#064 Roundtable – Twitter Vs. Music Journalism

Watch Christopher Weingarten’s Twitter rant here.

In the News: The RIAA wins it’s case, The New iPhone 3.0 is finally released and Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor bows out of social networking (or so he says). This week’s episode focuses on a video by Rolling Stone music critic Christopher R. Weingarten. Click the link below to watch. As always, calls, emails and now tweets, from our listening audience.

Mentioned in this episode. Robert’s (AKA Chris Bolton) Storylife Podcast

  • Enjoyed the round table edition, as always!

    Have to say, I agree with Trent on his decision.

    Sadly, social networking is a very mixed bag these days.

    You get to know your fans sort of, and they get to know more about you than they really want to.

    The end result, you’re no longer the “rock star” they envision but a regular person. This kills any mystique and worse, kills your currency value.

    The drummer who called in obviously isn’t very professional. A Pro would at least have rubber feet for his kick as well as the carpet in his gig bag. Amateurs tend to forget these tiny details.

    On the female caller, I’m surprised at anyone still doing the star struck B.S.

    Come on people, you are the star too. Get over your hero worship nerves.

    I once ran into Richie Blackmore at a battle of the bands I had to play. Did I choke, heck no! I thought to myself, cool, I get to make some noise one of my hero’s might dig! Yeah I had a few clams but we all do.

    You have to remember, the audience, even the muso’s in the audience, want you to do well, even if you suck.

    By the way, might be a good topic to cover what seems to be happening with all the social networking sites. Lately, I’ve found most of them are increasingly going to junior high school route. Inane comments, stupid posts by bands no-one wants to hear are more prevelant than ever and usage by the general public seems to be waining severily.

    I’ve seen more pundits on twitter lately than ever before and let’s be real here, pundits are about as valuable as wooden nickles.

  • Oh yes! As good as the podcast was, Robert’s comment was even better, so I’d like to thank you for producing a podcast that really got him going.

    I think Trent Reznor probably underestimated the power of Web 2.0 and surprised himself at how much attention his fans gave him. And to be honest, that surprises me seeing as he’s such a pioneer of the Web 2.0 music business model. If he got a bit fed up with people feeling like they owned a piece of him maybe he should have kept his tweets a little less personal?

    Robert, the drummer story: he forgot his rug. There could have been any number of factors involved in that unfortunate incident, it doesn’t mean he isn’t professional. Unlucky maybe, and if he forgets it for every gig then yes, unprofessional, but as far as I can tell it was a one-off incident. I wouldn’t be sacking him or fining him five dollars if he was in my band (might make him by the next round of drinks though). Our drummer once forgot his snare stand for a really big gig. We had to track down a studio in town and hire one. Mind you, he forgot his sticks a couple of gigs after that. Maybe I should fire him after all…

    As for social networking, I think you get out of it what you put in. I don’t bother much with Facebook these days, it doesn’t seem very relevant for a music presence. People just want to poke you (no pun intended!), leave a ‘funny’ video or share drunk photos of workmates. I’ve really tried to get people involved in a group for my music but most people join Facebook groups and then ignore them. Nearly every post in there is by me 🙁

    However, I’m finding Twitter extremely beneficial to my musical activities. I’m trying not to push the ‘buy my single’ thing too much (but you can buy it on CD Baby if you want it!) and trying to keep my posts both interesting and hopefully relevant to the people who already follow me.

    Already I’ve had the owner of a very well known power-pop e-store asking if he can stock my single (he can’t it’s download only) and that was entirely down to Twitter. I’m recording an EP and hopefully he’ll be into that as much as the single.

    I’ve also had a couple of friends accuse me of stalking Kevin and the roundtable guys due to me having two (count them!) tweets read out on the podcast. I prefer the term ‘Twitter relationship’ but I know where you live Kevin and Chris, it was me who spat on the cars!

    Seriously though, Twitter is fantastic, and Robert – I notice you’re still using it… 😉

  • Darren,

    Yes, still there on twitter though much less frequently.

    I’m just seeing a trend lately, summer is here, people aren’t using the web socially as much and so on. Come fall, things may change but honestly, I think the wave has passed. Much like the CB radio in the 70s/80s, disco, cassette and 8-track tapes, monophonic televisions etc.

    With the iPhone and it’s clones, I see far more people using the web now for the very thing it was intended. Information.

    On the drummer thing, my statement was largely tongue in cheek but also somewhat serious. They do make rubber feet for drum claws, I know, I have them for my kit:)

  • Guys,

    I love your podcast and will continue to listen to it and love it. However, you guys were dead wrong about file sharing and music on your computer.

