UnConventional Thinking…

January 28, 2009

February is really a month to celebrate – Penny Distribution’s trans-atlanticism goes hay-wire and two of the most cutting edge, forward thinking and connected conferences are taking place in the two places we call home – San Francisco, CA and Belfast, Northern Ireland.


Followers of this blog will be well aware of the impact UnConvention Manchester had on me back in October 2008. Check out this video for a taster of that event.

Well, when we came back – (that’d be Rich, Tracy , Jen, Andy and I) – we immediately set about setting up our own event with a similar ethos – sharing best practice, working toward collaboration and inspiring each other. With a slight twist, we added an element of “Barcamp” to proceedings, adding a nod toward the convergence of music and technology, as well as making sure that the event will focus on the audience, and all participants as it did in Manchester – not just those who’ve already established successful music industry careers.

So today, we just announced our lineup of panels for UnConvention Belfast, which will take place on February 6th & 7th in Belfast, UK – hopefully the first of many of UK UnConventions to spin off from that weird and wonderful week in Salford.

With participants from Europe and the USA as well as indie labels & music businesses from all over the UK and Ireland, it’s set to be one hell of an event that couldn’t have been pulled off without the immense support and enthusiasm of a huge array of people…

As one of the participants at UnConvention told me “It’s amazing what you can do when you don’t know what you can’t do”.

Follow @unconvention on Twitter or www.unconventionbelfast.com for more…

Industry Noise, San Francisco (part of the Noisepop Festival)

Noisepop has too many memories for me – Ted Leo, Spoon, John Vanderslice – as well as the array of artists and venues that make San Francisco such an amazing place to live and work.

Well, this year Noisepop is spinning it’s web off into a one day conference called Industry Noise. It will feature keynote conversations with influential artists and technologists, and panel discussions that encourage conversation between the digital music industries and the artists that are forging new terrain through its opportunities.

For those of you unfamiliar, Noise Pop is currently in its 17th year. This city-wide festival has hosted the most influential artists of our time including The White Stripes, Death Cab For Cutie, Modest Mouse, Jimmy Eat World, The Flaming Lips, The Shins, Bright Eyes, Wolfmother, Spoon, The Magnetic Fields, and Jeff Tweedy of Wilco to name a few. Confirmed headliners for 2009 include Antony and the Johnsons, AC Newman and No Age with more to be announced soon.

Have a look at http://www.noisepop.com/2009/industry.php for more…

It’s so Brand new…

January 22, 2009
First edition cover
Image via Wikipedia

Groove Armada’s recent “record deal” with uber-booze company Bacardi got me thinking about branding of bands and the choices bands make and why.

Yes, it’s a brave new world out there. I firmly believe that more and more bands will go independent (in fact, Twitter told me that Fiddy, Pearl Jam and Ryan Adams would all be free agents by the end of the year) and the money will have to come from somewhere.

But partnering with a brand goes much futher than if they can fund your next record or not – it has to be about cause alignment, about authenticity of relationship. There should be no one between the band and the fan and anyone who IS should be clearly aligned with the artistic intent of the band, otherwise you lose the only real currency any band has anymore – credibility + trust.

Pearl Jam + Nike? I don’t think so. But Pearl Jam with Whole Foods? OK. Coldplay + FairTrade. Radiohead + WarChild. U2 + R.E.D. White Denim + Threadless. Panic! at the Disco & Pitchfork.

What kind of branding / sponsorship would you accept from your favorite act?

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Slow Blogging

January 1, 2009
Woodrow Wilson Guthrie ( July 14, 1912–O...
Image via Wikipedia

This is a complete re-post of a blog that’s almost a year old by the inimitable ThoughtWax Anyone who uses “Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie” as a homepage gets my vote every time.

Anyway, here’s the post, now over a year old, that still rings so true:


Slow Blogging
December 4th, 2007 / 1 Comment »

I Googled that phrase — “slow blogging” — and got back a bunch of blog posts of the kind that you’ve probably read or written at some stage. It normally goes something like this:

Apologies for the slow blogging recently, real life got in the way and I’ve just had way too much work going on to be able to concentrate on writing recently. Stay tuned though, I’ve got plans for lots of interesting stuff soon!

Slowness is bad, these post say, but I’ll try to speed up again soon. This is funny, because they represent the exact opposite of what I was searching for, the idea of posting infrequently as a deliberate editorial approach: Slow Blogging.

Without the restrictions of regular media, we pajama-wearers can do whatever we want. For the most part, something is written when it’s ready to be written, and then it’s only as long as it needs to. Some people, like me, have very few things to say, so we say them infrequently.

Other have lots to say. I’ve had to unsubscribe from some good blogs and disconnect from some nice people on Twitter because I was becoming overloaded by their prolific pace. I’m not saying that I don’t appreciate the huge effort that goes into maintaining this frequency, or even that quality necessarily suffers as a result of it. In fact, constantly churning stuff out almost certainly produces a net result of a much higher amount of quality content than sitting around waiting for a stray bolt of inspiration to hit. I’m just surprised that the whole Slow Movement thing hasn’t been more explicitly adopted by the more indolent among us. Or at least offered as an excuse.

Maybe I’m being a selfish online citizen by saying this. Is it alright for others to toil away in the mines daily, providing me with a continuous stream of content, while I happily recline in the hazy meadows of monthly posting? I don’t know. Maybe I’m also stating something that’s already completely obvious (sorry, I’ve got a monthly quota to meet). Anyway, thanks much to all you wonderful people who make the online content that I enjoy daily, and also to those who take their sweet time about it.

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