New Artists

I have written about this topic before, but it is a topic that needs to be brought up over and over again.  When you are a musician who has aspirations of the big time than you need to work.  Its like any other job only tougher.  If you are working at company X and you think one day you would like to manage, than you work hard and try and make a good impression, earn the recognition and get the promotions.  When you are a musician trying to make it big, you are going up against a couple people for that notice, you are fighting millions of other artists.  With the ability to broadcast world wide, instantly and share music through various avenues, from YouTube to Soundcloud and Spotify, just to name a couple of the big ones.

To get the recognition you desire for your music, it takes  more than just recording a song and waiting for someone to bang on your door with a truckload of money.  That kind of thing doesn’t happen.  You have to play the small venues and try and build a following.  You start on a local level and establish and than expand where you play.  Beyond the playing at bars and events etc is the follow up with fans.  This is 24 hrs a day 7 days a week.  This doesn’t mean you have to work non stop, but social media has made it so easy to reach out to virtually everyone.  Are you using it to your advantage or using it against yourself.  It can do as much damage as it can be a help.  I will give you a shining example and one of the driving reasons for re-writing this article.  I get hundreds of songs every week from new artists.  I am based in Canada, but I am getting it from around the world, and when we can, we play their music if it fits with our formats.

I was going through some new songs that I was adding and found a song that had an odd kind of name on it.  I started with the bands website, looking for a reference to what I thought the song title was, and listened to all the tracks on their site.  I will tell you I like this song, which is part of the reason for the extra effort.  I than did the same on some of the online resources as well and again could not find that particular song.  I have no recollection of where I got this song, who sent it to me.  I can find no emails from this group either that would say what it was.  I finally just broke down and sent them a message, explained the issue and waited for a response.  I am still waiting, and that song didn’t make it to rotation and was filled by another artist.

Can you answer every message that is sent to you.  Probably not, though it should be something that is attempted.  Lets face it, you aren’t Garth Brooks, Brad Paisley or Florida Georgia line, who get a thousand messages or more every day.  Find a way to do it.  Does it take time, absolutely, but is it worth while, you better believe it.  Someone like myself, in the broadcast business doesn’t need the personal contact, though the conversations with artists always are great.  Can you afford to blow off potential fans though.  Our society posts so much garbage and crap it really is mind boggling the amount of wrong information and outright lies that are out and circulating.  It only takes one disgruntled fan to post the comment that singer WXYZ ignores their fans.  You have to fight for every fan you can get.  You have to fight to get your music played all around the world.  Most importantly, you need to understand the way people are treated by you is often how you are treated in return.

A great example of the kind of effect comments or lack of comments can have are the Dixie Chicks.  One comment which was a personal one at that, not representing the group, and their music was completely pulled from hundreds of radio stations.  The effect of that, back in 2003 is still felt today.

I finish with this thought and question for you.  This is the second time in less than 6 months I have reached out to this group, and have not received a response. If they don’t give a damn about something as important as properly displaying their music, proper song title etc, than why should I care.  Why bother to play their music.  It is not a recognition thing, its common sense.  Everyone’s time is important, so do I waste time when I know I won’t get a response for significant questions, or just go on to someone else’s music and slip them in that spot in the rotation.

Don’t think this feeling is unique.  Its probably worse in terrestrial radio, because so many of them are being programmed by younger people, to save money,  and many of them have the same kind of idea, only worse.  They are the younger generation too, and many of them think they have the world by the balls.

Just some simple advice, take it or not.  It really doesn’t matter to me.

 

New Music & Musicians

When you step away from all the negativity that makes up the world today its a pretty wonderful place for a lot of us.  Here in North America we have access to so much that we really are spoiled.  But this isn’t about what we do or don’t have in that manner.  It is about the world of music and what we have at our fingertips this very second. let me start by going back in time a bit.

In the late 1980’s when I worked in terrestrial radio, I was a music director for a station in Canada at one point.  It was a mid sized market, and we got a lot of music in every week.  Through the week record companies and independent artists would send us their music.  In those days we received it almost always in the form of the 45 RPM single.  Once in a while full albums came through, but the record companies were looking to promote one song, not an entire album.  The idea being the album sales would be generated with a song on it becoming a hit.  It was a good formula and for the most part it worked.  Now in this station we would receive probably 75 to 100 songs a week.  Let me do a bit of math here, just imagine with the 75 songs each one was only 3 minutes long.  They tended to be closer to four, but I am rounding everything low knowing that the issue was actually worse than I am displaying.  To listen to each song entirely with those numbers would require 3hrs and 45 minutes, per week, and thats if each record played fully back to back with no breaks or discussions.  In the 1980’s Radio stations didn’t generate huge amounts of money, and now in 2016, it is in many ways an industry that is dying..  With all of that said, while Radio DJ’s jobs can be glamorous in some cases, there generally is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes that nobody outside the building sees. Most do other duties as well, from production, to music or program directors.  To add 4 hours at the very least to the schedule each week was impossible.