    You made two statements that, as a computer guy by trade, set me off – you said the only way to be sure you’re not sharing files is to not have any music on your computer, and that even iTunes could have some security hole in it that would cause others to copy your music. This is borderline ill informed fear mongering and technically inaccurate.

    Please stick to talking about stuff that you are knowledgeable about and leave the security speculation to folks who know their business. And please keep producing your fantastic podcast, which again I love to listen to.

  • Richard,

    Trust me, I’m not an alarmist on this issue, but you actually kind of proved my point. You are 100% right. We don’t know much about computers, so the only way for someone like myself to be 100% sure that I’m not doing something that is sharing files, whether intentional or accidental, is to not have files on my computer. Obviously, I have plenty of music files on my computer and don’t think there is anything to be scared of, but I did hear an interview with lawyers about this case the first time she was found guilty. The unusual precedent that they set, is that files just needed to be made available for sharing for her to be found guilty. Under normal usage, that’s not a problem, but I have seen plenty of people do things without knowing or understanding on their computers. And ignorance never holds up in court.

    There are several prominent music organizations that are not interested in embracing new music business models, but are kicking and screaming to make sure things don’t change. I’ve heard plenty of horror stories about how they are more than willing to make an examples out of the ignorant, and non-tech savy.

  • Richard and Kevin,

    Actually, it’s not fear mongering at all. You were correct in positing caution. With iTunes new sharing facilities, it is entirely likely one could find themselves in violation of copyright statutes.

    I too, work as a “computer guy” by trade. In my day job I see all too often machines that could earn me substantial funds were I to turn them into the RIAA. I don’t because my job isn’t to be a policeman for the RIAA.

    Often I see things on computers that cause me to pause and consider my own liability. Child porn for example. If God forbid, I happen across that crap while repairing a system, always results in a call to the authorities.

    Music, well, I advise the owner on the legalities in question and move on.

    Sure it kills me, being someone who creates music myself but, I also recognize that most computer users are morons or slightly less so who simply do not understand that their activities effect more than just them.

  • Kevin,
    There’s another way for a person to be 100% sure… they can learn how to share or not share files on their computer, which is very basic. Like you said, ignorance never holds up in court.

    Enabling file sharing on a computer is accomplished either by turning it on yourself, or by installing a third party application. You have to go out of your way to do either. People install file sharing software themselves, but they don’t know what they are doing (because they don’t read things like “Read Me” files) and end up sharing files when all they REALLY wanted to do was copy OTHER people’s files illegally.

    The important point here is that people need to understand what they’re doing and what the law is. What the RIAA is doing is legal. It’s also unethical, and we should be calling them out for it, like you did. But a big company doing things that are legal but unethical is not uncommon (cough cough WalMart, Microsoft, etc. At least those companies don’t sue their customers.)

    We can paint the RIAA as evil (which they partially are,) but I stand by my original message – instead of telling people the only way to be safe is to not have music, we should tell people to learn how to use their software so they’re not breaking the law. Instead of suggesting that there might be a hole in iTunes, we should tell people that understanding how computers share files is a fairly basic thing, and that it’s something everyone should know, ESPECIALLY if they plan on partaking of illegal files themselves.

    Please continue to call the RIAA out. But let’s not act like we’re all passive victims because it’s oh so hard to understand these tricky computers. It isn’t and it’s our responsibility.

    The RIAA is the tip of the iceberg. Wait until movies are traded online with the same frequency as music, which has already started. Things are going to REALLY heat up. The movie industry is going to go AFTER people. If stealing a song is like stealing a candy bar (great analogy, by the way,) then stealing a movie is like stealing a 20 out of the cash register.

  • Robert,

    iTunes allows sharing to happen on a network, but users are only allowed to listen to a song, NOT download it. This is NOT what Kevin was talking about – he was talking about File Sharing. So I disagree with you.

    But I’m totally with you on the RIAA stuff. I could turn in a whole lot of people but I’d rather have the dry heaves. Education is a much better idea, of course… but people don’t WANT to listen. No easy answer, really…

  • Hello to Linda in Australia and other female soloists who are gigging! I had written in a number of episodes back, and Kevin was kind enough to post my concerns about offering too much info on social networking sites, twitter, etc., too.

    I perform primarily for weddings, and I wrote a book called, “The Musician’s Guide to Brides: How To Make Money Playing Weddings”. I interviewed a LOT of professional musicians for the book, and you are not alone. Many female soloists go so far as to wear fake wedding bands when they perform to avoid being hit on. (I am married and the wedding band hasn’t put a stop to it.) The guys on the podcast are correct–To some extent, that attraction factor simply comes with the territory of being a great performer.

