December 22, 2009

Apple buy music streaming service Lala

Lala screenshot
I’ve always liked Apple. They may not have invented digital music, or the portable digital player, but they fine-tuned them and distributed them to mass markets to perfection. More music is being heard by more people in more places than ever before, and for that, we should be grateful. (Figuring out how to strategize and monetize these new markets is a different matter.)

It seems that iTunes has ruled the mp3 generation, but times and trends are moving ever faster, and there’s now a whole new generation of consumers that may never even own an mp3. Streaming is big business these days. Enter Lala, one of several successful (read: popular but not entirely profitable (yet?)) online music streaming services that has established itself with the non-owning and mobile music markets. Being able to listen to music through a web browser is something that gives music fans greater freedom, and access to their collection from any computer, smart phone or other mobile device, and is something that Apple lacks within iTunes.


Imeem is now Myspace Music

Imeem logo
MySpace has recently completed a deal to acquire music streaming service Imeem, and is in the first phase of integrating certain assets into its Myspace Music network. Although the sum of the deal remains undisclosed, sources report a total deal worth around $8m. (CNET shares, "The News Corp.-owned MySpace has agreed to pay $1 million in cash, but the total figure also includes money for accounts receivable and employee earn outs".) These figures fall wildly short of the $30m+ that had been invested in Imeem during it's 6 year development, and point towards, essentially, a fire sale.

Imeem is one of several sites that have recently gone bust or sold for next to nothing. Pressure from both major labels and large indies in the form of 'infringement payments' have helped smother another promising start-up, although the Imeem team had the relatively simple choice of selling up or packing up.


Spotify Royalties Under Fire from Artists - Should You Expect Income from Streaming?

Lady Gaga poker face

For many members searching for jobs in the music industry, each little bit of income helps, and streaming seemed to offer hope of another revenue source to help make a living from music. However, Spotify, the streaming application that is immensely popular in Europe (and due to launch in the US soon, has come under fire along with the performing rights societies about the minuscule amount that artists actually receive.

Hypebot recently reported that Spotify paid Lady Gaga just $167 For 1M Plays:

Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” was one of the most popular tracks for 5 months on Spotify; being played more than 1 million times. But according to reports this weekend, the Swedish Performing Rights Society only paid her $167. If true, it confirms other complaints from other artists like those of Swedish musican Magnus Uggla who pulled his music off Spotify declaring, "I'd prefer to be raped by Pirate Bay than played on Spotify".

When an artist starts out with earning no income from their music, they are quite happy to give it away for the exposure it may create. Obviously it is easier for a small band to offer a free mp3 and say "we may have lost a potential $1000 in order to gain some new fans", than it would be for Universal to do it with a Lady Gaga single and consider losing (potentially) a lot more.


December 08, 2009

ArtistData - Helping Independent Musicians Remain Creative!

artistdata logo
ArtistData is an innovative tool for the independent musician and can certainly help music job members seeking to make the most of their time and efforts. They build solutions to help an artist save time with the "monotonous updating" of their online music profiles, Myspace calendars, Facebook and Twitter updates, and the endless stream of concert calendars and gig websites. Being able to enter the data once, to the ArtistData website, then allows more time for being creative - something that is at the core of every musician.

Named a "Top 10 Indie Marketing Tool" by Hypebot, the Chicago-based ArtistData has created a lot of buzz recently. Rian Rochford of Universal Motown / Universal Republic says "ArtistData has provided a priceless tool enabling us to provide accurate and up to date artist info in the most efficient way possible", and the site has also been awarded a Chicago Innovations People's Choice Award.

Founder Brenden Mulligan was interviewed by Tim Jahn for part iof his Beyond the Pedway creative businesses series. Here he speaks about the about starting of the company, and also how artists and startups are alike.

Watch the video and

December 01, 2009

Lee J the DJ Nov’09 - Funky Thang / Chart-y Thang / Gig-gy Thang

Funky Thang
Any day now sees the release of Chemars’ Funky Thang single, which also comes with a remix by yours truly. I’m a fan of Chemars’ music: it was great to work with some smooth jazzy samples, and I was able to really put my stamp on this release. Give it a listen here...

Chemars - Funky Thang (Lee Jarvis' Sneaky Thang remix) (320promo) by Lee Jarvis

Chart-y Thang
I was asked to compile a chart for online digital store Stompy. A great opportunity to share some great tracks that have been doing it for me recently, and spread the love about some very talented producer and label buddies...

