5 min read

Trivia a la Claudia : Trends to watch in the music industry.

1. Choose a category from one of these:

  • Television,
  • Stage & Screen,
  • Nightly News,
  • Publishing,
  • Lives & Times, or
  • Music

2. Find 8 bits of trivia about your selected category

3. Be sure to let Travis know when...ok, if...you decide to play along so I can see what you come up with.

4. You may tag, or simply offer the meme for borrowing or stealing as you like.


All right.  I pick music, particularly popular music.  Here are a few interesting trends that I am following:

More than Beyonce\'s husband

1. Jay Z? You know, Rihanna's boss and Beyonce Knowles's husband?

Right. That guy.

Anyway, I noticed that his singers always look nice, never say negative or stupid things, and seem to be well matched with song writers.  So I started digging around.

Was this an accident?  Or was it by design?  I realized that Jay-Z, as the head of Def Jam records, was mostly responsible.

He found talented people, matched them with talented song writers and producers, fashion coordinators, dance specialists, coached them on dealing with the press, and whaa laa - suddenly they are winning grammy after award after grammy.

Why is this interesting?

Because a lot of very very talented people don't get this kind of attention.  Millions of bands, authors, writers (like me! ;) wallow in obscurity.  (The most talented band I know, Born in the Flood, spent an entire tour playing with their backs to the audience - that's just dumb.)

Here's what I'm watching.  Jay-Z quit Def Jam in December to open an advertising company with a friend .  My guess is that this little firm will generate the next generation of grammy winning artists.

Independent and loving it.

2. Independent = financially sound. Clap your hands, say yeah. Never heard of them?  Here's what they did.  Using their parent's money, they paid to record then press their first album.  They had the CDs made for less than $1 a piece.   They sold the album at shows, on their website, and limited release to record stores.

How many albums did they sell? 100, 000 copies.  (I paid $20 cash only for my copy. Do the math.)

Second album? They ran this deal for their MySpace "friends". Buy their album early (for $20) and you get an electronic copy.  The CD will arrive in the mail a few months later.

Result? They paid for the entire printing of the CD, all the graphics and advertising from the profits from the electronic version.

They've been offered recording contract after recording contract. They turn them down.  Would you take a contract after this kind of success??

Independent is a trend to watch. People say the music business is dying.  Maybe it's just changing.  And Clap your hands is on the forefront of this trend.

Starting another trend

3. Free Music: It started with Prince.  He arranged with the London Mail to give away copies of his CD in their Sunday newspaper. Not the shitty tracks, B sides or whatever.  London Mail subscribers received a great CD.  People have speculated that the London Mail paid Prince between 1-3 pounds per CD. They distributed over 3 million CDs.  (You do the math.)

No record company. No distributer.  Result?  At least 3 million cash and 3 sold out stadium shows in London.

Radiohead followed with a "pay as much as you want" album.  Big Head Todd and the Monsters arranged with a local radio station to give their album to the radio stations listener list.  (I can send you a copy!)  NIN released their first single free on MP3 then began selling out their tour.

Free is a trend to watch because it's filling these band's bank accounts.

4. Return to vinyl. Elvis Costello bucked every recent trend by releasing his album on vinyl. That's right. VINYL.

Why? There's no way to digitize a vinyl record.

Result? Zero. None. Zip. Pirated copies of his new album.  Not a leak in sight.

5. Return of the show. Not so long ago, you would see a band lip sync their album then get off the stage. You were lucky if the lead singer said, "Hello (fill in the city)."  Now, audience savey bands have begun to interact and laugh with the audience.

And fill their bank accounts by selling T-shirts, albums, and other "goodies" simply due to audience participation in the show.


DeVotchka has live trapeze artists. Result? This tiny band from Denver sold out their South by Southwest shows.

My favorite band, Breaking Benjamin, Ben invites interaction with the crowd. He talks, laughs, throws cold water.  When you see them, you hear a great show and get this amazing personal interaction with the band.  They convert audience watchers into audience participants.  Result? A cult of people called "Ben Heads" sell out their shows and buy their albums - even though they are not played on any conventional radio station.


Sorry for the long ass post (as Tommie would say).  I'm excited about these trends and plan to watch them for a while.

What does it mean?

I have no idea.  The music industry is evolving and, with 17% losses last year, the publishing industry is not far behind.  Harper Collins and Perseus are responding in interesting ways.

Maybe as authors, we need to follow some of the music industries lead.

Just a thought.

Feel free to do this meme if you like! :)  Let me know when it's up and I'll link to you.


Mimi tagged: On A Limb with Claudia Sarah Spelled the Right Way The Backwoods DrifterRose' World Jo Beaufoix . Another Desert . Caught In The Stream Anyhow Blogs Dixie's Heart and Soul Wonderland Or Not Marie Millard Asara's Mental Meanderings That Grrrrl . In Search of Life Laketrees .Amel's Realm. Clumsy Mommy What She Said Too Maryannaville . Odat's Mumblings Much Of A Muchness Late Bloomer Boomer Mighty Mom Blue Dreamer's Top Five. california is a recipe for a black hole Balitang Kalye Twisted Sister Life and Adventure PinayMama's Diary Amazing Life Terri Terri Quite Contrary Run Away Thoughts of EMZ Points of View Filipina In Hawaii BryningBunny's Challenge Page Modern Musings Sacred Ruminations . O'Ceallaigh & The Quill Leaf Float Down River Kids, Cats, & Books...What Else Is There? No More Mr. Nice Guy Just Another Day In....Paradise? moms......check nyo Meezer Tails When Silence Speaks Wandering Consciousness Mom Knows Everything