Personal Learning Plan And All That Jazz

27 Oct

These days, personal interaction happens more and more exclusively on social media outlets, and live concerts are getting harder and harder to successfully market and be well-attended. The sad irony is that because music sharing online as an almost assumed reality, along with the exodus from major labels to smaller, independent labels, has left most artists depending on live shows as a source of revenue—but, “the vast majority of artists don’t have tour support from major record companies and have to go out-of-pocket in order to ply their trades beyond their home bases,” as explained in the article “Would Beatles make it in today’s world?” Consequently, “a lot of great bands break up because they just couldn’t afford to do it anymore.”

The age of Internet and social media have required the majority of music artists to be their own promoters for their shows. This article “How To Promote A Show” explains: “When trying to promote your show, you would expect there to be a team of people to help out: the club, the booker, the other bands, and the promoter. And, yes, they sometimes do help out. However, more times than not, that level of support just isn’t there. ”

One thing with which music artists are having to come to terms is the fact that record sales are no longer necessarily the indication of one’s fan-base, but rather dedication. Charlie Peacock tweeted this quote a while back that I “favorited”: “It’s not a problem if 20,000 people ‘illegally’ download your music. It’s a problem if they don’t.”

I want to take this brief intermission to note that while it may seem this way, this is not a blog on how the music industry is doomed (though it is certainly changing drastically). Look at these opening, somewhat scattered, paragraphs as a long-winded “why I’m doing this,” the backdrop—setting the stage and giving context for some of you, and reminding others. Nowadays, concert promotion is most of the time dependent on social media. And so, my intent is to examine how this is (and should be) done effectively.

After finally graduating with a Biblical Studies major, I plan on doing nothing vocationally with that degree. I realized a little late in my college career that I actually wanted to do something with band/concert booking and/or promotion. I’ve had some experience with this booking bands like The Civil Wars, Anathallo (RIP), and Seryn at Barefoots Joe as well as being the voice behind @BarefootsJoe, so it isn’t completely a foreign concept to me; but I still have a lot to learn.

Luckily, as I said, I am from Nashville, where there are concerts, and corresponding tweets about said concerts, aplenty, so I’ll be primarily looking at how social media has affected the live music scene in Nashville. Many of my sources will be Twitter accounts from different perspectives: record stores, concert venues, concert promoters, people established in the music scene, music magazines, and actual music artists that are using social media to draw people to live shows. I’ll also be looking at some blogs, some of which speak about the music industry more generally, so as not to be (too much of) a Nashville concert snob.

But I’ll still probably have to go to some concerts to experience them first-hand. What a drag!

This is a phone picture of one time when I saw Bon Iver at the Ryman in Nashville and it was awesome.


7 Responses to “Personal Learning Plan And All That Jazz”

  1. Caleb Stallings October 27, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

    I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with. As someone who loves to show films to people and is studying how museums use social media, I think there’s definitely overlap to be found here. Keep posting your findings!

  2. kathrynflippin October 30, 2011 at 2:25 am #

    I really like that you are keeping in this field of study. I know you have done a lot with Barefoots Joe, but it is great that you see there is more to the big picture in this type of industry. I also like that you specifically linked your PLP to Nashville. While the music industry + social media can be a broad topic, you chose to limit it to a place you love, but also want to learn more about. Looking forward to seeing more!

  3. keaghlanred October 30, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

    This sounds like a great project. I wish one of your deliverables was taking the class to a concert. 🙂 I’m interested in seeing how social media changes attendence to concerts, if it really helps put butts in seats.

  4. stephencapps October 31, 2011 at 8:14 am #

    Well hey, thanks for the comments, all of you!

    Side note unrelated to your comments but something on my mind: An unfortunate irony that I’ve seen is that while social media is often what gets people to the concerts, it also distracts people from enjoying the concerts most of the time. Stand at the back of any concert now and you’ll see a lot of watching it through the screens of their smartphones to share on FB and Twitter. And this is lame.

    Jeff Tweedy shares sentiments (i.e. rants, with occasionally strong language) on people talking at concerts (which can also be applied to people playing on their phones the whole time) here:

  5. Kathleen Hartsfield October 31, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

    This is great. I can’t wait to see the end result. I also appreciated how you gave some background for your project at the beginning. Rock out the night.


  1. Stephencapps's Blog - November 1, 2011

    […] that’s almost what’s necessary for a band to get a following. As I mentioned in my previous blog, these days an artist almost has to be a promoter first to interest people, then an artist second. […]

  2. Personal Learning Plan « Stephencapps's Blog - November 22, 2011

    […] Here is me holding true to that promise. (For any who need a refresher on what my plan was, here is my blog explaining what I’m doing and why I’m doing […]

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