Green Light Go Music PR

Can Your Band Be An Overnight Success?

Can your band be an overnight success? The simple answer is both yes and no.

I’ve worked in the music business for over 20 years and I’ve seen amazing bands go completely unnoticed despite every effort from the team and I’ve seen bands seem to blow up out of nowhere.

When I worked at BMG and then SonyBMG, The Strokes and The Libertenes were two bands that seemed to blow up overnight on their debut record, both of which were on Rough Trade. In that case, it most likely had to do with the fact they were on an extremely credible indie label.

Others may have seemed like they came out of nowhere, but the truth was we slogged after it month after month until it finally started to break. It was a team effort between publicity, radio, sales and marketing to work on each other’s success to support our efforts. David Gray, Rachael Yamagata, Elbow, and Ray LaMontagne all took clear and consistent effort.

And then there were those who put in the time year after year by releasing numerous records, only to see nominal success. When they finally broke, it actually seemed like it happened overnight. The White Stripes comes to mind here. Jack and Meg formed the band in 1997, released two records independently in 1999 and 2001, and didn’t become a household name until they released White Blood Cells on V2 Records in 2001. Notice that four years lapsed, actually almost five, since they first formed the band before they saw success.

There’s also the bone crushing disappointments where you tell everyone you know how much you love the band. You knock on every proverbial door only to receive blank stares and infinite silence. There are simply too many bands to name in this category and the truth is you’ve probably never heard of them anyway.

The chances of your band being an overnight success are, well, unrealistic. Yes, it can happen. But most likely it won’t. Most likely you’ll have to slog through every rejection and lack of response until you finally get to someone who is head over heels in love with your band. That may or may not be someone who can influence the masses or may just be someone who tells their 20 readers to check out your band. At the end of the day, your success is based on the luck of the draw.

If you are an unsigned band hovering around 1k followers (or less) with a handful of press coverage, most likely you need to prepare yourself for the uphill battle. You most likely won’t receive interest the first week out of the gate. In fact, it could take months (or even years). Just like it took for most of the established bands I mentioned above.

In her latest book, Why Not Me? Mindy Kaling gives her definition of confidence. “Work hard. Know your shit. Show your shit. Then feel entitled.” The same rule applies here and the entitlement should never precede the three other steps. And even then, those three steps will need to be repeated over and over.

Green Light Go: Think of one thing you can do to get your band closer to success and do it. Today.

Sharing is Caring: Know someone who is ready to “make it” already? Send them this article.

Related Articles:

5 Ways to Create Media Interest as a DIY Musician

Before I was Famous: A Musician's Perspective into Music PR

What's Holding You Back?

4 Tools Under $20/Month to Run Your Band's Publicity Campaign

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Janelle is the owner of Green Light Go. When she's not spreading the word on her favorite bands she can usually be found riding her road bike through Michigan, designing super hip clothes or analyzing people much to their dismay.
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