We have noted the interest in our streaming numbers vs. recent album sales so we thought we would give everything we have had since switching to Distrokid from CD Baby four years ago. These figures do not include the new album as they are delayed by several months and only reflect total streams across all platforms up to earlier this year.
Over four years we have had 334,506 streams that paid $1,258.70 (£1,118.01) to the band which represents a total pay-out of 0.0033p per stream.
Our older albums, Falling Through Freedom and The Waystone along with original live albums and EPs were taken offline after the switch, so the streams for those albums are not included in these numbers.
334,506 streams is an incredible number in just 4 years for a band that has not been featured in any major magazines, any bigger festivals, or extensive tours and with no label or managerial support.
The challenges we face as bands, musicians, venues, and promoters are numerous right now, but as proven in recent weeks, many are still doing well. The question is, how?
Before we can get to that, we need to understand how the climate has changed and adapt.
What we have to remember is that for the underground Rock and Metal scene in the UK to continue to thrive and grow is that we have to create a culture of encouraging people to come out to live music events on Friday and Saturday nights again.
That means we as bands have to not only promote ourselves effectively, both online and offline but also be good enough live, and engaging enough to draw people out and continue to draw people out. The challenge for venues/promoters is to adequately communicate to their natural audience what type of events they are running and to be engaged and understanding to their audience and to tailor their bookings to meet their taste.
So what are we competing with in 2022?
Up until the early 2000’s, there was a culture in this country of going out Friday and Saturday nights, which meant many venues didn’t have to work as hard to draw people out, especially for live music, as they had a natural audience who came out of habit to their venue or events because that was what they did in their leisure time. A bit like how football fans will watch their team’s home games every other Saturday. It’s a habit, they turn out, and thus the games have a natural audience. We in Rock/Metal have failed to achieve that same mentality with our core audience.
Since the old days, the world has changed, and now we are competing with Netflix, YouTube, PlayStation, and cheap store-bought alcohol. The natural behavior for people, especially in the under 30’s demographic, is to stay inside rather than go out to a venue for a drink, let alone live music. People don’t go out to meet a potential partner in the same way as before either, most dating is done online rather than out in bars and pubs like generations past. The current audience habit is many who do love Rock and Metal will prefer to save up for say a Bloodstock/Download style event once or twice a year and see a handful of bigger bands when they play their hometown. It’s more cost-effective to do it that way, especially with major festivals, because you get a lot of bang for your buck and can see a ton of bands over 3 days.
The question you need to ask is, why would people come out to see my band/event over what they can do at home for free?
Some certain promoters and venues are presently unable to understand these challenges and frankly have fallen so far behind the times it is damaging the efforts of those trying to buck the trend. They don’t even use a mailing list to communicate the events to their audience.
The scene needs to move away from using Facebook events and poorly designed, and often pixelated gig posters as a cover photo-only style promotion. We need to invest in the promotion, using mediums such as Google Ads, Meta (Facebook/Instagram), TikTok promotion, and so on as well as posters in the venue and flyers if you are able. We need to target our campaigns to those people who actually will most likely attend the events and continue to remind them the event is happening. We need to use tools like Bandcamp, and Postcodes to target those people who have already bought from us as bands to alter them of the events happening in their area.
We can not rely on any free promotion on social media as the algorithms are designed to hide the posts and push forward those who are paying for them. Posting events in a 1000 Facebook groups with no paid promotion will result in poor attendance as nobody will see it.
Moving away from Facebook is important, most people under 40 aren’t using Facebook and have moved over to TikTok and Instagram, even for messages, they use WhatsApp and not Facebook. By all means, keep up with Facebook but use the other tools as well. If people aren’t responding, do some research, learn how to use the new tools, it’s simple enough and be ready to spend some money to push your events.
We as a scene need to have professionally designed posters, and promotion that communicates the event in simple terms, and to survive we have to engage with the younger audience by matching the level of quality they are used to from their favorite bands, YouTubers, podcasters and so on. If you fail to do that, and your promotion looks cheap, dated, and lazy by comparison you will not get this group out. If the promotional material looks poor quality, people will assume the event will be of low quality also.
Four band logos on a black background with a date and time doesn’t tell the audience anything. 99% of people won’t know who the bands are, so won’t turn out, however, if you are running a Black Metal night, you can promote that first and foremost and target Black Metal fans in the local area and that is the draw, rather than the bands who won’t be known to the audience. Bands themselves are also naïve in thinking that people know who they are. Sticking your name and a date/time on a Facebook event is not enough information.
