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Come into my Web….

30 May

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So, my new best friend, Bob Lefsetz, had some interesting thoughts in his blog about Management and Pricing in the music biz. I’ve been contemplating some of this for a while, but this — and our interesting “beauty” conversations — got me to really wondering why most musical artists just don’t “get it”.

I’ve been, what I consider, an early adopter of PC and internet technology as it evolved. However, before last year I generally used the web for news, stock tracking and tips and research for my “real job”. It is my belief that there are/were many folks with similiar “usage”. With the advent of high speed DSL, the proliferation of music sharing sites, and blogs for every topic and occasion, the web has evolved as a true entertainment source — particularly where music is concerned.

While we could spend considerable time talking about this topic, I’d like to focus on how an upcoming artist might take an unconventional, albeit successful, tack in making a successful music career. There’s powerful opportunity in the utilization of the internet to gain exposure, sell CDs, creat dialogue and market an artist. The music industry still has a powerful lock on most artists and the inertia of doing things as they’ve always been done have stifled the real use of the internet as a primary promotional strategy.

As Bob extolls, because of the powerful expense savings of using the internet, pricing for music tracks should be decreasing and creating an opportunity for additional purchases. In my mind, I think that a “new” artist (say Feist) could sustantially increase their awareness and “usage” with a solid Internet strategy. Bear with me, but here’s my Internet Marketing plan:

First, ONE, integrated website that includes an Artist blog updated once per week, Tour schedule with links to ticket sales and venues (including seating charts), photos, promotional videos, and PERHAPS a forum — but totally not a “must have”. Keep the site updated and changing each day, or at the least, two or three times per week.

There should be a concentrated effort by an Internet Channel Manager to research ALL fan sites, make contact with those webmasters and create an “advisory board” of sorts, that would provide a method to disseminate information on sales, tours, merchandise, damage control, etc. Create a two-way relationship that allows them to be a part of the process. Provide an artist interview to different fan sites at different times to keep them — and their readers — engaged.

Offer live performances from various concerts, to download for a cost — a la Widespread Panic. Provide a free on-line concert with promotion on various “friendly” blogs and fansites to create awareness. Optimally, use a site like AT&T’s Blue Room or the artist’s proprietary website.

Embrace bloggers — particularly those who are favorable to the artist. Offer preview mp3’s as exclusives. Create a “law of reciprocity” with these bloggers for favorable treatment with new releases, concert reviews, promotion, merchandise sales, etc.

I’m not opposed to a pay fansite for higher level of access, tickets, or content, but I don’t think a true artist needs to go down that road. In reality, if the artist is good — really good — and gets enough exposure, then they should be able to sell tracks and make a healthy living. If they market themselves right and don’t sell their soul to the devil that is big record labels who act as pimps, they can even get rich. Think of it this way — why can’t a talented artist or group develop and implement a successful targeted internet strategy, by-pass the record labels by providing their music via low cost mp3’s that are marketed through samples and live performance snippets, utilize dedicated fans and low-cost providers for graphics and promotion and provide music for a fraction of what the record companies charge? Just because it’s not been done, doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

Utilizing this kind of “out of the box” approach would be substantially less in expenses and allows the artist to be totally in control of their “message” and approach. Additionally, it allows the artist to be nimble enough to change strategies very quickly if something is or isn’t working.

I personally think that we’re at the precipice of change in the music industry concerning how artists are managed and promoted. Of course, it’s slow to change because there is beaucoup money to be lost by agents, promoters, record executives and such — you know, the ones who are getting 50-60% of the artists’ revenue. It really IS time for somebody to wake up and smell the coffee.

I know we’ve got some Marketing geniuses that read this blog….so, what are your thoughts regarding an effective internet strategy to promote a musical artist or group?

ETA: This is somewhat related but an aside….iTunes released iTunes Plus yesterday making hi-res mp3s available for $1.29. But is there a catch? Bob Lefsetz has two great posts on the subject, but warning: Bob is the Dave White of music blogging. Be sure to check out both posts.

