We talk a lot about how musicians can make a living in today’s music industry, but on this episode we look at the selfless ways artists use their influence. Our guests show that musicians at any stage of their careers can affect sustainable, positive change. Mike McCready, lead guitarist for Pearl Jam, tells us how the band’s Vitalogy Foundation, funded by ticket sales, benefits everything from the environment to the arts. Then we hear from emerging queer punk duo PWR BTTM about how their tour rider is making venues safer and more accessible. Merrill Garbus, the artist behind tUnE-yArDs, explains how one song led to the creation of the Water Fountain fund. We end the show with Coy Bowles of Zac Brown Band, who uses storytelling to change kids’ lives.
In anticipation of Vortex Magazine’s upcoming issue regarding the role of record labels in today’s music economy, we sat down with three label heads from Portland to talk about what labels do for artists in 2016. Despite the label’s varying ages, reach, and aesthetic, everyone in attendance could agree on the fact that there are too many business related tasks associated with releasing a record for one person, or a band, to handle.
Despite the music industry’s economic downturn, more and more music festivals have popped up and many continue to thrive. Because of the booming demand for tickets, live performances have become a vital revenue stream for many artists. But have we hit “peak festival”? Mainstays like Coachella and Lollapalooza have become increasingly corporate, and independently-run festivals contend that competition for is a huge issue in planning their events. We talk to three indie festival organizers, Nick Blasko (Rifflandia), Bob Babisch (Summerfest) and Zale Schoenborn (Pickathon), about the fate of their business and alternative festival models.
Whether it’s your first show or your dream venue, one of the most daunting tasks as a musician can be booking a gig. From the outside, it’s hard to know just how much planning goes into each concert. On this installment of our Music Industry 101 series, we talk to talent buyers and booking agents about what they do and how they do it. Booking agency Monterey International represents over 100 artists, from Van Morrison to Anais Mitchell. After agent Josh Brinkman offers his perspective as an artist representative, we hear from Velena Vego of legendary Athens venue the 40 Watt Club. She’s celebrating 25 years as the 40 Watt’s talent buyer. Then local tastemaker, Eric Gerber, talent buyer at Portland’s Doug Fir Lounge, gives us the nitty gritty details of what he expects from artists.
Each year, independent labels converge in New York to talk trade at A2IM’s annual Indie Week conference. On this episode bring you some insight into the event with a panel moderated by Portia. She’s joined by some of the indie world’s best, including Mute Records’ Nicole Blonder, Sara Dempsey of ABKCO Music & Records, Dave Martin (Omnian Music Group), and General Manager of Concord Music Group, Jim Selby. While catalog is at the forefront of the discussion, the group touched on marketing to new audiences, adapting to streaming services, and making an impact on social media.
Touring, playing festivals, meeting loyal fans. Sounds like life as a successful musician, right? On this episode we look at a different audio and performance-driven art form: stand-up comedy. There are many parallels between the comedy and music industries, especially when it comes to releasing albums and booking festivals. We talk to comedy festival pioneer Andy Wood about the ninth year of Portland’s Bridgetown Comedy Festival and how it’s affected the nation’s comedy landscape. We also have comedian and writer Shane Torres in studio to help shed light on the similarities among those working hard to make it in the creative world.