Man, I love pushing your buttons.
Last week’s rant regarding the scarcity of local music at many of our local college and independent radio stations inspired a surprising amount of traffic through my inbox. A few of you — mostly college radio DJs and listeners — expressed gratitude for bringing the issue to light. They echoed WRUV DJ Brad Barratt’s lament that he is frustrated by the dearth of local releases available to him at the station. Others chimed in saying that local stations should be more proactive in acquiring local music. Interesting point, except that ain’t really how it works. Sorry, folks.
But the most interesting response comes to us from local rocker/rabble-rouser CrowfeatheR, who offers what he calls the “musician’s perspective.” He writes that he doesn’t send material to stations such as UVM’s WRUV or WWPV at St. Mike’s because — drum roll, please — “they will never play it.” He goes on to point out that the cost of sending CDs to radio stations outweighs any potential gains you may recoup via the per-spin pittance you’d receive from ASCAP. He was not the only reader to offer this argument.
On that latter point, at least, he’s probably right. The going royalty rate for a single play is somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 cents. Contrast that with whatever the post office is charging these days and … well, you do the math.
To the former point, I guess there’s no accounting for taste. I’m not a DJ, so I can’t speak to whether local college stations would or wouldn’t play CrowfeatheR’s music, or any other artist in particular, for that matter, though my hunch is that they would. In the end, it’s up to individual DJs, which is, of course, the great thing about independent radio.
I can only say most area college stations, and WRUV in particular, have a long tradition of supporting local music by playing it on the air — as do, it should be noted, commercial stations such as 99.9 the Buzz and Champ 101.3 and online outlets such as WBKM.org, among others.
As WWPV’s Tyler Machado — also an occasional 7D contributor — points out, In Memory of Pluto’s self-titled debut EP was in heavy rotation on the station last year, which landed the band on the College Music Journal’s charts for several months. As a result, Machado says he fielded inquiries about the band from a promotional dude working with some fairly notable labels, including one that rhymes with “Pub Sop.” Nothing has materialized for IMOP on that front … yet. But at least they’re on the radar. (Note to Sub Pop et al.: Check out IMOP’s latest, 1994. You can thank me later.)
I guess the point is this: There is no guarantee that sending your music to local stations will lead to airplay. None. But there is one way to be absolutely, 100 percent sure you don’t get played: not sending your music at all.
Dept. of Corrections
Last week’s story, “Know Your (Copy) Rights,” about the apparently ongoing Ghosts of Pasha-Lendway fracas, also drew a surprising number of responses from you folks. Some sided with Lendway. Others with GOP. However, most everyone sided with common sense and called the whole thing pretty silly, including our old pal CrowfeatheR who had this to offer … actually, I can’t print his response. Ahem.
Sadly, the story did contain a factual error. Ira Glass’ show “This American Life” is not, in fact, a National Public Radio show. Though it is heard on NPR, the show is actually produced by Chicago Public Radio and distributed by Public Radio International. CrowfeatheR was unavailable for comment regarding this aspect of the story.
In all seriousness, sorry ’bout that, Ira.
Believe it or not, there are actually loads of pressing items to get to that don’t involve things I wrote last week. I’m as shocked as you are.
Generally, I try to avoid spotlighting a band and then covering them in my column in the same issue. In fact, there are really only two occasions in which I would do so. One, if it’s a slow week. Like, mid-February slow. And two, if the band is exceptionally, mind-bogglingly good, as is the case with Brazilian psych-pop outfit MoMo. Click here for a description of the band. And then do your darndest to make it to one of their three dates this week. Please.
In other news, should you happen to tune in to CNN or any other Turner Broadcasting station in the near future, you might hear a familiar voice in the commercials for the company’s forthcoming iPhone app. Through his recent connection with Matchless Music, Aaron Flinn has been tabbed by Ted Turner’s media empire to provide the music for the new ads, which will feature Flinn’s signature croon and ukulele strummin’ on the song “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” — get it? No word on whether Flinn will replace Bon Jovi in those godawful TBS MLB playoffs spots. But we can hope.
Tammy Fletcher makes a rare Champlain Valley appearance with her excellent bluegrass outfit Mountain Girl this Friday at the Monkey House. And she’s bringin’ some central VT friends with her, the always excellent Abby Jenne & the Enablers, as well as Bozeman-based jazz outfit Tumbledown House. In other Mountain Girl news, they’ll be sporting a new member, veteran area bassist Mark Ransom (Chrome Cowboys, Barbacoa).
Speaking of central Vermont, I feel like I’ve been slightly remiss lately in spreading some love in that direction. My bad. So, if you miss killer Brooklyn-based indie-folk ensemble La Strada at the Monkey House on Thursday, head down the road to Montpelier’s Black Door Bar and Bistro on Saturday. Who knows, they might even play “Loved You All Along,” which was just picked up by the HBO series “Bored to Death,” starring Jason Schwartzman.
Jumping off the beaten path, there are at least two First Friday Art Walk events in Burlington this weekend that also feature some excellent local bands. First up, Speaking Volumes is hosting an opening for Middlebury painter Phoebe Stone, who will unveil a whopping 20 new works. Local songstress Anna Pardenik provides the tunes. The same evening, rockers Swale and Rough Francis throw down at JDK Design in celebration of a new exhibit from skateboard artist Tobin Yelland. And yes, the basement skate ramp will be open.
Last but not least, I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who made last week’s Burlington Bands 101 showcase at Nectar’s and Club Metronome such a success. The turnout was solid and we raised a pretty good chunk of change for our old pals, the Radiator. Heck, I even learned a few things.
One, wear earplugs whenever you see Amadis. Period.
Two, even though I’m not very good at it, emceeing is kind of fun.
Three, BURNTmd is better than you might think. Too bad he’s no longer playing at Nectar’s this Saturday with Squash the Beef.
And five, that folks will show up, even on a rainy Wednesday, to support good local music. For that, you have my deepest thanks.