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42 Comments

Posted by on May 30, 2007 in Marketing, music biz

 

42 responses to “Come into my Web….

  1. brc

    May 31, 2007 at 6:49 am

    I heart Music Maven. You’ve said it all!

     
  2. music maven

    May 31, 2007 at 7:26 am

    Well, maybe not all…There are other possibilities via the web. How about a fan contest where the winner gets to “chat” privately with the artist? How about exclusive video and interviews by the artist? How about creating and promoting a fan “persona” like Parrotheads? If you haven’t visited Margaritaville.com, do so. Jimmy Buffett is a genius, and a rich one at that.

    Sure wish Gray was around to comment…

     
  3. huckleberryfriend

    May 31, 2007 at 10:53 am

    You still need someway to make the artist known to a wider audience. Ysabellabrave (my hero) does a phenomenal job of exploiting youtube with over 20,000 subscribers and usually posts at least a couple of new videos a week. She is someone that just might be able to pull off exactly what you are talking about. Her cost to post these videos is close to $0 and her fans are clamoring for a CD to buy.

    I wondered about a scenario like this. Fans pay $200 per ticket to hear ysabellabrave in concert and also get a dvd of the concert. Let’s say about 200 fans participate so that’s $40,000. Another 2000 preorder a dvd of the concert at $20 each for another $40,000 or $80,000 total. She cuts a deal with a symphony orchestra to perform with her on some type of revenue sharing deal. Both she and the orchestra do publicity. After the concert, both the orchestra and ysabellabrave have dvds/cds available for sale. She can now sell her songs either as digital downloads or as dvds/cds. (I used an orchestra in example but it could also be a jazz or blues band).

    I also wonder how much money an artist needs to make to be successful. Let’s say a singer has a taxable income of $120,000 per year so they take home about $80k. Is that good enough? They have a job they love and take home $80k. Most of us would be happy with that. Or do they need to make $1,000,000 or more a year so they can keep up appearances and live in a mansion? We would have to come up with some income level before we could develop a marketing plan.

    I may add more later. Got to finish building my workbench.

     
  4. brc

    May 31, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    Huckleberryfriend makes a good point regarding what this hypothetical up-and-coming artist might be shooting for in terms of defining success. If you’re simply looking to make a living (let’s use Hucks’ $80K example) with a small, but loyal following I would think it would be very do-able by unconventional means.

    If you’re looking to be a rich star I’m not sure. I mean Taylor won American Idol and has had MAJOR public relations exposure. The most views he has on any YouTube video as far as I can tell is about 107,000+ for his audition video and 128,000 for his performance with Snoop Dog (so we’re not sure if people were watching for him or for Snoop Dog). That’s not exactly viral by YouTube standards. Most of his concert videos have had only 1,000 to 5,000 views. So as Huck was asking… how do you build an audience if you don’t start out with the advantages of a Taylor Hicks?

    MM I think a lot of your promotional ideas would be fantastic for an artist that at least has the beginnings of a fanbase. Otherwise you don’t have any fansites or blogs to work with. In fact, if Taylor (I’m sorry to keep going back to this as an example) did all the things you mentioned I think he would have a MUCH larger fanbase at the one year anniversary of his AI win.

    I also wonder about radio play. I know people say “radio is dead.” But it sure seems that any crappy song that gets radio play these days becomes a hit. I just heard Mandy Moore’s new song Extraordinary on the hippest radio station in Chicago this morning. Her album doesn’t even come out for a week and they’re already putting it in the rotation. It’s not a very good song. It reminds me of the Before the Music Dies video. Elliott Yamin has a Top 40 hit with his Wait for Me. He’s got half a million views on this video on YouTube. Why? I liked him on AI, but I don’t think he’s half the entertainer Taylor is. And the song is boring.

