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Getting Past the Industry to Love Music Again
|Norma Jean Interview
|I recently sat down on the phone with Cory Brandan and Chris Raines of Norma Jean. If you wish, the article is here.|
From the article:
Raines says he wasn't the only drive of this record. "Cory is like that too," he says. "Cory wants to be the best. There's a lot of times when I'd come up with a riff and thought that it was cool and he would be like, 'No it's not. It could be better.' I think when I came into this band, he didn't have another person to push that. I think him and I really fed off each other. It was all about making the band tighter."
EDIT: the site I work for has been up and down today, so if it doesnt work the first time...come back...ha
|Tags: Norma Jean, The Anti Mother, Interview
|Welcome Your New IP Address Czar
|It's official. USC is knocked out the top five. They should be lower than nine though.|
It's also official. The Senate has passed the "illegal downloading" bill. And now we enter the new "drug Czar": the "IP Superhighway Patrolman Czar."
So in the early 70's, former President Nixon decided to crack down on what was killing Americans-- all the hippies and their mounds of acid. What better way to do this than to get the definitive spokesperson on the subject: Elvis!
One of the most famous pictures out of sheer irony is Nixon and Elvis shaking hands, taking down the drug problem like Batman and Robin. In fact though, it was Elvis who volunteered himself to help take down the Hippie movement-- and the Beatles too for some reason.
Many loved Elvis. So I guess the mind set was simple-- If we get Elvis to back our program, maybe the youngens will put down the pills and put out their joints.
Needless to say, that didn't work, and the "drug Czar" still exist as the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
But if we want to get our youthful computer geeks to stop their illegal downloading, we'll need someone that will stick. Who is our generation's Elvis? Here are my top five candidates to patrol the hyper cable waves with our next President.
1) Thom Yorke - If Yorke told fans to all bend over and moon the person behind them during the ending breakdown of "Idioteque" at a concert, it would be the biggest collective mooning to ever take place. When Yorke speaks, kids will listen, especially the savy ones that didn't pay for In Rainbows and downloaded the back catalog along with the In Rainbows bonus disc a month or so later.
2) Pete Wentz - What Wentz wants, Wentz gets out of 15 to 24 year old scene chicks across the nation, and in other countries as well I would think. Wentz would have the power to make downloading seem uncool enough to even his haters. Wentz also has the resources as an entrepreneur to spread the message through his record company, clothing line, viral marketing, Sidekick picture messages, etc.
3) Jesse Lacey - The man already threw large scale marketing out the window with his band's third release, even as he consistently alienates himself from his fan base, those damn kids are intent on filming and getting their hands on every new song that comes out Lacey's lips. Key here: Lacey strings a simple chord progression together for a few tracks on an unsolicited demo that just "happens" to leak, and that'll be the last song downloaded for a majority of fans for a while.
4) Dave Grohl - Grohl is the fucking man. He's right up there with Rollins to me. I know he has to be like that for all those people who sell-out the Foo Fighters' shows across the nation. When Grohl says stop fucking downloading...You stop downloading!
5) Kanye West - Let's face it, if you don't stop downloading, then the blogs and social commentary won't stop. West will probably make his albums more copyright protected than Fort Knox and just a bit more expensive to prove his point.
The fact is, no matter how powerful you believe a celebrity to be, they don't have the power to stop what made them famous, and what the government is inclined not to be able to figure out.
Just like the failure of the "drug Czar" in the 70's, and the RIAA now, this new outlet is not going to stop fresh minds from figuring out loop holes and side streets to change the distribution model.
The major record companies are just as greedy as the CEO's on Wall Street. They made their bed, and now we're supposed to sleep in it?
It's arrogance and stupidity like this that keeps USC in the Top 10.
|Tags: RIAA, Downloading, Government, Czar
|Didn't Get the Full Package, But the Heart is There
|I've received my United Nations limited edition CD package. Less than a week past the release date, I received my Portugal. The Man Censored Colors package finally. I didn't receive my LP though.|
I'm a bit frustrated.
