June 30, 2008

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about social bookmarking site, and the various ways I use it to aggregate information for Penny Distribution.

•    Tagging interesting articles or some relevant new story, then providing my tags as an RSS feed/Email Subscription for folks who’re interested in music industry stuff and want to follow what I’m reading each day.
•    Tagging artist news, reviews and coverage with the artist’s name – then providing an RSS feed/Email Subscription for that artist so fans can be kept informed of news about their favorite artist.
•    Subscribing to my peer’s RSS feeds – basically having other folks researching on the internet for me 🙂

These functions have been incredibly useful in connecting Penny and our artists to fans and people interested in what we do.  I have a sneaking suspicion, however, that I’m not getting the most out of the service from label perspective.

If you’re a label, artist or manager, do you use to connect fans to your artists?  And if so, what approaches do you take?

My delicious RSS feed is here and you can subscribe to the Penny News service via email here.

If you liked this post and think someone else might find it interesting, please forward it along.  Thanks!

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June 27, 2008
View Over Belfast

Image via Wikipedia

Belfast crowds can be a fickle bunch, but in the right settings, there can be a passion and energy in a Belfast crowd that really represents the deep music roots this city has.

Last night’s Gifted showcase was an interesting contrast to the gig the night before; (the “secret” Topman sponsored show which featured Jape), where patrons were much more interested in being seen than engaging in the music.  The two sides of Belfast’s musical coin, if you will, two nights in a row.  Last night put the good side well and truly on display.

We got to there right after A Plastic Rose had taken the stage and despite a thin crowd and guitar tuning problems, they were tighter and more tuneful than I remembered.  Jackson Cage put on a rollicking display of Modern American Country, something there just is not a lot of round these parts.

But by the time General Fiasco took the stage there was no doubt who punters were most excited about on this bill.  Andrew and I bumped into a few label heavy-hitters (Capitol records in the Empire?) who were in serious scouting mode about the General – and you could see why.  Tight riffs, great look and a drummer every bit reminiscent of Fyfe Ewing, driving the whole band along like a train of horses with pounding, solid beats.  Ed Zealous again left a bad taste in my mouth – I’ll be avoiding them whenever possible.

I can’t remember the last time there was electricity in the room like that.  Overt enthusiasm is not a particularly well known Belfast triat – Have you ever been blown away by a bands ability to bring out the best in a Belfast crowd?  Who and where?

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Music & Technology to Marry, Make Kids with Super-Industry Powers.

June 16, 2008
The Old Romantic Killer Band

Image by coxy via Flickr

In a recent paper from the UK’s performing rights society MCPS-PRS Alliance, two of the sharpest minds in music 2.0 proposed that music rights societies, such as MCPS or any record label, should ask for equity in nascent web based music startups in return for granting those startups the right to use their catalog.

The merits and demerits of this proposal aside (and both are wonderfully divulged in the paper, so go have a read), I’ve been one of a few proponents of the idea that it is this type of co-operation of the technology industries and the recorded music industry that truly presents the best solution moving forward for all involved. From the paper:

“It is in the opinion of the authors that a long-standing solution to the
dilemma of licensing nascent and controversial uses will only occur by
way of persistent, perhaps heated dialogue between the developers of
new services, the investors in those services, and the owners of the
underlying rights involved. Each party has a stake in the success of
innovative opportunities.”

Although the relevance of copyright is currently hotly debated, it is still the framework under which artists of all levels, rookie to mega-star, are compensated for their work. At the indie music level, the viability of artistic careers must start with the artist’s right to be compensated for the performance, duplication and licensing of his/her work.

Of course, the wild success of YouTube and other online enterprises paid little or no heed to copyright. I’m not passing judgment at all here – it’s the digital environment we live in and there’s no changing it.

My question is – how can technology and recorded music industries find common ground in this debate to the advantage of all? More importantly, is this kind of co-operation worthwhile for startups at all? Would you consider the rights of artists were you to run a Music 2.0 startup? I’d really like to hear what you think on this – especially if you’ve got a perspective from the technology side.

Cory Denis summed up this “New Music Economy” quite succinctly in this Wikipedia entry. And it’s this summation that’ll form the basis of a talk I’m giving this weekend at BarCamp, a series of talks that normally focus on tech subjects such as coding, web design and the like. I’m hoping to get into some “heated dialogue” with you here and discussing this subject with folks at BarCamp.

After all, like any great marriage, it’s the arguments that lead to the real growth.

If you found this article interesting, please forward it to someone else who might find it useful, too. Thanks!

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