Friday, April 25, 2008

Hi Everyone! Due to recent events (that I'm praying will work out) I wanted to blog about Jeff McClusky & Associates, one of the biggest entertainment and artist promoters in the country, which is based in Chicago. They work with both major and indie labels, as well as internet companies and film companies; they've played a huge part in the movie soundtracks that have had massive success, like Titanic and Men in Black (admit it, you have both!!) Jeff McClusky has been working in the music biz for over 30 years and has contributed to the successes of U2, Rolling Stones, Smashing Pumpkins, Madonna, and Pearl Jam.
This summer I'm looking to have a kick ass internship with something having to do with music. I have something set up with ASCAP, which is a non profit performance rights organization (I'm going to blog about them tomorrow). It sounds really fun and I'd learn an important part of the music business that not a lot of people care to learn about. But just recently, I caught wind of an opportunity that was practically placed into my hands from the heavens! So here's what happened: My old neighbor just happened to sit next to Jeff McClusky at a boxing game, or some kind of game, and they got to talking. Somehow the conversation turned to his daughter's high school, Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart, which coincidentally is where I went! Once my neighbor mentioned by plans to get into the music industry and the things I'm doing at IC, he suggested I contact him. If I got an internship with him, I would be working for the big movers and shakers of the industry and getting to work on events like Lollapalloza, which McClusky basically runs. Working for him could help set up my career before I even graduate.
Ok, i've gotten carried away. But I was so excited when I got the news I had to blog about it! Tomorrow I'm going to talk more about my internship at ASCAP. I need opinions on which one you guys think I should pick!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Is gossip the new way to market music?

So a lot of the stuff we read in the tabloids is crap, complete crap. It's all fabricated and innacurate and we can't take any tabloids seriously. But we look at them. We can't help it; we glaze at them in the magazine aisle and when we are checking out at Wegmans. So its an obvious move for the tabloids teaming up with musicians to promote their music, because gossip is what interest people most. So does anyone think its a coincidence that Ashlee Simpson got engaged AND supposedly pregnant right before her 3rd album is about to be released? released?,1,6148267.photogallery

UMM...actually I can't decide. The force of the tabloids is so strong it can make you thing anything. Then AGAIN......celebrities aren't stupid.,1,6148267.photogallery Ashlee Simpson hasn't been doing much in the past couple years; she NEEDED some publicity. Also she is releasing her album between Madonna and Mariah Carey, two heavy hitters. Did Ashlee come out with this info "coincidentally" at the same time her album comes out? PUH-LEASE. she hasn't been doing anything lately other than posing with her boyfriend/fiance/whatever Pete Wentz. Put it has people talking about her, and could encourage sales of her album. I know its getting vicious out there, but really? You're going to whore yourself out to US Weekly just to the that "edge" for records sales.

Honestly I love music, I really do, even the over-prosessed stuff like Fall Out Boy, but..resorting to tabloids to gain attention for you album, well clearly you're album can't speak for itself (COUGH ashlee simpson!)


Friday, April 11, 2008

You know what really grinds my gears?....

One of my last blogs I talked about the Honda Civic Tour for Fall Out Boy's last concert, and how much product placement there was. Well they are doing it again with Panic At the Disco's new tour. And it seems like it's gotten worse. Panic just performed their first show of the tour the other night and concert goers were disappointed to have the concert constantly interrupted by car commercials and video of other artists signed with the label. Sadly I know from experience that they aren't very good in live performances, but this is the last straw for me. I know labels are trying to find new ways to promote because records sales aren't enough, but I don't have the heart to go to a show, even of some of my favorite bands, and put up with that. It's not even about the money, because those kinds of bands don't go for much, maybe $30-40 max. It's just the idea of it. I don't go to concerts to watch car commercials, I got to see live performances. Just like I don't go to the movies to see ads for breast augmentation. There is a time and a place people!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Live Nation

I've been hearing a lot about Live Nation but not really sure what they actually were. I was curious to find out more about them. I knew Madonna just signed with them, U2 got a lot of buzz for signing with them too. Jay-Z is the newest artist to sign with them. But I had never visited their website for any concert tickets I had to buy or anything like that, I just read about them in the news, apparently not done often enough). They're a concert promoter, they cut deals with artists that pool tours, merch, record sales, and everything in between. A sweet deal for the artists because they're making money where they're losing money in record sales. U2 and Madonna are signing close to hundred million dollar deals. But what about us? the consumer? I mean they may be helping out musicians, but I have not seen the fruits of their labor. They don't offer any cheaper deals to concerts. The artists they have singed seem to be explusive of big names like Rolling Stones, so their tickets still go for a beautiful $200. I don't see any $20 concert tickets for indie bands. What gives?? If Live Nation is supposed to be this ground breaking business why is it not even affecting the most important component: US?

leave your comments :)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Biodome the Sequel!

