Creative Ways to Raise Money for Disrupción Records

 Put on a show at a local venue in Valencia featuring ALL four label artists plus guests. Have all the proceeds go towards the label.

A few of us have already taken part in organizing shows at a few different venues in Valencia. We have therefore built a micro network of promoters, venue owners etc… that we can leverage in order to raise money for the label.

 

Streamlining off of this first idea, Disrupcion records could expand the breadth of activities and include a touring department to the already existing A&R, Marketing and Legal departments. They could oversee the promotion of artists pre and post-release of material through local tours, and maybe reach into markets like Barcelona/Madrid depending on the style of music and contacts available to help. Again, whatever proceeds generated could be redistributed to the label. This could also open the possibility for an Accounting department of the label to open and facilitate keeping track of accounts etc…

 

Organize a house party where people are charged a few euros at the door. All proceeds go towards the label. This follows the rogue and somewhat underground concepts of ‘rent parties’, except here the money would not serve to pay for rent but would go into the label’s account.

 

Sell Label merchandise, three different t-shirt models. The efficient Disrupcion logo with tasteful color choices could be featured on the front, and a short line from the mission statement at the back. The vision would be to try and steer clear from the very specific and bulky band t-shirts, and go for a more refined, sober-looking, casual line. This way we could sell merchandise that is wearable not only for label supporters, but also for a broader audience.

 

Raise some love-money from friends and family. Despite the yearly turnover of students, and therefore family circles and friends, the sustainability of such an idea is arguably quite limited. However, the idea of a Kickstarter type of campaign on a yearly basis is not to be rejected. It could even be integrated with a Marketing class as a first semester elective, with the objective being to establish a collective crowdfunding campaign for the purpose of the record label.

 

 

Monetize blog content – Now this might be somewhat of a long shot. But there are a few options Berklee could look into to monetize the record label blog content. The least attractive option would be to feature Pay Per Click ads onto the label posts. A second option could be to have a custom search engine for Berklee blog posts integrated into the wordpress blog, and have sponsored results come up as top results by using Google AdSense etc…  They would therefore generate a bit of revenue for every click.

Third and finally, Berklee could develop a partnership with an online music business blog that would sponsor and pay the school to have students write articles about topics related to insider’s expertise on starting/working for an Indie music label or other music business related topics.

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The Parable of the Tuileries – Pt. 1 The Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility

Yesterday in Economics of Entertainment, we were introduced to a concept coined by the (right-winged) French newspaper Le Monde. They released a short animated video clip that aims to support the public funding of Culture through three basic concepts of economics: the law of diminishing marginal utility, the principle of positive externalities, and the multiplier effect. However, one could easily argue that this video was pieced together in a rather simple, if not unintelligent manner that shows elements of syllogism through hasty shortcuts and overly general conclusions.

Have a sit through the video, after which you might find yourself convinced because of how much it ‘makes sense’.

Now, let’s run through the first of the three economic concepts illustrated in the clip. I must warn you though, this is purely an exercise in contradiction,

The first one I’d like to talk about is the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility. It introduces the concept that as an individual increases consumption of one specific product, while keeping the consumption of other goods at a constant, he will experience a decline in the utility or perceived benefits that he or she can draw from the product.
You might want to think of it as gospel if you’re running an ‘all you can eat’ buffet-type restaurant because indeed, each additional plate of food the customer helps himself to will inevitably provide less satisfaction than the previous one. That is due the finite nature of the space available in a human stomach.

It might be a futile attempt for me to try and put this in perspective, but intellectual masturbation never hurt anyone. Le Monde puts it clearly, this law applies to ALL types of goods but one. And how convenient is it that the exception is Culture? It even goes further than that and assumes that in ALL cases, the more you increase your consumption of cultural goods, the more you’ll retrieve exponential satisfaction from it. As if listening to the same Schubert piece for the 40th time were to be more exalting than the second or third. You’d believe that an outer-body experience would occur on the 41st, but anyway…

