Sunday, May 17, 2015

Tips for emerging artists

In the early days of the Blues Diary I used to accent any career development tips in red but I think the coloured type has been lost in the numerous transitions and conversions.  So now I'm going to start again with this post and label it "Tips for Musicians"

- "Nowadays, great is not good enough" (overheard at Canadian Music Week)

- When you follow up about a gig request, try to include a "highlight," some recent achievement

- Bookers will look at your gig listings and you should also display a list of past gigs on your website

- Try to get established artists & influencers to put in a good word for you (this will only work if they believe in you)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Thinking of B.B.

Tributes to B.B. King were all over the TV yesterday and tonight I'm listening to Holger Petersen doing a one-hour special on BB which includes a long interview with him on his 80th birthday. Holger asks why he keeps playing and B responds that he doesn't really need the money anymore but many of the members of his band are "not as well fixed" so he keeps everybody working, and isn't like a blues musician - if his fortunes rise and his fee goes up, then he just would hire another player rather than pocket the difference.  I just read somewhere that BB's estate was estimated at 5 million dollars.  There's pop stars out there who's net worth is closer to 5 BILLION!

I spent a lot of yesterday listening to BB on the YouTube and was also pointed to a great BBC documentary which I watched:

And now we've commissioned Richard Flohil to write an Obit and I'm looking for a great pic of BB for the cover of MapleBlues

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Here come the music festivals

Canadian Music Week is more than a festival - it's a bunch of conferences bundled together and the musician-oriented component starts tomorrow.  Actually there's been some music events all week, some of which I would have loved toss but when I went to pick up my badge this afternoon, I was too early.  You gotta wonder why the artist badge desk and the media badge desk were open for business but the conference badge desk was not open till 4.

This blog post is gonna be another big whine - I should be grateful they gave me a damn pass, but I can't help but point out some deficiencies.  I'm not inflicting anyone with my opinions - this is on myt blog where only people who came looking will hear my rant.

To start with, I just got my "welcome to CMW" email at 9:30 tonight.  Then I go the the website to see what I'm going to take in.  Not real intuitive.  I'm finding it hard to find a schedule and when I do, it's not very friendly.  When you bring a list of venues, you should be able to see who's playing at each venue with a click.

At this point, I decided to try the app hoping it might be a little more friendly.  First I try to download it on my iPhone and I get a message saying I need IOS 7 (and I'm still on 6).  It offers me the option to download the previous version but I should have known better, because it just downloaded last year's app (with last year's schedule...).

So then I pull out the iPad and download the proper version, but alas it doesn't really offer me any more features  I was going to check a few shows and see if the web and app were totally integrated or if some poor sucker had to re-enter all the information twice

When I finally get the app downloaded, I see that it does not search by genre (like the website). That's a bummer. I was trying to discover what artists might appeal to me.  Searching by "genre" is the holy grail of festival websites and apps (and it's the next frontier in event calendars..."if you like that, then you'll like this")  Even though the CMW artist description included genre labels, there was no way to pull up all the artists who were tagged with a specific genre on the app.  Oh well,

I'm really just ragging on myself here, because we weren't even able to achieve it on the jazz festival site.  It's not something that can be automated, and anyway we are just giving our opinion of the "genre".  I think with CMW, they actually ask the artists to put some genre(s).  Of course, half the rock bands include "Blues"...

So things I would have seen tonight if I had got my badge:
1) Xavier Rudd was at the Opera House, in my end of town
2) Richard Flohil had a showcase at the Painted Lady with some great talent from Quebec
3) Jane Bunnett kicked off 4 nights at the Jazz Bistro - Just last night I had asked Jane's husband, Larry Kramer about putting me on "the list" (which is unlikely considering he was calling me to point out that I had not included them in the list of JUNO winners that we published in Crescendo. Argh! "You always hurt the ones you love"