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13 December 2010

Rave Magazine, Brisbane's leading street magazine reviews Carmen Townsend's, Waitin' and Seein'

Carmen Townsend’s debut album Waitin’ And Seein’ opens with crunching drums and bracing, distorted guitars...more

Behind those baby-blue eyes rages a wild rocker...

Greg Potter and TV Week Magazine weigh in on Shore Leave by The Town Pants

Local lads lead rowdy, rousing, boozy Celtic folk-rock that calls for reeling and singalongs. Elements of American folk-rock ("Trains Not Taken") open up the genre and disparage fa├žile Pogues comparisons. Performances are visceral, the harmonies are full-throated...making this instantly accessible and thoroughly enjoyable. 4 Stars!

Download this: "The Unlikely Redemption of Oliver Reed"

26 November 2010

Free Music Friday Featuring Carmen Townsend

It’s official! The release date for Carmen Townsend's debut album Waitin’ and Seein’ is January 25, 2011 on Company House/EMI, and in celebration Carmen wants you to have a sweet taste of what's to come and download your free copy of the track Without My Love



Waitin' and Seein' was recorded at Carriage House Studios in Connecticut and Soundpark Studios in Cape Breton where Carmen worked with a heavy-weight team including the amazing mixing engineer Mike Fraser (AC/DC), mastering technician Joao Carvalho, songwriter Jesse Harris (Norah Jones) and producers Warren Bruleigh (Louis Attaque), Gordon Gano (Violent Femmes) and Darren Gallop. All of us are so excited about the project and hope that you all love it as much as we do.

22 November 2010

Carmen Townsend Australian CD Release and Tour

Carmen Townsend’s debut CD, is Waitin’ and Seein’ now available in Australia through ABC/Universal. The record co-produced by Gordon Gano (Violent Femmes) and Warren Bruleigh (Jane’s Addiction) and mixed in true hard rock fashion by Mike Fraser (AC/DC, Aerosmith) has been described as raw, melodic, at times abrasive and heartbreakingly gorgeous and is available in-stores nationwide or online at iTunes Australia.

In support, Carmen will be taking her naturally-crafted rock 'n roll down-under this December and touring with fellow kick-ass rock duo The Fumes.  New dates announced daily...

18 November 2010

Maximum Welcomes Carmen Townsend & Company House Records

Maximum is excited to say that we're now kickin' it with Cape Breton's own guitar-wielding phoenix Carmen Townsend and the cat's over at Company House Records, marketing and promoting Carmen's wickedly cool new single "Start All Over" to Commercial, College and CBC radio from Victoria to Cape Breton and all stops in-between.

Winner of HMV's Next Big Thing coupled with a naturally crafted, rock & roll sound that echoes Bjork, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jeff Buckley and Led Zeppelin, Ms.Townsend and her band have evolved into one of the most promising rock acts in the country. Look & Listen for the single to hit airwaves early 2011 with tour dates to follow.

Company House Records is the award winning indie label and management company distributed by EMI Music Canada and home to acclaimed artists the Tom Waits-esq, Tom Fun Orchestra and indie-rockers Slowcoaster.

02 November 2010

New Town Pants Album Out Today

Maximum Music Group and EMI Music Canada are proud to release Shore Leave the new album from Celtic-roots-rock rebels The Town Pants.

Now in stores across Canada Shore Leave is also available at, iTunes and wherever else you buy your music online.

This Vancouver-based band combines aspects of Irish traditional, acoustic pop, roots Americana, even Australian and Mexican influences, to create their own unique brand of West Coast Celtic. With a decade's worth of headlining roots and folk festivals, to selling out nights at rock venues, Maximum/EMI recording artists The Town Pants own brand of “Celtic roots rock rebel” spans five albums so far, and is backed up with and a legendary live show that’s garnered them fans internationally from Ottawa to Oslo.

The Town Pants features the dual lead vocals of brothers Duane and Dave Keogh on guitar and banjo, respectively, tin whistle virtuoso Aaron Chapman, Ivanka Watkin on fiddle, bassist John Senchuck and drummer Gilles Nadon. Rarely does a band have this combination of passion, energy animation and spirit that all makes for some of the most imaginative songwriting by some seriously talented players that you’ll find in the genre.

With Shore Leave, The Town Pants delivers their best yet, not just standard Celt-rock anthems for drinkers and thinkers, they raise the bar both lyrically and musically on the Celtic rock oeuvre. The Town Pants have never sounded both wilder and more mature.

Shore Leave features guest appearances by Spirit of the West's Geoffrey Kelly, 54-40's David Osborne, acclaimed indie artist Ford Pier and multi-instrumentalist Meghan Engel.

:: Reviews

Sublime harmonies, kind of like a Celtic Everly Brothers ::

You don't need a town crier to tell you the Town Pants are something special. All you need is a dose of their gleeful, energetic live show, a blend of infectious, Celtic-inspired rock that's heavy on tin whistles, fiddle, and banjo with healthy shots of off-the-cuff banter between band mates; but the primary reason Town Pants shine so brightly -- stellar musicianship. This band soars! ::

The average Town Pants concert is an exploding bonzo of fuckdrunken insanity. A group of seriously killer players! :: Georgia Straight

22 October 2010

The New Maximum A&R Drop Box Now Open!

