Music videos are so 80s/90s, right? They belong with the era when MTV screened wall-to-wall vids instead of 'reality' TV? Try telling that to the millions who bought Gangnam Style; were they really simply loving the music? 1.6bn (and still climbing) have viewed the video on YT, not to mention the many re-makes (school eg, eg2), viral ads + celeb link-ups (even political protest in Seoul) - and it doesn't matter how legit it is, this nightmare for daydream Beliebers is making a lot of money, even from the parodies + dislikes. All this for a simple dance track that wouldn't have sounded out of place in 1990 ... but had a fun vid. This meme itself was soon displaced by the Harlem Shake. Music vids even cause diseases it seems!
This blog explores every aspect of this most postmodern of media formats, including other print-based promo tools used by the industry, its fast-changing nature, + how fans/audiences create/interact. Posts are primarily written with Media students/educators in mind. Please acknowledge the blog author if using any resources from this blog - Mr Dave Burrowes

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

ANIMATED LYRIC VIDEO of lesbian male gaze? Rita Ora controversy

Rita Ora apologises after LGBT criticism of her song Girls

Sunday, 6 May 2018

SOCIAL MEDIA key to marketing

Not exactly a revelation, blogging on the basis of a simple, sharp quote from Lily Allen (who in the same article says it's the 360 deals for branding, endorsements that make money now, not the music):

Lily Allen: ‘We need to fight back against these forces’

Allen responds to a question asking how she can face going on her social media daily when she gets so much abuse through it:

Well... a) Social media, what it’s for, is to partake in conversations. Just because my conversations are amplified or misconstrued, doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t be able to express myself, and that’s what we’re talking about, really, freedom of expression. b) Every marketing budget now takes social media engagement into account. So if I didn’t tweet and I didn’t do Instagram I wouldn’t be here right now – we literally wouldn’t be having this conversation.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

MUSIC INDUSTRY stats summary CDs behind streaming

Guardian: UK record labels' revenue grows at fastest rate since 1995.

The disruption from digitisation is now a long established phenomenon in the music industry - the outdated chart below fails to distinguish the collapse of the digital download market, and its near-complete replacement by streaming.

You can see the enormous impact of digital disruption here:

Here's a calculator.
I tried the Astrid S example of the 47m streams of Such a Boy:

In this post I blogged on multi examples, including One Direction, a big mainstream pop band's estimated $50m from a hit album ($36m sales, $14m from streams) ... just a sixth of their $300m touring income over the same time period (2015), not counting merch! Revenue directly from music sales/streams is falling overall, though labels are finding new ways to keep their overall revenues up.

Here you can see the staggering difference in how many sales/streams it takes for an artist to earn $1,260, ie the US legal minimum (employers cannot pay any lower!) monthly wage, which of course they want more than!!! You need 1m Spotify streams, or 4m YouTube streams to earn this!!!


Saturday, 14 April 2018

DOWNLOADS DEAD? iTunes ceases from 2019

I've blogged on this before, predicting the digital download would all but disappear in as little as 2-3 years ... and here we go.

The market-dominating iTunes will cease to offer downloads to 'own' (the legal status is controversial, but ownership is clearly restricted compared to physical media) from 2019, as streaming surfs to the top of Apple's, and the wider music industry's, strategy.

The dominant mode of distribution not so long ago is rapidly disappearing, though I'm sure some smaller sites will continue to offer DL options. How many major artists will bother offering this? Could still be quite a few - many digipak and vinyl sets come with DL codes for MP3 or even FLAC files.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

LADY GAGA QUEERed music video

I've mentioned her frequently, great case study of gender representation and the post-feminist position ... but also beyond that of queer representation, an intentional blurring of the gender binary.

On my summer list to return to and develop a new case study...

10 years of Lady Gaga: how she queered mainstream pop forever

From Madonna to Janelle Monáe: how female sexuality progressed in pop

Friday, 6 April 2018

PROMO PACKAGE Slayer digipak, vinyl, figurine + promo videos

I mention beer as a great example of merch below - you can buy both Slayer and Iron Maiden beer in Luxembourg (Auchan), and Motorhead, plus some other branded wine/spirits if I recall correctly. That this is now a common strategy, especially in heavy metal, can be seen from a simple google ('heavy metal beer'). See this Pinterest for a gallery (pic, right comes from it):

A salutary lesson - I'd tapped out a lengthy post on a smartphone using the Android app ... only to see every word blink and disappear (possibly because the broadband connection flicked off). If using this very useful tool, its worth saving a few times to avoid the risk of this...

