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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Boom Zzilla “beat go boom”

My background is hip hop/R&B. I don’t claim to be a know-it-all of any other genre of music and even with that in mind I only claim to be a know-it-some when it comes to Hip Hop and R&B (even though some readers may believe I think otherwise).

There’s something to be said about someone who listens to something that isn’t necessarily their cup of tea and really giving it a critical listen. It’s pure. It’s not jaded by trends or by what’s hot in that genre at the time. It’s unbiased. It’s like meeting someone of the opposite sex for the first time. You say hi, you converse about the little things and without knowing that person’s past or future attraction may ensue. That’s how I felt when I popped in the Boom Zzilla disc into my CD player.

Electro/Indie/Pop bands have never been high on my list just for the simple fact I grew up in a Hip Hop/R&B/Gospel/Funk household – no knock to the music at all I just never was around it but Boom Zzilla made me if not a fan of their style of music, a fan of them. I could hit you with the statements that bands tend to love but no one else cares about phrases like “The band has great melodies and driving guitars. The band is tight and in sync and has undeniable chemistry. And they’re the coolest cats you’d ever want to meet (which, all are very true)” But save for the fluff, Boom Zzilla from the jump had me knocking hard to the songs on the latest disc. There are songs with outer space innuendos and those that urge you to dance, the band’s facebook page ‘about me’ section simply states: “Dance or be destroyed.” Pretty self explanatory I would think. Fans of Electro/indie bands should fall in love with Boom Zzilla right out the gate but if you’re like me and the style is say….out of your comfort zone? Get courageous, try something new called Boom Zzilla you will be rockin to the rhythm for sure.

Catch me Friday April 2nd in Mill Creek at The Jet with Boom Zzilla, Helladope and Name the uncanny. 

Music industry sales solution.

I was on the phone the other night with a friend talking about what can the music industry do to reverse this awful never ending decline in business…probably the same thing every executive at major and indie label outfits alike are asking their colleagues. This person I talked to is far from the music business though, probably never picked up an instrument with any ounce of seriousness and I would bet never wrote a lyric. Yet, during the conversation we stumbled across a pretty cool idea that may just help turn the tide for the music biz.

Shift you “focus” product and copy Hollywood.

How? Well before we get going remember this about Hollywood, although it seems inevitable that they may too soon fall victim to internet piracy, as an industry they’ve had it right for years. How is it every year, even during this dreadful recession can the film industry release movies like Avatar, Pirates of The Caribbean, Transformers and others that just clean up at the box office and then on DVD sales? Recession who? Jobless rate what?

They offer the products backwards of how the music industry does. In the music game you record a project go on a promo tour to hype the CD hope the record does well at radio and in sales then go on the big tour and make tons of dough. Films however, go straight to the theatre first, the equivalent of the concert hall. The movie will often run for up to three months, in the case of a successful film, and in 6 to 12 weeks the DVDs hit the shelves and sales still go through the roof.

So what about it you ask? Record labels and artists with tour budgets should consider going on the big tour FIRST, before the new album is released. Think about it, you don’t wait until you see half the movie on TV before you go and watch it in a theatre. You see commercials on TV, you read reviews in the newspaper and online you talk to friends about how good it looks. It’s really a word of mouth business. You don’t know if the movie is going to be good or not but that 30 second commercial, talk from friends and good reviews may drive you to go to the theatre, plunk down 15 bucks for a ticket 8 bucks for large popcorn and 4 for some gummy worms without hesitation. If that’s the approach the music biz adopts, the “promo” tour would be flip flopped on the back end of the release to merely stay top of mind with one stop shows in mid sized markets and special events like award shows. Then at this juncture the focus then wouldn’t be on album sales, it’d be on concert ticket sales.

Labels could probably even capture more buzz about a new act by using the tried and true video and radio marketing of a single to help people get motivated to find more about them. The kicker? You’d have to make concert tickets affordable. $10-$25 so the average guy can come check it out.

So look at it like this. The new band XYZ gets signed to 123 Records, they record a project and schedule a 60-city tour run across America. Just like they were promoting a CD, the radio and video promotion departments get to work, but now, in order to get the message out on a large scale, well put together commercial ads are taken out on major networks and are scheduled to run the month of the tour. (The same way would-be blockbuster films do)

This plan in action would look like this: For 2 to 3 months XYZ is on the road performing NEW songs from their new album for only $10-$25 a ticket. After buying a shirt, a poster and getting a free CD sampler you’ve spent $25-$50 (plus parking) about the same as you would to watch Transformers 4 with a date. The downside: Being a new band performing new music nobody will know the songs and therefore can’t sing along. But hey, throw in a cover of your influences, for more established acts throwing in an old fan favorite or three would be a standard in the show. After the tour run is over XYZ’s label follows with single number two or three at radio/video and the CD is simultaneously released at retail along with a live performance video DVD. Complete with a behind-the-music-esque interview, interactive features like you get on Blu-Ray discs tons of music videos and any other added incentives you can dream up for a cool $25.99.

Now XYZ has hopefully built some hype for putting on a great show, they’ve got people buzzing about it AND to top it off they’ve added great value to the physical product they sell. Sure, we’ve seen CDs released with DVDs before but by and large they’re generally just copies of the music videos and an interview or two you could just hop on YouTube and watch. Product value? Eh.

Now like the movies, there’s an intangible novelty about buying the CD/DVD set. Again, think about it, how many times have you bought a movie because you liked it in the theatres? You watched that movie probably two times since you bought it and wont watch it ever again. But you bought it anyway.

Would it work? Who knows…it’s surely worked for no name movies with no name actors like American Pie to name one.  Sure some obstacles would be there, you’d still have leaks online and bootlegging BUT you can’t pirate a live concert. The music industry would then have a new hold on the product they sell and that’s something that would make these 360 deals a lot more intriguing.

Of course at this point it’s merely an idea, an idea that the industry as a whole should look at.

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