Sunday, 28 February 2016

The BBC's shiny digital future. Still waiting.

Elephants? Pah. There's a digital dinosaur in the room. 

I was at the BBC Mailbox offices in Birmingham last week. They've redone the entrance. You can now check out hot BBC WM studio action as you walk up to the reception desk. This is a good thing. I always like to see real live radio, made in Birmingham.

The sad coffee outlet and gift shop have gone. Ironically, there's now a life-size Peaky Blinders backdrop. You can take selfies! With Cillian Murphy and his gang! Well, it's nice to see Peaky Blinders stuff in Brum - that's a first too. 

Next to it is an area showcasing new digital developments. It's manned by pleasant guides who walk you though the new toys. I had a play while I waited. And then I asked questions. Well, I do that.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Welcome to the future. Here's some 60s soul.

You're making music now. It'll be around when you're not. 

                     Flickr - Rosemary Voegtll
How do you think today's music will feel in forty years time? Will it still be relevant? Will it be stupidly old? A curio? A discovery to glorify the newgen person who ostentatiously 'curated' it?

Everything's online. That's wonderful for the curious listener, but not for today's creators, who are bullied into putting up their music for free for 'exposure'. Once online, that music makes money... just not for the people who created it. Cute.

The upside is you can find things. You want classics from way back when? There you go. It's a win-win for the record companies, who once could only recoup four and five-fold from issues and reissues in different formats, the poor things. Now, the web is a permanent way to extend sales potential.

And they just love it when the old boys keel over. Just look at the sales on Bowie and the Eagles.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Hitting New Heights: A West Midlands YouTube Top 50: February 2016

BIG changes at both top and bottom of the 7th YouTube chart

Lady Leshurr on top; Laura Mvula and the Editors on the foothills.
Every six months I tot up YouTube numbers for local acts: the two most-viewed videos in the past three years, strictly defined. The totals let me do a bit of basic analysis - who is piling on the views? Who's made the biggest percentage improvement? 

A statistical health warning applies: I do this chart on my own, out of curiosity. It's perfectly possible I have missed your act. If so, please tell me and I will instantly rectify matters. 

There's some spectacular results to be picked out of this. 

Sunday, 7 February 2016

The wood from the trees

Taking a mile-high view of your local music scene is tricky, but it's worth a go

It helps to have a sense of perspective.  Photo Elliot Brown
Posts here are mostly on artists and their stories. Everyone has a story; some are amazing. But this week, and probably next, it's about lots of artists. Next week, I'll publish my six monthly survey of local artists who smash it on YouTube. It's interesting, but not definitive: YouTube numbers can be, and are, fiddled for marketing advantage.

No, it's good for spotting early trends. It's fascinating to see who's coming on fast, what genres do well, and to try to work out why.

And recently, with some colleagues, I've picked up a new way of looking at what's happening. Imperfect it certainly is; rankings are subjective and based on reputation, not numbers. The sample is tiny, and taken at a specific point in time. So I won't get carried away. But I'm astonished and pleased at what we found.