NB: As the article link contains a filter-unfriendly term, its below the read more line; the videos featured in the article contain uncensored strong language.  
Multi-editionalising has become the norm, certainly for rock/Indie acts

Here's a new example of a converged, web 2.0 promo package featuring a digipak, vinyl and download options, a range of videos/vodcasts, and even an expensive, limited edition figurine (which clearly anchors the core target audience as being male, and a significant chunk of this being older males, more likely to be able to afford such items!).

The Metal Eagle Edition of Repentless is also available. Made of aluminum alloy, measuring 15” X 17” X 3” and weighing in at a hefty 7.8 pounds, the Metal Eagle Edition will house a deluxe digipak of the new Repentless CD plus bonus material detailed below. The limited (only 3,000 copies worldwide) and numbered Metal Eagle Edition will be a direct-to-consumer item and available exclusively via the Nuclear Blast mailorder online stores.

You really should take note of this - regardless of how simple your brief might be, your ads should reflect not just a digipak but the wider range of options we expect to see today, and you could usefully (and very simply) spin off digipak designs into vinyl editions - after all, the digipak is in large part mimicking vinyl sleeves.

Thrash metal icons Slayer are signed to an Indie label, Nuclear Blast, who astutely exploit the potential of online tools to engage with the existing fanbase and target a new audience for their acts.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

ALT VIDEOS Tendencies to tout tour tickets

I've blogged on alternative, secondary music video formats before: the one-take, single shot video; the lyric video; the album trailer; the special edition or merchandise unwrapping.

To this list, one worth pondering for an additional quickfire production that will help to drive website and social media content and engagement, add the tour date video (with website plugging included too).

The example is from 80s crossover (punk/thrash) legends Suicidal Tendencies. The video, spotted from a browse of the TeamRock site, a rich source for spotting evolving marketing strategies, includes several features:
  • performance footage
  • album art and website splash page, with plugs for both
  • like the most basic lyric videos, the main content is a vertically scrolling list of tour dates, white font on a black background
  • the audio consists of a snippet from a new album track, NOT the full track
  • The unpolished look is further evidence of how artists have incorporated audience approaches (fan-made videos) into their own playbooks. Even the mighty Metallica have dropped an unwrapping video, a hugely popular format that may have had pop origins but is now seen from audiences and artists across the age and genre spectrum.

I'll add to this more insight gleaned from the TeamRock site (an e-zine side to a stable of print magazines such as Classic Rock); Iron Maiden providing another example of how acts monetise themselves in an era of low record sales:
Iron Maiden Fan Club members will be given access to an exclusive pre-sale, with information available via the official website.A Trooper VIP upgrade package will also be available, giving fans early access to the venue, exclusive goodies as well as food and Trooper beer. VIP tickets cost £140 and gig tickets will need to be bought separately. [LouderSound]
Artists variously charge for photos with fans, sometimes as part of a VIP backstage package, have licensed drinks, offer exclusives to fan club or registered website members (often charging a subscription fee).

...Maiden are a great example of a long-running act who skilfully use traditional and social media, and diverse merchandising, to successfully monetise their art and brand. Here's another example from them...the thankyou to fans, a natural example of direct address made possible by online media.

[recent update:]
I mention beer as a great example of merch - you can buy both Slayer and Iron Maiden beer in Luxembourg (Auchan), and Motorhead, plus some other branded wine/spirits if I recall correctly. That this is now a common strategy, especially in heavy metal, can be seen from a simple google ('heavy metal beer'). See this Pinterest for a gallery (pic, right comes from it):

MERCHANDISING Whiskey in the jar - branded booze

(yes, a wee Thin Lizzy intertextual ref there...)

I frequently raise the point that digitization has meant that artists and record labels alike have sought to monetize other areas, and booze is a prime example of how wide this move into branded merchandising is. Take the example of Iron Maiden - they don't just sell one branded beer ... they have a whole website dedicated to their beer line! Smart branding.
There is an age check:

See TeamRock article for lots of other examples (and a nice Megadeth intertextual ref).

(and here's a further update:)
I mention beer as a great example of merch - you can buy both Slayer and Iron Maiden beer in Luxembourg (Auchan), and Motorhead, plus some other branded wine/spirits if I recall correctly. That this is now a common strategy, especially in heavy metal, can be seen from a simple google ('heavy metal beer'). See this Pinterest for a gallery (pic, right comes from it):

Thursday, 22 March 2018

REPRESENTATION Styles can bi me love

Great read about how millennials more liberal attitude to sexuality is being reflected in very mainstream pop and especially a dose of bisexual lyrical themes by the likes of ex-1D Harry Styles.

