Why as a music artist you should care about the quality of your products

I've seen soo many posts recently, although, for years tbf, in various Facebook music groups from musicians looking for cheap recording studio recommendations, or from bands doing their own PR looking online for people who can review their ep/album, or looking for tips of how to get their music heard, grow their status, looking for free photographers, and read through huge thread discussions from new and unsigned band members asking for advice about alll kinds of things and all too often being given really terrible advice....it's inspired me to write this post.

I like most other creatives working in music, relate in so many ways to what bands trying to build their status and sell their 'product' go through. My own path is uncannily similar to every band I've ever met..all the way down the trail. The same problems and goals. Years of working in the exact same scene, the same networking circles, dealing with the exact same issues and trials, not just as a photographer but in a wide variety of music related roles, ends up offering you all kinds of different angles of insight into how things work, and that experience is what allows me to offer advice. 

If you're in a band/are an artist, maybe new and unsigned, inexperienced or perhaps not so much, and you take your music seriously and ultimately want it to become your career some day, you wouldn't be remiss to endeavour to show people that you are serious about your band, because very few people are likely to take you seriously until they know you are. And one way you can do that is by regarding your band as a business (even from the start), investing your time and money, and making sure everything you put out there as a 'product' is quality. It's really quite important. This doesn't necessarily mean spending a fortune on these things either, because there are a lot of very good people who can provide professional music production services,  visual content, PR, design, and all kinds of other things for you very affordably. Ask friends in music for recommendations, do your research thoroughly and find the best deals. Don't be afraid to shop around. Cheap does not always mean 'shit' but equally expensive doesn't always mean amazing either. 

Just remember that music isn't your only product, or the only representation of your band. Actually, everything is. Photos, videos, social media pages, designs, artwork, branding, online promotional assets, even yes, how you style your look as members of a band collectively, etc etc etc.  They all fit together as part of a glorious total package to help 'sell' your product/your band/your music. Many would argue that unless you're able or willing to invest in all those other things too, that are probably equally necessary ingredients for overall success - then what's the point in investing time, effort and money in producing the music in the first place at all? 

As a photographer and videographer, visual content is something I'm fully invested in, spend wayy too much time thinking about, and it's definitely the thing that both causes me the most delight, and the most frustration. Not just as a photographer but also as a music industry professional who puts on music events and manages a bunch of bands. As such I get emails every day from bands trying to impress me, and the reality is that if the visual content is lacking then they've potentially lost me at the first hurdle. 

I get it, maybe more than most - we're all broke, (often) part time creatives, fighting every day to be able to do the thing we're most passionate about, all the while juggling and balancing that with real life, finances and relationships. It's not easy. Actually scratch that, it's fucking difficult. Doing things on the cheap, or choosing to skip adding certain ingredients into your 'band/brand promotion' pot might be your only option at this stage, and there's no harm in that, but....there's also no harm in understanding and knowing now that investing your time and money is at some point going to be an essential element, along with other things that I haven't mentioned here, in helping to achieve growth and success, and to make you money, turn your passion into a job, yadda yadda yadda. 

If you have no other choice than to do things very economically for your band the best advice would be to at least make sure it's as good a quality as you can possibly afford. Ask yourself 'would I pay attention if someone presented me with this?' And by 'this' I mean everything about your band. Put money in, get money out. Eventually. 

If you're in an unsigned band reading this, and you've gleaned some useful information and maybe you're after some experienced advice and guidance, myself and Mike do offer artist consultancy services and advice through Down For Life Music. Drop us a line at info@downforlifemusic.co.uk 

Til the next one x

Image: The Uncharted