We here at Maximum are always looking for new music to add to our playlists. If you have something you think is kick-ass then stop by our A&R drive-through window and simply drop it off.  Open 24/7!

If we really dig it and think we can help make you rich and famous we may even feature it on our site, blogs and newsletters.

For more information on our A&R policy visit the FYI page.

21 October 2010

American Songwriter Showcases Mikey Wax

The track "Birmingham" by tune-smith Mikey Wax is featured this week on the homepage of American Songwriter Magazine! As we all know American Songwriter Magazine the most prestigious music magazines for the craft of the singer/songwriter!

Hailing from Long Island, NY, singer-songwriter Mikey Wax is influenced by classic artists like the Beatles and U2, including contemporary artists such as Dave Matthews, John Mayer, and David Gray.

With over 1 million plays on MySpace, Mikey has gone on to develop a credible following throughout the US exemplified by his video for "In Case I Go Again" reaching over 420,000 views on YouTube.

"Not since the debut of John Mayer has there been a singer/songwriter that has managed to capture the same excitement as Mikey Wax has with his music in a longtime. With an amazing voice and enduring presence, Mikey has all the magical parts (talents, skills, stage presence, looks, and that amazing voice) to make him a special commodity in the music industry." (

14 October 2010

Florence + the Machine: “Cosmic Love Remix” Free Download

On top of a show stopping performance at the VMA's and a sold out US tour, Florence is giving away a short club remix of Cosmic Love in celebration of her VMA nominations for Best Video of the Year and Best Rock Video (and a couple others).  This is a very cool remix with a big, swirling feel of space and dance!  Download, turn the volume all the way up and enjoy!

Watch the video for “The Dog Days Are Over” that got her the nominations!

13 October 2010

The Mighty One Live and Loud In Vancouver

THE MIGHTY ONE is Live and Loud at the Shark Club, Vancouver, Friday November 5th, 2010!

Featuring insanely memorable, hook laden, melodic modern rock, THE MIGHTY ONE unveils a powerhouse band featuring members of Econoline Crush, Shocore, City of Fire, Yeah Whatever and Crash Electric. 

The single "Reprieved", (produced by Devin Townsend) can be heard across North America on commercial and college rock radio! The official video for "Reprieved" is in regular rotation at Much Loud and Much Music and the self-titled debut has received a staggering 2.5 million plays at

Where: The Shark Club, 180 W Georgia Street, Vancouver
Who: With Six To Midnight and Louder Than Love
When: 9pm Friday, November 5, 2010

Web Links ::

Alchemist Could Be The Poster Child For Ambient Music

ProJect’s latest album, the brainchild of electronic artist Matt Rosen and drummer Mike St-Jean...the forth track By Southwest has a very chilled-out and cloudlike feel to it, whereas their fifth track, Altitude in Motion, provokes underwater imagery. This album could be the poster child for ambient music. Each track flows together seamlessly and softly...a lot of character and is enjoyable as well as relaxing. Well worth a listen.

Web Links ::

06 October 2010

The Town Pants Live In Vancouver - Thurs, Oct 21

It's back and bigger than ever!

99.3 the FOX and Landsea Tours & Adventures presents: Stuff the Bus Concert IV featuring 2009 Vancouver Fox Seeds Winners - Goodbye Beatdown, local legendary Irish Rockers - The Town Pants and the compelling singer/songwriter - David Blair!

All proceeds go to help Vancouver Homeless Transitional Shelters operated by St. James Community Service Society

In the past 3 years 11 buses have been filled with donations! Help us continue to make a huge difference for Vancouver's Homeless in a positive way!

As normal there will be lots of prizes, AMAZING live music, a ton of singing, stomping your feet and plenty of dancing!

Thursday, October 21 at 8:00pm - October 22 at 1:00am and hosted by Kevin Pierce

Doors open at 8PM @ VENUE (881 Granville Street Vancouver BC)

TIX on Sale now at


by phone at 604-255-7272
$20 in advance, $22 at the door

04 October 2010

A cool little streamer from our pals at EMI Music

Now Country 4 returns featuring the biggest hits by today’s hottest country stars including Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker, Johnny Reid, Terri Clark, Dierks Bentley, Uncle Kracker, Kevin Costner & more.

Embed Code
Want to include this widget on your own blog or website?  Grab the code here.

02 October 2010

SPIN's 2010 Austin City Limits Mixtape

Free Album Download! SPIN's Top Tunes of Austin City Limits

October 8-10 brings us Austin City Limits, an annual celebration of music in the Texas capital's gorgeous Zilker Park, attended by some 65,000 fans daily. To get you psyched for the festival (even if you're not going), we've posted a free download album of songs by 10 must-hear bands picked by the editors of SPIN.

SPIN's Lone Star Solid State compilation features tracks from ACL performers like Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, the Gaslight Anthem, Matt & Kim, Beach House, Pete Yorn, and more.

