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  #1  
Old 11-11-2010, 03:54 PM
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Default You have to “make it” outside your own country first

OK, let's have a discussion, on what often gets brought up in conversation by musicians or is even spoken like some kind of mantra for succeeding: that an original band must relocate and find an audience elsewhere in the world before their fellow countrymen will take much notice of them (or respect them).

Obviously, if a band resides in the USA they can probably make do with playing up and down every state, what with 300+ million people living there. So where does that leave smaller countries?

Do bands feel it’s inevitable that they must move to another country to prosper financially? Yet, just like with Hollywood, moving to some magical place on a map doesn't equate success per se and can be like moving from a pond to an ocean.

Doesn't the Internet allow bands to see where their fan base are living (thanks to IP mapping – which tells them where traffic is coming from onto their website), and then gauge where they might do well when they choose to tour? Or would moving just allow for easier circumstances for touring and playing more frequently?

What bands here would consider moving, and why?

Do you think it will impress a record company (if that's what you're after) or other people by demonstrating that you are willing to up sticks and leave to play music?

Discuss.
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Old 11-11-2010, 05:40 PM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

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... We still got Anne Murray though!

It feels like a school yard where the new kid won't be accepted until one of your friends does and you're already in the catch 22.

I see no benefit to actually relocating the band from a country, (unless there is zero music happening), but touring elsewhere certainly ups your cred.

At the end of the day though, "making it" shouldn't be a priority with music - having fun should be. If I looked at it that way, the past 20 years of my life would have been a failure, but instead, I look back at how awesome of a time I've had and what great experience it's been.
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Old 11-11-2010, 08:18 PM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

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At the end of the day though, "making it" shouldn't be a priority with music - having fun should be.
I agree, although I guess some people also have bigger ambitions than others and want to make a living from music, etc.
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:12 PM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

That's usually the case for Australian performers - ACDC, Little River Band, INXS, Men at Work, Powderfinger ... the market here is tiny as compared with the US, UK and mainland Europe. Meanwhile, before Sydney became the poker machine capital of the world and had a music scene, some fine bands would come over here after outgrowing their native New Zealand.

Some bands leave Australia for Europe or Japan and make it there but remain little known over here. Interesting to see how things play out with the rise of China and India.
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:20 PM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

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That's usually the case for Australian performers - ACDC, Little River Band, INXS, Men at Work, Powderfinger ....
I'm gonna suggest all those acts made it at home first Pol. I can't think of one that's been listed there that made it outside of Oz before coming home. I'm assuming the OP is talking about people like Jimi Hendrix etc that actually shot to fame in the UK before returning home?

While we're at it....how the hell did Powderfinger not get more recognition on the international stage? Great band....it's a shame for both them as a band and listeners in other countries who have now missed out.
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:05 PM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

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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... .
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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.
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:16 PM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

Just a couple thoughts...

For one, there are resources for IP addys to be used to see where your fans are. However, they're not entirely accurate. IP addressing is a complicated thing, and there's things that can mess with that. It's good enough to give you an idea though. There's other ways I'd finger-test where my fans are.

I don't really think you have to relocate to be successful (unless you live in WV). I think you have to be willing to go play where your fans are though. You also have to be willing to play where you don't have fans. That right there is how you grow your fan base. You don't have to relocate because of the Internet. At the end of the day you have to get your music in the ears of the people that will possibly like it enough to buy your records. For that matter, thanks to the Internet, you don't even need a record label really. At this point, I don't even see what they're good for. Hell, labels are recruiting more and more from the Internet and less from showcases and demos.
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Old 11-14-2010, 03:35 AM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

To Pocket and DED - I see, yep, I stand corrected.

I played in a band, well, a duo which never found a regular bassist, with a guitarist in the late 70s who a few years later played in a band that did well in Japan and Europe but were pretty well unknown in Oz. Ironically, he played bass in that group

There was another band, The Hard Ons, who my 80s band supported in a small bar one time. A few years later they are big in the Europe indie scene, much bigger than they were here.

Yeah, the game is very different now. Globalisation and the net have greatly increased both opportunities for exposure and the competition.
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Old 11-14-2010, 03:46 AM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

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. Globalisation and the net have greatly increased both opportunities for exposure and the competition.
And there lies the rub.

Every band now has a better chance at earning a following, but a lower chance of earning a mega huge following.

In my humble opinion, it's much easier for a band achieve a cult following now than 30 years ago, but it's much more difficult to get beyond that cult following, because there are just so many more bands competing for every fans dollar.
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Old 11-14-2010, 04:39 AM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

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I though this was just a Canadian-centric issue. We still got Anne Murray though!
ya, and the tragically hip too
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Old 11-14-2010, 02:27 PM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

I've never really seen this as being an issue. then again I do live in the UK, and generally UK artists gig in the UK & europe. Maybe it's because I grew up with the internet. That said I do know that some countries have heavy preferences towards certain genres (or even eras) when compared to others (useful for marketing).