Speaking of bands, many are just as guilty of failing to adapt to the times and sometimes fall into the trap of repeating the same mistakes and then complaining it’s not working when nobody attends. The question bands need to ask when a gig fails is, did you do enough to let everyone who might be interested in that area that the gig was on?
It’s hard work being a band in 2022, you not only have to write the music, rehearse, pay for the recording, self-release, and so on, you have to be a promoter as well and you have to keep up with the times. You may feel that you don’t want to do the promotional side of things, and that’s fair enough, but understand if you leave it to others, the results could well be poor.
Bands have to understand that a gig isn’t just a place to perform, it’s a market, it’s your market stall, your performance is an advertisement to encourage people to buy your CDs, vinyl, shirts, and so on from the merch stand. If you are going to quibble about spending a few quid on promotion then why are you printing merch? Would you rather lose a little money on the promotion in the short term and play to a packed venue and potentially sell a ton of merch, or keep that £20 and play to a handful and sell next to nothing? If you are aiming to “go-pro” then you should treat all of this as a business anyway. Advertising is essential for any business and it costs money and takes time to do.
The price of gigs is important as well, especially with a cost of living/fuel crisis squeezing UK residents harder than ever post-pandemic. People’s money for living is not going as far, and thus if you charge over a fiver for events you may restrict your audience further. If you are a bit more established you may get away with charging a bit more, but that depends where you are a lot of the time too. Especially when staying home is free, and people have so many other options now. As stated previously, many people’s habit is to save and go to a bigger festival, so you need to figure out how to draw that audience to your event as well.
Think of it this way, if you were to pay to download a game, would you pay over a fiver for something you had never heard of? Would you pay upwards of £10 to go see a film when you didn’t know what it was or even who the cast was? Would you pay over £20 to see a football match where you didn’t know which either team was or who was even playing? You probably wouldn’t. You need to apply this logic to promoting your music and events.
As well as advertising and pricing, the timing of the event is also important. If you are an unknown band (or are promoting unknown bands) then you need to choose a night of the week the most natural audience will be available to see it, you need to communicate and stick to the start time and it needs to be days/times most people are comfortable coming out. If you have a more popular band on, you can get away with a different day of the week as they will naturally draw people out. If not Friday/Saturday nights are your safest bet.
The quality of the sound is another big issue. Venues need to pay for a good PA and maintain it with a sound person who knows how to operate it. If you do all the work to promote the show, get a good turnout and people pay a fiver to get in and it sounds awful, that audience will not come back and you will have lost all that hard work. That also goes for the quality of bands you book, if they aren’t up to the audience’s taste or expected standard those people you worked so hard to get out won’t likely come back.
Consistently poor sound will result in a dwindling audience. People are used to a higher standard of audio quality these days, and your sound/stage setup needs to meet their expectations if they are going to continue to pay to get into your venue and thus continue to buy drinks. Gigs that have no audible vocals, too much bass, and a ton of feedback are all too common and it drives people away. Also, offer earplugs for loud events, it is cheap, and your audience will appreciate it! Also, hire a good soundperson, not just rely on a mate.
A clean venue also helps, if your toilets look terrible, are broken, and stink that will put people off going. A messy, dirty, old venue won’t encourage a new audience out, keep it clean looking, keep it modern, if it’s a music venue, make it the focus of the venue, not a side attraction, especially if you are booking originals bands.
Also understand while there is some crossover, original bands and covers/tributes have different audiences and tastes. Covers bands can be quite happy to be paid to be just the live music for that night in the pub or venue, however original bands want an engaging audience, potential new fans, and people who will buy the merch. While being paid is good, to be background music for a nights drinking with a disengaged and disinterested audience in a pub isn’t worth it for the originals band. Of course originals bands can avoid this by trying to draw that audience out themselves, but it is something to bear in mind.
So what can be done to improve event turnouts?
You need to target the correct demographics for the events you are running. Use keywords and targets that relate to the bands/events you have booked. Target the local area, don’t be so broad brush, keep it as defined as possible. Use Google Ads, Meta Business Suite, and TikTok promotions to target your audience on social media. Be as clear as day with the communication. Tell people EXACTLY what the event is and what the bands may sound like. You can target an audience’s taste right down to the genre and the bands they like, and even directly to the postcode areas where the venue is.
In terms of free promotion, have a well-designed professional poster/s to be sent to the venues ahead of the gig, design flyers for handing out in that town, or use a mailing list to send them to those in that area who you know might like the event. You need good branding and good image quality. Do not ever use jpegs for images as the quality is atrocious, and if you are doing anything with audio, NEVER use mp3’s as they sound terrible.
