Well, the old industry appears to be in its final death throws. Rather than holding our breath and waiting for it to officially bottom out, we’re ready to move on. The alternate industry is booming and the trails blazed here are becoming paths for others to follow. What am I talking about? Quantifiable success and the return of indicators. Good news for those who rely on indicators to know what’s good and what isn’t, but the best news here is for artists.
The opportunities available in this alternate industry are plentiful. Through social networking, online advertising and promotion, and digital distribution, artists can not only build their fanbase, but make enough money to quit their day jobs at Starbucks to tour full time. Artist services ranging from merch design to bio writing to online booking to budget mixing and mastering to organizational programs specifically designed for bands have cropped up via the internet and given artists affordable opportunities and the ability to control the direction of their careers. Every aspect of major label inner workings have not only been duplicated, but improved upon, and available for at least 20 times less than what labels pay for it.
However, despite all of the access and bargain services available, that doesn’t mean bands will have it easy. If anything, navigating the alternate industry can be significantly harder and more time consuming than turning over the reigns to a label. Between approving comments, responding to fans and keeping them active, managing a MySpace profile is a full time job by itself. Add in maintaining the numerous other profiles artists have, booking shows, performing shows, writing new material, practicing, seeking out new opportunities, promoting and advertising, networking locally with press and radio, etc etc, and its a wonder that such a large number of kids actually want to be musicians. It’s grueling and it’s time consuming, and you can’t skip any of it. So much work can be overwhelming to artists, which is why many of them are quick to jump into bad deals or align themselves with anyone promising to alleviate some of the work load.
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, despite being on a major label, are seen by many as the flagship internet artist. In interviews, RJA credit sites like MySpace and KOAR as being integral to their career. They worked the hell out of the MySpace profile, building up a large national fanbase long before they ever left their hometown. They interacted with new fans and maintained those relationships so when the record did come out and when they did come to town, they were selling out shows and charting the record immediately. More recently, artists like One Less Reason and My Favorite Highway are making between 5 and 10 thousand dollars per month just on downloads. Independent artists who play their cards right actually stand to make more money on their own than their major label counterparts. No big advances to pay back, no staff of thousands of people you’ve never met to support, no splitting profits among people who don’t help you, no expensive office building in an expensive city relying on you to keep the lights on, and most importantly- no one trying to change your vision to make it more profitable for them.
If it weren’t for the internet, would anyone know who The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus is? Honestly, yes. Sure, they worked the hell out of their MySpace profile and KOAR gave them the industry exposure that led to their signing, but working MySpace and being on KOAR does not guarantee a record deal. In the end, its always about the music, and the band writes hits. More importantly, the band put the work in. What they did off-line was just as important as what they did online. For the couple years leading up to their signing, this is a band that was giving it away. Hanging around malls and other young people hot spots, handing out cds, flirting with girls, and being rockstars. They literally gave their music away because they knew that no one was going to buy something they have never heard before. But, if they give it to people for free, perhaps they will invest in the band in other ways…the ways that pay off in the long run. They were right. It worked. One Less Reason is working hard for radio exposure. It’s a similar idea to RJA- making the music available and letting people decide for themselves whether or not they like it. One Less Reason puts the work in. They know how to schmooze radio, they know which songs to work, and for as ridiculously arrogant as their frontman is, he clearly has star power.
The internet isn’t a vacuum. It takes the combined efforts of working online, working in person, and working on stage to get people to notice. No matter how kick ass your MySpace is, if your music sucks, nothing will happen. Having a million friends on MySpace is irrelevant unless they’re true believers in your music and actively supporting you. The internet is cheap, but it isn’t free. If you’re an artist, you need to be making money, because you’re going to have to spend some. Recoup your own expenses and turn your own profit by making smart investments and spending wisely. No, you don’t need to buy a tour bus unless you’re actually on the road significantly more often than not. No, you don’t need 35 different t-shirt designs readily available at all times. No, you don’t need to spend $10k buying onto a tour with a band that doesn’t draw a big crowd. I know musicians aren’t businessmen, and articles like this probably bore the piss out of them, but it is imperative that artists do these things on their own. Their job is to rock…hard, but artists shouldn’t pick up management with the hopes that there will someday be something to manage, and they shouldn’t pick up management simply because they don’t want to put the work in.
The alternate industry exists. It’s a real thing and it’s beginning to produce results. At this point, I am not sure why any artist would want a major label deal. I have said before that for the right artist, the old industry still works, and I believe that to be true. But I don’t think most artists are ‘that kind of artist.’ The majority of what we post on KOAR would sound ridiculous on Top 40 radio sandwiched between Beyonce and Daughtry, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. It just isn’t Top 40. Most bands aren’t. The alternate industry has given the artists willing to work for it, no matter the genre, a place to be heard and be successful, without compromise. Don’t get it confused though, ‘the alternate industry’ is not synonymous with ‘the internet.’ Its merely a new way of doing things. Taking back the power. Putting the control back into the hands of the artists. The internet, of course, was integral in demolishing the old system, but the change in mentality across the board is what has allowed the alternate industry to evolve so quickly.
We want our KOAR readers to check out the NEW Lapush songs that will appear on their new album “Modern Blues” that will be self released on May 7th. This ain’t EURO-TRASH ala Bloc Party/Arctic Monkeys. Check out Lapush on the Carson Daly show. KOAR digs it and you will too. Contact info is Thom Donovan.