Russia is an awesome country for anything old (like DED said), and they love live music! Just don't try to sell them any CD's hehe. They love the beatles!

Also south eastern asian kids love metal, especially metalcore. many bands go to tour out there now & have very large concerts for the style of music they perform (I believe shadows falls played to 10k people in Manilla). Compare this to the EU where they would be lucky to get 1k people to a show.
This is where I plan to market one of my metal bands anyway, I already have some contacts out there from the merch/design side so I plan to use those. I wouldn't (couldn't) have known any of these people without the internet. I also have contact with a few manufacturers in china that have competitive prices on vinyl, which I only found out about through talking to those other asian dudes & the bands that they work with.

/offtopic - Personally dunno why you need more than a cult following. As long as that cult grows to be relatively large over time (10-20k) & buy things often when you put quality products out, and attend tours when you come near their city. Actually the easiest way to tour now is to put up polls & ask people where they want to see you, and go to the places with the biggest projected turnout. There are lots of websites which offer this kind of system.

I do remember when natalie imbruglia came to the UK, my brain still feels torn. I'm not sure why australians come here actually. Well other than kylie, she can stay if she wants.
I suppose it happened with alanis morissette too and that horrible "ironic" song. And a few bands like Sum 41. However you'll never see a french or spanish artist make it big in the UK, only english speakers do well here, unless it is some form of dance music.

the band that every artist should take heed from is the grateful dead, their ways of doing things (although I'm sure it wasn't driven purely by profiteering) hold just as much water now as they did then. just with a different medium.
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Old 11-15-2010, 03:22 AM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

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At the end of the day though, "making it" shouldn't be a priority with music - having fun should be. If I looked at it that way, the past 20 years of my life would have been a failure, but instead, I look back at how awesome of a time I've had and what great experience it's been.
This resonates strongly with me. I've had some minor successes along the way, but if I had set out to make a living, I'd have to consider myself a failure, too.

Instead, I'm still playing in original bands, always on the look-out for what's cool on the bleeding edge, and having a great time doing it. I think I've been pretty successful that way because I know I'll have a lot of recordings that I'm proud of riding with me in my coffin.
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Old 11-15-2010, 06:49 PM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

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And there lies the rub.

Every band now has a better chance at earning a following, but a lower chance of earning a mega huge following.

In my humble opinion, it's much easier for a band achieve a cult following now than 30 years ago, but it's much more difficult to get beyond that cult following, because there are just so many more bands competing for every fans dollar.
That too is a big part of it. Chris Anderson made it quite clear in The Long Tail how niche markets are becoming more widespread but obviously, will only cater to a select few people. Your bands music will eventually reach saturation point, where only a certain number of people like that kind of music. Bands, unless their music is very commercial or appeals to the lowest common denominator, now have it harder trying to take their cult following to "the next level" even if it is easier and cheaper to distribute music today (digitally) than in the past (tape trading/record labels, etc).
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Old 11-15-2010, 07:50 PM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

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That too is a big part of it. Chris Anderson made it quite clear in The Long Tail how niche markets are becoming more widespread but obviously, will only cater to a select few people. Your bands music will eventually reach saturation point, where only a certain number of people like that kind of music. Bands, unless their music is very commercial or appeals to the lowest common denominator, now have it harder trying to take their cult following to "the next level" even if it is easier and cheaper to distribute music today (digitally) than in the past (tape trading/record labels, etc).
Interesting point that makes sense.

But on the flip side, from an artistic point of view, these cult status bands have a lot more freedom, without the big labels telling them how to sound, telling them to use outside songwriters, and otherwise changing them around the way so many bands from the 70's and 80's were.
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Old 11-15-2010, 10:11 PM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

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That too is a big part of it. Chris Anderson made it quite clear in The Long Tail how niche markets are becoming more widespread but obviously, will only cater to a select few people. Your bands music will eventually reach saturation point, where only a certain number of people like that kind of music. Bands, unless their music is very commercial or appeals to the lowest common denominator, now have it harder trying to take their cult following to "the next level" even if it is easier and cheaper to distribute music today (digitally) than in the past (tape trading/record labels, etc).
(in anything I say, I am referring to an artist that could be considered "niche", but wishes they had a larger audience. i'm speaking of those that want to make their music into a primary source of income).

how do you know that a market will always be niche anyway? how can you be sure that the product has already targeted all of its demographic successfully?
relating back to your original post of this thread, maybe the bands simply aren't pushing their music in the right places? but that doesn't mean they have to move country. they just need to make new connections & network a bit. networking is really important.

niche... I have seen some bands that I would have previously considered niche (before my opinions on the subject changed), suddenly get swallowed up by the internet (and genrelisation) & suddenly put forward as something with commercial sensibilities, catering to a mainstream audience. Isn't that what happened to "grunge"? (albeit with a different form of media). not all those bands had the same sound, not all of them went mainstream either, not all of the record labels involved with alternative music jumped on the bandwagon, some of them stuck to their guns.