November 19, 2009

Soundcloud - Music streaming, sharing, distribution... now mobile with iPhone app too

Soundcloud is possibly my favourite music website. I use it at least every week for a variety of music purposes. I love the clean feel of the site and the intuitive simple functions. It is such a user-friendly and well evolved website, that it is hard to believe they are just celebrating their 1st birthday. As any kind of musician, label owner, radio / podcast show host and more, Soundcloud is a great way to send and receive music, and it provides an efficient way to distribute, privately or publicly. It is becoming a hugely popular tool, and yet their friendly nature is still seen across the site. In their words, "We're a few people who moved from Stockholm to Berlin, found some more cool people there and set up a small company to create the best dedicated music site in the world."

Quick Facts
* SoundCloud is an online audio platform for music professionals that makes sending and receiving music simple and efficient.
* Accounts are available to everyone.
* SoundCloud is in use by many of the worlds leading electronic music producers and labels.
* Some people think of SoundCloud as an email application but for music, and with a play button.
* Founded in 2007 by Swedes Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss and based in Berlin–Mitte, Germany.

How Does it Work?
The easiest way I can explain, is to show you via one of their friendly videos: The Soundcloud Tour.

Take the tour and

November 03, 2009

Dubspot DJ and Production School present Ableton Live 8 U.S. Sessions Tour

dubspot studio ny dj production school

Dubspot and Ableton present the LA stop of their "Live 8 U.S. Sessions Tour"
Workshops & Panel Discussions Featuring World-Class Artists
@ King King in Hollywood - Saturday, Nov. 7 and Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009 (daytime)

Dubspot, New York’s premier DJ and electronic music production institute, announces the Los Angeles stop of their Ableton Live 8 U.S. Sessions Tour. This unique series of interactive workshops, Q&As and panel discussions features a diverse pool of world-class artists as well as Dubspot's top-notch instructors sharing methods for the studio and the stage, centered around the powerful music software Ableton Live 8. Special guest workshop presenters for the Los Angeles weekend include Scientist, Daedelus, Kid Beyond, Justin Boreta, Christopher Willits, Thavius Beck, and Peter Kirn, along with the Dubspot crew. The LA session will be held at King King in Hollywood (6553 Hollywood Blvd / map) on Saturday November 7 (11:00am - 7:00pm) and Sunday November 8 (noon - 8:00pm), 2009. For details and registration please visit

November 01, 2009

Lost My Dog present ‘Connect’ Event at Swag Records, London

Lost My Dog ‘Connect’ is an opportunity for budding DJs, producers and anybody with an interest in the dance music industry to meet and learn from some the UK finest underground House artists, alongside LMD label bosses and record shop staff.

Lost My Dog has teamed up with legendary record store Swag Records, based in Croydon, London, who have been long-time supporters of the label and who introduced artists such as Nathan Coles, Harold Heath and Nick Dare to LMD.

October 26, 2009

New Music Seminar - Chicago '09

The New Music Seminar is about "seeing the music business and your opportunities a new way". The event was originally held from 1980 - 1995, and after a long hiatus, was revived this July in New York, featuring speakers and panelists from a variety of music companies, websites, institutions and backgrounds.

The Chicago event on October 6th was attended by artists, managers, label owners, and other individuals wanting to learn about the new evolving industry, and hoping to hear advice from inventive young music companies and long-time veterans who can acknowledge the recent changes and struggles of emerging artists and indie labels. Contributors such as Lou Plaia, the co-founder of Reverbnation, Michael Spiegelman, head of Yahoo! Music, Paul Resnikoff, founder and editor of Digital Music News, and Martin Atkins, author of Tour:Smart. Certainly enough interesting people and ideas for me to attend and report back here for our Music Jobs members.

New Music Seminar Michael Spiegelman keynote speaker Yahoo Music Tommy Silverman

Founder Tommy Silverman started the day with some shocking statistics. Although, he did point out that they should only concern you if you are on the board at one of the majors. The fact that only 110 albums released in 2008 sold over 250,000 copies that year is not an issue for a new independent artist. What it does enforce is something I've tried to help people with for some time, and that is re-evaluating your idea of success. You are not going to get scooped up by a label and go platinum. You CAN work hard and earn a living form your music, and if we are all in it for the love of the art, shouldn't that be a more than reasonable level to consider success?

However, one statistic that you should pay attention to, is that of the 105,575 albums released in 2008, only 5945 sold more than 1,000 copies that year. This is the line of obscurity that you want to vault over. With a good strategy and understanding of the new music industry, you will sell enough albums and earn many valuable fans for you to reach this newly defined success.

