Categories
Music

Music is changing, here’s why…

As a musician, songwriter and co-founder of Gigable, I hear a lot of people saying there is “no good music these days.”

What really strikes me is that I think it’s the opposite!  There’s more great music being produced every day than any other time in history. It’s just that the traditional ways to discover pop music are broken – or perhaps obsolete.

My wife asked me the other day, “who’s the next Rolling Stones?”
Well, when Brit-Pop-Blues-Rock comes back for a solid 10-20 years, there will be another Rolling Stones.

The bands from the 60s and 70s that made it big are a household brand, just like Coke. Two generations of music fans were spoon-fed very few options – and it stuck with them. 

There’s over 100 million songs that have been recorded. How will you pick the ones you listen to for the next 20-30 years?

Tag #newmusicbiz on Twitter and let me know your thoughts!
@mechlin

Categories
Music

What is Spotify (et al.) good for?

Spotify is great for exposure to a worldwide audience. It’s not great as an income source or true fan building.

Release singles to the digital world, then drive new listeners back to a self-branded website to find out who they(fans) are.

Categories
Music

Behind the scenes: Gigable Showcase at Woodstock Opera House

We had an amazing night hosting our first show in the Americana series. All three bands knocked it out of the park and the crowd showed lots of love.

The production staff at Woodstock Opera House are top notch and we look forward to working with them on many more shows.

Here’s some behind the scenes footage of sound check and the view from backstage:

Categories
Music New Music

Artist of the week – Joe Bonamassa

Scotty Crosby turned me on to Joe Bonamassa a few years back (thanks Scotty!)

Joe is an amazing guitar virtuoso and has killer live shows. The song of the week is called “I Know Where I Belong” and is a live recording from a recent show.

If you like hard rockin’ blues, you will love this song.

(Sign-up for the Artist Spotlight to get the MP3 or send me an email.)

Categories
Music New Music

Artist of the week – Shovels & Rope

I first saw these two in a video somewhere and thought they were weird.

Maybe they are, but their music is quite captivating.  This week’s song is called “Birmingham” and it’s pretty sparse (as is most of their music) but very engaging.

Sign-up for the Artist Spotlight to get the MP3. (Blue button to the right)

Categories
Ideas Music New Music

The Problem With Music

It seems every time I get to talking to friends and family about music, I hear the same complaint. “There’s no good music today” or “it’s too hard to find good music.”

This always baffles me since almost every song you could ever want is a few clicks away. iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, Rhapsody (anyone still use that?), YouTube, Kickstarter, Daytrotter, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter – and the list goes on.  Of course, FM radio is still here and there are thousands of stations across the U.S. that curate excellent music.

So what is the real issue?  I think it’s two-fold:

  • The style of music for a certain market segment (40-80 year olds) is no longer being recorded. Think AC/DC, The Band, Ozzy, CCR, etc..
  • There’s too many sources for music so we get trapped in a paradox of choice.

 

Spotify alone has over 20 million songs in their catalog. It is said that there are over 97 million songs recorded in the world. On average, the typical music fan is introduced to 50 songs per year. Let that sink in.

If we look a little closer to that market segment that I mentioned, 40-60 year-olds.  They grew up on rock-and-roll, generally speaking. The most ‘pop’ular form of music being promoted from 1950 – 1995 was some form of rock-and-roll.  This is the genre that several generations of people are connected too.  They have emotional ties to this style.  All the best memories of growing up are connected with songs from this era.

I think what people are complaining about is that they cannot find new songs that move them emotionally like they remembered back when they were much younger. Our young minds were filled with hope, aspirations, discovery and love. The songs presented to us during that period are permanently attached to those feelings. This should explain nostalgia.

So now, here we are later in life with some money to spend and the music that is popular is appealing to.. yep, young people. Go figure.

However, I believe there is hope for gen-x and baby boomers to discover new music. Many of us in this generation are discovering great new music. We just need a more effective way of sharing our discoveries.

But wait, isn’t sharing music illegal? Yes, it is and that is part of the problem.  You cannot buy a CD or MP3 and make copies to give to your friends.  That could cost you $250,000 and up to 5 years in jail. Think about that, you just found an awesome song in iTunes and you make a copy to send to your sister. Felony.

Ok, so beyond all the antiquated laws of copyright infringement, we need a better sharing model. One that allows the “curators” to find the good stuff and easily share it with people. The way it stands today, corporations are curating music for us.  Honda is sharing Michael Bolton with me.  Allstate is sharing Philip Phillips with me.  And it used to be that all the radio advertisers (with a little help from program directors) curated rock-and-roll for us in the 70s and 80s.

