It’s no secret that the music industry is constantly evolving and whether you view those changes as positive or negative depends on your prerogative. One thing we all can’t deny is how technology has given smaller acts a newfound freedom over the course of a decade. From MySpace to Facebook to Soundcloud, there have been multiple, successful ways for artists to get their music heard all without the help of a major label.
In an exclusive TDL guest blog, Terry Rytz of rising pop/punk band, Cuecliché, shares his journey over the past decade in the music industry and how these crucial developments have made an impact in his musical career.
Nine years since I last took to a stage and pretended I was Mark Hoppus as I jumped around playing crappy punk rock, I went to see the real Hoppus play an intimate show in Kingston, London as Blink 182 played in the UK for the first time with new guitarist and vocalist Matt Skiba. This night inspired me to end my self-enforced hiatus (or as I called it “waiting for the right project”) and go looking for somebody to jam along to pop-punk songs in my bedroom with. This led to an online advert calling for musicians and my newest best friends/brothers were found.
But how has being an unsigned artist changed after a decade away? To put it simply, it’s changed in every way. So let’s go on a journey and look at the biggest change: the internet.
2005-06 I was in a pop-punk band named The Last Round and this was a great time to be a musician! MySpace was doing so much for bands, so social media was just becoming a part of the scene & affordable home recording was just becoming accessible to DIY musicians.
I have great memories of uploading gig posters and songs to MySpace. That was pretty much band marketing 101 back in the day. Occasionally we’d put posters in local stores or bars but this was only for big shows. In my band now, Cuecliché, I take responsibility for the marketing side of the music and this includes all of our online channels. As I mentioned in 2005, this meant MySpace – now every time we have a show, I have to update Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bandsintown and Songkick. I have to have the correct artwork for each platform in the right size and this probably takes more time than the length of the set we’ll get for the show.
Each platform has different audiences with different ways of using it and you have to give a lot of thought to things like having the time to post images/videos and whether to pay for a sponsored post. It’s not just about posting news about shows; there’s a constant demand to keep all channels fresh with exciting new content and sometimes this can be a huge challenge as occasionally there can be long periods where there’s nothing exciting to share so it keeps the pressure on to stay relevant.
Recording equipment has changed massively, too. In the days of The Last Round, home recording was becoming more available but the quality was awful. As a band, we invested in a brand new ‘recording desk.’ I don’t remember much about it except it had four channel inputs. You would record into the desk, mix it on a screen that was about 4 inches wide and there was literally only the option to adjust levels after it had already been recording. Once you had recorded, the desk burnt it straight to disk. To say our demos were poor quality would be an understatement.
Nowadays, technology has come on leaps and bounds. On Cuecliché’s debut EP, One Last Chance, we recorded the drums at a studio but everything else was recorded in Jake’s (guitarist) parent’s house in their spare bedroom where we have a studio set up and the sound quality is pretty incredible if I do say so myself. It helps that Jake is a genius producer, but the fact studio level equipment and software is available to DIY musicians has definitely changed the music scene massively.
I’ve not even touched on streaming platforms, online blogs, audience habits, videos, camera phones and so much more that has had a huge impact! I guess I’d compare my return to music after a decade to Captain America – waking up in 2015 after being frozen. The fundamentals have stayed the same but the technology and people have advanced so much. But despite all these changes there is one thing that has stayed the same, being up on stage playing music is still the greatest rush possible.
One Last Chance is available now here.