All around the UK tonight, people are watching X-Factor. Because I don’t have a telly, I will watch the clips on YouTube tomorrow. I am happy enough with that.
I got to thinking about the future for artists, particularly musicians. Not long ago it was necessary for a fan to own the physical album in order to feel part of the crowd. Now communities are built online, with downloads overtaking hard copies. So the artist goes from selling an entire album to one or two songs that people like best.
We live in a world of multiple small, snap purchases, tiny nibbles of sensual experience. We buy high numbers of poor quality items in giant superstores while our neighbourhood shops shut down. We have a different sense of abundance that is closer to an addiction.
In the case of music and film, you don’t even have to go to the shop. You can download, and often for free. As soon as an artist gains some success, the song or movie is on a torrent and voila - goodbye revenue.
Consumers really are powerful. We have the choice whether we want to support the little guy or shop at the megastore. We choose how we want our fix. Companies have to work harder than ever to try to force advertising on us, as they all jump on the social networking bandwagon. All over cyberspace people are trying to get you to join their clubs. But while large companies have the money to spend on growing new limbs of communication infiltration, individual artists, without the aid of some lucky break, are reliant on their own blood, sweat and tears.
All of this because I have a favour to ask. A friend of mine from high school is in a band. The name of this band is Danny Echo, a Vancouver group that has just made it through to the top 20 of a talent competition called The Peak Performance Project.
This is Danny Echo (front cover of the album. I'm sure he doesn't always sing while setting off a fire extinguisher):
And this is my pal Ian:
Their first album is out (Itunes and CD Baby!), a fantastic rock/pop collection that is starting to get some local radio play. But a win would mean $150,000 towards the band’s career, for recording, touring, and that most important, gluttonous beast: marketing.
Of course, days being what they are, it all comes down to the public vote, which finishes in just over one month. One month for the bands to try to start the virus that will see them through to victory.
This is how it’s done now, isn’t it? This is me, 5,000 miles away from my old friend, using my tiny corner of influence to try to get some kind of chain going. To start the smallest cyber wave and see what happens. We’re talking clicks and hits baby, clicks and hits.
You can vote for the fantastic Danny Echo here: http://www.peakperformanceproject.com/?page_id=1113
And you can only vote once per IP address, making the whole wave thing all the harder. But every click counts! Please click. Anything you can do to help get this little wave going, I would be well chuffed.
One Danny Echo lyric says "You'll never feel alive, until you're barely getting by." Still - a little success wouldn't hurt. Danny Echo is most definitely worth a listen. Their MySpace page is here: http://www.myspace.com/dannyecho
I would be curious to hear from you if you voted. In a world where everyone seems to be vying for attention, what makes you support this artist or that? What gets YOUR attention? Leave me a comment because I am full of wonder about this.