Michael Spiegelman delivered a keynote focused on the tools that Yahoo and other services can provide to help an artist publish, market, engage, sell and monetise effectively. He emphasised the need to find relevant tools and fans, and how you can pull this information from the internet via different traffic sources, and how to act upon it using analytics. When asked by the audience what he saw as the latest in disruptive technologies, he replied that the cycle has moved from the initial surge of new ideas to a 'maturity' time, where we figure out what is sustainable and build a business model on top of that. In other words, the abundance of new websites and technologies over the last few years will slow, and some lesser ones will be brushed aside, as stronger ideas are built upon and emerge into a key part of the future industry.

New Music Seminar Emily Smith Tommy Silverman Lou Paia Reverbnation

The fist panel session was probably my favourite, for the fact that they shared some great advice, stayed focused on the topics at hand and made sure what they were saying was relevant given the audience. Emily White, of Whitesmith Entertainment pointed out the importance of communicating directly with your fans, and how you can do that with the help of Google Alerts and social networking tools such as Twitter. I couldn't agree more with this, and Lou Plaia backed this up by saying that the more you do now and try to generate your own attention the more power you have further down the line - not just for bargaining with labels but the awareness of how this all works is healthy and will help propel you further by maximising any opportunities you come across.

The panel discussed the idea that 1000 "super fans" are something of a milestone to aim for, as these super fans are the people who are likely to spend around $100 a year on your work. This would give you a total income of $100,000 per year, and lead you to making a living from your music.

David Hazan, Chief Marketing Officer at The Bizmo encouraged artists to be creative in terms of merchandise offerings, as one ticket, one T-shirt and one album doesn’t equal $100 bucks. He offered that one band had handwritten lyrics and notes, which they uploaded as PDF, and their "super fans" paid for access to that premium content. This idea had the added bonus of no distribution costs, therefore earning the band good money.

New Music Seminar Session 2 Marketing and Promotion in the New Music Business Paul Resnikoff Digital Music News Ariel Hyatt Cyber PR

To be honest, the next two panels lost the vibe a bit, as a result of lacking direction. Several long rants from panel members about their own achievements did not help. Some of the saviors were Ariel Hyatt of Cyber PR and Corey Denis of Reapandsow, both sharing great advice on social networking for musicians. DJ veterans Steve 'Silk' Hurley and Bad Boy Bill had some interesting points, sharing a different angle having been in electronic music, and therefore seen a different market for singles, EPs and mixtapes over the years. If only they could have fit in more comments instead of a majorly ill-fitting (and misguided) panel member spouting not only incredulous ideas, but contradicting himself, often within the same poorly structured sentence.

New Music Seminar Martin Atkins Toursmart touring

The final session was where Martin Atkins stole the show. Impervious and humble advice, shared with clear and concise translations for the entire audience, and demonstrated with a sense of humour produced great effect. I'm a Martin Atkins fan anyway, and if you ever choose to buy any music industry book at all (which you should), it should be his Tour:Smart masterpiece.

Overall, the seminar was interesting, and it was great for me to hear some speakers that I respect for the first time, but overall it was lacking something. I would prefer a closer connection with the industry experts, more interaction from them with the audience, and a working Wi-Fi network ;-)

I look forward to the event evolving in the future.

Lee Jarvis

(Cross-posted at US Music Jobs, the premier online community for US music industry professionals and jobs in the music industry)

Seminar photos (c) Lee Jarvis 2009.

Lee J the DJ Oct'09 - New Studio Purchase / New Remixes / New York DJ and Production School

So, I decided to finally start posting some happenings of my own musical career. Just once a month, you'll get a brief update of any projects I'm working on, upcoming gigs, people I've seen perform live, exciting industry stories that have come my way and other various personal ramblings. (I also have a DJ Lee Jarvis Facebook fan page for more regular updates and feedback).

Lee J the DJ Oct'09

New Studio Purchase
I've had a busy month with moving house, but that lead to a new room for my studio, and so to a new pair of monitor speakers to be purchased. After some research, some friendly suggestions and some budget planning, I had a shortlist of the KRK Rokit 6s, the Mackie MR5s and the Alesis M1 mkIIs. I had used the Alesis before back in the UK, have always loved the sound of Mackies, and the Rokit series came very highly recommended. My local Guitar Centre had all 3 in stock and ready to demo, and off I went. Unfortunately, whilst I was preferring the sound of the Mackie MR5s, I didn't know if the 5" cone could recreate the necessary bass frequencies I worked with within electronic music....

...and so I blew my budget and went for the MR8s instead :)

New Remixes
And so, with my new toys installed, I got to work on some production work, completing several remix projects. I have a remix of Chemars' Funky Thang out on Deep East Records on November 25th, and also a remix of Rob Davy's Bout Dis due out next year. Stay tuned for samples and links.