Apr 28 – Bond County Fair Grounds – Greenville, Illinois
Apr 28 – The Billiken Club – St. Louis, Missouri
May 1 – Lucas School House – St. Louis, Missouri
May 8 – Lucas School House – St. Louis, Missouri
May 12 – London Calling – St. Louis, Missouri
Jun 2 – Pop’s – CD RELEASE SHOW Sauget, Illinois
It is unlikely that federal regulators will approve a proposed merger between the XM and Sirius satellite radio companies.
Apple soars with record profit
Apple CEO Steve Jobs who’s practises are currently being investigated by the SEC is also against the subscription model for digital services. He says people don’t want to rent music, they want to buy it. Of course they do. Who wants to rent a track?
Maroon 5 have the #1 Single on ITunes. Its nice to see great songs rise to the TOP.
Apple is facing SEC scrutiny and questions about improper options granting practices by Steve Jobs…………………
The Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to file civil fraud charges against Appleâ€™s former top lawyer about stock options backdating. The decision would be the first legal action in a case that raises questions about the role played in improper options-granting practices by Steve Jobs, Appleâ€™s CEO.
Best Damn Thing
Nine Inch Nails
Me and My Gang
NYC based The Upwelling are one of the rare bands that create art for art’s sake. Making them even more rare is how they successfully avoid the trappings of self-indulgence and are instead inventive, inspired and most importantly- listenable. Early comparisons have been made to Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Secret Machines, Spiritualized and more. They won Spin.com’s “Artist of the Year” in the “Unsigned Band” category, toured the UK with All-American Rejects, in addition to the current Third Eye Blind dates. The band recently acquired the tour with Third Eye Blind after frontman Stephan Jenkins got a copy of the album from a friend and reached out to the band, inviting them on the road. They were also the first unsigned band on Virgin Megastoreâ€™s national retail campaign â€œVirgin Recommendsâ€ and won Karma Productions Band of the Year Sonic Bids Ireland Tour.
“The band mixes the stoned-out moods of Dark Side of the Moon with the more grandiose orchestral manuevers of latter-day space rockers Spiritualized and Secret Machines, and Ari’s powerful falsetto would put Chris Martin to shame . . . “ says Spin.
Check out the tracks
4/25 — Poughkeepsie, NY — The Chance
4/27 — Sayreville, NJ — Starland Ballroom
4/29 — Baltimore, MD — Ram’s Head Live
5/1 — Washington, DC — 9:30 Club
5/3 — Hampton, NH — Hampton Beach Casino
5/4 — Providence, RI — Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel
5/6 — Hanover, NH — Dartmouth College
5/8 — Wantagh, NY — Mulcahy’s
Russel Simmons who recently called a meeting on the future of Hip Hop went on record saying 3 Epithets should be bannded. Expressing concern about the “growing public outrage” over the use of such words in rap lyrics, Simmons said the words “bitch,”"ho” and “ni***” should be considered “extreme curse words.”
According to sources Steve Jobs is working hard to force the major labels to follow EMI’s lead and go DRM free. In reality, no one knows the outcome of releasing music DRM FREE. It could be the DEATH SPIRAL.
Unsigned One Less Reason and Aaron Lewis frontman of Staind brought in 5,000 people at the recent Jackson show. Looks like 93 X in Memphis will add the New One Less Reason track “If You Want Me”. One Less Reason will be peforming in Memphis in May on May 5th, labels will be attending. Frontman of OLR Chris says “If you don’t like us, your girlfriend will”
Faced with a growing trend of a new generation NOT listening to commercial radio and fierce competition from IPODS and Satellite Radio, Clear Channel is testing a commercial free station in TEXAS.
As of today, KZPS in Dallas â€” on the dial at 92.5 FM or online at lonestar925.com â€” will no longer run traditional 30- or 60-second advertisements. Instead, advertisers sponsor an hour of programming, during which a D.J. will promote its product conversationally in what the company calls integration.
The station has four initial sponsors â€” Southwest Airlines, AT&T, Coors Brewing and Guitar Center â€” and will not sell advertising space to other airlines, phone companies, breweries or musical instrument stores.
It looks like we will have a loss of Music Space at Walmart….
According to industry insiders Walmart has designated 480 stores (covering both Anderson/Handleman) to lose 20 FEET of music and will be replaced by IPOD accessories. Walmart is expected to execute the new floor space plan by May 3rd.
Back to the RIAA again………
Another round of threatening letters is on its way to suspected music stealers at the University of Nebraska, with 19 more students accused of illegally downloading music.
Speaking about Illegal downloading………Â
Perry Farrell Former Jane’s Addiction frontman has spoken out at people
who download music online illegally – insisting they’re killing the music industry.
Farrell believes making internet file sharing legitimate is necessary to reverse the tide in lessening music sales.
“If you don’t care what happens to music, keep downloading. Look at music and look at the polar caps – they’re melting at the same rate. “If you hear garbage music on your radio station, you have only yourself to blame.Â If you don’t support the arts, that’s what you’re going to get. You’re going to get American Idol. It’s fine if you want to hear that, but I don’t. “
North Carolina pop punk act Farewell signs to Epitaph.