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:

 

 

When I Lost a Debate About Spotify.

Is Spotify Killing the Music Industry?

I recently took part in a class debate where our team was arguing that ‘Yes’ Spotify is killing the music industry.

With a class of music lovers, who predominantly use Spotify to listen to music everyday, it was always going to be an up hill battle trying to convince them.

Our team of three, brainstormed many different arguments but couldn’t find any validity in that the decline in the music industry is solely due to Spotify, as it takes up such a small market share. Instead, we decided to use our passion, what I like to call the Thom York approach and go for the emotional tact. The three of us do not use Spotify and are quite passionate that it is the devil. Trying to articulate that proved pretty hard.

Below is my section of the speech, it gets quite convoluted at times, I hope however, that the audience were entertained and could see some valid points in my argument:

Today, we are not going to use the aid of a slide presentation to tell you why Spotify is killing the music industry. As a class of music aficionados, passionate, next generation leaders, we hope to prove why Spotify is killing the music industry  – creatively, through the choice paralysis and finally the hit song complex.

Here we have a brothel more commonly referred to as the music industry. The major labels are the pimps and the whores are the artists. You can buy that more desired worker, but for a larger price. Or you could just pay for that indie band who you wouldn’t brag to your mates about.

In comes spotify, the STD known as chlamydia that is slowly infecting the music industry. And no, I’m not talking from personal experience.

Amanda Palmer, our favourite TED talker said not to ask an artist about Spotify. “He’ll go on about the glory days of vinyl and recording to tape”…Spotify started in 2008 as a band aid solution to illegal downloading and has killed the value of songs and albums that I Tunes were offering. Just like video killed the radio star, Cd’s killed the vinyl star, Spotify is killing the music industry. Palmer says not to ask the artist but without the artist and their creativity, where would the industry be?

We define the music industry as a creative industry that over the last ten years has seen a detrimental downturn.  The industry is not measured in sales, it’s measured by creativity. We saw at MIDEM music conference, the need for innovation and new business models but the underlying theme of the festival was nostalgia. These big dogs of the music industry were crying out for a need to go back to the model of the 80’s. But why did it ever stop? It is the the global mega stars, often with one hit wonders, that Spotify holds (excuse the pun) – major  biases for that are killing the industry.

Yesterday, Kid Cudi released his 4th studio album. Blogs across the internet cleverly marketed it with a “download here”  button tat automatically directed the user to I Tunes. On I Tunes, Cudi sold it for $10 as a buy album only. Where we were once saving our pocket money for that new parental advisory album our parents didn’t want us to buy, we now pay the same amount to play millions of albums once, make a quick assessment of whether there’s a ‘Gangnam’ hit on it or not, then dispose of it. It is in this quick disposal of music the creative side of the industry is being killed.

Needless to say, we were crushed in the debate, the opposing team spoke well and used many figures proving that Spotify are currently doing some good in terms of sales for the music industry.

We concluded the debate with:

The record industry has been a cold twitching corpse for a long time now, Spotify has just given them a chance to choose their coffin.

I enjoyed the way the results were announced by our teacher over Twitter and the conversation that ensued:

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Indie Label Highlight–Mad Decent

Mad Decent Logo

  • Label Name: Mad Decent
  • Artist Roster: (75 Artists Total) including Diplo, Riff Raff, Bonde Do Role, Dillon Francis, and Jeffree’s Crew
  • Founded and spearheaded in 2006 by: Wesley Pentz, better known as Diplo (3x-Grammy-nominated producer and world renowned DJ)
  • Philadelphia via L.A. Based Record Label
  • Imprint: Jeffree’s
  • Genres: Techno, Dancehall, Electropop, Hip Hop, Trap, Reggae Fusion, Moombahton
  • Mad Decent Records hosts a series of Annual Block Parties—they are typically a series of outdoor dance party/concerts held in select cities across the U.S. and Canada.
  • Mad Decent Records aims to bring new genres and cultures to light in the ever-diversifying music community.

Diplo (Founder of Mad Decent Records/Grammy Nominated Producer/World Renowned DJ)Diplo

Diplo (his alias, short for Diplodocus was derived from his childhood fascination with dinosaurs) said in a statement: “Our new extension of the label, Jeffree’s, is the best new music– the most progressive, the most amazing, the deepest underground and subterranean sounds from the Earth’s crust; the best sounds available and it’s free. It’s what Mad Decent was originally made for– new artists thinking outside of the box.” Diplo has also worked on production and mixtape projects with Justin Beiber, M.I.A., Beyonce, Snoop Lion, and Usher, along with other notable artists.

