Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Vive La Revolution or Something

There was a great quote in the Wall Street Journal’s December 29th edition in an article about Bon Iver, written by Shelly Banjo and Kelly K. Spors. “The internet has been like the French Revolution for the music business,” says Panos Panay, founder and CEO of Sonicbids. “The aristocracy ‘has faded’ as the cost of distribution, production and even getting connected has come down. Now, he adds, anyone with a niche and devoted fans can make a living”.

This was from an article about how the artist Bon Iver secured a record deal and an international following presumably from posting his home made recordings on his Myspace page, then being reviewed by online tastemakers like Pitchfork media and Brooklyn If you read the article, it seems like he did all of this without venturing too far from his secluded cabin. I am not that naive but this is sort of the gospel I preach to any artist with any sort of a track record: stop looking for that mystical connection with a record company (you know, the one with unlimited funding that understands perfectly how to market you and your music). Your time and capital is better spent trying to figure out how to market your music directly to your fans.

The problem I see in this whole picture is the plight of the new artist. I think that the internet based niche marketing approach can work exceptionally well for that artist that has a foothold but what about someone who has never been heard? From the Wall Street Journal article, it appears that these folks have to be vetted by the aforementioned tastemakers. (There is something to this whole viral marketing thing; Brooklyn Vegan even made me aware of a brand new Neil Young video and song on You Tube that I probably would have never known about otherwise). But how does one get on that radar screen, without being obnoxious or too blatantly obvious?

That’s the question.


Edward Brinson said...

you should post that Neil Young video.
Viva la revolucion!

Trip Aldredge said...

that would require me to be tech-savvy..Its great though-did you see it? (there's a bail out coming but its not for me).

Manfred Jerome said...

this is a good edition of your blog and I really enjoy the issues you cover. the DIY thing is my new interest...not so much how to get my (or anybodys) music out there, but the whole access to having an 'empire in a box' that the 'new' media and what you can do with a laptop and an ipod touch and a camera and...

mind blowing.

I think the answe to your question as to how an artist or band can cut through the clutter is still probably...tour.