The video claims that the more you listen to Schubert, the more satisfaction you’ll get from it, and the more eager you are to listen Beethoven, then Brahms etc…
Wait! Some of you might have realised that they’ve just switched from considering the marginal utility of one specific product (lemonade/one Schubert piece), to a whole category of goods (classical composers).
That’s literally comparing apples and pears, no fruit pun intended, but one’s mind is capable of great leaps when it comes to serving a purpose. So I ask, would the benefits perceived from drinking lemonade not turn an individual on to consuming more freshly squeezed juice in general? whether it be orange, apple etc…

Is there even a point in furthering this conversation? Let’s carry on, just for the heck of it…

I could also easily argue that the more I listen Schubert, the more nauseating it gets because Schubert has no emotional resonance with my childhood, or even brings back traumatic experiences of a totalitarian music teacher. Who knows…? Since we’re mixing up categories, I could even argue that the purchase of a Macbook would create incentive for me to purchase an iPhone and then an iPad etc… And trust me, the satisfaction of going on a shopping spree for that kind of products does not diminish with repetition.
Therefore, one could argue that high-tech ecosystemic goods are impermeable to the law of diminishing marginal utility, contradicting the first premise of the video that Culture is the only good to which the concept doesn’t apply. Unless of course I’ve missed the point that Apple products are encompassed in the realm of Culture. In which case, should they too be publicly funded?

Please let me know if you were able to follow some (if not all) of the arguments highlighted here or if I’m just rambling. Probably the latter…

I’m really curious to see if I’ll gather the motivation to write parts two and three of this series…

Here’s a brilliant Snarky Puppy tune, in the Brazilian style of Forró bound to get you rid of the mid-day Thursday blues:

Album Review Of The Week – Animals As Leaders – The Joy of Motion

This week has been particularly exciting. As I recover from my yearly spring/early summer cold, as my system realises that the ‘Fallas’ have actually eaten away chunks of my higher auditory spectrum (16kHz-20kHz), as school kicks back into gear, and as we launch Berklee Valencia’s very own Record Label named Disrupcíon Records, one of my most cherished artist/band releases their third opus through Sumerian Records.

Animals As Leaders and their third release named The Joy of Motion is an ode to the greatest of all lost arts (I don’t mean Lower Defintion’s amazing album, I’m talking about Music), and full of maturity and humility (at times) Tosin Abasi, along with Javier Reyes and new addition Matt Garstka have put together a truly immersive experience.

With phrases, chord changes or cadences that echo some from the previous releases, one can recognise the Tosin Abasi songwriting and find himself at home. But you’ll find tunes off this record mirroring some of Javier’s personal stuff (Mestis, EP: Basal Ganglia). A few solos on the record also let me wonder whether there were any guest players at any point. Track number 3, Air Chrysalis echoes Intervals’ Epiphany, and track 12 (the closer) ‘Nephele’ sounds strangely similar to a Vai-Petrucci progeny. Mystery to be solved…

Overall musically the album is very strong, and so is my wording to describe it, I realise that… Garstka’s involvement and participation in the writing definitely shines through a lot more on this release and it does it a tremendous amount of good. That classic AAL quarter-note pulse is still present, but less important. When straight feels good, straight is played, no unnecessary polyrhythmic aberrations and convolutedness.

I must also admit that I’m super thrilled and amazed that they collaborated with Adam ‘Nolly’ Getgood for the production of this opus. Adam is THE guy when it comes to producing this type of music, hands down, no questions asked. Forget Joey Sturgis, he is just good. Nolly is the exegesis of a mix that packs a punch. And for the guys in AAL to realise that, then get him on-board is the best move that could have been made. Allegedly it mustn’t have been a huge stretch of the mind since Misha Mansoor plays alongside Nolly, but anyway… I’m glad for both posses involved, it is in their best common interest, not something that you see done a lot in the music industry these days (cf. The Prisoner’s Dilemma, Economics 101, Somewhere along the course of every Economics syllabus), and the production is just MASSIVE, mate!

