BOOK REVIEW: The Indie Band Survival Guide

Book Review:

The Indie Band Survival Guide

Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan

St. Martin’s Press New York

The internet has greatly increased opportunities for the independent artist to promote and distribute music. As a result, being signed to a major label or having a distribution deal is not as critical as it once was to be able to reach a wide audience. In fact, the Indie Band Survival Guide argues what is becoming more apparent as record labels lose their prominence and traditional function: surrendering the rights to your music and artistic control to the recording industry is not as desirable as it once was to musicians in the past.

Though a lot of the tips and techniques presented may be common knowledge for independent artists who have been active in the past ten years, the detail and organization of the ideas will serve as a good checklist for people in this category in addition to a few ideas that may have been overlooked. The book would also serve beginners well by outlining marketing basics, how to use the web effectively, employing your organization, and navigating the at-times mystical recording process from start to finish.

In addition to the how-to aspect of the book, some interesting background is given as to the state of the music industry and the best way to work in it. Does payola still exist in the music industry after the 1962 conviction of Alan Freed? How does that affect an independent artists approach today? How does the decreasing prominence of the large recording company actually benefit the independent artist?

Because so much of what an artist can do to promote music is done on the web, a large part of the book is devoted to describing the tools and features that are uniquely relevant to musicians while offering additional resources for those that are unfamiliar with the web in general.

Being an independent artist means wearing many different hats. A short list includes sales, marketing, networking, record producer and distributer, promoter, and web designer. And then there’s the music. The Indie Band Survival Guide offers tips to handle these aspects as well as getting the right help from others. Overall, the book is a great resource for musicians who want to get their music out there.

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