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Musical Integrity: Should Performers Only Be Creators?

Abstract: The music industry has always looked down on musical ‘faces’ who have nothing to do with music production or creation. Is this snobbery justified or are they different skills that should be treated with different forms of appreciation? Or should this distinction warrant a new kind of appreciation for creators – one that’s separate from admiration of the performer?

Here’s a (probably) familiar situation for any independent music fan (you are Y):

rihanna performing liveX: I love Rihanna; she’s so great

Y: Yeah, her music’s pretty fun, but she doesn’t write any of it so…

X: Who cares? She’s way better than [insert cool unsigned artist Y likes here]

Y: Well, at least they write their own music though – like, I have way more respect for people who actually write their own stuff.

X: But Rihanna’s such a great performer – she’s a part of the music without being a part of the music, if you get me.

Y’s defence is one I have used more times than I can count in my lifetime, and I doubt it’s one I’m likely to stop using, but, to be totally honest, it’s not one I’ve actually examined in much detail at all.

The close relationship between the hipster and independent music

Defining the hipster:

Hipsters: nobody knows what they are; nobody will ever self-identify as one, but still, everybody knows that they hate them.

Well, I don’t, and if you’re a big fan of independent music, then neither should you.

Like any much-ostracized subculture, hipsters have found themselves the victims of an online target hate loop unique in its vitriol, unparalleled in its universality, and unprecedented in its weirdness. What’s to attack when you don’t know what you’re attacking? (Fig. 1)

hipster hate loop

Note how the class of hipsters and the class of non-hipsters both hate hipsters. This is just a way of saying that everyone in the world hates hipsters, or at least claims to do so.

It is an absurd wild goose chase of epic proportions because a) no-one knows what they’re attacking and b) the attacked attack and the attacked of the attacked attack and the attacked of the attacked of the attacked attack and so on, meaning this hate process probably looks more like an infinite regress spiral thing. (Fig. 2)

hipster hate spiralWhere this ends, as they say, no one knows. (Or where it begins, or where the middle is, or whatever else.)

FoolsFest Annual Spring Arts & Music Festival in Texas: Support the Vision

A new type of arts and music festival

Foolsfest Arts and Music FestivalMusic festivals are popular events all around the world; music and art usually manage to bring people together in a very unique way, no matter what the economic or politic situation is. In Canada, music lovers can choose amongst a variety of festivals including various Jazz Festivals, the Canadian Music Week and more. Americans can enjoy Coachella and SXSW amongst others. Europeans put together such a wide variety of music festivals each year that it’s impossible to count them. However, in the last few years many music enthusiasts have started to realize that many of those festivals are more of a marketing machine put together by big corporations rather than an event bringing people together. One of those music enthusiasts is Mark Levine, of Zeitgeist Enterprises in Houston, Texas. Levine has worked in the entertainment industry for over 15 years and his resume includes some of the biggest names in rock and roll.

A New Music Cultivator and New Indie Artist Launchpad – Grow Music Project

Grow Music Project microphoneThe GROW MUSIC PROJECT was conceived by Hollywood songwriter/composer/producer CHRISTOPHER TYNG [“Futurama”, “Suits,” “The OC”] to be a new music “cultivator” and artist “launchpad” for uniquely talented independent artists and bands. Our mission is to recognize and support emerging, career-focused artists by giving them the opportunity to have their most promising song professionally produced, recorded, and mixed in our world-class studio, entirely for free and with no strings attached. These artists will also be showcased on the Grow Music Project website, a hub established to foster artists’ musical connections, opportunities for exposure and career growth.

WHY?

Independent artists and bands need help now more than ever. Few places are left in the music industry that are still able to support and foster the talent of budding artists. The Grow Music Project endeavors to fill that void, to open the doors of our studio to up and coming artists and bands and give them a place to learn, develop and hone their craft. The GMP community will support their creative process, and strive to give their music the wider audience that it deserves.

WHO?

Music Photography History Came to Life with Rock & Roll

music photography history rock n roll

When you flip through the pages of your favorite music magazine, you expect to see professional shots of your favorite bands. In the 80’s, magazines such as Kerrang and Rolling Stone used to have entire pages dedicated to live shots and promo pictures of the biggest bands. These shots were taken by music photographers. While some may argue that the career of music photographer is not as alive as it used to be, due to the more ‘indie’ approach of many bands (we need to remember here that music photographers were usually associated with major labels), there are still many individuals out there who offer their services to bands and artists; photographers can capture your raw energy at a concert or get you professional shots for your press kit. Whether you are interested in music photography or in need of shots for your upcoming album and promo kit, read below to learn more about the history of music photography.

L.A.-based director Cutter Hodierne on the making of his Sundance Film Festival debut

Fishing without Nets

Somali modern day piratesA few years ago, stories about modern-day pirates terrorizing the waters off the Somali coast started to emerge, and eventually it led to a small media frenzy. In 2008, the world watched as rescue measures were taken to save kidnapped French couple Bernadette and Jean-Yves Delanne, who were abducted by pirates while sailing home from Australia aboard their yacht, the Carre d’As. Eventually, French Special Forces freed the couple in an operation that left a pirate dead, and six more arrested. Although this happened several thousand miles away from the Californian coast, for Los Angeles based director Cutter Hodierne, the story hit close to home.

Just before he was born, Hodierne’s parents sold everything that they owned and bought a 32-foot cutter-rigged sailboat; Cutter spent the first three years of his life sailing the South Pacific Ocean. At the time, the area was one of the first and only places one would hear about modern-day pirate activity. When reminded of the French couple, Hodierne says, “That could’ve been us.” Over twenty years later, the early memories would lay down the groundwork in what would become the short-film that introduces Sundance to Cutter Hodierne.

Independent Film Festival – The Road to Park City: A Sundance Preview

 

Sundance Film Festival The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah is only a few weeks away, with this year’s edition taking place from January 19th to 29th. As usual, the festival will be showcasing a wide variety of independent short and feature-length films. Whether you will get a chance to watch some of these films in Utah, or have to be a little more patient, we figured we would give you a little preview by going through some of the interesting films being presented at this year’s festival. There is a lot of quality content in this year’s program; we’ve merely narrowed down the list for you to help you get a head start.

California Solo
Director: Marshall Lewy
Screenwriter: Marshall Lewy
U.S.A., 2012, 93 min, color
English

Director Marshall Lewy’s second feature film tells the tale of washed-up rocker Lachlan MacAldonich, played by Robert Carlyle. Once a guitar player for a famous rock band, MacAldonich now lives a humble life in a dingy apartment in California, while working on an organic farm. After he is arrested for drunk driving, Lachlan is threatened by possible deportation: the only way he can avoid it is by proving that his departure would cause severe hardship on a loved one. The situation forces MacAldonich to dig up the past and face some relationships that he thought would never resurface.

Spotify: Independent Music Friend or Foe?

Spotify LogoIn the last year, the Swedish music platform Spotify has gained considerable media attention in the United States with their free online streaming service. Although many are hailing it as a great way of discovering new artists and music, many are also criticizing the site claiming that it fails to properly compensate independent artists.

Spotify offers a free service that can be accessed online, while access from a mobile device requires a paid “premium” membership. Furthermore, the paid membership allows you to bypass the video and audio advertisements that are present with the free account.

In 2010, Napster founder Sean Parker invested $15 million in Spotify’s development, and has since been involved by sitting on their board. Spotify cracked the ten million user mark that same year, with a quarter of the accounts belonging to paying customers. After many delays and years of negotiation with major record companies, the site finally launched its US version in July 2011.

Spotify compensates artists via their record labels by paying for both downloaded content and streaming. In some countries, record companies have marked a significant increase in revenue since joining Spotify. Not everyone is happy however, American rock duo The Black Keys have gone as far as pulling their newest album El Camino off the site. So why are so many speaking out against Spotify?