A few days ago I wanted to discover the best progressive rock albums in 2022. After a quick research, I saw that Oceans of Slumber's "Starlight and Ash" was included among these. Before that moment, I saw the band's name just a few times around, so I didn't listen anything from them yet. I confess that my love for progressive music stopped in 2010 (when Mike Portnoy left Dream Theater), but when I heard Cammie Gilbert's voice, I decided to give them one listen. I still have to get a complete picture of the sound nuances, but it is crystal clear that Oceans of Slumber is a band with huge talent, inspiration, songwriting, and a vision about how to do great music.
Trying to know more about them, I went to YouTube to find some live videos. It is hard to describe what I felt when I watched the video below. It is about one of their gigs in L.A., on May this year, maybe in front of 30 people. At the beginning I was angry and disappointed, but after a little bit, I felt that the video was inspiring me in some way. I let reflections growing up in my head for days, then I connected them to how some bands relate to their careers and the music industry as well.
"We can't fail"
Let's start with this assumption. If Oceans of Slumber would have judged their career from the attendance at the L.A. show, their career would have been finished that night, but since they are experienced musicians, they know that such things may happen. After all, they are not teenagers. They are in the roster of Century Media and 5 tracks from "Starlight and Ash" got alltogether over 1.163.000 streams on Spotify.
What I'm trying to say is that perfection does not exist. A band career is made of ups and downs, exactly as life. It's normal that bands are excited when they have satisfactions, but they don't have to be terrified when something doesn't happen as they "planned". Be careful to the last word. I did not write "hoped", but "planned", and for one reason: many bands see their careers straight as a railway, eventually divided into several steps. They "plan" to achieve the step 1 or 2. If they don't achieve it, they think that their band is a failure. They don't take in consideration that achieving one step at 63% or 75% could be a success but..this is a success! It's a result better than the previous one, because you gained experience and a set of information that will be useful for the next time :)
The truth is that bands are terrified from failures. It is not a case that a few weeks ago, when I asked to a band I'm promoting "why did you hire more PRs?" they said: "because we can't fail".
What do to next?
One thing is for sure: if bands are afraid to fail, they will fail or, at least, they will not be happy of what they achieved. In order to avoid that disappointment, they should remove the word "failure" from the equation and replace it with "improvement". There is a big difference between saying "How much can we fail" and "How much can we improve" - don't you agree?
Bands should not see the failure as a problem, but as an opportunity. From failures you learn a lot and, most of all, you learn what not to do next time. Do you know that US companies, instead of hiring people with no experiences, prefer to hire people that have experienced failures when they had their own companies? Because failure means Experience.
Another aspect where bands can improve is the transparency with the people they hire. Being transparent means putting your cards visible on the table for your Partner. Remember that your band has a career, so you will meet a lot of people, who will build opinions on your reputation. Be transparent with the PR firm, label, or promoter you hired. Build a connection with them. Do not keep things for yourself, but share them. How can you expect to achieve the best (or, at least, good) results if you did not do your best with those people? If you don't inform a PR or a label about some media outlets you wish to contact by yourself - and they will discover it for sure - what would they think of you? Do you think that they want to work with you again in the future? As in life, building a solid reputation founded on transparency is crucial, because it will show that your band is reliable.
Bands run too fast. They are taken by the desire to immediately achieve maximum results immediately. Excellent results are built over time, refining your music and how you promote yourself. It's not easy, it takes time. A striking example are the many bands that promote their songs on third-party playlists on Spotify, strictly fake. But I will dedicate a new article to this article, which will be released in September. Don't rush too much, dear bands.. and have a good holiday! :)