Friday, March 19, 2010

2010 South by Southwest Blog

La Banda Elástica--sort of like Latin alternative's Rolling Stone magazine but better (Britney Spears would never be on the cover)--has graciously agreed to publish my SXSW musings so someone other than my mom reads it (no offense, mami).

Day 1: March 17, 2010: In 1989, a little known band (at least in the U.S.) with a hyper kinetic front man played SXSW. That band was Mano Negra, led by Manu Chao. Who will be this year’s Mano Negra?

Day 2: March 18, 2010: Bomba Estéreo Rocks The Fort, Conversation with Alicia Zertuche (SXSW Festival Coordinator-Latin Division), Naco's Juan in a Million, LBE and Automático's SXSW Showcase.

Day 3: March 19, 2010: Bands with funny names. Highlights from our interview with Systema Solar. A review of The Very Best's show at the Fort. A glimpse of YACHT. A special guest joins Girl in a Coma on stage. A review of Systema Solar's show.

Day 4: March 19, 2010: Our SXSW coverage concluded on a very international tip: Beijing's Carsick Cars, Israel's Boom Pam and Colombia's Choc Quib Town.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

OK Go - This Too Shall Pass - RGM version

Maybe OkGo can make music videos relevant again. Maybe this is what it takes so we can watch music videos on MUSIC TELEVISION again instead of whatever it is MTV shows these days (other than the Buried Life, everything else can go).

UPDATE: Apparently, OkGo's label EMI was p-o'd that music videos on YouTube do not generate much money. Though the band's lead singer contends that it's an outlet of expression for the artist, which is nice and dandy for them, the question is: what incentive is there for EMI to drop money for OkGo to produce a product (a music video in this case) that apparently has zero return on investment?

I think the answer is pretty damn obvious: exposure, exposure, exposure. I think EMI really fell on its sword on this one, since according to this report by NPR, the band is parting ways with EMI and starting their own label. EMI probably looked at this way too linearly. According to the same NPR report, OkGo's video for the song "Here It Goes" has been viewed on YouTube around 50 million times, thus standing as "one of the most popular music videos of the Internet era."

While those 50 millions views may have not earned them much (about $5,400 according to an opinion piece by none other than OkGo front man Damian Kulash Jr.), the publicity it earned the band, which helped them sell records and fill concert venues, was completely understimated/overlooked? No wonder record labels are in so much trouble. It's understandable that in these difficult times they are looking to make a buck on anything and everything they can, but not realizing that OkGo and YouTube probably saved them hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in advertising to sell a product they CAN make money on, is just stupid. Oh and one more thing: You know how at the beginning I asked what incentive is there for EMI to drop money to produce a video for OkGo? Well, as it turns out, part of their craft is making videos on a shoestring budget. The viral treadmill video for "Here It Goes," you know the one that got the 50 million views? That was shot in the lead singer's sister's house and they didn't even tell EMI they were shooting it, so presumably they fronted the entire cost of production. What the suits at EMI should have done is kissed this band's grimy, worn-out Chuck Taylors and used them as a marketing case study for other bands to emulate. Like I said, pretty stupid.