The idea behind Jeffree’s is to showcase innovative sounds from some of the world’s best up-and-coming producers.  A new single will be available for free every other Thursday on the Mad Decent website with higher resolution versions of the songs sold as part of a compilation that will be available on iTunes and Beatport every two months.

Mad Decent Records offers a premium account on its website for $10 a month.  Members who sign up for a premium account will receive releases before anyone else, receive a 15% discount in the merch store, access to selected releases from the label’s catalog, and exclusive remixes, mixtapes, and live sets.  Members can also stream or download all of the material whenever or wherever (WAV/MP3 formats).

Some of my favorite acts include Diplo, DJ Yellow Claw, Riff Raff..These tracks will definitely get the party started! Turnnnn Up!! Check them out below! I’m twerkin’ in my seat as I type! LOL

Balloon Twerk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DJ Yellow Claw “DJ Turn It Up”

Diplo “Express Yourself” feat. Nicky Da B 

Riff Raff “Dolce & Gabbana” 

For more info and to check out their extensive roster of artists…visit http://www.maddecent.com Thank me later!

Tyler & —- Infinite Playlist : A beginner’s guide to the musical commonwealth.

Alright Wanka’s…As many of you have noted upon entering our kickin’ crib,  we tend to have a pretty decent selection in tunes. So, instead of cracking out SHAZAM on your mobile telephones the next time you’re over, we’ve decided to make your life much, much easier. As a result, it only seemed logical to compile a setlist of our favourite tunes from our native lands in the commonwealth ( God Save the Queen or something like that).Although this is no simple feat, we’ve also decided to  take it even a step further by finding these artists’ playing their crafty beats  in ‘creative’ places ( Don’t worry, all of this music is extremely relevant, so you can BORROW it for your A&R Blogs).Without further adieu and in the infamous words of Carl Pires, ‘Swag, swag, swag’

Enjoy…

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Australia # 1 : Ball Park Music – It’s Nice to Be Alive // Live in a grocery cart

Canada # 1 Lights – Quiet // Complete with a glory hole… enjoy.


Australia # 2 Dune Rats – Fuck it  // Live from atop a firetruck

Canada # 2 Hey Rosetta! – There’s an Arch  – In the hood.

Australia # 3 Jack Dawson // Being August Rush.

Canada # 3

Dan Mangan – Rows of Houses/ Leaves, Trees Forest //  In a River ?

Australia #4 – Vance Joy – Riptide // On a Tram (also, commonly referred to as a train)

Canada # 4- Michael Bernard Fitzgerald – Suzie ( I love you ) //  Barefoot, with an interpretive Dancer, being hip as F#Ck.


Honourable Mentions:

Lights – In the Dark I See // In a cellar ( I feel as though she needs a new location scout…poor girl).

Vance Joy – Riptide //  Technically, this is just a music video, but it might be the most literal of all time – literally ( Sorry, I dislike puns as much as the next person, but I couldn’t help it).

Thanks for reading

MARC MONSTER AND THE OLIVES: A Mexican Blues-Folk Band on the Road to Make it Happen

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One of the common challenges for any band around the world is to put its music out there and make it be heard by a broad range of people. As we all know this is even more complicated within the indie scene. When the genre of music you play is not well known in the country you live in and on top of that, your lyrics are in a foreign language, the challenge is even more.

Marc Monster and the Olives is a Mexican blues, folk, country, and rock band created by Marco Oliveira (or Marc Monster) in 2007. Marco is a Berklee B.A alumnus who graduated in music business. As soon as he went back to Mexico he started to record all the songs he wrote while at Berklee. In order to record the music he called a bunch of musicians from Mexico City with some experience playing blues.  After they finished a couple of tracks, Marco came up with the idea of making a band out of this exercise. This was the birth of this very talented ten-member band.

From the very beginning Marco was not only the singer/songwriter of the band but also its manager. From the outset he had to deal with the issue that blues and folk music are not quite popular in Mexico City and there’s not many places to play live. In addition, all the songs songs are written in English making it hard for a vast majority of people in this market to understand the lyrics and therefore relate to them.

Listen to High Heels songs!