So at Radio stations all over the world I am sure we all did the same thing.  When you played a song, if it didn’t fit your format it was gone.  What that means, if you played rock on the radio station and it was a country song, it was no good to you.  Those were the easy ones.  In Canada we had to play a certain percentage of Canadian music, which wasn’t really that difficult because there are so many well known Canadian artists and band around the world.  What it boiled down to though was literally only a few seconds to make an impression to the person or persons listening.  Once the song started, it had to grab you by the time the vocals come in.  Remember I am not talking about big name bands or singers here.  They were somewhat different, in they had an established history, and often the songs are already being played on other stations depending on how the song was released.  At this point I am sure you are ready to bail and stop reading so I will stop with the stats from the past.

The point to consider, at that time computers were nothing like they are today.  Your basic phone now has more capacity and options than computers did at that time.  So the average person had no way to hear all this other music, unless they were playing at a bar or an opening act for a bigger band etc.  This is where the difference in time is so evident.  If your friend or someone says to you, hey have you heard about the new band called The Phantoms, (@Phantoms_the) you just grab your phone or tablet or pc, search the name and the world opens up right than and there.  In the 80’s, if someone said that to you, your option was to hopefully see them live or know someone who actually had a record or theirs, or catch them on the radio.  In other words, it was little to no chance.

Now don’t take this next part the wrong way, but in the world today, anyone can and offer music.  There are so many forums online to display and promote your talents that there truly is no way to hear everything that is available.  I run a small online station, basically a podcast at this point that broadcasts live like a standard radio station but only 3 hours a day, and than is available after as well to listen to.  Even being this small cog in the giant entertainment wheel, I get emails etc every day with new music to listen to.   The numbers compared to back than are nearly 10 times what they used to be, and that is just the people out there pushing the music.  Their are another 100 times more artists and bands, that you never hear of for the same reasons in reverse.  So the chances of new artists making a dent into the music world in a big way are so small you cant calculate them.  Much like making it big in sports.  We all are just one needle in a extremely large haystack.

None of this meanwhile should be interpreted as a complaint.  What I am doing, I don’t get paid for and it is entirely a labor of love.  Would I like to get to a point to make money off this, sure, but its not a deciding factor in whether I continue or not.  I am blessed to be able to hear so much great music, and only wish there was the time or opportunity to showcase it all for people to listen too.  But its just not realistic.  At this point I suggest you do some things for yourself.  The next time you are on YouTube or Soundcloud or any service look around for someone you have never heard of.  You may be shocked at what is available to listen to and how good it is.

Over the past 72 hours I have had what I think has been an extraordinary opportunity drop into my lap.  I was contacted by a couple of people offering for me to check out and listen to one singer and the other a band.  What has happened over the past two days is funny that it happened twice in a row.  In both instances I was blown away by the music I heard that I spent almost 3 hours reading and researching about each, and in fact although two different genres, I have both playing as I write this.  Do you remember when you were a kid, or maybe you have kids today who do the same thing.  When they like a song, they play it over and over and over.  That is whats happening, but its not just one song, its all their music.  I realized yesterday that what I was listening to were the next to huge acts that were going to blow the world of music up.  IF?   If after reading the beginning of this blog you understand just how tough it is to be heard and make a name for themselves.  Even though in the case of this blog, It is still in its infancy as far as writing I had decided when I created the site, that I wouldn’t promote individuals.  I even took down my page of independent artist because their are so many that I just couldn’t keep up with all of the requests and didn’t want to be leaving people out.  Maybe I was wrong though.  Maybe I should be promoting those I have heard to maybe help in even a small way.  Thats why I am writing about these two.

