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Soulico Remix Contest

This 4 member DJ crew from Tel Aviv brings us traditional Jewish melodies on top of American hip-hop tracks, reggae, and funk. Meet Soulico.

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Their new album, Exotic on the Speaker, is the “result of years of creative collaborations and finesse – culminating in 13 club ready tracks featuring the likes of Ghostface, Del the Funky Homosapien, M.I.A. understudy Rye Rye, Pigeon John, Lyrics Born, and more,” says The Daily Rind.

In anticipation of the new album, the boys released a free promo mixtape, Exotic on the Mixtape, including the song “Put em up”, which Pitchfork calls “an exuberant synthesis of traditional Israeli folk melodies and familiar hip-hop sensibilities.” You can download it all here.

Once you’ve download the mixtape, read Soulico’s answers to The Music Slut’s 8 Questions, including how playing to an Israeli audience differs from an American one, and check out Sabbo’s blog, Noiz in Zion, if you like remixes (and free downloads). Of course they are on MySpace and Facebook too.

JDub Records, which is a “not-for-profit dedicated to innovative Jewish music, community, and cross cultural dialogue,” was lucky enough to sign Soulico before anyone else found them. CEO Aaron Bisman happened upon their first mixtape while he was rummaging through the bins at Tel Aviv’s Hatav Hashmini record store. Apparently they were hard to track down, but he jumped on their MySpace the day it went up and claimed them.

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Thanks to our friends over at JDub Records for hooking us up with these guys. As part of the release of their new album, Soulico wants you to remix the title track, “Exotic on the Speaker,” and is giving you access to the stems of the song via the MixMatchMusic Remix Wizard. You can either download the stems (for free) and use the audio editing software of your choice OR simply click on the MixMaker button on the widget to make a remix in MixMatchMusic’s simple online music editor. If you’ve never experienced remixing before, or just want to see how the song was made, check out the MixMaker. Once you’ve completed your remix, upload it so that others can listen to, vote on and share it.

Soulico will be choosing one grand prize winner plus three runner-ups. Here’s what you can win:

Grand Prize:
– Soulico – Exotic on the Speaker CD + LP
– Stanton YakPak DJ bag filled with JDub Vinyl
– Your choice of Prime Loops Software
– Pair of Radius Ear buds
– Remix featured on jdubrecords.org & Soulico myspace

3 Runner-Ups:
– Stanton YakPak DJ bag filled with JDub Vinyl
– Copy of Soulico – Exotic on the Speaker CD
– Remix featured on jdubrecords.org & Soulico myspace

Deadlines: Contest starts Monday, October 5th and ends Monday November 23rd. Check out the official rules here.

Get on it!

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How Sweet the Sound: Gospel Competition

Gospel music really shouldn’t be stuck inside of church walls. With the brief exception of Sister Act (and Sister Act 2), it typically doesn’t make much of a splash in the mainstream music world. If you’ve never experienced gospel music, especially live gospel music, it’s worth a listen.

Regardless of your beliefs or religious affiliations, it can be pretty damn powerful. It seems like there is some magical intangible quality that really only exists in that environment. Some of you might call it God. Some might view it as communities coming together to inspire and support one another through music. Perhaps it is simply the result of raw human emotions combining with some killer vocal talent.

Thanks to Verizon Wireless, the unique genre of choral worship music can now be experienced by a broader audience. How Sweet the Sound is the search for the best church choir in America. I guess America is not busy enough searching for the best [insert talent here] already… But hey, if there can be a Top Chef, a Top Model, and all that, why not a top church choir? I say bring it on, bitches!

Read all about the contest here, check out their blog here, and follow the tour as it travels across the country here. If you plan on actually attending one of the events, be sure to bring your old mobile phones to support their HopeLine project. Or if you’re the exhibitionist type, rock your own gospel at their karaoke booths and show the world what you’ve got.

