Russel Brunson, in his book Expert Secrets constantly is writing about how you need to break your potential buyers of their old beliefs and instead guide them towards a new set of beliefs that will get them wanting to buy your product. Now this might seem a bit high concept for local bands, but I guarantee you it is not. I n fact I want to try to breakdown this idea and then teach you how to create an epiphany bridge for your fans so that they see that not only is your band worth spending time with, but that many of the bands in your scene are. Once you get to that point you are not only bringing yourself up, but also adhering to the maxim that a rising tide lifts all ships and are moving forward confident in the knowledge that you are growing your community which will ensure more success for your band over the long term. I know that this sounds crazy, but I want to take some time starting to unpack these concepts, even as I unpack the rest of Mr Brunsons work for myself and the bands who I am lucky enough to work with.
One of the biggest beliefs that tastemakers in a scene have is that local bands suck. This is especially the case in bigger cities where there are so many good touring packages coming through that it’s hard to even really justify any sort of all local bill. While sometimes they can happen, by and large people try to avoid them, and if it is a local bill it has to be with all the groups on the inner circle of the scene who are beloved by all the resident promoters etc. The reason that people hold this belief is well, most local bands suck. When you go to a hundred shows a year it’s hard to justify going early to catch a band who are probably terrible, cringey and annoying. Like, seriously man, when was the last time there was a local who you were not personally friends with or who did not have a famous musician as a member that you actually wanted to see because you were excited about? Exactly. People are jaded.
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Here’s what’s interesting to me though. Every once in a while a mainstream dude who is really into, say, Metallica, finds his way to an underground show and completely falls in love. They want to be a part of a scene and support this cool exciting thing. It’s fun to meet these people because they are looking at the scene through fresh eyes and don’t have the years of being bitter and tired that so many of the old heads have. Furthermore, it seems to me that in most cities there is a group of three to five local bands who actually kill it and who the other locals look up to. The thing is, because most people are so jaded it’s hard to get them to come out to one of those core bands in the local scene who are actually good and who actually make sense to work with. So there’s clearly some sort of value that we have within local scenes, we just need to teach people about it.
This is where you start to build an epiphany bridge. This is where it becomes important to being doing PR and have good marketing so that you look bigger than you are so people think ‘Oh wow this is a pro level band worth spending my time on because they show that not only do they have skin in the game but also they have some cool ideas.” It literally does not matter to me if you spent twice as long perfecting your record as the band who spent a few hundred bucks on marketing themselves, because I will think that the band who spent the money are more serious about their work. At the end of the day, the consumer is not going to do any research so you need to make it blatantly obvious to them why they need to listen. The beginning of your epiphany bridge is showing people that you are different from the legions of shitty opening bands out there who no one gives a shit about and for good reason. So how do you take it further?
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It’s important to remember that most of the people in underground music are music nerds. Consequently they are often in love with the idea of being a part of a legendary scene. You can go to any local show in America and folks will be raving about the DC hardcore scene or Southern sludge or whatever else I’m not thinking of. That’s what you are really trying to sell if you really want to maximize where your band can go. If you all come up together then that means are going to have more people getting in touch with agents, managers and all that good stuff and that is going to mean you can grow together. Now of course this doesn’t happen as well as it should and people are self serving. Odds are a least one band you want to grow with wind up being idiots who fuck you over, but this is the other side of the epiphany bridge. Once you elevate your community of bands then people start to seriously become interested and associate you with a distinct ‘thing’. At this point people start coming out to local shows and realizing not all local bands suck.
I know that this sounds a bit pie in the sky but this is the power of community. You are constantly fighting against the simple fact that most people suck and their bands suck and people don’t want to go to shows as a result of that. They don’t want to go get invested in a dumb band that won’t exist in two years and who don’t bother to take their art seriously. Like I literally know bands who release what they admit is a shitty mix of their album and take what they admit are corny press photos and then wonder why they don’t get anyone coming out to their shows. These are bands who get PR and all that too! People are idiots. Everyone knows that and it punishes your scene. If you transcend and show you are serious though, the world will rise around you.