Saturday, 9 March 2013



Which direction should we the unsigned artists take with the so many genres on publishing platforms such as youtube, artsistserver, soundcloud, soundclick, sellaband in our hands?

The benefit as we all know of being signed to a record label is that the fat-cats are marketing experts in communicating the best image for their artists. And with image comes the genre the artist has to fit into.

The pitfalls of this is the control the label puts on the artist to fit within the defined sound and image, which restrains creative control as we saw with both George Michael (I think) and Prince in the early nineties.  The situation with Prince probably started the domino effect that lead to his artist name change.  

So what do we do? The answer instant creation technology has given us is to remix, mash-up or use presets to mimic the established sounds of as many genres at our finger tips.  Using presets from multiple genres I think is a brave thing if the purpose is to find one’s identity, subconscious creativity and establish ones ambition. But it could also be used as a way of just reinforcing the status-quo by trend hopping within these sites to be part of the genre that has the most downloads, chart hits, and attention just as well.

The answer I think is definitely, definitely not pirate remixing or audio-visual mash-ups as the novelty wears off, it's attention-seeking aint sustaining, and currently we aren't on the stage where Wutang and Texas once were at some awards show in 1998.


Here are some examples of genres evolving in the 90’s 00’s:

Hip-hop /raga/reggae --> jungle/hardcore/drumand bass/breakbeat --> hardstep/techstep/ liquid funk-step

Rap/Rock/grunge --> Numetal (sorry I could just say the entire Mortal Kombat Film Soundtrack as an example of evolving genres as it used Techno, Goth-metal, rap, and Industrial to an undefinable great effect and probably inspired Marylin Manson eleven years later when he evolved to full-blown Beck-style rap in his 2006 album).


So what do we do as artists to create a new sound and genre movement that we can define and develop in?  Souncloud is trying to encourage this kind of creativity by incorporating a clever kind of editing function called ‘sets’.  Sets is like when your Cubase or whichever computer sequencer you use chops up the wave from one section of a song and patches it up to as many tracks as you wish even with no dj skills.  The possibility this can bring is limited to the feedback the artist whose work is being used in a set gives, or acts on. Which is where things start getting interactive.

Ultimately what I think we need are brave artists that use the advantages of having so many genres to upload their  musical output,  get reviews and encouragement on to go to the next level.

There are two ways I think this can be achieved.


A brave or ambitious unsigned artist is so talented that they manage to get into the charts of multiple genres even though they already have their own genre preference.  The challenge for this sort of artist is to try and test themselves by duplicating the same amount of download and chart hits on another online musical publisher to see if they have this formula and then if so I don’t see why they can’t go far and find something within the genres they have played with to create an  individual but fresh sound that could kick start a movement.


Use the Reverbnation model of placing event listings and actually meet up where you can with artists that intrigue you, or are incorporating sounds from another genre you aren’t too sure about better than you, or you like their image, their samples etc. On meeting up and talking about studio time, cover art, influences, ideas on the industry etc why can’t an unofficial label be formed if not that at least a commitment to perform publicly? Afterall isn’t that how Sex Pistols set punk on fire, by performing publicly? And isn't that what Amanda Blank, Spank Rock, Diplo, Benny Blanco, Santigold and M.I.A did with their take on Baile Funk, hip-hop, rap, mash-up beats collective? Or the Seattle bands did with Grunge?

I think IM’s and online contact can only take one so far, actualisation and physical presence of the like minded is a logical extension. But only if there is interest. And if they grow perhaps that is where a scene can emerge.

But how do we achieve that? At the moment we may even have some scenes within scenes waiting to be tapped into. 

In the spirit of the label disputes that both Prince (before he resigned in 2004), and George Michael went through for the sake of creativity I'll sign this off with a quote from Kanye West's latest (and greatest) rant in LDN (or how else r we spose' to kno he's in town):

"Creativity fuels everything. I hate business people. People get at me and say, ‘What kind of business can it do? What type of business are you doing? What’s the numbers? How much did you sell? What’s the radio spins? How much shampoo can you sell with yo face on it and shit?’ (Sings) Remind me again why we in this shit? Remind me again why we in this shit? It’s gotta be more than just to get rich. Since when was making music about getting rich? Since when was making art about getting rich? And I know it’s easy for me to say this. And having money’s not everything. And having it is."

Rae Burnz

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