A&R – Artists to Watch: Singer-Songwriter Cole Fournier

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Independent and unsigned Canadian artist, Cole Fournier has been making some serious waves off of  his debut release, “One Morning, I’m Going To Wake Up,” the 25-year-old singer songwriter explores age-old themes of love, loss and lust against a lyrical backbone borrowed from the likes of Jesse Lacey (Brand New) and Max Bemis (Say Anything).

The eleven song LP was written over a period of eight years and across four continents, documenting the singer’s life as a busker in Paris, tree planter in Prince George and Camp Counselor in Spain. Co-produced by JUNO nominee Ben Leggett, “One Morning, I’m Going To Wake Up” sees Fournier go beyond his pop roots offering insight into modern relationships (“I’m With You But I’m Lonely”), and loss (“Austria”). The single from the album (“Pegasi”) has garnered Cole a position in the top 24 on CBC Searchlight’s Best New Artist Contest.

Here is a link to what could be one of the best promotional video EVER.

Head over to www.colefournier.com to cast your vote and find out where Cole is headed next.

Po’NO’!

I thought I’d take a couple moments to address a couple of quick thoughts I’ve had about Pono. I realize i’m a little late to the game in addressing this, but my newsfeed seems to be congested with the preamble of ‘Record Day’, but when the silent release of Neil Young’s cover album caught my attention it created the connection.

To begin, any ‘Download’ service immediately draws a red flag for me. As a user, I’m moving away from bogging down my laptop, it already runs at a snail’s pace, the collection of various third-party applications, Adobe Files, Microsoft Documents and music files absolutely crush anything that was once magical about my Apple experience.

However, the idea of a loss-less file for me sounds great, but i’d rather stream it. That being said, the difference between a compressed MP3 and Flac File on my shitty earbuds and laptop speakers isn’t likely to make a significant enough difference to validate purchasing additional hardware ( or an application specific one, like the Pono Player ).

In addition, the major issue I have with most streaming/ download services is the lack of depth in the catalogue. I’m interested in user generated content, but I also want to hear every possible version of my favourite songs by artists that i’m interested in.  With the exception of Youtube and in some cases Vimeo, my interests in works have already come and gone by the time they reach these catalogues ( if they do at all ); they are not adapting to the way most users consume content. I also don’t see platforms digging into labels catalogues and remastering the full breadth of music libraries to provide these file formats.  I also don’t see Pono as a service with longevity, It’s too niche to be sustainable and it’s not innovative enough to validate a change in the way I consume information.

Have any thoughts? Leave them in the comment section below.

Next Steps: The Future of Twitter in the Music Industry

As cited today by The New York Times, Twitter and Billboard have now teamed up to release a real-time music chart, based on consumer twitter data. This seems to follow in-line with the recent steps taken by Twitter’s increasingly active stake within the music industry. These can be characterized by the deal with the music label / content company 300 and more recently the removal of #music app from Apple’s iTunes store. Twitter has seemed to realign it’s interests to become an imperative player within the music industry.

Key Takeaways:

Usable Metrics and Time Decay: A new shift towards a real-time based music chart places further emphasis on artist’s use of Twitter as a viable means of conversation and visibility. One of the largest issue’s with sharing over twitter is ‘time decay’, depending on the number of users one follows, a ‘tweet’ or ‘retweet’ can appear in any given user’s feed for a variable period of time.

The trending topics sidebar ( although geo-located ) is too holistic in terms of music visibility/ discovery (often only unattainable through unreplicatable events, usually based on an artist or act’s size – see Beyonce ). That being said, if the chart’s are geo-based, there will most likely be a high level of artist repeatability, but may allow for some variability ( hopefully an up-and-coming localized act ). Therefore, it may also spawn greater analytical tools for artists to make adaptations to their outreach / social marketing campaigns.

The removal #music & the marking of a new age: I wouldn’t be surprised with if the missteps associated with Twitter’s #music that popular thought has shifted towards a more integrated user-interface. It would seem that a real-time chart would also lead towards direct purchasing power for twitter users. If your fans are already there, then why would you send them somewhere else?

Have some thoughts? Leave them in the comment section below.

Thanks for the read!

Behind the Scenes: Disrupción Records Logo Design

The goal of this project was to create a visual identity that coherently connects with the representation of disruption as a brand and its meaning positionally over time. As such, the logo is representative of sources of disruption as it relates to art, the region and Berklee College of Music.

 

To begin, the typeface used is ‘Helvetica’ the selection was inspired by it’s use and development by Max Miedinger and Eduard Hoffmann to mark the transition into the Swiss modernist movement.

 

The composition of the design was based on a photograph by Alberto Hildago used by the Berklee College Commissions WSDG (Walters-Storyk Design Group) for Major Projects. The kerning of the typeface and use of negative space was utilized to highlight the major architectural features of the Palau, as it is both a significant feature of the Valencian region and a holistic representative of a larger artistic community and visual vocal point of the Berklee campus.