But good news: Special packaging really has its potential to save the business. You can't hide the fanboy that thrives within. I just don't know about a Benjamin to obtain a hand crafted mask or a huge handcrafted book or even a limited print poster-- but to each their measure of fandom I guess.
Money aside, the packaging deals as of late relate to the pressings of vinyl, something Virgil Dickerson of Suburban Home Records/Vinyl Collective once told me about his growing business. He said it has to do with owning a piece of small quantity or limited pressing. It's more special to own a piece of art that only a certain quantity of others own.
Limited pre-order packaging says something about the artists that take the time out to come up with the ideas of these things, and to do them at the best cost possible for their fans. In the latest issue of Alternative Press, UnderOath axe-man Tim McTague was described as being frustrated with the original pricing of his band's latest album's packaging deals.
Pricing is always an issue with fans. We're young and we're poor, well, I would think at least half of us anyway. So I propose a new idea. What if band's come up with around 5 or 6 items (not as far as Of Montreal went, but a good variety) and let fans make their own "package." Give fans the ability to make their own six pack of beer, that is either at a standard rate, or is gauged on price depending on the items chosen.
Another thing this all shows is the ability of a band to control another portion of what is essentially them as a business. Instead of just getting on and off stage every night, they have the ability to market themselves. They have more control of their image by having their ideas across your t-shirts, turntables and kitchen aprons. Having creative control in and outside the studio builds a better market.
Having good cooks in a kitchen means nothing if the front of the house can't present the art to the guest.
I'm sure there's distribution channels that are still dealt with, and saying that artists can completely abandon the old merchandising business model would be ignorant. They still have yet to completely abandon the distro model for records.
I'm sure when my Censored Colors LP eventually makes its way here, I'll be more than pleased with it. I enjoy the fact that artists are putting their heads into the merchandising side of themselves as a company, and it begins to pull the artist-fan relationship closer...but not too close now, we don't want to pull a Jodie Foster event here.
Happy, pre-3,000 views! Thanks for the reads everyone!
|Tags: Marketing, Merchandising, Packaging, UnderOath, Portugal. The Man
|All In Gold...Can't Put Money in Music or the Market
|I am Jack's complete stress across his brain.|
I'm about to be a graduate, with around $12,000 in student loans, $3,000 in credit card debt (due to my beat-up car and medical expenses), and about to buy a used car adding more payments to yet another card.
Every morning I wake up now, the entire financial world is sinking. I don't know whether to be scared, or to slip into a self induced comma and wake up in the year 2038 when Disney has finally taken over and at least every ride to work is an exciting and magical adventure.
To my knowledge, this whole thing is the equivalent of me handing another person an I.O.U.-- I don't have money, but I'm lending it as well. Then to hear that the Feds are on their way to giving yet another I.O.U. to the industry that dug their own grave, I'm slowly preparing for my self induced nap.
I am Jack's confusion.
By the time this post, it will be 3 p.m. my time, 4 p.m. your time, 1 p.m. their time and 2 p.m. for gamblers and Grizzly Adams.
Me, you, and Ol' Grizzly may be sinking with the ship by this time tomorrow, well, today if you're currently reading this.
Seth Werkheiser and Geoff Rickly are now the next celebrity boxing.
I would have to quite possibly agree with both of them. To Mr. Rickly (whom, if you read my weekly blog, have not heard back from as of yet), I completely agree that a Black Flag or a Refused does not exist for my generation. I agree with that because of what Mr. Werkheiser has said about internal social change before consumer change. We create what we buy, we buy into it and then we must live with our decision until something else excites us again. Where are all your childhood toys. Probably sold at a garage sale, right?
Why does Hanna Montana exist? When I was asked this in my sociology class, I said because Britney Spears has collapsed into herself like a dying star, but truly because that's what kids that age latch onto, and always have. Yes, I owned the New Kids on the Block cassette when I was a kid-- because I was a kid.
