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Get On The Orchard Psych Bus

The Black Angels' "Phosphene Dream"

Don’t stare or it will blow your mind…

While we pride ourselves on the diversity of musical content we distribute here at The Orchard (as we do indeed do it all), there are some genres that continue to rear their heads and shoulders above the pack and span the demographics of our customer base. The one I’d like to cover today is Psych-Rock.

Your grandparents probably listened to the original bands and their hits (The Strawberry Alarm Clock’s “Incense And Peppermints” and The Electric Prunes “I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night”) and our friend Lenny Kaye (later to be Patti Smith’s guitarist) compiled the first Nuggets compilation records of this genre in the early ‘70’s (the third track on Nuggets Vol. 1 is “Night Time” by The Strangeloves (featuring The Orchard’s own Richard Gottehrer).

Since the late 70’s, Psych-Rock has come back again and again, and The Orchard really joined the fun when Richard and Seymour Stein revived their Blue Horizon imprint in 2010 and chose The Black Angels Phosphene Dream as its first release. This perfectly written, performed and produced album of Psych-Rock-Pop crossed over in a big way (#50 debut on the Billboard Top 200) and helped pave the way for other labels like Sonic Unyon and Tee Pee Records to flex their Psych-muscles. SU’s Ringo Deathstarr, for example, have released 4 titles in 2 years (including their latest, Mauve on special……….wait for it……….mauve vinyl); sales are brisk and steady and their vinyl always sells through quickly.

In December, look for releases from our newest Psych-leaning label, The Reverberation Appreciation Society, including the DVD/download of Austin Psych Fest 2012, the 5th annual event of it’s kind. While the content is not confirmed at press time, the performers at this year’s Fest included The Black Angels, The Black Lips, The Brian Jonestown Massacre and Dead Meadow (who are really more Stoner Rock, but that’s another story for another day…).

Smartphones Turned Strobe Lights… Who’s In?

September 20, 2012 Industry Trends No Comments

Dan Deacon AppWith the number concerts and festivals rapidly increasing each year, artists need to look for exciting ways to make audiences feel more engaged in the experience. Well, fans of the musician Dan Deacon are in for a treat. The Official Dan Deacon app allows concert-goers to create a syncopated lightshow while enjoying the concert. Coldplay recently implemented a similar technology using LED wristbands (check out the video here — it’s incredible). Deacon’s app however requires nothing more than use of your smartphone.

The free app developed by Wham City Apps, does not require Wi-Fi or a data connection. Instead, phones sync with audio from the performance, making it possible for Deacon to communicate and control phones from the stage. When in use, the app turns phone screens into a light show, speakers into an instrument and L.E.D.s into a strobe. This is another great example of mobile mobility, and from what we can predict, we’re only seeing the beginning in a new wave of audience participation.

Check out the trailer for the app below:

How to Make the Most of YouTube: Think Inside The Box

September 13, 2012 Industry Trends, YouTube No Comments

YouTubeThere have been a lot of conversations about how to use YouTube to earn money but I want to discuss how to use YouTube as a part of a social media strategy; specifically, how to best take advantage of the description box below videos. Let’s start with this: YouTube is the place people go to discover music. It is often the first stop on the customer journey. It is the #2 search engine after Google and the #1 search engine for music. So what should you do with this information?

Let’s look at a basic customer journey that starts with interest, leads to becoming a fan and ends with a paying customer. People discover music on YouTube. They hear about an artist and search for them on YouTube. It doesn’t matter if it is a new artist or a new video. It is new to the person searching. So what do you want to say to them? They just discovered you.

This is where the box comes into play. You know there is a text box under every video. How you fill that box with information is critical. This is your first direct contact with a potential fan. Do you leave the box empty? Do you fill it with the name of the video director? The copyright information? Label name? Sadly this is the common use.