Lets start with the band called The Pantoms from Scotland. They are considered Alternative, Indie & Rockers, but you can decide for yourself.   I invite you to also read another piece entirely dedicated to this band.  This was my introduction to them, and also includes links to their music.  The link will be at the bottom of the page.  I don’t know what to say about them at this point.  I sent a message to their Manager, that I now feel kind of stupid about.  It was a quick first impression of the music, which was good, but subsequently every time I listen again to songs “Lost” or “Wasting Time” I can hear different influences in their sound.  But what is best is this is “their sound”, and it is incredible.  I took one of their songs out for some friends to hear, and they all did the same thing.  It was remarkable, they listened, to the entire song, and than said, “Hey, play that again will you”.  I will let you decide who they sound like, but for myself, it is uniquely their own.  I was looking up some of their schedule for playing and am envious to those who have heard them live and will hear them in the near future in venues like King Tut’s.  Take away from those shows what you can, because this band is going to be big.  Just like you have heard the old stories of a band called the Quarymen and those who say they saw them in those small venues, seeing The Phantoms live these days will indeed be something you will share in the future.

The other artist is a solo musician over on the Country Music side of the dial.  Jake Anderson  @jakeandersongs came to me the same way, by introduction from somebody who knew him and wanted me to check him out.  This was approximately 24 hours before I heard of the Phantoms, and was the start of another big dive into one performer.  Jake just recently released a 5 song EP entitled “Comeback Kid”.  I sent him a message that says what I am about to write here.  I put the music on, and listened, and it just played through to the end.  I had enjoyed the first cut so much I hadn’t even stopped it part way.  This pattern repeated itself and by the end I had finished all 5 songs and was blown away.  Those of us older likely more so remember putting on entire albums and listening to both sides.  You don’t hear about that type of thing much these days, but when you played them there was always a song or two that wasn’t that good, and you ignored or did something else while it was on, or lifted the stylus and moved it over one track.  (Look that one up youngsters)

I couldn’t recall the last time I had done just that.  Listened all the way through.  Jake has a great Country sound.  In a time when so many songs crossover to the pop charts, the music at some times is indistinguishable, his is not.  The music isn’t overproduced, but has all the sounds it needs.  The first track “Die Young” has what you could call a haunting quality to the lyrics.  As you listen even the first time, the words and the meaning stick in your mind, and I am sure many many people could truly relate.  When you read about him, you see he is doing the small venues right now as well, and again, this is someone to check out in that type of environment.  I believe that very soon he will be riding a huge wave of success and the days of small clubs will be gone.

I don’t write this about these two easily.  I am after all just one person, and I am sure they have heard words like mine before.  But what they both have is incredible talent, and the drive to make it.  The other part of each days 3 hours of research and listening was interaction with either the performer or a representative.  Many others could learn from them that if you want something you have to work for it.  You can’t just record a song, and than wait for the world to come to you.  I thank those people for the interaction and look forward to more down the road.  I truly hope I am right also, because I would be thrilled for their success, as I said, so few get the chance to reach that level.

Links and references

The Phantoms

Twitter   @Phantoms_the

Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/TMATW/

The blog/story I mentioned earlier.  Please read: https://r8singer.wordpress.com/2016/09/26/the-phantoms-work-hard-to-put-up-walls-of-brilliant-sound-phantoms_the/

Jake Anderson

Twitter   @jakeandersongs

Website  jakeandersonmusic.com/music/

 

 

 

 

The Craziness of Society

When did it become societies right to know everything that is going on about anyone and have the ability to comment on others or situations with little or no repercussions.  An individual can spread lies and make malicious statements, with no basis of truth, and there is little to nothing that can be done.  If you word your statements properly, so there is an implication of who you may be speaking about, but not actually naming them, there is nothing that can be done.  I discovered recently that in Canadian law anyways, unless someone makes a threat of physical violence police have nothing they can do legally.  They will tell you if someone is slandering you on Facebook or Twitter or some other form of social media, than just ignore it.  If it is more than just that, you can apply for a court order that will sanction the person against making statements about you.  But you still need proof that someone is doing or causing you problems, and that is not easy.  According to the law, even if they can track it back to an individual computer in a persons home, they can just say they didn’t say it, and others have access to the computer.  Therefore there is no way to know specifically who did it, so it ends there.  If you manage to get a court order, at that point if the harassment continues, you can again bring the police in and they can than deal with it based on the court order.

But it really is not that simple.  Despite all of that I can’t help but wonder when society changed, or maybe it didn’t.  Maybe this has always been there, in the past in the form of cliques and groups of people talking about someone behind there back.  Now instead of that, they just post their shit online.  I was involved recently in an incident where a group of people openly carried on a conversation about me, making bogus statements, and generally talking shit.  Although they never mentioned me by name, it was obvious who they were discussing.  The best part is really they think they have upset me.  I have no use for such petty bullshit.  I guess since these people and others are really just acting like immature children, maybe the police are right.  Just ignore it.  I certainly don’t have to go where these posts happen, and really have no other reason to be there.

