Looking like the ghost of Jerry Garcia, Joaquin Phoenix announced, via backwards knuckle scrawl, that he’ll be leaving acting to pursue a music career. Hopefully that idea will last as long as the ink on his hands, or he might wind up in MySpace band obscurity like Russell Crowe! Although, Joaquin certainly is talented, has a handsome voice, and we could watch him swagger all day. However, we’re worried the “Walk The Line” Oscar nom went to his head. It’s easy to feel like a successful musician when you’re pretending you’re Johnny Cash, but will the Phoenix be able to rise as a rock star? It remains to be seen. But is he really picking a better life for himself? Let’s help him see the light with a face off: rock star vs. actor!
1. Vinyl sales in the UK are higher than they have been since 2003. The BPI and the Official Charts Company estimate that sales of vinyl albums could surpass 700,000 by the end of 2013. Here are the top selling vinyl albums of the year so far – starting at number 10, which is Black Sabbath’s album ‘13’.
2. Next up – at number 9, it’s Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ record ‘Push The Sky Away’. The NME review of the album back in February described it as “a masterpiece that merges the experimentation and freedom of their side projects with Cave’s most tender songcraft.”
In the midst of the worst times for the music business since the great semiquaver droughts of 1832, the BPI has just reported that annual sales of vinyl records have burst over the half-million mark for the first time in a decade. And it’s only October.
That’s a lot of records, bucking a trend that’s been going off a cliff for years. The number of vinyl records being sold has doubled since this time last year, and the format has increased its share of total albums sold in the UK by eight times since 2007.
So what’s going on here? Why are so many people buying records again?
The BPI survey uncovered an interesting age split in what people felt they were getting from vinyl. The vast majority of 16-44 year olds that they talked to said that the most important reason was that “the process of playing a vinyl record is more enjoyable.” It seems like a world of instant gratification, the ritual of dropping a needle onto an LP has taken on an almost religious significance. The popularity of free download links is also surely significant – why just buy mp3s when you could buy an actual real-life record and get the mp3s included?
Meanwhile, under 16s are most concerned with the cover art (presumably it’s just nice for them to look at something that isn’t on a screen) while over 45s are hanging onto their audiophile belief that records just sounds better (man!).
Remarkably, almost 4% of vinyl-buyers surveyed said that they don’t even own a record player, which means there’s something like 20,000 LPs out there that are either just being bought as objets d’art or for their more traditional purpose: as flat surfaces to roll joints on.
As reported earlier this week, it’s not just classic albums being sold. But you won’t be surprised to know that Daft Punk, David Bowie and Arctic Monkeys have all been enjoying bumper sales.
Part of the popularity of newer bands’ releases on vinyl seems to be down to the emergence of a younger group of record junkies. While 35-44 year olds are still the most likely to buy LPS, over a third of buyers are aged under 35. So in the future, when CDs have gone the way of the minidisc, and when all the music ever recorded is hovering us above us in the cloud, there will still be people with big black discs in their homes, not quite sure whether to play them or frame them, but sure that they can hold onto them with both hands, and that they mean something.
Check this out: 10 Biggest Selling Vinyl Albums Of The Year So Far
So you’ve recorded a cd, played some pretty big shows, and are making some noise in your local scene…now what? Do you know how to take your career to the next level? After a certain point, bands need to start looking at putting together a team to help them get further in the industry. This is where the Artist Professional Team comes in. This is your elite team of industry insiders that are diligently working to get your music and your band out to the public…or at least that’s what they should be doing. It’s important to know the role of each member of your professional team so that you can hire the best person for the job.
Probably the most important person working for your band, the personal manager is essentially the quarterback of your band. They’re responsible for coordinating all efforts between the band and your record label, radio promoter, publicist, publisher, booking agent, and business manager and all other music contacts. Your personal manager should be the first member of your team that you choose, and can then help you assemble the rest of your team. The manager will also usually make some business decisions for the band, assist in the creative process, as well as working with your record label. Personal Managers usually take about 15-20% of a band’s gross income.
