Band breakups aren’t often cause for celebration. It usually means someone’s either died, fallen ill, turned into an unbearable a-hole, moved out of town, developed a bad substance abuse habit, lost enthusiasm for your musical vision, gotten sick of your songs, or had to sacrifice “the dream” due to other commitments.
But just because you’ve stopped making new music and stopped performing your older music live, it doesn’t mean your music goes away. In the digital age, there is unlimited virtual shelf-space — which means NOTHING ever goes “out of print.” So congratulations: your music is immortal (well, at least until the sun expands and gobbles up the Earth).
But with immortality comes great responsibility. There are three things you need to keep doing after your band breaks up:
1. Make your music available through all the popular channels
These currently consist of download stores such as iTunes and Amazon, and streaming platforms like Spotify, Beats Music, and Rdio. With CD Baby, you can have a hands-off approach to your old bands’ music. We’ve got you taken care of. There’s no yearly fees, so we only make money when you do, and you don’t have to worry about us asking you for money just to keep your music in our distribution system. Plus, we’re always partnering with new platforms, so your music is guaranteed to be in all the most relevant places as the music distribution landscape shifts.
2. Maintain at least a minimal web presence
This includes your own website, Facebook Page, and YouTube channel. You don’t need to make frequent updates (since there will be little to update if you’ve broken up), but be sure to turn these web properties into definitive archives. Post a retrospective bio, links to all your music and videos, and the best photos from your career.
3. Be available to your fans
Make sure that you put your current contact info on your website and social media profiles. You might not get that many messages or emails anymore, but when you do, it could be important (a fan telling you how much your music means to them, a promoter asking if you have any new projects that could fill a last-minute festival slot, someone wanting to sample or cover one of your old songs, etc.)
If musical immortality requires some effort, why should you bother?
Look at this picture. Chiseled abs, a sweet beard, a fancy trident! Who wouldn’t want to be immortal?
Sorry… back on topic. I already mentioned a few of the actual benefits above, and it’s really not THAT much effort — but here’s a few more reasons to keep your music in wide distribution, maintain your web presence, and make yourself available to fans.
1. Your music is always new to someone.
Think of artists like Nick Drake, Big Star, Karen Dalton, and The Beatles. How many millions of fans did they win over AFTER they’d stopped putting out new albums? Don’t make it hard for people to discover your music. An inactive band can still get PAID!
2. Your existing fans will want to check up on you.
There was a band I used to go see a lot when I was in college. They had a big impact on me at the time, but now I can’t find out what they’re up to because they don’t have a web page or social media profiles. Nothing but a sparse Wikipedia entry and some old info on All Music Guide. Don’t go missing on your fans. It doesn’t take long to post an update on your website once a year, does it?
Another consideration about existing fans is that they may want to buy more of your music. Maybe they lost one of your CDs and want a new copy. Maybe they already have the vinyl album but want to download hi-res files from CDBaby.com. Again, don’t miss out on that revenue just because your band broke up.
3. Music supervisors don’t care how old a song is.
When it comes to sync licensing opportunities, the only thing that matters is that your song is great, it fits the needs of the TV show, commercial, or film, and that the producers can license your track quickly. Just because your band broke up doesn’t mean you can’t keep making money from your music. By keeping your music available in CD Baby’s distribution catalog, you’ll also be available in our sync licensing program.
4. You don’t want your website’s URL to fall into someone else’s hands.
If you let your domain registration lapse, some nefarious squatter could come along and snatch up your URL. Thwart that evildoer by simply renewing your registration every year. And if you need help doing so, check out HostBaby.
5. Your band might get back together!
Yes, I know that probably sounds unlikely now. But think about all the classic acts that have put aside their differences to go on tour again or release new albums. Your band breakup may, in hindsight, just be one of those “temporary hiatuses.” And even if you never get back together, some other band could cover one of your songs and renew interest in your act. When that happens, you’ll be happy your music is available online and that your website didn’t slip into oblivion.
Have you gone through a band breakup? How did you, as a group, decide to move towards immortality? Did you keep your music available online? Is your website still active? Let us know in the comments section below.
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