
Consent - con·sent
1. permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.
"no change may be made without the consent of all the partners"
Synonyms: agreement, assent, acceptance, approval, approbation
1. give permission for something to happen.
"he consented to a search by a detective"
Synonyms: agree to, assent to, yield to, give in to, submit to
HOW TO SEE THE GOOD IN A BAD SHOW
All bands have at least one. That one show that was SO horrible. - “OMG I can’t believe we had to open for that Headbanger Death Metal Band!” DISCLAIMER: Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a headbanger every once in awhile but just not when I’m trying to bust my groovy dance moves to some pop synth dance tunes. Now, back to the point. Your sound is... non existent, you keep forgetting lyrics, your gear decides to up and die mid set and sing it’s last crying, dying lullaby. If it hasn’t happened yet, don’t worry, it will. I’m not a fatalist. I’m not jinxing you. I’m just preparing you for the future.
Bad shows happen and that’s ok. Why is that ok, you ask? Because in the grand scheme of things you will more than likely learn something from it. You’ll learn to keep that extra 9 volt in your gear bag and carry extra strings but most importantly you’ll learn how to adapt to any situation.
Adaptability is a valuable lesson to learn especially to survive any tour you’re planning on venturing out on. (Oh, and don’t even get me started on how to survive a rough tour. That’s a post for another day.) Adaptability; not only will it help you make it through the future zombie apocalypse (I call that a BONUUS!), it will keep you afloat in an industry that eats baby animals alive for breakfast.
A year later, looking back on that infamous “Headbanger Death Metal Band Showcase” and the immediate overnight drive to the next city afterwards with tails tucked tightly between legs lies a memory to laugh at. A cog in the wheel of becoming a tried and true hustling musician. So, take those bad shows, find the lessons, buy that 9 volt battery (or three) and set of extra stings for that rainy day and have a laugh a year later.
There’s good in every bad show.
IS THE PHYSICAL ALBUM DEAD?
You’ve painstakingly poured your heart and soul into writing, recording, mixing, and mastering your new music... now what? How do you get it to your fans? Obviously you get CD’s made right? Or what about vinyl? Or is the physical copy a dying breed you’ll reminisce on with your grandkids as you tell them about how you used to have to push your own skateboard because it didn’t hover?
This is a dilemma many bands are faced with in the new coming age of download codes and spotify streams. Is it worth the hundreds of dollars to print your music? This is a tricky question. The nostalgia of holding a physical copy in your hands, ripping that nice shiny plastic off, popping it into your dusty cd player and reminiscing about how amazing this band rolling through town was will never get old.
Luckily, with the ever emerging non stop growth of new technology, it has become more affordable to order small batch orders of CD’s. Yes, I say affordable...don’t roll your eyes. Vinyl is cool, everyone wants it. I spend hours myself flipping through vinyl collections every chance I get. I was told vinyl printing was affordable...and then I fell off my barstool. You can do the research. Hopefully you already have. But don’t fall off your barstool if you haven’t when you see the $1000 price tag for a decent sized batch. In the grand scheme of the physical copy debate CD’s are something you can stock a few extra band bucks away for and print affordably to connect with your fans and to stay up to date in this hoverboard era, throw in a digital download code to keep the kids happy.
Physical copies may be more than you want to spend after shoveling out all of your hard earned money creating your new music baby that took months to brew. But I think it’s safe to say that even in this self driven car, phone face recognition world we live in, the nostalgia will win. Physical copies hold not only the songs, but more importantly, they hold the memories.
In the end, your fans want memories they can dig out of a box one day, blow the dust off of, and think about that time their college friend, Sarah fell in love and almost left to go on tour with that one lead singer from that amazing band rolling through town with the beautiful voice and golden locks. But she didn’t. She bought this dusty CD instead.
Just think, how many dusty CD memories do you have packed away in a box?
WELCOME TO FULLNOTE RECORDS
Many, Many moons ago as kids dreaming big, Lexi and I always had the yearning to make a difference and leave our mark on the music community. Countless hours of hard work, sweat, tears and excitement have finally led to those dreams coming true.
Lexi and I are overjoyed and proud to announce our new label, FullNote Records! A full service artist branding, booking, PR and music management company!
With FullNote Records we want to take our experience and knowledge of a combined 20+ years in the Music Business industry to help mold and grow artists into their full potential.
We want to thank everyone for the love and support that has allowed this to happen and we invite all of you to follow along with us on this journey, it’s going to be an exciting one!
Cheers to new beginnings,
Mo and Lexi