No one cares about you under the market when you reach past 24. Only two years after me. All anyone cares about is what show you are watching. The industry knows you'll continue to go to the movies, and continue to buy music, just now through a different medium, because that's the cool thing to do.
The book, based on the blog, Stuff White People Like: A Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions, should be renamed: Stuff White People Buy Into Because of Their Friends or Stuff Hipsters Hate You For Liking. We buy into what we "think" to be different and creative, and then the process cycles when we get bored and pick up on another thing. I guess before we know it, we're greedily making millions and the floor falls out from under us. The Feds come, and we become the best Socialist an I.O.U. slip can buy.
I wasn't afraid of what is coming, I still may not be, and all the teeny bopper mallrats at Hot Topic probably aren't worried either. They have their parent's credit card while dad is weeping over a cheap bottle of scotch.
Where is the music to pull us out? Where is the revolutionaries that Mr. Rickly speaks of? Does Zach De La Rocha need to knock on everyone's door and say, "Hey guys, let's getting going! And when we finish, I'll take everyone for pizza and ice cream!"
I am Jack's deaf ear. I am Jack's selective hearing.
We don't have the capital to support ourselves. Maybe we shouldn't have invested in the Six Million Dollar Man. I know we shouldn't invest in the industry that screwed itself over. Then again, that industry made Mr. Rickly's band, among others, huge stars. We ate it up, and now that the sweet icing taste bitter, we have to drink the taste away into a self induced comma.
My first final journalism project restarts itself at 7 a.m. this morning, I'm supposed to be done with all four mayoral candidate interviews by 12:30 p.m. before my only class, for which will end and this would be posted. I will end up at The Chimes, with a beer, thinking about my day-- whether I failed or succeeded, staring at the news informing me something else went under at 3 p.m.
I am Jack's unaware state.
I hate politics. I am a drone to funds that are non-existent. I am not a revolutionary.
I am Jack's day in and day out.
|Tags: Market, Fight Club, Geoff Rickly, Music Industry
|Senate Passes P2P Bill
|I couldn't find any big news outlets covering this, but here is a link to a blurb about the P2P bill passing in the Senate, and if you Google it, you'll find a few other blogs writing about it.|
Possible talk for next week's blog,
but I would love to hear how you guys feel about this.
From the article:
"There’s one solace for illegal downloaders though—the U.S. senate created the drug czar position in 1988, and you can still buy drugs as freely as before. You'll probably still be able to download Heroes illegally in 2028."
Is this just another bullshit thing that supreme 1337 haxors will get past?
One of the comments asks if anyone uses P2P in the age of Rapidshare?
I'll get back to you on this on Monday, but I would love, again, an open discussion of how you guys think of the bill, especially in the wake of the anti-piracy collegiate bill passed only weeks ago.
Also, today is the release of Censored Colors...I will continue to whore this out...AOTY....still waiting for my package to come in the mail though...
|Tags: RIAA, Senate, P2P, Filesharing
|United Myspace, The Shape of Networking to Come
|I was a Junior in high school when I heard about it. I was over at a friend's house who showed me her new web page. It was some community site that allowed her to have her own profile page. Only her and a few people at school had it.|
Yeah, you guessed it: Myspace.
You, me, your mom-- who's got all your friends in her top 45. We all have one. It's also the reason (well beside Purevolume, but who uses that these days?) that we have so many "flavors of the week." It was great when artists began showcasing their talents on their pages and begin chatting with their fans though.
That seems to not be the case these days. Bands get bigger; Friend pages get enormous; a band doesn't always have the WiFi or the time to get back to everyone. It's more than understandable. We won't be wired globally with WiFi until Apple takes over the Earth in the year 2124, and bands have to take time out to talk to ample amounts of journalist, myself included.
This week, I will test the theory of bands personally keeping up with their Myspace pages, and not the PR and label marketing people who now seem to run things.
