Some six years ago, I wrote: Elmore Magazine is dedicated to saving American music—roots, blues, country and rock, the foundations of America’s musical heritage. Elmore will help readers become more knowledgeable about what music is available, why it is worthwhile, and help enhance the live music experience.
Little has changed about Elmore‘s mission, but the landscape has shifted dramatically, and anyone who cares about music must adjust their footing accordingly, or risk a fall. Recently, Cake hit Number One with the lowest debut number ever, 44,000. Lest we forget, a decade ago, ‘N Sync’s No Strings Attached debuted at 2,416,000*.
Go to any—any—music video on YouTube and check the comments. I guarantee you will find semiliterate viewers saying “Wat crap!!!” about someone else’s opinion, and little of real value. With so much chatter online, we load 16 tons to uncover one small gem. The public needs credible advice from reliable sources, not individual blowhards who need someone to talk to. We don’t just need information, we need informed information.
Over half of Elmore readers go to over a dozen live shows a year and almost a quarter see live music once or twice a week. A third of our readers own over 1,500 albums. They trust Elmore to broaden their knowledge about new and existing music in order to make good decisions about how to spend their time and money. They need good decisions: they’re not sitting at a computer downloading Dollar Store tracks with no liner notes, they’re spending $150 a pop to attend a show, and own the catalogue.
The reality is that although many young musicians are being discovered online, the public accesses music the old-fashioned way, through recordings released by record labels. Unfortunately, artists with many (free) YouTube hits and limited experience persuade labels to let them do their thing. Having played few live performances, artists set out to work the physical world. No wonder ticket sales are down: paying good money for a bad show will smarten a fan up—and fast, especially in this economy. Signed, probably talented and with many MySpace friends but little know-how, twenty-somethings try to run their careers from the get-go, and run it into trouble in this highly competitive world.
The music industry is competitive on every level: venues, labels and distribution outlets jockey for position, often by elbowing the other guy out of the way. I think we would be better off taking a cue from musicians, who, whatever instrument they play, whatever language they speak and wherever they are, manage to jam. This creates something more dynamic than any one of them can produce alone.
This year, Elmore will be jamming, so to speak, with like-minded organizations at trade conferences like ASCAP, Folk Alliance, the Americana Music Association and SXSW, among others. Elmore is proud to announce our most recent partnership with ASCAP and its “I Create Music” EXPO, a national conference dedicated to songwriting and composing. All these conferences offer workshops, business panels and showcases. Our participation will benefit not just us and our partners, but, more importantly, will help working musicians to flourish.
We’re all working toward a common goal…nurturing good musicians who will produce great music. We welcome any other music or musicians organization that shares these values to join us in the fold.
*Source: Nielsen Soundscans