(offtopic // A relatively interesting article - FYI nuclear blast are now one of the worlds most important labels associated with metal).

As for metrics, that stuff is all well and good (and time consuming to study), but many indie bands/labels are already moving away from downloads (recorded music) as their main source of revenue (have been for some time, if they were even focused on it in the first place). That said, metrics does bring around good innovations, and the information is relevant. As for the long tail... the internet is very important in what Chris Anderson talks about. A good thing for the niche. The way I interpret it (when applied to music/artists) is trying to have as small overheads as possible whilst marketing & distributing your products to the correct market, because then the tail has potential.

So, I fail to see how artists from a niche market have it harder at all now really. I mean I can think of specific genres that the internet has helped immensely (depending on your viewpoint), infact without the internet I have serious doubts as to whether certain genres would come around as quickly, or even hit the mainstream at all.
Maybe these niche artists just need help with marketing their brand? Maybe what they're making just isn't viable to make a living from? Perfectly acceptable.

There are many modern "niche" artists that do perfectly well for themselves. boards of canada, aphex twin, venetian snares, infected mushroom, explosions in the sky, sufjan stevens, to name a couple. there are various forms of dance music, rock, acoustic, heavy music that have basically always been niche (I would prefer the term "underground", i.e. brutal death metal, black metal, etc - yet many of the bands with the best songs & most talent are still on the road, years later.

There are lots of little scenes popping up all over the internet, with a handful of bands with their own sound, which consumers seem to enjoy. except now they aren't necessarily based around a country/town, like grunge, punk, black metal, melodeath, death metal etc. rather they are just people who make similar sorts of music that communicate via the internet, and help each other out by cross-promoting through their collective fanbase. however when the bands tour they will often target specific places, because that makes sense to do. I hope you can understand what I'm saying, if not then that's cool. Niche is only niche until it's posted on the internet imo, if you have it and it's good, and you use your resources properly then people will find it.
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Old 11-16-2010, 03:26 AM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

Well I moved from London to Brisbane (not for musical reasons) and yeah looking at the Aussie scene it does seem most bands do believe they need to leave these shores to 'make' it...recent ARIA (British version of the BRITS) pretty much cemented that with a band The Temper Trap (moved ot the UK) winning best single for a song that was released in 2008

In Brisbane the music venues are closing down, I'm playing in an original band here and have played well known venues but to ten or fifteen people most shows

Also seems ironic as was said Powderfinger never cracked Europe or America but also chose to stay living in Aus at the time.....look at AC/DC, none of the band live in Aus anymore........singer from Jet (hate that band) singer is moving to Italy!!
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Old 11-16-2010, 11:55 AM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

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Interesting point that makes sense.

But on the flip side, from an artistic point of view, these cult status bands have a lot more freedom, without the big labels telling them how to sound, telling them to use outside songwriters, and otherwise changing them around the way so many bands from the 70's and 80's were.
Freedom should be paramount. The only reason they were told what to do, is because it wasn't their money on the line if it went wrong. Labels are investors after all.

If you want 100% artistic freedom, be your own label.
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Old 11-16-2010, 11:57 AM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

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how do you know that a market will always be niche anyway?
It certainly looks that way because more and more new styles keep cropping up. There is more diversity now, more smaller sub-genres with their own diehard fanbase, it's a melting pot of styles compared to 20 years ago (you mentioned Grunge). Years ago, lots of people in mass society probably had the same albums in their collections, because they all read the same magazines and shopped at the same stores. That's not the case anymore as you know.

Also, I never set a figure on what niche is, but obviously some goregrind band who sing about who knows what in pig squeels and grunts are going to have a harder time “reaching” more people, no matter what circles they push it through. Bands often say, “all we need is a label and distribution” as though that in and of itself will solve the problem of their music only being for certain people. What's the biggest turnout for one of those niche bands? One or two thousand in some of the larger cities? Compare that to any mainstream band.

I'll agree, noone can predict what will become popular. I'm just noticing the musical landscape being fractured into more and more niche genres. This is becoming the norm in my eyes anyway. Some bands will of course go viral and ascend to mainstream, or mass societal popularity, but I would bet my bottom dollar that most bands will remain in the underground struggling to make a living (if that is their goal). Because, with so many bands having to rely on other revenues now that CD sales are down, touring is still going to be expensive if you are travelling to far off places to play for only 200-400 hundred people.

