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TOPIC: Naive question...
#192026
Randall

Naive question... 2 Months, 2 Weeks ago  
Seeking input from people here with experience and insight into the commercial end of the music industry. I've been looking at a few successful British popular musicians: Ed Sheeran, Adele, Paolo Nutini, Amy Winehouse, Jessie J. I discounted anyone from reality shows or X Factor type shows. What's not clear to me is how these people make the transition from enthusiastic young music students to getting professional performance work and record deals etc.

All of the names above except, Paolo Nutini, attended a private stage school. Of course I understand that such places give potential future stars advantages and opportunities. But the accounts of how these musicians came to prominence are a little hard to believe. Adele's pal posted a demo tape on Myspace and then, out of the blue, the boss of a record label calls her up? I don't buy it. Similar story for Amy Winehouse, except it was an cassette tape (in 2000?) sent speculatively to an A&R man. I don't buy it. Straight out of school, Ed Sheeran was touring with established musicians. And what's that about reaching no. 2 in the iTunes charts without any promotion or record label? I don't buy it.

The only account of making it into the business that makes sense to me is Paolo Nutini's. He worked his way up from the bottom, as it were, as a roadie and studio gopher, meanwhile taking first local opportunities to shine as a performer and then larger ones in London.

Am I missing something here? Have I misunderstood? Are these public versions the "official" ones, with the real manoeuvring hidden behind the scenes (or, dare I say it, in hotel rooms and casting couches...)?
 
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#192029
Re:Naive question... 2 Months, 2 Weeks ago  
Yes Randall you are missing something; just check on the progress of my protege Alex Day in 2011 (?) with Forever Yours.
 
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#192030
Randall

Re:Naive question... 2 Months, 2 Weeks ago  
Thanks, I was not previously aware of Alex Day. My immediate impression of him was that he seems like a very normal, down to earth, pleasant guy. I like the way he leaves the clams and fuckups in his videos. It shows rare and refreshing honesty from a musician! I was dismayed to read that he'd been the victim of the kind of online mob character assassination that feels sadly familiar.

Are you saying that the key factor governing success nowadays is effective use of existing social media platforms to perform the marketing and promotion function? If so then, yes, I get it. YouTube has usurped the role of a record label, and presents greatly fewer barriers to entry.

But I'm still puzzled. It's not apparent to me how Alex Day made it all the way to 1.4 million followers without (I assume) a significant advertising budget. Surely it can't be because of the actual quality of the content? With respect to Mr Day - and I really do appreciate the effort, skill and balls required to create repertoire and put it out there - it's nothing special. He doesn't have a very distinctive or noteworthy voice, like Paolo Nutini. Although his personable presentation is appealing, he doesn't have the kind of commanding charisma of Bruno Mars or Nikki Minaj. The songwriting is nice enough, but doesn't have the catchy motifs of Ed Sheeran. There's no strongly individualistic musical style, like FKA Twigs. And the videos aren't visually spectacular.

Is it just a case of him starting off with a few more online friends than other YouTubers struggling to grow a channel? An extra 2 followers compounds over time to put him 100s of 1000s ahead after a couple of years. Is that it? I want to stress that it's not at all my intention to knock Mr Day down. The very opposite: I wish him great success and would love for him to continue being so creative and enthusiastic, especially after the knocks he's taken. Being very definitely in the muso category, I'm just trying to get a better understanding of the business side of the industry.
 
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#192032
Re:Naive question... 2 Months, 2 Weeks ago  
8 years ago nobody realised that You Tube was getting huge (except me). Nobody thought they could break records by using the online fan base (except me). I became friends with Tommy, Alex and Charlie; helped them get a band together (Sons of Admirals - small hit); they split but Alex continued to want a solo career; I told him what to do; he did it and went Top Five unsigned, no publisher, no manager; just him, doing what I told him. Made about £450,000. I made nothing incidentally; just a friend. It dawned on others (mainly non music - books - example Zoella) who capitalised. But that was then. These days you need different approaches. Like streaming. Tomorrow? Who knows. If I'm involved, it will work initially!
 
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#192033
Randall

Re:Naive question... 2 Months, 2 Weeks ago  
Ah ha! This is what I'm asking about.

JK2006 wrote:
I told him what to do



[Uriah Heep voice] Might I 'umbly beg you to share the advice? Or does that cost something...
 
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#192034
Re:Naive question... 2 Months, 2 Weeks ago  
It costs nothing but is also worth nothing - eight years too late. I have no idea how the current marketplace works but with Streaming dominant it is totally different. Was perfect then; useless a year later.
 
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#192036
Randall

Re:Naive question... 2 Months, 2 Weeks ago  
You mean Spotify, Deezer and what's the new one...? Just a minute while I look it up.

TIDAL!! That's the bugger...

What was your advice for YouTube promotion? Do you think it's applicable or adaptable to the streaming platforms?
 
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#192039
Re:Naive question... 2 Months, 2 Weeks ago  
No. It was constructed on fan base. There is no streaming fan base.
 
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#192040
Randall

Re:Naive question... 2 Months, 2 Weeks ago  
Ah yes, of course. The streamers serve up music according to an "if you like that, you might like this" algorithm. Although I've found it very hit and miss for my personal listening preferences. On Deezer, I selected favourites including Horace Silver, Incognito, Tower of Power, Fred Wesley, John Coltrane and Sting. The first suggestion Deezer gave me was... Lady Gaga. Yeah, thanks. Uninstall.

That would suggest starting off with music unambiguously belonging to a clearly defined genre (So I wonder how FKA Twigs performs...?). Then, getting added to popular playlists of that same genre. And then good artwork to provoke a click. Am I thinking along the right lines?
 
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#192041
Re:Naive question... 2 Months, 2 Weeks ago  
Not really; it's a question of Hype which, remember, I did in the 70s.
 
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#192042
Randall

Re:Naive question... 2 Months, 2 Weeks ago  
This?



How is it used to one's own advantage?
 
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