Bi bi baby bye bye as a tabloid editor might quip.

This is what the uses and gratifications theory was getting at, and why governments subsidise arthouse movies - representation, seeing yourself on screen, matters.

Two directions: why Harry Styles' new song is a breakthrough for bisexual music fans

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

DIGITISATION MONETISING Crematory merch voucher with DIGIPAK

Monday, 19 February 2018

MUSIC INDUSTRY 2018 some pointers

This is a quick post inspired by encountering the site

UPDATE: Useful review of music video trends in 2918, including the return of mega-budgets for a handful of elite artists: 
Drake’s mates and Taylor Swift’s cosplay: exploring the 2018 music video

I was looking for some info on the 1D GCSE exam case study but spotted a number of great articles on here. So here's a few pointers based on the site.
You can find a bullet list I previously did summing up some key music industry points (with many links to posts) here.

A point I make many, many times: the traditional music industry model has been through disruption from digitisation (though it hasn't rebalanced the competition in favour of Indies; see Anita Elberse's fascinating analysis of how big 3 acts utterly dominate Amazon sales, making the 'long tail theory' seem absurd), so labels are looking for new revenue sources. Merchandise is a key factor - when I went to see The Wedding Present (UK Indie band) in Luxembourg last year, I got to chat to the singer after the gig, who was at the merch stall signing his own comic book range alongside the usual tee-shirts etc.

The likes of 1D aren't going to do that. They did sell VIP packages for gigs - something else I saw at a Depeche Mode gig, with multiple tiers including a basic that simply allowed you into the venue earlier to hear the soundcheck. I've blogged on Taylor Swift and Katy b Perry doing this, with fans paying a lot for a selfie opportunity. [meet-and-greets post]

The basic breakdown is clear though - most major artists (Indies too) will gain more from tours than album sales. Even combined with streaming (which is now bigger than physical sales and download sales combined) that remains the case. Getting onto TV ads, film/game OSTs are also potentially lucrative.

Here's that 1D breakdown:
One Direction’s latest album, Made In The AM, was a big success, selling just over 1m copies across the UK and US in 2015 after being released in November.
Judging by the 2014 calendar year performance of its predecessor, Four, it’s a fair bet that the newer album sold around 3.2m units across the world before last year was finished.
At an average US sale price, you’d therefore expect it to have grossed somewhere around $36m – although that is without streaming revenue.
Being generous, adding in streaming and single sales, let’s round it up to $50m.
The fact that this total is approximately one sixth of the size of 1D’s 2015 tour gross probably tells its own story.
The fact it’s less than half of the band’s secondary ticketing gross alone tells another.
Remind us again: what’s an artist’s core product – and what’s their ‘ancillary income’? [article]

YouTube has had a subscription option for a while (launched Oct 2015), but it seems there will soon be either 2 options or a renewed, rebranded option.

YouTube Red is its current $9.99/month option, offering:
  • no ads
  • video downloads
  • exclusive content (which they're expanding)
  • the ability to continue playing YouTube when switching to other apps
The pending new service is a more direct Spotify challenger:
The clear categorization of Youtube Red as a music-first platform comes at an interesting juncture: YouTube is widely expected to reveal a new Spotify rival, currently codenamed Remix, in the coming weeks.  
‘Remix’ looks likely to supersede Google Play Music, and has reportedly been made possible by YouTube’s recent deal renewals with the likes of Universal, Sony and Warner. [article]
YouTube Red is only available in 5 territories currently, but rights deals Google/Alphabet have signed with the big 3 mean they intend a 100+ country rollout of this new (just rebranded YT Red?) service.

A new YT channel with VEVO branding dumped?
Presumably linked to the announcement of the new rights deals with the big 3, YouTube is set to launch default official artist channels, which VEVO and other existing official channels will be folded into. It will actually be hard to directly find those VEVO channels, but subscribers will still get updates on new content. The main point seems to be the downgrading of UGC; fan-sites will be less prominent when you search for artist videos.

Having just looked, it appears this change is in place as of Feb 2018: the 1D channel is mainly Vevo content, but the Vevo branding is gone (I don't see the music note in place of the tick though).