1. Girls, "Lust for Life"
2. The Gaslight Anthem, "The Spirit of Jazz"
3. Lissie, "In Sleep (Live)"
4. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, "40 Day Dream"
5. Pete Yorn, "Rock Crowd"
6. First Aid Kit, "Hard Believer"
7. Bear In Heaven, "Wholehearted Mess"
8. Matt & Kim, "Cameras"
9. Beach House, "Norway"
10. Deadmau5, "A City in Florida"

Download your free copy by clicking "GET IT NOW".

Check out our full ACL preview here.

01 October 2010

Math Rosen, Auto Reverse Vol.1 Free Download

Canadian beat-slinger Math Rosen releases Audio-Reverse, Volume 1. 30 minutes of new original beats, featuring all your favourite rappers.

Remember those Rap Traxx days Neneh Cherry, LL Cool J, Kool Moe D, Mix-a-Lot. I've always wanted to see those Rap Traxx days again. So I'm popping a new tape in the deck. I won't hit rewind... Just push play, and flip that AUTO-REVERSE switch. See where it takes me. - Math Rosen

Rosen is the man behind Liar's Rosebush and most recently can be heard collaborating with composer/drummer Mike St-Jean as part of the acclaimed jazz-electronica group Project. Math fuses bass culture with noise and funk, producing beats that are both infectious and evocative. On stage, his signature live performance style of flailing limbs and fancy fingerwork transforms him into a bouncing hip-hop-electro-dynamo. Math Rosen brings an energy and personality to the game that few can rival.

21 September 2010

The Social Network Sampler Download

On October 1, The Social Network, directed by David Fincher, arrives in theatres. For the uninitiated, this is the hotly-anticipated movie about Facebook. Peter Travers from Rolling Stone said “It’s the movie of the year that also brilliantly defines the decade.” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross composed the score and you can download the five-track sampler of The Social Network at Null Co.

20 September 2010

The Mighty One and Maximum Management Join Forces

Maximum Management is excited to announce that we are now working with the one and only Tim Steinruck...a.k.a The Mighty One.  Produced by acclaimed metal impresario Devin Townsend (Steve Vai, Strapping Young Lad) and producer Scott Ternan (Jets Overhead, Marianas Trench, Sam Roberts) The Mighty One's eponymous debut serves-up insanely memorable wall of sound hook laden rock with a universal theme of awakening.

The first single Reprieved has made impressive inroads at radio on both sides of the border exemplified by the staggering 2.4 million plays at!  The second single Back To You is expected to impact commercial and college radio this September.

Stay tuned for more news from The Mighty One and in the meantime check out the official video for Reprieved below.

Valerie Biggin Management

17 September 2010

Topspin Free Music Friday

Allow us to introduce the groove-sonic instrumental rock of Signal Hill.  Influenced by bands such as: Tristeza, Owen, Cinematic Orchestra and The Bad Plus.  Head over to their site now, where you can download a number of free singles and check out their new album, “Distance.”








10 September 2010

Topspin Free Music Friday

Rad Omen is at it again this week with a FREE download of their full 10-track debut LP,Search Party & Destroy. While you’re picking that up, check out a handful of other freebies, take a minute to admire their awesome website with Topspin integration, and of course don’t miss your favorite fast food chain mascots behaving badly in the Rad Anthem video.









09 September 2010

The High Bar Gang Live

Check out our very own Angela Harris as she performs with the new Bluegrass super-group The High Bar Gang.

The High Bar Gang features some of Canada's finest recording artists, songwriters and musicians, namely Barney Bentall on Guitar and Vocals Shari Ulrich on Fiddle, Mando, Vocals, Angela Harris on Vocals, Wendy Bird on Vocals, Colin Nairne on Guitar and Vocals, Rob Becker on Bass and Vocals and the indomitable Eric Reed on Banjo, Mandolin and Dobro.

26 August 2010

Mike St-Jean in studio with Devin Townsend

Mike St-Jean of Project has just completed recording in Vancouver at the renowned Factory Studio with the acclaimed Devin Townsend.

More ambient than on the heavy side, the new album "Ghost" is the fourth and final album in the series under banner the Devin Townsend Project. The album is expected to be released in the spring of 2011.

Mike has been working with Devin since 2008 and will be joining Devin on the road for his upcoming year-long world tour that will make stops in Europe, UK, US, Australia and of course Canada.

It's Official!

Alchemist the critically acclaimed debut e.p. by Project will be re-released via EMI Music Canada on October 26, 2010.

4.5 out of 5! Think Tortoise, Four Tet, or maybe even Final Fantasy, and you're getting there. But to say ProJect sound a lot like any of these acts, or anything else out there, doesn't quite get to the heart of this compelling and promising collaboration.

20 July 2010

Hope Flock

:: A Beautiful New Video from ProJect

14 July 2010

Catch Rich Hope Live At The Railway Club

"Shake This Joint Around” is the most direct introduction to an album to come since ZZ Top tore through “Thunderbird” on Fandango. The band beats with a pulse as steady as a piledriver, rolling forward like a lone freight across an endless prairie.

"A" | Stuart Derdeyn | The Vancouver Province

06 July 2010

Maximum Jazz Radio :: Vol 2

In light of the recent solid press received for Project and their new album Alchemist we've decided to feature this exciting new release in its entirety. Soothing tunes for the long hot summer days...enjoy!

