I tend to think that almost every industry would benefit from SEO…but lately I have been realizing that there really are some whose spirit would be quite crushed by something that leads to mass exposure, namely the independent music scene.
Indie music, for instance, IS so fantastic because it’s, well, it’s INDEPENDENT and not mass-produced. There are obviously many benefits to not being on a major label and many artists going this route don’t do so simply out of the inability to secure a major contract; they do so because they don’t fit into mass-market slots and they don’t want to lose their artistic integrity by being shaped and sold as a package. That’s the way I like to see it in any case…so if you think this is untrue keep it to yourself. I like to think that there really are musicians in the world who create without thinking solely about financial rewards.
It’s not just the music itself either; it’s also the clubs that promote these bands. I was pleasantly surprised, after being a bit irritated, that I was unable to easily and quickly find tons of information about indie music in Vegas. A few MySpace results popped up but I don’t like young people so I didn’t click on them, and really there wasn’t much else. It was only by reading about a trashy dive bar in a book that I had that I was able to find a venue that has 5 punk bands on for the Friday night when I’m there for WebMasterWorld. That’s actually pretty cool.
Years ago independent bands were something that seemed to be almost a luxury to find. You’d have to go out to a club and catch an act, or get someone’s crappy cassette tape that would usually give you the idea that the band had driven over it several times after recording it in mono. You’d learn of bands by word of mouth: someone’s older brother would drive an hour away to see a show, you’d hang out in the local record shop and ask a billion questions about new garage bands, and you’d feel like you’d really accomplished something by finding a great new record. I was lucky enough to know two fantastically knowledgable record shop clerks that got me into everything from Scruffy the Cat to Christian Death, and I am still thankful for their influence.
Indie music IS a bit easier to find these days…and I really am glad for that, since I don’t have the same amount of time to search for it. AND, lest he reads this and has a cow, my good friend Gene does his part at attempting to keep me posted on anything good when it comes out. I just think that it’s kind of nice that this is one industry that hasn’t been taken over and SEO’d to the max. All those grungey flannel-shirt adorned bands might not be so happy about this but if they were making tons of money and on the radio constantly, it wouldn’t be the same.
So go search for some new bands…just don’t search online for them. And please, please let me know when you find something good. I actually discovered Sparklehorse by reading a Tom Waits interview where he mentioned them and I liked their name and thought I’d give them a listen. They’re utterly perfect too, the best band I’ve heard in years and years. So take that as a recommendation if you do like non-mainstream music. And yes, I do realize the irony of promoting them on an SEO blog but I’ll think of it more as word of mouth.