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however when the bands tour they will often target specific places, because that makes sense to do.
That's always been the way. It's why, for years, no bands ever toured territories that didn't stock copies of their albums.

It always make me laugh when unsigned bands with say, a demo, hit the road with the intent of making new fans. Playing gigs doesn't always generate a fanbase. Shows are what you set-up to entertain fans after they've discovered you (through hearing your records, reading good reviews of your music, seeing you on YouTube, getting a burned copy of your CD from a friend of theirs, etc).

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There are many modern "niche" artists that do perfectly well for themselves. boards of canada, aphex twin, venetian snares, infected mushroom, explosions in the sky, sufjan stevens, to name a couple. there are various forms of dance music, rock, acoustic, heavy music that have basically always been niche (I would prefer the term "underground", i.e. brutal death metal, black metal, etc - yet many of the bands with the best songs & most talent are still on the road, years later.
Absolutley, but none of us will ever get to see what those bands are making. What is “perfectly well”? I learned not to judge someone's financial wealth or wellbeing based on their outward appearance; they could be in deep debt for all you know. Just like some business suit driving his BMW past you in the street. You might think, hmmm he's done well for himself to aquire all that, but at the same time, he could have it all paid with credit and lately has been getting phone calls from his lendors.
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Old 11-16-2010, 12:50 PM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

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Well I moved from London to Brisbane (not for musical reasons) and yeah looking at the Aussie scene it does seem most bands do believe they need to leave these shores to 'make' it...recent ARIA (British version of the BRITS) pretty much cemented that with a band The Temper Trap (moved ot the UK) winning best single for a song that was released in 2008

In Brisbane the music venues are closing down, I'm playing in an original band here and have played well known venues but to ten or fifteen people most shows

Also seems ironic as was said Powderfinger never cracked Europe or America but also chose to stay living in Aus at the time.....look at AC/DC, none of the band live in Aus anymore........singer from Jet (hate that band) singer is moving to Italy!!
Wow Spides, the scene sounds as dead in Brissie as it does in Sydney :(

If I was young and ambitious I'd move to Europe - Britain or the mainland - for sure.
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Old 11-16-2010, 07:24 PM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

Great post toddy, and I agree, all points are valid here. There is no objective truth to speak of, just personal experience and observation.

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Popularity of a band/genre before it hits the mainstream isn't a secret, it's usually pretty obvious.
Are you sure about this? My only question would be, if that is the case, then why do so many people get it wrong with their forecasts? People make predictions about music all the time, especially record labels, right? Yet, if approx 80% of artists fail commercially and don't take off, doesn't this make said predictions a little, unpredictable?

It’s easy to look back in hindsight and say, "well, those weren’t good songs", but prior to the fact, everybody at the label had confidence that their new act would sell and become really popular. Hindsight is always 20-20 and we as a species are very good at making up ad-hoc explantions about why we succeeded or didn't, after the fact, and we do this without even realising it.

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Now sure you may be thinking "this guy loves to talk a lot of bullshit" and you know you're probably right, but there's also a chance I'm not and I'm sticking with it.
Not in the slighest. You have a valid perspective and are making decisions based on your principles and feedback/observations. Good for you. I look forward to reading more of your posts.
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Old 11-16-2010, 10:30 PM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

Thanks. I do enjoy a good discussion on the music business, though I mainly stick to a few specific blogs & forums for debating purposes. I did write out a 1500 word reponse to the "are you sure about this" part, but then I remembered a quote that Jer brought up in another thread;

There are two rules for success: 1) Never tell everything you know.

So I'll just say that in general, I've met lazy A&R guys that don't really know what's going on anymore. And these are guys who have spotted many number one artists in the UK in the past, right up until the early 2000's. Infact I've been to seminars where they bring the gold & platinum discs with them. It's cringe-worthy. Obviously a record company is built on a hierarchy of various job descriptions, some of those people can't do their jobs properly anymore. The people who are good at their jobs are increasingly starting their own companies with their own roster. Young people/entrepreneurs increasingly do their own thing, often based around the net, they don't join record companies, or even apply. Why join a sinking ship, it's not your job to save it after all - and you certainly won't be properly compensated.