 

Additionally, Black & White were chosen to build off of the clarity associated with the use of ‘Helvetica’ as a typeface, while the characters ‘A’ and ‘D’ were used as a means of highlighting the architectural features. However, in an effort to avoid any inferences associated with the use of the upper case characters AD or it’s acromial meaning (anno domini), a lower case character ‘d’ was selected as a substitution. Although the region has a rich Christian heritage and it coincides with the theme of disruption, I felt as though it did not communicate the values associated with the diverse student group and apolitical environment present within the institution.

 

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Reposted from www.tylerbudd.com

Stephanie Cadel et la Caravan – [ Shoot ]

This past week I had the opportunity to work with Stephanie Cadel et la Caravan a as part of a classmate’s culminating experience.

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Stéphanie, al origen del proyecto de la Caravane, es una joven canta-autora francesa que después de haber tocado en varios países a lo largo de sus viajes entre Colombia, Inglaterra o Francia, se asentó en Valencia haciéndose un hueco en su escenario musical. Con un estilo propio que viaja entre la chanson française, el folk, el swing y el jazz, nos lleva a varios universos sonoros mezclando idiomas.

Generally, I tend to try and write about current or trending news.  However, this week will fall more in line with sharing a learning experience, rather than the recent standardization of my blog posts.

Lessons Learned:

i ) Always book your own space.  Although the group confirmed the space, they didn’t seek the necessary permission from the property’s administration to capture picture or video. Thus, resulting in some very last minute scrambling under an already unfavourable time crunch.

ii) Utilize your surroundings.  After realizing the indoor area with better lighting was no longer an option, we headed outside around the back of the building to an empty lot. I remember at the time being slightly panicked trying to figure out what the hell I was going to do in this space. So, much to the surprise of the band ( and to be honest, myself ) I started rummaging through the trash in the weeds at the side of the building and found a 13-inch tube TV and a broken door. It wasn’t really a eureka moment, but more of a ‘fuck it’, let’s see what we can do with this kind of moment.

iii)  Bullshit.  I was completely vulnerable in a group of strangers, but pretending to be confident is infectious. The group went from having a look of skepticism to relaxing and having fun with it.

iv) Charades.  An absolutely horrible party game, but serves a real world application. This isn’t so much about miming and hand gestures as much as it is playing to your strengths. I understand virtually zero Spanish ( which in retrospect, is pretty sad since  I have now been in Valencia for five and a half months), but I do play a really good goofy foreign kid and I went with it.

Takeaways

These aren’t my best photos. I probably won’t use them in my portfolio, but I am super proud of them. For the first time since arriving here, I actually managed to apply real skills to a problem, in order to come up with a viable solution ( albeit this was technically a real world problem – it nonetheless feels pretty satisfying).

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A Big Bag of D’s: Unveiling 300

A Big Bag of D’s: Unveiling 300

Disrupt, disintermediate and disseminate—these terms seem to permeate the forefront of an already eclectic wheelhouse of buzzwords used over the course of this past week’s Midem. What does it all mean? About as much as intrapreneurs, T-model employees, and bleeding-edge tech. This has aptly led to the title of this blog series: A Big Bag of D’s (inaptly creative, but will probably help with SEO).

Midem 2014 was highlighted with the unveiling of 300, a Google-backed “music content company devoted to the discovery and development of the artists of the future.” The keynote itself was as expected: riddled with poor jokes and photoshopped images, with a couple of hidden gems that you’d expect from an old colleague.

What we’ve learned:

Twitter Partnership

A twitter algorithm for discovering artists will never work, just as we’ve seen it through the failure of music curation. It can’t listen, it doesn’t know what’s cool and it can’t connect. By the time significant or shareable content is aggregated through a mass web of hashtags, retweets, bots and purchased followers, it’s already been discovered. We’re already onto what’s next.  If you want to discover an artist first, you have to be immersed in the culture. It’s the people who breathe, eat and sleep the digital world—it’s your friends who are the tastemakers. By the time they have gone to twitter, they’ve already shared it on Facebook and they’ve subscribed to the artists’ Youtube channels.

The Business Model

Low overhead, skilled workers, autonomy and experience. That’s a solid business model. If 300 can stick to it, it should succeed. Where 300 will run into trouble is artist development. Labels used to do this until it became too expensive. They want what’s ready; they are interested in making money now.

How will 300 be any different?

Perhaps it’s culture. The concept of “fraternity,” for whatever reason, was left out of all the articles I’ve stumbled upon. This is what resonated with me. Perhaps I wanted to hear an affliction in Lyor’s voice, but this is what it’s all about. A dedication, a strive, a passion for music, collaboration, colleagues and artists. It’s the culture, it incubates and drives success on every level, eliminating the negativity, adapting and evolving. Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that?

