Is the music industry forcing us all to eat burgers instead of steak? So says the first piece in our Friday Roundup this week…
Thinking all music is sounding the same nowadays? It might – just might – not be due to your getting older. Whether you agree or not, the first piece we link to in today’s Friday Roundup – via a link posted by veteran electronic producer A Guy Called Gerald – is certainly food for thought…
The Truth About Popular Music – One YouTube shock jock lets it all out in this rant about what he thinks has gone wrong in the charts. Warning: Some strong language
What We’ve Lost In The Age Of Streaming Music – Incredibly, the writer of this piece is nostalgic not for vinyl or CDs, but the early days of digital music. From Hypebot. I have been searching wide and far for a series of recordings that I’m certain, were this six or seven years ago, I’d have no trouble finding with a simple Google search.
Back then, any number of music blogs featured download links to songs and albums, DJ mixes, sometimes an artist’s whole catalogue — but now, while the webpages are still active, the links to the music are not.
I’d be inclined to suggest this music could be found on streaming sites — and might even try looking for it — yet I know it’s a waste of time. What I’m looking for, specifically, are bootleg tapes that in some cases survived for twenty, thirty, forty years, before some thoughtful person digitized them.
Unless Spotify or Apple Music open themselves up to user-generated contented, these bootlegs will never be online ever again.
Which is sad. You land on an abandoned music blog — all dead links, YouTube clips no longer available, low-res pictures snatched from Google Images — it’s enough to put a tear in your eye.
But don’t tell the music business that.
“The nearly 20-year depression in the music business is finally over,” says an article recently published in the Wall Street Journal. According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, global music sales grew 3.2% last year.
3.2%! — shit, let’s break out the champagne.
Look, all kidding aside, anyone who knows knows, the music industry has been “back” for a while now. It’s not exactly the 90s again, but the money is definitely flowing and flowing fast.
In fact, the average mid-tier act is putting away more money in 2016 than they were twenty years ago. It’s just that money doesn’t go very far these days — in New York, a million dollars is basically… a dollar.
So, the money is back, and yes, with streaming and YouTube — let’s not forget YouTube, which does more for music than probably anything else — there is a lot of energy in this space. Most importantly though, music seems to be in a good place creatively (although many of you, predictably, will say things were better “back in the day”).
And yet — yet! — I can’t help but pine for the days of yore. I subscribe to three streaming services that, for better or worse, have the same exact music and do the same exact shit. So nobody can tell me I’m not supporting the business. But I still feel file-sharing has a purpose.
For one, files are the go-to format for DJs; I don’t need to explain how important DJ’s are. Pulselocker, which you can use with Serato, allows DJs to mix with streaming files— but reviews have been mixed and I’ve never seen anyone use it.
And files are the go-to format for people who share music that isn’t widely-available — records only in limited release; demos; bootlegs; live recordings. In short, anything not officially sanctioned by a record label.
People always shared this stuff, but in the old days, it might have happened through cassettes or burned CDs, passed from one hand to the next. In the Napster era, you downloaded it.
But then, when MP3-infested music blogs became popular, things really got interesting. Because now you had the music, but you also had commentary. You had content and context. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
I say this because, theoretically, nobody directly involved with the music itself was making any money from this stuff. What made things worse was that, eventually, many blogs began selling ads against this content. So, they were profiting at the expense of the people whose music they claimed to love so much.
But when it was good, it was really good. Some of these blogs catered to very small niches, trafficking in music that wouldn’t make any money regardless of whether it was being sold or not. Putting it up for free was doing the artist a favor — through that, people discovered them.
Now, I don’t know where that exists anymore. Maybe all these fans and file-sharers have migrated to Facebook or Reddit, and they’re trading in some closed ecosystem, where the long arm of internet law can no longer see them. Which would be smart.
Until I can figure out where they are though, I will remain sad about a short-lived period when the internet was the wild west, and free music was everywhere.
It was a music nerd’s paradise. A paradise lost.
The 15 Most Incredible Space Age Record Players – Elon Musk has nothing on this little lot of inventions… extra terrestrial turntables, anyone? From Vinyl Factory Read more
Martin Garrix & Carl Cox To Star in New Dance Music Documentary – Strange bedfellows indeed, but apparent it’s true. A new documentary chronicling 30 years of dance music history is in the works, reports Billboard.