Use an emailing tool like MailChimp to send email reminders promoting the show and encourage as many pre-sales as possible. Bandcamp allows bands to export all their sales and Excel can separate the sales right down to the postcode area. Be good at data management and it will pay off.
As for Facebook, you can still run Facebook events, but remember to invite the people who might actually attend the event, sometimes people either invite no one, or blanket invite people 100’s of miles away from the venue which is just lazy.
It takes a combination of tools to make an event a success.
Understanding your audience is also important. Trying to promote an NWOBHM event to the under 40’s that isn’t say Iron Maiden won’t be as successful, in the same way promoting a Metalcore gig to people over 40 isn’t likely to be successful. Know your audience, know who might like the music, and work to get those people out. Don’t waste your time and money on people who will never attend the show. Don’t believe everyone is going to like your music/event just because you do. Some people do like everything, but they are a minority.
Ultimately if you are not spending to advertise, aren’t communicating to anyone directly what your event is when it is, and doing the bare minimum promotional wise then you will not get a good turnout. The scene isn’t dead, many are doing very well right now, but they have adapted to the times, they know their audience and they working hard to get a good turnout.
I realise I have written a lot of thoughts down here, so I will stop but I hope my blog post has been useful to you!
After discussions with Bonewood Music these past few weeks it was mutually agreed due to different operating practices and philosophies it was decided that it was best that both parties didn’t progress with the management deal. Front man Rage Sadler will resume self-management for the band, although the band will continue to seek professional management ahead of their new album release.
Rage said: “It was clear that the way we work, and how Bonewood Music works are very different approaches and we have decided to move on from the offer. I will resume the management of the band as I have done before. Over the past 12 years, I have been able to manage the band with a degree of success with no financial or industry support as an independent, and while having that industry support moving forward would be advantageous, we come from a strong position that we are already an established underground act in the UK, and therefore will only move onto a deal and management approach that suits us best. Management is a cost and as an independent we have to spend our limited resources as wisely as possible. Ultimately we have to look out for our own interests and we will continue to work hard to make this new record and the band a success.”
We thank Bonewood Music for their interest in Kaine and wish them the best for the future.
UK underground Heavy Metal act Kaine are set to sign a management deal with Bonewood Music and will be henceforth managed by Scott Canty. Scott has a range of experience in the music business and will be developing a plan for the new album launch later this year.
Scott said: “Kaine have been on my radar for a while now – they have always been an extremely active band, and have an army of fans to show for it.
“Having spoken with Rage, it seemed not only the natural but also the perfect time to welcome them aboard Bonewood Music. We shall be helping them shape their next campaign, and grow their fanbase – not to mention it’s about time these guys had some top music videos, I’m sure the fans will be excited to hear that!”
“Watch this space, we have some big plans.”
Since 2014 Kaine had been managed solely by frontman Rage Sadler who added: “I have managed the band to the best of my abilities over the past 7 years, and prior to that before we had management. Although I have worked to keep the band going, I simply do not have the contacts, skills, or knowledge to take the band any further at this stage which is why working with Scott on the new era for the band was a perfect fit for us going forward. Naturally, our long-term goal is to progress our career further as a band and reach a wider audience starting with the brand new album.”
“This was the perfect time to make a change.”
The band will be issuing further updates in the coming weeks and will soon begin record the new album.
Kaine’s second album The Waystone is close to selling out on CD for the 4th an final time. The Waystone is still the bands best selling album which released 6 years ago in 2014. The band in this era completed two tours, a UK tour and a Britain and Ireland tour supporting Mordred. Kaine also played Wildfire Festival 2015 in Scotland alongside Diamond Head, Tygers of Pan Tang, Holocaust and more.
The album has already been removed from streaming platforms such as Spotify and will be members only on bandcamp after the final 6 copies are sold. You can order one of these CD’s from here, which are cheaper direct from the band than on reselling sites. There is also a handful of patches available to buy on the merch section of Bandcamp.
[A few Fridays ago, we waived our revenue share to help artists and labels impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Bandcamp community went above and beyond, spending $4.3 million on music and merch in just 24 hours. It was an inspiring day, and we heard many requests to do it again, so we’re going to do exactly that (and a bit more).
We’ll announce the details of this initiative to everyone next Monday, but we wanted to give our artists and labels a heads up that the first step is coming soon: on Friday, May 1st, we’re going to waive our revenue share again. Stay tuned for more information next week, and be sure to check out our new Bandcamp Artist Guide for recommendations that will help you maximize your sales on May 1st and beyond.]
We’ll be again passing on the discounts on Friday, May 1st 2020 when Bandcamp drops their fees in support of artists again. We do remind people that there will be delays to orders during the lock down period but we will ensure everything will get to you as soon as possible and that digital items are available with every purchase in the meantime. Members will be able to double their discounts.
