I think the one question I have been asked the most since Whitechapel began was “how did you guys make it?” or “how did Whitechapel get so big so fast?” Too be honest I don’t really have a cut and dry answer; it was a combination of things. When the band started we didn’t sit down and say “ok let’s start this band, write songs, go on tour, get signed, and get big.” The band was honestly just started by a group of guys wanting to have fun and play metal. We always took the band seriously though, trying to look as professional as possible on stage, having merch, managing our money correctly, etc.
How you market your band also plays a huge role in the success of it as well. If all your band does is practice in your garage and play local bar gigs twice a month how do you ever expect it to get any bigger? You’ve got to get your music and presence on the Internet and out into the music scene for people to latch onto. MySpace and Facebook are both great marketing tools for bands as they let a large amount of people see and hear your band in one place. Those sites are also able to tell those people when and where you are playing, so they can see your band live, which is where true fans are made. Using these websites as effective marketing tools for your band can drastically help increase your fan base and ability to be noticed.
Along with those things I believe the people we knew and the connections we had played a large role as well. The music business is a vast network of people and places, and getting anywhere in it is all about who you know. Just like any business, it’s good to meet and network with people of higher stature than yourself (whether it be band members, managers, club owners, etc.) because you never know when knowing those people will come in handy.
The music industry is much like a roller coaster, or a bitchy girlfriend on her period. It has its ups and downs because the music industry moves parallel with the economy. When the economy is high, the music industry is high, because people are buying CDs, going to shows, buying merch, etc. because they have the money to spend. When the economy is low, the music industry is low because the population doesn’t have the money to send on frivolous things like buying CDs or going to shows. The music industry isn’t like it was 20 years ago. 20 years ago people were forced to buy CDs as the only means of hearing a band because there was no illegal downloading, or even CD burners. Labels and bands were able to thrive and be successful off of CD sales; in this day and age that is not possible. It’s really hard for a band to ‘make it’ these days because with the economy being low, people aren’t buying CDs and merch, thus bands are having a hard time making an income and having a profitable career as a musician.
With all of that being said, the biggest advice I could give to a band wanting to be a successful band is to look out for yourself. In this industry it’s all about which bands are hot and who can make the most money in the shortest amount of time. I can tell you right now the people that make the most money off of music are not the musicians themselves. Unless you’re a band like Metallica, or a famous rap artist or country star, most of your money is going to your label, management, booking agent etc. If you’re going to be successful and actually make a career out of your music you must do as much as you can yourselves, because the more people you have working for you, the more hands that are in the money jar trying to get theirs. Now I’m not bad mouthing those people who do work for bands, I’m just saying if a band is able to consolidate their work force and does as much work themselves as they can, then their efforts of creating music and selling it to the public will be a lot more profitable and rewarding than if they have a ton of people working for them.
So to sum this blog up, if you’re looking to take your band to the next level, you need these things: professionalism, marketing, networking, DIY ethic, and well…. frankly good music that people actually want to listen to helps as well.
Catch WHITECHAPEL on tour starting October 1 with Impending Doom, Miss May I, Oceano, and I Declare War.