Modest Success Is Still Success For Indie Bands

from the Musicians-Wanted dept

A few months ago, we wrote about the band Pomplamoose for its unique way of making a living by selling its music digitally. The musical duo playfully connected with fans, sold homemade soap, and even encouraged listeners to give goats to charity. More recently, the band has gained more attention and was accepted into YouTube’s Musicians Wanted program where YouTube offers a 50/50 ad revenue split with independent artists who use Google’s video platform. Pomplamoose fan Joseph Johnson also points us to an interview with the band in which they describe their creative process and talk a bit about how they manage without the backing of a major label:

Ms. DAWN: I mean, if you can’t just do it all yourself, then you do need help. If, for example, you’re somebody who writes songs, like Lady Gaga, and you need everything, you know, that’s going to make you Lady Gaga, then you need a big, fat label. But if you’re just a band, I don’t think we’re in an era anymore where you need that sort of major backing.

Pomplamoose admits that the band doesn’t cash $10 million royalty checks for its music, but that its two singers make a modest living doing what they enjoy doing. They don’t play in clubs too much and haven’t gone on tour because it’s a lot of work for them to set up live shows. Actually, given the way they record their music videos, they don’t really know how to play their own songs in a “normal” linear way without editing and remixing. And interestingly, they seem to be making enough to pay for the mechanical rights for the songs they cover.

Mr. CONTE: … we make sure that we have all our ducks in a row. We bought mechanical licenses to all of our covers before we put them on iTunes. So it’s all legit and legal.

So despite criticism that says bands like OK Go have failed and can’t make it without a label, the reality is that more bands are able to create more music — and are getting paid in a variety of different ways. Selling plastic disks isn’t the only way to make a living. Touring isn’t the only way to make a living. Selling T-shirts isn’t the only way to make a living. And Google ads certainly aren’t going to save every struggling indie band, either. In fact, there is no silver bullet for how a band can support itself. Simply put, the barrier to become a famous band has dropped considerably, but that doesn’t guarantee success — however, it makes it a lot easier for a much broader array of musicians to try to become professionals doing what they enjoy.

Filed Under: , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Modest Success Is Still Success For Indie Bands”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Nina Paley (profile) says:

mechanical vs. synch rights

Good thing they don’t know about synch rights. I mean that – if they did, and therefore didn’t release their great videos without clearing them, there would be no great Pomplamoose videos. Synch licenses are the devil, and aren’t regulated or statutory like mechanicals. They are pretty much impossible for small productions to manage, and are designed to keep independent filmmakers out of the game. Ignoring them entirely really is the only way to release great videos like theirs!

Hephaestus (profile) says:

This is sneaky ....

“accepted into YouTube’s Musicians Wanted program where YouTube offers a 50/50 ad revenue split with independent artists who use Google’s video platform.”

Thinking a little outside the box … this could whittle away at iTunes and the record labels. This could be a golden opportunity for Google.

-Google could allow sales and downloads or free downloads of the mp3’s directly from the page the video is on.

-Include a list of all the artists songs available for download and links to them on YouTube and off.

-Plus include an “if you like this you might also like these artists, videos, and mp3’s” area.

-Plus include all sorts of pricing options.
— Free.
— Flat fee.
— An Amie Street type auction system that fluctuates up and down.
— The actual costs for using this in a reMix. (free, percentage, flat fee)

-Include the Fair Use Terms for the Mp3 and Video.

It would be a step up from iTunes. This is one site that the labels couldnt take on using their tried and true sue them as a negotiating tactic.

Oh wait thats part of the business plan I am working on never mind …..

Julia and Music (user link) says:

We’re glad that they found a way to make music and do it in a way that works for them.

We are going at it from the live performance of original music angle. Its a hard path especially because the market is so saturated with bands who probably shouldnt be out playing live.

We’re really grateful to Pomplamoose for sticking to the studio. Plus they’re right setting up shows is a lot of work, so is touring. Fifth Nation has only been off tour for about a month since December and we will be on the road until August, at which point we will be taking a short break, then going back out for more!

check out for more info on our band and a free download!!

Much love, respect and gratitude,
Julia and Music, Fifth Nation

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...