Sunday, 29 November 2015

Break on through to the other side: when the stars align and things happen

I'd call this a stonking great home run for BBC Introducing. Result! And not before time.  

Will that damn door ever open? 
Webby thinking is that all you need to succeed is to just do it: put it out there, get the recognition you deserve. Why, look at this vlogger, or that musician, or that podcast. They did it, so can you.

But that's a crock, and even the dreamiest of fantasists know that. For the few who go stratospheric using clickbait, provocation, or every weapon that heavyweight old-school marketing can devise (Hi, Adele!), there are thousands of people with something to say who don't get heard.

There's a doorway to go through, a barrier to recognition. Whether the door swings open is down to luck and circumstance. Of course, talent is still essential - unless you go down the X factor route - but nothing is guaranteed, and it gets harder every day.

The door swung open, just a tiny bit, for a few people this past week.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Love what you do. Stay professional. Watch your back.

Swimming in shark-infested musicbiz waters. Sharpen your teeth and toughen up. 

I love the Music Industry in Birmingham. I'm only cheering from the sidelines: I don't have a stake. But it fascinates me, as do those who run venues, promote shows, or invest in costly recording kit. Then there's the snappers, the house concert superfans, bloggers, the radio guys, the video producers and more.

This week I had an engrossing conversation with Roy and Jaki Davis, a couple who built Madhouse Rehearsals and the Asylum venue into a solid proposition though sweat and grit.

I knew Roy from his days playing bass with Shy - a fine 80s Brum band, one of many whose talent and promise just weren't enough. 

We did a radio thing together. I got great stories. I also got some scary stuff. 

Sunday, 15 November 2015

The BBC's future (well, maybe) and the Beeb right now

Time spent this week with both the high and mighty and the grafters

A weekend back, I was bantering on air with Les Ross on BBC WM, doing the Sunday newspapers. Les had returned to his first station for their 45th anniversary celebrations. 

It ran very smoothly. Les was on top of his game, chatting with the newsreader, trailing down the day. It sounded great. We didn't exactly cover a lot of news; that's how it is with a presenter like Les. The vibe in the studio was terrific. A team of pros delivering effortlessly good local radio to a committed audience. It worked, really worked. 

Two days later I went to a meeting run by powers rather higher up in the BBC. This was much more buttoned up, and, dare I say it, a little tortured and convoluted.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Is Facebook over?

It's a question I'm asking most weeks. Musos might well be asking the same thing.

Over time, things grow, peak and decline. Everything has an allotted timespan, even global IT monsters. Those timespans are getting shorter. 

Facebook is posting fat profits because it's now a mobile platform: the app of choice for idiots texting at the movies. But the number of people actually sharing stuff is going down. And that has big implications.

I think this is about its usefulness to people like me and many others, possibly you too. I'm now wondering if it's still much use at all. My page hits from Facebook have dropped; from elsewhere, they're up.

Since at least 2013, there's been speculation that Facebook deliberately hobbles some types of posts, to get people to pay. I won't do that for my blog, which is a labour of love. It's ironic: Facebook gets free content and a data mountain to mine from us, but we're then supposed to pay to use it. 

I'm not happy, and I'm pretty sure other people feel the same. I wonder.... have we seen peak Facebook? And what might this mean for musicians?