:: About 
Project is a collaboration between composer and drummer Mike St-Jean and electronic artist and filmographer Math Rosen. Alchemist is a strong and impressive debut full of subtle rhythms, lush arrangements and infectious moments where keys, double bass & drums explore dynamic, tonal and energetic possibilities founded on digital samples & loops.

:: The Critics Speak 
ChartAttack writes... 4.5 out of 5!  Think Tortoise, Four Tet, or maybe even Final Fantasy, and you're getting there. But to say ProJect sound a lot like any of these acts, or anything else out there, doesn't quite get to the heart of this compelling and promising collaboration. more...

Monday Magazine states... Alchemist stands as a solid addition to any musical library that already includes the likes of Cinematic Orchestra, Cobblestone or Tom Middleton. more...

TV Week Magazine says... 4 Stars! Electronica for a universal audience.

:: For more information 
On Project, Mike St. Jean or Math Rosen make sure to visit us at: or iTunes

28 June 2010

CD Review :: ChartAttack 4.5 out of 5

In an age in which personality and packaging are key to so many acts and albums, it's refreshing and rare to come across a disc full of music that's intended to speak for itself. And if the music speaks volumes, as it does on ProJect's Alchemist EP, then so much the better.

Maybe the veterans behind the debut five-track EP were simply confident enough in their musicianship to let it take centre stage. After all, electronic artist/filmographer Matt Rosen has been recording as Liar's Rosebush for nearly a decade, and drummer/composer Mike St-Jean has worked with too many musicians to count in such a small space.

Together, and with the support of an extensive group of session musicians, Rosen and St-Jean have teamed up to create a lush and evocative debut that succeeds on its own terms.

Dressed up with nothing but sparse liner notes and a photograph intended to represent each of the disc's five tracks, the music on Alchemist is virtually free of any context other than its own — but it succeeds in creating whole worlds within that otherwise empty space.

Think Tortoise, Four Tet, or maybe even Final Fantasy, and you're getting there. But to say ProJect sound a lot like any of these acts, or anything else out there, doesn't quite get to the heart of this compelling and promising collaboration.

Reportedly, work on the group's first full-length release is already in progress. If the Alchemist EP is any indication or teaser, then it's going to be well worth a listen.

Links ::
:: iTunes
:: Project

CD Review :: The Worst Thing About This Disc Is That It's To Damn Short

CD Review: Project

Project: Alchemist (Maximum Jazz)

"The latest entry in the admittedly elusive jazz-electronica genre, Project is the Vancouver pairing of composer and drummer Mike St. Jean and electronic artist Math Rosen (Liar’s Rosebush), who together have created a lush soundscape that engages the ear as much as it does relax the mind. While only a five-track EP, Alchemist stands as a solid addition to any musical library that already includes the likes of Cinematic Orchestra, Cobblestone or Tom Middleton. Neither full-on beat-laden electronica nor anything in the traditionally laid-back jazz vein, Alchemist (much like its namesake) is an engaging blend of rich styles, guaranteed to intrigue anyone looking for a mature listen. The worst thing about this disc is that it’s so damn short, but it works great if you put it on repeat."

Links ::
:: Monday Magazine
:: iTunes
:: Project

CD Review :: 4 Stars for Project in TV Week Magazine

4 Out of 5 Stars!  Locally produced electronica for a universal audience. A collaboration between composer/drummer Mike St-Jean and electronic artist/filmmaker Math Rosen, a mini-orchestra of jazz musicians fleshes out the soothing sample-and-loop-laden grooves and dream-inducing keyboards. Stunning photos in the package hint at the outfit’s multimedia performances.” - Greg Potter

Links ::
:: TV Week Magazine
:: iTunes
:: Project

Hope by Project from the album Alchemist

03 May 2010

01 January 2010


Brave new world
Record labels look to diversification as a way to stay viable

Bryan Birtles /

Record companies are built upon a suspect business model that runs rampant in the media business. Instead of each release making a modest profit, record companies—not to mention movie studios, book publishing houses and a myriad of other, similar industries—have long relied on the massive profits of one huge hit to cover the losses of a series of flops.

This model, which endured for decades, finally became untenable in the late-'90s when file-sharing services allowed consumers to get music for free, and cheap and plentiful CD burners allowed people to manufacture their own discs. Services such as the infamous Napster clogged the networks of college dorms and the suburbs, profits declined steeply at major and independent labels, and the music industry faced a brave new world.

At first, the record companies fought back in the courts. A series of high-profile lawsuits were filed by the Recording Industry Association of America on behalf of the rights holders whom the association represents. These suits had the wrong effect: instead of scaring downloaders into submission, they often brought scorn from music fans as the most high profile of them involved the well-funded industry organization attempting to gain restitution from minors, college students and other sympathetic defendants. By late 2008, the RIAA announced it would cease to bring lawsuits against illegal downloaders and instead would attempt to work with Internet Service Providers to stem the tide.

But nothing has yet worked to get record sales back to anywhere near where they were in 1999, just prior to the atomic bomb that Napster and other P2P file-sharing networks dropped on the industry. In the meantime, labels are changing the way they do business, in an effort to keep their heads above water. Massive layoffs at the major labels and the shuttering of smaller ones has been the effect of the rapid changes to the way the industry operates, but these changes raise the question, "What is the state of the modern record label today?"

