Screenshot 2019-07-12 at 17.07.09

The sentiment in this fine meme is bound to warm the hearts of struggling musicians, as nice bits of motivational online piffle are designed to do. However, it omits a crucial point: if no one comes to see a band at a small venue first, there won't be enough people to fill big ones later.

The "when/if" causality implied is false.

What drives people to support artists in venues big and small is that they love the artists' music. If 100 people love an artist's performance, they might fill out a small club. If an artist can sell 20,000 tickets, they will play the O2. If they can't sell any tickets, it's because other people think they're not very good.

What matters is what other people think of the music. My own feelings on my own songs are irrelevant to the "when/if" causality mentioned above. I was in a band once and we struggled to fill venues. I remember the feeling and, if the internet had been a thing back then, I would probably have found solace in the meme pictured here.

I know one guy who, when he visits London, always asks me where he could check out some new bands. He's always happy to be pointed to any club. He's also the only guy I know who goes to a club on the off chance that someone good might be playing there. Aged 50+, he hardly represents the vanguard of new music lovers.

When was the last time you rocked up at a club and paid £8 just to check out some bands you'd never heard of?

While you're trying to remember, I would like to offer you my opinion. Those days are gone. People don't hang out in clubs , waiting to discover new music. In the 70s they had to, because they couldn't go on YouTube or Spotify. In that sense, people nowadays hang out online, listening to songs and making decisions based on the first 20 seconds of your latest single.

If they dig it, they'll come to a show. When lots of people dig it, the shows get bigger. That's a causality worth putting in your pipe.

Write a hit!