Hey my friends, this may prove to be one of the best tabs on my site as it will discuss all the latest Music Industry News. Each week I’ll feature interesting Articles, and post from various blog and music Industry sites for your enlightment. Do enjoy and visit often.
Hey guys here’s and excerpt from an Article I recently wrote for several
blogsites. It’s very eye opening:
For my fellow Independent Recording Artist, I want to share with you what I believe to be 7 great fundamental steps for a successful, long-term career. As an ANCIENT Artist..lol, the process I presently use applied to a young Artist, would most likely guarantee a long and strong career:
1- 1st understand that no matter what your style, skill level, or age is, there’s a tribe of humans out there among the billions that will love what you do, and gladly pay for it. Your challenge is to find them, move them, and continue to feed them. BTW I’ll start by saying ‘That’s the part that seems at times impossible but it’s not!!! SUPER hard and SUPER expensive, but not impossible!
2- That leads me to my 2nd point…..YOU ARE YOUR OWN INVESTOR!!! Forget the old notion that ‘If I’m good enough, the big boys will come knocking’! THERE’S NO ONE COMING!!!! Can’t say that loud enough. Go ask the last 7 winners of The VOICE if the big boys are knocking….point #3
3- YOU ARE YOUR OWN RECORD COMPANY!!!!! Can’t say that one loud enough either…lol. Seriously guys….it will be totally up to you to CONSISTENTLY, find a way to fund this complexed process the way Record Companies did with Artist for decades. It’s a new model, done a new way, with new rules. Just because the Gondola (labels) that took Artist to the mountaintop is out of service, doesn’t mean Artist can’t get to the mountaintop. It only means the way will be tougher, MUCH longer, and YOU WILL HAVE TO FOOT THE COST! There are some great tools out there to find funding, but when it’s all said and done, YOU MUST HAVE A FUNDING MACHINE IN PLACE!!! Sad to say guys but that can’t always be mom and dad, that can’t always be friends or fans. Nothing wrong with a little help from your family and friends, but this is your Art, your career, your vision, and ultimately your responsibility to finance its success. If you can finance it into orbit independently, then maybe, just maybe, a Major Label will take you to Mars.
4- YOU MUST CREATE ART FOR THE RIGHT REASONS!! If you’re creating art for fame, fortune, or prestige, this may come as a shock, but you really should STOP right now!!! Clearly we all would want those things if we’re honest, but the foundation of why you create Art can’t be build on that stuff. seriously man you have got to be creating a body of work because your soul is requiring it!! Because you hopefully have something important to say,your inner being should be screaming..”I have to build this no matter what, no matter how long it takes, no matter how high I have to climb, no matter how many times I slip and fall, no matter how many obstacles get in my way, and no matter what anyone thinks!!!!!! If you CAN’T bring that kind of passion and resolve to the table, then maybe this new age of the independent Artist/Entrepreneur isn’t for you.
5- YOUR AGE IS NO LONGER A DEAL BREAKER! Why? Because there
essentially are no deals any more except the ones you make directly with
your fans, and your age has nothing to do with creating great Art that will
draw fans. 30 was always the cutoff point for labels and still is with
American Idol, but Labels aren’t the avenue by which Artist are creating, and distributing music in this new model. The internet, streaming, and social media have given content creators brand new Avenues that have more traffic than the I-10 in LA. It’s crowded and hard to get noticed on these new Highways, but at least their not blocked off anymore.
6- YOUR ART MUST BE MAGNIFICENT!!! Every Artist can publish now! Even 6 year olds….lol. It is so cool that the barriers to publication are now GONE FOREVER! Unfortunately it’s like the Walmart doors on a black Friday… boy when they open, everyone is barging through. If you followed all of the other previous steps but cut corners here, then you’re waisting your time!! There is no gauge I know of that’s capable of determining when your Art becomes MAGNIFICENT. One things is certain though. Masterpieces are only created by masters, and masters are masters because of the deep dedication they have to perfecting their craft. We have to try with all of our might to rise to the highest level of our Artistic potential, if we’re going to have success in building a tribe of followers. Becoming a master may not be doable, but striving to become one is!!!
7- TRY TO LET YOUR ART REFLECT YOU, BUT NOT BE ABOUT YOU!
