I’ve spent years touring the UK and Europe in 3 different bands from about 2003 onwards. I count myself to be incredibly lucky to have been given this opportunity. Over the years, this has provided me the chance to travel to countries, cities and experience cultures I never would have known even existed if it wasn’t for spending hours on end in the back of a van, usually hungover and spread across a Marshall stack and an unevenly tall bass cab, which did wonders for my sense of balance but reeked havoc with my hangovers. Why is this short tale of my life on the road important?

First-hand experience of cultures outside of the United Kingdom has shown me something. It’s shown me an aspect of British culture that is essentially poison to anyone who wants’s to better themselves or succeed, in anything, not just music. The contrast between the UK and Europe is staggering when it comes to how musicians are treated, and how musicians behave.

If you’ve been lucky enough to grace the continent in your Ford Transporter, without it breaking down 20 miles away from the Port of Dover, you’ll understand exactly what I’m referring to.

A natural stop for many bands when they head East is either Belgium or Germany, unloading in cities such as Berlin, Hamburg, Brussels or Ghent. From personal experience, compared to playing UK venues, you are treated like royalty. Not only does the sound guy turn up on time (and get paid), you’re often immediately taken to your hotel or crash pad, served a hearty meal with a choice of beverage, given a rough idea of the night’s itinerary so you know what time you need to fall off stage or into the PA system, and you get paid, a decent amount. Often up to 500 Euros. On top of that, if you somehow manage to drink your rider before you’ve so much as played a single note, it will be restocked without question or hesitation. Many bands in the UK will be lucky to get a single beer, let alone a 3 figure paycheque.

This is where I make my point. British culture seems to be saturated with a complete lack of support or encouragement towards anyone or anything. If you invite a band to play a venue, why would you not want to make that band feel comfortable and welcome with the prospect of earning a wage for their performance and not having to worry about dipping into fuel money to buy a beer? This is the very same attitude many bands seem to adopt when it comes to sharing a stage with fellow musicians.

Go and visit any artists facebook page. It could be a big name artist or a local band. How are they using their social media accounts? Are they consistently posting the same music video they released 6 months ago? Or are they using their audience as a tool to help provide exposure to other bands that need support? You’ll often find the only time a band will promote another band is when they share a flyer for a festival or a gig they’re playing, and they just happen to be sharing the bill. Where’s the support? Where’s the encouragement? Where’s the community?

It’s simply not good enough to only want to support your own endeavours. Of course, there are some artists that actively promote new music and fellow bands, but it’s so rare. Obviously, your music is your product and that’s how you’re trying to make a living so you might see other artists as competition, but this could not be further from the truth. The more you support other bands, the bigger your own audience will become from reciprocal support. It’s also extremely important to understand that social media platforms such as Facebook will reward accounts that post a diverse range of media and content from a variety of sources. Facebook algorithms are designed to only put content in front of people if it thinks there is a big enough audience to show interest.

This sense of community is much more present in European countries. Having lived in the UK and Sweden, as well as meeting 100s of European musicians on tour, I can honestly say there is so much passion throughout other cities on the continent when it comes to supporting other artists. This needs to be replicated in the UK. Of course, our European counterparts are not perfect, but they do more than most.

If you share content from other artists your post is likely to reach more people. Not only is this good for your band, but it’s also a great boost for the overall music scene. As artists, you’re not active all year round so use this time to help promote other bands. The more engagement your social media accounts receive the better. Its means when the time comes to promote your new material or tour, Facebook is likely to show it to more people. This is literally a win-win for any artist!

Support each other. You shouldn’t be fighting for the headline spot, you should be helping each other get there.

Author Bio: AC Speed

Senior Editor

I started my career as a music journalist in 2013 and have been involved in the music industry as a touring musician, studio engineer and artist consultant since 2002, as well as previously being a signed artist. My passion for delivering high quality, informative music-related news is a daily driving force behind the content I create. Also a huge gaming nerd! Born in the United Kingdom and currently living in Sweden. Skål!


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