Here’s a classic one for ya. Still makes me cry…

Twitter’s New Theme Song: “Follow Me”

I am blatantly stealing this from Boothism cause it’s so classic. (Thanks, Kwan!) Check out his blog. He’s got a lot of cool stuff going on and he’s a great writer.

Whether you’re part of the Twitterati (if you are, you better be following us) or not, you can probably appreciate the suggestion that this become Twitter’s theme song. (Or Barack Obama’s theme song, as ajcgn suggested.) Old school house by Aly Us. Anybody know what year this is from?

First Ever Live Music Festival Webcast on YouTube: San Francisco’s Outside Lands

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There has been a lot of talk lately about live music. Some of us have noted that concert sales are thriving despite the recession, and there seems to be almost a revival of festival-going going on. The Taking Woodstock movie is coming out, which is sure to conjure up some nostalgia and fuel some fires that have been laying dormant. One of the more notable festivals on the West coast is definitely San Francisco’s Outside Lands, which is taking place this weekend.

For those of you who live in or have ever been near the Bay Area in August you know it’s a big deal. The historic Sunset District of San Francisco plays host to this 3 day festival in Golden Gate park, which includes an incredible lineup spanning just about every genre and showcasing both big names and lesser known gems.

Fans who were looking forward to the Beastie Boys headlining will have to shake it off and get excited about Tenacious D jumping in instead. Hopefully, M.I.A. will be able to do the same. She was none too pleased about the change.

In addition to being highly interactive and social media friendly, Outside Lands has taken it a step further and is going where no concert has gone before. It is being broadcast live on YouTube! While we’re doling out the accolades, let us also mention that they are doing their part to keep it green.

Planning on going? Have you seen all the tools out there to help you get organized? First of all, you can stay up-to-date via twitter. (Please note that it’s a “twitterbot for people going to Outside Lands Fest. Send tweet to @osl to broadcast back to everyone following osl.”) Also, you might want to download the iPhone app, try using Ranger Dave’s Magic Scheduler, or hop on to CrowdFire (a place to add your photos, videos, and tweets.)

Posse.com: For Love AND Money

Sometimes the best way to promote something is good old word-of-mouth. This is especially true when it comes to music. Fans are always going to talk to their friends about the music they love. And people generally heed the advice of those they trust before they listen to paid advertising or respond to other marketing efforts. New Zealand-born and currently Australia-based indie-rock trio, Evermore, which is made up of three brothers, took this idea one step further.

Together with their manager, Rebekah Campbell, and their agent, Brett Murrihy, the group (which has arguably one of the least annoying myspace pages ever — nice!) conducted an experiment: attempting to boost their ticket sales by recruiting fans as promoters. Sure lots bands build “street teams,” which help with postering and other guerilla marketing techniques, but Evermore wanted to let their fans sell tickets and get paid a commission. Well guess what? It worked! So they launched posse.com, which is essentially the world’s first peer-to-peer ticketing website. Of course, there will always be people selling their concert tickets on craigslist or scalping them outside the venue last minute, but this is for an entirely different kind of fan.

Posse.com pays you a commission on every ticket you sell (once you’ve reached a minimum amount and once the concert actually happens). For the casual fan this is probably not a huge draw, but for the hardcore fans who have large networks of people and generally like spreading the word about good shows and/or those who see a lot of shows and are looking for ways to save money, this is great! They only launched a few months ago, so it will be interesting to see if this concept catches on and if so, how quickly. They’ve already added a few new acts, including Marilyn Manson. According to the website, you can only become a “posse agent” if you live in Australia, however, they “will be launching in your neck of the woods soon.”

It is now safe to say we have entered the era of the empowered fan, where you can join a “new generation of young music industry entrepreneurs [who] become involved in the business of the artists they are passionate about,” as MTV Australia puts it. Whether it be access to exclusive content and VIP perks, tools for remixing, or P2P ticketing, it seems like everything these days is trending towards giving the power back to the people (i.e. the artists and their fans) and fostering that deep artist/fan connection.