And lastly, if it’s going to be about you, then let it be something inspiring ok!
Artist development will always be important to us at EMG Music Group. Reach back with any questions, and keep your ears tuned for all the music we’re releasing from the UNCOVERED project starting with “Happy Feelings”, a Maze tribute, on Tues 3/17/15. visit us at http://lesdion.comfor more insight on the great things happening! #GODSTRONGALWAYS#BEINIT2WINIT
Here’s an interesting Article from blogger David Allen entitled “The End of the Music Album as the Organizing Principle“.
It doesn’t seem that long ago since Radiohead did what was once unimaginable – release an album without being signed to a major record company. On the long march to digital ubiquity as the means of music delivery Radiohead avoided the tar pit that seems to be major label thinking and came out clear winners. Yes, they resorted later to releasing the album as a good old CD into regular retail distribution but they were pioneers and were soon followed with great success by Nine Inch Nails and to lesser success by many others. Both these bands had an understanding of what their fans wanted [price level choice, quality and special packaging] and both bands understood the power of the internet for marketing purposes and direct reach. [NB: Although I believe that the digital music file will rule the day, vinyl still has a role to play and I’ll get to that later.]
The most interesting part of this experiment [which at the time, I would argue it was] was not only that it was wildly successful but it laid the groundwork for what I have coined the end of the organizing principle. In other words I suggest that we are now seeing the end of the album-length work as the permenant work, the everlasting body of work that represents the pinnacle of an artists’ creativity. I am fully expecting to hear the howls of derision over this but bear with me.
If you were honest how many albums do you own that demand to be listened to from beginning to end? AV Club recently came up with a list of 25, some of which I agree with and Rolling Stone, Spin and other mags regularly post their lists of the “all time greatest albums” whether its 100 or 50 or less. My band Gang Of Four’s album Entertainment!is often featured on these lists but take it from me it has its flaws. The problem with lists and suggestions is that they are all subjective. Being engaged by music requires too much of a personal commitment on an emotional level for anyone to be able to provide an ultimate list. [Imagine if an art critic attempted to make a top ten list of the world’s greatest paintings. Why does popular music suffer from this conceit?]
We live in an era of MP3 players, streaming internet radio, web apps – not to mention the iTunes music application and its ability to shuffle your entire digital music collection – now the cloud and almost-mobile ubiquity, the list goes on; in what part of digital music culture does an album-length piece of work now reside?
I’ll answer that question – I believe it has no place in a digital future.
The original organizing principle of music was of course hand written, composed. It then moved along to sheet music and with that came revenue from sales to the musical public and by so doing helped to move revenue income beyond just ticket sales to the opera or orchestra performances. This wasn’t enough though. It was as if music was demanding to be organized and soon enough inventors jumped in to the fray and began organizing music recording and playback – at first on tin foil.
“From the earliest phonographs in 1877, courtesy of Mr. Thomas A. Edison, the cylinder was the preferred geometric form for a sound recording. The first records were made on strips of tinfoil, the predecessor of household aluminum foil, wrapped around a 4-inch diameter drum. The drum was hand-cranked at about 60 revolutions per minute (RPM) and the phonographic apparatus made sound impressions upon the foil. The expected lifetime of a foil recording was short because after a few playbacks the sound impressions were either worn down or the foil had ripped.” [Source: Tinfoil.com]
And then along came the wax cylinder which turned out to be too fragile for popular use. Music lovers had to wait until 1930 which was when RCA Victor launched the first commercially available vinyl long-playing record, marketed as “Program Transcription” discs. These revolutionary discs were designed for playback at 33⅓ rpm and pressed on a 30 cm diameter flexible plastic disc. [Source: Wikipedia]
Technically then, we can say that 1930 was the year that the organizing principle for the length of a popular music album was implemented, and with the advent of that organizing principle it is worth noting that musical artists had no control over the length of time their masterpiece would run; they were at the mercy of contemporary technology. Album length, roughly 35 minutes over two sides of vinyl, was simply a decision made by technologists who did not consult artists. [The gatefold sleeve containing double and triple albums became the norm later for rock bands with more to say – for better or worse.]
If musicians and bands were not part of this decision in the first place then why would they complain of what modern technology now brings – their craft has been unchained from early technological limitations and they now have endless amounts of time and bandwidth to spread their creative message far and wide; along with unfettered artistic control.
