[This post was written by guest contributor brian botkiller.]
I’ve competed in my fair share of battle of the bands competitions, and I’ve gotten pretty far in a lot of them. But I’ve realized one thing throughout all of these competitions; bands need to help each other out now, more than ever. This isn’t the 90s, we’re not all going to get huge record contracts from battle comps. We have to learn a new model. Let’s talk about that.
One comp, two comp… three comp…
You’ve all seen the competitions; they come from everywhere; Ernie Ball, Guitar Center, even hotel chains! And, we all enter them, because, well, why not? But these comps aren’t doing a whole lot for most bands anymore. They become so competitive that everyone is simply clicking links to click them, and no one is listening to music. This is unfortunate. In addition, bands aren’t helping each other out at all when they focus on these comps. The focus becomes to show that you are “better” than everyone else, and then nearly no one wins in the long run. We have to step up and help each other.
Don’t just work to win; network!
It’s great to win a comp, but you know what else is pretty great? Networking with a lot of bands whose music you respect, and setting up a network that will help you when you tour or need to call on your fellow musicians for help fundraising, and beyond. Talk to other bands in these comps, whether they be online or in your hometown; make friends, share music, and share contact info. You might find someone who can really help you out the next time your’e on tour, and need a show.
Battle comps unfortunately even show that if you have a huge fanbase, you may still not win. It doesn’t matter how many clicks you get; if you don’t make it, you don’t make it. Don’t get mad; approach those fans that took an interest in you whom you don’t know personally, and send them some free music or stickers. Make fans out of them. Just because you didn’t’ win the comp, doesn’t mean you can’t win something else.
And, most of all, remember that these comps, while often fun, are popularity contests which do not always result in the “best man” winning. There is no best man, in the long run; there is only a difference between those who work hard and believe in what they do, and those that think it should just happen with the click of a mouse.
Help each other, communicate, grow for success!
Help your fellow bands out, talk to your fans, talk to the companies that run these comps, and find out more about how you can be a part of the planning or organization. You might learn something that helps you next year, and you might build a fanbase that you can count on to help you win next time. Let’s all help each other – success for one can mean success for many. Success for few is simply that, and keeping secrets or not being helpful to each other only ensures that there is less success in the long run.
Now, go rock out.
[Amp photo from Shutterstock.]