US Album Cover Picture

*NEW* Artist of the Week: US

The purpose of this blog is to showcase upcoming artists who have either signed with a label or chosen to build their career through a Direct2Fan method.

ARTIST/GROUP: US
BIRTH NAMES: Carissa Rae and Michael Alvarado

ORIGEN: Los Angeles, CA

GENRE: Pop, Acoustic, and Soul
LABEL: None
WEBSITEhttp://www.haveyouheardofus.com

FANBASE
TWITTER: 5,580 followers | https://twitter.com/ustweeting
YOUTUBE: 8,97,335 video views | http://www.youtube.com/MichaelAlvaradoMusic
FACEBOOK: 6,481 likes | http://www.facebook.com/HearUs

WHY US?

I discovered US from one of my friends here at Berklee Valencia. We were working on a project in her room and suddenly she started playing a cover of Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been?” I really liked it, so I asked her who the artist was. She told me it was a duo named US in which the male counterpart was playing all the instruments. This got me interested. Here’s the video:

As much as I love their rendition of the song, I was quite dissatisfied with their name choice. I couldn’t find them on my own. I had to ask my friend to send me the link to their video. Perhaps this is a strategy they have discussed and agreed upon, but I don’t like it. It made it very difficult for me to research them as a group. All of my research had to be conducted by individually researching Carissa Rae and Michael Alvarado who were already established singer-songwriters before they got engaged and became a duo.

Here are some of the results I encountered while attempting to find US (the music duo):

Universidad de Sevilla
United States references
Pronoun references
Toys ‘R’ Us..

Needless to say, I wasn’t looking for any of those things. None of those things even referred to music. The only thing that lead me to their official fan pages was their own website, which of course was not “www.us.com” It doesn’t seem as though they have acquired a manager yet, but if I were their manager, the first thing I’d suggest is a name change. There’s a thin line between creativity and feasibility.

As previously mentioned, Carissa Rae and Michael Alvarado began their careers as individual singer-songwriters. Alvarado was based in the Carolinas and Rae was based in California. They have shown what the best of love stories can turn out to be by their brave attempt to start their life together in Los Angeles as a talented duo. They got engaged Thanksgiving 2011 and have been performing together as duo all over the US gradually building a fanbase they hope will support their upcoming album.

US has a unique way of rearranging songs into unsuspecting genres. They recently began a new YouTube series “Studio Sessions” that showcases them recording their covers in their home-based studio. Check out their folk version of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”:

Here’s my favorite video of Us depicting their longing for each other while attempting to sustain a long distance relationship.

US “Missin You Like Crazy”:

US has not signed to a label yet. In fact, I am not convinced that they want to. They launched a project on kickstarter last year to raise money for their album, and they promised their fans an album comprised of “real music from [their] hearts.” Perhaps they feel as though a label may hinder their artist creativity. They haven’t said much more about their feelings on this, but I am sure time will tell.

It’s obvious that Michael Alvarado and Carissa Rae are madly in love. Their chemistry is adorable and they make great music together. I am anxious to follow the growth of their music career, but they seem as though they will be perfectly content as long as they have each other. Stay tuned!

Prayre Finley

Sources:

“Carissa Rae & Michael Alvarado Form ‘Us’; Preparing Debut Album as a Duo.” a-Tunes.net. Web. 16 Mar 2013. http://a-tunes.net/2012/02/04/carissa-rae-michael-alvarado-form-us-preparing-debut-album-as-a-duo/

“Us.” Tumblr. Web. 16 Mar 2013. http://blog.michaelalvarado.com/post/18021047360/was-it-hard-to-just-leave-home-family-friends-to

THE BARGAINING POWER OF DIGITAL PLATFORMS

It’s a matter of fact that nowadays listening habits are changing, provided that a big percentage of U.S teenagers, accounting for at about 64, are getting used to listen music on YouTube, rather than watching MTV. Well the thing is that the former uses the videos provided by the latter with a result much more appealing in terms of listenings and watchings, earning huge advertising revenues. Let’s think how some popular videos as Gangnam Style have increased massively the popularity of K-Pop, having been clicked milions of times. These figures clearly benefit the image of those acts in terms of marketing and brand value. However, in terms of songwriters/cowriters shares, the result is not great.

Infact, the income generated by streaming,  has been considerated moderated by artists and record labels, while on the other hand there has been a significant growth in terms of revenues for the owners of the recordings. Spotify, as revealed from an independent Swedish label called Hibrys, doesn’t recognize any revenues for musicians and also publishers/songwriters get a low share. However this tool advantages the labels, providing that it has become so popular within them.

In addition, Pandora has reducing his royalties commtiments, on a basis that the satellite radio pay less than 10% of their revenues in royalty payments. Well this is unfaire, also taking in consideration that in Usa artists don’t get paid for air play.

So let’save the songwriters, let’s think about a new business model that could reduce the bargaining power of labels and digital platforms !!

guardian.co.uk

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/oct/10/music-streaming-songwriters-youtube-pandora