Originally Posted by jonescrusher
The record labels have a huge amount to do with whether a band stays on top, especially in the mainstream. If the label doesn't have faith that a band's album has potential, they won't touch it, that's happened to some very big acts over the years. Their alternative is to follow label orders as to what an album should sound like - what producer/songwriters to work with, arrangements etc.
There are very few bands that get to release what they want, when they want and maintain success.
Originally Posted by Bo Eder
I must argue in this case that that may be how it is for some bands and definitely how it's been in the past. But with the advent of the internets and iTunes, I've seen artists just sell their music online and make a pretty good income off of just that.
I know we're talking about mass acceptance, but it is possible to make a living using the DIY approach. Hell, Terry Bozzio said the best thing he ever did was just go off and do his own solo drumming tours - no record label to make happy, and every gig sustained everything he was doing because he was reaping most of the profits. Granted, he's a rare case, but people do it.
You're both right.
Many bands careers fell off because the label stopped supporting them, dumped, them, went out of business, or some other thing. We saw a lot of that at the end of the 80's.
I had a buddy who's band got signed to a huge deal with Warner Brothers in the early 90's. Then the head of the label was fired, so their A&R man left with him, and the band's CD ended up in 99 cent bin, even though they had no control over the situation.
As Bo said, it can be done, but the same level of success is hard to come by. Millions of bands are out there supporting themselves to an extent using the internet as their main marketing tool, but many of them have day jobs on the side as well. The ones that do it really well are the ones who had prior fame, and can afford to do their own marketing.
Boozio could never do what's he's doing now if he hadn't already had an established career with Zappa, Missing Person's, Jeff Beck, etc.