Monday, December 28, 2009

New Moon Soundtrack

Many years have passed since I bought a CD Soundtrack. I remember my early days of DJing and spending over 2k a year on CDs. What was it? Maybe as a standard 2 good songs if you were lucky was a good average for a disc. They would, of course, play that initial (baiting) track on the radio into oblivion, giving you a vibe for this particular new artist, or known artist's new direction, only to give you that one track and about 10 filler songs.

I will say, that although I have seen this latest Twilight film, (what I like to refer to as the chick flick disguised as a vampire film) the soundtrack did a lot more for me than the movie did. Now that being said, let me say that I am not proclaiming it to be great or anything, but that it does have what I consider a couple great songs and 3 that are good. The rest of course is mostly filler music (meaning good background music when you are talking or playing games, or drinking, or painting your toenails, or anything basically, other than listening. There is a song that irritates me to such a degree, as someone who tosses out many song files of my own creation on the grounds that they are not up to snuff, that I can't help but be enraged by it. The Killers white demon made me feel like I felt when I discovered the fall out boy track on Timbaland's last album. I think to myself, "to submit this to the world and say this is my best?" No way.

Anyway, back to the topic. The New Moon Soundtrack is a decent 5 songs, with a nice instrumental in there as well, and if not for the music, the movie would have crossed the line of just being not so hot, and possibly caused riots. What's my point? I just said to myself, "you have 2 songs that you added to your "playlist" and you are all excited... what's wrong with this situation? " I also just made preliminary agreement with Mystonic's first female artist recently, and I have decided our first objective as a label is going to be attacking the film industry. I'm going to promote a challenge this summer, as the next Twilight film is premiering, putting 10 songs of the Mystonic label, up against whatever they are pushing out there as the official soundtrack. I will push those 10 songs into the marketplace of Twilight fans, and basically guarantee if you buy this album, you will find it to be firstly in the proper mood of the film, and secondly a much better collection of actual music than what they will be pushing.

A musical Pepsi challenge. A complete disc, with no filler material. No irritation. Just close your eyes and enjoy. So I'm going out on my limb now to announce this ahead of time. I intend to do man on the street videos and set up stations on the street with random pedestrians. I am confident this will be another good method for growth because with a few exceptions, the standards we have come to accept from the major labels, and those in power to pick soundrack songs is far too low. The public is hungry, i would suggest like a newborn vampire, for the good stuff, and I intend to give it to them.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Listening Service

Here's a random thought on the future of the industry. Listening service. How many times has someone told you, "hey, check this out." The exposed you to a song that you really loved, and if they hadn't, you may have never heard it. That role used to fall specifically on the dj, and the radio station dj at that. Could you imagine only hearing music that was played on the radio? God forbid!

No, now we either have to do a bunch of random listening ourselves, have a really cool friend who collects music, is a dj, or just has a great playlist. Apple has attempted to satisfy this role with the "genius" service, where they analyze your playlist and make suggestions based on their data as to what they want to promote upon you, but that's more of the radio grade promotion of major label mischief.

It is my opinion that the current state of affairs is similar to the produce aisle in the local grocery store, and that those unmodified organics, and locally grown goodies are what taste the best to not only the discerning palate, but most of the general public.

So lets be clear. In the last 30 years, we went from tape to computer. Teenagers at home are able to do things that couldn't be done in professional studios of yesteryear, with gear costing in hundreds vs yesterdays gear in tens of thousands. Did the human ear advance at any time during this period? No. Has the overall quality of production improved, absolutely. But did the overall quality of music improve overall, absolutely not. Yes, while the production of music we are wanting to hear should have a minimum level of decency - the value of "perfect" production is highly debatable.

Back to the main topic, the listening. There is so much music out there now, no one could physically listen to it all. The real value today is in the picking. Someone or some group wading through the bulk of it and picking out the gems - that would be invaluable today, and in the future. Combining that with the natural selection that occurs on mediums such as YouTube, and cream could rise to the top at a much faster rate. Overall, the general public could locate good music from completely independent sources in short order.

What would this require? Genre specific "listeners" who would wade through the independent minions with regularity, selecting and posting their selections into a medium that 1. had good visibility among many thousands of listeners and 2. would be found beneficial by the majority of those listeners. 3. accountability on the part of the "listener". I think a key facet of this would be a multi- tiered method of filtering. Insomuch as perhaps 3 to 5 "listeners" would be filtering the same genre, and for accountability, each person would record their decision as to yes or no on each song they either passed on, or promoted.

That is the future of the music business. Picking 10 quality songs a month from virtually unknown sources that could be relied on for great listening in a particular genre. What would that be worth? It would be invaluable. Now that is not what we are trying to do with the monthly contest. Not at all. But the monthly contest is a starting point. The monthly contest is the launching pad. The formation of the visibility, and the community, that will grow into an eventual hub of music creators and listeners. A place where quality songs get immediate attention and are immediately available in the marketplace.

That's how I see it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Decent Google results at last! (warning - geeky talk)

In the first week following the launch of the contest, was getting placing in the 500's for results to Google searches in the all important phrase, "original music contest". As of today, the website is result #9 on page 1 of the search results. Also, the video responses are both taken by Mystonic in the #4 result, also on page 1.

Now to go after the phrase, "original song contest", (currently placing #45) and then go after the almost scary challenge of "original music"

More traffic, more entries, more quality, more listeners, more sales for the winners, (repeat)

I will be making the best of video to promote what I think is the best 10 tracks thusfar, and it will actually be tough.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

And so it begins

Although the Mystonic label was "officially" started earlier this year, I actually opted to really promote the thing in December of 2009, with the launch of the Original Music Contest.

Basically, I was bogged down most days, and had limited time to find artists I was willing to invest with. I did find Coal Parker, and already had a relationship with James Aville, but in order to take the thing out of hobby land and into a viable business model, I would need to recruit far more artists, and quality material in spades. So I envisioned a contest that could use the power of the YouTube machine to help do some recruiting for me. I would offer to publish to Itunes and Amazon music, 10 mp3s a month, as determined by public voting.

Then upon further thought, I realized it should really be a viral situation. There were hundreds of videos being posted weekly of new original music, and thousands of songs being written and yet not posted weekly as well. The draw of a contest could cause plenty of good artists to post their material into the contest, at no risk, and possibly garner them a greater audience, even if the songs were already Itunes, or Amazon listed . (this will really become a factor when there are thousands of entries, later in 2010)

At the time of this first blog entry, 15 days into December 2009, there are near 50 video entries into the contest. I am already happy with alot of the music I am hearing. I hope to have 100 video entries in this first month. January should be much bigger, as many are distracted with the holidays and many will have empty calendars soon. I would actually like to have 200 entries in January, and am confident that will happen.

The model of selecting and voting will be an ongoing refinement, but the basic model of the contest itself is magic. It's raw, real promotion of talent. The constant struggle and goal is going to be minimizing the voting games, popularity contests, and other mischief and elevating the deserving tracks to the top of the heap in a way that involves as many listeners as possible. That is going to be essential. Finding thousands of musicians with decent material is no problem, so finding hundreds of top songs every year should be easy. The challenge is finding tens of thousands of listeners and mp3 purchasers and connecting the tracks with them. While it does seem like a large order, I am confident I am the best suited to deliver it.

If you are a musician, please join in the contest, if you are a listener, please get ready to enjoy what I like to consider the Organic selection of music.

I intend to post at least twice a week here so please check back with us.

For the website, please click the link

For the official contest/YouTube page, please click the link