The album came out on the 25th of March, so two days prior to this post. The ’single’ (I guess you could call it that), Tooth and Claw had been out for a little bit of time before that, and it was just the perfect song to release to build a hype and amp things up. I’ve already rinsed the life out of it. It was available for stream on YouTube, however I’ve never been a fan of pre-release streams for music that has value. I get that it would make sense if you’re anticipating a specific single featuring two of your favourite artists, but here it’s the whole artefact that is important. So I waited patiently while all my friends were posting about it on what has become the most important book to all of us these days, got it on Spotify, and am heartlessly taking away what could’ve been a full 7,99$ from this band that I hold so dear…

A few tunes to look out for on this album/my personal favourites so far:

Ka$cade
Tooth and Claw
Para Mexer (8 nylon-stringèd bonanza, it’s got Javier Reyes/Mestis written all over it)
The Woven Web (Slappin’ that bass mon’)
Mind-Spun (Just a power tune, simply put)

If you want to have a listen, head over to Spotify and punch this URL in: spotify:album:6amcjpW1tFWbKniDMn9CE4

heck, even purchase it on iTunes: http://smarturl.it/thejoyofmotionitunes

or have a gander on the YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbA3jxab4A0&list=PLH22-xSMERQpG4M9HshhXUJ9OKMNlwU8T

 

As for myself, I’ll probably be getting the Vinyl, transparent Red sounds like it looks sexy. DJ kTunes said it first, they’re making a come-back.

 

Animals As Leaders – The Joy of Motion – The Woven Web

A&R this week – Record Label Practicum

For the past couple of weeks the member of the practicum have been communicating back and forth, in person and via e-mail, through instant messaging and by carrier pigeon – talk about innovative and motivated. The aim of this group discussion was to decide on which artists we were keen on collaborating with for the rest of the semester.

After reviewing 12 interviews – which were all brilliant by the way, and only made the process that much harder – we agreed on four talented individuals.

Avila Santo
Tess Tyler
Stephen McHale
Miranda Inzunza

These four names might be familiar to some, if they are not however, they are definitely about to because the marketing team is prepping some killer plans – but for now, shh.

The A&R teams have met up individually with the artists and also started working on plans and musical directions.
(Un)fortunately plans are synonymous with homework, which means that we need to remain proactive. The artists have to make sure they compile tracks for us to listen to and choose from, but in some cases the repertoire to choose from is quite extensive.

Meanwhile, Beatsmusic acquires TopSpin Media and saves them from what looked like a slow and painful demise. They are hoping to fuse the ultimate experience of music discovery, and data collection and analysis. Listeners can rest assured, their relentlessly uneducated choices on music discovery are made easier than ever before.

On a more musical side note, Animals as Leaders are releasing a new album ‘the Joy of Motion‘ on March 25th and it is shaping up to be monstrous! Here’s the single from this much anticipated release, it is entitled ‘Tooth and Claw’. The composition is phenomenal and the production is nothing short of that either.

This week in review – All Quiet on the Western Front

I find it quite unfortunate that nothing revolting occurred in this past week on campus (the euphoria of my birthday must have rendered me blind to it). Amid the somewhat uneventful visits, beautiful early morning musical showcases, heated conversations, and all too theoretical concepts of economics, ’tis hard to find something compelling to write about – could it be that I have finally found a way to stop caring?

Once again, it feels like the only thing super-execs can do about the downturn of events in the industry is to try and turn-in as much cash-flow as they possibly can – because at the end of the day there is always going to be a hierarchical boss who wants his quotas to be met, and full reports on his desk by the time you clock-out. An unsurprising moment of clarity and transparency arose in the course of a guest lecture when artists were suddenly compared to supermarket products – I guess some might have a longer shelf-life than others, how unfortunate…

On a positive note, we have managed to form a unified work-group for our Entrepreneurship & Innovation class that looks promising and productive. We have assigned five roles amongst the team members, and it looks like we’re covering solid ground so far. The project we are working had been deserving this level of attention from the start – but I guess everything has got its time and place and patience is still a virtue.

Meanwhile, Kiev is fuming by day and burning by night; a student was shot by the police in Venezuela; and 17 year olds, smothered in make-up are being propelled in the limelight of stardom with impressive turnover. Whether it be through a declining system, inherently flawed business structures, general lack of cultural education, I guess one could argue that the world is going to s!*@.

Listening to this tune at the moment and it’s an oh so accurate depiction of what surrounds us. Darwin Deez – “The Bomb Song”.

The sky’s green (…) the clouds are brown (…) the city is dead.

