Music – The Gift of a Lifetime

11 04 2007

I suppose the title of this post should create a positive buzz, but I’m not feeling too impressed at the moment. Let’s start (where things usually start) at the beginning.

Matt Aronson and I (Soundscape Soul) joined a website called FameCast. This website offers a chance to perform live in Austin, TX for the eventual chance of a $10,000 prize (along with national exposure) to the artist who draws the most votes by signing up for a “Fan Account”, and then clicking on the “Vote” button next to the artist’s video. (Sounds like a cool idea, huh?) When we joined the Pop Stage, we barely got through the open round. Round two saw us receive double the votes from the previous Round. When we made it into the Top 25, that’s when we knew that we had some serious work to do. Matt and I went beserk and sent out emails, myspace messages, bulletins, and promoted the competition on every music website we are on. The result was amazing. We were voted into the Top 10! (Still Sound pretty cool?). The Top 10 voting began, and we ran out of the gates with another week-long promoting and marketing run. In the end, it paid off. We made it into the Top 5, but had to withdraw from the competition. Matt and I didn’t realize that the date of the Live Show fell during Passover, so we couldn’t perform. But after watching the Top 5 Pop Stage Webcast, and reading about some of the experiences of artists on the Pop Stage, I truly believe that our decision to stick with our beliefs was the right decision.

We’ve decided to enter ourselves onto a more “appropriate” stage for Season 2 (which starts on May 2nd), the Singer/Songwriter Stage. Why is this more appropriate? Because things got a little ugly after we withdrew from the Pop Stage…

[ Before you continue, please read “This Blog“. The following “rant” is a response to the contents in that blog ]

As a musician, songwriter, and artist… I feel that I have automatically become a role model for not only aspiring musicians, songwriters, and artists… but for any human being in this world. As a community, no matter how popular or famous an artist may be, we are role models to the world. We have been given a gift; the gift of Music. Aren’t gifts meant to be “given”? If there is one thing in this world that everyone can relate to, it is Music… whether it be a classical symphony, a heavy metal rock ballad, or even a simple drum beat against some pots and pans. When we (the world) creates music, it stimulates us in ways that goes beyond words.

When Music is brought into the “Competition” realm, it no longer becomes a means for communication, peace, or expression. It becomes… how you say… a Weapon of Mass Popularity, and even a form of violent behavior that should never be unleashed on any human being in this world.

So after all of that ranting, here comes my words of advice for anyone in “Music” Competitions. It also goes for anyone who is going for their music dreams.

[ Note: “Music Competition” = Music Industry ]

Your music is not for everyone. My music is not for everyone. The world’s music is not for everyone. Some people will tell you they don’t like your music. Some people will really tell you they don’t like your music. Some people will go to great lengths to express their negative opinions towards your music by causing you emotional strife.

My real advice would be this…

Music is a gift, not a toy. Convince people that it’s a toy, and you’re bound to ruin somebody’s gift. Never forget how it made you feel to successfully play your first chord on a guitar, pluck your first bass line, play your first piano, belt your first melody, or beat your first drum. Felt good, didn’t it? Sure, anything can be turned into a business… even Music. But never forget your own beliefs when you enter such a business. Surround yourself with friends and fans who believe slander and humiliation will get you far, and you’ve already gone bankrupt.

FameCast is a wonderful opportunity for all artists. It gives you the chance at exposure regardless of how far you make it in the competition. However, with every competition comes rivalry and negativity. Anyone can “dish it”… but can you “take it”?

Maybe it’s time we all went back to the Elementary School Glee Club… or the High School Marching Band… Good times… Good times…

FameCast, Season 2, here we come!… but not before my Daily Moment of Zen! Peter Griffin, you’re the next American Idol!

Somebody call Don Imus… XM is knocking on his door… or maybe it’s Sirius… I think his Fries are done.


The Music Industry – An Outsider Looking In

23 03 2007

***The Following is a combined opinion of certain Music Industry Reps, Execs, Pros, and Artists who I’ve run into along the way***

Remember those friends and family members that said “Your band can go anywhere!” or “You’re gonna make it!”? Did you ever believe they were right? Do you believe that your music is an artform that will soon be appreciated by the masses because they will realize that you are an “Artists” and not some “Drone of the Industry”? Were you ever stuck in a place where you thought that you could play one or two shows, and be instantly picked up by a Record Label? I’ve got some pretty bad news for you. You were *wrong* to ever believe any of the above.