Diversification has become the buzzword in the music industry as labels attempt to capitalize on the elements of the music business that weren't their province even 10 years ago. The increased proliferation of what are known as "360 deals" in the last decade has changed the way business is done. Instead of an artist employing a different company for his or her music publishing, distribution and management, a single company will now take care of all of those elements, in addition to merchandising and concert promotion—two lucrative elements that are not subject to downloading.
"The physical product has definitely dwindled ... I'd say 50 percent over the past 10 years," explains John Dunham, promotion and marketing at Universal Music Canada. "That said, we're still realizing ways to get the bottom line taken care of through legal downloads, ring tones for phones, ring tunes. We're also branching out into merchandising and doing merch for quite a few of our domestic acts. We have 360 deals with bands like Stereos where we're covering everything from the distribution of CDs to management to booking. Those are all avenues we're taking to hopefully stay above water."
The 360 deal is an endeavour that is gaining steam amongst major labels, and the business model is working both ways, with labels starting management and production arms, and production companies—the highest profile perhaps being Live Nation—creating record labels, but having a holistic structure has long been the province of smaller independent labels like the Toronto-based Six Shooter Records.

Founded as a label by Shauna de Cartier in 2000, Six Shooter got its start as a way to put out records for the Luke Doucet-fronted band Veal—a band managed by de Cartier—which was having trouble finding the right label. Though Veal broke up, Six Shooter's first official release would prove to be Doucet's debut solo album, 2001's Aloha, Manitoba, and Doucet continues to be managed through Six Shooter's management arm. De Cartier sees plenty of advantages for both artist and label to take a holistic approach to an artist's career.

"The pie has shrunk so much in music that in order to be a priority [with a label] you need a company that works with you on a holistic level on your entire career," de Cartier says. "If you have a label that's not your management company they'll give you a push around the time the record comes out and that push might last six weeks or three months but that doesn't last for the full length of an album cycle—it might be two years until you put out another record. When those functions are intertwined, a manager works with you all the time—there's no break, it's just constant. So when you go on your third tour of a record, if your management company and label is the same, chances are that label will support that tour through marketing initiatives, whereas if they were separate companies it would be very rare for a label to support that third tour—or even a second tour."

But the changes that the Internet has wrought can't simply be fixed by labels moving into new areas of the music business—something has to be done to change the fact that sales of recorded music are too low for the industry to properly function. Sales being what they are permeates aspects of the industry that consumers think little about, and those sales have an ongoing effect on the viability of an artist not just in the short term but over the length of their career.

Dunham cites chart positions as one of the things being affected by the function of the Internet in the dissemination of new music. Whereas he used to be the one bringing a hot new single to a radio station, that station may have found the single on the Internet months ago in a leaked version and added it to the playlist immediately—an act that has a catastrophic effects on the way the industry functions.

"If radio station X adds a single from an artist two or three months earlier than we were targeting, it affects the national chart number. What we focus on is getting all the radio stations to add the single at the same time so the chart number goes up steadily, and those chart numbers affect [how] the next single from the artist [does on the charts]," he says, shedding light on the domino effect that bad chart numbers caused by the sporadic addition of a single to radio playlists can have on an album—such as record stores stocking less of it and its sales coming out flat. "If the record comes out and it only charted at a low number, people think it won't sell well."

The idea that getting into the promotional side of the music industry will save labels is also suspect as a long-term strategy as sales dwindle across genres and generations, and artists that haven't been on the road in years are forced back onto it because their back catalogues no longer generate the income they're used to—which has the effect of crowding the marketplace and stretching consumer dollars.
"The live sphere is very competitive; you have all the old people dusting off their rhinestones and getting out there and everybody having to tour," says de Cartier. "People say, 'Oh it's fine to steal music because you can always tour,' but not everybody can tour. People get sick, or they have babies, or they die and then what about their families? Touring is one aspect of making money but it shouldn't be the only one."

Copyright laws in Canada don't currently prohibit file sharing, but a new law on the table has de Cartier hopeful that things will change sooner rather than later—even if, as she notes, the proposed law only prohibits file sharing and doesn't contain any provisions for penalties for misuse of intellectual property.

"I think we're in the dark period of the wild wild west and I don't know how long it's going to take and I don't know if me and all the independent companies like me will be able to survive through this time," she says.

In the meantime, smaller local and regional labels continue to pop up, lured by the lower cost of the means of production afforded by bedroom studios and the increased competitiveness of the manufacturing sector, aided by globalization. These much smaller labels are incredibly successful on their own terms—terms which include doing what they do strictly for the love of music, with no hope of making a living off the music industry.

Founded in the Summer of 2004, Pop Echo Records remains one of Edmonton's best-known boutique labels, home to local artists such as Outdoor Miners, the Whitsundays and Tim Gilbertson. The label focuses on limited-run projects by bands it loves as well as quirky special editions through its newest venture, 99 sevens, a collaboration with music blog Weird Canada which sees an artist release a seven-inch in a limited run of 99 copies, available at one show only.

