I admit it. I'm the resident country music fan in this office (you may not have known this, but does it surprise you? I think probably not). And sometimes I feel a little out of place-- not because the people here make me feel that way, and not because I don't enjoy this indie rock thing, but because I don't know much about it. What good am I to an indie rock label?
I can't answer that definitely, but here's what I've learned so far.
Music is business. You can love it or hate it. You can claim all you want that music is NOT product, bands aren't brands, it's all about the ART. Unless you're sitting in your basement with a guitar and no intention of ever coming up, music is still business, and marketing, promotion, and management skills transcend genre. Since I'm here to learn about the music industry on a more hands-on level, I think we can agree that it doesn't matter that indie rock isn't my first musical love. I could be here working with rap or R&B, and I'd still be learning many of the same things.
I'm 22, and that alone gives me more expertise about current marketing strategies than some people who have been in the business for years. It seems like most new music is marketed to the 30 and under crowd (obviously with some exceptions), and people in my particular age group have grown up with the internet, and the social marketing craziness. We have ALWAYS had MTV and CMT. We inherently get it. We also know it's not new anymore, which gives us the ability to look beyond it. One of us is going to find the key soon, and it will be something no one, especially the major label dinosaurs, expected.
Key or no key, there will never be a magic answer. Big breaks are called breaks for a reason-- some people find their success the first year out, some people spend 15 years in undeserved obscurity before gaining much sought-after recognition. Nothing will ever happen if you're not out there doing your thing, but nothing might happen even if you are. Opportunity meets preparation was never more true.