    So can an artist be “successful” on a large scale without radio play? Can the Internet allow someone to circumvent this vehicle entirely? Do any of you readers know anything about Internet radio or Satellite radio. Can you do an end-run around traditional media this way?

    Side note to huckleberryfriend… I tried to comment on your blog but it told me I had to have a WordPress account. What gives?

     
  5. jenfera

    May 31, 2007 at 8:06 pm

    brc, I hear you on the radio comments. I think mainstream radio could be a much larger problem than the recording industry itself. Although they are all probably in cahoots. Call me old fashioned, but I don’t see how an artist can truly be successful without airplay on regular old radio.

    Gray used the example of Wilco last week, noting that they had plenty of sales without airplay. Then another commenter pointed out that the measure of success is going to be different based on expectations.

    I do not make a habit of seeking out music online or even locally. I probably should, but it is just not a priority now. I listen to regular radio. My favorite station was recently bought out by ClearChannel and is slowly becoming more generic. I have never heard a Wilco song. Ever. If I didn’t use the internet and encounter folks who are Wilco fans, I would to this day be saying, “Wilco? Never heard of ’em.” Are they successful? I guess so. But mainstream America has never heard of them.

    Not sure if I have a point left, or if these are just observations.

     
  6. music maven

    May 31, 2007 at 8:58 pm

    Yes, my thoughts really more apply to promoting an artist that has already had some exposure. I think Huck makes an excellent point as to what is someone out to accomplish. If they want big fame and fortune, then they’ll likely have to dance with the devil and go down the traditional road knowing that they will be paying a portion of everything they make to others. They might have a short career where the label is concentrated on them and perhaps a little longer career if they produce a big hit.

    For true musicians who are really looking to make a decent living doing something they love, I think the “indy” route works best and that’s mainly touring and building a following through live shows, word of mouth and yes, the internet.

    To go a little further on brc’s Taylor example, I think that Taylor is a hybrid. He likely never intended on being a “national” star. I think he’d have been content being a Robert Randolph/Widespread Panic kind of act. These guys, who want to remain as independent of label control as possible are the kind of acts that these kinds of strategies can work for. Even though Taylor is, right now, in the national spotlight, I think that his real niche is in the “indy” vein. Once he gets to that point, I think we’ll see his best work.

    Jenfera — I think you’ve proved the point a bit. You have heard of Wilco because you’re hanging around the internet and you likely have checked out Amos Lee and Ray LaMontagne because of your ‘net affiliations but you’re not hearing them on the radio either. I think the point is that many of these artists are not necessarily trying to appeal to “mainstream” America, but likely to folks who share an interest in the kind of music they like to make. I think that many times, we all think that everyone is looking to be the next Elvis, when, like Huck says, they maybe content to make $80,000 a year doing what they like to do and traveling the country.

     
  7. jenfera

    May 31, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    Actually, that one radio station I was talking about does play Ray & Amos, although Trouble, Three More Days, and Shout Out Loud are the only tracks you ever hear. I worry that soon enough these artists will disappear from that station.

    Oh, and I finally went back to your Feist post and listened to some of the music. My station plays Feist! I know Mushaboom! Never knew the title or artist, but now I do. Thanks! She’s playing locally soon.

     
  8. brc

    May 31, 2007 at 9:23 pm

    Just to add to some of your ideas… could a band be the vehicle for their own cellcerts (and thus possibly improve the quality)? Better yet, could you offer pay-per-view streaming access to live concert performances for fans in other cities? Could you have an mp3-sharing section of the website where the fans are allowed to give each other access to their live audio recordings? As there is power in numbers… associate yourself with your competition — artists with similar music/appeal/demographics — and cross-promote each other. Everyone would win.

     
  9. music maven

    May 31, 2007 at 9:46 pm

    I like those ideas, brc. I think the key is this….if you are good, then sharing your music (for free or otherwise) and exposing people to music like yours will only help you in the long run. I also think that making it “about the music” makes alot of sense and provides the artist with credibility.