You may not be able to afford a business manager at first, but the more money you start making, the more likely it is that you’re going to need a business manager. The business manager usually collects royalty checks for the artists, takes care of their bills, and makes sure to properly handle all taxes and investments on behalf of the artist. Business managers are usually CPAs and can either take 5% of the artist’s gross income, or work for an hourly rate or flat fee.
Probably the most powerful member of your music contacts will be your attorney. The attorney deals on your behalf with all the major power brokers you encounter during the course of your career. Your attorney should be heavily involved in negotiations whenever you sign contracts with publishers, labels, managers, and agent. Many of the most prominent entertainment attorneys are based in New York and Los Angeles, but others have been spreading to cities such as Nashville, Atlanta, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Attorneys can either take 5% of any deals they negotiate, or can work for an hourly rate or flat fee.
Having the right booking agent can make the difference between playing a good show and playing a great show. Agents are responsible for scheduling live performances for artists for either individual dates, or regional and national tours. You want to find a talented agent that has established relationships with many of the big name venues all throughout the country. Booking agents can sometimes be the most difficult member of your team to secure because you often need to convince them that you are worth their time and effort. Agents usually take 10% of the artist gross for live performances, not including merchandise.
The publicist’s job is to obtain media coverage for clients in print, tv, and electronic media. Their responsibilities usually include securing media coverage, mailing/emailing press kits to music writers, communicating with the manager/agent/record label, and hiring hair and makeup teams for tv and magazine shoots. Publicists can get paid anywhere from $1500-$5000 per month and usually begin work several months before major releases and announcements.
By Ryan J. Colburn
Catch The Shins in Williamsburg Park Sunday afternoon. If you need even more shows to choose from, be sure to check out our updated New York Concert Calendar. These are the 10 best this weekend.
The Shins + Man Man
Sunday, 5:30pm, $45
“This song will change your life,” said Natalie Portman’s Sam to Zach Braff’s Andrew as she played “New Slang” for him in 2004’s quintessential indie classic Garden State. A more accurate statement would’ve been that Sam and Andrew would change the Shins’ lives, as a spot on the Grammy-award winning soundtrack helped catapult the dreamy indie group into mainstream success and scored a now-classic movie scene. After a five year break from making music, the Shins released Port of Morrow, worth a listen while we all wait to see what bands are going to get a Zach Braff seal of approval and career kickstart in his next project.
Central Park, Rumsey Playfield
Friday, 7am, free
Is it that Mariah Carey’s abnormally lucky, or that she’s got a career mojo that just won’t quit? Neither, I’d argue: Her career longevity is directly connected to her collaborative savvy, ability to nimbly surf pop trends, and the best cosmologists and stylists Daydream royalties can buy. Even with her trademark melisma succumbing to something huskier, Mimi’s still capable of convincingly co-selling a dewy summer trifle like “#Beautiful,” with Miguel. Here’s hoping she flounces and chirps eternally. Part of the Good Morning America summer concert series.
Robert Fripp and the Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists
St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery
Sunday, 4pm, $25
And you thought Amanda Palmer was ambitious. Guitarists versed in meditation and the Fripp’s Guitar Craft technique will pay $1000 for the privilege of training with and performing alongside the King Crimson leader during a few East Coast gigs. The fee includes room, board, transportation, and Alexander technique sessions. Fripp says the shows will reflect “a specialized study in the self-organizing properties of complex wholes.” Sounds like audiences are getting off easy.
