Recently, I had the pleasure of discovering a band that totally rocked my world from the second they walked on stage. Following the Presidio 10 race, an event put on by The Guardsmen and the Ashlyn Dyer Foundation (two San Francisco-based charity organizations), there was a party for the runners, organizers, supporters etc. Click here for more great pics of the event taken by Guru Khalsa of TheAList. Though I was only able to catch a few of their songs, Ultraviolet Sound secured itself a place on my list of Hot immediately.
Not only do they have that funky, gritty, electro pop punk sound that I love, but they (like more and more bands every day) are challenging convention and embracing the changing music industry. Ultraviolet has teamed up with TrueAnthem, which is an “advertiser supported online music promotion and distribution company” all about connecting the band to the fan. You can listen to and download their songs on TrueAnthem for free, because at the start of each song is a brief “sponsored by” message delivered by the band itself. Howard Stern, anyone? Not sure if he was the first one to read the radio’s commercials himself, but he certainly popularized the concept.
While this model won’t work for everyone, I know I for one will gladly listen to a quick message if I get the song for free. Honestly, I’m surprised more media outlets haven’t embraced the Howard Stern style method of having the person/people/band people are tuning in for deliver the ads. San Francisco’s dance station, Energy 92.7, does this well. With any other radio station (yes, I still listen to traditional radio in the car) I change the station when commercials come on. But when Fernando and Greg are doing their show, I gladly listen to all their ads cause their delivery is priceless – they make going to the dentist or mattress shopping sound fun. Since I have come to trust their recommendations I am more likely to check out the things they advertise than what I hear elsewhere.
We see more and more examples of free music, almost-free music, listen-for-free music and pay-the-band-not-the-label music sources everyday. Those who are still clinging onto traditional models – and can’t pull their heads out of their asses – sit around and bemoan the crumbling of the music industry, stressing over declining CD sales and cursing today’s youth and their sense of entitlement and wanting everything for free. Meanwhile, others are watching with interest as the industry evolves, are adapting to it and celebrating the myriad new opportunities being created.
Last.fm is a great example. They recently demonstrated that giving users access to free streaming music encourages music purchasing. Since their “free, on demand” service launched, they have experienced a 119% increase in their sales through Amazon. Those are some nice stats, people. Even MySpace Music is looking to the stream-for-free model to increase record sales.
Let’s support bands like Ultraviolet Sound, explore the many new ways of discovering, making, and distributing music, and evolve the shit out of this industry, shall we?