     
  10. shrewspeaks

    June 1, 2007 at 5:49 am

    1. I woke up at an un-godly hour to get in on this great convo

    2. What I think artists are missing is if they want to play in the Timberlake/POP level of the music business they need to do what those big boys do…POSITION…MISSION…DEFINE to break through the noise. Any Winehouse has done a master job of this. I am bad, I am a throwback, I own who I am and it comes from her music self. EVEN Neil Young, Mr. DON”T SELL OUT is positioned. MM, you are so correct about Jimmy Buffett, he is very rich and successful, he has defined himself, given clear direction out to potential fans as to who is and what to expect. THAT is what is missing from most aspiring artists…if you want to be all or gather the most than you can’t always capture the solid fan base you need. Saying you want to be heard is not enough, you must have something of import to say.

    3.Only once you know who you are and what you want to say can you effectively chose the correct promotional mix. As Huck says, Ysabellabrave is doing a brilliant job of co-opting this new fangled thing called youtube. And let’s examine the Go-Fish (what I would call debacle) situation with Taylor…it was focused in on Idol worship with the fans much more so than special performances. Just wasn’t the right tone I’d say.

    Oh god…I am droning…YIKES and Late…love and miss you all

     
  11. music maven

    June 1, 2007 at 7:09 am

    Shrew….what a true pal you are.

    And smart, too. Teacher, I am your Grasshopper.

    All I can say is “Right On. Right On. Right On.”

    I’m really interested to see if YBrave can make any money out of this YouTube deal. I know it’s not really costing her anything except maybe a karaoke machine, but “where’s the do-re-me”? And, at some point, if she’s going to make money, doesn’t she have to get away from ALL “covers”?

    I was so stoked about the GoFish thing….at first. I think some of the vids were good but now GoFish has cheezed up their offering. BTW, their stock has plummeted (I never do know when to get out). Taylor was supposed to be the first in a line of Artists Voices but then, poof, nothing. It seems to be a pattern with him…overpromise and underdeliver — the deathknoll in business. I truly am confuddled by The Firm and their blatant lack of representation. Honestly, what have they done for him except TV/Radio appearances and the tour — nothing very creative there.

    Don’t get me wrong, there’s not anyone really doing it right. John Mayer has come close, though. I absolutely LOVED his live concert from New York on the web. Brilliant. He really doesn’t need to push the envelop, though, because he is a mega star, selling millions of CDs. I honestly think that Taylor’s situation is typical and not horrible, it’s just people like us see the possibilities and wonder “Why not?”

    Jimmy Buffett, people. The old dude is Wiley Coyote. I highly suggest reading his books and if you have never been to a concert — go. You’ll get what I’m talking about.

     
  12. brc

    June 1, 2007 at 7:51 am

    Shrew makes an important point (as usual). I think positioning (or lack thereof) is EXACTLY Taylor’s problem. If you look at the musicians he associates himself with (widespread panic, buddy guy allman brothers, warren haynes, etc.), he projects kind of a badass, ‘I don’t give a s#%t about mainstream’ image. Yet if you look at his album, his recent music, and his television appearances (Martha Stewart? Dr. Phil?) it doesn’t fit that image at all. There’s a major positioning problem. Who is Taylor? Who does he want to be? Does he want to be a Top 40 musician? Does he want to play large venues (I think I’ve read that he actually does aspire to this which I think is HUGE marketing and positioning mistake)?

    So maybe MM is right (er, uh, I mean, of course MM is right) when she says that Taylor may go in the “indie” direction now that his AI reign is over (fans can be hopeful can’t they?). If he does position himself that way and if he uses the Internet better than he has, it could be a very good thing.

     
  13. nolagirl

    June 1, 2007 at 8:25 am

    I saw this advertised/publicized on MTV (yes, I still watch the station, though for the trashy reality shows, not the music!) and I thought it tied in to this discussion. (I had never heard of the band Cartel, but it looks like they are “pop punk,” whatever that is exactly.) Talk about fan involvement!