That seems an odd choice for YT, but presumably the majors insisted on this before signing up.
This switch seems likely to have formed a part of recent licensing negotiations with the two parties who together make up Vevo’s majority owners: Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, who both struck new deals with YouTube before the end of last year. [article]
Gaming is a key content driver for YT, but music is still central to its monetisation and general use - including the common example of convergence of people using a connected TV (or just a phone linked to speakers) as their hi-fi.
Five of the world’s 15 most-subscribed-to YouTube channels right now are Vevo channels.
Justin Bieber’s Vevo destination (JustinBieberVevo) is the world’s second biggest YouTube channel with 33.6m subscribers, while Taylor Swift’s Vevo hub (TaylorSwiftVevo) is YouTube’s fifth biggest global channel with 27.3m subs. [article]
Infographic from Forbes.
Sadly The Pixies' channel isn't one of these global giants. I see from a separate Billboard article there were FOURTEEN music vids with 2bn+ views as of last year! Khalifa almost hit 3bn as he displaced Psy at top of this chart.

THEORY TIP: I have posted guides on web 2.0 theorists before. One of these, John McMuria, a sceptic, argues that this brave new world is remarkably like the old (analogue or early web) one: its dominated by giant multinational conglomerates. He was writing when Google and FB where large but not quite the extraordinarily powerful corporations they are now; his point was that the same big 6 (film) or big 3 (music), for example, are dominating the online monetising and consumption of media content.

Taking the YT shilling (source).
Just as Netflix and others ramp up their spending on original content, so too are Google/YT, dishing out up to $200k for new promos and artists' promotion of these [tie-ins directly referencing YT] - so long as they agree not to diss the service, as many, many high profile names have done, unhappy at what they see as the much too low payments made in return for using their copyrighted material.
YouTube has, in recent weeks, reportedly given a handful of artists marketing budgets of around $200,000 to produce videos and take out billboard advertising campaigns.
And some of these musicians, say Bloomberg’s sources, are being asked to guarantee that they will not openly talk down the amount of cash YouTube pays out to copyright holders.
The news comes little more than 18 months after over 180 prominent artists – including Sir Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift and Beck – signed a petition criticizing the ‘safe harbor’ provisions found in the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which allow platforms such as YouTube protection from legal liability for copyright infringement taking place on its platform. [article]
Physical sales are boosted by the high-priced vinyl 'boom', but this big % growth but is from a low base and nowhere enough to compensate for fast-sinking CD sales, while the digital download market is widely predicted to disappear within a few years, as streaming replaces ownership as the default 'consumer' choice.

Despite all the gloomy analysis, UMG (Universal Music Group, 1 of the Big 3 with Sony and Warner) are pocketing an incredible $17.5m every day on average, over $6bn annually (2017 figures).

Its streaming which explains the rising figures when the 'disruption' of digitisation is widely assumed to be catastrophic for the music industry.
This growth was propelled forward by recorded music streaming revenues, which totalled €1.97bn ($2.2bn) in 2017.
That was up 35.4% year-on-year – despite the major striking a licensing deal with Spotify in 2017 which saw a small reduction in the margin it took from every dollar spent on the service. [article]

I've blogged from other sources many times - the music industry tag is a big one on the tag cloud you can use to find more - but these are a few useful points I saw evidenced on this site alone. A good one to dip into!

Thursday, 8 February 2018

CD cease and desist as CDs booted but vinyl stays

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Risk assessment

You've been asked (for months!) to do a health and safety check. Time now to finally sort that out. You should consider what post date you use [click on SCHEDULE under the LABELS box on the right before publishing your post]; this should be evidenced PRIOR TO SHOOTING.

The idea is simple. As is legally required of professional shoots, where companies are legally liable for employees' well-being/welfare (the whole coursework is designed to reflect industry practice), your company needs to evidence its consideration of possible risks from the shoots ... a risk assessment.

Under the UK syllabus you also have to evidence requesting permission from the rights holder to use the track audio, but this is not a CIE requirement. You could address copyright nonetheless (up to you).

POST TITLE: Risk Assessment

The idea is very simple. Go through each location, including transport to and from and any catering (food/drinks), think through the possible risks, and briefly state how you will minimise or counter these risks, including communication to cast/crew/public. Below you can see a few snapshots of student examples:

Monday, 15 January 2018

DIGIPAK Streaming killing off Best Of comps

Useful industry context here for your digipak, which is almost certain to be a best of. The point is NOT to abandon that format but rather to show awareness of the declining commercial prospects of it, and why this is.

