Coachella Highlights: Part I

It’s that time of year for the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival!  The festival features two consecutive weekends of music held in Indio, California.  One of the great things about Coachella is the opportunity to see some of your favorite vets perform as well as new and up-and-coming acts from diverse musical backgrounds! Catch a few of my fave Coachella highlights below:

Solange and Beyoncé

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Solange Knowles, affectionately known as Solo by her fans, covered Erykah Badu’s “Bag Lady” during her set at Coachella.  She then performed some of her own tunes, including Sandcastle Disco (one of my faves from her) and her latest single “Losing You.”  The biggest surprise of the night was when her big sis Bey took the stage alongside her!  Looking like a scene straight from one of Solo’s music vids, Bey popped up and the twosome danced in sync to “Losing You.”

Peep the vid below:

OutKast

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Outkast_Coachella_2(Weekend 2 at the Coachella Festival)

Andre 3000 and Big Boi of the critically acclaimed Southern Hip-Hop group, OutKast reunited on stage for the first time in seven years at Coachella! They were the headliners during the first weekend and the duo performed again this past Friday.  During the first show, they performed 27 songs and was joined onstage by Janelle Monáe and Future. After mixed reviews from the initial comeback performance at the festival, they revamped their production and performance issues for their set on Friday and received more praise from festival attendees this time around.

Vid below from the first performance:

 

 

Recognizing The Value of Community

Artists in today’s music industry are a brand.

It seems we in the industry are hearing that phrase thrown around on a daily basis. It’s clear this knowledge is becoming increasingly widespread as case studies on Lady Gaga’s success are as trending as she herself. But while brands are worth developing, it is important to understand how they can be effective – only as part of a larger initiative. The most impressive examples of commercial entertainers are not successful because they are a good brand, but rather because they are leaders of a lifestyle and most importantly – of a community. Gaga’s success is attributable to her faultless positioning and unwavering commitment to her ideals of originality, expression, and confidence. But only by embodying these qualities and establishing her brand with authenticity has she become the industry’s most effective example of a leader of a community.

Mama.

Mama.

Branding is only a part of the picture. 

Ever since its origins on cattle farms, branding has encompassed anything and everything done to clearly and quickly differentiate one thing from another. In the frozen pizza industry, branding efforts allow us consumers to make decisions based on expectation. In the music industry, however, it’s how we convey the most information about an artist in the shortest amount of time through coordinating every aspect of his or her presence in hopes that we’ll get a listen [and hopefully, a second listen.] Effective branding is imperative in our attempts to stand out amongst endless competition – but is only a part of what needs to be done to flourish as an artist. In order to effectively construct our own strategies or those of the artists with which we work, we have to consider our branding in terms of how it can establish community. As we understand, a brand means nothing without a loyal following and the most effective means of creating a following is to adopt a position that resonates with a group of people. When this group of people is able to rise through social ranks, whether through size or passion, the artist grows as well. To lead these supporters, an artist needs to be as much a member as she is a leader. As such, her ideals are understandable, communal, and inherently authentic. In terms of brand partnerships, which are quickly becoming more and more prevalent to combat dwindling record sales, there are only a handful of thinkers getting it right. More often than not, overt brand sponsorship agreements do not promote idealistic resonance with the increasingly discerning marketplace. We, as those responsible for marketing these values, need to pay attention to the potential effects of brand affiliation before accepting such deals.

Communities & Music

Community must not be considered only an artist-centric phenomenon. If the industry was really based entirely on artist branding efforts, there would be little explanation for the rise and fall of genres such as Electronic Dance Music or Indie Rock, which have far too much depth and complexity to be effectively branded. The surging popularity of both genres have coincided with a growing and developing family of fans. Forums for aspiring producers and illustrious electronic festivals have spread throughout the United States, establishing the required network of support for the EDM genre to creep its way into pop music and the country’s aural lexicon. Similarly, were it not for the a growing awareness of and interest in the quirky lives of hipsters, their lo-fi soundtrack of indie music could not have become a genre of choice for our nation’s youth and the speciality of 2013’s best new artist, fun.

Wait - I'm pretty sure we were making fun of those glasses last year. Why do I now own a pair?

Wait – I’m pretty sure we were making fun of those glasses last year. Why do I now own a pair?

Communities are powerful.

While Lady Gaga commands one of the most extensive and passionate families of little monsters, Justin Bieber’s legion of beliebers just may be the most devoted. Despite one of the most vehement slander campaigns from a horde of naysayers a million strong, Bieber’s fan-base has thrived and grown. The adversity has only served to create a tighter, more exclusive community of fans – one that new members are excited and proud to join.

The passion and support of a community is the driving force of success in our modern music industry. From local artists to the superstars, an artist’s family is a source of inspiration, creativity, sanity, happiness, and, of course, the money to continue creating. Thus, it is not the branding we need to focus on, but how the branding relates to and serves our over-arching efforts to lead a population of friends and fans. If we can succeed at that task, we can survive in the volatility of the music business.

MY SPACE AGAIN??

My Space’s decline was mainly due to a series of factors that didn’t make this tool as easy and comfortable as its main competitors Facebook and Soundcloud who has now become  one of the most popular music uploaders. Well, the chief executive is thinking about a new plan for giving a new light to the first significant social network of our generation. It’s hard to give more details about the strategy but the team anticipates its user value, who will be provided by a new experience and not just a duplication of the previous model. While his main competitors stand for streaming services as Spotify and Deezer, one competitive advantage will be the analytic system who is inglobed in it and allows to know “who’s listening to”. It’s not uncommon that an A&R, as in the past, could find this tool more suitable for music research and selection, and once again this could be another positive feature. Another component that provides a competitive advantage, will be the design content and in particular the component of “fun” who is represented in it. The new product is named Specific Media and and the main focus will be on music. In addition it can analyse, through its new technology, who are the most engaged artist’s fans.

However, there is still uncertainty regarding the future profitability of the platform but a new step towards an improvement of the relation between audience and artist seems to be the key factor.