    CARTEL TO MAKE ROCK HISTORY WITH BAND IN A BUBBLE PRESENTED BY DR PEPPER – AN UNPRECEDENTED MULTIMEDIA EVENT AND MTV REALITY SERIES

    In what’s sure to be the most talked-about music event of the year, CARTEL are sealing themselves inside a huge transparent bubble on Hudson River Park’s Pier 54 in NYC, where they’ll eat, sleep and breathe while writing and recording a new album live for all the world to see. Lending new meaning to the term “up close and personal,” Band in a Bubble presented by Dr Pepper is a groundbreaking interactive multimedia event that will offer fans an unprecedented real-time look into the ups and downs of the creative process as Cartel shapes the highly anticipated follow-up to their breakthrough debut, CHROMA.

    Cartel will enter the bubble during a live MTV broadcast on May 24 and live there with no escape until the bubble “bursts” on June 12, when they will perform new material in a concert event on the pier.

    Web cams will stream live on http://www.drpepperbubble.com and the event will air as a special reality series with four 30-minute episodes on MTV, which will also be available on-demand at MTV.com.

    “This is huge for us,” says Cartel frontman Will Pugh. “Making an album is a very personal and emotional experience, and in the past we’ve never wanted anyone around when writing or recording. But given that this is probably the biggest opportunity we’ll ever have to show the world what we’re made of, we can’t wait to invite the fans into both the studio and our lives.”

    Cartel will be working inside the bubble, a livable, state-of-the-art recording studio, with producers Zack Odom and Kenneth Mount, the same team behind CHROMA. For more info on Band in a Bubble presented by Dr Pepper, please go to http://www.drpepperbubble.com

     
  14. brc

    June 1, 2007 at 9:30 am

    While the bubble thing sounds a bit “gimmicky”, the notion of watching the creative process unfold is very cool.

     
  15. nolagirl

    June 1, 2007 at 9:51 am

    I agree on the gimmicky part, but when a paid sponsor is involved, I’d imagine they have a lot of say, hence the gimmicky-ness. Can they make the music part seem “cool” while still promoting Dr. Pepper, or deodarant or whatever the product may be?

     
  16. music maven

    June 1, 2007 at 10:07 am

    Well, if the “sponsor” can be relegated to just sponsoring and not taking over, it could be cool. I’m interested to see the process, as well, but they’ll quickly “lose it” if they have conversations like:

    “Dude. I’m having some trouble with the hook. Maybe a DR. PEPPER will help”

    “Yeah, a DR. PEPPER usually gets my juices flowing.”

    “I know. And, DR. PEPPER tastes so refreshing.”

    “Right on. DR. PEPPER RAWKS!”

    That. won’t work.

     
  17. nolagirl

    June 1, 2007 at 10:12 am

    Oh man, how right on on the gimmicky-ness are you, DD/MM?! Makes me shudder, knowing that has been done many times.

     
  18. shrewspeaks

    June 1, 2007 at 10:44 am

    Or..”Let’s go to the Red Room” which happens to have Coke, I mean Dr. Pepper signs all over it.

    Wait a minute…

     
  19. music maven

    June 1, 2007 at 11:08 am

    BTW, the first season that I watched AI, they used to show the contestants “living” at the house, like after the shows, during the week, etc.? Whatever happened to that? If it’s a “reality” show, why did they change the show not to show the “behind the scenes” action. Wouldn’t that have been interesting in Season 5?

    They could have had the Coke Confessional….

     
  20. brc

    June 1, 2007 at 11:12 am

    I never saw the first season, but I would LOVE to have seen the behind the scenes stuff. I would think that would really invest the audience in some of the contestants. But maybe it would sway the voting if people voted on what these people were like as people rather than as entertainers?

