Every kid dreams of being a rock star, but what does the job actually take? While touring can be fun, the realities of life on the road can be difficult to sustain. How do working artists balance their careers with day to day life? We talk with Rafael Cohen of !!! about creating stability as a “middle-class” musician. Then, Taraka Larson of Prince Rama walks us through the duo’s touring schedule and unconventional recording process. Portugal. The Man’s Zach Carothers shares what he’s learned over the last fifteen years of working in the band, including a few tour bus cooking tips.
The term “A&R guy” is tossed around casually in the music biz — but what does the A&R division of a label do? A&R teams are traditionally charged with finding new talent, guiding artists through the recording process and connecting artists with producers, songwriters and other collaborators. Their insight can have huge influence on an artist and label. Over the years, the role has changed with the music business. This week, respected A&R dude and founder of Loma Vista Recordings Tom Whalley tells us about his journey from the mailroom at Warner Bros. Records to chairman of the company. He also offers his perspective on how the job has changed — and the differences between working A&R at an indie and major label. Then we talk with Louis Posen, founder of established indie label Hopeless Records, about why the term “A&R” isn’t used at his company, and why a team approach to talent scouting works for them. Finally, Robby Morris, director of A&R at New York indie Matador Records, walks us through creative development at the label.
“Young people [are an] underserved population when it comes to the music industry.” That’s the point our guest Andre Middleton drives home on this week’s episode of The Future of What. In our discussion with Middleton (Friends of Noise, RACC) and Todd Fadel (The Meow Meow), we look at the logistics and pitfalls of starting and sustaining an all ages venue. Like many cities with rising rents and strict liquor laws, Portland has seen a slew of beloved all ages venues close in the last decade. Many people, young and old, still see the value in all ages venues. We talk with Claire Gunville (Semi Ok Collective) and Maya Stoner (Sabonis), both in their early twenties, about building an inclusive all ages community even without venues to turn to. The Vera Project in Seattle is often lauded for their all ages model, and their Talent Buyer Andrea Friedman gives us the low down on how they’ve survived for so long.
You’ve put your music out there and built a solid fan base, but you may still be missing an integral part of your team — a person who could help bring your career to the next level. Band managers play a key role in the trajectory of an act, and by overseeing the business side of the group can allow the artist to put their energy into making music. We talk with three knowledgeable managers about what they do, what it takes to be an effective business partner and what artists can do to maximize their success.
If women and girls are one of the fastest growing markets in the music industry, shouldn’t they be better represented in media? That’s what some, like our guests this week, are striving to do. A greater number of magazines and blogs oriented toward women and girls means that many of these aspiring musicians can finally recognize themselves in the publications they consume. But giving focus to women musicians isn’t just a good cause — it’s a good business investment. This week we host a roundtable to talk media and its portrayal of women musicians. Joining us are online editor of Bitch Media Sarah Mirk, founder of She Shreds Magazine Fabi Reyna, and Mindy Abovitz, founder of Tom Tom Magazine.
Could two multi-million dollar lawsuits be the downfall of one of music’s most popular streaming services? Earlier this year, two class-actions were brought against streaming giant Spotify by musicians David Lowery and Melissa Ferrick. The plaintiffs allege that Spotify knowingly distributes copyrighted material without obtaining the proper licenses. So what do these suits mean for musicians and the industry as a whole? We discuss with lead plaintiff Melissa Ferrick, lawyers Howell O’Rear and Chris Castle, and musician and music lawyer Christiane Kinney.