Slightly offtopic, but this is interesting & recent if you haven't seen already; http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2...rded-music-bid
That's a serious depreciation.
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Old 11-16-2010, 11:14 PM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

I've certainly enjoyed reading this discussion. As much as Toddy and Tommyland may think they're disagreeing with each other, from my perspective, you're both agreeing with each other more often than not.
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I've met lazy A&R guys that don't really know what's going on anymore. And these are guys who have spotted many number one artists in the UK in the past, right up until the early 2000's.
Well, most A&R guys have no clue, because the whole business has turned upside down. And not just downloading and the internet. In the late 80's and 90's there were so many record company buy outs and mergers, a lot of top execs got replaced, so rather than music people running the labels, they were replaced by financial guys who's job it was to maximize the stock price.

I had a friends band who was signed to a huge deal with WB, then the company's President was fired, and the band's album went right to the 99 cent bin.

The net result of all these mergers was artist development and long term building of a band went out the window.

Rush's first three albums bombed, their 4th went gold, their 8th went platinum.
Journey's first three albums bombed, their 5th finally turned a profit, their 8th made them super starts.
Fleetwood Mac has 8 albums of so-so sales before Mick found Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks that transformed them into one of the best selling groups.

Major don't do that anymore. You're either a hit, or your gone. Even if you had a hit, if the follow up album bombs, they'll drop you. Which leaves the average A&R person stripped of their power, because the label won't back them up on any long term projects; they either deliver hits or get laid off.

That, and traditionally, A&R people were focused on selling a band in their territory. As discussed, the market place is now global, and you never know if a band will be a hit in Easter Europe or Japan even if it fails in the USA or UK. As opposed to the 70's, where a band might only sell in one part of the USA but not another, and everything was more segmented.
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Old 11-17-2010, 12:38 AM
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I've certainly enjoyed reading this discussion. As much as Toddy and Tommyland may think they're disagreeing with each other, from my perspective, you're both agreeing with each other more often than not.


Well, most A&R guys have no clue, because the whole business has turned upside down. And not just downloading and the internet. In the late 80's and 90's there were so many record company buy outs and mergers, a lot of top execs got replaced, so rather than music people running the labels, they were replaced by financial guys who's job it was to maximize the stock price.

I had a friends band who was signed to a huge deal with WB, then the company's President was fired, and the band's album went right to the 99 cent bin.

The net result of all these mergers was artist development and long term building of a band went out the window.

Rush's first three albums bombed, their 4th went gold, their 8th went platinum.
Journey's first three albums bombed, their 5th finally turned a profit, their 8th made them super starts.
Fleetwood Mac has 8 albums of so-so sales before Mick found Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks that transformed them into one of the best selling groups.

Major don't do that anymore. You're either a hit, or your gone. Even if you had a hit, if the follow up album bombs, they'll drop you. Which leaves the average A&R person stripped of their power, because the label won't back them up on any long term projects; they either deliver hits or get laid off.

That, and traditionally, A&R people were focused on selling a band in their territory. As discussed, the market place is now global, and you never know if a band will be a hit in Easter Europe or Japan even if it fails in the USA or UK. As opposed to the 70's, where a band might only sell in one part of the USA but not another, and everything was more segmented.
Hey that's very interesting you know, I didn't know the specifics of all of those examples. I certainly agree with the "hit or gone philosophy" though. I have some friends that were signed to virgin for a bit, their first album did pretty well, they got placements in a few prime time adverts in the UK. On their second album they took their advance, used it to buy gear for themselves, and put out a nice self-produced album, but not aimed at the mainstream. Critically it did pretty well, however after the record bombed commercially, the major released them. It turned out that they had kept their commercial songs for their next album, along with the gear. Pretty creative use of a bank (record company) if you ask me.

I also have read a bit and discovered the segmentation you are speaking of, although I wasn't around to see it for myself. I have read some very interesting books on this subject (well, if you find the history of the recording industry interesting), actually I wrote a 10k word essay on it for my dissertation. I have to say that if I was born in the 1970s or early 1980s then I might have totally overlooked the music industry as a career path - other than drumming in a band, but growing up with the internet has made it less mystical. It's nice to log on in the morning, & have a quick browse of google news & music industry blogs, you learn something new every day.

As for agreeing with Tommy, you know you're totally right. I realised we were agreeing on many things whilst typing my long post, which is why I went out of my way to not appear rude, as I wasn't trying to be confrontational in the first place. I am certainly someone who gets into arguments easily! I think the nice thing about the music industry is that it feels like it has been at a sort of crossroads for a couple of years, no one really knows the wood from the trees. And those who do sadly aren't telling.
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Old 11-17-2010, 09:30 AM
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Wow Spides, the scene sounds as dead in Brissie as it does in Sydney :(

If I was young and ambitious I'd move to Europe - Britain or the mainland - for sure.
Yeah its definately rubbish, my band before we broke up was going to try and make in Tokyo. Wasn't my idea, but it seemed alot more appealing then trying to get noticed locally.

