Should Music Be Free? ‘InstaBand' Documentary Explores the Price of Becoming a Musician

This new documentary follows modern musicians as they try to make it armed with social media and a smartphone.

Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images

Most people have stacked up their CD’s in the garage and use streaming platforms to get their music fix these days. And with so many options when it comes to streaming music, Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, etc., it can be challenging to discover new artists. And it’s even harder for thousands of new artists to get your attention. So how do they do it in such a competitive industry that has long favored record labels and large national acts over indie bands and solo stars? Many of them have turned to social media and their smartphone as resources to get your attention in a high competitive industry.

This topic is explored in the new documentary “InstaBand” from director Bob Rose and Gravitas Ventures. This documentary explores the digital evolution of today’s music artists, tracking their continual hustle as they work to achieve music stardom armed solely with social media and a smartphone. Rose interviews musicians from various types of bands and genres about how they make a living in the digital music world.

Rose says he was inspired to do this film after making his first documentary “Functional Fitness.”

“InstaBand” will be released on VOD/Digital and Blu-Ray/DVD platforms beginning July 28th, 2020.

“Through the process of doing that I discovered this new way of getting content out in the film industry,” Rose explains. “And I found that this translated over into music in a big, big way.”

The film tackles the traditional music industry hierarchy and its domination over artists for so long. Many artists in the film who say they desperately wanted a record deal with a major label, soon found out it wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Emerging artists are often locked down in a tight contract of appearances, and song deadlines with very little money coming their way until after a record is complete. And even then, the record has to be a hit.

Rose found the documentary subjects through Instagram and social media. 

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“I used the same technique to find these artists as we teach in the movie.”

The film champions independent artists while exposing the archaic way studios continue to sign and develop new talent. In the end, the film leaves you wanting to seek out new artists just so you can support them, by buying merch and eventually seeing them live once live music returns.

“Before it was always the starving artists, or you were selling out stadiums,” Rose says. “Now, there’s this sweet middle ground for the middle tier artists where you might not get rich but if you can make a living making music that you love, isn’t that success?”

“InstaBand” will be released on VOD/Digital and Blu-Ray/DVD platforms beginning July 28th, 2020.

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