Music in Motion

Posted on April 30, 2008. Filed under: music | Tags: , , |

For the last few months, I’ve been reading the thoughts of Mr Ian Rogers, who is a passionate man when it comes to music, the music industry and community engagement. When I started reading it was because he was then a VP-to-do-with-music (a paraphrased title) for the company I work for, and had first dibs on a lot of the stuff we rolled out from the Music and Entertainment side of the business. He’s since moved on to a startup which is still mostly in stealth, and aims to help independent artists earn a living. Good luck to ’em – sounds like interesting, exciting and useful stuff (and we know independent artists could do with more help).

The reason I bring this up (‘Yes – why already. Quit stalling’) is that one of his latest posts discusses the power and reach that music blogs are gaining in the industry and the community. And this got me thinking about this other side of the well trodden ‘the Inter-tubes are killing the business’ argument about people pulling music they haven’t paid for from the network.


Just for the record, I generally frown on the illegal downloaded music (as my friends will loudly attest) and I don’t do it myself. It’s an issue of hypocrisy for me but I won’t get into it right now. However, that’s not to say that the current industry model isn’t broken, in fact has been forced to break by the wonders of the free exchange of information that the growing network of people, storage and bandwidth have created online. I have never thought that music downloads were killing the industry, and as anyone who has been to see small bands in the UK or the US in the last 4 years can tell you, giving away music on a website is a great way to get exposure (Hello Miss MySpace, right this way please).

But of late, the steadily increasing audience for music blogs has caused two interesting evolutions. One is that whereas people used to have to go to gigs or find the local hang out to talk about music they liked as well as discover new music, blogs are enabling that conversation to take place amongst a larger and more diverse group of people. The other is the rabid following bands with no radio play and little touring can get (which is also a result of the first point). This allows artists with a strong local following to get wider coverage faster – see the Arctic Monkeys as an example.

So what should we do? Well, if you already have friends in a band, you’re probably already talking about them online, and you might also be scrobbling any recordings you already have. And that’s really the key – take part, and enjoy. Spread the word. Every band you know about is a potential find of a lifetime that someone doesn’t yet know about. Likewise, every band you know about is someone’s love from before you started listening to them, and you can learn all sorts of crazy and interesting thing.

Punk Rock's In the Ink that's in his Skin

Don’t be jealous with your music knowledge – share and consume. For my part, let me tell you that I rediscovered Frank Turner, ex lead singer of the fantastic Million Dead, on stage at the Leeds Festival last year. He’s taken a singer song writer turn these days, and is turning out great music with a smile a mile wide. It’s sing-along stuff, with as dedicated an audience as you could ask for. He’s just wrapped up a solo tour for his second album, but is supporting his old friends from The Holloways on the road, and is also playing the Cambridge Folk Festival later in the year. Go. See him. You will not regret it.


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