We’ve dropped all our merch prices to £10 and below to coincide with Bandcamp dropping their fees for items sold on their site for 1 day only! That means in some cases you can get our merch for anything as low as £2-3! We’re also offering all our digital albums for £1.
There are less than 100 of most of the items here so please feel free to grab them while they are affordable.
The Waystone Patch – £2
Kaine X Shirts – £3
The Waystone + Justice, Injustice CD – £5
A Crisis of Faith CD [UK] – £5
A Crisis of Faith CD [EU] – £5
A Crisis of Faith LIVE CD – £5
A Crisis of Faith T-Shirt – £5
Reforge The Steel CD – £8
A Crisis of Faith Vinyl – £10
X Double Live Album CD – £10
X Double Live Album DVD – £10
All digital downloads £1 + One Free Download for anyone currently unwell or in isolation
We will be holding a one off Bandcamp sale tomorrow in response to fees being waived by the site in response to the current Covid-19 pandemic. We will be passing on these savings to you, we have many limited items that will be available to purchase which once sold out, will be gone for good and these included Kaine X items, A Crisis of Faith items, Waystone items and many more. Kaine members will get an additional discount.
“The Covid-19 pandemic is in full force, and artists have been hit especially hard as tours and shows are being canceled for the foreseeable future. With such a major revenue stream drying up almost entirely, finding ways to continue supporting artists in the coming months is now an urgent priority for anyone who cares about music and the artists who create it. The good news is that we’re already seeing many fans going above and beyond to support artists across Bandcamp.
To raise even more awareness around the pandemic’s impact on musicians everywhere, we’re waiving our revenue share on sales this Friday, March 20 (from midnight to midnight Pacific Time), and rallying the Bandcamp community to put much needed money directly into artists’ pockets.
For many artists, a single day of boosted sales can mean the difference between being able to pay rent or not. Still, we consider this just a starting point. Musicians will continue to feel the effects of lost touring income for many months to come, so we’re also sharing some ideas below on how fans can support the artists they love and how artists can give fans new, creative ways to provide support.
It may sound simple, but the best way to help artists is with your direct financial support, and we hope you’ll join us on Friday and through the coming months as we work to support artists in this challenging time.
Kaine will release their new album Reforge The Steel this Friday via Bandcamp. The album art has been enhanced (again done by Kaine’s long serving artist Silencer 8) and updated for the release (above).
The band began recording in November 2018 (just 9 months after the release of A Crisis of Faith) and recording was concluded in June of this year. The album was finally mixed and mastered last month and is now ready for full release. Reforge The Steel was again produced by Carl B of Pointy Halo Productions alongside Sheldon Jolly, the same team who worked on A Crisis of Faith.
The bulk of the material was written between April and October of last year with many songs being staples of the bands current sets, two live versions of the album tracks will soon be available, the first being Kaine X Live 2019 (already available to purchase, just awaiting mastering) and Reforge The Steel live which will be recorded next month at the B2 Norwich (tickets available from here).
An additional live EP of the songs will be made exclusively available to bandcamp members next week. Members will also get 10% off the CD and additional merch for the album – to join as a member click here.
It’s the first release to feature the line-up of Rage Sadler (guitars and vocals), Liam Etheridge (drums), Toby Woods (lead guitar) and Isaac Healy (bass).
Kaine have signed an exclusive management deal with American based Distilled Entertainment ahead of their forthcoming album recording. The band is looking to further expand moving into 2017 with the group hopeful that the third record will help finally break the band, both in the U.K. and abroad.
Kaine frontman Rage Sadler said that: “The decision to work with Distilled Entertainment is part of the natural progression with the band looking to build our career in 2017. We have an exceptional record on the way with some of the best material we have ever written, a new line-up working extremely hard which has turned into a class live act and it’s time we capitalised on this.”
Distilled Entertainment has worked with artists signed to such labels as Metal Blade, AFM Records, and Universal Music Group and artists such as Blaze Bayley (ex: Iron Maiden), Stuck Mojo’s Lord Nelson, Onslaught, Enforcer, and Cauldron.
“I am very positive that by working with Distilled, their professional background and willingness to work hard to push the band forward will result in a positive outcome for Kaine.”
Kaine is also currently in discussion with a number of record labels regarding offers for the new album.
Ryan Raes of Distilled Entertainment added: “In today’s difficult UK metal scene Kaine has proven to stand the tests thrown their way and I am excited about the new songs coming later this year. Kaine has the proper attitude I am seeking along with the talent needed to move forward in the industry. I look forward to what the future brings working together”