     
  21. nolagirl

    June 1, 2007 at 11:21 am

    Love it, Shrew! Yer funny.

    Yeah, I remember the “in the house” stuff. Now they just use other, way less entertaining crap as filler. But, they don’t live in a house anymore, but in apartments from what I understand. So I guess it wouldn’t work with their little set-up now.

     
  22. music maven

    June 1, 2007 at 11:33 am

    Ah, but that’s the beauty. They could put them all up in the “Coke” mansion, resplendid with Cingluar logo’d pool, Coke “fountain”, eatin’ Haagen-Daas Ice Cream, transport them in Ford vans, etc., etc. There’s a whole industry in product placement inside TV and movies.

    And brc, it wasn’t the first season. It was the 3rd season, I believe…dunno what the first two were really about as I didn’t watch until Season 3.

     
  23. brc

    June 1, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    From the Apple website:

    “YouTube, the Internet’s most popular source for originally created content, becomes available on Apple TV next month, Apple announced today. Beginning in mid-June, Apple TV customers will be able to wirelessly stream videos directly from YouTube to their widescreen TVs. “This is the first time users can easily browse, find and watch YouTube videos right from their living room couch, and it’s really, really fun,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. [May 30, 2007]”

    If we’re talking music, is YouTube the new MTV? Are radio, tv and web content evenutally going to merge into one interactive medium?

     
  24. music maven

    June 1, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    Two words.
    Libra. Dragon.
    Click here for historical perspective. (October, 2006)
    Have I ever mentioned how MUCH I enjoy being right?
    BTW, I never got my AI kudos from predicting that a WOMAN would win….back in January.

     
  25. nolagirl

    June 1, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    Linky no worky. Does that mean you’re actually NOT right??? 😉

     
  26. music maven

    June 1, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    Worky now. I am ” not right”, but I am ko-RECK.

     
  27. morewines

    June 1, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    Thank you for this interesting topic.

     
  28. morewines

    June 1, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    To add to the Indy route thoughts.
    Two major Indie labels that really fit Hicks’
    best work so far “In Your Time” and “Under The
    Radar”. Is Alligator records http://www.alligator.com and Blind Pig records http://www.blindpigrecords.com .
    For example one artist on the Blind Pig records
    label is Tommy Castro. He gets very little
    radio play except from the radio station I
    listen to. He plays small venues like Hicks is
    and isn’t doing bad at all. He travels across
    counrty and overseas to perform. In other words
    the phone is ringing. He came from the bar band
    route and is doing well now. The Tommy Castro band was once known as the hardest working band
    in town.
    Hicks calls himself a blues/soul singer.
    That I believe is where he fits best.
    I believe he would do quite well going
    the Indie route.
    This is just my opinion.

     
  29. music maven

    June 1, 2007 at 5:54 pm

    morewines — thanks for your opinion. You should comment more often.

    I think you are on the money on the Indie-ness of IYT and UTR. I honestly think that, in his heart of hearts, Taylor visualized his success as this type of artist. I think that’s what he was shooting for all along. I think he thought that AI would be good exposure and move him along for that kind of deal. Then, kaflooey, he’s caught in the never-ending story of AI….my gut (Libra Dragons) tell me that eventually Taylor will settle into that type of mode.

    Now, what I really want is an Apple TV!

     
  30. morewines

    June 1, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    Thank you Music Mavin. I come here often
    to read what you have posted and others
    comments.
    —-
    “I think he thought that AI would be good exposure and move him along for that kind of deal. Then, kaflooey, he’s caught in the never-ending story of AI”
    —-

    I think his current label convinced/forced (Clive Davis) him to do a CD that was more AC/Top 40 Pop instead of blues. More listeners of the AC/Top 40 Pop radio stations. I’m sure they were thinking it would equate to more $$$.

