When you start a band, you face two broad options.
Your first option is to be a covers band, playing the hits of other groups. The positive of being a covers band is that many people will – hopefully! – instantly know the songs you play and be able to clap and sing along. As a result, it’s easier to get initial bookings.
The downside of this option is that there are literally millions of covers bands. It’s almost impossible to stand out and make any real money. While there are a few major tribute bands, such as Bjorn Again, The Bootleg Beatles and The Australian Pink Floyd Show, who have built up an international following, most covers bands, including the one I play in, are just happy to play for a couple of free pints.
In other words, you’ll never break through to the big time as a covers band.
Your second option is to be an originals band, playing your own songs. This is clearly harder, at least to begin with. People don’t know the songs you’re playing and you have to work hard to generate interest and any sort of fan base. The upside, however, is that, although devilishly difficult, it is possible to make it big and become an international household name, particularly if you have a distinctive sound and something new to offer the world.
The same, of course, is true in business. You can probably survive, at least for a while, by copying the proposition of the leaders in your market, particularly if you’re willing to compete on price. But you will only make it big if you offer your customers something new, something distinctive.
What kind of organisation do you lead? Are you playing covers or are you playing originals?
Off The Record: It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll)
Ridin’ down the highway, going to a show
Stop in all the byways, playin’ rock ‘n’ roll
Getting robbed, getting stoned, getting beat up, broken-boned
Getting had, getting took
I tell you folks – it’s harder than it looks
It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll