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Content by Duane Charles

Independent Artists Choose to Control Your Own Online Presence and Choose the Right Path

Every now and then I will read an article that has me questioning the choices we make as artists.

This time Facebook was the topic and it was regarding a glitch in their system that was mistakenly deactivating accounts of thousands of female users. Of course, they remedied the bug. But instead of automatically reactivating the affected accounts and allowing members to sign in and go about their business as usual, they were required to fill out a form. The form required them to send an image of a “government-issued ID,” ensuring that their full name, date of birth, and photo were clear. Even after doing so, one confirmed member was still denied access (read article here).

choose your pathWTF?! The more I read about the advancement of Facebook the more I see it as an “Internet institution” opposed to a place to share images and connect with friends. Why in the hell would someone even have the balls to ask a member to issue a government-issued ID in order to sign into a $%#!*# social network account?

Is The Music Industry Dead Yet?

JurassicWith the recent news of GarageBand.com, the indie music store, discovery /review service and online community, discontinuing its services as of July 15th, 2010, after 10 years catering to artists and indie music fans alike.., I am left to ponder the fate of the music industry once again.

The latest news – worldwide sales of recorded music fell by another 10% in the last year, digital piracy is still on the rise; accounting for a 30 percent decline in global music sales from 2004 to 2009 and digital services are not enough to stem the tide of falling compact discs sales …

Wow! The industry is a mess and still, it continues to adhere to the same business model and practices it ushered in a century ago. Why? And why are they not dead yet?

Is it at least on its last leg?

Well, every morning when I get online or take time to listen to the radio, flick on television or flip open the pages of a newspaper, the same dinosaurs that are supposedly becoming extinct, are still  running rampant and eating everything in site.

Are Independent Music Artists Gradually Becoming Dependent Music Artists?

As more indie artists gravitate toward new web services in mass, I often wonder about the individualism of the independent artist movement and where it will eventually end up.

dependent artist-unemployment lineWith new web services springing up to cater to the needs of artists by the day, it is becoming less practical for artists to spend money to update and maintain a personal web page. Nowadays with many budgets running tight, I can understand why many artists are cutting costs by signing up for a new web service instead.

To my dismay, the band | artist website is fast becoming an afterthought instead of the standard prerequisite. The ones I do find are often abandoned, rarely updated or left for dead in some obscure corner of the internet. Most just provide links to other popular web services on the net where they can be found as members.

So, why I am concerned? Web services that cater to Independent Artists should be great news!

For starters, here is a clipping form an article I read recently

Indie Artist David Niari to Display New Art at the Museum of Science & Industry Exhibit

fleeting_momentsIndependent Artist David Niari will be presenting new art from January 13 through February 28, 2010 at the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago. The Chicago artist will premiere two new pieces, “Fleeting Moments” and “A Season” during the Juried Art Exhibition.

The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago commemorates Black History Month with the Black Creativity program, which includes one of the country’s oldest African-American art exhibitions. Prominent artists from around the globe submit their work to the Juried Art Exhibition in the following categories: ceramics, drawings, mixed media, paintings, photography, print media, sculpture, textiles, and video.

GiGHiVE Public Beta Launch – An Independent Artist Story Part 1

Yesterday after a long and short 3 years, we launched the public beta version of GiGHiVE. During that time we had our good days and bad. I am also sure there are many more to come.  In the meantime, I always wanted to jot down some of my experiences, in the hopes that artists could learn from the triumphs and failures.

Introduction that started the movement.

GiGHiVE 2007Most indie artists I have come across or read about, are defined by many names;  singer, songwriter, producer, engineer, musician, designer, journalist.

What’s missing in the bios and the hype we mass produce on the internet media machine, are the alternative names we go by.  For starters, waiter/ waitress, janitors, babysitter, cable guy, construction worker, office assistant, mail-room clerk, cook and for some of us ( and by no means all of us),  it goes a little deeper when you throw in  descriptive names such as felon, alcoholic, bum, procrastinator or drug addict.

Hey!!!  Don’t shoot the messenger – and I am not equating the two.  It’s just the dark side behind independent music most fans don’t usually see. Over the years I began to see a pattern among artists and I am just painting a picture.  Look past the beautiful web site canvasses and you just might find an unfamiliar world peering back at you.

Q&A: Hall Of Fame Inductee Mark Kerr

MarkKerrInducted into the National Heritage Foundation Blues Hall of Fame. Mark Kerr is finally enjoying recognition for his brilliant and original style of Blues guitar playing and singing.

Mark’s radio podcast show entitled, “Mark Kerr’s Blues Nation” which features not only Mark’s music, but music from the very best Blues and Blues-Rock artists on the scene today. The show is hosted by Mark and airs weekly on Kansas City Online Radio, as well as on the Blues Nation page of this site. Mark’s show was inducted into the National Heritage Foundation Blues Hall of Fame as a “Great Blues Radio Show.

GH: What sparked your desire to host your own radio show?

MK: I viewed this media as an excellent marketing tool for my music.As well as getting a few of my blues friends some airplay.

Social Media. Does Our Content Really Belong To Us?

line_do_not_crossEvery now and them I check our sites back links to see who is linking to our pages.
Just recently, I came across a site called Topsy. After some research, I found out it’s a search engine powered by twitter users, tweets and retweets.

I was little thrown off at first, because usually when I see a custom url with our site’s name at the end of it, I think user profile or social network. At first glance, I am seeing this is really cool. But I got to thinking. In some form or another our content is being disseminated all over the internet without us knowing about it; this includes content from all creators, from writers on highly regarded blogs, to individual members on sites such as myspace.

As the web becomes more interactive and a forum for people to express themselves, what happens to that information once we hit the submit button. Do we really retain rights to content once it becomes part of the public domain?

The Issue Over Majors Having Stakes In The Independent Scene

major_musicI recently read an article on the issues independent’s artist are having with the major labels carrying equity stake in Spotify. Ever since the story broke, the discussion has shifted towards artist compensation problems. It seems all artist are not equal and few would argue that the earnings they do receive are hefty.

It went on to explain that the problem isn’t unique to Spotify and the majors are still are a huge and critical supplier of content and blah, blah, blah…

Let me say this loud and clear. ALL ARTISTS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL AND THE MAJORS PLAYERS (LABELS) STILL HAVE THE UPPER HAND. Like it or not, majors labels still carry serious firepower when it comes to content. Their artist’s presence is still heavily favored on most of the popular networks. And as always, somewhere buried underneath them are the independents.

So what does mean for the to the independent artist, label, or anyone attempting to make money in this new environment of abundance and freemium models? Well, we can continue to discuss it, hate on the major labels while still playing by somebody else rules, or we can personally start changing the game.