Label founders Travis Dieterman, Graham Johnson and Jeremy Franchuk started Pop Echo hoping it would resemble Factory Records in terms of its artist-friendly ethos and its success, but quickly found that starting a mega-successful label is not as easy as putting out what they thought was the hottest track on the planet and watching it sell out. Still, explains Dieterman, the label has paid for itself for six years and though the founders all have day jobs, the label provides satisfaction for its owners in addition to its value as a place to hear music not being put out by anyone else.

"We've never taken pay from it in six years. At first that was, of course, the plan, but it just wasn't a feasible thing. We went into it having no idea at all about running a record label. We thought we would put out the records, they'd all sell out and it would be easy money, but that's not so," he laments. "Starting out we thought we could be a national player, compete with Mint and Paper Bag and all those kinds of labels, but we just don't have the resources or the money to compete with that. In the last two years we've really shifted the focus of the label from trying to do big, national releases to just doing smaller, more regionally-focused releases."

That shift has meant that in the last couple of years Pop Echo has done considerably better than when it started out—though the dream of being the next Factory Records is a distant one. Still, for the three founders, the satisfaction of putting out good looking releases by artists they love is enough for them to keep going.

The majors and larger independents don't have the same luxury, however, and diversification remains the best chance for survival—apart from a sea change in both copyright laws and consumer attitudes towards intellectual property. De Cartier's hopes that this is simply a dark period for the music industry, that artists and managers and labels will soon emerge into a new dawn, remain tempered by the near-constant shuttering of labels and record stores, as well as the fact governments move slowly and change won't come tomorrow.

"The Internet is revolutionizing how we live. We're still figuring that out—it's still in its adolescence. I think as a society we will figure it out," she says, but adds, "I'm not holding my breath." V

Warning: Some of These Stats Are Really, Really Scary...

As the music industry stumbles into a totally new place, the number of artists actually selling serious quantities is astonishingly low. At New Music Seminar on Tuesday, Tommy Silverman and Eric Garland rolled through a tirade of stats showing the extreme challenges that marketers and artists. Sure, the album itself is waning, but these stats are still worth examining (Nielsen Soundscan is the data source).

  • Albums that sold at least one copy in 2009: 98,000
  • Albums selling more than 10,000 units in 2009: 1,319
  • Albums selling more than 10,000 units in 2008: 1,515
  • Albums selling more than 250,000 units in 2009: 85
  • Albums selling more than 250,000 units in 2001: 214
  • Albums selling more than 5,000 units in 2009: 2,058
  • Albums selling under than 1,000 units in their first year of release: 92,601
  • Number of albums selling less than 100 copies in 2009: 81,000

The Truth About Management In The New Digital World

Anybody who tells you they've got a grip on today's landscape, that they know everything, what's truly going on, is full of shit. I doubt anybody even knows all the sites name-checked in this video.

But that's the point...It's overwhelming!

Meanwhile you DIY artists out there, never forget most people start these sites with money in mind. They say they want to help the artist, but after they're helped first. Which is why they suck and so often don't get traction. Because the concept is lame. The concept is how can I get rich? Whereas if the concept is about the art, then you truly have got a chance of getting rich.

In the end the truth comes out...

The Music Must Be Good and It's All About One Fan At A Time.

Courtesy of Bob Lefsetz

Taking D2F directly to the fan!

This performance of Atomic Tom was filmed unannounced on Friday October 8, 2010 aboard the New York City B Train, over the Manhattan Bridge into Brooklyn and edited from 3 iPhone cameras. All footage is performed 100% live and executed in one take.

A Few Things To Remember About Record Distribution For The DIY Artist

  • Distributors get records into retail stores and online stores, and record labels get customers into retail stores and to visit online music retailers through promotion and marketing tactics. 
  • Make sure there is a market for your style of music. Prove it to distributors by showing them how many records you have sold through live sales, internet sales, and any other alternative methods.
  • Be prepared to sign a written contract with your distributor because there are no ‘handshake deals’ anymore.
  • Distributors want ‘exclusive’ agreements with the labels they choose to work with. They usually want to represent you exclusively. Exception is online distributors such as, iTunes, CDBaby etc.
  • You will sell your product to a distributor for close to 50% of the retail list price. Online price for a song is set by each online store.
  • When searching for a distributor find out what labels they represent, and talk to some of those labels to find out how well the distributor did getting records into the various types of retailers, both on and off-line.
  • Investigate the distributor’s financial status. Many label have closed down in recent years, and you cannot afford to get attached to a distributor that may not be able to pay its invoices.
  • For traditional distribution find out if the distributor has a sales staff , and how large it is. Then get to know the sales reps. 
  • What commitment will the distributor make to help get your records into stores. Ask them.
  • Is the distributor truly a national distributor, or only a regional distributor with ambitions to be an national distributor. Many large chain stores will only work with national distributors.
  • Expect the distributor to request that you remove any product you have on consignment in stores so that they can be the one to service retailers.
  • Make sure that your distributor has the ability to help you setup various retail promotions such as: coop advertising (where you must be prepared to pay the costs of media ads for select retailers), in-store artist appearances, in-store listening station programs, and furnishing POP’s (point of purchase posters and other graphics).
  • Be aware that as a new label you will have to offer a traditional distributor 100% on returns of your product. 
  • You must bear all the costs of any distribution and retail promotions.
  • Be able to furnish the distributor with hundreds of ‘Distributor One Sheets’ (Attractively designed summary sheets describing your promotion and marketing commitments. Include barcodes, list price, picture of the album cover, and catalog numbers of your product too).
  • Traditional distributors may ask for hundreds of free promotional copies of your release to give to the buyers at the retail stores.
  • Make sure all promotional copies have a hole punched in the barcode, and that they are not shrink-wrapped. This will prevent any unnecessary returns of your product.
  • Create a relationship that is a true partnership between your label and the distributor.
  • Keep the distributor updated on any and all promotion and marketing plans and results, as they develop.
  • Be well financed. Trying to work with distributors without a realistic budget to participate in promotional opportunities would be a big mistake.
  • Your distributor will only be as good as your marketing plans to sell the record. Don’t expect them to do your work for you, remember all they do is get records into the stores.
  • Read the trades, especially Billboard for weekly news on the health of the industry, and/or the status of your distributor.
  • Work your product relentlessly on as many of the Four Fronts as possible…commercial and non commercial airplay, internet airplay and sales campaigns, on and offline publicity ideas, and touring…eternally touring!