If you’re not familiar with Evermore, here’s a little taste:

Send MixMatchMusic to SXSW!

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Fan of .Evolving Music. and/or MixMatchMusic? Show your support and help us send some of our folks to SXSW next year by voting for our panel topics!

SXSW is a conference, a festival, a networking event, and much much more that has become a premier destination for music professionals around the world. Now in its 24th year, SXSW boasts 80+ stages, and 2,000+ acts. In addition to the amazing music that gets shared and discovered here, the panels give industry thought leaders a forum to introduce brave new ideas and technologies to a hungry and influential audience. MixMatchMusic has found itself in a unique position in this new musical landscape and we would relish the opportunity to share some of our ideas with this crowd.

You can help by voting for our two panel topics below. Simply create an account and then vote (and comment).

Topic #1

Remix: A New Model for Engaging Fans

Today, there are millions of recording artists competing for the attention of the 190 million music fans who demand a deep and personal experience with their favorite artists online. Remixing gained legions of fans when pioneered by NIN and Radiohead. However, many artists have been shut out from engaging fans with remixes by the complexity and expense of the technology. This panel will explore a range of new engagement tools that promise high levels of connection and are accessible and affordable by the DIY musician.

MixMatchMusic’s CFO and Director of A&R Alan Khalfin can discuss how bringing fans directly into the music making process through remix promotions can be highly engaging and convert casual fans into loyal fans. He will also comment on how artists can distribute their stems, in addition to their songs, to increase their revenue. A team of panelists can also engage in a lively discussion around the intersection of music, technology and social media and the tools musicians want and need to collaborate with their fans to bring them into the creative process. The panelists could also discuss how crowd-sourced remix promotions can create a musical conversation between an artist and his fans, and can ultimately affect how music is written and experienced.

Topic #2

How to Develop Artist/Fan Connection

It’s no secret that the channels musicians have traditionally relied upon to get their music discovered, promoted and sold are growing irrelevant and as a result, millions of musicians are increasingly on their own, without labels, record stores or radio to help them. The artist’s challenge is now to convert casual fans into loyal fans, and loyal fans into paying customers. Compounding the challenge is the changed fan: modern music fans are acclimated to the read/write web and the social interaction that comes with it, and are looking for the same experience with music. Now, musicians have to engage and involve casual listeners in order to build deep and lasting connections with them, and to convert them to loyal fans.

MixMatchMusic’s CEO Charles Feinn can discuss how creating deep and lasting relationships with fans is the only way for artists to be successful in Music 2.0. He can also comment on ways to achieve the types of meaningful connections that convert casual fans into paying customers, from engage fans through mobile apps, to bringing fans into the creative process through remixing, and developing direct relationships with fans on Twitter.

The community’s votes account for 30% of the panel selection process and voting continues until September 4th so get your vote on and spread the word! We will be eternally grateful! 🙂

Concert Sales Thrive Despite Recession

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It appears that the recession has not affected concert sales. Just look at the Pollstar 2009 mid year business analysis. People will always need the escape and the experience of live music, and tough economic times aren’t going to stop them apparently. Last year “the average box-office gross was up 18 percent and the average attendance up 6.3 percent, according to Billboard magazine” writes John Gerome of CBS News, who also notes that many musicians, promoters, and distributors are offering discounts and promotions of various kinds to help fans be able to afford their shows. Live Nation, for example, sometimes offers a four-pack deal (four tickets for the price of three) in essence rewarding you for bringing your friends.

Perhaps this trend is similar in a sense to alcohol sales. People certainly don’t stop drinking during tough economic times, but they might go out less and instead buy liquor at the store or choose cheaper drinks when they do go out. As far as concert tickets go, strapped fans will still go see their favorite bands. They’ll just buy crappier tickets.