    Hicks did say his next CD would be more acoustic
    organic. That’s what I’m waiting for. However I wonder if he has time to write music? He has a busy schedule. In one interview he said when he lived in Nashville it was pretty loney and he wrote some good songs then. Now he said his
    surroundings have changed but not the person. Wouldn’t a change in environment have an impact on ones creativity when it comes to writing songs? Just a thought.

    Well, if he was still a broke performer (a Hicks guote) in my area he would have had a standing engagement at a winery I work at. I’m the talent buyer. Now he’s not in the budget. 😦
    Oh well.

    You may want to check out Sling Box
    before you buy an Apple TV.

    http://us.slingmedia.com

     
  31. music maven

    June 1, 2007 at 8:44 pm

    Very kewl, morewines. I will definitely have to explore further.

    Yes, morewines, I agree on the acoustic organic.

    like this

    I must admit….I was impressed by the guitar…very James Taylor.

     
  32. nolagirl

    June 1, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    Ah, whipping out that video again? Crap! It reeled me in the last time!!

     
  33. music maven

    June 2, 2007 at 9:57 am

    My head is swimming with thoughts this morning. I will try to organize them before I post a few new posts.

    One thing about Taylor that I keep thinking:

    For me, at least, part of what I liked about Taylor was that he stayed true to himself and his music, initially. However, the great “prize” of winning AI and “the contract”, etc. comes with the total control of the label and I believe that they have taken great delight in keeping him under their thumb. I don’t believe that his CD was being true to himself, no matter how much he says it is.

    I think that is why we see him do “gigs” with LMBO, Widespread Panic, Snoop Dog, Robert Randolph, etc., yet make and album that is way right of his “norm”. I think the album and parts of his show are the “go along to get along” for his expected “career”, but the stage with Government Mule is where his true heart is at. Now, if he can only realize that THAT is what his fans really want, rather than a “popped-up” version.

    I’ve said this before, but perhaps the fact that the CD hasn’t sold to stratospheric levels and there hasn’t been a “hit” single will actually end up doing Taylor a favor. Perhaps he’ll be left alone (ignored) enough to complete the 2nd CD as he would like to…hopefully, that will be more raw, more vocal, and more indicative of his musical instincts and capabilities. (You know, the ones that made him the most popular AI winner ever.)

    I couldn’t agree with Shrew more about positioning and I think that early on Taylor did have that. He was positioned as the nitty gritty, all about the music guy. While we see a bit of that in the live show, it’s still all polished and shiny like a new penny.

    While I get the sport coat “respect for the music” thing and the great talented “Hollywood” musicians, I want LMBO Taylor in shorts and a T-shirt wailing on harp and jumpin’ around doing “Dance to the Music” and “Hey Pocky Way”….I think that is the “true” Taylor.

     
  34. Jan

    June 2, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    brc: Disclaimer: Please know that I do have a life though I tend to geek out occasionally…
    I was sitting at my computer last night playing a video in different formats for a friend of mine. My computer screen is 19 inches. I streamed a video from YouTube and made it full-screen, then divx, then avi. I was trying to demonstrate 2 things:
    1. That while YouTube is the greatest thing since sliced bread, the quality of the videos is not acceptable for streaming to your computer full-screen much less an HD big screen TV.
    2. The divx compression algorithm rocks! I didn’t see a noticeable difference between the divx version the avi version. Now I need to burn a divx version to a DVD so that I can compare it to the actual video footage.

    So my point is while it’s really cool to play YouTube videos on your TV using AppleTV, the lack of quality of the videos is going to be a problem as this market develops.

    morewines: I have a friend who has the slingbox and it’s really cool. We watched one of the world cup games on a projector in a conference room.
    brc and shrew and MM: I agree with what y’all say about the lack of positioning. Taylor put out a couple of indy releases and sits in with so many great bands like WSP and Robert Randolph but then puts out a CD that has nothing to do with his former type of music or genre, has nothing to do with what he did AI, and has nothing to do with the type of music the bands he sits in with performs. What’s the message? What’s the positioning? What can I expect from the next CD?