For every convention there are always exceptions, and here we can see re-recorded Best Ofs thriving, with the Elvis collection, freshly cut with a new orchestral backing track, the top-selling such comp in 2017, a trick Kylie has also used in the past, and one hit wonder Sophie Ellis-Baxter is set to in 2018.

The death of the best of: why Rihanna will never get her greatest hits

Monday, 11 December 2017

YOUTUBE Poppycock I saw it through the grapetube

This strikes me as intriguing but wretchedly deplorable, a harbinger of cultural implosion. All the world's a (nearly) 6 inch screen Shakespeare famously quoth.

Such gibberish might fit well on Poppy's channel, home of vapid vids and now smatterings of music. Millions watch her wordlessly eat candyfloss, repeat a 2 word mantra. Can't wait for her scratching an armpit video, that ought to rake up a few million sugar glazed eyeballs.

Spittle-flecked horror, oppobrium for this virtue vacuum, is an instinctive response - but ... then there's the claim this is a meta, pomo, deconstructionist take on online culture. It's hipster to be squared.

Poppy is a very slim Caucasian blonde female. So was Buffy, but she had a great script.

No, I'll stick with Poppycock, but still suggest this is an interesting case study of a carefully constructed YouTube identity/brand being slowly spun out into pop, rather than using YouTube to boost an artist's brand and fanbase.

A decade ago it was the likes of Lily Allen brought to the fore by viral take-up of her MySpace warblings. Heartwarming story, aside from the expensive Sony campaign that actually underpinned it.

Poppy and her svengali sidekick director dude may be smart cookies, but sugary temptation offers empty calories. Calling the fans Poppy Seeds - smart touch; maybe Gaga is a more apt comparison, the pop queen of cyberspace connection is perhaps going to be looked on as the step before such Tubers established the next multi-platform media marketing miasma.

Poppy is a disturbing internet meme seen by millions. Can she become a pop sensation?

Friday, 8 December 2017

MERCHANDISING Thrash metal Pantera baby stroller

I kid you not... (think about it...) Pramtera?!

When you're looking at a website store, you should spot some examples of baby and child merch. I've given several examples before, so add this legends of thrash metal merch to the list.

For legacy or established acts like this it makes perfect sense. Pantera broke through in the early 90s with the classic Cowboys From Hell - caused my hair to reach out to others many's a time!

Therefore much of their fanbase are mature adults, often with families - and they continue to attract new fans despite being a defunct act.


Monday, 4 December 2017

MERCHANDISING Metal figurine toys put Maiden ahEddie

UPDATE: Maiden mascot Halloween masks
If you look back to the 70s, American glam-rockers KISS predated all of the merch ideas I've blogged on, flogging lunch boxes, PJs, basically ANYTHING they could shove a KISS logo onto (and make-up sets!)...
The Maiden masks are also an example of the metal/horror links. And let's not forget the Maiden pinball machine...

The e-zine MetalSucks is one of many to feature the release of new Iron maiden figurines...

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

VINYL hits 4m in UK Sainsburys launch label Metallica Master Retromania

This is how Sainsbury's announced the launch
Sainsbury’s customers can now pick up some exclusive, freshly pressed vinyl alongside their freshly pressed fruit juices. (Sainsbury's,1st Nov. 2017)

Sadly the vinyl boom, boosted by nostalgia* from the deaths of the likes of Prince and Bowie, whose final album Blackstar was a vinyl bestseller, is led this year by the tragic return from early retirement of Ed Sheeran.

Further evidence of how mainstream this vinyl resurgence is, a major Xmas pressie source, the Gallagher brothers solo records and Sergeant Peppers are joined as major sellers by ... supermarket Sainsbury's own label.

Grab a loaf, milk and a compilation record with some Van der Graaf Generator. Tremendous. Though the only real national music store chain left, HMV, remains the dominant force in vinyl sales for now.

See Guardian: Ed Sheeran and Gallagher brothers lead vinyl revival at HMV. and Sainsbury's announcement.

Here's a very useful video suggested by Richard D:

Simon Reynolds wrote an interesting book, Retromania, about the profound change in the cultural position of music and how its consumed brought about by digitisation. Thanks to YouTube especially, older acts never actually fade away. Pop was always considered ephemeral: pop acts would have their year or so of popularity then fade from the limelight and memory as their teen/tween fanbase got older and bored.
Now we can easily access older acts material, and record labels see back catalogue as a key driver of revenue. Spotify is full of special editions, and even re-recordings (eg Def Leppard's Hysteria), which enable a band to regain control of revenue streams rather than the record label they were signed to for the original album.

