Author Bradley Finnearty
Virgin Records was started by Richard Branson and group of friends in the bottom of a church in England. He has built it into an empire that spans travel, music, telecommunications and much, much more. His daughter Holly Branson is heading up a campaign that asks "Is technology hurting music"?. I think to answer the question properly you have to also ask the question What are they talking about, Indie music or Big Name Music"?
I think when it comes to big name music it may be true, but more what is damaging the "National Acts" are the entertainers themselves. I mean how many truly talented entertainers are on the national scene today? Just because entertainers like Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and others are selling music to teeny boppers does not mean that they are of the same caliber as acts from just a decade ago, let alone two or three decades ago. There are a number of truly talented people out today. Lady Gaga is one of those extremely talented entertainers. But there are very few today that equal the talent of the Beatles, Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin, but we all know what great talents those entertainers were. When you talk about the talent of those entertainers you are talking about writing, producing, performing and many other aspects of the music. They did not have auto tune, and all the other things that entertainers have today.
Now on the other hand if you are talking about local indie music that is completely another case. If it were not for technology and the internet small bands would be at the mercy of performing in small bars and hoping that some way, some how they might get noticed enough to become a regional act. The chances of them getting their music heard around the country or around the world would be none at best. Now with the invention of the net and websites like Sound Cloud, Revernation, You Tube and others local groups can build a following all around the world and sell their music to that audience.These entertainers also have at their hands computers and programs that help them do their own producing. They can put together their own cd's and sell them making it more cost effective to try to get their music out.
Small groups like Fear The Fallen, or individual entertainers like Julia Neville and Mitch Kirkpatrick can get their voices heard by people all around the world who like their music and would otherwise not be able to hear it or even know that these entertainers exist. One only needs to look at the success of a group originally out of Logan Ohio called 7th Cycle to understand how the new technology can get your message and sound out to people all around the world. Unfortunately they are no longer together due to life and other things that nothing to do with their talent or drive. But a look at the bands Facebook Page you see that a local band from Southeastern Ohio has built a following of over 4,800 Facebook fans. They had fans from all around the United States and some from other countries. Another group that achieved some national success is from Parkersburg West Virginia is Bobaflex. Both bands have their music played on the most popular radio stations in the areas they live in.
I can not forget one young man who has a great talent when it comes to Blues music. That is Micha Kesselring. This young man in his early twenty's has made a mark in the industry and continues to grow. From his Reverbnation profile "Following a performance at the Blues City Cafe on Beale Street, he was awarded the inaugural Generation Blues scholarship at the age of 15 to the Centrum Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival & Workshop in Port Townsend, Washington, which was presented to him by Cassie Taylor at the IBC band finals. Micah later went on to perform as a special guest with the Otis Taylor Band at the Blues Music Awards in May of 2009, and performed at numerous festivals, including the Heritage Music Bluesfest in Wheeling, WV, the Traditional Acoustic Blues Festival in Worthington, OH, the Grey Skies Blues Fest in Tacoma, WA, Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival in Gahanna, OH and the Big Bend Blues Bash in Pomeroy, OH throughout the next couple of years." It is clear to see why I feel that local indie entertainment is something worth paying attention to .
But technology helping local indie entertainers in not just limited to the music industry. There is also Professional Wrestling who's entertainers can be followed by people who happen to see them in a show and want to continue to follow them. It can also be seen in the world of semi-professional football. Being the webmaster for the local team The Columbus Fire I can see who visits their site and where they are from. They regularly have visits from Russia, Mexico and other places not to mention almost all 50 states.
If technology is helping local entertainers then why would it be bad for national acts?
The big thing is the fact that people use the technology to copy and share the music. So one person may buy the music but hundreds or thousands of people will enjoy it for free. But to be honest since the invention of recording equipment for individuals that has been a problem for the music industry. I don't even want to get started on the law suits and things that "national acts" have put little people through just for a few dollars of money from those lost sales.
The thing is I don't think that is what is killing the national music industry. I think it is simply greed on the part of the acts, recording studios, producers and others. Think about it, $20 for a C.D. of half hearted offerings from someone who can only sing is more than any one can really afford. Does anyone other than a crazed teenager want to spend between $90 and $350 to see Justin Bieber in concert? That is especially since their is great chance the entertainer is lip syncing. Why pay between $65 and $235 to take your daughter to a vulgar performance by Miley Cyrus when you really don't want her to see that type of thing anyway? It is the commercialization of music that makes it undesirable to the average person spending their money on tickets and c.d.s put out by these performers. Their target audience can not afford these prices, especially in a hard economy like this. But what is their way of dealing with the lost revenue they have by having poor talent and high prices? To sue people for downloading their music.
I love, I mean absolutely love the music of Paul McCartney but would I pay $250 to see him in concert? No, I had the chance to see him at a city near my home and would not pay that much. That is just ridiculous. There is absolutely no question as to the talent of Sir Paul, but again no way.
Add to that the fact that these very same people who have limited to no talent want to get political and throw insults out to some of the very people who probably purchased their tickets and are setting in the audience. Do you really want to pay $250 a ticket to have someone who believes they are above you insult you?
What I would rather do.
I really would rather spend my entertainment dollar on local music. The talent that is available is great and the entertainment you get for the money is what would be called in today's slang "out of control". Doing the work I have done with the former Logan-hocking Activity Center and other things has afforded me the chance to see 7th Cycle, Bobaflex and other in concert. To see the show's they put on and to be a part of it all. I am stating from that experience that there is nothing like being literally a couple of feet from the entertainers, to interact with them on stage by being able to make eye contact with them. Knowing that they deeply appreciate everyone in the audience and love what they are doing is something that you just can't get a big arena with thousands of screaming people all pushing you out of the way to get a better view.
There is a bitter sweet part of all of this. That is that I would love to see my friends make it big and be recognized for the talents that they have. But I really don't want to see them get negatively affected by that national music scene. These people are all great people and just want to do what they love I would not want any of them to wind up like Justin or Miley.
View the Mitch Kirkpatrick video "BYOP"
I have had the great opportunity to interview some of these wonderful people such as Julia Neville just when she released her new song "Diamonds Are Hard On Six Strings" for my article Julia Neville Dancing With Music. I found her to be a really warm and nice lady who I feel deserves to have a chance to get her music heard by everyone.
Please support your local entertainers.
If you get the chance to see one of the entertainers I have mentioned on here or someone else who is local to you then by all means go see and support them. You do not have to attend bars or clubs to do so, at least not in Southeastern Ohio. There are music festivals and other things going on every weekend some where in the summer and you will have to look a little harder but can find indoor concerts in the winter. Go, go, go. You will not walk away feeling like you wrongly spent your entertainment dollar with most of the local acts you can see.
Or you can spend close to $1,000 seeing Justin in concert. Let me know how that goes for you.
About the author
I am a certified webmaster who has lived a life dealing with bipolar depression. My goal is to not only help others dealing with bipolar and depression but to help those around them to understand what is going with their loved ones. I write about how I deal with it and hope that it inspires you to understand that you don't have to let it control you. You control it. I write the way I talk. I want you to feel like I am talking with you in a conversation, not preaching at you in a way that makes you feel like you have to do what I tell you. I hope you enjoy my blog posts about not only bipolar but all things that I write about.
What about you? Most people love music and have it in their daily lives. Do you listen to local music or do you pay more attention to the national scene? Do you attend local music festivals?