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Alternative Jobs for Bands

Alternative Jobs for Bands

by Nathan Wood, 31 January 2013

Let's face it; you've got to be a superstar or a total sell-out to make a decent living as an artist in the music industry. Even then, you're probably living a lavish life of hedonism (I don't blame you), while anonymous sexual frissons of yesteryear continue to haunt you in the guise of numerous child support claims. You're still hopelessly trying to fund that niggling smack habit you haven't quite managed to shift just yet. You're 40. You're past it and you're washed up. Bloody good job last year's reunion tour and that collab you did with Calvin Harris paid off, eh? Your future is financially secured, but what about that of your peers?

Granted, there are a lot of us struggling to make ends meet, not just musicians; promoters, record shops, independent labels, magazines - and you can definitely chuck us penniless scribes into that mix as well. Yet I can still scratch a living when I'm older and my moderate boyish looks have faded. I will be wiser, more knowledgeable and penning prose for the Culture section of The Guardian, I expect; enlightening the next generation of quasi-informed leftist-yuppies, teaching them that before the age of listening to music with a suspect government installed microchip planted inside your Medulla Oblongata (it means 'no worries', right?) that we had to listen to music as an MP3. On a device you had to press a button on. "Buttons? MP3 Players! No Way", they'll doubtless shriek. It'll - possibly literally - blow their tiny minds... I'll not even bother getting them started on vinyl.

But what'll happen to the bands struggling to earn their keep, where do they go? What do they do next? Should they give up now in order to pursue an entirely different line of commerce? Well handily for them, I've got a few suggestions.

As the recession tightens and the consumer feels the pinch, forgettable Indie bands may need to pool their resources, forming a super alliance; a Radio 1 New World Order of sorts. Appealing to the largely bovine masses, Two Door Chapel Bombay Police Club will be their name. Every 14-24 year old girl will love them. And every male of consenting age upwards will use the pretext of pretending to love them in order to get in the girls' knickers. Seizing upon an unbelievable marketing opportunity like an indie JLS, Two Door Chapel Bombay Police Club (or 2DRCHPLBMBYPLCCLB for short) will launch their own contraception range. Population control. There's a lot of money in it, trust me.

A similar concept - albeit in the glue making industry - can be fashioned by amalgamating Leeds based post-hardcore, generic Southampton alt-rock and twee Seattle indie to form Band of Pulled Apart Horses Skulls; though I've heard using our equestrian chums to create adhesive is both morally and ethically frowned upon nowadays, so they might have to think of another venture to explore.

Exploring the as yet untapped paranormal sector, it's possible the Black Ghosts could look into the potentially lucrative and altogether niche spirit hiring agency aimed squarely at manifesting deceased rap stars… A kind of halfway house between tacky personal appearances and those unnerving holograms of Tupac they're carting out at the minute.

I do, however, see a future in music for current media darlings Django Django but unfortunately, it'll be as a jazz covers band. Django Django Reinhardt Reinhardt will be available for any occasion; weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs and corporate events dinners. Whereas if things go belly-up for the band formerly known as Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong, and Meghan Remy's retro-pop fails to earn her a crust, may I suggest they delve into a partnership selling children's playthings as Toy 'R' U.S. Girls. I'm pretty sure that's never been done before!

So, a potentially long struggle lays ahead for many a band. Most will fall by the wayside. Only a select few will sacrifice their artistic integrity for the lure of the money - and many of those will simply not make the grade: It's a cutthroat industry and my heart bleeds for you. Failing a full overhaul and reinvention, what musical alternatives are left to explore?

Well, I suppose there's always the X-Factor. God forbid.

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