I have been toying with the idea behind Hummingbyrd Sings for a while: namely, creating a place where the independent artistic community can come together, engage with one another and share ideas that will improve their experiences as artists.
The very nature of ‘independent’ means being on the cutting edge of an ever-changing arena. That means bands need to create a story – a brand – in order to build a following. It’s no longer enough to say, “I’m Indie” and think that’s it. Indie is breaking the mold. If the industry is changing, Indie artists should be at the forefront blazing the trail to take the industry to the next level.
Hummingbyrd Sings is about artists getting and giving ideas about best practices and new thinking – how they interact with their audiences to keep them coming back, wanting more and loving both the music and the artist behind it. It’s about asking why a fan would advocate for an artist, and creating that image with which fans want to be identified.
Q: Why do you believe new media resources (i.e. blogs, podcasts, Internet radio stations) have become so popular? How have they been beneficial to artists? How have they been detrimental?
A: New media resources are revolutionizing the way music is distributed to the community and how artists can reach out to existing and potential fans around the world. However, because revenue streams must change with these amazing (and often free) resources, the role of the artist within the community must ultimately change too.
Artists are being challenged to re-evaluate where they fit into a global puzzle, and creating an identity and perspective shift can be very intimidating. Asking “Who can I be in the U.S.A.?” is very different from asking, “Who am I in this global community?” Combined, this leads to the even tougher question: “How am I going to support all of this?”
The good news for artists is that these new resources provide autonomy and tools to help them as they redefine themselves, reach out, and arrive at a viable product. They have more resources available to them than any previous generation of artists as they think strategically about who they are and how to maintain a competitive edge.
Q: Media 2.0 has changed the way artists communicate with fans. Where do you envision online communication going next? Any thoughts on what Media “3.0” will look like?
A: Facebook put us on our current path – think of all of the applications that were born of it. However, most of the interfaces we interact with do not represent the capabilities that technology has with regards to graphic design. Soon, we will see a new equation:
Web application synergy + cloud computing + graphic design = Media 3.0
I see a world where the networking capability of Facebook meets the graphic design of the SIMS. We need to get design ramped up to meet the needs of the consumer, as well as develop the ability to combine multiple applications into a single virtual environment. With advertising, television, movies and music all moving digital, we will need to get that visual aesthetic better incorporated into our applications.
Just imagine: You log into an application and type the address of your favorite venue. Google Earth slowly lowers you down into that area, your perspective as if you were actually walking into the venue. You walk in on your favorite artist streaming an in-studio session. After they finish playing, they answer questions from fans. As a fan asks a question, a video box pops up that shows their profile, website, info, etc. All the while, you can buy the artist’s merchandise, stream samples from their new EP and buy tickets to upcoming tour shows.
Media 3.0 will be all about getting to know the artist in a more personal way and feeling part of a community that they have built – from the comfort of anywhere in the world.
Q: What does an artist have to do to get your attention? Are their specific characteristics that you look for?
A: I am looking for an artist that is confident in who they are and gives off a serious vibe for their craft – an intense passion for music.
This is shown by:
- Having an image that is identifiable and distinguishable from their competitors
- Knowing where they came from versus where they are now
- Being humble and knowing that their craft is constantly evolving
- Being honest in the process of producing music – not producing it just to produce
- Knowing their strengths and creating solutions for their weaknesses
- Admitting they are human and that mistakes happen: how they choose to move forward is a demonstration of who they are
- Making EXCELLENT music that a group of people can identify with – not just music that I like
When all of this melds together, the combination makes for a pretty amazing artist.
Q: What do you ultimately hope to accomplish with your blog
A: There is a need for more people to provide a forum of discourse for artists with ideas that they can easily incorporate into strategy as they evolve with this ever changing industry. On the flip side, artists should also want to give advice to each other on what is working and what is not. It is an exciting time for social networking in a digital environment, but with this comes the demand for bands to be more than just singer/songwriters who play music.
We as music lovers have a responsibility to guide how ‘Indie’ translates in our culture and what it represents. I would like my blog to be that medium for this discourse and discussion.
Tweet with me: @HummingbyrdSing