Artists (well… some of them) are still making a ton of money from ticket sales. “Just ask Bruce Springsteen, Brit-pop singer Lily Allen, musical comedy duo the Flight of the Conchords, or indie-rock darling Neko Case, all of whom put on sold-out concerts in Boston in the last month,” says Sarah Rodman of the Boston Globe. In the era of steadily declining album sales, concerts are the life support that musicians continue to cling to.

MC Lars, who still makes royalties off of his older stuff on iTunes told us, “…for the newer stuff — the only way to get heard is to be out on the road as much as possible and playing clubs and all that because really with the recession and with kids knowing about bit torrent… the answer is to be on tour if you wanna make money as a musician – OR to write songs for commercials and not have any desire to be an independent musician!” He is a shining example of the DIY artist who is not afraid to try new things and get creative, especially when it comes to interacting with his fans.

This article in the Sydney Morning Herald presents some similar views from down under. “A lot of acts are putting out records to promote their tours,” says Michael Gudinski, the managing director of Frontier Touring Company. “In the old days you used to tour to promote your record.” Back then touring gave you the exposure needed to sell albums, which equaled revenue. Of course now the internet has forced the music industry onto its knees and slashed record sales. It has, however, graciously opened a new window of opportunity for the concert industry. “With the advent of the internet, which I regard as the radio of the 21st century, the potential concert-going audience in this country, in my opinion, has quadrupled,” says veteran concert promoter Michael Chugg.

As music 2.0 continues to evolve and present us with surprises, fans are increasingly becoming participants in the industry, rather than just passive observers and consumers. Take posse.com, for example, which “is turning fans into ticket agents. A music lover receives a commission each time someone clicks on a link or ad on their social networking page to buy a ticket to a show.” Pretty slick. Fans are becoming savvier, hungrier, and their expectations have changed.

One strategy being utilized by artists and promoters as a result is offering fans access to exclusive content, merch, and other VIP type goodies. Elliot Fox, the Director of Marketing & Promotions for JDub Records (a nonprofit record and event production company focused on new Jewish music, building community, and cross-cultural dialogue), explained that they are combating unfavorable conditions by developing new incentives and marketing strategies in order to reach their existing fan base while also building new ones. “The key to keeping fans loyal while also attracting new ones is being able to offer added value and additional content to users. For example, we can offer a free album download with purchase of a t-shirt or a free label sampler for fans who follow us on twitter. We are also in the process of launching a membership model where fans can pay a yearly subscription fee and will automatically receive our next 4 releases both physically and digitally. We feel that providing fans with a steady flow of new content allows them to feel connected to what the artists and label are trying to do.” Word.

The smart artists are figuring out ways to thrive in the current economic climate. Some attempt to make their live music experience accessible to a broader audience by offering tickets at a variety of price points. Others attempt to convert casual fans – who perhaps listen to, purchase, or illegally download their music but don’t go to concerts – into loyal fans. It’s the loyal fans who are most likely to go enjoy and support their favorite musicians even in tough times. It’s the loyal fans who might skip the family vacation to Hawaii this year but still splurge on a road trip to a music festival or decent seats at that U2 concert. Deep artist/fan connections are critical to success in music 2.0 and in most cases it’s what both the fans and the artists want – which is another reason why remix culture is still gaining momentum.

Another group diving headfirst into the artist/fan lovefest era is John Brown’s Body. Their manager, Seth Herman, pointed out numerous ways JBB is actively making themselves available to fans. “Basically we went right back to the grassroots level- replying to every email, sending everyone who buys merch at our online store a thank you, and giving away free tickets to a show if there is room on the guest list.” When touring they even take it a step further and reach out to local bands who are willing to pre-sell tickets and they’ll sometimes work with promoters to give the local band discounted tickets so they can bring out their friends. As we recently discussed, JBB is also working with The Hector Fund to pay for their international tour through “artistfunding.” The opportunities afforded fans through that particular collaboration are absurdly cool.

As we stumble blindly through the foggy terrain of this new musical frontier, trying bold new things and getting intimate with the music and its creators in totally new ways, at least we can count on one thing: Live music is here to stay.


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