Thursday, April 30, 2009


I decided to combine my two blogs Straight From The Vault and Center of The Indie Label Universe into one blog (makes sense) and move it to Wordpress. You can follow it here:

And my updates on Indie label news et al on twitter here

Amazon Link

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

HIstory of Sub Pop

A clip from the documentary "Hype" about the beginning of Sub Pop - primarily how they 'branded' the label so that people trusted their taste and releases.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Free Music Archive

A great new site that is curated by some of the pickier folks out there that offers free downloads under a Creative Commons License opened this week and I have been on it all day. It is nice to not have to wade though endless half talents to find something good, here you have people with an incredible ear for music recommending artists that they view as highly talented.

Check it out and you'll be hooked listening to and owning some great new music:

Free Music Archive

Friday, April 10, 2009

Trent Reznor for President of the Record Industry

The funny thing, is that I am not a Nine Inch Nails fan. Seen them in concert twice, enjoyed it, but don't own any of their CDs, though I am strting to listen more, so that might change (he strategy seems to be working).

Anyway, a very interesting Digg interview with him mostly on his ideas for the new era of music delivery, promotion and our industry that I find myself agreeing with and happy that that is how I have been teaching marketing of music and the music industry classes this semester. So enjoy!

Having a hard time cutting and pasting the embed code, so here is the link.

Charlie Dahan

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Building A Record Label Around Ideals

In Wednesday's Indie Label's class we were discussing basic business plan elements and I got onto my soapbox about how a record company should stand for something more, needs to, no has to, stand for more than just exploiting masters. A lot of today's label's do.

They call it 'branding' but even in these crazy time an indie label can / should aim to build loyalty with their buyers. All these articles and books are aimed at how a musician can build a fan base (they only need 1,000 True Fans, Permission Marketing and so on (will post those later), but all those rules apply to labels. Build loyalty with the consumer, they will trust the label's taste and choice and give each artist a listen / a chance.

And then stand for something, be known as the label that puts out great music and supports cleaning up the environment, talking to their consumers (great customer service), etc.

I ran across this presentation and article from Umair Haque about how / why businesses with positive ideals are / will be successful in the future. I have a small issue with some of the examples he gives, he acknowledges some of the shortfalls of the example of Nike, Walmart, etc but then shrugs it off, but the concepts are on target

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Center of the Indie Label Universe Blog

I am proud and excited to share with you the research of the students of the
Indie Labels class.

Their assignment was to research the history of a current indie label for a
group presentation of their choosing (with some prodding / advice from me).
In addition, they were to assess the business practices of these labels to
see what they do that made / makes them successful in these rapidly changing
but interesting and exciting time.

Rather than being the only one to see their excellent work, they were asked
to create a blog post complete with their research, photos, links and
embedded music and video from the artists on that label. The site is called
Center of The Indie Label Universe.

I plan to add content to the site every few days and welcome any of your our
your students work to increase the sites profile. I also added multiple
links to our program so those surfing onto the site can find out where
students do such interesting and dynamic research.

Labels that are currently on the blog are:

Stones Throw
Def Jam

If you see / know the students who did the research - let them know you read
their post and what you thought.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dala "Levi Blues"

I am very excited about our new client at The Roots Agency, Dala. We met and signed them at this years Folk Alliance.

I just got a copy of their upcoming release and I just love it - one track, "Levi Blues," is just one of the best songs I have heard in years - catchy, engaging, and if Levi's doesn't attempt to license it, they are crazy.

While I can't share the recording with you just yet, here is a performance of the song form Massey Hall.

Michael Masnick Digital Summit Presentation

Michael Masnick had an extra ten minutes to his MIDEMnet presentation and provided other examples of artists who are doing it on their own, connecting with fans and making money, who I also have been lecturing about in my Marketing and Indie Labels classes:

Corey Smith
Jill Sobule
Josh Freese (My PowerPoint Presentation)
Jonathan Coulton

I would like to add Derek Webb to that list.

Trent Reznor also took a MAJOR stand on touring / ticketing - (My PowerPoint Presentation - Reznor post is at the end of my recent Ticket Master / Live Nation merger lecture) - here is the post

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

John Mellencamp

I became a Springsteen fan just recently and am starting to find the same appreciation for John Mellencamp (though he will always be John Cougar to me). His recent article in the Huffington Post certainly helped me in my respect for him, though I don't agree entirely with his opinions:

State Of The Music Business by John Mellencamp

John Mellencamp

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's Always Been This Way

The following is a phone call Buddy Holly made to Paul Cohen, the head of Decca Records, about his being dropped and them enforcing the 5 year non-rerecord policy. Holly would go on to record for Brunswick and Coral. One of the songs was "That'll Be The Day." Holly brilliantly did it under the name The Crickets as a way to bypass the 5 year non-rerecord restriction - though when it was a hit - it helped that Brunswick and Coral were subsidiaries of Decca to help him not get sued.

Buddy Holly's phone call

Thursday, February 12, 2009

CwF + RtB = $$$

My favorite in the round performances are when artists perform the song they wish they wrote. Well, as a teacher, the following link is the lecture I wish I gave. Michael Masnick presented the Trent Reznor business model at MIDEM and in 15 minute laid out how simple the music industry's new era can / will / does work. In one of my classes as I played it, I could see i impacting my students. They have got to be sick of hearing how doomed the industry is and here finally is hope for the future - hope for a future.

Masnick's Reznor Case Study