Tag Archives: Coldplay

Is New Niche?

Picture 5For those in and around the industry, new music discovery is akin to a holy grail: a near-religious experience that’s awfully hard to find.  

As such, music marketers presume that everyone shares the obsessive desire for the bliss of discovery, and scramble to invent new services that promise to serve up the next new song that you’ll love.

However, nearly every music discovery service fails to find an audience beyond friends and family.  For every Pandora, there are hundreds of services stuck in anonymity.  Even I, someone who cares enough about music discovery to write a blog about it, has a gaggle of music discovery apps on my phone that haven’t seen the light of day since their initial download.

Why is that?  Even the most casual music fondly tells stories of the moments that she discovered a soon-to-be favorite new bands.  Surely no one wants to be forever locked into the same unchanging loop of songs.  For our collective sanity, don’t we desire (deserve?) more than to wait around for the next “new” Coldplay album?

But is the fleeting delight of discovery enough to break the bonds of habit?  Perhaps not.

Many are starting to argue “the biggest issue music discovery services have is the notion that people actually want this service.. music discovery… really only appeals to a very targeted niche of consumers.” (*)

The driving dynamics of this begin with some surprising facts about how we’re wired.  “The psychology of repetition tells us that we remember and place value on things that we see/hear 7-10 times, almost regardless of the relative ‘quality’ of the content (though not entirely). This is why terrestrial radio has been such a critical channel, historically, for anyone looking to sell records or break out of obscurity — because repetition can literally train masses of people on what to like.” (*)

For those tempted to give an eight track scoff at the mere mention of terrestrial radio, think again.  Despite our assumed obsession with all things digital, “80 percent of music fans still discover new songs through terrestrial radio, according to a study by Latitude Research and OpenMind Strategy, and some 94 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds say they tune in weekly.” (*)

Is new niche?  Do we desire discovery or are we wired to like what becomes familiar?

I suppose you should listen to this next song 7-10 times and let me know what you think.  It’s the first new material in two years from Francis and the Lights, and I find it refreshingly unfamiliar.

Try to Be Ready When I Get There…

Has the internet figured out how I can buy futures on a musical artist?

Whatever it says about me (or the music industry), the track that I’ve had on repeat this week is one that didn’t even make the mixtape that was put out for free by an artist that has yet to release a commercial album.

Weird, yes.  But, without question, highly worthwhile.

With a seductive strings section that rocks a Coldplay vibe and a vocal hook that can go up with R. Kelly (without the, well, you know), the Frank Ocean invasion continues.  Try to be ready when he gets there… which will be soon.

Got The Keys (Prod. Midi Mafia), Frank Ocean

Day 24: A Song that You Want to Play at Your Funeral

For someone who frets over the song best suited for breakfast, choosing one’s final tracks is a high-stakes business.    But here I am, on day 24 of the 30 days of music, charged with choosing a song that I’d want to play at my funeral.  So I’ve narrowed it down to four, each its own strategy for the big event.

I might try to crack a joke.

Try Not To Breathe, R.E.M.

Or collect a few final frequent flier miles.

Airline to Heaven, Wilco

Attempt one last act of “betcha haven’t heard this song before” musical one-upsmanship.

Been Too Long, Coldplay

Or just give in to the maudlin.

The Trapeze Swinger, Iron and Wine

None quite fit the bill.  Good thing this was just an exercise.

The (Human) Music Genome Project

high_fidelityBack in the day, I worked in a music store.  And, though it was camouflaged as a homogenous chain store, a cadre of employees actually made it a pretty awesome place to randomly find yourself shopping for music (trust me, the only way you’d find yourself there would be randomly).  The group of us working there really knew our music, and the way that we liked to strut our stuff was to provide personalized music recommendations to customers.  More specifically, we’d ask for a customer to name a few songs or albums that they have liked, and we would in turn provide a few recommendations of things they had never heard but would probably like.  We were a collection of khaki-panted mini-pandoras.

Except any of you who have worked in retail know that’s not the entire story.  Because saying that we provided recommendations of music we thought they would like is not exactly the entire truth.  Full disclosure, we provided recommendations that were at the intersection of what we thought they would like and what we thought they should like.  We were mini-pandoras with not-so-mini agendas– and some (well, many) bands just didn’t make the list of said agenda.

But I think that our agenda-led recommendations created more serendipity and true discoveries than some “Pandora purist” if-y0u-liked-this-you’ll-like-this recommendations ever could. Continue reading

He’s not a businessman. He’s an innovator, man.

Jay-Z is far and away my favorite rapper.  The thing is, being a fan of the world’s most popular rapper doesn’t leave a lot of room to say or play anything that hasn’t been played out.  But, in this post (the second of this Music+Moments series), I’ll try to give some surprising glimpses into Hova– highlighting the innovator that sometimes gets lost in the megawatt glare of him as a superstar, husband, and business… man.

In only 8 and a half minutes, this clip demonstrates how Jigga can invite Prodigy, Memphis Bleek, Amy Winehouse, AC/DC, and others to come play in his world.  It’s also a fantastically-funny retort to Liam Gallagher’s (of Oasis) complaint that a rapper could never headline Glastonbury.  One review called this show the best concert in a decade; another referred to it as a master class in live performance.   I just call it #1 on my wish-I-could’ve-been-there list.

Continue reading