I've just had another remix released on UK label Lost My Dog. Listen here:-

Danny Stott - Bunker (Lee Jarvis' Secret Kelvedon Hideout Remix) (320promo) by Lee Jarvis

OUT NOW! Buy at Beatport / Stompy / Traxsource / DJ Download / Juno Download / Primal

New York DJ and Production School
Finally, I went to New York this month and met with a leading DJ and Production school called Dubspot. Dubspot is an innovative electronic music production & DJ institute. As one of the first Ableton Certified Training Centers in the world, DubSpot has become the premier music school for both experienced & aspiring artists alike. Most importantly, Dubspot is a growing community of musicians, visual artists, DJs, audio technology professionals, industry veteran producers, & enthusiasts of all genres who all have one thing in common - a passion for music.

Dubspot have an incredible selection of top class equipment, truly talented tutors and a work team with an amazing attitude - to the school, their students and music as a whole. I'll be reporting more on them in coming weeks as they are involved in some exciting projects and I see them as one of the best in their field in the US.

That's it for October, see you next month!

Lee Jarvis.

October 02, 2009

Scotland Yard Gospel Choir in road accident

Scotland Yard Gospel Choir

A few weeks back, I attended a Tour Smart crash course weekend (please do read that post after - lots of great info!), and at the end of the last day we were treated to an acoustic set by Chicago based The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir.

The name doesn't really give anything away; no British police force themed-costumes, and certainly no gospel choir in sight as they were setting up. The band were a great mix of rock n roll sound and great lyrical content, from melancholy to laugh-out-loud funny, and they topped off a great weekend. Here is a short video for a song called Wicker Park, which was written by members Mary Ralph and engineered by Mark Yoshizumi.

Opportunity School - Wicker Park from sygc_love on Vimeo.

Unfortunately, last week the exciting young artists were involved in a bad road accident, resulting in most of the members being hospitalised and their van and all equipment destroyed. It was announced yesterday that all 2009 tour dates have been cancelled, and that the Halloween show at Sub-T is now a benefit for the band. We'll have details on more benefits next week.

From the press release: "Alison Hinderliter, Jay Santana, and Ethan Adelsman were all released from the hospital last night with minor injuries. Elia Einhorn was held overnight with injuries to his head and neck, and is expected to be released tomorrow. Mary Ralph has a broken pelvis and collarbone, and will probably be moved to a hospital closer to home. Mark Yoshizumi was airlifted to Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn last night with injuries to his head, back, and neck. He is in serious condition, but making progress."

If you want to help the band with the extensive costs of this accident, you can donate simply via paypal - follow this link this link:, or if you would like to purchase any of their music, all the info you need is here You can also help by passing the news on to friends / contacts.

Regular updates will be posted at the band's label blog Bloodshot Records

The Music Jobs team send our best wishes to the whole band.

Lee Jarvis

August 28, 2009

Tour Smart Plus! A weekend crash course in everything a DIY musician needs to know

Tour Smart Martin Atkins Book front cover

Tour:Smart is the brainchild of Martin Atkins. The ex- Public Image Ltd / Nine Inch Nails and Pigface drummer has applied his decades of experience and educated vision of the new music industry to a book, a DVD, and a series of crash-courses / seminars / discussions / school-events designed to aid musicians on their journey through the industry.

I don't know how to describe the latest offering, Tour:Smart PLUS!, it is essentially a four year long educational course crammed into one 48-hour whirlwind weekend. It was intense, energising, humbling and motivating. Starting with learning from other band’s mistakes of touring, to learning to print your own merchandise, to filming and editing your own videos, and then what to do with them in the crazy online world of social media. This is as complete a course as you could find, without all the fodder of the ways the industry used to work or hiring other people who then get in your way (and cause you costly mistakes). It is the nitty-gritty of what YOU need to do to propel YOUR career forward; it is about taking responsibility, creating plans and leaping into action.

Tour Smart Martin Atkins revolution number three school invisible records 2 Tour Smart Martin Atkins revolution number three invisible records school screen printing tshirt leah jones

There is no magical guide to make you famous in six weeks, the music business is a long and dirty road, but with a hand from Tour Smart you will have all you need to prepare and inspire you to take this road, and start eating up the miles.

As I said, I could not even begin to regurgitate the learnings of last weekend, but here are just a few key snippets that were delivered by Martin in his own passionate way, and how they resonated with myself.

“The Music Business is Participatory...”
As a musician, you have to not only practice and record your music, but promote, network, hack, sell, distribute, tweak, market, deliver and everything else in order to create your own success. Sitting back and waiting to be ‘discovered’? (LINK) I’ll tell you now that it is not going to happen.

“Beware of Smokescreens...”
Hardware or soft synths? Cubase or Logic? MP3, CD, Vinyl or cassette tapes? Getting caught up in these arguments is a waste of time. Use what works for you, make your music, get it out there. Using your music wisely is far more important that the software involved.

