The Many Sides Of The Derailers And The Cost Of Promoting An Artist

Brody Vercher | February 28th, 2007

  • If you haven’t heard of The Derailers before, I’d highly recommend you check out some of their stuff.

    “What you hear from The Derailers often depends on our whims.”

    Those whims produced a feast for Texas music lovers in The Derailers latest CD, “Soldiers of Love.”

    Yes, it is honky-tonk country, but with echoes of Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and yes, The Beatles.

  • After KZLA changed formats last August country music lacked representation on LA radio, but alas another country station began yesterday. I remember back in high school I felt burned after my favorite country station turned into a techno station. Since Brady, Jenna, and I started The 9513 I constantly have a CD playing which leaves little time for radio. Fortunately, I haven’t felt like I’m missing anything.
  • Elena James, formerly the fiddle player for Hot Club of Cowtown and Bob Dylan’s band, released her own album yesterday.

    James, who sings as well, performs a mixture of originals and cover songs. The sound is part western-swing, which was the forte of the disbanded Cowtown band, with a little jazz, folk and bluegrass thrown in.

    James has a distinctive, often sultry voice, but she doesn’t show much range. The playing is top-notch throughout, however, and should be more than enough to pique the interest of music listeners looking for something new and a little different.

  • Have you ever wanted to start your own record label and wanted to know what it would cost? has and article explaining some generalized details of what it might take.

    “Ninety percent of everything we do still revolves around radio,” said Kevin Herring, vice president of promotion for Lyric Street Records, the Disney-owned country label that’s home to top-selling trio Rascal Flatts. That’s a sentiment music industry executives echo regularly, albeit sometimes begrudgingly.

    A label has to be willing to commit at least a million dollars to see an artist break into the big time.

    “It’s more that a label has to be willing to commit that amount of money,” said Herring, who is working to break a new female artist at country radio, Sarah Buxton. “It’s kind of like when you sit down at the poker table, you’ve got to have enough money to get you in the game.”

    Several sources, including Butler, said it can cost between $200,000 and $400,000 to produce a record, $100,000 to $200,000 to shoot a music video and up to $150,000 for a six-week radio tour. Those expenses don’t take into account label staffing costs, nor a whole range of other marketing and promotion costs.

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  1. Matt C.
    February 28, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    High promotional costs have an important effect on new artists as well. Many people assume that all of the artists that find modest success on mainstream radio are rich, but that is far from the truth. While artists aren’t liable for the $500,000-$1 million dollars that is spent on their debut projects if their careers don’t pan out, they don’t get any royalty checks until that initial investment is paid off. Many new artists subsist on 30-40k annually in their first several years as they gain exposure and pay off their debt.

    I also agree with the commenter on the Tennessean’s website who said that a radio-ready album can be produced for much less than $200,000-$400,000.

  2. Brody Vercher
    March 1, 2007 at 9:02 am

    I thought the $200,000-$400,000 price range was kind of high. Actually, all those prices seem a little high to me, but then again I’m not an expert. Like you and the commenter mentioned, I think $20,000 seems like a feasible price, depending on how much studio times costs.


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