Epic Records and Dr.Pepper have teamed up to promote the band Cartel and their sophomore CD. The marketing stunt, "Dr.Pepper Band in a Bubble" will film beginning May 24 the band living in a giant bubble located near the Hudson River while they record their album, which will "burst" the final day June 12. The film will turn into a 4 episode series on MTV and and webcams will show live footage on the Cartel understands the criticism they'll get as "sellouts" for the hokey promotion, but point out the difficulty of releasing a successful sophomore album. They had a successful first album "Chroma" and played on the Warped Tour, but a failed sophomore album is known death wish to the band. Cartel wants to do what they can to help prevent this and believe this project will help them stick out in a sea of bands. While the idea of watching people in a confined space make me feel like a total creeper, the difference of this stunt, "is intended to give fans a first-time, real-time look into the making of the band's newest album."
By MTV showing the episodes, does that mean its going to have a Real World meets Making the Band kind of vibe? With P. Diddy-esque dude hovering in the background giving demands and the Real World "disease" that makes everyone in the house go totally nuts? Cause that would be sweet to watch. But in all serious, when I first saw the news article, I was upset to see it was about Cartel, whose music i've liked for a while, but i'm getting used to seeing bands I like endorsed by large companies like Honda Civic's Fall Out Boy tour. I understand why Cartel agreed, its natural for people to want promotions at their job, so why not them? If living in a giant bubble for 3 weeks help sales of their CD or give them more fans, fine. great. But seeing the members of my favorite bands like performance monkeys of the big sponsor throwing their brand in my face every 3 seconds, it's just...a little...disheartening.

Friday, March 21, 2008

When you think of good hair, what comes to mind? Madonna? OMG guys me tooo! Apparently Sunsilk does too because they announced that their new campaign "Life Can't Wait" will debut Madonna's first single "4 Minutes" off her umpteenth album named "Hard Candy," that also featured Marylin Monroe and Shakira. David Rubin, the Director of U.S. Hair Care Operations says that the commercial will show the different looks of Madonna throughout her career with the idea to inspire young girls to play around with their hair for different looks. In this article
Rubin said, "Madonna continues to be such an inspiration for young girls by continuously reinventing her looks, and we expect the new commercial will also encourage girls to evolve by changing their looks and making their hair and lives happen in a variety of exciting ways." The idea is that girls who have great hair in many different styles will give them the confidence and success like Madonna has had.

Don't get me wrong, Madonna has worked extremely hard for over 2 decades and has inspired girls in fashion and "take-charge" attitude. She seems to have a great family and I admire her adoption of a young child from a disadvantaged country. But excuse me if I'm wrong, but wasn't she also the woman who put nude pictures of herself in a book and has admitted to experimenting with drugs? And while changing her image can be seen as empowering to some, you could also see it as someone who needs to change as often and as dramatically as Madonna is someone who isn't happy with themselves, or don't know who they are as a person? Maybe I'm reading too much into this. I'm guilty myself for cutting of my hair and changing it from blonde to red at times, so I have no problem with Sunsilk's campaign to encourage girls to change up their looks. But perhaps choosing Madonna isn't the best choice. What about Rhianna who has gotten daring haircuts AND is a good role model for young women. I know why: because the music industry is so hard to break through, by playing Madonna's single in a commercial it will get the tune stuck in young girl's heads and might influence them to download her CD, set to release on April 29. niiiiice, Sunsilk, way to play on girls insecurities on their hair AND pressure to look like celebrities. I know that this Friday, I'm going to try the classic 80's Madonna crimped, bleached look :)

your thoughs?

Friday, February 29, 2008

Hey Guys, Let's get another Facebook application!

In a surprise move, Facebook has added a music application: Although they already have the iLike feature, the new music application will allow Facebookers to get paid downloads, buy merchandise, and get tour updates. It doesn't offer anything that is new or exclusive than other websites like Myspace. Also, what is this, their 560 billionth application? I'm not surprised that Facebook added this, they needed to fill every last nook and cranny after "How popular are you with your friends?" and "When will you get married?" Now that the music market has gone digital, sites like Facebook and Myspace are clawing at each other to get listeners to use their sites and not others. I know that Facebook added the music application because that's what any other business in order to keep up with their competitors, but I don't think they are going to have much success with it. It seems a little overkill for Facebook members as well as the artists. I doubt musicians will be keen on getting yet another website to maintain because it won't be towards different audiences. The same 14 year old that's Myspace friends with John Mayer would have one for Facebook.
I think that it can go in two directions. One, the Facebook music application will get huge with because they teamed up with iTunes, which could influence listeners to move away from using different music sites and use Facebook for all their music needs. The other would be complete failure due to member's lack of interest and musician's discouragement of repetition.
Sorry Facebook, you're a little late for joining this competition. Then again, that is just my opinion. What do you guys think?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The comeback of radio?