“Free is the New Black...”
Giving your music away is pretty much essential. However, you shouldn’t be doing it just because other artists are, but because there is a lot to be gained. Collecting emails in return is often the simplest idea, but so much more can be created and retained, from remix competitions to treasure hunts, all in the name of promoting awareness of your music and your brand. Which leads nicely into...

“Sell the Space Around Your Music...”
If fans like your (free) music, how else would they like to relate to you and how can you monetise that? Live shows? T-shirts? DVDs? Skateboards? Coffee Cups? Music fans often want to be part of a community, and anything that they can wear as a badge to say that they are part of your support will appeal to them. Of course, the individual items or events will depend on your (sub-sub-sub-) genre of music.

“Data Driven Decisions...”
This is not about trial and error. There is something to be said for going whole-heartedly into a project, but you use the data you have to make smart decisions, and then commit yourself. Fanbase details can be collected and dissected in ever-more inventive ways, such as Google Analytics, Youtube Insights, mailing list tracking and good old at-the-venue discussing with fans.

Tour Smart Martin Atkins revolution number three school invisible records Tour Smart Martin Atkins revolution number three invisible records school 3

Although just the tip of the iceberg, each of these points should give you and your career something to think about, and for further elaboration, I can’t recommend enough getting in touch with the Tour Smart Team.

Lee Jarvis.

(Cross-posted at US Music Jobs, the premier online community for US music industry professionals and jobs in the music industry)

Class photos (c) Lee Jarvis 2009.

August 21, 2009

Hey Mr "DJ" / tastemaker / aggregator

Lee Jarvis Hey Mr DJ disc jockey electronic house music

I am a huge fan of Gary Vaynerchuk, and his words have always resonated with what I try to with music and social media. Well, he recently posted a video blog with the title "Hey Mr DJ", describing the way that DJs aggregate all the music that is out there and deliver it to you for one particular time of day or mood or party. He then uses the term "DJ" in a broad sense to describe the way that people are always looking for interesting content (not just music, but videos, wine facts, triathlon information, etc), but with the incredible amount that is floating around in 2009, people also need a recommendation system to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Many online streaming sites have various genomes / genius bar devices, but I believe that music fans connect better with real people, hence the rise of the DJ over the last 40 years. I have been a DJ myself for sometime, and believe that I have a knack for choosing records from the millions that are out there from around the world, and playing them to the right people at the right time. As an extension of that, I recommend albums and artists to friends and strangers via my online social networking profiles (such as Twitter or Facebook). Vaynerchuk takes this one step further, and suggests that there is great scope for those who can disseminate any kind of niche information from the web, and provide a place that people with a common interest can easily discover and connect.

This kind of tastemaking is, in essence, what we are doing here at music jobs. We offer not only direct job opportunities, but also select pieces of music industry news, single reviews, festival reports, UK music events, advice on your music career, being an independent artist, band promotion, the future of music, copyright issues, music marketing tips and much more!

The purpose of this post is not only to point out how we are here to help you with your search for that perfect music job, but to also point out that maybe you can do something of similar nature. Maybe you know everything there is to know about 18th Century string music, and so maybe you could make yourself the go-to source, not only creating your own content, but feeding out to other sources and narrating on similar articles across the web. Think about it - find your niche, and run with it! You can even start off by posting some interesting topics in our forums and see how many views they gather!

Here is Gary, with his video...

Gary's original blog post is here, and if you are into social media and general web inspired banter, then I suggest you watch as many of them as possible!

Aside from our music industry forum and music industry blog, we share a lot more in our Twitter Feed or Facebook Fan Page, so feel free to follow and connect with us on there, for all your music career resources.

Lee Jarvis.

(Cross posted at UK Music Jobs - the UK's premier website for networking with music professionals and jobs in music)

August 17, 2009

The "Death of the Music Industry" (again?!)

The music industry is always being prematurely written off. Thankfully, some people are there to point out that it is still alive and kicking. Andrew Dubber of New Music Strategies recently shared an interesting graphic on music sales. (Image via the NY Times)

Dubber goes on to share that people are dissecting the information incorrectly, that the graph does not necessarily show the end of the line for music sales. (As Dubber states, we will not even go into the wild misconception that the record industry is the same as the music industry).

The issue that it only shows the last 35 years means that you cannot see that music sales started a lot lower than is hinted at. Add to that the fact that music sales are more fragmented than ever before; there always used to be one leading format that people collected, now there are many more options to receive your music fix (CD? iTunes? mobile download?). Lastly, any rate of decline will not be constant until it reaches zero. Of course music sales will never reach zero. It will (and has) plateau off into a more reasonable steady rate. There will be more peaks and other declines I'm sure, again possibly linked to a new format discovery and replacement cycle, similar to CDs in the 90s.