The Browser is The New iPod.
On March 24th I attended the Leadership Music Digital Summit in Nashville as a speaker. That morning I heard the keynote speech by Rio Caraeff, EVP eLABS at the Universal Music Group. The stand out phrase from him that resonated with me was “the browser is the new iPod.”
He spoke of lamenting the loss of the experiential and tactile nature of recorded music; he missed the tactile experience of music delivered in its vinyl and cardboard form [his father was the famous album sleeve art director, Ed Caraeff.] The digital file, he argued, had stripped the experience from the music; listening to music was now a flat and unemotional activity compared with holding a well-designed sleeve filled with images, lyrics and artwork. Because of this flat experience he predicted that there would be no future for selling recorded music directly to music fans.
He mentioned one area of success for Universal; the advent of the video game. An all-encompassing experiential medium that included more than just the games – the games came with a community of like-minded people and music. They also generate millions of dollars especially through the subscription fees that are required for online gaming activity.
Welcome to the Cloud
With his phrase ‘The browser is the new iPod’ Caraeff alludes to the ubiquitous access that we have to music. The browser is no longer limited to laptop or desktop computers – mobile devices have browsers too and in the case of the iPhone the music apps have been wildly successful. 4G promises to expand music delivery to mobile users even farther. Very soon there will be even less reason to ‘own’ music as it will be easily available at our fingertips everywhere. The cloud is the perfect place for storing your music collection. All of the above condemns the album to the trash can of history, it also suggest that online music subscription services may finally gain the upper hand.
So what are musicians to do?
First they must put nostalgia, tradition and the old business models and paradigms far behind them. They must, as Umair Haque argues with regard to any business – provide something of value. Haque also pushes the concept of ‘ideals’ – “because they are what ensure the value we are creating is authentic, deep, meaningful value — not just the shabby, threadbare illusion of value.” [Ideals were sorely lacking when the labels sold CDs full of filler for $18.99.]
Humans are subconsciously moved by the emotion of music, it provides a link to their ancestry and to their tribes, it stirs not only positive but sometimes negative feelings linked to moments in time and is often steeped in nostalgia and memories. No other art form is ‘consumed’ as broadly and passionately as music on a daily basis around the world.
How music was delivered used to be in the hands of the few – bands, concert promoters, record companies and their retail distribution companies, radio, and video shows such as MTV. In tech-speak this system embraced ‘push’ – we the mighty and powerful will “provide you” [at a price determined by “us”] with access to our treasures when “we” feel like it. These days that system is rapidly breaking down as music fans now ‘pull’ what “they” want to listen to.
Control has moved from the few to the millions of many. Dull labels and dull bands offering dull, flat, non-experiential product e.g. a CD, will go the way of the CD as it goes the way of the Dodo. Consider what Cirque Du Soleil provides as an experience compared to Barnum and Bailey’s circus. Or Burning Man compared to your average music festival. Even the Las Vegas Beatles-themed show ‘Across The Universe’ wipes the floor with most rock concerts these days.
Music fans are no longer patiently waiting for their favorite bands to deliver new music according to the old customary cycle – album, press release, video, radio, tour. No, the fan base has to be regularly and consistently engaged. Some Ideas:
• First, communicate openly and ask your fans what they want from you
• Listen to what they have to say. Really listen
• Provide unique content such as early demos of new songs
• Never under estimate the power of a free MP3
• Forget completely the idea of an organizing principle. Invent a new one
• Use social media wisely. Twitter and Facebook Pages are best, MySpace is too cluttered
• Don’t push messages to your fans, have a two way interaction with them
• Invite them to share, join, support and build goodwill with you
• Scrap your web site and start a blog
• Remember to forget everything you know about the CD “business”
• Start to monetize the experience around your music
• Remember – the browser is the new iPod
And finally I leave you with one organizing principle that works as a tactile and experiential format and gives great pleasure – the vinyl album. Having said that I do not want to contradict any part of this article as I do not suggest using vinyl as a format for delivering an album-length piece of work. I do suggest using vinyl for the physical manifestation of your demos, out takes, live tracks etc, and always accompany it with a coupon for free download of any related digital product.