Maybe that really is the best way.  I would think though that as I have passed 50 years of age and others i generally deal with are in the same age bracket, that this kind of behavior would have been left in the past.  hmmm  Maybe, if I hold my breath until they stop talking about me, they will feel bad and stop saying nasty things. Than again, I could just stamp my feet and have a tantrum..

Better yet, I can end this blog and just move on with my day.  I have already wasted too much of my time on stupid people.

 

Rock Music

What is rock music?

Thats an interesting question no matter which direction you approach it.  There are different forms of rock music, but I am curious more about who or whom would be classed as rock bands or musicians.  Bands that fall into a heavy metal category obviously fit the mold, as well as punk, thrash, etc.  My thought comes from reading a website that had a list of the top 100 rock bands, in their opinion.  I won’t give the page because that part isn’t relevant.  In there opening analysis before the actual list they had lots of comments and breakdowns about Rock Bands, but the part that caused me to wonder once again, was a statement on this page that used the band Hootie & the Blowfish as an example, and than quickly added, “Don’t worry they aren’t here.”  Now I don’t know if that means they didn’t make their top 100 or they didn’t fall into the rock category.  As you read through the list, I see names like The Beach Boys, Frankie Vali & the Four Season, mixed in with Van Halen, Motley Crue, and the list goes on.

I like the classics from the 60’s, but i wouldn’t classify either the Beach Boys or Franki Vali as Rockers.  The Beach Boys were part of the surf movement and Franki Vali is more of a pop, Doo Wop type of act.  I have seen other lists, and listened to radio shows, and heard bands that I would never really consider as Rock, but are classed that way.

So is it merely subjective?  In early days, playing electric instruments was a sign they were a rock and roll band.  How about Bill Haley & the Comets?  In their day, they were rocking, but using todays standards, how do they fit in.  I was once told the Mama’s & the Papa’s were a rock band.  Well if they are, than so would be the 5th Dimension.  That I have a hard time thinking of as Rock.  They had a great sound even today, they are great to listen to, but I can’t imagine them on a truly Rock List.

I want to add another example, and that is the Beastie Boys.  They were on the original Rock list I mentioned, and to me, they are Crap, I mean Rap.  Rap is not Rock, and I will never accept a Rap artist on a strictly Rock Band List.  If its a list with just bands or artists, mixed classes, than add any genre you want.  But if you add a rap band/artist you might as well add country as well, because your list is watered down.

So I haven’t answered anything and probably never will.

The Problem With Racism

After what can only be described as a difficult past couple of weeks for people everywhere, but particularly in the United States, if you are a Social Media user you will have been flooded with shows of solidarity and unity. But even these images stop far short of the the real issue and what is really happening in the world. I provide for you a simple analogy of what is happening.
Imagine if you will a group of 100 people who are all for the sake of argument learning how to dance. Time after time, they are all shown the proper steps, and each time they run through the choreography 3 of the individuals don’t follow along. No matter how many times they repeat the process and show them what the steps are, they for what ever reason have decided they want no part of it. But, they don’t have a choice. They have to be there. This of course frustrates the 97 who get it and understand the steps.
In comparison, racism and bigotry are no different. Just because people post pictures of solidarity and demand for changes, you are not going to change people overnight. Those that fall into the two categories have no interest in what is being said about how wrong they are. It doesn’t matter how many times you shove it in their face, it won’t work and will likely just make them angrier. In the USA the Civil Rights Act was only enacted less than 50 years ago. In South Africa it was barely 20 years ago that Apartheid ended.
So how does any logical and reasonable person figure that things will change overnight. It doesn’t mean there should not be efforts. We absolutely must promote, equality, but do it understanding, that it was a couple thousand years to get to the point of change, do not expect it to become completely excepted so quickly.

No matter who is involved when you see the consequences of gun violence or any violence, it saddens me and people around the world. But that is our world. You cannot build a house with the snap of your fingers, you need one board and one nail at a time. So don’t give up the fight for equality, just make sure there are realistic expectations. Lets build a better society for the coming generation, much like many of our ancestors did for us.

First blog post

As KB Radio introduces its Web site and more, we also bring a blog for our listeners and everyone else.  Topics will be varied and likely not predictable, so come back to see what is being said.