Closing Remarks

“Sign stars, don’t dust bums.” – Lyor Cohen

Maybe we need to redefine what “stars” are, because lately they’ve seemed to become one in the same.

Tech Spotlight: Stageit l A front row seat to a backstage experience.

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“‘Your Online Concert Venue’– Stageit is an online venue where artists perform live, interactive, monetized shows for their fans directly from a laptop, offering fans unique experiences that are never archived.”

Created by Evan Lowenstein ( of “Crazy for this Girl” fame ) and backed by the likes of Sean Parker and Jimmy Buffet, enters StageIt.  An online video streaming service that garnered steam last year as it was named one of the “Top 10 Music Startups of 2012” by Billboard Magazine; featuring some of the biggest names in music, including Rick Springfield, Ingrid Michaelson, Jason Mraz, Phillip Phillips, Jimmy Buffet and Jake Owen (to name just a few).

 Its been almost a year since these accolades, but where is Stageit now?

The buzz has gone, and all that remains is a virtual graveyard of the unknown, built upon a platform that rivals the beta utility of Ustream.

Why?

It’s no longer new, it’s not cool and it’s failing to adapt.

That’s why the big names aren’t coming back.

Stageit relies on basic features such as  a “tip jar” and a “creative rewards” system, which have been the backbone of donation-based crowd funding since its conception. It lacks creativity and rivals a streaming platform that is far superior in every possible way.

 How does Stageit change? How does it become relevant again?

It needs to be creative, it needs to incorporate one-click options, call-to-actions and an integrated merch interface. And it needs to make the right partnerships (e.g. Topspin).

It needs to be everywhere and needs to not solely exist within the Stageit application.

Unfortunately, these changes should have been incorporated about a year and a half ago, when the big names where there. Now, it looks like Stageit has lost its shot.

It’s going to be an uphill battle, but as a soon as Ustream or Youtube introduces a donation-based system, it’s over. It’s I.S. (Instagram Syndrome).

Fading West in Review

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Fading West,  a music documentary following Grammy-winning alternative-rock band Switchfoot, hit the internet in preparation for their full length album release in the new year. The film features the group in a travel-musiclogue-like fashion as they search for inspiration and waves during their 2012 World Tour.

Directed by Matt Katsolis, the film offers an intimate and authentic look at the journey of the San Diego based musicians, as they cope with maintaining the right balance between family and music life.

The two major takeaways from this piece are that John and Time Foreman can really surf and the cinematography is second to none.  The scenes captured in New Zeland, Australia, Bali and South Africa are visually captivating and make up for the lack of overall depth in the film.  Although it follows a rough storyline of the tour, the tensive breaks in the film seem to mimic the climax of a Much Music Disband episode.

That’s not to say the events were insignificant, they were just poorly portrayed. They didn’t go deep enough and for that, they missed out on the opportunity to create something really special.

In terms of music documentaries,  Fading West comes in around a 3/5. However, some of the images captured would make for a really good Hurley ad.

*Also note: Switchfoot’s guitarist Drew Shirley,  looks a lot like Joe Hursley’s character from Accepted:

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You can purchase the film here:

http://www.fadingwest.com/#/thefilm

I would also recommend reading more about their  “Bro-Am”. You can find that here:

http://www.switchfoot.com/c/bro-am

Berklee Spotlight: Jilly May

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Born and raised in upstate New York,  Berklee College of Music undergraduate singer-songwriter Jilly May captivates audiences with a sound reminiscent of the musical love-child of Regina Spektor and Ingrid Michealson. With authentic lyricism and natural vocal inflections,  her music can do nothing but make your heart smile. Jilly May is a sure bet on anybody’s playlist.

Here is her latest music video, “Beauty of Life”:

 Currently studying abroad at the Berklee Valencia campus in Spain, Jilly hopes to hone in on her craft as she returns to Boston in the new year.

You can find Jillian’s music here:

http://www.jillymaymusic.com/Jilly_May_Music/Music.html

https://www.facebook.com/Jillymaymusic

Indie Spotlight: Jamestown Revival

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It’s pretty safe to say that sometimes bands just “get it.”  I’m not entirely sure what “it” is, but from the moment you first hear Austin-based Southern indie-rock band Jamestown Revival, you’ll get it too.  One part Jonathan Clay, the other Zach Chance, these two childhood friends came together after solo acoustic stints to create a self described “back-porch- folk rock” sound.

Here’s an introduction:

What separates Jamestown Revival from other acts in their genre is seemingly effortless authenticity and sincerity in both their music and their “image.”  Everything from handmade merchandise to show promotion– it’s genuine, it’s quality and listeners gravitate towards it.

Jamestown Revival General Store:

Hotel Cafe Residency Promotion:

If you have some time between study breaks or are looking to continue the procrastination process, have a listen to their newest EP,California, here:

http://jamestownrevival.com/music/

California highlight : Paradise

Back catalogue highlight: The Knives and Pipes EP

Tracks 1 through 4.