In the past year or two, I've been noticing a lot of indie bands getting attention via non-traditional methods. Traditionally, of course, a band's primary goal is to get signed by a major music label, and from there get pushed on the radio. But with the consolidation of both of those industries, there's not as much room or diversity as there used to be, and both musicians and listeners have started to pay attention to other paths to each other.
I've talked a lot here about podcasts, one of the newest of the new ways of connecting musicians with listeners to buy their music, but there are of course others. TV is a big one -- a lot of shows make it a point to feature new music, often telling the viewer at the end what music they heard. Some bands are even gaining listeners via commercials, especially iPod commercials. Even Starbuck's is getting involved, putting out its own compilation CDs. (I think some are also going the video game route, but since I'm not really into any video games made in the past decade or so, I don't really know anything about that.)
One example that still cracks me up: Back around the turn of the century (you know, 1999-2001), when MP3.com was cool and not owned by a big record company, I spent a lot of time browsing the music there. One band from there that I loved was Headboard
, which had a fairly unique hip-hop-influenced/pop-rock/mixed-male-f
emale-vocals sound. But I discovered the band relatively late in its life, and they broke up around 2002. I never met anyone else who'd ever heard of them. Fast-forward to maybe mid-2004-ish, when we're hanging out with some friends, and they turn on the current incarnation of DeGrassi (which I'd never seen before in any incarnation). A character trying to join a band whips out a keyboard and starts banging out "this song he wrote" -- and it's a Headboard song! (Not one of their best, and an instrumental keyboard-only version, but still recognizable.) So apparently Glenn Rubenstein managed to keep the income from the band going a little bit.
So anyway, there was recently a story from the Washington Post
(and reprinted elsewhere) about this phenomenon of indie bands finding success with these alternate routes to listeners and money. And it starts with the example of Bob Mould (one of my favorites) getting his new music on The O.C.
. I might have to start watching that show just for the music.Update:
By the way, GarageBand.com
seems to have picked up where the old MP3.com left off, but I haven't had much time to explore there. Oh, and seriously, go check out Headboard's CD Nothing Is Static
or the iTunes Music Store.