Unbelievable! So many iconic music artists taken from us last year and over the years. R.I.P., Mr. Joe Cocker.
Kere Buchanan kindly brought this article to my attention. Spotify’s current business model is the death knell to the efforts of independent artists (and the established ones as well in the longer run). But this article here offers a doable, plausible solution without anyone needing to sacrifice. Actually, following this reasoning the value of music could be restored. And for the sake of keeping music alive, below described easy fix seems a fair deal to me. Thanks for sharing this, Kere Buchanan! And to those of you, who love the Westcoast sound, don’t miss Kere’s excellent albums “Starting Over” and “Goodbye Yesterday”. Also great, though slightly different in style, his debut “Kerosene”.
Everything comes to an end – sooner or later. I remember one evening at a winter ski camp in the late 70ies, when a few schoolmates gathered in the room I was accommodated in, made themselves comfortable, cut the lights and someone played a tape of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” and “Dark Side of the Moon” in otherwise complete silence. Felt almost mystical. And it implanted the music bug in general and the Pink Floyd bug in particular in me for many years to come.
Hurts a little to see everything that once meant the world to me inevitably diminish in significance or effect. On the other hand: Funny to notice how I instantly remember every single note and chord in this tune when rolling it, the bluesy guitar licks, the somber organ sound, the soft synth lead sound and the sophisticated vocal harmonies along with nifty ad libs everywhere in between – they all seem etched into my music synapses for good! Oh, how I yearned to play that music and how I sat my behind down for days on end and learnt it all until I thought I sounded just like Gilmore on the record! 🙂
But everything must go, sooner or later… those days are definitely gone. Congrats to Pink Floyd for having broken yet another sales record with their presumably last album and a huge thanks to them for enriching my life and that of many others’ in many ways. “Shine on you crazy diamond”, indeed (quote borrowed from below linked article)!
“Ouch”. Big “ouch”! Even bigger “ouch”! “Why bother then”, comes to mind. Well… in my case – done tech already and will only do it again over my dead body. Or in yet different words: I’d have to be dead to allow being taken back to that career. “Abuse” galore is the “cool” and “sexy” there, if you asked me. So then… with music, I have at least a tiny chance of enjoying myself here and there, provided the fellow cats and audience are cool and pick up on the vibe I’m sending. Or something like that…
asks Paris Cesvette, herself being a consummate musician, producer, shejane, remixer, radio host and avid music scene observer/indie artist and referring to Google’s/YouTube’s plans of shutting down those indie artists who haven’t signed their latest terms in regards to streaming music and video. “For love?”, I halfheartedly intend to reply for a split second, then second think my response and go: “I can’t help, but wonder more and more about that.”, as the major music corporations seem set on driving everyone else out of their business except the acts signed to their labels – and just about a hand full at that.
So it had me thinking: Can indie artists really get a break for themselves when keeping to piggyback established artists and swarming around them and their media outlets? Knowing that they’ll never have the budgets required to drum up these big campaigns that the remaining major labels run on behalf of their artists? The co-marketing, the co- and cross-selling, the sheer presence they afford themselves in order to sell their “products”? The answer is very clear to me: No way in hell we’ll ever even get anywhere near any of the established ones by emulating the strategies and specific measures of armies of PR and media folks working for them. As an indie, you typically wear anywhere between five to ten hats – in one person. But you’re still not equipped with anything more than two hands, 10 fingers, ideally a brain occupying the cavity inside the skull and between the ears and usually working from the comfort of your home office/home studio. How are we ever going to be anywhere near as efficient as those teams of professionals dedicating all their productive time throughout the day to getting the word out about this or that particular artist and their latest single, music video, album release, musical cooperation with another artist, special appearances etc. etc.? We won’t. We’ll always be hundreds of miles behind before we can even begin to dream of the bigger picture and of getting a break.
So, what do we do? I think, the circuit of indie artists got it all wrong. You can’t expect to yield results employing the methods and strategies that have worked for the industry in previous decades – for a number of reasons. But the most apparent reason to me is: The “pitch” has to come from an entire different angle. If “we” shoot for mass exposure – we’ll inevitably lose as that place is firmly secured by the PR firms working for major labels. Then what?
One word: Exclusivity. Being rare or – big word – unique. Hard to find, hard to get a hold of. It has to take an effort to find a particular indie artist and their music. What? Was I being crazy? Hasn’t the internet taught us the exact opposite? Like, e.g. easy to navigate artist websites, zero ambiguity in terms of navigating the content presented, availability on all major online stores, with iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby being a must a.s.o. a.s.f.
I don’t think, any of this is going to work at all. What are the odds your latest single appears somewhere right next to – say – Jay-Z’s latest production? Or Beyoncé’s most recent music video? In order for this to work, you’d have to know the “algorithms” placing those artists at the top of every online listing there is. And when I say “algorithms”, I mean – aw, you guessed it, huh? – MONEY, of course!. What’s the average marketing budget for an indie artist between making the rent for his studio appartment, rehearsal studio, maybe recording studio? Time. Putting in the extra time to somehow promote their work. So, that is a must-tank for sure by comparison.
Hence: Play the hard-to-get card! “Oh, you found my music? Great! Where’d you find me? How did you get there? What would you have wished to see in order to get there faster? Would you like your friends to hear about me, too?” That sort of thing. Exclusivity, being a niche product. And by asking these questions, you’re also establishing a customer relation right away and as a welcome side effect.
A single fish can only stand out from a school of fish, if they find a deserted place in the ocean. Sure, you might get eaten by bigger fish. But seriously: What’s there to lose?