I’d like to offer up the idea that original bands largely are fighting a losing battle because they DON’T do all of the things that huge nationals do – and often get hated on for doing. In film and music it is extremely rare that you ever have someone who does it all. Division of labor exists in all creative industries. When original artists try to write their own material, record it themselves, promote it, develop stage presence and instrument proficiency all at the same time – they are trying to do something only a tiny handful of individuals have ever been able to do.
Why is it at a local level you never see bands buying/borrowing songs from local songwriters, or see dedicated songwriters and dedicated performers at all? Why are they handling all of their own marketing material creation and artwork? Doing their own bookings? Money usually is the answer, but that is no excuse. You wouldn’t open a business and then just neglect parts of it because you can’t afford to do it right. There is a cost of doing business and every industry including music has a financial barrier to entry.
Trying to do all of these things is like trying to open a restaurant with no experience, and then hiring no one to fill the key roles. The only way this can ever work for a band is if you happen to be formed around a group of guys who all happen to have perfectly overlapping skills… but few people ask during the band formation process “How are your cold calling skills? How are your web design and photo editing skills? How are your accounting skills? Can you write a hit song? Do you have the ‘it’ factor on stage? Are you a great studio engineer? Live sound engineer? Luthier? Amp technician? Costume designer? Facebook expert?”
No one asks any of these things when forming bands, so it ends up being a crap shoot of whether or not you just created a hapless jam band with no means of creating hit songs, packing shows, or even growing a following at all.
I submit what local music scenes need are better personal assessments by the people involved (we all suck at nearly every aspect of music production and have to admit it) and some kind of marketplace for assisting one another in the areas we are deficient (which again is nearly every area).