Recently, the UK government passed The Digital Economy Act which included many, perhaps draconian, measures to combat online music piracy (including withdrawing broadband access for persistent pirates).

Much was proclaimed about how these new laws would protect musicians and artists revenue and livelihoods.

But how much money do musicians really get paid in this new digital marketplace?

5 Social Media Trends Artists Need To Understand

For musicians, proper marketing and networking using social media can be tough. The possibilities are seemingly endless and as such, musicians are likely to spread themselves too thin. But not all forms of social media will give you the big pay-off. In fact, some methods are a complete waste of time for musicians looking to grow their fanbase, sell more albums, tracks and tickets, and who are ultimately achieve enough success to sustain a viable career within the industry.

It is very important for musicians not to get caught up in the semantics of every new thing, yet is just as crucial to follow and understand the current trends of social media so that their efforts are not in the wrong place. Why is it important to follow the trends? Simply put, the bigger the trend, the more likely it will be that you see quicker and more significant advancements within.

The following are 5 current trends in social media that all musicians NEED to know about. Not every trend will apply to every artist, but not understanding and assessing if they are right for you is a wasted opportunity:

1) Fan-Funding Campaigns:

Finding the funding for an upcoming project can be an extremely difficult process, as more than ever before, labels are only looking to invest in artists and bands with proven high-volume sales records. Tom Silverman, founder of Tommy Boy Records, has stated that the 10,000 units (albums) sold mark is called the 'obscurity line' - upon this achievement, you are no longer seen as an obscure artist within the industry, and it is not until this point that labels will take an interest in you.

This new trend in social media is one that absolutely every musician should take a look into. Fan-funding (or crowdfunding) is the simple concept of empowering the fans to raise money for you- to FUND your project. Typically this is done through an incentive system, in which the artist will set a monetary goal, and has a set amount of time to reach said goal. There are then different levels of rewards that vary based on the amount a fan contributes towards the project.

A fan-funding campaign is an excellent way for emerging musicians to create a grassroots marketing campaign around their next passion project. But be forewarned, this takes both significant amounts of time and effort in preparation and execution. Most fan funding platforms, such as Kickstarter, Pledge Music and Rockethub, require that the entire goal be hit before the artist sees any of the money.

2) Metrics:

The internet has made it easier than ever for artists to make effective, informed decisions about who, when and where to target their audience. But a bunch of analytics/ insights start-up companies have set out to make this process even easier and effective, by giving artists the ability to obtain actionable data about their music and their fans.

Each start up offers a slightly different variation, but the goal is to supply artists with analytical data based on fanbase growth, fan engagement and/ or online music streams across multiple platforms. Many of the services can even track the geolocation of the plays and/or fans helping artists understand where their fanbase is the strongest. Tip: This is HUGE for when you are preparing your first tour. Some of the most popular music analytical services are:

- Band Metrics
- Next Big Sound
- GigsWiz
- Music Metric
- RockDex

3) Social Currency:

Social currency is the evolved idea of giving music away for free. The myth that giving away music for free would garner new fans has been (somewhat) busted, as more often than not, the music will be given away, yet the new 'fans' will never return. The exchange was off-balance.

With social currency, musicians create an even-exchange by 'charging' for their music through an exchange of a track or an album for a tangible return that will increase their reputation and reach, rather than their bank account. The most ideal choice of social currency is to exchange music for an email address (and location if possible -this will come into play next), as it gives artists a direct connection to their fans. Bandcamp does an excellent job of facilitating this exchange for artists.

Other forms of social currency that have recently become popular are tweeting for a download, and a similar idea of a Facebook wall post for a download. Both of these options have the pitfalls of being less beneficial for the artist in a long term sense, and are unfortunately seen by many as just a new form of spam. A few popular tweet-for-a-download services are Tweet For A Track and Pay With A Tweet.

