Profile picture
SoloBassSteve 🎧 @solobasssteve
, 20 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
This is from a really interesting thread re. music finance... Go read it. But the fascinating thing for me here is the idea of ' taken drastic control' - even back in the 90s, I couldn't imagine that a) anyone else would want to release what I did, & b) it'd never make money
I was already a journalist by the time I started thinking about releasing solo music, and so I'd met and interviewed some of the world's top bassists and pretty much none were making money on releases except at the merch table...
...but they were having to buy stock from the label at VASTLY inflated prices to then sell for minimal gain. I realised that if I made 1000 CDs, gave away a couple of hundred for promo, sold the others for £10, I'd make enough to make the next one, and pay some bills. WIN!
I literally never even thought about 'getting signed' or approaching labels. Who the fuck would want to put out my weird-ass mongrel music? Not ambient enough for the hippies, not jazz enough for the beatniks, not funky enough for the bass fanatics... :)
I did at one point get approached about a distribution deal, but it was so poor, that I'd have had to sell several thousand to even pay myself minimum wage for the additional accounting involved, and I just wanted to make more music... So I kicked that into touch...
about 6 shops have ever stocked my music. The only ones I got paid for were the ones who paid upfront for them (lovely bass shops :) ) - HMV never paid me for the CDs they sold. Fuck 'em. Every penny I've made was direct to listeners, who somehow found me via a range of routes...
I built a reputation as a teacher, as a session bassist, as a music journalist, got into doing masterclasses, worked with gear companies, and made the best music I could possibly make. I mostly booked my own gigs, cos like labels, I couldn't imagine anyone else liking what I did.
...& I wasn't remotely willing to change any of it to try & get into particular venues or on radio shows or whatever. The music was and is the first last and always. Everything else serves that. So I pressed my own CDs, booked my own gigs, & did whatever I could to find my tribe
I had a number of REALLY fortunate breaks. @therealdannyt getting me the gig opening for 21st Century Schizoid Band was pivotal, and that lead to the tour opening for Level 42 - @markking game me a MASSIVE leg up there... I still get people messaging me who heard me on that tour.
...and the eclectic genius of @fionatalkington and @SharpV50 on #LateJunction was hugely significant - both in terms of exposure to an audience and credibility elsewhere... Oh, and @StuartMaconie played some on the Freakzone back in 2006. That was a big help too...
but it was all of my own back, trial and error. No plugger, no booker, no manager, no label. I had a tech for part of the Level 42 tour, & I've had a LOT of help from friends - gig swaps, house concerts, etc. The biggest push has pretty much always come from my existing audience
somehow in the middle of all that I landed on the cover of @BassGuitarMag - which was a lovely validation of the rest of it, to get that without landing a high profile sideman gig, just off the back of my solo nonsense. :) But it didn't suddenly drive a ton of sales...
those days are gone. I work for every single new subscriber. I made the choice to pull my music off of streaming platforms. It's not a good fit for me, economically, so I've got to make the case for y'all heading to bandcamp, credit card in hand...
So I make the best music I possibly can, I work with the best people I can - I'm fortunate to get to collaborate with some world class geniuses. And I make it all available. I release more music on my own that a lot of small labels do. And it's sustainable...
And THAT is the key word here. Sustainable. How do I keep doing this? Not 'how do I end up full time?' or 'how do I have a hit?' or 'how do you go viral?' - how do I keep making the music I care about? That's the daily question, and for almost everyone ever it requires a day job.
I know SO few people who make their entire living from just playing music. We teach, we do clinics, we write, we do all kinds of interesting shit that's just as cool as playing shows and making records. But we do it. And people are ashamed of it? Fuck that. Day jobs are punk AF.
As the great @Wildknees said years ago, make the music the thing and you'll do whatever is needed to make it happen. Make yourself the thing, and certain shit will be beneath you. Do what the music needs to exist. Water it, nurture it, and the people around you. Be a good human.
So I do whatever I can to live this life less ordinary, and I make every effort to make the best music I can, and make it available to y'all at because Spotify can eat an actual bag of dicks. What makes the music possible? You lovely subscribers do :) xxx
And every single person interested in making music that matters needs to read Our Band Could Be Your Life. 2 clear lessons from the book - a) you need to work as hard as you possibly can to stay in the game, and b) drugs and getting hammered will pretty much always ruin it.
In closing, being independent has ALWAYS been fucking hard. In some ways it's easier now, in others it's harder cos some things that were possible are no longer possible. Work with where we are, & make friends with the people who care about what you do. Make the music the thing
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to SoloBassSteve 🎧
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member and get exclusive features!

Premium member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year)

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!