Today I wake up, turn my phone on and see this message from Joost Hoogenboom , our merch guy: “Hey! Have you read that Marko Hietala stopped playing in Nightwish? For pretty much the exact reason why you keep telling not to sign for big labels etc. Please stop being right “
As every NW fan (since childhood) I was of course totally shocked, but then, after reading the full message which Marko posted… I wasn’t shocked anymore, unfortunately. I was just sad.
After all, in April 2020 a big record label offered Imperial Age to sign away the rights for the upcoming album (which is still in the making) for 20 years. They didn’t even ask for the music – they were sure it would sell really well.
As you all know, they were not alone, and we refused all – despite the fact that ‘getting signed’ had been our biggest dream. Many told us that we are mad.
But now here comes another illustration why having things in your own hands becomes a better idea with every day.
The worst nightmare for the gatekeepers is when no one asks their permission anymore and can totally bypass the gates themselves. Thats why they hate crowdfunding – and why everyone should do more of it. And with the technology that we have today, this has become possible – its called the Direct to Fan system. When there are no middle-people between the band and the fans. And it works BEAUTIFULLY.
The main problem with the music industry is that if the artist does not want to understand business (and in most cases thats true), they get ripped off. I hate business myself, I was just forced to learn it. But now that I have, I can see right through the big money guys and tell when things are fair and when not.
In 2021 we no longer need permission to bond with our fans and they no longer need permission to bond with us. We no longer need to be approved or evaluated in any way. This is amazing and this has not been the case before.
Don’t stick to contracts – stick to your fans. The only difference between you and a bigger band is the amount and the loyalty of fans, not some fancy brands behind you.
I strongly encourage all colleagues to level up their independency and take matters into their own hands.
This is the future. This is the way.