The NBT Music Columns : The CyberPR Blog (Ariel Publicity)

trevar.jpgThis is the First in a series of guest blogs written by Trevor Dye of Ariel Publicity  

An aggressive cheerleader for independent musicians, Ariel Publicity built its reputation by working primarily with indie artists. They give back to the independent music community by educating artists through their website, and Ariel has been honored to speak at music conferences such as SXSW, NEMO, and The PMC.Trevor joined the staff of Ariel Publicity at a time when a momentous shift was beginning to take shape. The forward-thinking innovation of digital, paperless publicity brought the adventure of the unknown; a unique quality that has been exhausted in many of today’s thoroughly defined professions. Trevor’s role is constantly expanding as the company grows exponentially. Presently, he handles a majority of the CyberPR operations. Sharing in Ariel’s vision regarding the Internet’s revolutionary power on the music industry led to a newfound passion, opening the door to limitless possibilities.


To balance such demanding work Trevor remains in the pursuit of leisure. Despite growing up in a landlocked state, he quickly became hooked to the tranquility of spending a warm summers day tearing through waves on his surfboard. Who says the East Coast doesn’t have surf? Trevor is also an enthusiast of self-expression. Spending countless days lost in a world of canvas and vibrant acrylic paints. Only to be paralleled by his love for the majesty of writing. Currently, he moonlights as a writer for the print publications Free Magazine and US1 Magazine, as well as several online music magazines.
  The Blog Versus All

By Trevor Dye

 An interview with a cool blogger, and a look at the debate between new and traditional media

“There’s really a lot to be said about a group effort,” says Vu Nguyen.  If the Blogosphere is the professional-amateur journalist collective, then We Heart Music should be considered a unique sub-collective within the collective.  More a music loving commune than a writing staff, the 22 bloggers that supply the ever-so-fresh content for We Heart Music do so out of pure love.

 
The team element sets WHM apart from the popular trend of uber-snobby, niche-centric blogs, as Nguyen – the creator of WHM – explains, “We all bring in our own music tastes so we’re not tied down to any particular genre. “

  He continues, “I think this is really important because I’ve often seen music blogs that are really only one point of view to a very niche audience.”  The writers are constantly interacting with one another, giving a certain charm to the blog.

  “We all read each others posts and react to them, say if I make a post about a band called The Rocks, then someone might come after me with something about The Stones.” The staff, big enough to field two 11-man football squads, keeps the blog fresh each day for little incentive beyond a few free CD’s.

  Scrolling through a few of the 500 plus posts on the site, I felt the charm of a free flowing and untainted love of music that seems forgotten in a blogging world invaded by Google AdWords and Amazon Affiliate sales.

  But Vu wouldn’t have it any other way, “There’s a line you cross when you start doing it for money, and that motive can take precedent over the content. I didn’t want that for We Heart Music.”

 “Now, with blogging we are seeing the inherent value and contribution that so many regular people have, not just in music but a variety of other interests,” states Jessica, one of the WHM contributors.

  Social media tools are emerging as a voice for the masses, creating a shift in the concept of “credibility of information.”  Jessica expands on this change, “(blogging) is pure information as it exists in reality and not something that has been cultivated, censured, or changed. It has given people a voice and given listeners a chance to choose which kind of information they want.”

  As a freelance writer, Vu has personally experienced the drawbacks of traditional media.  “I recently wrote a small piece for a newspaper and what I wrote and what they published were different.”

  He elaborated that the changes were more related to the length of the article rather than content, but the obvious limitations remain.    All of this raises an interesting question; which is more credible, traditional media or blogging?  Mark Cuban, the malcontent NBA owner and a Maverick in his own regard, is an active blogger.  On his blog, Blog Maverick, he posted an article titled Blogging vs. Traditional Media – This time its personal.”  His opinions favor forward thinking Internet media, with an emphasis on media, as Cuban writes, “A blog is media. Its a platform to communicate that can reach anyone within reach of an Internet connection.”

  Later in the post, Cuban brings up an interesting point that echoes the sentiments of Nguyen, “There is a cost vs. time vs. interest vs. access series of constraints that determines who your audience is, how you reach them and what they expect of you. Over time, that has evolved our media into very defined roles.”  The more credibility blogging gains, the more vying for our attention becomes a competition.  On a post on Kottke.org’s weblog, Jason Kottke discusses a bet between Dave Winer of Scripting News and Martin Nisenholtz of the New York Times over which media source, blogging or the NY Times, would have more authority by 2007.

   Kottke writes, “I decided to see how well each side is doing by checking the results for the top news stories of 2005. Eight news stories were selected and an appropriate Google keyword search was chosen for each one of them.”  The results were surprising.  In six of the eight searches Kottke performed, a blog entry ranked higher on Google than the corresponding story from the New York Times.   The irony is that most people were initially hesitant to trust blogs.   Bloggers were initially considered to be nothing more than average people writing on any topic regardless of their level of authority on the subject.

  I’m not sure when the shift occurred, probably around the same time people started throwing around the Web 2.0 moniker, but now bloggers are credible.  At the same time, insiders are continually exposing the reality of newspapers and major media.  For example, in his collection of essays Sex, Drugs, and Coco Puffs, Chuck Klosterman devotes an entire chapter to describing the hurried nature of life as a journalist.  His message: deadlines are ultimately the major factor in shaping most stories. Yet, we’re so trained to consume mass media that we rarely wonder if a journalist’s source was the best available or merely the only one available.  It’s hard to deny the sense of purity that comes with bloggers, as they aren’t affected by the same deadlines or corporate motives. I can’t say for certain which I trust more.  After all I assume most bloggers derive their information from the Associated Press or some other mainstream source.

