Archive 3: Is the Market Right for Us?

From 7th December 2008 – via the agency myspace blog

I got one of those ‘Is the market right for us?’ emails a couple of days ago from a North American duo who invited me to listen to their myspace page and told me how well they always did with a live audience.

To be honest the live audience thing doesn’t kick in unless those live audiences talk endlessly about you on email newsgroups and forums. There was nothing special that lifted their music above the ordinary, though it was well performed and the main singer had a good voice. To my tastre it didn’t quite compare to performers already touring. (This is entirely subjective, of course.)

This was my response:

Dear XXX
I’m the last person to make pronouncements about whether music is
viable or not because everyone finds an audience somewhere and many groups I turn down still tour successfully. I will say that the bar for Canadian story-songs has been set very high here by groups like Tanglefoot and singer songwriters like James Keelaghan and Dan McKinnon.

You shpuld know that I couldn’t find a market here for XXX or for XXX (both well known in their own country).

I will say that listening to your samples there’s nothing there that would make me think you’d be an easy or immediate sell. Don’t forget, how well you do in front of an audience is not the immediate issue, it’s firstly getting your music past the gatekeepers (the venue bookers) and then giving them a hook that they can use to sell it to an audience. That can only be done by transatlantic reputation, profile in British magazines and radio, a heart-stoppingly brilliant audio demo (or preferably these days a video demo) that really breathes ‘life’ into it and – for a bit of extra saleability – a cooler than cool image.

If you want to see a brilliant sales tool look at Mad Agnes’ video,

I’m really sorry about the latter. I hate the image-based idea of putting music in front of people and I’m very sad to say that UK folk is at last following other music genres and becoming image conscious.

I know that probably isn’t what you wanted to hear but it is realistic, especially in this credit crunch year where the number of available gigs is already dropping alarmingly.

About Jacey Bedford

Jacey Bedford maintains this blog. She is a writer of science fiction and fantasy (, the secretary of Milford SF Writers (, a singer ( and a music agent booking UK tours and concerts for folk performers (
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