4) Geolocation Marketing:

In the past year, the use of geolocation has become one of the most important advancements in social media. Through services such as Four Square, Gowalla and more recently, Facebook Places, users can 'check in', leaving an update focused on their current location rather than their current activities. While most geolocation based social networks include some form of gaming component, rewarding long-term use and excessive exploration with unlock-able badges and the like, it would be easy to overlook the benefits that these services offer to musicians.

Two of the most popular mailing list services, Fan Bridge and Mail Chimp, have both included a geolocation feature called Geo-Targeting, which allows artists to send out location specific announcements/ updates. In other words, if you have a show in NYC next week, you can send out an announcement of the show or special offer to those on your mailing list who are located within and around the NYC area.

Geolocation marketing also gives artists new opportunities for fan engagement. The idea that an artist or even the fans can now 'check in' when and where they arrived at a specific location creates new possibilities for the artist to engage with the fanbase through competitions (i.e. first 10 people to check in at a specific location gets a free album), scavenger hunts for free tickets, and even unannounced concerts.

5) Streaming Video:

The Youtube craze has been sweeping the emerging music community for quite some time now, but streaming video, through services such as UStream and LiveStream, is a trend that is just starting to explode. There are numerous ways that artists can use real-time streaming to offer additional value for fans, such as streaming live performances for fans who cannot attend, stream jam sessions or intimate acoustic performances from the comfort of their own home, or even engage directly with fans through a real-time question and answer session or even a fan request performance.

By Jonothan Ostrow of Hypebot

The 20 Things You Must Know About Music Online

You’re always hearing that the music business has changed. That’s not quite true. In fact, it’s changing – and that’s quite a different thing.

Facing that change, and negotiating it as it happens, is one of the biggest challenges for independent music businesses. The best way to navigate in such interesting times is to really understand what’s going on around you, so you can adapt and respond appropriately.

You don’t have to be a computer whiz – you just have to understand some basic principles. I reckon there are about 20 of them. If you understand these, and apply their principles, you’re off to a good start in the new media environment.

1. Don’t Believe the Hype:

Sandi Thom, the Arctic Monkeys and Lily Allen are not super famous, rich and successful just because of MySpace, and nor because they miraculously drew a crowd of thousands to their homegrown webcast. PR, traditional media, record labels and money were all involved.

2. Hear / Like / Buy:
It’s the golden rule. People hear music, then they like music, then they buy music. It’s the only order it can happen in. If you try to do it in any other sequence, it just won’t work.

3. Opinion Leaders Rule
We know the importance of radio and press. There are now new opinion leaders who will tell your story with credibility. You need to find out who they are — or better yet, become one of them.

4. Customize:
A tailored solution at best, or at the very least a bespoke kitset approach to your web presence is crucial. An off-the-shelf number will almost guarantee your anonymity.

5. The Long Tail:
Chris Anderson has pretty much proved that the future of retail is selling less of more. Put everything online. Expand your catalogue. You will make more money selling a large number of niche products than you will selling a few hits.

6. Web 2.0:
Forget being a destination — become an environment. Your website is not a brochure — it’s a place where people gather and connect with you and with each other.

7. Connect:
Your website is not a promotional strategy. Learn how to tell a story, and learn how to tell it in an appropriate fashion for web communication. Think about how that could be translated for both new media and mainstream PR outlets.

8. Cross-promote:
Your online stuff is not a replacement for your offline stuff, and nor does it exist independently of it. Figure out how to make the two genuinely intersect.

9. Fewer Clicks:
This is especially true if you want somebody to part with their money. If I have to fill in a form, navigate through three layers of menu and then enter a password, I don’t want your music any more.

10. Professionalism:
If this is your business, you need to be businesslike. Treat your online profile the same way you would treat any of your business communication.

11. The Death of Scarcity:
The economics of the internet is fundamentally different to the economics of the world of shelves and limited stock. You can give away a million copies of your record in order to sell a thousand.

12. Distributed Identity:
From a PR perspective, you are better off scattering yourself right across the internet, than you are staying put in one place. Memberships, profiles, comments, and networks are incredibly helpful.

13. SEO:
You need to understand how Search Engine Optimisation works, and how you can maximise your chances of being found. Be both findable — and searchable.

14. Permission:Your message must be welcome, relevant and personally useful. Letting people choose to engage with you is a far more effective targetting strategy than spamming them.

15. RSS:
Provide it, use it and teach it. RSS is the single most important aspect of your site. Treat it as such - but remember it’s still new for most people. Help your audience come to grips with it.

16. Accessibility:
Not everyone has a fast computer or high speed access. Not everybody has the gift of sight. Make everything you do online accessible. It’s easy to do, it’s important, and it stops you from turning people away at the door.

17. Reward & Incentivise:
Everything is now available all of the time. Give people a reason to consider you as part of their economic engagement with music.

18. Frequency is everything:
Repeat business is one of the most successful commercial strategies in the cultural industries. You want people to come back? Give them something to come back to that they haven’t seen before.

19. Make it viral:
Whatever you do, make it something that people will want to send to other people. Your best marketing is word of mouth, because online, word of mouth is exponentially more powerful.

20. Forget product — sell relationship:
The old model of music business is dominated by the sale of an individual artefact for a set sum of money. The new model is about starting an ongoing economic relationship with a community of fans.

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