What We Started will contrast the genre’s underground roots against its current status as commercial phenomenon. UK veteran Carl Cox and Dutch wunderkind Martin Garrix (who recently topped DJ Mag’s top 100 DJs poll) will be featured in its leading roles. “It was important for us to choose two characters that fully represent the birth of the music and the present of the industry,” said film director, writer, and producer Bert Marcus (whose eponymous production company has put out documentaries Teenage Paparazzo, How to Make Money Selling Drugs, and Champs) to Billboard.
Other artists including David Guetta, Moby, Richie Hawtin, Steve Angello, and Paul Oakenfold also make appearances. Electronic music and radio icon Pete Tong is on board as music supervisor and executive producer.
“I believe this is a misunderstood genre with a rich and robust 30-year history and we felt it needed to be shared properly with the world,” Marcus said, adding, “It was amazing for me to learn everybody’s roles and how they were able to help this music come along and fight the establishment. That’s how we came up with the title What We Started. The anecdotes are endless…”
Presently, there is no premiere date set for Where We Started.
Want To Stick With MacBook? Better Get Used to USB-C – DJ TechTools looks at the options for DJs wanting to use the latest MacBooks that only have USB-C connectors Read more
6 Simple Tips For Promoting Your Event Offline – It’s not all about online, y’know. If you’re promoting your own club night, take heed… When it comes to event promotion, you might be tempted to focus solely on digital channels. But some demographics (including millennials) may respond well to an offline touch.
In fact, promoting your event offline might just give you the extra leverage you need to get your attendance numbers up. Here are 6 different ways you can promote your event, no WiFi needed:
1. Direct mail
You might think snail mail is old school, but it’s far from dead. In fact, direct mail may be more effective than ever thanks to decreased competition in the space. Less incoming paper mail means more attention towards your event flyer or postcard.
Direct mail is especially effective if your event is catered towards a local demographic. And the tactic has another unique advantage. It’s tangible — it can actually be held in a prospective attendee’s hand. To make it even more memorable, your flyer or postcard can be created in the form of a personal invitation, complete with the recipient’s name.
2. In-person networking
“Social media” has become synonymous with “networking.” But while it’s easy to meet people through social media, the quality of your connection may vary. Think about it: how many friends do you have on Facebook? Of those, how many are actually close friends that you get together with on a regular basis?
You don’t form bonds online as strongly as you do offline, face to face. So get ready to hit events similar to yours for some quality, targeted networking that will let you spread the word. Once potential attendees have met you in person, how could they resist coming to your event?
3. Speaking opportunities
DownloadIf you want to scale up your networking efforts and reach more people at one time, you’ve got to consider speaking opportunities.
Speaking at industry-related events is a great way for you to reach your target audience en-mass in a personal way. It also sets you up as a thought leader, which builds trust in your personal brand, helping you to sell more tickets. Ask for permission from the event organizer to promote your event onstage (potentially with a special offer to book there and then).
4. Printed publications
Your promotional strategy likely involves methods like Google PPC ads, email newsletters, and social media posts. You can, however, have the same ads placed in local newspapers, or in the ad section of industry-related magazines. The latter is especially useful for reaching a niche demographic.
You can have a small section allotted for your ad — or even an entire page — depending on what you can squeeze into your budget. This is a very helpful strategy if the magazine has a substantial readership. Plus, since most magazines are also available in a digital format, your ad will also get plenty of views online.
5. Promotional items
Promotions aren’t always explicit — they can also come in the form of swag.
For example: how about an event ad in the form of a sticker or magnet? These are less likely than a flyer to end up in the recycling bin — and more likely to be placed in high-visibility areas, such as the fridge. They’re also likely to be kept well after the event, which means they will serve as a constant reminder of your event brand.
6. Guerilla marketing
WindsheldadThere seems to be some confusion as to what constitutes guerilla marketing. The loose definition is “any unconventional marketing tactic that does not overtly promote the brand behind it.” As a rule of thumb, a person who sees a guerilla marketing ad should second guess whether it’s an ad or non-promotional artwork. The fact that it’s obscure is what draws viewers to it.
So, what are some offline guerilla marketing strategies you can use? Chalk art is a good example: you could use chalk to write the event hashtag on the sidewalk in areas with a lot of foot traffic. This is effective and virtually free — just be sure to get the relevant permission from authorities/local businesses depending on where you choose to write your message. Another method, if you have the budget, is to hire street performers to put on a show while wearing event-related gear.