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Digital technologies have opened up our ability to access more and cheaper music than ever before. They have also made it feasible for almost every musician to have their output available to everyone on the planet who has an internet connection. On the face of it, such democratisation and ease of access is “a good thing”. How many genuinely talented artists have flogged away for their entire careers unable to reach the audience that would have truly appreciated their art. Aside from those acts that were manufactured for the purpose of churning out the same popular styles that had already made money, how many gave up, defeated by the ultra-safe formulaic system that closed its doors in the face of almost every original, exciting talent that had the temerity to beg for a deal? Improvement? Yes, things have certainly changed, but are they a lot better? In the early days of on-line music it looked as though every artist would have their own virtual record store, selling their music and merch direct to their fans. In some cases this has happened and artists have build successful careers. For most, though, it remains a distant dream as they struggle to get their music heard among the cacophony of other independent artists in exactly the same position. Until relatively recently, music was physically distributed on CDs which had a production cost. OK maybe only 75p or around dollar per unit (including a card wallet) but when you’re buying 1000 copies to get the unit cost down to something reasonable, that’s quite an investment for a penniless musician. Now, with downloads from Soundcloud and the like, the cost of distribution effectively close to zero. OK iTunes and Amazon will be taking their cut but it’s still pretty cheap to get into the market – for everyone. So yes, there’s lots of competition, in fact, so much competition that many artists are giving their music away as free downloads, in the hope that they’ll sell more merch or get more bookings to compensate with a different income stream. That’s the theory. The trouble is that people have to find the music in order to want to buy the merch and to go out to live shows. Broadcasters Once upon a time, the broadcasters were key to discovering new music from the record labels, including the more interesting indie labels. Some would take a chance and play music that diverged from the top 40 style of the day and occasionally such airplay led to acts breaking through into the mainstream. With just a few exceptions, at least here in the UK, radio has become as driven by metrics and the mass of data about who is listening to what and when. The result: formulaic radio where everyone is going after the same audience at the same time with pretty much the same content. Streaming services This is where the streaming services Spotify and Pandora step in. There is such a lot of music available through those services, although just like iTunes, they capture your listening history. By analysing what you already listen to, they are able to match styles and make new recommendations based on what you already like. That’s fine as long as you don’t want to listen to anything else. Chances are,...read more
Erk from Erk FM writes this blog post about interviewing and gives some great advice to both the artists or “interviewees” and to those podcasters, radio broadcasters, or whomever may be the host or interviewer. Both parties should read the whole post, there is some great information here. Since starting Erk FM in January 2009, I have played over 2000 bands. I have also interviewed a variety of bands and also fellow podcasters. Interviews are a great way of telling people more about your band, especially if you are releasing new music or are playing a big event. I’ll give you some interview tips for people on either end of the microphone as either the person asking the questions (the interviewer or the host) or the person answering them (the interviewee, the guest). Tips and Information for both Podcasters and Guests The length of the interview is important- is it part of a series of interviews at a gig or festival? Is the interview a short one (up to 10 minutes) or a long one (over 10 minutes). This will help you determine how much time you need to dedicate to the interview. Does either party have time restraints? Where will the interview be conducted? Is it somewhere at a gig or a festival? Is it a person to person interview? Will it be done over the phone or via Skype? Do you have to go to a studio or other location somewhere? As the host, are you going for the “we are backstage with Band X” feel? Is the interview being done live to air or being streamed to a live audience? Or will the interviewer be able to edit the interview and play it at a later time? A good guest will not make the host edit too much but my personal policy is that if you say something & you do not want it included in the interview, say so. The host should explain this before the interview. What does each party know about each other? Does the interviewer know the band well? Even if the interviewer does know the band well, the purpose of the interview is to focus on the band. The host should remember to inform their listeners as if the listeners know nothing about the band. Even if the listeners are aware of the band, give them something new that they have not heard elsewhere. Tips for Guests or Interviewees As a host of a podcast, it is in my interest to make you sound as good as possible so by following these tips, you’ll help me to make you sound good & tell people about you. Some of these tips might be specific for podcast interviews but others might apply to other media forms as well. Do you know the format of the show? Is the show dedicated to you? What are the show’s policies about things like language and content? You might not get invited back if (for instance) you turn the air blue & swear your head off on a family friendly show, if you get put to air at all. If you can, listen to a few interviews by the host beforehand. Often, the questions & the styles will be similar. While a host should know something about...read more
Welcome to the brand new Association of Music Podcasting website! We’re very excited about having a new web-face to show the world and we hope you’ll take a few minutes, have a click around and then let us know what you think.read more