During his recent appearance at Thomann Music Workshop, THE HAUNTED guitarist and YouTuber Ola Englund discussed the current state of the music industry and the importance of having an online presence these days. He said (as transcribed by Ultimate-Guitar.com):
“Within 2012, I got asked to join two half-significant metal bands. After this, I continued to do my YouTube videos. But after this, I’ve been asked to join maybe three or four significant metal groups. And it’s all because of my YouTube channel.
“You know why? The reason why they find me and see me is because I’m out there all the fucking time. I don’t know if you’re on my channel, but I upload videos like three or four times every week.
“I’m like a fucking virus. I’m in your fucking face all the fucking time. And you’re not gonna leave without my fucking ugly face. That’s the last thing you’re gonna think of when you go to bed.
“And this, this is how the music industry works today. I mean, having a record deal… What the fuck is that today? That’s not worth anything, you know?
“At the level that I’m at or… Of course, The Haunted has a record deal and it works, but it’s because they’re at a level that makes sense. But underneath that level, it doesn’t make any sense to have a record label.
“You have to be out there, like all over the place. And do not fucking spam people, like put your CD in their faces. You have to be smart about how you’re promoting yourself, because it’s a deal breaker if people are gonna listen to you or not.
“The attention span of me, and I guess many other people, is like five seconds to listen to your music nowadays, because it gets served on a platter through Spotify and Apple Music and YouTube and Google Music…
“No one gives a shit about your album. It’s harsh, but it’s true. The album format is dead. It’s been for a while.
“And if you look on MetalSucks or whatever website you’re on, look at what’s being released this week. There’s like, 30 metal releases this week. It’s an insane amount of music and bands competing for the same space.
“It’s basically impossible for a band to reach out. And if you release an album, that album is dead after two weeks. Because next week, there’s 30 new metal albums that are better or, you know, caught the attention of some fuckface somewhere.
“I hear this a lot, people are asking me: ‘Okay, I have an album, how should I release it?’. My answer is always like, ‘Don’t release the album.’ You’re wasting an album of music if you’re just releasing it without any plans for exposure or marketing.
“Marketing is everything today. And I’ve learned it the hard way because I’ve been doing it for a long time. So I know what works and what does not work.
“But for you, if you’re in a band, you have to think differently. You have to go on YouTube, you have to do whatever it takes to get yourself out there. People are more likely to watch a video of yours than to just go to a streaming link and find you.
“It’s harsh to say, but if you, like, dance with your dicks flapping around, there’s a big possibility that a lot of people are going to watch that video. It’s sad because that’s how we compete about exposure today. It’s a fucking mess, to be honest.
“And even though I have a fair amount of views on my YouTube channel, there’s 50 other channels just like mine. So, for everyone, it’s getting harder. Even for the big bands, it’s getting harder and harder and harder.
“So, my point of this story, other than me rambling a lot, is just that you have to forget about the albums. Maybe you should release singles once every month. You just have to have news all the time.
“As you might have seen with [my guitar brand] Solar Guitars, we’re fucking pumping out models all the time and we’re killing it. Because everyone’s like, ‘Whoa! Oh, another one there? Oh shit, another guitar there. Oh, shit!’. We have news all the time and that’s why we kind of grow quick.
“And that’s the same with me – I have news all the time, I have a video coming out three or four times a week. It’s a virus. It’s marketing. Everything is marketing basically. Do you understand? [Laughs]
“Yeah, everyone sounds super sad and depressed now, but it’s the harsh truth. I’m trying to tell you before you spend way too much time on the wrong things. You need to reprioritize and think out of the box, okay? *someone in the audience says ‘Thank you!’* Oh, you’re welcome. One guy got it. Awesome.”