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To Change or Not To Change

Career Path

One of the important considerations that most artists have to consider is, how much will your audience will determine how you as an artist sound. Creative input comes from all around, producers, label executives, band members, friends, and your fans. How an artist decides to let these influences effect the production of their music has lasting effects on their careers.

Two of the most profound career effects happen at the either the beginning or end of an artists career. At the beginning listening to outside input can carry a 50/50 risk. Changing your sound or style can help you gain a larger audience or it can pigeon hole you in a very small niche of a genre. Making a shift in the middle of your career can cause fans to stop listening if they are not liking the new feel.

When thinking about taking creative advice, consider who is giving it. Does the person have the experience to back the advice? If it is coming from fans, is it most of your fans or just a few? Do you feel comfortable changing sounds? Fans can always tell if an artist isn’t really into their music.

Crossover Appeal

A Band By Any Other Name

The Question

Many bands in their early days come across the issue of branding. How artists/bands chose to label themselves determines the type of audience, venues, and marketing that will be attached to their name. For many Christian artists this decision is predetermined by the idea, held by much of the christen music scene, that for an artist or a band to reach others with a positive message they must be labeled as Christian.

Someone Did

An example of a band the broke with that tradition is SwitchFoot. Early on the band was billed by their label as a Christian band and only marketed in the Christian music scene. It was not until after their music was featured on the soundtrack of the movie “A Walk to Remember” that they received nationwide exposure. After this they were rebranded as an alternative group. This rebranding allowed for their song “Meant to Live” to receive national airtime.

Think About It

SwitchFoot did nothing different after they changed branding labels. They still are active Christians and there music stayed the same, yet they were able to reach vastly more people than they were able to reach before. So for artists the question to ask is, “is your identity tied up in your label or is it part of your music?”

Stage Presence

Jam Time

One of the most important things for an artist to concentrate on when creating music is consistency. This is important for the message, style, and production of the music, as well as for the execution of any live performances. In some genres it is an accepted practice to perform your music one way and record it totally differently.

Artists that can match their recorded sound with their live sound can lower the risk of losing fans. Some fans attend live  shows expecting to hear the same sound at the show as what was recorded, now while this is not possible for some artists getting as close as possible will allow for these fans to adjust to the live sound and energy that the artists brings. Two examples of artists with very good stage sounds are Lupe Fiasco and the K-Pop group Super Junior.

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