View Single Post
Old 11-11-2010, 10:05 PM
DrumEatDrum's Avatar
DrumEatDrum DrumEatDrum is offline
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 8,338
Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

Originally Posted by jer View Post
I though this was just a Canadian-centric issue. We still don't even give Rush the respect they get elsewhere - Bryan Adams had to leave, Celine did her Vegas stint... Neil Young had to get his start in the States... .
Originally Posted by Pollyanna View Post
That's usually the case for Australian performers - ACDC, Little River Band, INXS, Men at Work, .
But all those bands got their name pre-internet. The OP is talking about NOW, with the internet.

Using myspace, youtube, itunes, and whatever else, a band can target fans of their genre anywhere in the world. No longer does a band have to play a ton of local shows and pray some record company exec takes notice and decides to take the band national. Now bands can focus on fans of their band, no matter where in the world.

I had a buddy who formed a small band in Hollywood, could barely attract a crowd here, but got signed in Germany, and did pretty well over there. I know of several bands here that are just local clubs bands, but tour Europe regularly. And not just the usual UK, Germany, Sweden, but with the fall of the Soviet black, Eastern Europe is a whole new market. Other bands that are only minor players here are stars in Japan.

And for bands in Europe, back in the 60's 70's and 80's, many of these bands thought they had to conquer America to make it. Now, modern European bands don't have to.
They can tour Western Europe, then tour Eastern Europe, Russian and slide over into Asia and be rockstars without every being more than an obscure reference in the US or even the UK.

I won't name drop, but I've gotten to know a guy who was living in LA, and made a bit of name for himself as a drummer in the US. His band fell apart. he moved to Sweden, joined a German band, they made money touring all over every bit the Euro-Asian Continent, in every little place, and he got on the cover of the Chinese equivalent of Modern Drummer magazine. Not a bad career move.

And if you ever watch "That Metal Show" on VH-1 Classic, they'll bring out bands from the 70's and 80's that are clearly in the "where are they now" file as far many of us wold be concerned. But the common theme is they tour more now than they used to, because they can go to Russian, and South America, and places that weren't possible, or considered viable, back in the day.

My last band, we weren't even trying. We made a record strictly for fun, and had no illusions of making it. And so, while we didn't sell at a lot of CDs, but the few orders we got were from Japan to the Netherlands and an order to Brazil. With the net, you no longer have to target your local market, or appeal to what's going on around you. If you have a niche, you can find the people who dig that niche all over the world.

Dream Theater is an example of a band that doesn't sell super well in any particular country. They only have one gold album, and it was back in 91. But they sell just enough in every part of the world, that when added together, they can each afford a nice house.
Lots of bands are doing similar things. Poor sales in the USA, + poor sales in Europe, + poor sales in South America or where ever, can add up to "not bad" sales overall.

Numerous jazz guys find the same thing. They find moving to Europe and/or Japan provide a lot more live gigs, because people around the world are a little more open minded about different styles, and being open to different things. I noticed in a recent magazine blurb, Tommy Cambell, moved to Japan because he was getting better gigs for what he wanted to do than he was here.

Look at US radio, and it's all American Idol, Lady Gaga, or 101 power/pop/punk bands that sound the same. Look overseas, and music festivals are huge where very diverse bands come together, and it's more about "is it good?" rather than "what style do you play?"

See MattSmith and what he's doing as a player. He's got the right idea IMHO.

If I were 20, single with what I know now, I wouldn't be focused on moving to LA, I'd be looking at Stockholm, Olso, Frankfurt, and other places as well. Or maybe I'd move to LA anyway, but the focus would be on the world market, not making a name locally.

Does a band have to move to another country? Not necessarily.
But the old way of focusing on one's surrounding area and hoping is not the way to do it anymore.
Reply With Quote