    I got really scared years ago when I was a radio announcer. Some guy called in and told me, “I know exactly where you live”. I didn’t know this guy at all. It freaked me out.

    So, I’m really careful about what I post on Twitter, Facebook, etc. and always keep it professional. Social networking can’t be avoided. It’s a major way to introduce new fans to our music. I’m not adverse to wishing friends Happy Birthday or commenting about a nice pic they posted, or responding to a good tweet post. But most “friends” on social networks are people I barely know, if at all. If they ask something too intimate, I am not adverse to blocking them. Fans are one thing. Stalkers are a completely different matter. You can report internet crime here in the U.S. at a site set up by the FBI here in the states: http://www.ic3.gov.

    And one other suggestion. I highly recommend studying self defense arts. For women, it helps us become more safe and aware at gigs. We carry ourselves differently, and men can sense this. I’ve spoken with several women soloists who have found self defense knowledge to offer a feeling of empowerment.

    I’m glad you wrote in, Linda, because I am certain there are more women soloists out there who have the same concerns about handling social networking that we do. Thank you, Kevin and the CD Baby Podcast team for keeping this concern alive on your podcast.

  • Richard,

    While I agree with you entirely, I also know computer users. I’ve been at that game for 2 and a half decades now. While at their core they may know it’s not right, they also don’t care. I see it in their eyes every time I attempt to explain why Limewire and similar programs are a problem.

    They simply do not care.

    The industry as a whole screwed the pooch on this one. Napster was nothing but they made hay about it. The real problem is, humanity as a whole. People are at their core, children. If it seems free, it is free. Proof of this is all over the place. The current state of the global economy. The decline in record (cd) sales etc.

    With the internet, EVERYTHING is free. All one has to do is search for it.

  • Richard,

    By the way, NO you do not have to go out of your way to enable file sharing. If you use for example, Limewire, Bearshare, Nspster, Kazza, Torrent software etc. Sharing is the default behavior. It takes savy to disable this feature?

  • So I’m doing the dishes and listening to the cdbaby diy podcast, like I always do, and I hear my name.

    “Oh cool, they’re gonna play a clip of my song. Sweet! Wow, the whole thing? Really?”

    Nice. Solo spot!

    Thanks Kevin. And again, thanks for doing the tune, it was perfect. And you did it right away even though you’re very busy doing a lot of recording/mixing right now.

    Long-distance recording can be problematic at times but this was a piece of cake. No technical problems or anything. I could set my watch (if I had one) to your guitar playing. Better than a lot of drummers actually…

    Very cool.

  • I enjoyed the song Ryan, really good. I normally hate sax solos but it really worked in your tune.

    I did some long-distance recording a while ago on a website called The Womb. The band was comprised of players from the forum, all over the world and we each sent our part in. We should have used Skype to chat a little more as it was a little disjointed but still a pretty good effort.

    It’s great how technology can actually bring people together like this and is being used in a positive way.

  • I keep thinking of things to say! I’ve also listened to loads of older podcasts recently so forgive me if this refers to another one.

    I think you asked where/how people find new music these days. I still listen to music radio for about 15 minutes every morning on the way to work so I occasionally find new stuff that way but not often. To be honest, I really listen for the DJ…

    I was hoping that the BBC’s coverage of Glastonbury would have helped me find something new but they’re really concentrating on the main stages these days, which this year was Neil Young, Springsteen, Status Quo, Tom Jones etc… Still entertaining but hardly new (did the Quo ever break America?)

    As for the press, I never read the music press. Never. I used to read reviews, articles etc and then be very disappointed when I went out and bought a CD on the strength of a review.

    That leaves me with two places to learn about music – word of mouth and, believe it or not, video games. I’ve been playing GTA IV for a while now and the radio stations are great, with the music very well balanced between really popular stuff and more obscure stuff. The Fallout 3 soundtrack was also excellent, playing tunes from the 40’s-50’s – I went out and bought a Roy Brown compilation because of that.

    The trouble is, it’s not NEW music, it’s old music that I haven’t heard yet, it’s only new to me. If we accept that a lot of kids involve themselves more in games than they do music (and hoping they don’t play GTA or Fallout, the themes are way too adult) then we need to find a way of combining NEW music and games. Maybe some sort of online, indie radio station built into a game? Imagine driving around a GTA-style world where the radio reflects which suburb of the city you’re driving in – Chinese, Italian, Latin etc. And make the station only unsigned artists.

