Like it or not, a musical project is a small business.
As such, your project is bound by the same requirements for success as any other small business.
1. An initial budget as well as seed money that wil allow you to start over.
2. A team of competent, focused, and hard working people (musicians, graphic designers, webmasters, a manager etc.).
3. A product to sell (i.e. recordings and live shows). This is what defines your project, this is what you are.
BUDGET: Your undeniable talent may not be enough - some cash might help your project overcome its limits. You might be good at recording your band but not at promotion or tour organizing. You might need a professional drummer or a producer. Do you really have the time to get in touch with all the labels, radio stations and magazines in the world? Wouldn't it be easier to hire somebody who already has those channels open? If you are a musician, you should focus on the music. If you have great recordings but nobody is good at promoting them, your record won't get reviewed. Dealing with everything might distract you from your primary role in your business - that's when the cash comes in handy. Delegating successfully is one of the most important aspects of any business.
For some reason, musicians tend to have a hard time understanding this (I had a hard time myself!). There is this idea lingering in our brain that our genius will be discovered by an incredibly wealthy A&R guy sooner or later and the world will fold at our feet. IT DOESN"T WORK THAT WAY!!! (...ok, it happened to Mariah Carey, but she's not playing punk rock like you are). This sad fact is especially relevent today, when labels don't have money and are not going to invest in artists that haven't proven to have a business approach to their music. Business can be punk - think about Fugazi.
It's not about how much money you spend; it's about getting all the basics covered the best way possible. There are extremely talented musicians who won't ever get anywhere because they don't understand this point. And there are many mediocre musicians who are very succesful because they get it.
I don't like this, believe me.
TEAM: If luck didn't assign you musical twin souls as band mates, you better pick them carefully - be very selective. Learn how to reject and be rejected -
as Donald Trump says, there's nothing personal in that, it's just business. And don't wait too long when it's clear that things aren't working - wasted time is the worst of times.
An ideal band mate should be talented, positive, reasonable when discussing creative issues, emotionally mature (i.e. not an egomaniac), have pro
equipment, fit minimum look requirements, have stage presence, be able to sing BVs, have contacts, have friends that show up at the shows, have at least one extra-musical skill that can be useful for the band's cause (experience as designer, recording engineer, webmaster, etc.).
Having a band is an awful lot of work: sharing the load in the initial stages is paramount.
PRODUCT: a product is what you do and sell. What you do is
what defines you. Your CD and your live shows are your products. Products are
meant to be sold, and they sell because of various reasons: some of them are
unique, others are exciting, some can move people inside, others can make people
dance. Many products sell because of the way they look - even when they look
terribly disturbing - or because they are fun. It's important that you understand
the selling potential of your music and develop your project around it. Nobody
wants to see a powerful songwriter like Cat Power entertain you with a puppet
show during her live show. But a crazy band like the Flaming Lips can pull that
Also, it's important to have a professionally made CD, preferably a full length. LPs made the history of rock music and are a real test for a rock band (creatively and beyond). Not many magazines review EPs - for example, the only requirement to be on The Deli's cover is to have a full CD ready. An artist with a good sounding, good looking full length CD out is ready to be promoted on an international level - this is what labels, managers, magazines and media are looking for.
Oh, you're gonna need a budget for that, did we mention it?