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Musicians guide to the recession … part 2

12 July 2016

If you have seen any of the news over the past few weeks you might have seen the country is in a bit of a pickle! In fact even Rick Waller, Charlotte Church and the population of China might struggle to finish this pickle! And just when we thought it was safe to go back in the water, those 2 semi tones are starting to ring in our ears (muso joke)… he’s back and he’s mega pissed off!

So us musicians need to recession proof our bands (again) early because there is plenty we can do so that we don’t lose all our work. In 2008 I wrote a blog on the recession after that crash which you can read here : Muso Guide To The Recession 2008. It’s 8 years on, we learned a lot about promoting ourselves and while it still applies, the landscape has changed. So here are some thought which weren’t covered by part 1.

  1. Pre 2008 the commercial band industry was full of over priced clumsy female fronted 5-6 piece bands playing too much 70’s disco, however in 2016 the fashion is male fronted 3-4 piece bands who all play the same modern set give or take a few songs. So firstly, learn that set so you can contact agencies, management companies and bands ready to go when musicians fall aside and have to get a job (which they will due to this recession).
  2. Smaller bands mean taking responsibility for singing, driving, owning extra gear and band promotion. The easier it is to slot you into a band as a dep or a replacement the more work will be available to you.
  3. Social Media isn’t a thing anymore.. It’s THE THING! Everyone booking a band nowadays wants to see the band first so the proof is usually in your social media. We live in a video orientated Instagram and Snapchat world so get good at social media and by that I don’t mean the odd pic or status on facebook.
  4. Get on Linkedin, it’s a brilliant way to meet other musicians who have got their act together as well as promoters, agents, and other influential music industry types. Build your content on there to show how pro you are to make it easier when introducing yourself.
  5. Get ready to drop your prices and do more playing for the money.. At the moment we aren’t in a recession so this is a last resort for what might be around the corner. The last recession wiped out many bands and most of those musicians have not been seen since.. One thing we learned the first time around was don’t be stubborn. If you need to change the style or sound of your band, shrink it, decrease the price or add an extra hour onto how long you play… DO IT! The recession won’t last forever, just a few years at most and the strongest, most robust bands with the most content will come out the other side and be in a stronger place to turn it around and achieve longevity!

Don’t forget any changes you make to your band (or you as a musician) will take a while to see any benefits, new marketing doesn’t bring gigs in for that week usually, so play the long term game. Look ahead 18 months down the line and make decisions for then and keep your eye on whats happening around you and in the news! Most importantly if you aren’t sure ask people their advice… You know I will always give you my 2 pence worth if you email me on

It’s going to be a tough year or 2 so lets get our head down and come out the other end with our careers intact!


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