Independent must & the Internet

TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW WITH BOB PALILUNAS OF THE MERCY LEAGUE

Q: About how long has your band been together?
A: We have been together a little over a year now, only about 5 months with the current lineup and band name.

Q: How long have you had a Web site?
A: We have had a Web site pretty much ever since we started the band.

Q: How has the Internet played a part in your success?
A: The Internet is a huge part nowadays for any band's success. The Internet has exposed our music to people all around the world that would have never heard it before. We have been the featured band on Purevolume.com on two occasions, both of which generated us swarms of new fans.

Q: How do you think the Internet has impacted independent music?
A: The Internet pretty much gives any independent band a chance to make it. With the Internet it's so easy to get your name out there, and if you have something good going it's going to catch on quick and spread. I think just about every band relies on the Internet nowadays for all their promotion.

Q: What about the industry as a whole?
A: Same thing as above pretty much. All the labels have there own Web stores. There are so many good sites out there such as Myspace, Purevolume and Absolutepunk which are pretty much how anyone and everyone finds out everything about the music scene these days.

Q: Do you think the Internet has made it easier or harder to get noticed?
A: It definitely has made it easier to get noticed. Whether you have good music or bad music, it will get heard. If you got a good thing going it spreads like wildfire over the Internet. It's pretty crazy.

Q: How does your band use the Internet?
A: We pretty much rely on the Internet. We use it to contact promoters and bands to set up tours and use e-mail to pretty much get in contact with everyone. It's a great way to let your fans know what's new with the band through mailing lists.

Q: Has it affected the way you create, promote or distribute your work?
A: Oh totally. For sure. I mean, when you're recording new music it's so easy to put up one or more tracks on Purevolume.com and have thousands of people hear it and decide if they want your album. Otherwise you'd have to have all those thousands of people actually buy your album blindly to hear it.

Q: Do you use the Internet to schedule performances or network with other people in the music community?
Yes. Almost any time we are asked to play a show, we get contacted by e-mail. Like I was saying earlier, booking tours is pretty much done over the Internet nowadays also.

Q: Do you provide free samples of your songs on your Web site or anywhere else online?
A: Yes of course. We have songs up on Purevolume and Myspace.

Q: Do you sell merchandise on your Web site or anywhere else online?
A: Currently we do not, but we will soon be setting up an account with Smartpunk, which is a large online music store.

Q: What are your thoughts on burning CDs and file sharing over the Internet?
A: I personally have a giant collection of music that I got through the Internet and didn't pay for. I mean, everyone does it these days. It's so easy to get any album you want. Although I am a musician and I know that bands need to make money off there albums, so when I really like a band I always try and support them and pick up their actual CD once it comes out. Nowadays most bands are putting some type of enhancement on the actual CD to give people a reason to purchase it if they've already ripped it. It's not really a big concern of mine. When your CD does leak, all it does it expose it to many more people. As long as those people come to your shows and buy some merch it all works out in the long run.

Q: How serious of a threat do you think it poses, if any?
A: It just costs a lot for bands to make and produce a CD. I mean, I'm sure we all want to see our favorite artists making more and more albums, but as I stated before, as long as the fans support the band and go to their live shows and buy some merch, it's not that big of a deal. It's going to happen.

Q: What do you think the best approach is to deal with unauthorized file sharing?
A: I don't think there's much you can really do about it now. I have no idea really what they can do about it.

Q: What does your band have in store for the coming months?
A: We just got home from Washington, D.C. yesterday where we recorded our CD with producer Matt Squire who has worked with bands like Thrice, Northstar and The Receiving End of Sirens. We should have that coming out early this summer. Then just a whole lot of touring.