I guess I can't complain too much, I know when i'm on the look out for new music, i tend to look at US, scandanavian or mainland european bands (not a big fan of british music in general) for some new songs. I know that most of the aussie stuff is fairly rubbish and can't be bothered to find the odd good one as there is so much more quality overseas.
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Old 11-17-2010, 10:13 AM
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Yeah its definately rubbish, my band before we broke up was going to try and make in Tokyo. Wasn't my idea, but it seemed alot more appealing then trying to get noticed locally.

I guess I can't complain too much, I know when i'm on the look out for new music, i tend to look at US, scandanavian or mainland european bands (not a big fan of british music in general) for some new songs. I know that most of the aussie stuff is fairly rubbish and can't be bothered to find the odd good one as there is so much more quality overseas.
Still sounding familiar, the difference being that a guy I was in a band with in my teens joined another band later that DID go to Japan, and did a whole lot better there than here. Not saying that so you kick yourself :)

I see local bands by recommendation - it saves on kissing frogs.

A weird thing I've noticed of late, with the bar scene decimated by pokies, noise complaints and dance clubs. Regular clubs seem to only be hiring the high profile people. Now my band is doing the rounds of bowling clubs, which seem to have found the need to get hip to survive. These former bastions of elderly beer swilling are now putting on entertainment and pulling younger crowds at night. Not necessarily young ... but younger.

In the old days I'd thought playing a bowling club was about the most uncool gig possible but these ones we've done lately have been heaps of fun.
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Old 11-17-2010, 06:43 PM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

Out of interest what kind of music do you currently enjoy listening to drums_n_surf? I'm sure there are some UK bands that would interest you. The UK (to the outside world) probably seems to copy the US, when infact there is a ton of other stuff going on all the time. If anything it's the other way round at the moment, in many sub-genres.
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Old 11-18-2010, 03:38 AM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

I guess I am finding a lot of these bands albums are only really containing three or four good songs and the rest is just forgetful and poor on the Aussie scene.............Birds of Tokyo, Temper Trap, Josh & Julia Stone are such artists that spring to mind for me.........

when I was in the UK I thought Yves Klein Blue were English as they had that identical sound to The Kooks etc and low and behold they are a Brissie band!!

cast your mind back to a truely great album where you love every song and don't want it to stop..............man that is years for me...........

Also drums_n_surf moving to Tokyo or whatever I doubt a band couldn't fail to be honest........being from Aus or anywhere outside of Japan will gain you masses of immediate publicity...........the music press would be all over it ha ha
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Old 11-18-2010, 06:07 AM
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I also have read a bit and discovered the segmentation you are speaking of, although I wasn't around to see it for myself. I have read some very interesting books on this subject (well, if you find the history of the recording industry interesting), actually I wrote a 10k word essay on it for my dissertation. I have to say that if I was born in the 1970s or early 1980s then I might have totally overlooked the music industry as a career path - other than drumming in a band, but growing up with the internet has made it less mystical. It's nice to log on in the morning, & have a quick browse of google news & music industry blogs, you learn something new every day..
I do find reading the history of the music business very interesting, and I've read several books on the subject, along with several autobiography's of well know musicians. Along with watching friends band get signed and dropped, and my own bands flirtations with record labels.

I don't have any first hand knowledge of the segmented markets of the US, it's only something I've read about, and realized over the years when I hear about some 70's band that was suppositively huge, but I can't recall every hearing them, and then I find out they were only huge on the east coast! When I was a kid, MTV came out, and that made every band they played equal from east to west.

Anyhow, I saw this interview from a Swedish band Therion, and I thought it was appropriate for this thread:

:
Quote:
Oh yeah, we’re never going to tour the US again. It would be a miracle for us to do that again, like an offer we couldn’t refuse. I knew we’d do OK there, but the tours we did [both in support of Gothic Kabbalah] had total shithead booking. It was pretty miserable, never too posh. There were about 150-200 people a show and in this economy, it’s tough. Hard to get anywhere with this economy. I’m 40 years-old. We do well in Europe, great in Latin America. Some people think the United States is essential, but we’re not big in Africa either [laughs]. Not touring there takes away a lot of the legwork, and when you do all of that work to tour the States, it’s not worth it.
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Old 11-18-2010, 07:37 AM
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Hey Toddy. I don't doubt that theres a fair few british bands i'd like, likewise with aussie bands, it's just I have a hard time finding them. When trying to find new music, i generally go to last.fm and search a subgenre or go to an artist i like and find 'similar artists'. I then have a listen to a few of the previews they have and see which bands i like. I find that nearly every band i've found this way come from the US or various parts of mainland europe. I do like radiohead alot, but thats about it from England. Other popular bands i like are Mars Volta, RHCP, John Frusciante solo stuff, Led Zep, Dire Straits, Hendrix, older Linkin Park, Nirvana, Pixies and Them Crooked Vultures. I like many other bands but chances are not too many people have heard of them. If you have a few UK bands you want to recommend, i'm all ears.