The Smiths, The Sex Pistols and Metallica are but 3 recent examples of bands re-releasing iconic albums with lots of studio outtakes, demos etc, sold in multiple packages (with vinyl options in all 3 of these examples). The Master of Puppets boxset was gifted by the Danish PM to his Indonesian equivalent, and you can also treat yourself to the very dull featuring singer James Hetfield's hands, part of the publicity and marketing campaign that kicked in months before the release date.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

WEB 2.0 INDIE Technology loosens record labels hegemony

Part of an in-depth series on the music underground, this is a great article for getting your head round the central concept that digitisation has created opportunity for artists to succeed without relying on record companies for production and distribution - or even on physical sales of recorded music.

This is exemplified most in 2017 by Chance the Rapper – Forbes estimates he made $33m (£25m) this year without the need for a label or even to sell physical music. But, before him, the dubstep and grime scenes in the UK saw a new generation of artists using YouTube for distribution, broadcast and community.

'We could build something revolutionary': how tech set underground music free

Friday, 10 November 2017

REPRESENTATION INDUSTRY Swift tailor-made case study

Taylor Swift’s reputation: will her new album silence her critics?

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

INDUSTRY Vevo the music video giant

Vevo is an entity you need to engage with to show a good grasp of the industry, a case of the music giants combining to monetise and control the distribution of their videos through YouTube.
See Lifewire, Wiki for simple explanations, and look into your own artist for Vevo links.

They're the major music industry force behind the Tory attempt to enforce age ratings on music videos, voluntarily engaging in the BBFC scheme. See this Guardian Music tag for more on this.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

SFX CONVENTIONS Green screen examples + layering

Not performing IN a bar but ON the bar top!
Here's a simple example of the power of the green screen - one from 30 years ago, long before you could achieve instant green screen keying on a Mac as you can now (there's a term for that, a very important one, linked to digitisation: CONVERGENCE).

Once you have green screen footage - especially if it incorporates full body movement (as opposed to the maximum MLS dictated by using a single sheet unless you're very careful) - you have incredible creative freedom over how you use it.

LAYERING - which isn't always through green screened footage - is one of the fundamentals of music video, a very common device but not one seen much in TV drama for example.

I'd welcome your suggestions (as blog comments) on useful examples to add to this post from your own knowledge/research.

Here's a simple example from a Thai dance-pop artist.

Monday, 16 October 2017

INDUSTRY MONETISING And the brand played on

No alternative: how brands bought out underground music

Thursday, 12 October 2017

AUDIENCE WEB 2.0 Is going underground still feasible?

This might turn out to be a highly irritating Grauniad exercise in uber-hipsterdom, proudly proclaiming awful bedroom acts adored by some London clique as artistic giants ... but it could also be an invaluable discourse on the still evolving disruptive force of new technology and how it impacts music marketing and artists' relationship with audiences and industry alike....

In the coming weeks, we’re going to run a series of articles examining what, if anything, it means to be an underground artist in 2017. We’ll be exploring whether it’s possible to find a meaningful audience for your music while avoiding the glare of publicity, the complex relationship between art and commerce, how technology assists and impedes artists who want to find new routes of promoting and disseminating their music, what the value of remaining underground is, and whether Britain is host to any thrilling and vibrant music scenes that exist entirely off-grid.

Where is the musical underground in 2017?

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

GENRE INDIE BBC doc on history of Indie

As you study genre theory you'll come to realise how loose a concept it is - but one that is absolutely vital for marketing and retail purposes, even in the streaming age when shelf space is not an issue. As 'consumers' (such a loathesome term, but still widely used) we do still tend to think along genre lines, which is why these are so important whether its Netflix, Spotify or (gasp!) a physical record/music store.

BBC3 and BBC4 (often replaying BBC2 content) are worth keeping an eye on through iPlayer as they often feature some great music docs. This is a good example, a thorough grounding in the evolution of the Indie genre - a genre which has both some easily identified stereotypes and such a wide range of music that it becomes a very, very loose concept. Further complicated by the Americanism of alt-pop or alternative rock, which is essentially the same. In both cases, there are acts seen as Indie who are signed to major record labels, while many on independent labels are having their work distributed by majors so even the original linkage is debatable.

Thanks to Richard for the link - I'd mentioned this specific doc series many times and he spotted it on YT.