“What Happened To The Road Dogs?” — Koe Wetzel On How TikTok Has Changed The Way Artists Pursue Music Careers


Call me old fashioned, but I agree wholeheartedly with Koe Wetzel here.

The Texas rocker just released his first new song in over a year this past Friday, with “Damn Near Normal” likely being the lead single to a forthcoming (unofficially announced) album sometime in 2024.

Written by Wetzel alongside Gabe Simon, Amy Allen, Carrie Karpinen and artist Sam Harris, it finds Koe reflecting on where he’s at in his life at 31 years old, with some very honest lyrics that describe his journey as an artist, which is maybe not as fulfilling as he thought it would be… especially considering that he doesn’t have a family of his own yet because he certainly doesn’t live a “traditional” life.

And if there’s anyone qualified to speak to that, Koe has toured probably more than anyone in the realm of country music for the last 10 or so years now. He stays on the road almost year-round, and that’s not an exaggeration.

The man has toured his ass off and I’m sure sacrificed a lot to build a deeply passionate, very solid fanbase in Texas and well beyond the Lone Star State at this point, and he’s earned every single one of them by putting in the effort to quite literally take the show on the road everywhere.

But in 2024, when radio play becomes less meaningful by the day and streaming becoming the main source of play (especially for younger fans), there’s one social media app that stands above the rest in terms of music discovery, and obviously, that’s TikTok.

In a reel shared to Koe’s music account on Instagram earlier, he’s asked about what he thinks of TikTok while casting a line out on the lake, to which he responds quite plainly that he “hates it.”

He continued to explain that there doesn’t seem to be any “road dogs anymore,” and while there are still plenty of artists who grind it out on the road and win fans over the good old fashioned way in honky tonks across America, his larger point is very well-taken and I do think he’s right:

“I hate it. There just ain’t no ***** road dogs anymore, man. What happened to the ***** road dogs?”

Koe also said that he can see how TikTok can be a good thing for younger, up-and-coming artists to “make it” when used as another (pretty effective) way to share their music:

“I don’t know, I guess it’s good for artists who are trying to make it. Just another outlet for people to share their music with the world.”

I think there’s some truth to that, too, but I’ll always be about more partial to an artist who puts their efforts into a live show, touring wherever they can get booked and earning fans by playing live in front of a real crowd. There’s obviously nothing wrong with using TikTok as a tool in addition to everything else, but in my very humble opinion, in most cases, it shouldn’t be the main priority:

I mean, there’s no real “test” when it comes to putting music on TikTok, because it really doesn’t require any stage presence and you have no idea what the artists really sounds like live. Again, I’m probably old fashioned because I kind of hate how viral singles have taken over and seemingly pushed real, whole, crafted albums to the side for more quick and easy success.

Like everything, it’s all about balance, it’s just in this case, I think the scales should be tipped way more in favor of playing shows in front of real crowds and making the effort to build a tangible, lasting fan base that way.

Alright, I’ll get off my soap box now… because ironically, Koe also has one of the best TikTok accounts on the internet:

@koe_wetzelShots!♬ April Showers – Koe Wetzel
@koe_wetzel It’s not possible ): #doritos #namethatsong #fyp ♬ original sound – Koe Wetzel
@koe_wetzel New bus, new rules. #bus #bar #hardwork #fyp ♬ original sound – Koe Wetzel
@koe_wetzel Does anyone know what tf he says here?? #matilda #rustedroot #closeenough #fyp ♬ Send Me on My Way – Rusted Root
@koe_wetzel 3 chords and the truth🙏🕊 #music #show #production #fyp ♬ original sound – Koe Wetzel

“Damn Near Normal”

Read original source here.

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