Yes, people use illegal P2P file sharing sites. Yes, streaming is a big reason people may not buy or even steal music anymore. But let's not (continue to) get carried away now. Pessimists and those whom misunderstood the bigger industry have always been touting the "death of the music biz", and yet more artists are making a living from doing what they love than ever before. I've been to see more concerts this year than ever before, bought more CDs and downloads than I have for some time, and am finding more new talent every week. The music industry is going through an amazing transformation, and looking at one partial figure (declining music sales over the last 10 years) is indeed, looking at it wrong.

I totally agree that it's not the industry declining right now, it's the end of an unrealistic spike in physical sales. Much of this past revenue was going to the major labels' fat cats, and their decisions on artistic direction would be to make them further money, not to help the industry or music scene blossom. That is also one reason for the inevitable decline; people grow tired of their bland, commercial, overrated, over-hyped decisions. People needed new inspiration, yearn to discover new sounds, and the answer was the internet! Where we are going from here is maybe uncertain, possibly fragmented, and definitely exciting :)

Lee Jarvis.

August 13, 2009

Lollapalooza Weekend - Full rain and shine 2009 review!

It's my first summer in Chicago, and so my first chance to experience the legendary Lollapalooza. Having recently come back from Glastonbury in the UK, I wasn't to be daunted by the size and scale of the site, but really like the way they maximised the time and space of Grant Park by having two stages at either end, so as soon as one band finishes, the next one has already sound checked and can start immediately after. You could simply shuffle around, turn and face the other stage and not break from the music for a moment if you so wished.

Friday began... well, wet. Crystal Castles were my first point of call for some electronic-vocoded-rock, and the only reason I left a good set from them was to go and check Fleet Foxes. I’m glad I did, as they put in a great performances, including acoustic numbers and their popular hit 'Mykonos'. After grabbing a few friends, we headed to Thievery Corporation, and the rainy Chicago sky couldn’t dampen the electric atmosphere and carnival spirit from them and their guest vocalists, including the gorgeous Lou Lou. Beer next, and then a strange performance on the Vitamin Water stage inspired us to get over to the headliners early for a good spot. Kings of Leon were my choice, having been a big fan for a while now. Their 'Only By the Night' album shows so much growth within the band, their sound richening and judging by the sales, reaching more diverse crowds and truly breaking them into ‘worthy festival headliner’ territory. A great performance from the whole band, with Caleb’s voice sounding as amazingly gravely as the studio recordings. Although not the official Lolla afterparty, Smart Bar was hosting Dave Pezzner and Mark Farina as part of OM records’ 15 year anniversary celebrations, and so it was our choice of late night haunt. It was also the cause of my late start on Saturday morning, having overdosed on amazing house music til 4am.

I did arrive just in time for the Arctic Monkeys, and just as they were stepping it up a gear, thrashing through their chart successes and getting the (now dry and humid) crowd jumping around nicely. Andy Butler of Hercules and Love Affair was playing a DJ set in the Perry’s garden area. I’ve always been a fan of theirs, and his musical selection was right on the money, with disco rhythms and lush vocals enlivening my tired feet for a while. More friends and more beer led to a sample of Lykke Li and, being a little unimpressed by her, onto Diplo. Diplo blew us away, with his mix of... well, whatever it is people describe Diplo, Switch, Herve and co. as these days. Bass-heavy Fidget, Ragga, Baile Funk, Classic House and more were all thrown into the melting pot to devastating effect on the crowd. With such an epic set, I was ready to head off for a live act, when Bassnectar stepped up to the decks. Within minutes I was blown away yet again, even with the bar set so high by Diplo, the OM Records artist dealt a mixture of rib-cracking Dubstep, Drum and Bass and House to the audience, who were packed in until the very end. The URB warehouse afterparty provided yet more of the same until the wee small hours for all ages of bass-hungry party people.

