Overheard at the AMA Conference- “Artists: Create a conversation – not content.”
Author - Paul S
“The music industry sold plastic — and got drunk on plastic.” — John Simson, Sound Exchange
That’s the take away from a panel at the AMA Conference on the subject of Artist Develoment. It’s all about life on the road.
The panel consisted of emerging artist Sarah Borges and her team: her manager, her booking agent, her radio rep, and two two publicists from her label (Sugar Hill).
Sarah has been working the program, and making the sacrifices necessary to stay on the road at long stretches with her band, “The Broken Singles,” and the effort has paid off in a growing fan base and exposure on NPR, etc.
Most insightful comment came from Sarah’s manager, Jeannie Smith, who stressed the difference between the objective of a major label release and and indie artist like Sarah: “we’re not looking for the hit, we’re looking for the fan.”
And then there was the story of Nashville favorite David Olney. Moderator Peter Cooper relayed the story of Olney saying “in any given city, there are only 30 people who like my shit.” The trick for an artist like Olney is getting those 30 people to show up whenever he does.
But still, “success” at that level sounds a lot like what Buddha said about enlightenment. A devotee asked Buddha once, “what was it like for your before you reached enlightenment? Buddha thought about that for a second and answered, “chop wood, carry water.”
“And after enlightenment?” the devotee asked.
And Buddha replied, “chop wood, carry water.”
And the key to that success, according to Sarah, boils down to learning how to be comfortable outside your comfort zone. And being willing to spend seven arduous years before the industry will recognize you as a “new and emerging artist.
I'm writing about the "Zune" again? Must be a tear in the fabric of the universe. Says David Pogue at the NYTimes:
Over the years, mention of the word “Microsoft” has set off a variety of emotions. Some consider how Microsoft achieved its success, and feel anger. Some consider how Microsoft borrows other companies’ ideas, and feel indignation. Some consider recent battles with Windows, and feel frustration.
At least he sees the potential of an "all your ears can eat model. Maybe Zune is the gizmo that cracks it open.
Maybe that’s because the users know it’s the corporate monoliths that have breathed life into this beast?
Despite the buzz around Spotify, most users forage on the free content and are loathe to pay for extras. By most estimates, almost all Spotify listeners stick with the company’s free service, and don’t pay for the premium offerings.
Mark McCormick, 25, a graphic designer from Newcastle, signed up for Spotify’s free service about three months ago and now listens about five hours a day at work and at home.
“About three minutes after signing up, you are listening to almost anything you want,” he said. Though he isn’t keen on the advertising, he doesn’t want to sign up for the premium service, because he says £120 ($199) per year is a steep price.
Mr. Ek hopes that mobility will be the tool that changes users’ minds. Last month, Apple approved Spotify’s iPhone application — but only people who sign up for the premium service can use it.
The Wall Street Journal weighs in on the big PR machine in Europe. Seems people like it, but they don’t want to pay for it. That could be a problem.
And, as this article points out, Spotify is owned in part by the big label media companies, which might explain why Spotify is getting off the ground at all — it’s a proving ground for the labels.
Still, if anybody does pay for it… where does the money go?
Whether streamed or downloaded, people will pay for their content if they know the revenue is going to the actual content creators. But if they think it’s just going to the big media conglomerates, they probably care a lot less about paying for it.
Sky’s music service has been in the works since July last year, but if the latest reports are to be believed it’s about to come thundering out of the gates, offering a streaming service to tackle Spotify by Christmas.
Stuff Magazine’s resident music mogul, Mic Wright, reports Sky’s yet to be named music service has signed up a “major label artist” to promote it, and will be live in time for Christmas.
What’s more, it’ll let you give music packages away as gifts. Sounds like Sky’s got its Christmas sales pitch right there.
Why is it that all the innovative stuff is happening in Europe?
Now, let's see… Spotify is supposed to be the iTunes killer, and now Sky Music is supposed to be the Spotify Killer, and I just keep listening to Lala.com and nobody ever talks about the Lala killer??
Thanks to things like Spotify, I don’t really need to have a huge library of songs constantly on my computer. So, host my library on the Windows partition, then keep a smaller one/use spotify for when I’m in Mac OS X. I get to use the Zune HD and my preferred OS.
Who'da thunk I'd have two posts in the same morning about a gizmo I've never even seen?
But, reading just the short excerpt above, you can see what a Tower of Babel all this is for a typical user. A separate operating system just or music? Granted, that's what a Mac user (like me, now) would have to face if they want to use a Zune.
But the point is, if the content is "in the cloud," then it shouldn't (ultimately) matter what platform, device, or operating system you're using.
And again with the Spotify? I have no idea how well Spotify the service actually works, but I'll tell you what does work: Spotify's PR department. I've never seen so much hype for a service that your typical user can't even use.
Point taken, though, re: iTunes. That remains a closed eco-system, and some of its particulars are getting pretty stale.
But perhaps the biggest part of the new Zune 4.0 experience is that Microsoft is giving Zune Pass music subscribers a way to stream music over the Web by logging into their Zune.net accounts on any
Mac or PC. We're still a far cry from being able to sync a Zune with a Mac, but at least Zune Pass users can now dig into the Zune Marketplace's deep catalog and stream music wherever and whenever they want.
Not quite sure what to make of this report, since the "Zune" is completely foreign to my experience (I don't know if I've ever even seen one). I mean, I regard the Zune with pretty much the same disregard as the rest of the world — as something of a joke, an iPod wanna-be latecomer. But if it can deliver, as this article from CNET suggests, "music wherever and whenever" users want, than perhaps it is bridging the gap that iPod/iTunes seems unable or unwilling to bridge.
But maybe the most interesting aspect of this report comes in the comments, some of which come from users of Lala.com. For example,
I was seriously getting hopeful that it would download the songs since
I use Lala, a web service, for about 80% of my music anyhow. I wouldn't
have mind the lack of a Mac desktop client if I could only download the
The interesting part of that comment is the "I use Lala… for about 80% of my music anyhow." I don't quite get the complaint re: Zune or the Zune Pass program. I wonder if these means I'm going to have to buy a Zune to find out WTF?