DIY or Back to the Old School: Progression or Regression?


How hard is it to be an unknown artist looking for recognition in the third millennium? Well after a bit of research into the music industry, the conclusion is that it is excruciating, tiring, and complicated. When you’re past the teenage years and realise that the dream of being a famous singer is not just a dream, you know that this is a serious matter. Therefore, you start making baby steps for a brighter career in the music industry, but in time you become aware that it is too hard to make it on your own and you need a manager.

Well, now comes the brunt, because you’re an unknown artist with no background, no fan base, no followers, no image developed and just talent and a very big will to work hard. No one wants to manage you for the reason that it would take money and be time consuming for them. So, what do you do?

The music managers have the answer: DIY (Do It Yourself). This means that you need to act as a booking agent, publicist, marketing executive and radio plugger all in one, even if you don’t know anything about it and maybe you’re not built for that, and don’t have the budget, the music industry wants you to remember three letters… DIY.

Jeff Rabhan, an artist manager, music industry executive and international consultant states that, “Many musicians blame the managers — it’s easy to convince yourself that their blind eye and stone ears can’t see and hear your musical greatness. But in truth, artists often are not properly prepared for management, nor are their careers in shape to the point where an experienced manager would be interested.”

So, according to Rabhan, you have to have everything in place like a recorded album, music video and marketing – in other words all the stuff a record company would do, only difference is, you have to do all this by yourself and with your own money. But what happens if you don’t have the money for all this?

I just can’t stop thinking what an amazing singer like Celine Dion would do if she would have to do all this by herself without the help of her manager and later husband, who realised what an incredible artist she was only by listening to a demo cassette with a song made by Celine’s brother. But what can I say? Celine Dion’s manager was an old school one.

Fifteen or sixteen years ago there was a chance that if you attend an audition, and if you were really talented, someone would lay eyes on you and help you succeed in the music industry developing your career to the last bit (see Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, etc.), but not today.

I wonder if, gone are the days when the talented budding artist was discovered by a manager with good intentions and a strong will to make her or him a star? Maybe those days are gone, but nobody and nothing can stop the art to shine. Maybe hope will be reborn and an unknown artist that doesn’t have the resources to promote his work but has perseverance, a big will and a renewed attitude from the music industry, their music will be heard, danced to, and bought.

At the end of the day it would be a win-win circle, and every part involved should keep the rock rolling.

Written by Loredana Margineanu