Record Label Practicum – A l’écoute

This past friday we, as a class of 20 something students, took-on the task of shortlisting some of the applicants to the very first Berklee College of Music Valencia Campus Record Label (buzz-wordly named Disrupcion). The total of applicants neared the 30s, and the number of songs approximated 100, while the time we were given to accomplish the task was of about a couple of hours. So as one can imagine, and as expected, this daunting task proved to be challenging.

I’ll spare you the details but the boiled down summary is that without a concise idea of the sound we are looking for, and with a class composed of music-oriented students with a plethora of diverging musical tastes and listening habits, a show of hands was the most appropriate way of reaching a consensus on talent.

We all pulled through in the end anyway, and came up with an interesting list of 12 artists. In my opinion, the shortlist shows an array of styles that could have been diversified a little more given some of the ridiculously gifted people we are lucky to have on campus, but I’m still thrilled with what we came up with and especially what was achieved as a class – and democracy seems to be the last thing withholding us from behaving like apes, so let’s not give it up for the sake of personal taste. Despite my never-ending scepticism, I have to admit that I’m genuinely quite excited at the idea of being a part of this. Especially given some of the artists that were selected on to the following step.

Next step is the audition process. We have designed a series of questions that we have presented to the artists for them to prepare in advance. We have also requested additional information such as press kits or videos, if available. This way we can have a series of quick ten-minute interviews that should allow us to find the artists we are looking for.

The cynical part of me believes that we should have probably interviewed ourselves first to define what it is that we are looking for (amongst other things). But gut-feeling seems to be the trend (panelists from MIDEM can back me up on this one) so let’s just do it like the big dogs and play it solo within a team.

I leave you with this fine tune that should help you get your day started, if it hasn’t already.

Midem 2014 – My student experience

Midem is the number one event in Europe for music business people to come together and bring what they can offer to the industry. It is set-up on the beautiful French Riviera where one can gaze at some 50 feet yachts for the entire day while enjoying delightfully expensive, although very ordinary coffee. All sarcasm set aside, I had a delightful extended weekend away from the crunch of studying, in the unexampled company of my good friends and classmates.

 

– Resume reprobative hair-splitting – 

As exciting as it was to attend talks from legendary executives (i.e. : Lyor Cohen), one could easily get discouraged by the general stagnating state of the industry. To clarify, it felt like all the talks and panelists where saying a lot to not really say much in the end, the general consensus always reverted to the point that it was all about the music to start with – so why on earth did this ever change?!

With all due respect to the brilliant executives that they are, with the illustrious career paths and resumes to back it up, this is a no-brainer type of statement. The only reason why it ever changed is because they thought they could get away with turning music into a factory product. And when faced with the occasional narrow (cornering) questions from the audience, a general discomfort and awkward moments of staring at each other would take-over amongst the panelists.
I’m not trying to rant, or be disrespectful even, but it felt very much like the general topic was always to try and save the music industry with revolutionary innovative ideas that will ‘change the game’, but no one tries to take that leap of faith that could potentially instigate this change.

But we’re talking about the people who thought that digital would just be a phase, so I don’t really expect anything other than a certain level of comfort and reluctance to change radically. So they just take their time and literally take over a decade to start shining a light on the right path to adopt. If it weren’t for music business gurus by the likes of future music business leader and key growing player Benji Rogers of Pledgemusic, I would say we would be better off throwing-in the towel.

And then I got the chance to meet some interesting people. The good people from Sounds Australia really showed their independent spirit and threw an Aussie BBQ party with three stunning performances from Jeff Lang (amazing guitarist who uses effects like a modern Hendrix with an acoustic guitar), talented singer/songwriter Sherill Morris, and the harmony-infused amazing Mae Trio that gave me goosebumps all throughout this lovely Monday lunch. We also shared a few laughs and drinks during and after the conference. I also met this year’s winners of the MidemLab competition – Midem’s startup and app developer competition – NaGual Sounds on the night before the laureates had been announced. We had a good time at a Carlton hotel party, exchanged contacts and learned all about the software they had been developing, needless to say I was really happy to see these guys win the next day.

