Cleveland, OH/ London, ON hard rockers Along Came A Spider recently signed to Manic Kat Records and unveiled their new song, “Out of My Mind.” As music is still being released that was originally written and recorded during the isolated days of the covid-19 pandemic, we caught up with the group, asking them five things they’ve learned from those moments of uncertainty.
Don’t be afraid to be “single” /
We had kickstarted our album cycle [2021’s ‘Blackhole’] in Fall of 2019, with full intention of following the usual “release a couple singles, then the album” format. But as Coronavirus took hold in early 2020, we had to pivot off the old model. After a few months of observation, it was apparent the industry was going to be sidelined for much longer than anticipated. We were lucky that we already had a full album in the cannon, so we decided to just release each song one-by-one while we waited it out. Lasted more than a year! And that actually worked in our favor, as each song got it’s own individual time in the sun. We did 9 singles off a 10-track LP. The more often we released, the more we started landing big-time Spotify editorial playlists like “New Core ” and “All New Metal.” Our music started reaching bigger audiences than it ever had. The album eventually surpassed 1 million streams on the platform.
Be patient as it re-builds /
Even a full two years after mandates were lifted, the club scene is still recovering. Sure, major festivals are back to thriving and your favorite bands are back on the road. But it feels like 80% of the independent venues that developed acts used to play are gone. Many either went out of business, “retired”, or were scooped up by conglomerates AEG and Live Nation. Some promoters have tried to circumvent this by getting creative, booking metal shows at coffee shops, craft breweries, and the like. Even if it seems unconventional, it’s important to be receptive to anywhere that you can be put in front of an audience. Some classic venues just aren’t coming back, unfortunately.
It’s an internet world, baby! /
Every Tom, Dick, and Harry will tell you that social media is the biggest key to your success. That TikTok and Spotify are king. And that does hold some truth, but those aren’t the only resources available. The irony of being asked to do this feature for Metal Insider is that I, myself, relied heavily on Metal Insider in the lead-up to our album release. I religiously scoured the “Metal By The Numbers” column for years, keeping tabs on what the threshold to reach the Billboard charts was. When release week came around, I almost knew the exact number we needed to hit. When we landed 4 Billboard charts, it was less of a surprise, and more an achievement of a career goal. Don’t be afraid to reach for the stars, but having a map of the galaxy certainly helps. Use any tool you can to further your knowledge, and in turn, viability.
Adapt, adapt, adapt /
To piggyback off the above, the music business is the most fickle of all, and things WILL change at the drop of a hat. Just when you figure out “the way”, it shifts again overnight. Covid-19 was no exception. We all had to take a step back and reassess our approach to the industry. Many found new ways to connect to their audience during the quarantine. Live Streaming and fan videos were everywhere. Twitch and Discord moved up the ranks. People were selling NFTs. But when things launched back into gear, it seemed like the game had changed once again. And you’re right, it did. But if you adapt, then you can thrive. We’ve seen too many bands stall out because they keep doing the same old thing. Pay attention to the trends and stay on top of it. Don’t bemoan the shifts, embrace them. Tailor new marketing ploys to your advantage and you’ll stay relevant. I mean, I just watched a dude singing to a cheetah puppet while making food …and I loved it! Anything is possible these days.
Rely on each other /
It seemed like nothing could be more isolating than being told you can’t hug your friends or talk to your fans in person. However, a ton of bands took advantage of the downtime by focusing inwards, re-discovering the passion for playing music as a group. After digesting not being able to do what we love for an extended time, we re-evaluated what our band meant to us. In ACAS, everyone has their own role: the vocalists do lyrics and the short form media. Our guitarist writes the riffs and can fix anything. Our bass player is the financial guy and long-form video creator. Our keyboardist is the computer genius, our drummer the voice of reason. Play to your strengths. But even in running a small business like ourselves, you have to remember the human element. That you’re brothers in arms. Remember why you do this in the first place – to write music with your bros and connect to fans. Stay motivated and keep at it!
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