The Music Industry is just like any other industry across the world. It stays alive.. how? Money! How does it make that money? By housing, shopping, and promoting bands and artists that produce music the middle/wealthy class citizens of the world will enjoy, and eventually buy. So, you wanna make it? Then let today’s lesson begin.

You’re probably wondering where I get off making such a bold statement about *Your* music. Well, let’s give you a little history lesson about my industry background. Am I in the Music Industry? No… But I do have a band (hold your applause. There are millions of us out there). I’ve played “Industry Showcases”. I’ve been involved in Promoting my own music as well as for other bands and artists. My College Professors at SUNY Oneonta were all Industry Pros in their fields, so I learned a whole lot from their experiences.

My band is in an online competition at with a chance to win $10,000 and Global Exposure. If you would just click HERE, it only takes two minutes to find *Soundscape Soul’s* video, create an account and vote for us to make it to a Live show in Austin, TX where we….. Did you click? Did you vote? How many of you had even an inkling of a desire to click on that *HERE* text and send us your vote?


So, you either clicked and voted, or you click, or you did non of the above. Why did you do what you chose to do? The most common answer would be “I clicked, but didn’t vote”. Why? Let’s show you a quote from a response that I personally received from Promotions involving my band and this competition.

Quote: “Music is art, not for promotion and making money. Go to hell, I’m sure there you can make money off of a pure Art Form. You’re disgusting.”

Now, that might have been a little harsh, but it holds true to a lot of people. But here’s the catch… that quote came from a Band on the world’s so-called “Best Networking Website for Artists and Bands to make a name for themselves”. I’m talking, of course, about MySpace. Can you name 10 Artists that *Started* on MySpace with zero following, and scored themselves national or worldwide fame through their *Friends* list? Take your time. What makes Promoting an ugly side of the industry, is that it came sometimes come off as a little bit desperate. Some *Music Purists* believe that an Artist’s music is meant to be heard because it is destined to be heard.. and that if the music is from the heart, their music will be remembered forever. Are we in the 1960s? That era has come and gone, probably before most of you were even born (I could be wrong).

Here’s another friendly reminder: Not everyone will like your music, and more importantly, you! There will always be 1 person, 100 people, 1,000 people (you get my point) that will dislike or even hate your music, and you, no matter how popular or unpopular you or your music ever becomes.

“Don’t forget us little people”/”Never forget where you came from”

I know you want to be believe that… so bad! Don’t you? People tell you that all the time. How many times a day do you think some Top 40 Bands actually keep in touch with ever single person that’s ever said those phrases above? Is it because they’ve become so uptight and full of themselves that they forgot “where they came from” or “the little people”? If you just thought “Yes”, then you need a lot more help than I thought. Most of the time, when you’ve hit the status of many Top Artists and Bands, you have *Zero* time to do anything you want to do. Why? Because they don’t run their lives anymore. That’s what the Record Labels and Managers are for!

If you’ve read this far, then you’re a trooper!

Now, let’s reveal my real feelings on the above discussion.

– Yes.. I’m in that band above.
– Yes.. I do believe that Music is an Art Form. I’ve believed that ever since I first started to sing when I was 11 years old.
– Yes.. I do believe that some popular bands are butchering popular music and shouldn’t even be allowed to perform.
– Yes.. I believe Live Shows (of top mainstream bands) stink these days, because Artists and Bands are being studio engineered to sound better on CD than they are on stage.
– Do I hope that the Mainstream side of the industry changes? You bet!
– Do I expect you to actually vote for my band? Only if you feel like taking the time to watch our video and if you truly enjoyed it.
– Do I hope you leave this page with some knowledge of how harsh the industry can be, even on the most simplistic level? 100% Yes.

Now, go forth and promote your music. Do it proudly. There will always be those among you who will dislike what you do. It’s their own opinions… and having an opinion is another thing that makes us all great.

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