Sunday saw the sun finally break through, and then beat down on the (estimated) 150,000 Lollapaloozers. The festival organisers responded by handing out thousands of bottles of free cold water, setting up giant fans spraying a fine mist onto public walkways, and the local fire department spraying a not-so-fine mist into the air near the North stages. Top marks for that, and also for the selection of Chicago food available, of which I sampled Connie’s Pizza and Adobo’s Tacos. A great change from the usual greasy fodder offered at shows, and a nice tip-of-the-hat to such a food-loving city. The morning began with the Kaiser Chiefs, followed by a friend’s recommendation of Dan Deacon. Not knowing what to expect was a good thing, as the 30-or-so-piece party orchestra of tubas, guitars, trombones, bongos, laptops and more was a pleasant surprise! Encouraging party games in the crowd during the set was genius too. After getting down to Vampire Weekend, we stayed in the area for a good place at one of my personal highlights, Snoop Dogg. Playing a lot of material from his first album was unexpected, but fantastic for me, being a long-running fan. Getting down gangsta-style with Bert and Ernie was a highlight too. A outstanding hour or so of MSTRKRFT led us into to the headliners of Jane’s Addiction. Being Perry Farrell’s festival, he has played several times over the years, and fully deserves too. He is a great frontman, and Jane’s put on a superb show, each of the band members being talented in their own right. To see them all perform on their ‘home turf’ (they are actually from LA) was a fantastic finale to a blockbuster of a weekend.

Lee Jarvis.

Feel free to check out some Lollapalooza videos at the Lee Jarvis Youtube channel

All photos (c) Lee Jarvis 2009.

(Cross-posted at US Music Jobs, the premier online community for US music industry professionals and jobs in the music industry)

July 31, 2009

Spotify to hit the US?

The music streaming app that is currently taking the UK and Europe by storm is looking to set-up in the US in the very near future. (This may well help create music industry jobs in the USA, so keep checking the Jobs Board!)

Founded by two Swedish entrepreneurs, Spotify has over six million tracks available to stream, and gives users the ability to create, save and share playlists, offering greater interaction and discovery. They are working with US music publishers and labels to evolve a deal to enable them to offer the same service here. Having dealt with many of the key companies regarding European licenses, it’s a very real possibility that they will be operating here soon.

The relatively new start-up (October ’08) is hoping to launch it’s desktop application in the US by the end of this year. However, even greater potential could be reached if they are approved as an iPhone app. The issue there? It could be so good as to make Apple’s iTunes virtually redundant to millions of music consumers.

Spotify derives revenue from a number of audio commercials during playback (current EU advertisers include Nike, Ikea, H&M and more), or a monthly fee for a premium service with no commercials, greater audio quality and extra premium-only content. The monthly fee is currently £9.99 in the UK (approx $15), and word is that the mobile app would only be available to those who subscribe to this.

People are becoming excited about the possibility of a real contender to iTunes, and as a fan of aiding music discovery, I really hope that Spotify will push forward with the licensing deals. They provide a great service, and user word-of-mouth will ensure a global success.

Lee Jarvis.

(Cross-posted at US Music Jobs, the premier online community for US music industry professionals and jobs in the music industry)

July 23, 2009

What is the Rock Band Network?

Independent artists benefit from a more level playing field; MTV Networks creating opportunities in music.

MTV and Harmonix are to launch the Rock Band Network later this year. The Rock Band Network is a platform that will allow bands to upload their music for review by the Rock Band game creators, and possibly available as part of the game’s store, tapping into the wealth of publicity and revenue created for musicians by the Rock Band brand.

The system was devised in part to help expand the content available to the gamers, something which the limited staff was struggling to find the time to provide. And so recording artists will have the opportunity to add to the 700 tracks already part of the program by taking the stems from their original masters and creating MIDI tracks for each instrument, before sharing it with the Rock Band Network community.

Here is a short video from the people over at Joystiq, explaining the idea and the process.

There’s also a lot more detail at Billboard if you want to get into the bones of it all.

So, exciting times! Yet more ways for independent artists, studios, labels, bands, managers and many more music professionals to create their own successes, and find work in the music industry. Best of luck!

Lee Jarvis.

(Cross-posted at US Music Jobs, the premier online community for US music industry professionals and jobs in the music industry)

July 16, 2009

Glastonbury 2009 (belated) report

Like all my greatest music festival reports, it's late ;)

The trouble is, where do you begin with Glastonbury....? The huge international guests? The breaking bands playing in every nook ad cranny? The sheer size and scale of one of the UK’s largest music events?

From the off, the atmosphere was electric. We arrived a day before the acts officially began to settle in, and every hour or so a wave of cheering soared across the campsite. I never realised that people enjoyed pitching tents so much. That certainly set the pace, and the exploration begun. The first official band was Massimo Park, and they kicked off the proceedings with a combination of their hits to get everyone in the mood. Moving on, the Greenpeace Airport made me feel slightly guilty about my June/July schedule (ORD - LHR - ORD - SNA - SFO - ORD), but I soon (kinda) forgot when I realised there was entertainment (and cider) available there. The Little Tremors had a great intimate crowd with them, and their lively music aided a summery afternoon perfectly. Heading over to The Park we found an explosive Zane Lowe vs Mike Skinner set that even an impossible to enter tent and the first drizzle of rain failed to dampen. Kings of Leon’s ‘Sex is on Fire’ and Switch’s ‘A Bit Patchy’ being two major highlights. We then went to catch a friend-of-a-friend recommendation, The Gentleman's Dub Club, who served up tight grooves, big bass and a party atmosphere with great crowd control, completing a fantastic opening day of music.

