Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Jack Speaks, blah blah blah.... will he ever shut up?

I've had an epiphany lately and thought I would attempt to share it with you. I'll try to be brief and to the point... but by now you must know how I roll.

There is a new music business and a new music supporter (use to be called “Fans”).

In the old music biz, some cigar chewing suit would exploit some doe eyed musical innocent, in effect sucking the life force out of them to provide grist for the music industry mill.

When there are limited outlets for music (Radio and Television), the cigar chewing suits could “Manufacture fans”, by bombarding them with whatever music they happened to be peddling.

Hey everybody loves “The Beatles”, but had Brian Epstein not “Gamed the charts”, by buying thousands of copies of their first single “Love me do”, it's possible the band that changed the world would have never happened.

But all that is the “Old music business”, yes, vestiges of that old business model still linger on, much like a sociological appendix, but the new music business has got it's foot in the door and making BIG MONEY!!!!

The New Music Business paradigm is, “Everybody is a ROCK STAR, just pay your membership fee and your good to go”.

Example, I-tunes. People seem to be under the impression that having a recording available on “I-tune” makes it seem more legitimate. But the simple fact is, anybody that pays the fee can have ANYTHING listed at I-tunes. They take money upfront... and a cut of the profits, and say, “Good luck with your venture, please be aware we will do absolutely nothing to help you”.

You PAY to have it listed.

If you want it promoted you have to PAY someone else.

And if you want a dazzling web presence, Digital press kit, Video.... hey, you need to get that recording MASTERED so it can compete with other recordings.

Pay Pay Pay, Blah blah blah.

The old business as exploitative as it was, took their massive percentage of the money from the back end. The “Artist” had to be some kind of financial success to make the business any money.

But now, everybody pays up front. The people peddling the services have nothing at all invested in the artist success. As long as the payment clears, they'll list you with all the other ROCK STARS, and each and every one of them is just one more “Sure fire promotion strategy” away from THE BIG TIME ™ !!!

Now I feel I should say, I'm not bitter about any of this. I've been burned on the I-tunes thing, and I have used a few services in the past. Frankly I don't have a problem with “The Service sided music industry” as such. The things I've paid for in the past (Digital Press Kit: Reverb Nation) have worked as advertised. Most Services do what they advertise. BUT... and this is a big but, the implication is always you are a few mouse clicks (and a secured payment) away from success.

There is no service you can buy that will lead you to the promised land of stardom.

But... there is hope for “Artist” looking to make a living with their art. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

The new music supporter. This is the pivotal point of my epiphany.

The Members of Kinagree Smith have played a number of “Career defining shows” in the real world. All of this shows really did nothing to further our efforts. Yes we played for bunch of people, displayed our talents for “The Movers and Shakers. We made a few bucks, and spent the buck we made,plus a few extras we had to pull out of pocket. Most of these performances were good to great shows, some even got us good press (without paying for it I might add), but at the end of the day, we were still no further along in the simple goal of... making a living.

But... and this is the odd part, I do earn my humble crust of bread playing music. Not because of the “Big shows”, but rather, hundreds of small shows. The shows we've played on “Second Life” have provided us with a listenership.

They aren't the “Spamie gamey mega numbers” most Service types promote. We've built a fan base one listener at a time. These fans don't get bombarded with our music on the radio, they instead attend concerts, because they enjoy what they hear. They tip us, they book us at their venues, and they buy our recordings.

We live in a world where everybody is SCREAMING..... “LISTEN TO ME”. Everything is flashy, everything is slick, all kind of numbers indicate great success, but at the end of the day, an artist sits with a listener, and provides them with something of value.

Every week, our supporters spend hours listening to our music live.

It's quite amazing when you think about it. This attention is something service providers want to sell, and our supporters give it to us for free.

Thank you all so very much.

1 comment:

  1. Re: "Brian Epstein Gaming The Charts".
    This brings up an interesting concept concerning notoriety. After the success of Love Me Do's follow-up, the even more successful Please Please Me, Epstein took on a handful of other Merseyside bands and singers. The same "Gaming" method was employed with each of these acts, garnering hits for each of them. However, once these acts had become well-known the age-old process of "natural selection" kicked in - separating the weak from the strong. Gerry & The Pacemakers reached #1 their first three times off the vinyl presses. Cilla Black became legendary in the UK. Contrarily, bands like The Remo Four barely reached local cover band status. Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas re-entered the dimension of obscurity a mere 2 years after their initial "hits" tickled the pop charts (they were, for the most part, Lennon/McCartney covers).
    The lesson here should be fairly obvious by now. While the music business has changed drastically since those early, manic pop days, the psychology of the listener/buyer/fan has not. If it's good it's good; if it's bad it may be "good" for a week - then (oh no the emperor has no clothes) it's suddenly bad! Being virtually unknown with no track record or notoriety is actually a better space to occupy than the artist who has achieved any form of large-scale reputation - then found themselves right back where they started once their true abilities and talents revealed lack of momentum resulting in the "real" F-word: Failure.
    Yes, a large portion of the pop music biz will always be those never-ending trips down memory lane, rediscovering the the music that has helped define our lives. But this pales in comparison to "initial discovery". To illustrate this point, there is no "American Idol" for failed one-hit-wonders, yet we're currently overrun with reality shows introducing us to compelling unknowns. Listeners are always craving something new; The Next Big Thing.
    At the moment, I'm an artist just peeking out of a musical cocoon I have occupied for more than 3 decades. I am entering a "music business" now solely reliant on the listener, the aforementioned "gaming" being a thing of the past. There are many avenues available to the listener, but few credible "spoon feeding" outlets left to push my music through the rabbit hole. In other words, if they find me - they find me; if they do not, perhaps I'll find them, but it's less likely than at any point in history that anyone will do it for me.

    Obscurity is The New Cool.

    Best, Vinnie