Found a lot of good resources today on marketing and new media. At WFMU: http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2007/05/digital_techono.html
I need to go through Congressman Mike Doyle’s speech and look for specifics. Ultimately he argues for less heavy-handedness from the FCC and other governmental institutions which hurt new and independent musicians. Surprisingly well informed, Doyle points out that most new music gains exposure through the internet. Little can be found throughout the mainstream media.
I like Lauren Bozarth’s blog (she works in the department adjacent to mine, domestic marketing I believe for Island Def Jam), which she showed me today. She makes a lot of posts, and I realize that our blog will need some serious work if it’s to become what I want it to be.
She reports quite extensively on the ever-mounting changes to the structure of the music industry. Things she notes: a return to a singles dominated market (way back when it was all about 45’s), the major financial losses of big music companies (I believe that Warner Brothers suffered some significant blows), the ease with which a band can get signed today, no one listens to a band’s entire record, and most of these bands suck, e.g. Fall Out Boy, whose lead singer, Peter Wence, I believe, sees himself as an heir to the David Bowie archetype. Please. Shoot me. Now. Speaking of which, rock has grown so fucking jockish and homophobic since the seventies, early eighties. Fucking Reagan years. I could see making love to Bowie back in the day:
No one uses periodicals to find out what new music is coming up; RIP Rolling Stone. I find that most people discover music by word of mouth and similarly through social networks like Facebook (or MySpace until it got the AIDS, a.k.a. marketing robots spammed the shit out of your account, rendering the network as a whole virtually useless.) Otherwise, sites like pitchforkmedia.com and tinymixtapes.com, sometimes even wfmu.org inform my music taste. Today I also discovered allmusic.com which certainly has the potential to become the most ass kicking wikipedia of music ever, but I’m a little dubious. It’s not got a good name, in terms of branding. Think about it, anything that’s been big in the past two decades has had a weird, anti-commercial name name: Starbucks, Google, Facebook. These names are goofy and mishapen, but they get lodged in the nebulous recesses of your consciousness because of this.
This reminds me, got a book recommended to me by Lauren today, Please Kill Me, talking about the music industry from right before the Beatles right up to the eighties, and it paints a picture of the industry as a tightly-knit, “incestuous” group of cats who are all figuring shit out for the first time. Makes some obiovus but interesting points too; the Sex Pistols were a boy band, since they were a group of non-musicians who were put together by Malcolm McLaren who went on to engineer several one hit wonder bands in the eighties. This confirms my hypothesis that Punk has been from the start one of the most commerical, ‘Pop’ mediums of art, and it’s even more obvious than that. If we look at the Velvet Underground as the first Punk-type group, it’s easy to see that there’s a Pop aesthetic at work, as Andy Warhol had a lot to do with their commercial and artistic achievement; Warhol, seminal consumerist pop artiste.
Pelevin made this point in Homo zapiens, that, increasingly the most succesful commercial aesthetic is the one that is the most seemingly anti-commercial in nature. I don’t know if any of you have been watching MTV lately, but they frequently broadcast ten to twenty second vignettes in between programming and commercials that often play like little art movies. They rarely have a accessible message and when they do, it’s usually mildly to excessively self-conscious and self-referential, playing out scenarios that portray characters who are consumers and the weird and artificial way in which commercials try to appeal to them. The aggregate effect of these advertisements is that you the consumer unassumingly let down your consumer cynicism and become more receptive to the disguised message. You think, “Oh look at this, it’s not even a commercial. This is art, pretty cool that MTV would broadcase this type of thing. They seem to really know what the consumer wants. I guess MTV’s not that bad after all.” Ah! But it was a commercial, and you have been convinced that MTV is cooler than you thought, by however infintisimal a degree.
I found this website/blog on marketing that I like also:
There’s a lot there on new media, although I think they miss the point I stated above about the success of anti-commercial advertising when they praise a lot of very corny, direct-message commercials from the mid-eighties. I guess that they suffer from a minot case of nostalgia.
That’s all I have to say for the time being. Does anyone else have any ideas out there? Comments, objections, et cetera, I’m really interested in what people who actually consume music rather than jsut stealing it have to say.