#072: Roundtable – Google Your Tunes

Google MusicIn an unexpected move, Robert changes his on-air name to Bolton. Google throws its hat into the music game.  MySpace offers stats for their artist profile pages.  Is iTunes LP a real option for indie artists? These questions and topics addressed, plus the Podcasters take on your calls as we dive into the ever changing landscape of indie music online.

Want to weigh in with your opinions? Leave a comment below.

  • I think you’re probably right about the iTunes LP. The production cost is probably going to be high (either paying Apple or paying a programmer to put it together for you, unless you happen to be one). That said, I think the first few indie bands to get one up there will probably benefit a lot — the whole first-one-in-gets-attention phenomenon.

  • Did you hear the one about the… just kidding.

    Wow, lot’s of things in this episode to comment on but I must say I’m a bit taken aback at my humble thoughts being taken so well.

    I thought everyone’s ideas regarding the vocalist’ call were very good but, incomplete in some ways.

    If the woman calling is just a vocalist and I mean no disresprect in saying that, then perhaps the best advice as you gave is for her to seek out an existing band to perform with.

    If she is also a songwriter, that’s a very different situation and how she proceeds will
    depend more on what she expects to get out of the band relationship once she actually has a band.

    Hired guns don’t work for free and finding
    those you don’t have to pay to come on board is very hard.

    First, as you also said, they have to find the project interresting enough to get envolved. And second, even then, they’ll want to have some input on the direction the whole band takes when it all comes down to it.

    Many “vocalists” think they can sing but play no instruments and don’t write. This type of person is a half cent a dozen. Every karaoke joint in the world is full of them. I’m not saying your caller is such a person but, considering she identifies herself as a vocalist only, left me wondering.

    On Twitter, Andy is right but so are Kevin, Chris and C.B. (Bolton).

    Twitter is very much a look at me, kind of thing.

    Personally, I love BLS and Zakk Wylde’s playing but, reading Zakk’s tweets is yawn inspiring more often than not.

    It’s also terribly hard to find indie artists on twitter as with everywhere else on the net. You need to know exactly what and whom you are looking for to find them.

    Even so, I disagree on the taste makers aspect.

    Personally, I don’t care what the taste makers think. I don’t drink Starbucks coffee, never have and never will. I don’t tune into TMZ and dumped the lefsetz letter within weeks of him hitting twitter. Taste makers are the labels of today.

    The new stats page on myspace? Well, it would be good if the information were remotely accurate but sadly, it isn’t. In any case, I dumped my myspace page this past weekend. After they changed the home page to the point where for me, it became useless.

    By the way, Tom Anderson does indeed have a facebook page. Is it the real Tom ‘Myspace’ Anderson? Who knows but all the details are right. Time will tell:)

    Google, as I understand it, their partnership via la la and ilike is actually via Amazon so, I don’t really see this taking off in any real way. I did a search earlier of my own stuff and not one listing had any listenable links. This may be different for more popular artists but the jury’s still out on that one.

    The iTunes LP issue is a bit of a conundrum. For a few reasons;
    First, Apple set a standard with the few titles they put up at release time and that kind of work is expensive.

    Second, indies aren’t likely (generally) to have the funds nor the talent to create the content to reach the bar Apple has set.

    Third, few indie fans, care about that extra content. That band or artist hasn’t a legacy yet so interrest will be small to non-existant.

    I don’t see Apple taking to indie music at that level any time soon. Indies bulk up the catalog sure but, the vast majority of sales are not indies. In fact, the bulk of iTunes sales are from classic acts back catalogs and drivel like American Idol.

    Twitter figuring into news I have to disagree strongly. Instant news is a very bad thing. For one, no research has been done so the voracity of the news item is questionable at best. But more importantly, there simply isn’t enough space to adequately do more than a headline which is meaningless.

    I have to agree, I’ve always found the name “Robert” boring. I imagine my former in-laws did as well since they always called me Richard:)

    Great episode guys.

  • As a longtime listener of the podcast, the first time I have been moved to visit the comment section: podcast re: Robert.

    I’m commenting on comments on a podcast episode commenting on music.

    I wanted to post in the sphere of meta-meta-music.

  • I think RLK fulfilled his new job role with great aplomb there 😉

    You got me from the off on this one with Chris/Rob’s name change as I live in a town called Bolton. Biggest town in Europe with a pretty small music scene, we only have three real venues to play thanks to us being right next door to Manchester, one of the biggest cities in the country.

    If you’re the vocalist reading this I wouldn’t get too disheartened about Robert’s reply. My brass section were hired guns originally and they worked for free. If you’ve already got songs written and they like what you’ve got then they might be happy to jump on board for the fun.

    Joining an existing band is indeed the best bet if possible though. Sing their songs and offer your own when suitable. Eventually you’ll all be writing together anyway. Meanwhile, if you’re reading this and are able to record demos, get in touch with me and I’d be happy to do the odd backing track for free if our styles suit each other – a pan-Atlantic internet collaboration could be fun!

    iTunes LP feature – not really interested. As has been said, I can do that sort of stuff myself for my own projects anyway so it’s nothing new. I’m also not interested in paying extra, all of my stuff will be free to people who purchase the CD/download etc.

    Twitter. I still love it. I was well into it when I started up, then felt like I started posting too much rubbish. I backed off a little and now feel I’ve found a happy balance of me, me, me stuff (which we all do) and more general stuff like links to blogs, pics, music etc.

    The thing with Twitter is that I follow people who post interesting me, me, me tweets. So Kevin’s in the studio snaps get me everytime as I’m a big studio geek, Chris Robley’s occasional, wry tweets make me laugh, as do Chris Bolton’s – incidentally, both Chris’s post wry, slightly world-weary tweets; is it because of their name?