    Click here to check out more from Vu and the We Heart Music crew, including an interview with yours truly on the latest WHM Podcast. Click here to check out Blog Maverick for more uber-intersting posts from my favorite NBA owner.   Read the full Blogging Versus Traditional Media Article on Kottke’s Weblog, or read about the Long Bet.      

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The NBT Music Columns: The Marketing Machine vs The Music

686586548_s.jpg Some thoughtful angry fiery words from true independent singer/artist JESSICA JOHNSON  

 So, I was just checking my email and I see this thing about some contest for best song of the year, and for the first time I felt like the shit sounded sooooooooo lame. Best song of the year? Right. I don’t know if I’ve just experienced enough bs that I’ve become really impatient or what, but all these gay little *we want to make you a star* contests strike me as so stupid. They’re trying to find the best song as much as American Idol is trying to find the best singer. Say it with me now…..HA! It’s my opinion that the music industry has nothing to do with music right now. It’s just one big marketing machine. Take for example the 20,000 “friends” on my page. Are all 20,000 of these people really fans? Hells no! They prob just added me b/c they wanted to get their numbers up, just like me. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but it does go to show that it’s all about marketing and creating an illusion to be perceived as reality. (Ever heard the saying “perception is reality”?) I know how it goes. It’s not about finding talent, it’s not about nurturing potential. It’s about slapping a label and a barcode on a cd and shoving it in the public’s face and saying :Listen to this! Buy this! This is what’s hot! Screw that. if you all find an artist you like…or even a song you like, BUY IT. It doen’t matter if it’s an indie or a major. Don’t just buy something because everyone else is….that’s lame. Don’t go downloading it for free. Don’t go burn it off a friend. Don’t do any of that cheap retarded shit. If you appreciate the artist and their music, PROVE IT. Maybe one day this industry will get back on it’s feet and remember the music……but I’m not holding my breath.

The NBT Music Columns : The Gender Of Music

barbara-gilles.jpg By Bárbara Gilles  The Gender of MusicAccording to Aristotle, the Greek philosopher Protagoras used the terms masculine, feminine, and neuter to classify nouns, introducing the concept of grammatical gender. In Spanish the article defines the gender; unlike English, which has a unique article for all genders. In English we say “the music”, just like we say “the man”, or “the woman”. But in Spanish it´s said “la música”, which gives Music a feminine gender. So it is in German : “die Musik”. Music is often taken for some kind of muse, or fairy, who inspires, elevates and brings relief to humanity. We are used to personify it–or her– as a woman. A sort of virgin (when I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me… ) maternal, holy, divine, immaculate, sacred, magic, powerful, superior, different from us. Music surely is something mysterious. It´s made by man, but sometimes it makes us feel like no human could. It´s a language itself. It can speed up our heartbeats and shock us with a story. We might even think that we love the composer, although we never met him or her. Music without words… That´s even more unexplainable. I once read that we, humans, social beings, naturally record information in our brains since the day we are born, taking note of everything we perceive with our five senses, in order to understand our environment. Our memory is our secret weapon. We remember our mother´s voice, her tone, her smell, her touch. And we are able to recognize her and answer to her. That´s our first achievement in understanding any language. Ok, any other animal can do that. But then we are able to recognize and remember different sounds, then words (and their meanings), then sentences… and voilà: Language. The book I read said that we enjoy listening to something and understanding it. Either because we heard it before, or because it surprises us. When we are in a foreign country and suddenly we hear someone speaking our language, or dialect, it draws our attention immediatly. Well, music sometimes is like a mathematical problem, in which we are to pay attention to every detail to get away with a solution. Do you remember the feeling after solving a math problem? Satisfaction. We understand, and it feels like heaven. We are proud, we connect with this abstract message. If Music is a language, it´s about communicating. It really has a message. Its elements can be combined in infinite ways and make us dance, laugh, cry, want to break something or want to love or be loved. Janis Joplin said that nothing compares to music, not even making love. But… is there any way to combine both things? Is it possible to make love to music? Back to where I started, how would you personify music? I often get the feeling that I love music and I would want to hug it and embrace it, just like it does with me, as if it were a person! I don´t know, maybe to say thank you, or something that only could be expressed with a hug. Freddie Mercury said about the legendary soprano Montserrat Caballé: “I love Music, and she is Music.” What if music was a man? That could work better for me in that way. In such picture, I see myself hugging him and confessing that he is the love of my life. But… wait a minute. Music sometimes has a face. It´s the face of the true human love of my life. I love him. I love music. Is Music him??? I doubt it, but he surely is a strong muse. Where did that relation come from? Well, because both are kinds of love which are sometimes a pure deep hate, or confusion, irresistible attraction or any form of having fun. It´s something dinamic that changes every day, but, as far as I know, it gets better and better, deeper, more passionate, more interesting every day and every night. Sometimes, not always, I put a face to Music, and it doesn´t really matter which, or its gender, because I keep on falling in and out of love with her-him-it-us-you.