I want to set up an interview with Geoff Rickly of Thursday/United Nations. See, I ran a radio show on Louisiana State University's radio station (KLSU) for four years. The show was based on the post-hardcore scene that I fell, and still am, in love with since my late high school days. Thanks to albums like Thursday's Full Collapse and Refused's The Shape of Punk to Come, I was able to build a library of one hour of music blasted on Saturday afternoons.
I commemorate Rickly on his HeadBanger's Ball Blog. It spoke many volumes of our current state of music uprised by the Web. At the end of the blog, it said to contact him at the United Nation's Myspace page to chat. Since I try to do things differently, I did just this.
I stated my purpose, and how I would like to lay out his band's article (in context of the interview) and left my contact information. I give this one week.
Whether Rickly writes or calls back, I would hope that on a personal level, bands that are rising to the top of the charts, or even a Kidz Bop album, would take time out to talk with fans on some level. This is evident by the growing number of chats that are running online as of late (this Web site especially), but would encourage fans the same to be as respectful to those bands as well.
In a week, I will either have heard back, and will have an interview for you, or the system will be the same. Then it's the usual road to PR from there I guess.
|Tags: Public Relations, Myspace, United Nations, Geoff Rickly
|Matt Pryor Article
|Before the Hurricane hit, I sat down and did an interview with Matt Pryor. I can be seen here.|
From the article:
For a while in his career, Pryor was frustrated with some of his favorite tunes versus fan favorites. “We wrote ‘Don’t Hate Me’ in an hour, and I can’t figure out why people get into it,” he laughs. “A lot of times the songs that I hate are the ones that a lot of people like, and the ones that I like, people are like, ‘heh.’ If I think of it from a fan’s perspective, then I know they want to hear some older stuff. I’ll play new things, but I’m not going to force feed [newer songs].”
|Tags: Matt Pryor, The Get Up Kids, Interview, Confidence Man
|What If Gustav Was Viral?
|When did Fear Before the March of Flames change their name? For that matter, who cares? Who knew Gustav's aftermath would have been this bad? We all are still wondering "Where Did Rock and Roll Go?"|
To answer: No one cares; No one knew; We may never know.
If viral marketing existed for the former two questions like it did for the later one, then maybe I would be more prepared for life. But alas, I am not, and wasn't. So here I sit excited about the new "Fear Before" album and about to pack my bags for Texas to avoid Mr. Ike.
Viral marketing is an interesting thing. It got us excited and into page code this year for Panic At the Disco's latest album, and keeps us on our toes (well maybe not me) for Fall Out Boy's upcoming release. It keeps us entertained when we're bored in class, and gives us a reason to light up the message boards and forum pages.
Viral marketing is the new Saturday morning commercial time. When you were 8-years-old, and the only thing better than Power Rangers was the commercials for all the movies, food, toys, crap, etc. It excited us enough to bug the ever living shit out of our parents to buy whatever flashed in front of our eyes.
But VM (as I will refer to it from here on out) is more interactive. Even though Drew kind of failed with his beard, I can only imagine the attempt was more than enjoyable for both him and anyone who participated. Good job Drew, it will come in time my friend.
I honestly don't believe The Dark Knight would have been AS big (read: smaller percentage of hype) if not for the movies website filled with puzzles unlocking soundbytes and video clips.
VM makes us as anxious as the 8-year-old kid that laid out with his/her bowl of cereal in front of the television on Saturday mornings, but now we are a part of those commercials. We interact, which gives us a sense of self marketing. These PR groups are setting up the base for us to build our own impatience on, and it is beyond exciting at this point.
But it also makes me wonder where this will all go. Unfortunately the Fear Before tour is not coming through the hurricane laden state I reside, so I don't know how I will obtain the code. Just like when I get annoyed at tour only LP's. It's a huge pet-peeve. Anyway, what if we have to solve puzzles to obtain these gems that we long for? What if it takes you months to hear an album because you can't figure out the last part of the website? What if VM essentially takes over currency?
