John Doe is the founder of the seminal Los Angeles punk group X, a solo artist and actor. John answers questions from our community members in the WWJDD? blog.
A Question from Pete in Raleigh
I’m an aspiring musician who has been playing for more than 10 years and been in a couple of bands. I’m in the process of recording a solo record, but I also have a full time job that would make it difficult to hit the road in earnest once it’s complete.
I’ve been trying to at least explore if there is an alternative these days to “going all in” and leaving the day job to chase the music dream, and my latest idea has been trying to focus exclusively on local performances and trying to get licensing/sync deals and promote the music more broadly through internet channels.
What do you think? Have you seen anybody do this well? Or am I just trying to find a shortcut where thousands have tried and failed?
What Would John Doe Do?
It make me dizzy how many effin ways there are to skin that musical cat these days. Unless yr 20, have no responsibilities & an aching desire to see the world from a rattling van window, you are wise to keep yr day job. or you could just take off & see what happens. If you hate yr day job, what do you have to lose? Even if you did it that would be wise to gain experience by building an audience through social media & local gigs. In my experience you need a publisher or publishing administrator to get a song licensed. That is unless you know someone making an indie movie, webcast or local TV comercial.
One method I still believe in is to give yr CD to touring bands. The easiest way to do that is to get the opening slot when they play yr town. That would mean that you have a pretty good band, a strong local draw & probably write songs that people connect w/. That is one way that has not changed. Since the beginning of musical time word-of-mouth is always the most effective method. hope this helps, good luck & as always thanks for writing.
If you have questions for John Doe about music, the music business or life feel free to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.