And Spides, funny you should mention that about Yves Klein Blues. I knew of the drummer in the band as he went to my school, but I'd never heard them play. Heard them on the radio once and thought it was some british band. Ended up hearing them live with my friend, and i was like...i recognise that song! Was a bit surprised haha.
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Old 11-19-2010, 03:37 AM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

drums_n_surf I did a Chili Peppers tribute in Brisbane about two years ago ha ha.....most clueless venues thought the Chili's were heavier than Metallica so wouldn't book us, man little did they know!!!

Back on topic I have found Brisbane (and no different to London no doubt I was just lucky who I played with there) to be full of guys who think if they are not signed after the first week of oding an originals show it's never going to happen

Iv'e done a few originals shows in Brisbane like The Zoo, Club 299, Tempo Hotel and well the attendance to these shows it makes you wonder if it's all worth it..........
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Old 11-19-2010, 03:25 PM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

I saw something recently that made me think of this thread.

I was watching a popular TV show that airs on Showtime in the States. A Canadian actor whom I'm familiar with shows up on screen, has a bunch of lines and is in a couple different scenes - and I was floored - I had a moment of happiness for the guy and thought to myself, he's made it!

After some thought, I realized that the show he's known on here in Canada also airs on network television in the States and probably has more viewers in the States than the Showtime program I had just seen him on. But I still felt as though this was a landmark achievement for the guy. Why?

The US media machine glorifies and over sensationalizes their talent. You see them on the covers of magazines, the topic of Entertainment Tonight, being harassed on TMZ. What's the Canadian version of this? How do we put our talent on a pedestal? If we try, it's usually on a level that can only be seen as a feeble attempt at copying the US, that ultimately falls short. Look at how big of a deal the Emmy's are treated as in comparison to the Gemini's, or the AMA's to the Juno's. One is a red carpet affair, the other is having some buds over for some brews to pat ourselves on the back.

Having mentioned TMZ, I saw a parody done by the good folks at "This Hour Has 22 Minutes", called TMZed. The "talent" that the videographers were following did not shy away, shout curse words at or otherwise become abusive - they were friendly, talkative and willing to share anything - in my experience, this is (for the most part), an accurate portrayal of a Canadian celebrity.

As a generalization, for us here in Canada, the American market is where you need to go to "make it". I'm not sure any of these thoughts would prove relevant to a band/actor/artist from Country A looking to break in Country B... Is it strictly because of a larger market? Is it how talent in another country gets treated differently? Is it because there is no market in your area and it's just a necessity to even get noticed?

Why do I, as someone who has a bit of knowledge of the industry, still look at the actor I spoke of in a different light having landed a role on a US produced show when his "fame" can be attributed to the work he's done here in Canada? I dunno... it's odd.

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It always make me laugh when unsigned bands with say, a demo, hit the road with the intent of making new fans. Playing gigs doesn't always generate a fanbase. Shows are what you set-up to entertain fans after they've discovered you (through hearing your records, reading good reviews of your music, seeing you on YouTube, getting a burned copy of your CD from a friend of theirs, etc).
To me, this is like saying that bands don't have to poster for shows anymore because they can do all their promoting on the internet. It's still a way to at very least attract the attention of a potential fan. I know here in Toronto there is a still a good lot of people who go to shows to check out new music, I've met them, and although they aren't as plentiful as folks in smaller markets, (where there is nothing going on other than the show you are playing that night), they might have heard about the show from a poster on a telephone pole.

While I certainly can't argue that playing somewhere where people already know you is better than not, I would also add that I've done good shows outside of my immediate market because it was the second or third time we were there. The first time we showed up as nobodies, dropped a bunch of merch and came back 6 months later as heroes*. Yes, the internet has had a huge impact on how bands get out there, but not everyone (yet), gets all their new media this way. To sum this up and tie in my first thought on having fun, if you always approach a band from a dollars and cents point of view, you may miss out on the fun of hitting the road, meeting new people and making new fans. This also impacts how you are perceived, which again, probably ties in with what I mentioned above. To the average person, a band that has been on a tour will be viewed differently than a band who has not.

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I agree, although I guess some people also have bigger ambitions than others and want to make a living from music, etc.
For sure, I just see those I know who want to make a living doing something other than trying to "make it", they are studio guys, guys who play corporate gigs, etc... The mates I have that are trying to make a living by "making it" are typically spend more time working the business angle than writing songs and performing live.