“High Heels the album has songs and rhythms melted on a fine vintage production and a taste of soul…”

Marcmonster – High Heels by Marc Monster & The Olives

The band has been able to overcome some of these difficulties with its talent and creativity becoming a well-known project within the Mexico City indie scene. The members of the band have created a very particular sound that has helped build a small yet faithful fan base. In these 6 years, Marc Monster and the Olives have recorded 2 albums, participated in major jazz and blues festivals, and recorded the soundtrack of “Havana Cinema” a short film by Alfonso Cuarón.

What’s next for this unusual band?

After considering that they are not in the perfect market to make this project profitable, the answer seems to be “internationalization”. Perhaps a good example of internationalization is the band named “Moriarty”. This band mainly performs in France playing blues and rock with lyrics in English. Although it is a French-American band, they released in 2009 their first album in France “Gee Whiz But This Is a Lonesome Town”. After this success the album was released not only in the UK, Germany, Belgium and other countries in Europe, but also in Canada, Japan and Australia. Then the group began a long French and world tour with more than 270 concerts visiting 18 countries all over the world.

Thinking in terms of management solutions for Marc Monster and the Olives, a coupe of ideas: Firstly, I recommend leaving the management responsibilities to a more experienced company, rather than on the shoulders of the lead singer. Secondly, it is very important to make a worldwide networking in order to appear in the global scene. Finally, invest more time and money in outreach through a creative social media plan that could help them expand their profits.

On September 2013, Marc Monster and the Olives started the recording sessions of their third album with the hope of spread their fine music all over the world.

This constitutes a great opportunity for this band to incorporate some of the ideas mentioned above and do some research on what other similar bands like Moriarty have done to have greater impact outside of their comfort zone. With three albums in their trajectory, they have enough great music to offer.

I’m sure this band is one of thousands in the music market that need help to re-structure their careers and make their dreams come true. Maybe people like us can help them make this happen!

To end, a little taste of what these guys are about.

My Tour Manager: Another Step Towards the DIY World

My Tour Manager: Another Step Towards the DIY World

I will say, I’ve taken quite a satirical approach to the music business in my previous posts.  Contract riders, punk bands, and social media for annoying your friends: they were, and were meant to be, very casual and fun reads meant purely for reader enjoyment along with an informative touch.  Today, however, I’ll bring up something nifty but more towards the realm of serious.

Today, getting those gigs isn’t any easier than it was a few years ago.  With Livenation and AEG dominating the touring world, the common DIY punk band will scratch their head and go, “Well, I guess I’ll just have to start using the phone and calling up some venues.”  There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s the way I’ve done it and it’s the way it’s gotta be done to get your foot in the door and your name out.  After all, if every no name up and coming band could score the big gig that Lady Gaga could score, everyone would be musicians.  To quote an incredibly cheesy and overly abused rock and roll quote, it’s (always) “a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll.”

However, with everything getting so digital these days, why can’t the booking process be digital?  That’s where My Tour Manager kicks in.  This is a touring site based in France, so it’s not quite released out to the English (or other) language speaking worlds.  Basically, the way this site works is that you get to choose your shoes as the tour manager/booking agent, or as the artist looking for gigs.  You register onto the site, and then, if you choose the shoes of an artist, locate concert venues and promoters to get a booking.  If you are the agent, it’s the opposite: you get to look through the selection of registered artists on the site and it’s smooth sailing from there.  This is virtually the Craigslist without the creepy sections and black and white format.  It’s a neat flashy way to get it across.  If you’ve found other sites dedicated to booking artists, you’ll find that they are not usually organized or do not give you the option of presenting yourself in a flashy and interesting way.

While this site is great, it is not truly optimal.  Again, it’s France based.  It is, on the other hand, a step in the right direction.  From here on out, it’s all digital, and we have to face that; so why not take advantage of that fact, face it, and use it to get solutions in the future?  If this is one site, why not create more flashy online booking sites?  Has no one thought of integrating social media for bands into an online entity?  This is the future of the DIY artist.  Yes, digital has wrecked the old music business model, but it has opened many doors for recognition from the bands that we’d always whine “deserved more credit.”  

Sites like this are just the beginning.  The more we progress into the future, the more the independent, DIY artist is able to expand his reach just a little more.  Does this mean that majors are truly outdated?  Not exactly.  To be honest, the worldwide promotion you get from major companies could also be combined with this digital age.  It’s really up to the band in the end.  Regardless, no band starts out signed to a major record label with global reach in this age: so online booking sites are critical.  I’m eager to an age where you can contact everyone that you need to book for a tour from your bedroom.  Could it ever be that simple?