I would like people I know (or don’t know for that matter) with good taste to share music with me.

So, what is the problem with music?  Well, it’s certainly not the music’s fault. 97 million songs in the world and people think 96, 999,500 of them are bad? Probably not. We just don’t know what they sound like, yet.

Categories
Music

How We Got To Creekside Tap

Here’s a quick story on the gig I’m playing on 1/17/14 at Creekside Tap in Algonquin, IL.

A few years back, we bought some flooring from a store here in West Dundee and dealt with a very nice salesperson named Val. We are very happy with the flooring and have seen Val around town for many years.  Turns out she left the flooring store and bought a little pub in Algonquin and re-named it Creekside Tap.

Chris Walke and I have been playing together in Lincoln Don’t Lie since November 2012.  Chris is a consummate musician and can play anything with strings.  Turns out that we have both done quite a bit of acoustic solo work and have a similar setlist of roots/Americana rock. We’ve been kicking around a duo show for a while.

Meanwhile, my wife and I decide to visit Creekside Tap on a random Saturday to visit Val and see the pub.  Val was very kind and bought us a beer. She wanted us to try this new brew they are carrying (from the Blue Moon family).  As we were chatting, I asked if she had live music on the weekends.  She didn’t bring in much live music, but knew that I’ve played acoustic shows in the area for some time and was excited about the idea.  The atmosphere felt perfect for an acoustic/duo and simply put two and two together. I talked to Chris and set the date.

This will be the first time Chris and I play a full gig.  We’ve done a few songs at the beginning of a LDL show, but that’s it.

Looking forward to a new venue and playing songs with a very talented dude.

 

Categories
Music New Music

The Future Of Pop Music

Steven Hyden just wrote an excellent article on the state (and potential future state) of pop music.

He contends that pop music and thus pop stars are becoming an accessory to selling technology. Can’t argue with that at all. However, I believe the bigger issue is “pop music” as a category.

What is “POP” anyway?

Ever since mass media became mass, anything “pop” has been made popular by a very narrow set of tastemakers. We have been spoon-fed singles for the past 50 years. This is how the music industry had so much success. The majority of music listeners had to live with the Top 40 as a primary means of new music discovery.

It’s well-known that bands like Journey ad REO Speedwagon were huge radio stars because their fans matched the target demographic of the radio advertisers. It was a symbiotic relationship.

In 2014, this has all changed. The Internet has democratized attention for the same masses as in 1982. “Pop” is no longer Popular. Let me say that again – “Pop Music” is no longer popular music as defined for the past 50 years.

The Most Shared Equals Popular

Hit singles are no longer spoon-fed by a narrow set of tastemakers. Hit singles are determined by how much its shared. I can guarantee that whatever my 13 year-old just downloaded is being listened to by hundreds of millions people (not just kids) all around the world. She was listening “Cups” by Anna Kendrick six months before it went to radio. Radio and mass media are becoming a reflection of what is organically becoming popular online.

Even the morning news is reporting the latest viral video and stories that I’ve already skimmed on Twitter. Frankly, I don’t even see the value in 95% of news programs. (But that’s a different post….)

The meaning behind popular music is a song that resonates.  Today, it really doesn’t matter where it comes from as long as it resonates. If it’s a mash-up of bluegrass and house music written by a producer who doesn’t perform as a musician, the song can still resonate.

The Best Branding Wins

So, what is the future of pop music?  I think it has little to do with the medium on which it travels. A songs popularity will be based on its own merit and craftsmanship. The notion of “Pop” stars will be nothing more than a traveling circus. Elvis, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, etc will be the golden era of megapop stardom. If we’re still talking about music, it will always come back to the song – the emotion and the experience of the performer. I hope that lives forever.

Categories
Lyrics Music

One

One simple piece of truth

Can change your whole perspective

One simple dose of honesty

Can start to cure the troubled mind

One simple piece of fiction

Can obscure a belief for a lifetime

One simple lie can alter

The course of history

Which way should you travel at the crossroads?

Some roads are one-way and you didn’t know

Until you look back

After one hundred years

Categories
Ideas Music

How To Get Your Favorite Indie Band To Your Town

I originally had this idea about 4 years ago.  Ideas are worth exactly zero until you act on them.

Kickstarter + Booking Agent + Promoter = Gigable

Pre-funded gigs where you can hand-pick the venue. I’ve got a test case in the works. Check back soon.