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Ask a Failed Musician

Thursday, October 4, 2012

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Black Flag: Very influential, not always critically praised
[Welcome to Ask a Failed Musician, in which writer Daniel Hopkins helps struggling musicians make sense of their careers and offers some advice. Whether or not it will work, who knows? It obviously didn't work for him. But then again, he was on Kimmel once, so there's that.]

See also: Advice to Every New Band: Stop Putting Out Albums

Dear Failed Musician,

I gather your discussion [in a previous column] really focuses on commercial success, which I don't think is everyone's view of success. I think some of us are just happy to put out music and have a few people enjoy it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to turn down a million dollars if it came my way but I never expected that in the first place. So, my definition of success is just, 'Hey, we made a good record,' and, 'Oh, look, some small genre-specific zine in Europe likes us. Well, that's nice.' But more often than not, success isn't simply a rehearsal space fridge filled with beer.

-Lew Bar-low

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Take it from these non-failed musicians: Don't put out that album
  • Take it from these non-failed musicians: Don't put out that album
[Ask a Failed Musician is a new column from our sister music blog at Dallas Observer, in which Daniel Hopkins helps struggling musicians make sense of their careers and offers advice. Whether or not it will work, who knows? It obviously didn't work for him. But then again, he was on Kimmel once, so there's that.]

Here's some advice to all new bands who are embarking on a musical venture that will result in probable good times and almost certain commercial failure.

Don't put out an album. Seriously. Stop it. Established bands backed by massive marketing machines like U2 or Radiohead can afford to do it. You cannot. Here's the scenario:

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