    RE: drpepperbubble
    I think that would be interesting to watch but I don’t see how that environment will produce good music. I could be wrong. I’ll have to wait and see.

     
  35. music maven

    June 2, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    I hear you, Jan, but the quality will catch up.
    As for the Dr. Pepper Bubble….
    Once again, Bob Lefsetz is on it….over a month ago.
    I’ve been reading and researching on his site…holy cow. I’m ready to canonize the dude. Gray was right…I lerve BOB!

     
  36. Jan

    June 2, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    Yes the quality will catch up. Thanks for introducing me to Bob Lefsetz.

     
  37. music maven

    June 2, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    I find the Cartel’s manager’s response very enlightening, as well.

    Seems that cynicism for the biz is alive and well, even with the “product”.

    Time for a catacylsmic change.

     
  38. brc

    June 3, 2007 at 12:07 am

    Man that Lefsetz dude is good. He’s a real tell-it-like-it is guy. Ya gotta love that.

    Two things he said really got my attention:

    “You’ve got to let the public do the marketing.” Word of mouth is where it’s at baby. You can have all the gimmicks in the world, but if people aren’t talking about your music… fuggedaboutit.

    “EXPAND upon the music with your identity, don’t make the identity primary. Yes, create a whole culture around your music.” I think this is important and relevant to the positioning discussion we were having earlier. Someone like Taylor just needs to produce the music he’s truly passionate about (not what he thinks will sell) and the identity (or positioning) will follow. And as far as the ‘create a culture around the music’ goes I just have five words to say MUSIC MAVEN IS ALWAYS
    KO-RECKT! **brc is bowing to her laptop**

    Lastly I was disappointed in Cartel’s manager’s response. He says that “Great songs aren’t enough anymore.” Well if he’s MY manager I’m thinking this guy doesn’t believe in my music.

    This thread turned into a great discussion!

     
  39. music maven

    June 3, 2007 at 9:37 am

    Sad that today’s artists don’t feel that their music is good enough — that you need a gimick to be noticed and appreciated. But, right now, it’s likely the case if you’re music isn’t different enough or “great” enough.

    I think that’s another reason that the web is important. The web is like the old coffee houses of the ’60’s where folks sat around and talked about new and different music, shared thoughts and recommendations.

    To TRULY be a force that sticks, people have to have you in their data banks and toward the top of the queue, so that you come up in the discussion. Not sure that associating themselves with the Dr. Pepper Bubble necessarily paints the right “picture” for people, but they may feel they have no other choice. That’s what I’ve tried to say about Taylor….while I firmly believe that AI is the anthesis of what he is and does (bar band jam), he felt that this was his last option to get some notoriety. I just think that it backfired in that he won the stupid thing and is now shackled and burdened with a title of Cheese that’s tough to shed. Many discredit “idols” as wannabes and not having paid their dues for their music career,i.e., “They just won a stupid karaoke contest”.

    Basically, every time he takes a stage, he has to prove himself to every group — the AI fans, the “indie” fans, the skeptical press and critics, the pop musicians, the “indie” musicians….you get the picture. Up to now, I think he’s been trying to please everyone and you the old saying, “You can please some of the people some of the time….”

    And yes, the “identity” is paramount. Taylor (or The Firm or Clive or SOMEBODY) really dropped the ball on the opportunity to capitalize on Soul Patrol. I have some detailed thoughts coming tied to another post…shortly.

     
  40. huckleberryfriend

    June 3, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    YsabellaBrave was just signed to a recording contract with Cordless Recordings, a division of Warner Music. As far as I know, she is the first youtuber to get a contract. Links are on my blog.

     
  41. music maven

    June 3, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    Thanks Huck! Great news for YsabellaB. That’s WHAT I’m talkin’ about….take the road less traveled.

    See Huck’s blog at http://huckleberryfriend.wordpress.com/ or the link on the blogroll above.

    NICE!

     

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