The internet has meant getting started in the music business is easier than ever. It’s both a blessing and a curse according to Belfast singer/songwriter Rory Nellis.
While he’s full of praise for the empowerment crowd funding sites provide he’s also wary of the saturated musical landscape where you’re never more than a well thrown stone away from someone who’s in a band.
He said: “In the old days there were a small number of people who got contracts with record labels. When I started out everything was about trying to find a record label, a manager and a publisher. Those were things you thought could take you to the next level.
“You don’t need that any more. The internet is an extremely useful tool and has changed the face of music. You’ve got the likes of iTunes and Spotify to distribute your music instead of shipping physical copies. Sites like Pledge Music have given musicians even more control.
“The result is there’s no chosen few any more. It’s easier to make music and get it out there but that also means we’re totally saturated with bands and musicians making it harder to get picked out from the crowd.”
Rory has been playing in original bands for some 15 years. “My first band was Reverb,” he recalled. “I went to uni in Liverpool and then lived in Manchester and was in a band called 3rd Dan. When I came home we started Bunkbed, who morphed into Seven Summits.”
It was with Seven Summits that Rory played the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury. While still very much involved with the band, Rory’s focus at the minute is his new solo album Ready For You Now which is currently at 76% of its funding goal through Pledge Music. The site allows Rory to give fans who’ve pledged access to exclusive tracks as well as unique experiences such as house concerts.
“When you’re playing in someone’s house it’s a really responsive audience,” he said. “The acoustic stuff I do as a solo artist lends itself really well to ‘listening’ crowds.”
Of his neofolk style Rory said: “Melodies are key for me. I grew up listening to my parents’ Beatles’ records. My other influences would be Weezer, Grandaddy and I’m a big Radiohead fan because I’m not an idiot.”
Rory said that in spite of all the short cuts available to bands and musicians nowadays, the cold, hard truth is that you need to have a steady income to make it in the music biz.
He said: “I teach guitar in a few different schools and teach privately. I do cover gigs as well. I wouldn’t say you have to have a job to make it in the music business but when you’re starting out it’s almost always necessary I’d say. 10,000 plays on Spotify will earn you about £70. That’s what you’re up against these days.”
The launch party for Rory’s new album takes place in The Mac on Saturday, June 20.