    Well, that’s a spark of an idea; what do you think?

  • One think I agree with Robert Lee King on is that most bands are TERRIBLE about using social networking. Social networking in the Web 2.0 environment only works if you are a Go-Giver (great business book by Bob Burg). You can’t just go out and be like “Listen to this, buy this, love me, I’m awesome”. You have to provide some kind of value. Be funny. It helps if you are a human being!

    Yes, it takes time. Deal with it! There’s also services that can help you (Ariel Publicity) get your social networking feet wet.

    I have experienced tangible results (i.e. CD sales, fan base growth) specifically from one Internet radio station that I do my best to interact with. I try to remember the hosts’ birthdays, and I call them on the air and sing Happy Birthday to them. I write little mini-songs about them. I interact in the chat room. I visit their blogs and websites. THEY LOVE ME! Everytime I come in there I feel like a huge rock star. I have even hired some of them as unpaid interns (their idea!).

    I’m just saying – the social networking works if you work it – and if your music’s good it helps – but my guess is Trent Reznor just lost his fat female fans. Maybe he doesn’t care about that. Most musicians aren’t in his position to be able to not to care.

    Darren – great idea! You should work on making that happen. In this free-for-all environment, all new ideas are worth checking out.

    For me, I discover new music from movies, Rhapsody, Pandora, and my friends’ Blips. There is so much music out there that some of it is not “new” at all but new to me.

    For brand new bands, I try to focus locally – think of bands as organic food and buy local! That’s how things grow – in your own backyard. A great “new” band from this area is called Illinois. http://www.illinoistheband.com – They are starting to dip their toes in the national scene…

  • Chris Huff,

    I agree and disagree all at once. I agree that for some, social networking can be a good thing but, here’s the disagree part. Long term, social networking will kill your career. Why? You lose that elusive quality that makes human beings follow you in the first place.

    Once an artist becomes too human, they are no longer interresting.

    Think about it. Which bands do you care most about? The ones you know more personally or the ones you only know their persona?

    For me, Metallica died when I saw “Some Kind Of Monster”. Seeing that film I thought, geez, what a bunch of lame azzes.

    That cost them dearly. I listened to the new album when it came out but never bought it. It sucked (the audio is horrible, not the songs themselves…)

    Ride the Lightning kind of sucked too but I bought it. Then again, that was long before “Some Kind Of Monster”

    Despite what the pundits have to say, web 2.0 is the death of the music business, not the savior.

  • By the by, CW is only interrested in saving his livelihood, not the industry. Why his rants are entertaining, his opinions are worthless due to the self interrest they embody.

  • Robert Lee King,

    Yes, I would consider using Limewire (as an example) definitely to be going out of your way, because it’s not on your computer by default… you have to find it, download it, and install it.

    But you are 100% correct – people who do such things never read the READ ME files, so to speak.

  • Brian Battles

    Right at the end of Podcast #64 you played a song you collaborated on over the Internet with another artist. Coincidentally, I had just checked out a few websites that facilitate the kind of connection you had. I had been wondering how well they worked, which one was the best, etc.

    This would make a great podcast topic. I would like to learn more about this because I am a songwriter with limited musician skills. I would enjoy collaborating with others to get my music recorded with other quality artists. I’m sure there are other artists who listen to your podcasts who would enjoy and benefit as well.

    I have been following your podcasts almost from the beginning. I appreciate your efforts and the information you provide. The roundtable discussions are informative and fun. Sometimes the unedited stuff is better because it is informal. I’m glad you are doing both. Keep it going, and thanks very much.


  • Hi linda and other female soloists,

    I don’t wanna sound like an anti-feminist or an oportunist but guys hitting on you can be a good thing. If you have their attention I’m guessing their more likely to listen to your music. I wear an engagement ring though so maybe I’m immune to the extreme end of the scale. Maybe do that? Although having said that a guy once tracked my email down and sent me a series of photos of ‘himself’. I don’t wanna go into too much detail but surfice it to say it could have been made into a flick book, with a rather explosive ending. The only way I can identify him is that he has a mole between his thumb and finger on his left hand. I went to the police, but they couldn’t do anything. That’s made me more paranoid for sure!

  • Hey guys we’re currently on episode 64. On this episode you mention how Trent Reznor, decided to leave his Web 2.0 prescense, on ’09, and I just thought it intesresting how now on ’11 he earns an Oscar for the work done on the movie The Social Network.

    Thought, it was an interesting point 😀
    Indie Riot [on facebook]