Tag Archives: music

This Too Shall Pass

1 Nov

Chances are if you spend much time on the Internet at all, you saw OK Go’s video for “This Too Shall Pass.” Er, there were actually about four different videos for the song, each decidedly different. But I’m talking about the Rube Goldberg Machine version—the one with 31M+ views. This one. (If you don’t want to click on it now, the video is at the end of the TED Talk embedded at the end of the blog.)

Oh, did I say TED Talk? Yes, TED Talk. I watched one of them for this blog. The talk was by Adam Sadowsky. You might not know him from Adam (get it? Ha!), but he’s the guy who oversaw the engineering in this intricate and elaborate music video. He explains what the experience was like.

This isn’t the band’s first viral video. They made the one with the treadmill dancing, too. So they’re not clueless on the matter. Thus, they gave Adam a list of Ten Commandments:

  1. No “magic”
  2. Band integration
  3. Machine action should follow song
  4. Make use of the space
  5. “MESSY!”
  6. Machine starts the music
  7. Synched to rhythm & hit specific beats
  8. End precisely on time
  9. Machine should PLAY part of the song
  10. All in one shot

A daunting task, yes? After 85 run-throughs (with only three that successfully made it to the end), they got it to their liking. And needless to say, it was a hit.

I’ve discussed with friends that OK Go are better at making videos than music. But today, 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. I’m not sure about the attendance of OK Go concerts, but I do know that they’re great at marketing themselves. And sometimes that’s what it takes.

Here’s the TED Talk, which was enjoyable, informative, and brief:


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.