Analyse This

Some of you may well have seen the story doing the rounds on the Internet recently concerning the rock band Iron Maiden and how they supposedly used data to help plan their world tours. While the story wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be, it does show how bands can now use all that data flying around in cyberspace to their own advantage.

The company mentioned in the original article is called Music Metric (http://musicmetric.com/). What they do, for a fee, is collect the many billions of musical interactions across the Internet. The sources of that information include social media, illegal file sharing sites, music streaming services, etc.

Music Metric then analyse all of that data providing a band, record company, or even a fan of a particular artist with a snapshot of how an act is performing online, right across the world.

You can then delve deeper into that collected data to see where your music is being streamed the most, where your music is being illegally downloaded the most, and also where you’re being talked about the most, even down to the age, gender and location of your fans.

The original article suggested that Iron Maiden had used this information to select countries where it might be best for them to tour next time around, especially those countries where their music maybe wasn’t being bought, but illegally downloaded.

The thought being that maybe they could then get those people to a gig and sell them merchandise, etc. That way the band would be making money from gig tickets and merchandise, even if they couldn’t persuade the fans to buy their music. And who knows, they might even convert them to doing that, as well?

Iron Maiden have never admitted to doing this, and why let the possible truth get in the way of a good story eh? However, as mentioned before, it does help to highlight how any band can now utilise all of that online data for their own purposes and maybe ultimately profit from it too.

We all know that sales of CD’s and music generally isn’t what it was. Most bands nowadays struggle to earn a decent living from making music in this digital age. You’ve no doubt read about how bands only make real money these days from playing live and selling t-shirts. So at least there is now a way that artists can be that little bit smarter when it comes to targeting fans in the future.

Even if you don’t, or can’t afford to use a service like Music Metric, any artist can use the data from their fans social media activities, digital and CD sales, and streaming services for their own ends.

Most social media sites, YouTube and dedicated band sites, etc have some form of analytics service built into their pages, especially if you run those pages yourself.
Yes, it takes a bit of time, which is after all why a service such as Music Metric exists in the first place. But, maybe now is the time to dig a little deeper yourself and use that, often, free info for your own benefit?

If it’s good enough for Iron Maiden (allegedly), surely it’s got to be good enough for you too? Regardless of the popularity of your band.

Ultimately, can you afford not to give it a try? It might just be the thing that gives your band the edge over all the others out there.

 

SXSE Sunday

As part of this year’s Fat Tuesday festivities, SXSE will be making a comeback.

Some of you may remember SXSE (South by South East) taking place at The Carlisle a couple of years ago, I know I do. Well, the organisers have decided to revive the event for 2014, but with a few changes.

SXSE Sunday will take place at The Union Bar (Formerly The Tubman) on Sunday 2nd March between approx 1 and 7pm. As with the previous event, bands/acts will be showcasing their talents in front of a panel of respected judges. But this time around the ‘prize’ is a coveted slot on the official Fat Tuesday tour on the evening of Tuesday 4th March.

More details about SXSE Sunday itself and how your act can apply to play can be found here. There is an application form to be filled in online:

http://www.hastingsfattuesday.co.uk/sxse/

Bands applying will be asked to perform a 20 minute set of original material on the day. They must also be available to play three 20 minute sets, at three different venues, on Fat Tuesday itself.

Applying to play may not guarantee a place on SXSE Sunday, as acts will be pre-judged to ensure that only the best, or most suitable, get to play. Bands/acts will be informed on Friday 14th February as to whether they’ve been invited to play. So, get those entries in today. Don’t miss out.

As mentioned on the Fat Tuesday/SXSE website, this event is all tied up with the new Hastings Fat Tuesday charity, which I am a part of. The charity has been set up to help support, encourage, promote and nurture original local musical talent.

To quote the website “The Fat Tuesday team are developing mentor opportunities, which will be offered to local bands/performers that demonstrate potential and whose members are driven towards careers in the music industry. These offers, grants and opportunities will be discussed on an individual bespoke basis, depending on the specific requirements of the band/performer in question. But in principle they might include: recording and mastering of demo tracks with introductions to a choice of producers and engineers; promotional video production; song writing workshops; business advice; brand development; assistance with equipment; touring and regular performance opportunities both locally and further afield.”

Acts playing at SXSE Sunday are under no obligation to get involved with the Hastings Fat Tuesday charity, but it would be a great opportunity for you to showcase your talent and potential.

It would be good to see you there on the day, whether as a performer or as a spectator. So put that date in your diary, Sunday 2nd March, 1 to 7pm at The Union Bar, Hastings.

More Local Music Videos

Here are two more local music videos for you to feast your eyes upon.

First up are a brand new band who are already causing a bit of a stir, Riddles. They describe themselves as a “Garage psych rock n roll trio”.

This video of their song ‘Psychedelic Power Engine Iron Claw Thunder Mistress’ was produced by Pierless Music’s very own Richard Lock.

If you enjoyed that, Richard also filmed and edited a video from the first ever gig by Riddles, at The Union Bar in December. You can find that here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uS32fnpFe8k

By contrast here is the new video, directed by Theo Watkins, from local popsters Dorey The Wise. It’s called ‘Love Games’.

Don’t forget to let us know if you spot, or produce any new local music videos. Thanks.

Pay To Play

If you’re an aspiring band or artist and have ever attempted to get some gigs further afield from your home town, you’ve probably come across the phenomenon that is known as ‘Pay To Play’.

You know the kind of thing where the promoter, or venue says that they can’t or won’t pay you for your performance and tell you that ‘it will be good promotion for your band’ and that ‘that’s just the way things are these days’.

This may well suit you under certain circumstances, but…..

Well, you might be pleased to hear that it’s not just the new, up and coming artists that have to put up with this kind of thing. It seems that even the biggest acts in the world are spun the same rubbish as well. As this blog post by the very readable Helienne Lindvall shows:

http://www.theguardian.com/media/media-blog/2013/dec/17/music-acts-radio-events-free-katy-perry

Of course this is not something that just happens in London and other big cities, it happens in most smaller towns as well. Thankfully not all venues and promoters do this, but many do.

This is a big issue, with several sides and varying points of view and one that I could probably talk about for hours, so I don’t intend to go into it all here.

What I thought I would do though is to point you towards a couple of Facebook groups that talk about these issues. If nothing else it proves that you’re not alone and that it’s not just the ‘little people’ that are affected.

Here’s a link to a Facebook group started up to highlight and discuss musicians being asked to play for free. The group was actually started after problems with the London 2012 Olympics. You might have to join the group to get involved:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/NUMAO/

Of course, this doesn’t just affect the music industry. It has become an issue across many fields too, such as journalism.

Here’s a link to another Facebook group called ‘Stop Working For Free’, this time started by respected music journalist Barney Hoskyns. It’s aimed at journalists, musicians, photographers and others as well. Once again you may have to join to get the full benefit:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/263804607094399/

Why not share your own story?

 

Hastings Musical Festival 2014 – RockFest

Bands and backline wanted.

Are you in a band and would you like to play on the main stage at the White Rock Theatre in Hastings, with a full PA system and under the theatre’s stage lighting?

If so, read on:

On the evening of Friday 21st March, the Hastings Musical Festival’s very own RockFest takes place. This will be its 6th year and they’d like you to take part.

RockFest is a competition for amateur bands from the local area. There are two categories – Bands age 16 and under (One member can be over 16) and Bands aged 16 and over (One member can be under 16).

Top prize is £100 and this year there is no entry fee to pay, it’s free!

Rules are as follows:

Amateur bands only – a maximum of 3 songs – a minimum of 3 players – Original material encouraged – No offensive lyrics.

Also, each band will get a soundcheck before they perform – a full backline will be provided, but guitarists should bring their own leads – drummers can bring their own pedals and cymbals if they wish – keyboard players would need to bring their own keyboard.

The competition will be judged professionally by Paul Roberts, who has judged the RockFest categories for several years now and who is widely experienced.

If this sounds interesting to you, and seeing as it’s free to enter why shouldn’t it, you can enter via the Festivals website at: http://www.hastingsmusicalfestival.co.uk/

If you need further info please contact Brenda Bailey at: john4brenda@btinternet.com or phone Brenda on: 01424 430923.

Help Needed:

As mentioned above, a full backline is to be provided for RockFest, but as yet the Hastings Musical Festival have no-one to provide it. Unfortunately their usual supplier can’t provide the equipment needed this year.

So, can you help? Can you either supply free of charge, or hire the Hastings Musical Festival the following equipment on Friday 21st March 2014:

2 x guitar amps and cabs –  1 x bass amp and cab – full drum kit including pedals and cymbals – 1 x amp for keyboard?

If so, please contact Brenda Bailey via the details above.

I shall be compering the RockFest once again this year and it would be good to see some great local bands there on the night.

New Year – New Videos

Happy New Year to you all.

We thought we’d start off 2014 with a couple of new local music videos that we’ve come across recently.

If you see, produce, or know of any other new local music videos that may be lurking out there, please let us know.

First up today are King The Native and a track from their very soon to be released EP ‘Tendershook’. The track is called ‘Drastic’.

If you liked that you can see King The Native at their EP launch gig, this Saturday, at The Union Bar. More details can be found here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/258456794310825/

In complete contrast here is a far more laid back video from local singer/songwriter Anita Jardine. The track is called ‘Writing In The Sand’, which she describes as ‘a reflection on life’s cycles and connections’.

It comes complete with some nice photo’s of Hastings.

Keep those videos coming.