Instead this could be a welcome message. A little info about the artist, links to social networks, websites or other videos. Or what about lyrics? Or links to tour dates? If an artist is active, shouldn’t they update every video regardless of how old it is with current tour dates? Shouldn’t all the older videos also mention newer videos or new albums? In fact, updating that box should be at a minimum a weekly function. If you are not updating the box you are essentially ignoring all the potential fans. If you were a retail store it would be like ignoring every person that walked into the shop — and not even displaying any of the new merchandise.

The key is to message appropriately. A new potential fan should get information that assumes they don’t know anything about the artist. That is how you should use the box. A person that has been converted to a fan that follows an artist on Facebook or Twitter gets different information. And the most engaged fan that has given an email address and might purchase directly gets yet another level of information.

So don’t just think outside the box. Work inside it.

There Can Only Be One Master… and It’s Not Bruce Willis

September 6, 2012 Industry Trends No Comments

Bruce Willis vs. AppleThe illusion of digital ownership may (or may not — it’s been debated) have been unwittingly shattered by an outraged Bruce Willis facing his own mortality.

Indeed, there are moments in any struggle when all hope flags. When recourse to any sanctity in human decency has failed. A man’s viable choices left reduced and reduced, until finally “The abyss stares back into you.” Fully then we commit ourselves to passive despair.

This obstructive control is, of course, a reference to iTunes and their inheritance policy. Long nights I have wept against the truth that my children will not inherit my extensive .m4a catalogue. Long nights I have wept for my progeny, damned to the futile task of re-buying Blonde on Blonde.

In these moments I understand my legacy flawed.

There are some despairs from which a man can pull himself free, and some men are more adept at this than others. As Max Weber states, some men can possess “[a] certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which [they are] set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities. These are such as are not accessible to the ordinary person, … the individual concerned is treated as a leader.”

Such an individual can galvanize the masses through passionate oratory and mobilize people into action for their cause. Thank you John McClane.

The force of social change has awakened. I sat this morning beneath a new dawn, between a pillar of fire and a pillar of cloud, and I heard as it were the noise of thunder and I looked, and beheld: THIS.

Perhaps I am getting a little carried away… So let us move on.

By the time I die, (I hope) Apple’s inheritance policy will be of little consequence. By then, we will be listening to music through the microscopic chip implanted in our brains, streaming on a 7G wireless network. Speeds will be so great that even the notion of ‘streaming’ will be forgotten, and the concept of ownership of digital content will be nothing but a brief, naïve moment in history.

Songza… A Music Mood Ring for Every Occasion

September 5, 2012 Industry Trends No Comments

Songza LogoAs a new Android owner, I quickly discovered a new music application called Songza that seemed to stand out. Songza is a free music streaming and recommendation service that first launched in 2007. What makes this app unique is its “concierge” feature,  i.e. the music it recommends depending on your mood (sleepy, party, concentrating, wake up, etc.) and activities during the day (commuting, working out, in the office, etc).

Songza not only has a collection of genres, artists and songs like other music apps but it also offers playlists based on era, interests and themes such as “Fashion Week,” “80’s New Wave Party” or “Songs Featured in Apple Commercials…” Cool, right?

So cool that Songza is now one of the most popular music apps our there. It saw over 1.15 million downloads in 2012 with an increase of up to 112,000 daily active users. Ever since the app launched last June, it has been listed among the Top Free Apps on iTunes for the iPad as well as the iPhone, and it’s not stopping at that. Songza plans to integrate deeper with Facebook users as well as offer compatibility with other wireless players and streaming devices.

I personally like the wide variety of music Songza offers while still being very specific with playlists. I can pick and choose the songs I likes but also the style/mood I’m in at a specific point in time. Maybe I’m “brooding,” “angsty,” or “visceral” or I’m doing a particular kind of activity, like a “shopping at a vintage store,” “reading in a coffee shop” and of course, hosting an “ultimate retro party.”

Go try it out! You can download the app in your app store or visit their website to find out what they’re cooking for how you feel right now!

About The Orchard

The Orchard is a pioneering music, video and film distribution company and top-ranked Multi Channel Network operating in more than 25 global markets. Founded in 1997, we empower businesses and creators in the entertainment industry.

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