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Nations from around the world have been choosing musical outfits and sending them to the biggest music markets abroad in hopes of raising their international profile and generating export sales.

Sweden Attempts to Rock.
In 2002, the Hives, a calculated tailored garage-rock band from Fagersta, Sweden, seized the spotlight. Then came Division of Laura Lee and Sahara Hotnights. Their home country got the credit: “Sweden Rocks,� declared Rolling Stone.

Canada Wants to Rock.
The year 2004 unquestionably belonged to Canada, which bred indie-rock bands like the Arcade Fire, Stars and Broken Social Scene just in time to draw praise from the emerging music blogosphere.

Could the Goverment’s Determine the Next Big Thing?
government trade and culture officials, attend American music festivals, organize junkets for critics and record executives, and arrange coaching and subsidies for their homegrown acts.

In Canada, artists can apply for an array of grants or loans to finance up to 75 percent of recording costs, advertising, marketing or touring expenses. Heather Ostertag, chief executive of Factor, the public-private Canadian agency that oversees music funds, said it controls a budget of roughly $12.4 million. Broken Social Scene and its label, for example, have been offered more than $140,000, she said. The Arcade Fire and Stars were also beneficiaries.

The government recognizes the importance of a cultural spend for a cultural identity,� Ms. Ostertag said. “I think that we struggle as Canadians for our own Canadian identity. American dominance is so prevalent wherever you go.� Part of maintaining the nation’s place on the cultural map, she added, “is happening through identifying ourselves through the success of other Canadians.�

Australia Wants to Rock
In Australia state and federal governments offer a series of programs. The country’s main export program offers to cover up to 50 percent of an act’s costs above the equivalent of $11,600. Over the last year trade officials provided roughly $1.8 million in grants to 80 recipients aimed at exporting their music.

The School of Rock – No Goverment Please.
Samuel Scott, a singer and guitarist in a New Zealand rock band called the Phoenix Foundation, sympathizes. “I think that image, that rock ’n’ roll is a thing of rebellion and that you should be flipping the bird to the government, is prevalent,� he said.

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  • Clear Channel bids due in coming days…
    Bids are due in the coming days for Clear Channel, the largest U.S. radio company.
    Clear Channel, which has about 1,150 stations, said last month in response to reports that it was considering offers to be taken private that it had hired investment bank Goldman Sachs & Co. Clear Channel has been challenged to develop new formats and technology in the face of growing competition from satellite radio, the Internet and personal digital music players.
  • Alternative rock band Ashes of Soma (Canada) will be performing at the Mercury Lounge November 13th. Labels are expected to attend. For more information contact lawyer Dan Friedman.
  • Rock act Of Sound Mind (Kentucky) will be performing at Arlenes Grocery (NYC)November 30th. Check out the track Born to Be which was co-written with producer Brian Howes (Hinder). For more information email
    Scott Frazier or legal Dave Chidekel.
  • Unsigned alternative rock band The October (in the vein of Snow Patrol/ColdPlay) sells out Big Apple in Murray Kentucky at Murray State University.
  • Are you a new artist without signing up for BMI? Sign up now and get paid for your art. Click on the link/banner below.

Advertise On The IndieClick Network - www.indieclick.com

 

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  • KOAR hears that at a hearing on tuesday, the judge ruled in Hawthorne Height’s favor stating that the band could terminate for cause, as such, the lawsuit is not over per victory’s previous press release
  • Sony/BMG Nashville exec Mark Wright will take over as president of Universal South Records, replacing the label’s founders, Tim Dubois and Tony Brown.
  • Microsoft Strikes Deal With UMG.
    Microsoft will pay UMG a fee for every Zune player sold. Microsoft will also pay UMG for thesale of its music. “It’s a major change for the industry,� David Geffen told N.Y. Timesreporter Jeff Leeds, who broke the story. “Each of these devices is used to store unpaid-for material. This way, on top of the material people do pay for, the record companies are getting paid on the devices storing the copied music.�
  • German Music Publishers Demand YouTube Royalties
    A spokesman for GEMA told Germany’s Handelsblatt that the popular video service needs to delete all videos with non-licensed German music, or pay up.
  • Victory Records signs another emo screamo band Driver Side Impact. Read our article the Broken Music Scene.  
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`We have an online music business which is strong,” Hennin said. “The more traditional music business, the distribution business, is suffering.”

  • Google Entering into Radio Market.
    Google is hiring radio sales people and is spending heavily in a bid to expand its position in the $20 billion radio industry. Google is hiring salespeople in most major markets and they’re hiring sales people to sell radio. They’re paying about 50 percent more than a typical radio sales person might make. Google was in talks to buy about $1 billion in radio advertising inventory from Clear Channel
  • Disturbed is #1 on the active rock chart with the Genesis cover “Land of Confusion”. My Chemical Romance “Welcome to the Black Parade” is #1 on the Alternative Rock Chart.
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Back to Square One- The Lack Of IndicatorsBack to Square One – The Lack of Indicators.

Check out KOAR’s article we posted earlier this year regarding ‘indicators.’

As previously discussed, the 2004 to present music game has been mainly about numbers. Especially when dealing with unsigned artists and A&R, in many cases a band’s worth has been measured by their stats, ranging from MySpace friends to page views to an overhyped show and radio translating to record sales. However, as our society becomes more technologically ‘with it’ we find some of the top rated unsigned bands on MySpace are among the worst out there. Anybody can purchase a spamming program. We raised the question sarcastically before, but feel it is time for a serious answer. Today, the A&R is left with little to no indicators. The internet exploded and forget about radio. Without relying on indicators like statistics how is anyone supposed to know if a band is worthy? good? or great?

Anthony Rollo A&R at Universal tells KOAR:

 “It used to be much easier to correlate airplay and retail reaction.  Less and less people are going into record stores, making it much more difficult to guage the marketplace. On the Rock side of things, the Rock radio stations just do not hold the same influence over the consumer that they once did.  Getting a read on an Urban or Pop record is easier than trying to guage the impact of a Modern or Active track. With more indie shops closing everyday, the research resources on the retail side are dwindling.  It’s tough to get a read on a local artist from a Best Buy or Wal-Mart.”

Relying on a bunch of kids to tell you what the public wants has proven fruitless. Buying into hype and fads has proven to not only be a waste of time, but has given labels a black mark with the record buying public. “Listening to the market and trying to see which ones raise their heads� is, again, burning up the precious little resources labels have anymore. Overall, let’s say that outsourcing your opinions is a bad thing.

Good ear: adjective. The natural ability to predict the potential success of a given song or artist. Ability to identify ‘hits.’

Once upon a time, A&R guys were the ones with the good ears. They could hear a band or a song and could predict the success of that act. Today, they fly out to see bands because they have high MySpace numbers. They weren’t buying into the hype, because they didn’t have to. They didn’t have to go to the streets and ask kids who to sign. They were hired specifically to know who should be signed and who shouldn’t. If that’s who labels are going to for advice, why not just cut out the middle man and hire a staff of teenagers? In reality, teenagers don’t know what’s going on other than their ‘small universe.’ Rememer, Teenagers are in highschool learning about George Washington.

We’re aware that it’s slim pickins when it comes to brilliant unsigned music, but there is no reason why any A&R executive should say, “there are more and more records on our release schedule that don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell.� Some of this failure can be attributed to poor marketing strategies, but most can be attributed to the band not deserving to be signed in the first place. Relying on indicators to tell you what is good will always fail you. You’ve got to have the ears.

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