Radio hasn't been popular since basically the 1950s when Americans stopped listening to the radio and watching television. Today, radio is virtually extinct. We get our news from the internet and television, as well as our entertainment. According to this article the president of the Radio Advertising Bureau teamed up with Katz and Interep. Its purpose is to centralize their clients and have a centralized point of view for their, along with following a more behavioral based approach to reaching consumers. They also want all mobile devices to access radio. Imagine listening to your favorite artists, then switching over to hear the top 10 songs on the charts, and then get the traffic reports! Sweeeet. I would love to have the radio on my ipod. I mean, right now I don't listen to the radio because I don't have a car at school, and well, who has a radio in their room anymore? But I think its a great idea nonetheless. I would listen to the radio more, I think, if i had it on my ipod.

Leave your comments!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Do-It-Yourself videos

As it is well known, everything is going digital, but more importantly its becoming interactive. That doesn't exclude music videos. Long gone are the glory days of music videos; in the 80s MTV had huge success with airing music videos. Of course, anyone can remember the success of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video that was more of a mini-movie, and its still popular today.

Then came the era of TRL where the highlight of an adolescent's day would be coming home from school to watch their favorite videos and anticipate the premiere of new ones. I do admit that is was the first notible step towards interaction from the television show to the audiences. Teens would vote all day long on the MTV website, give their comments, and call in to the show to give shoutouts. At the time, it was a big step for music television, and many kids felt that they had a legitimate affect on the show.

In the face of the decline music industry that's hurting records sales, but also the market of music videos, which used to be a huge element to promoting an artists. To get your video on TRL was a sign of huge success. Now: not so much. According to
Joan Anderman of the Boston Globe discusses the decline of video popularity and how its hurting director's careers (boo hoo they have to gasp! direct television commercials for a mere $400,000 rather than a million dollar paycheck. lets take a minute to feel sorry for them) Moving everything else in our society, video are now being filmed by amatuers and fans on their cells phones and uploading them onto the internet for people to see. That's how the now hugely successful Sara Bareilles got noticed: someone recorded her on their phone and put it on youtube, it caught on with viewers and BAM here she is! Today people aren't as impressed with million dollar budgeted music videos with special affects or expensive cars with good looking women. Viewers like videos that look amatuer, even if they're not, like showing the artists backstage at a show getting ready or meeting fans. Many artists website allow fans to mash up different videos to make their own custom-made music videos.

While I know we're all mourning the death of video directing millionare's careers, music videos have moved to a more interesting era. Viewers want to see something real, and many of us now have the power to make the videos ourselves.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Jumping on the Bandwagon

Ok, so I understand that conventional marketing that has been used for decades doesn't work on consumers of today. We need artists to catch our eye in creative ways. But this article I found claims that Nine Inch Nail's new marketing tactic unveils government conspiracies that involve contaminating the water with Parepin to protect citizens from bioterror attacks but instead has harsh side effects. The website that claims this got attention when fans took the letters that were highlighted on NIN tour date tshirts that spell out to say "I am trying to believe" and googling the phrase, leading them to this conspiracy site. It started catching on oh so conveniently just as NIN was set to release their new album Year Zero. The website also leads to similar sites, that include pictures of earth as a barren wasteland, raids on Muslim homes in Michigan, and a website by a sniper. If you try and email the author of the website it sends back an automated message saying how it was "all a mistake. the water is fine" blah blah.

OOOoo sounds cryptic right? You think that the government got a hold of this guy and made him change his story? Do you fall for these government conspiracies left and right? I'm pretty sure that the government did get invovled by reprimanding some nut for making claims against the government so he couldn't influence anymore vulnerable ( or stupid) people. And for those other website, its turns out that they are part of a reality game by a marketing company named 42 Entertainment who sent out vials of honey to create "buzz" for the new Halo video game. Naturally NIN only says that they were inspired by"crazy dreams" they had, and how the album takes place in the future and its not pretty.

The only thing that makes me angry about this is that its playing on people's insecurities and doubts about our government. Most people have a very negative view of our government, who's in office and the war in Iraq. People are so quick to jump on the bandwagon to complain about the government, especially impressionable adolescents like the ones how listen to, oh..i don't know...NINE INCH NAILS. These people who are making these website are oh so convenietly anonomyous and have no proof of what they claim. Come on, its one thing to create some hype for your album with a back story and internet rumors, its another thing to accuse our government, who i admit hasn't been the most trustworthy, of intentionally harming us.