If I were to pick two quotes from the weekend, I’d have to go with Rita Ora, who despite her incredibly good looks kind of ruined it when she expressed her deepest sentiments for the Vevo Lift campaign she was ‘blessed’ be a part of – ‘I love how the internet and the media is completely controlling what we do’…
And in second place comes Lyor Cohen, who is venturing into setting-up an independent label backed with a partnership with Google – let’s not even go there – with a statement that is beautifully raw and full of integrity to the challenging role that is that of a businessman in the music industry – ‘when you f*** with good […] you miss the opportunity of capturing and maybe being a part of magnificent’ and later concluded with ‘sign stars, don’t dust-bums-off’.

I really didn’t expect to walk out of Midem with an internship sealed, or even a job because frankly very few companies that were there put-up an appealing front. I went in not expecting much, came out with a lot more than what I was hoping, and a lot less money on my bank account. It was more of a networking workshop/experience that has taught me a lot about people as professionals who enjoy playing the game, as well as colleagues as ardent white-collars, some of whom will do pretty much anything to be able to play the game.

Music:

Arcane Roots are a British three-piece progressive/alternative rock that sound MASSIVE. I’ve had the opportunity to see them live while I was living in the UK, and boy are they good on stage! They might only be a three-piece but they fill-up the room both sonically and energetically. This song, entitled Habibty, is a hectic number. It shows exactly how well Arcane Roots use dynamics to balance-out their tracks. From heavy polyrhythmic riffs to chime-like clean sections, and soaring hooks to murmured melodies, one sure thing is that they know how to convey guts and passion. Vocals harmonies blend and build-up perfectly into half-time beat-downs played on the crunchiest single-coil tone ever; it shouldn’t work, but somehow it does perfectly.

Video:

The music video for this song was produced by Daryl A and Arcane Roots themselves. The camera work is pure energy, it changes from angle to angle and slow-motion to standard frame-rate in a heartbeat. The desaturated tone of the picture is particularly efficient with the light work going on in the background, and adds to the dramatic and emotional message that the song conveys.

Music Video Of The Week – Arcane Roots – Habibty

Music:

Arcane Roots are a British three-piece progressive/alternative rock that sound MASSIVE. I’ve had the opportunity to see them live while I was living in the UK, and boy are they good on stage! They might only be a three-piece but they fill-up the room both sonically and energetically. This song, entitled Habibty, is a hectic number. It shows exactly how well Arcane Roots use dynamics to balance-out their tracks. From heavy polyrhythmic riffs to chime-like clean sections, and soaring hooks to murmured melodies, one sure thing is that they know how to convey guts and passion. Vocals harmonies blend and build-up perfectly into half-time beat-downs played on the crunchiest single-coil tone ever; it shouldn’t work, but somehow it does perfectly.

Video:

The music video for this song was produced by Daryl A and Arcane Roots themselves. The camera work is pure energy, it changes from angle to angle and slow-motion to standard frame-rate in a heartbeat. The desaturated tone of the picture is particularly efficient with the light work going on in the background, and adds to the dramatic and emotional message that the song conveys.

Music Video of The Week – Lianne La Havas – Elusive

Music:

This week’s pick is a British artist named Lianne La Havas. Originating from London, her sound has everything British about it, from her accent to the melodies and arrangement, it is all-round quality. Her music reminds me of the time I spent living in the U.K., which might mean I’m partial to her sound… The authenticity that comes with this kind of music has no equal and is bound to move even the coldest-hearted individual.
Our Marketing Professor, David Loscos, played this video during class to highlight the importance of conveying emotions when marketing a product and to be entirely honest, I don’t think he could have picked any better.
Her songwriting skills are quite impressive, I’m particularly moved by the lyrical work. She builds hooks that are personal enough that you can relate to them, without getting too specific, which kind of allows to get lost in your own interpretation of what she has to say. And this oh-so-sensual tone she sings in just confuses the life out of me, in the best way possible. It’s like listening to someone you’ve always been emotionally attached to for the first time – confusing, I know.

Video:

This video depicts a confusing emotional encounter between two individuals, Lianne and this ‘Elusive’ man. There’s a sensual dimension to the whole picture that is emphasised by the expressive dancing, the physical contact between characters and the close-up shot of Lianne singing with someone’s hands cupping her face. There’s also something about her whole physical presence that is just so delicate, fragile and enticing. Some of the shots reveal the subtlest lisp that is barely audible when she sings but adds yet another element of sensuality to the Lianne character. I think I’m in love. And with over 800,000 views, I doubt I’m the only one.