    I do feel like I know the three of them, mainly thanks to the podcast, but also down to Twitter, particularly Kevin. I feel that if I was ever in Portland I could visit CD Baby and say hi to them. I reckon I could last a few minutes before the police arrived and dragged me away with a restraining order too! 🙂

    I strongly disagree with RLK about Twitter and the news. The recent events in Iran showed what a powerful tool it can be. Without Twitter much of the news wouldn’t have got out. People were following the story second by second, it was amazing and definitely a lot more constructive than me posting the fact that I hit a dog in the car.

    I think I’ve waffled enough now. I always forget the constructive points I had in my head when I type these comments as I listen at work and then type later in the evening at home. Oh well, it gets me through another dull day in front of an office computer – keep ’em coming!

  • Yes Darren, if you stopped by CD Baby we would be glad to hang. Maybe grab some coffee. If you brought one of those pedals of yours, we might even through in lunch!

  • JP

    great episode. really enjoyed it. good point about personality over ability when choosing band members.

    I’ve been in bands with a couple of extremely talented people who were a complete nightmare because their inate ability seemed to make them think they didn’t have to show up on time (or at all…) to gigs & rehearsals or to contribute anything to being in a band except for their “talent”.

    I’m all for a band having fun together, and it sure isn’t working in a bank, but for me, you need to turn up every day in a condition to ‘do your job’ otherwise it’s massively disrespectful to everyone else in the band and it won’t be long before the band breaks up. Easy to say, but hard to go through with getting rid of someone when you know how hard it might be to find replacements. my advice is if they’re late more than twice and have a crappy excuse, bin them.

    phew. clearly needed to get that off my chest!

    have a great weekend.

  • Personality, I forgot about that. I’ve had both situations happen to me. We had a bass player who I got on great with, really, really well but he just kept making mistakes, couldn’t make practices etc. Fortunately, just as I was planning on replacing him he left due to other commitments!

    We also had a guitarist in the band who was a great player and never played a note wrong. Never. However, he never hung out with us, refused to come to ‘meetings’ as he just wanted to play the music and never chatted during breaks at practice, just sat in the room on his own while we all went out for fresh air. Things got really awkward between us and him.

    I had to tell him we were going to carry on without him. That was tough as he was a good friend too. He doesn’t speak to me now. The band is a lot better though, just because we’re all a lot more positive but is it worth a lost friend?

  • alright, can we stop picking on the perpetually late for a minute. i have a condition that makes me late to everything, i’m on-timeaphobic. i can’t explain why. no matter what time i get ready to leave, i end up leaving 15 minutes late. the weird thing is that my songwriting and performance don’t seem to suffer because of it. jim morrison was a horribly irresponsible person, but he somehow managed in his train wreck of a life to create classics. i don’t think artist’s are supposed to be responsible… they are supposed to be artist’s.

  • Hey guys,

    Andrew from Melbourne, Australia here.

    Just thought I’d share an idea that a band that I played with on the weekend did with regards to having a laptop at the merch table. On the merch table, they had an old school typewriter with a little note typed on the sheet of paper in the typewriter that said, “Hi there. Please feel free to leave your email address, phone number or anything you like. Thanks, Kingbayler” (the name of the band). Kingbayler claim that this is not an original idea, but I still thought it was a cool thing to have.
    At the end of the night they had a mixture of email addresses, comments, marriage proposals and drunken hilarities.

    Probably not the most efficient way to collect email addresses, but it was certainly something that the fans enjoyed.

    Keep up the great work with the podcast!


  • @Andrew: great idea 🙂

    It was only barely touched in the ‘cast, but regarding Google’s music search: I’m really disappointed that Google has decided that making iLike/MySpace the top search result is a better experience than the artist’s own webpage.

    Case in point: a search for my name (“scott andrew”) now returns a Google OneBox result. It pulls three older songs from iLike and has links to iLike and Rhapsody. The audio player buttons launch a pop-up window featuring a giant MySpace banner.

    IMO this sucks. What about the tons of demos on my site? What about the fan-only discounts? What about the Ogg and FLAC formats I offer? Why has Google decided that iLike is SO much better than these?

    Will anyone bother to check out my site after basing their decision on a 30-second clip of a song I wrote in 2004? Will they know I have WAY more music available there? My top-selling songs aren’t even included in the Google/iLike widget.

    I suppose some people will tell me I should be happy that Google is pushing traffic towards a paid music site rather than a P2P site. No, actually I’m NOT happy. I want fan engagement FIRST, money second.

    Sorry for the rant. I really feel that Google pulled a Kayne-like move on indie artists. “Imma letchu finish, but iLike is the BEST website for [artist name]’s music!!!!” Google has basically decided that iLike/MySpace is now the default website for any artist on the net.

  • First time listener, first time comment. I heard your podcast and there was a caller you played who suggested having a laptop for folks to enter email info instead of writing it down. Sure, laptop security is a possibility and also you could just get a cheap or free laptop that wouldn’t be as big of a risk. Like an older pentium 1 or even a 486 just running some sort of spreadsheet, word processor, or even just something like notepad to get the correct info. Anyway, if you’re interested in pursuing that route and you need one, let me know. Nice tip about the SayNow. There is another one out there too for phone numbers http://www.Google.com/voice. Getatme on my Google voice number at 513-549-3344.

  • @Butch Gibson – fantastic idea. Put linux on there, runa quick little program to accept email addys, lock it up to a chair, and then have someone watch over it. Think I’ll start hitting up Craigslist to find something I can use.


  • I like how when you Google a band now, Google has player icons that allow you to stream / buy the songs on demand. Their doing a fantastic job!