You may not be familiar with The 88 as a band, but you’ve certainly heard their music. With three independent releases already under their belt, the group has enjoyed a welcome home for their music on TV, in the movies, and as part of national advertising. Their songs have appeared on “The OC”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Laguna Beach”, “Gossip Girl”, “One Tree Hill” and “Weeds”, among many others. The 88 also wrote and recorded the theme song for NBC’s new hit comedy series, “Community”. While most bands would use that success to leave the indie world behind, Adam Merrin of The 88(Piano/Keyboards), shares why they chose to stay independent. Plus, don’t miss the one DIY promotion trick they used to really open the doors for success! Just click the link to read the interview.
The 88 has had enormous success with licensing your music to film and TV. Was licensing a big part of your plan from the beginning? What advice to you have for indie artists looking for licensing opportunities for their music? The funny thing is, I didn’t even know what licensing music was when we were first starting out, and it definitely wasn’t part of the plan. We used to make CD samplers of our music and pass them out to people at all the good local shows around town. One night, I was handing them out at a Supergrass show, and one landed in the hands of Danny Benair at Natural Energy Lab (www.naturalenergylab.com). He called us the next day and told us that he places songs in film and TV and that he would like to represent the band. We thought we’d give it a shot, and he called us a few weeks later saying that he got us our first placement. Not only has it helped us pay for tours and buy the van that we travel in, but it’s helped expose our music to people all over the world. Since radio has changed so much over the years, and since it is so difficult for an independent band to get radio play these days, this has been a great way to get our music out there.
It would be assumed with all the song placements that The 88 would have signed a long term major label deal, but you guys are still releasing music independently. Was that a specific choice by the band, or are you still waiting for the right offer? We released an album (Not Only… But Also) on Island Records in 2008, but it didn’t work out. We have learned that recording and releasing music independently is the best way that works for us. I think it’s different for everybody, and I am not saying that this is the route to go for every band out there, but in our situation, that’s just the way it works best for us. We’re a lot happier when we’re making the music that we love and not trying to do anything else but that.
Is there any one business decision that The 88 made has made that you think has really made a difference in your career? As I mentioned earlier, the best advice that anyone ever gave the band, was to make CD samplers of our music and get them to as many people as possible. They’re so easy and inexpensive to make, and it’s one of the best ways to get your music out there. We’d also include flyers for our next show in the CD envelopes and noticed that more and more people would be coming out to our live shows from doing that. I never used to like handing out flyers, as they’d always end up on the ground. But with CD’s, I wouldn’t mind doing it at all, because we would pass out 1000 of them in a night, and never see a single CD thrown on the ground.
In your opinion, what does it take for an indie artist to rise above the noise and get noticed? The most important thing is to make music that you love and everything else that happens around that is just a bonus. Great things will happen when you’re staying true to yourself and making music that you are happy with.
Check out The 88 on CD Baby here – http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/The88