screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Category: Music Biz

Ticket Masters vs. Music Fans – Unraveling the Sticky, Tangled Web of Today’s Concert Industry

Ticket scrambles, scalping, unsavory characters, and disheartened music fans have been around for a long time, but the Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger added a layer of complexity to what was already a Godfather-esque state of affairs, in what has to be the dirtiest corner of the uber-sketchy music business.

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The SOPA/Protect IP debate

As a music blogger, I’d like to weigh in on this pending legislation that has burst suddenly into public consciousness. My “mission” here is to support artists who are still in the early stages of their careers (ok, and a few of my favorites), who rely on the internet to get their music heard – and hopefully purchased. Don’t I believe that their copyrights should be respected and that they alone should profit financially from their hard work? Of course I do! The same holds true for successful artists, and I understand how difficult it is to get other countries to comply with U.S. copyright laws. However, I worry about the sweeping language in these proposals, and the potential for abuse. Our current Digital Millennium Copyright Act also has the noble intention of protecting artist copyrights, and it is frequently used for purposes other than copyright infringement. Streaming audio can be served notice as can downloads, putting promotional efforts at odds with business strategies. The YouTube shenanigans of a few years ago had nothing whatsoever to do with copyright infringement, and while they got their deal, they paid a high price in customer relations. It’s a tricky business. I expect this debate will continue for some time. [The next discussion/vote on this is scheduled for January 24.]

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Book Release Show for Audrey Ryan’s “The Need to be Heard” (for and about DIY musicians) tomorrow night in Somerville

Featuring Audrey Ryan, Dylan Metrano, Guy Capecelatro III
Sat, Nov. 5th @ 7:30pm at Nave Gallery, Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church
155 Powderhouse Blvd., Somerville
FREE wine & snacks. $5 adm, $10 book

7:30pm- Guy Capecelatro III
8:15pm- Dylan Metrano reading + Tiger Saw performance
9:00pm- Audrey Ryan

Local musician, multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and author Audrey Ryan will be celebrating the release of her book, “The Need to be Heard”, with performance and book readings tomorrow night at the Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church in Somerville. Joining her will be author/artist/musician Dylan Metrano (Tiger Saw) and songwriter/performer/landscaper Guy Capecelatro III.

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The Airborne Toxic Event: All At Once

The Airborne Toxic Event: All At Once – Out Today!
See the band live at the House of Blues, Wednesday, May 11 – buy tickets
~ For the abridged version of this article, please see Ryan’s Smashing Life ~

Growing Pains

My god, this is excruciating! I’ve been enjoying The Airborne Toxic Event since first listening to demo tracks in 2008, and followed their steady ascent, which for me began at a downtown Boston Irish bar for about 150 people. They released their wonderful debut album on Majordomo, and proceeded to tour for the next 2-1/2 years in support of it. That album grabbed hold of my ears and wouldn’t let go, yet I now find myself approaching their follow-up, nearly three years later, with a curious mix of anticipation and trepidation. Why? Because in that time, they signed with Island Records, amassed a large audience of “casual listeners” with their radio hit, “Sometime Around Midnight,” and spent 2010 in a fancy Hollywood studio with world-renown producer Dave Sardi (Band of Horses, The Walkmen, Oasis). It made me a little nervous. This is the first time I stumbled upon a band early on, and not 10 years after everyone else, so I’m new to this whole “grappling with success” thing. I’m not sure how the band is coping, but as for myself, not terribly well.

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On VIP Concert Packages and the ‘Meet & Greet’ (a.k.a. Pay to say ‘hey’)

Thirty Seconds To Mars VIP Packages, and inset: Bon Jovi VIP chair (from a photo by Richard Perry/The New York Times)

Thirty Seconds To Mars VIP Packages, and inset: Bon Jovi VIP chair (from a photo by Richard Perry/The New York Times)

The Woodstock Music and Art Fair, August 15-18, 1969, featuring Richie Havens, Santana, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix… $7 per day. Bon Jovi at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, May 24-25, 2010, the top VIP concert package (with a catered meal, leather bag, and the chair you sit in, custom-designed with the Bon Jovi logo): $1,875. My, how things have changed. In this rapidly shifting milieu of the music business, with a shrinking base of increasingly poor and fewer rich music consumers, new models for generating revenue from the concert-going elite are emerging.

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Indie Bands, Rock Gods, and the Music Biz

I first saw this great photo of The Airborne Toxic Event and thought “this wants for a caption.” And now I have one: “The Airborne Toxic Event Signs with Island Records.” Fantastic news for frustrated overseas fans listening to tracks on their MySpace page, unable to purchase their debut album, and wistfully wondering when if ever they’ll have a chance to see a live performance. Worrying news for fans in the U.S. and the UK who have been fortunate to be able to see the band “up close and personal” at small, intimate venues. And the debate (yeah, another one) is on. The TATE fans I wonder about are those lucky few who regularly hung out with them at the Echo or Spaceland, and what they might be thinking about now. Hopefully most share the views of L.A. blogger Rocket / Rock It, who says “I’m being positive about this because I really want them to succeed, and I need to face that success doesn’t mean playing at Spaceland for locals forever (even if that is exactly what I want out of all my favorite LA bands, selfish me).”

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