2008 is going to be an amazing year for music in America. But, you have to have the ability to change with the direction of the wind. It seems the money-making opportunities for mass-produced music is changing face as well. People are buying less hard-copy music and going more in a digital market. Electronic Press kits (EPK), digital downloads (mp3), and free videos (YouTube), and fan sites (MySpace orFacebook) are taking (or have taken) a forefront.
So how does a band make money in today's climate? The way your musical forefathers did. Promotion, promotion, promotion.
Create a concert series where you are the main band.. and you find 3-4 supporting bands for which to assure 200+ people at a show. The need for genre-specific bands is not as important as bands who can put asses in the seats. A band that is doing this well is an Austin band by the name of She Craves. They have adopted a model in their hometown that they favor larger venues (Stubbs, Emo's, and The Parish Room) and they assemble a cast of bands who each are charged with promoting, and bringing their fans out in droves. They have also developed relationships with local media and make things happen where, perhaps, they never would have.
Large festivals are popping up all over the United States and they ALWAYS need bands. I "discovered" a band by the name of Egypt Central when they opened Ozzfest in 2007. I got their CD in the mail last week... along with the CDs of about 20 other bands. Guess which one I popped into my CD player?
Look around your area... smaller festivals and radio shows abound. Hell. Even The Outlaw Gang are getting into the game here... We're putting on the Backwoods Bash on May 24, 2008.
Warning - by following, you likely won't see any instant $$ or fame.. but you'll be remembered long after you played. You may have enough merch sales to make the gig worthwhile as well.
Another idea? Join an online community where you can video-broadcast yourself all over the world. I discovered Operator11 last year, and if they are able to debug their system... it will be a gold mine for musicians. Austin has another one called Flapdaddy that can also, with a little work, be amazing.
Of course, you could do nothing... sit in your room and complain about how music has changed and left you behind. You'd be right... Change your course directly and you may just have something there... that is IF you want to be playing music in front of more the 3 people in the future.
Happy New Year. How happy will it be? Well... how that all depends on how hard do you want to work.