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Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
This resonates strongly with me. I've had some minor successes along the way, but if I had set out to make a living, I'd have to consider myself a failure, too.

Instead, I'm still playing in original bands, always on the look-out for what's cool on the bleeding edge, and having a great time doing it. I think I've been pretty successful that way because I know I'll have a lot of recordings that I'm proud of riding with me in my coffin.
Amen.


* - possibly a slight exaggeration.

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Old 11-20-2010, 07:19 AM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

What you mean by "making it" is different for different musicians and artists. Some musicians prefer their career to be small venue shows after small venue shows, maybe being signed to a small independent artist is enough.

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Meanwhile, before Sydney became the poker machine capital of the world and had a music scene, some fine bands would come over here after outgrowing their native New Zealand.
I think Pollyanna can understand, the John Butler Trio has been quite successful in Australia signed to an "independent" label.

Would you say that the state of the Australian music business can atleast partially be explained nicely by the lack of value the average Australian has for creativity?

Australia is basically an intellectual, creative and artistic desert...think of the kind of people the expatriate Australians are...they're not leaving because of the standard of living, they are leaving to countries that value exceptionality...and tax much less.
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Old 11-20-2010, 05:48 PM
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I can't disagree with you Jer, because you're right, bands can and do make new fans on the road. Maybe the people were there to check out the local talent on the bill, and were then pleasantly surprised by the support act from out of town. But much better to show up somewhere where you have some fans (who should bring other friends). Use the Internet to target areas in advance; make some new fans online and then let them know when you will passing through – whether this is done through a personal message on some social networking site; whatever it takes. Those few people should hopefully mobilise a few more heads to come with them to the gig. The alternative is just hitting the road hoping people will just happen to show up because it's friday night and they have nothing else going on. Maybe, but there's about 50 other things people could be doing than just hitting the local bar in the hopes that some unknown band is going to blow them away. How often does that happen? Everyone's experience will be different.

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Yes, the internet has had a huge impact on how bands get out there, but not everyone (yet), gets all their new media this way.
Are flyers and adverts in magazines/local papers obsolete? Certainly not! They have their place. But at the same time, I don't know that many people who listen to music and attend gigs that don't have a Facebook page or who use the Internet in some capacity. And if they didn't see it themselves online, and instead heard it from a friend, chances are the friend heard it from someone else who saw it online, etc. If you trace the genesis of word of mouth, the Internet is the fastest way to get news around the world.

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To sum this up and tie in my first thought on having fun, if you always approach a band from a dollars and cents point of view, you may miss out on the fun of hitting the road, meeting new people and making new fans. This also impacts how you are perceived, which again, probably ties in with what I mentioned above.To the average person, a band that has been on a tour will be viewed differently than a band who has not.
Maybe, maybe not. There's this niche band from Norway called Ulver. Ever since they went progressive (I heard they were once a metal band), they have played very few gigs but are extremely popular. It's only now, something like 10 years later, as more and more people have gotten into them, that the band are starting to play more places (because there will be fans to go see them). Plus, the live show is a sight to behold. It's a seated gig, something a little bit different that suits their music. Plenty of other niche bands could have toured the entire world, playing every little sweat box that supplies elecricity and still not come close to the following Ulver have, who achieved this without having to tour.

http://www.myspace.com/ulver1

I don't think they are less respected because they didn't tour. They let their wares mature enough until they knew there would be a subtantial following in every city they would eventually play.

Last edited by Tommyland; 11-20-2010 at 05:59 PM.
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Old 11-22-2010, 02:17 AM
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Quote:
the John Butler Trio has been quite successful in Australia signed to an "independent" label.
He is also doing pretty well outside of Aus and I don't know if the rumours are true but I have heard he donates nearly a $1million a year to help other up and coming artists etc...
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Old 11-23-2010, 02:23 AM
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Default Re: You have to “make it” outside your own country first

Australia has become an insanely expensive Country to live in right now. I was first here in 2002 and a wage could go a long way with groceries and fuel etc.........when I returned in 2006 and to now it is going off the radar. Everything is stupidly expensive

Here is an example, I bought Dave Mustaine's bio for $39

On Amazon UK I can ship it here for $16.........

Now they are talking of increasing the tax on imported goods so they are clicking onto people buying stuff from the States..........

Guitarist here went into a Guitar shop who had the Mesa Boogie amp he wanted, they wanted $5000...........he got it shipped from the States for $2800

I guess we are going off topic here ha ha.......

But back on topic sought off, I have heard from a very good source that ARIA is about to go bust!!!

Also there was something like 65 Music Festivals in Aus this year, 80% of those have gone bust!!!!

Food for thought.....
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