What do you think? you think we're drinking contaminated water and NIN did us a favor by notifying us?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

So I don't want to seem repetitive but I don't want each blog entry to be random, I want them all to relate to each other. Last entry I talked about how there's no need for CDs anymore since the digital revolution, if you'd like to call it that. People don't have to buy a CD to get a taste of the music on it. We want it cheap and we want it fast. We also want more of a connection with our artists. Thats what this interview with Eric Herbert of Evolver Media. I agree with him on the point that the reason websites like Myspace are so popular is because music listeners can feel a direct connection with the artists and almost like they have a personal relationship with them rather than just seeing them in Rolling Stone or performing on Saturday Night Live.

Long gone are the days where record labels can put a group of people together and throw on matching outfits and have success (read: Spice Girls, Destiny's Child, Backstreet Boys) Consumers want to feel a real connection with musicians and like Eric Herbert says, the record labels certainly aren't the ones doing that, its the musicians themselves. For years the closest you would get to talking to your favorite musician would be to wait for hours by their tour bus or if your dad had a connection of some sort. Now, I see countless bands posting on their websites about hosting a chat with their fans, who can directly Instant Message them and ask questions or just profess their undying love. Herbert says this creates a stronger bond between musician and fan, therefore more success for the musican. I'm totally in agreement; while I love my big names like Aerosmith, Steve Miller Band, the Beatles (ignore that half of them are deceased) I am much bigger fans, and supporters of smaller bands/musicians whom I've met myself and aren't as successful. I met a great band while I was in LA last semester called Forever the Sickest Kids (totally emo name but great music I met them in my apartment building and we hung out, it wasn't until later that I got into their music, but I feel a stronger connection with them because I know them, hence I immediately went out and bought one of their tshirts :) Even bigger names that you would suspect are reaching out to their fans, John Mayer just sponsored a cruise called The Mayercraft and he himself spent 4 days on a cruise ship performing and talking with fans could meet. Im surprised to riots broke out considering the large amount of middle aged housewives hmm.

Final Thought: Support more local music! Or at least music that you feel closer to. With record labels losing more influence, its the musicians who are taking it into their own hands.

Leave your comments

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Do it for the FANS

I figured I would start out my first blog talking about something that I'm sure most people have heard and been talking about, which is the new marketing strategies that are giving back to the fans, most notably Radiohead. Recently they released their album "In Rainbows" on their website where consumers can buy the album for how ever much they want to spend, whether its $5, $20 dollars, or for FREE! They were able to do this because they don't belong to a record label and therefore own the distribution rights. So far the album has made over $3 million dollars, with $6 being the average price that people bought the album for. "In terms of digital income, we've made more money out of this record than out of all the other Radiohead albums put together forever," Yorke told Wired. They simultaneously release a box set including the "In Rainbows" CD with additional songs, vinyl records, artwork and lyrics for $80.

In my opinion, I'm glad that SOME artists are finally realizing that if they want any future in the music industry, that they are going to have to stop ignoring the fans and give back after years of music consumers being raped by album prices (i.e. saving up my money in junior high for weeks just to buy ONE CD at Best Buy for over $20. anyone else remember that?) What I love about Radiohead's approach is what I've been saying for years: I'm not about to go and buy a CD if I just like one song on the album, or buy a CD of an artist that I'm not that familiar with, so why risk the purchase if I don't even like them that much? Also, Radiohead is one of the most successful bands and has had a huge following for years. You know that many fans chose to pay full price because they acknowledge the hard work and dedication to the music they enjoy. I've gotten offers from friends to let me burn a CD that i've been anticipating buying, and I won't lie, I have done that a couple times. But after a while I felt guilty about enjoying my favorite music without rewarding the artists for their hard work and creativity. I happily bought CDs of bands like Gym Class Heroes and The Academy Is because I want them to prosper in the industry, as well as falling for many more marketing products like shirts, posters, magazines that feature the artists, and of course concert tickets!

Basically what this shows on a grander scheme, that I've seen for some time now, is that people don't want to buy CDs anymore, obviously because everything is going digital, along with the overpricing. Although this has been hurting major record companies, the music industry isn't just going to "disappear" like many uniformed people say, but I don't think CDs are going to be the major source of profit. Sure people are still going to buy music, but online. The biggest factor for making money are concerts. People are willing to pay money for seeing their favorite bands (did U2 sell tickets for $200 or something?) I think refreshing marketing strategies like Radiohead's where you purchase their music for a low price makes the consumer happy, and creates more buzz for the album itself, and therefore concert sales will increase. Everyone thought Prince was crazy when he gave away his new album for free in London newspapers, but when he released his concert dates days later, they sold out.

So wow that was long, sorry. Basically what I'm trying to say is that music listeners are fed up with having to spend large amounts of money on music and are now finding ways digitally, whether ethical or not, to get it. My opinion is its ok to steal a song or 2 once in a while of an artist that is of fleeting interest to you ( can you say Solja Boy's "Superman") but I think I think to show my support of my favorite music by buying the music ( and shirts, and posters and...)

Leave your comments!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

this is just a test

hi everyone...just testing out my blog for the class.