Ends Sunday, 8pm daily, $10
The wise keyboardist is also an inviting composer–the variety of groups he’s led in the past three decades have all arrived with hip charts in front of them. This East Coast residency finds him grooming a throng of improvisers from his Seattle stomping ground, the Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble, and their YouTube calling cards suggest that they’re able to make moments of melody and mania hold hands. Also slated for this stint: a brass quartet, an evening of duets (a Horvitz forte), and the maestro’s octet, Sweeter Than The Day.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Saturday & Sunday, 8pm, $54-$130
You know who Tom Petty is. What you might not know is that he made appearances on both The Simpsons and King of the Hill. Having penned and performed countless breakthrough singles, Petty could have called it quits a long time ago if it weren’t for his dedication to proving rock & roll’s staying power. Catch the rock veteran and his Heartbreakers at Beacon Theatre for a dose of old school covers and long-loved hits. —
So So Glos | Crystal Stilts
Knitting Factory Brooklyn
Sunday, 7:30pm, $5-$12
Punk rockers, Shea Stadium-proprietors, and men about town the So So Glos have made Bay Ridge proud. Tonight, the band that toured with post-hardcore heroes . . . And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead in Europe and like-minded New Jersey natives Titus Andronicus in the U.S. comes across town to Williamsburg’s Knitting Factory to open for Brooklyn transplants Crystal Stilts. Though the Stilts might be best known for their former singer/guitarist Frankie Rose, the remaining crew sounds as good as ever, placing deep, reverberating vocals within deep, retromaniacal guitar lines.
B.B. King’s Blues Club & Grill
Sunday, 8pm, $30/$35
Girl groups have always had a lot to live up to because the Shirelles set the bar very high very early on. With massive, Carole King-penned hit “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” which has since been covered by the songwriter and the late-Amy Winehouse to equally unique perfection, the group has become immortal in the eyes of many. Over the years, the ladies have gained an answer to their beatifully posed question: yes we do still love them and will continue to do so for many tomorrows to come.
Skream + Mala + Plastician + Hatcha
Friday, 10pm, $15
Before Skrillex, Justin Bieber, and Taylor Swift, before HARD Fest in L.A., Electric Zoo in New York, and Electric Daisy in Las Vegas, there were artists like Skream, Mala, Plastician, and Hatcha midwifing the genre that would be called dubstep in small clubs in South London’s Croydon neighborhood. Tonight, those four artists unite for No Sleep Till Croydon, an event meant to showcase the genre’s roots, offering old heads and new poseurs a breath of fresh air–and the wobble of heavy bass–in this trying time of mainstream acceptance. That said, tonight’s event, presented by the Red Bull Music Academy, is a dance party, not a museum exhibition, so expect fresh tunes from all involved.
‘Oh! You Pretty Things’ w/ Alison Clancy + Hypernova + Michael T. and the Vanities + This Ambitious Orchestra
Le Poisson Rouge
Sunday, 9pm, $15/$20
Now in its third year, the New Romantic Ball is one of the best excuses in town to get glammed up. Tonight’s party, hosted by Chi Chi Valenti, features live performances by the 22-piece ensemble This Ambitious Orchestra, downtown hip boy Michael T and the Vanities, live sets by Hypernova and Alison Clancy, and burlesque by Delysia Lachatte and Scooter Pie. Dress code is strictly “Blitz Kids Realness, Victorian Dandy, Retro-Futurists, Peacock Punk, and all Siouxsie looks,” so be creative. Prizes go to the best costume.
B.A.L.L. + The Upper Crust + Lord Classic + New York Junk
Saturday, 7:30pm, $10
As surreal and potentially volatile a reunion as you’ll stumble upon this year, B.A.L.L. was the troubled and troubling late ’80s slop-rock assemblage of the Velvet Monkey’s Don Fleming and Jay Spiegal, Shimmy Disc proprietor-bassist Kramer, and Bongwater drummer David Licht. Original Sonic Youth drummer Bob Bert fills in for the quartet’s first show in 25 years.
November 1-3 2012
Grande halle de la Villette
Pitchfork announced more additions to Pitchfork Music Festival Paris, including new artists on the festival lineup.
James Blake, Ratking, and Isaac Delusion have been added to the lineup for the festival, which takes place November 1-3 at Grande Halle de la Villette. They join M83, Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, Robyn, Fuck Buttons, Sébastien Tellier, Japandroids, Cloud Nothings, Death Grips, Rustie, How to Dress Well, DIIV, Purity Ring, Jessie Ware, Simian Mobile Disco, the Walkmen, Chromatics, Wild Nothing, John Talabot, Twin Shadow, AlunaGeorge, Chairlift, Liars, Julio Bashmore, the Tallest Man on Earth, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Factory Floor, Disclosure, and Outfit.