If it does, it will give me something to do in between storms, unless the VM is to warn me about the storm's post-pain-in-the-ass to come. Then I will harbor an extreme hatred for VM. And I don't want that. No sir, not at all. I love my new Saturday morning commercials.
|Tags: Viral Marketing, Business Model, Marketing, Fear Before, Drew Beringer
|I've been moving since 8:30 a.m. this morning. Natural disasters are no fun. Well, maybe for some I guess.|
See, every time I call a friend and ask them how they made it out, it seems they are either (a) at a bar drinking or (b) at home in air conditioning. Even today, one of my friends, who lost his car to a tree was (c) on his way to the mall.
There's still a lot to be fixed here. We got power back at the apartments at the end of the move. Only to lose it 8 minutes later. 8 hours of moving for 8 minutes of power. Awesome.
There's still roofs missing from the same streets I keep passing on the way to where I'm staying. But people are out, and they're cleaning. There are still lines longer than getting Cream reunion tickets at every business that serves (a) food or (b) alcohol. To obtain MRE's, it was a 2.5 hour wait today. I will attempt early tomorrow.
I have pictures, but that cable from my camera to my computer is at my new place, and as of right now I'm not leaving the residential air condition I'm at to go get it. Those destructive pictures will have to wait.
There's two things that keep flowing through my mind every night I fall asleep to Censored Colors: (a) this is the perfect soundtrack to this whole event, the band really captured that true blues/rock essence and (b) I feel so much deeper for Katrina victims. I was able to move all my things and have friends come help. I gutted my apartment with valuables, those other victims weren't as lucky. Those victims in parts of Florida were not lucky after Fay. Those victims in the Midwest were not lucky with all their flooding to the tips of roofs.
I'm alive. I have my valuable things. I couldn't ask of anymore. So now, I'm exhausted though, so I will hit this bottle of Maker's Mark and relax for the probability of going to work tomorrow and slowly get back to the groove of things.
There's so much we can bitch about. Sometimes we let our emotions get the best of us. Think about everyone else first. Think about your beating heart before you think about your callused hands and soar feet.
|Tags: Hurricane, Life, Alive
|Hurricane Gustav Leaks In
|It's still raining. Through my kitchen. In my living room, and thank God, not in our bedrooms.|
But as I sit here listening to the radio; as I sit here after going out and seeing trees through houses and the radio informing our car ride that many places around south Louisiana have flooded. The rain coming through my roof could be worse.
Lucky to say, even though we're sitting here, sweating and wet, we're all alive. That's a lot to be thankful for.
By the time I post this, I will have had been to power. As in now, when I continue this entry.
I just passed through school today. The biggest tree in the school's quad is uprooted. There's trees through apartments; there's missing roofs; there's power lines down, taking up a lane of traffic; there's a line as long as Space Mountain during the summer outside the local Winn-Dixie; any time a light goes on a business that has (a) food (b) beer or (c) alcohol, there's a mad rush and a line.
As of a few hours ago, I thought I was about to enter Lord of the Flies.
Needless to say, Family Guy is on the television and I'm able to post this through the Internet. Society is being restored.
It goes to show though that people will always fight for survival and never want to be sheltered. I am no better, but this is not for worst. We have the ability to move on, and we have the ability to live the "American Dream." We have the technology, we can rebuild "it." We're almost like the "Six Million Dollar Nation."
I'm thankful to be alive, and I can only imagine that others were not as lucky. Others lost more than I did; others may not even have a home anymore; others may have everything and are sitting at the local bar down the road running on a generator drinking their time off. It's all relative, but in the end, I would all hope we have the compassion to open our hearts and arms to rebuild and move on.
I guess this is what Obama is talking about. It may only be a lot of words, and if elected, time will tell if those words will turn to action.
Not to get so damn political, but the last few days I've seen and dealt with a good bit. More than some, less than others. I'm thankful to be writing this, and will have quite a story to tell my kids.
Hope all is safe, and I'll be hitting up that viral marketing subject on Monday, when things go back to normal. Somewhat anyway.
P.S. --- I'll have pictures up this weekend.
|Tags: Hurricane, Alive