May 22, 2007

My Top Artists...

by Chris Randall

You can pretty much see where my tastes lie by looking at something like this. Now that I've been running the Last FM thing for several months, it has a pretty good handle on my overall tastes. It is no doubt heavily affected by the fact that I do most of my recreational music listening in my car. That is where I listen to new stuff, at any rate. I think that if my car listening was included in the list, Grinderman, Killing Joke, and Agent Orange (my most common driving artists, lately) would probably be in the top 7.

If you're curious, that "Stax/Volt" reference is the Stax/Volt singles collection, Vol. 1, a nine-CD box set with every Stax/Volt single up to 1968. I should really pick up the second volume.



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May.24.2007 @ 3:19 PM
I've been an opening band plenty of times without paying for it.

May.24.2007 @ 3:30 PM
Chris Randall
On a "real" tour, when you're opening for a major artist, you pay for the privilege. Almost all the bands that ever opened for me on tour had to pay to do so, and I had to pay to open for the major artists who I toured with. This usually takes the form of an ad co-op done between the labels; it is transparent to the bands. It's not like they have to turn over $500 every night to the lead singer of the headliner. (Although, truthfully, I think that wouldn't be a bad idea.) But their label will have to pay for a portion of the advertising that usually far outweighs what the band makes on any given night.

On some tours (Ozfest, WARPED, etc.) the second stage is usually pay-for-play. The label actually has to write a check to the tour corporation. In any event, this is different than being a local opener, or opening for a small regional tour (except in L.A., where the openers will traditionally be obligated to purchase a certain number of tickets for the night's show.) And the dance music industry operates a little differently than rock, regardless.

Guess what happens when you get "invited" to play on Letterman or Leno? Your label pays NBC or CBS for the privilege. (Interestingly, Saturday Night Live pays Union Scale; not sure why it is different than talk shows.) Most all of the music industry works this way. At the lowest reaches of the indie world it does not, but any time a label of any size is in the picture, and two or more artists get together, money changes hands. This is a simple fact, and whether your experience suggests otherwise doesn't change it.



May.24.2007 @ 4:15 PM
When I was on the Jon Stewart Show (he had a late late talk show in the 90's) I was paid union scale, and then I got a second check for 2/3 more for each time the episode was rerun. That was a pleasant surprise.

If I had the chance to do it all again, I would never have toured as an opener with a national act. Sure, we got to play to lots of people, but, let's face it, no one cares about the opening band. The impact on record sales was nil. It was a waste of time, IMO. When we played the same cities headlining at smaller clubs, the money was better and we sold more records and merch.


May.24.2007 @ 7:26 PM
So, to gerald, I'm sorry, but you can't call it a "hobby" and then say you're SOL. It doesn't matter if you're making songs, or taking photos, or knitting baby booties - if you want your hobby to make you money, you have to make your hobby your job.

I really don't care about making money with music, if I did, then I might try to write something that would sell more than 800 copies. I have a good job that I actually enjoy that pays the bills. That said, I do look for feedback on my music, and exposing people to it through Last.FM seemed like a great opportunity.

I brought up the payola issue with primarily because I found it interesting that it is so bold-faced. Commercial radio (or at least non-commercial) has to _pretend_ that they aren't on the take.

I didn't know about opening acts paying for the "honor", thanks for the insider info on that Chris. The few shows I've done, both headlining and as an opener I've gotten a pitcher of beer for. That and some broken gear. At least I didn't have to pay up front for the honor of performing alongside Cock-ESP.



May.24.2007 @ 8:40 PM
Chris Randall
Non-commercial radio is generally on the up-and-up. Commercial radio is 24 solid hours of advertisement, whether it is outright shilling of a product via a commercial, or music.

In any event, if you're curious, the second stage at Ozfest would set your label back $35,000 to be in the first (i.e. 11 am) slot for the tour. It went up from there.

Now, to address neilium's comment, it depends on the pairing, really. An opening act that can draw on the headliner's audience will benefit greatly from the matchup, as is the case for SMG when we opened for KMFDM or Korn. But if the act isn't something that will appeal to the audience in the first place (I can think of many bad combos I've seen, but our 60-odd shows opening for Type O Negative is a good example; I was literally spit on every night) is pretty much useless in the grand scheme of things.



May.25.2007 @ 11:46 PM
Aenemone Carbuncler
a bit dated now but...: if you haven't read:
The Problem With Music
by Steve Albini
link [negativland.comi.htm...]">link []

and Cop Shoot Cop! saw them live 4 times -- and i don't go to many shows, always amazing! check youtube
link []">link []

another live stand-out was The Young Gods, and they have a new CD that still sounds great.

and... there's the new fennesz/sakamato.... hmmmm.


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