A dozen or so Houston music writers met for drinks last week to address the question of how we could better serve the music community. From traditional national media to hobbyist bloggers, the conclusion was the same: There is a communication breakdown between local bands and music journalists.
Many of the writers in attendance expressed frustration at not being able to attend every show, listen to every demo and read every blog. At the same time, it seems bands are saddled with apathy and expect the media attention to simply find them.
With the Internet, this process should be even easier. Bands no longer need agents or publicists — blogs and Facebook allow musicians to market themselves. But many are not taking the time to do so. Some bands shirk the idea that a band should be run like a business, but the bottom line is self-promotion will at least help local media meet musicians halfway.
Houston music writers
Here are a few excerpts from the discussion the meeting sparked on our music blog, Rocks Off:
Deuce: "I'm in a band, AND I'm an attorney with previous work in marketing and I still can't formulate an effective marketing strategy."
Sierra: "Wow....I would have LOVED to sit in on this...."
Ramon "LP4" Medina: "Yes, some bands ARE a business but some are strictly for fun and can blow away like Mandala art yet those inconsequential or 'unserious' bands can be just as important in people's lives. They are what they are and there is no right or wrong way to do music as long as the music comes first."
Jeremy: "Regardless of whether you're doing it for fun or to upend the world of music, you want people to hear your art. If you didn't want other people to hear it, why leave the bedroom?"
Kurt Brennan: "An actual CD or record with an actual press kit is gonna trump a virtual press kit every time. Plus your music is going to sound better than if you had sent a compressed sound file."
Gary Packwood: "If I was a member of a group whose hobby was a band, I sure as hell would not want the IRS reading about my band in a newspaper!"
Joel: "How to make it in the music biz? Drink with, do drugs with and sleep with the right people; duh!"
Houston will be well represented at next month's SXSW music festival in Austin. At press time, 20 local artists had been confirmed for official showcases at the March 17-21 music-biz pow-wow, with more being added every day and still more playing one of the myriad unofficial events. Showcasers include Bun B, Trae, the reunited Paul Wall & Chamillionaire, Two Star Symphony, Wild Moccasins, Kam, Rusted Shut, Perseph One, Ceeplus Bad Knives, DJ Sun, Rhymefest and Kyle Lee. SXSW also spills into Houston at Super Happy Fun Land's "SXSW Overflow Fest" from March 11-24 and the "Down Under Sounds" showcase of Australian bands March 16 at the Mink, as well as dates from SXSW artists such as Joe Pug, Japanther, This Moment In Black History and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at venues across town.
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13171 Veterans Memorial Dr., 281-537-2575
1. Pixies, Lost Purple Tape Recordings
2. Yo La Tengo, Popular Songs
3. Spoon, Transference
4. Charlotte Gainsbourg, IRM
5. Yoga, Megafauna
6. Ween, The Mollusk; White Pepper; 12
Golden Country Greats (LP reissues)
7. Rob Zombie, Hellbilly Deluxe 2
8. Fear Factory, Mechanize
9. Massive Attack, Heligoland
10. Ulver, Heaven & Hell
1. Mary J. Blige, "I Am"
2. Maxwell, "Pretty Wings"
3. Marvin Sapp, "Never Would Have Made It"
4. Anthony Hamilton, "The Point of It All"
5. James Fortune & Fiya, "I Trust You"
6. Sade, "Soldier of Love"
7. Maxwell, "Fistful of Tears"
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8. Alicia Keys, "Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart"
9. Charlie Wilson, "There Goes My Baby"
10. Bebe & Cece Winans, "Close to You"
(lists compiled by Chris Gray)