Friday kicked off with breakfast at The Whip, although I felt they failed to recreate the energy of their dance-rock-hybrid hits as a live act. Heading over to meet Deepgroove and Paul Woolford, the audience was a bit sparse in the various dance tents (it was still only 1pm), and so an early lunch and a walk over to the Pyramid Stage ensured we had a great spot for N*E*R*D. This is where the unbiased report wavers, as I’ve been a huge N*E*R*D fan since their first album, and consider their songs inspiring for some of my own projects. In other words, they were one of my highlights. The whole band was tight, people were up on stage busting out their best MTV moves (apart from one guy who thought the music was perfect to can-can along to, hugging with Pharrell). A short (wet and muddy) walk to peek in at Skream and Benga totally destroying a now packed Dance Tent was swiftly followed by a memorable performance by Crazy P in the Guardian Lounge.

The class acts are so diverse and in such quick succession, it left a great impression on me as Glastonbury being a very complete festival. I somehow managed to get a great spot as Jason Mraz in the Acoustic Tent, in amongst the screaming 13 year-old girls, and along with very talented supporting musicians, he moved the crowd along very well. A short stroll via the Glade Tent to check out the live electronic dance grooves of the Bays (this time without Jimpster, but with the added vocal magic of Beardyman), and I was ready for my Friday night highlight. Q-Tip. Being 20ft from the front was a great help, and the latest album never leaving my playlist meant that I had a fantastic end to a hectic day. Inspiration overload was complete.

VV Brown and Watermelons. Not her new band, but an unexpectedly satisfying start to my Saturday morning, my hunger filled (for both new music and breakfast respectively). It’s not that I was expecting little of VV, simply that I had only discovered a track of hers accidentally about two weeks prior, and I didn’t know what to expect from a new, young act, and was pleasantly surprised. Failing to get anywhere near the Rolf Harris tent(!), we went back to see Dizzee Rascal at the Pyramid Stage. Having been around for a while now (we were discussing if he was past his best. Your thoughts?), there were many a shout-along lines we could join in with. Another venture to The Park on a friend's recommendation brought me to the sounds of the Beatbox Orchestra, doing battle with DJ Yoda, supplying backing for Jarvis Cocker, and a whole number of crazy things I never thought I'd hear!

I decided to get some rest, before a sunset show with Bon Iver, surrounded by campfires and enjoying every second of their acoustic folk-rock soundtrack. Refreshed, fed and watered, I headed over to explore Shangri-La, the after-hours crazy dace village of Glastonbury. Small streets and stalls fought for my attention, and provided all kinds of weird and wonderful Glasto moments, whilst meeting new friends and failing to find old ones (James! Buckers!) in the Mad Max mirage.

Sunday I wanted to explore more of the site, and may have missed the wonders of Status Quo in doing so, but I wanted to see more of the Glastonbury spirit, so I wolfed down a veggie breakfast from a Juke Joint with people passed out in the stall next to me, and headed over to the Green Fields. Free fruit, A Wishing Tree, pedal-powered music machines, and a general explosion of creativity was on offer to keep us entertained. The sun even came out to grace my shoulders with a (still visible) tan-line. A short walk through the Circus area, full of (psuedo)naked art classes and 1920s boxing matches, and we were ready for our next music fix, that being The Destroyers. I don't know if you've ever seen a 15-strong group of musicians charging around to gypsy-folk-fused-with-samba, but I strongly suggest you do. Mr Scruff over in the dance tent helped things get moving along nicely into the evening.

Our final night was yet another memorable one. The anticipation of the big finale was so huge, that we got to the main Pyramid Stage for Blur very early, leaving me with enough time to try and finish all my whisky so as to not have to carry it home (I succeeded). I had missed out on seeing Blur in my high school years, and having only recently re-united, this was a great opportunity that I didn't want to miss. Much singing along to Girls and Boys ensued, followed by much jumping along to Parklife, and an emotional Damon Albarn taking charge of the crowd, tens of thousands strong, and leading them into a non-stop A capella of Tender, prompting two deserved and appreciated encores.

To sum up, my first Glastonbury was a real eye-opener, and I'll make sure that it won't be my last.

Lee Jarvis.

(Cross posted at UK Music Jobs - the UK's premier website for networking with music professionals and jobs in the music industry)