Jeudi / Thursday
How to Dress Well
Vendredi / Friday
The Tallest Man on Earth
Animal Collective discuss their constantly evolving creative process as well as their new approach to performing live.
From Music Clout: Finding Opportunities for Your Music
Bands & Musicians: The Top 5 Ways To Get Noticed in Today’s Music Industry
1) Write and record stellar music
This one goes without saying, but if your songs aren’t (at a minimum) catchy, provocative, unique, and meticulously recorded, then you need to invest as much time and effort as it takes to get them that way. The days of getting picked up by record labels on the basis of extremely low-budget demo recordings are pretty much over. So you basically need suck it up and spend some cash. Speaking of which….
2) Manage your finances effectively
It’s pretty much common knowledge that record labels no longer have huge stacks of money to invest in “artist development.” This means that you absolutely must manage your music career like you are running a business, watching your cash flow very carefully and keeping yourself in the black. Artists who fail to demonstrate responsibility and discipline in financial matters will simply get passed over by the labels. Period. Bottom line—you need to resist the urge to live the rock star lifestyle until you’ve got the bank to support it.
3) Play lots of gigs
The benefits of playing out on a regular basis are numerous. First of all, it helps to improve your musicianship through practice & repetition, forcing you to perform well under pressure. Secondly, it helps you to establish and refine your brand, personality, songwriting, and unique sound. Thirdly, it will help improve your charisma and social skills because you’ll be constantly fielding comments and questions from fans. And lastly but certainly not leastly, it will put money in your pocket, which of course helps with #2 above.
4) Develop and streamline your social media presence
In today’s all-digital music industry, this is an absolute must. You need to have a solid social media marketing plan in order to reach the maximum number of people and get as many ears on your music as possible. So how do you do you go about developing such a plan? I’m so glad you asked. 🙂 Here are a few tips:
Create consistent and professional-looking branding. Unless you’re super-handy with Photoshop and/or Illustrator, bite the bullet and hire a graphic designer.
Design an eye-catching (but tasteful) Twitter background, YouTube Channel, and Facebook page using your custom branding.
Upload your music to sites like ReverbNation, SoundCloud, and the BandPage app on Facebook, and promote it onall of your other social media channels
Create (and stick to) a regular posting/tweeting schedule to remain “top of mind” with your fans. Keep them informed of your upcoming shows, share pics & videos, and occasionally share off-topic
items that you think they’ll enjoy.
Set weekly goals for increasing your following, and constantly engage with fans. Never let a question or comment go unacknowledged.
Remember that achieving success with social media is a journey, not a destination.
And finally, we arrive at the most important tool in your arsenal when it comes to getting noticed in today’s music industry….
5) Get some truly amazing promotional photos
Time and time again, the first thing that potential fans (or talent scouts, venue managers, or even A&R reps) will see typically see when they come across your stuff for the very first time are your photos. Make a great impression, and chances are good that the person in question will bother to click your link, rummage through your press kit, or actually listen to your music.
Right or wrong, we all “judge a book by its cover” from time to time, so it’s no surprise that people will instantly make certain assumptions about you based solely on the quality and impact of your promotional photos. It doesn’t matter if you spent eleventy billion dollars on your album— if nobody’s listening to it because your pictures suck, then for all intents and purposes, you do too.
You might literally only have 2 seconds to catch someone’s eye, and bear in mind that in today’s caffeine-fueled world of 140-charatcer status updates, there will always be countless other things competing for that same sliver of attention. So the bottom line is that, when given a chance, you better make it count. As the great lyricist Eminem said, “you only get one shot, do NOT miss your chance to glow.”
By Music Photographer Russ Robinson.
Russ Robinson is a commercial band & music photographer based in Tampa, FL specializing in high-end artist promos, cd/album covers, composites, and custom-designed digital artwork. Visit him online at http://TampaBandPhotos.com or follow him on Twitter: @TampaBandPhotos