Music business writer types like myself have been mourning the slow decline of the music business itself. Not everyone out there can make a billion bucks with Facebook stock like Bono.
It just seems like there are plenty of smart people running around without a clear plan on how to make money in the wake of digital file sharing. But I came across some innovative ideas online this week that show good old-fashioned Irish ingenuity.
Designed by renowned video director and former 10cc band man Kevin Goldley, WholeWorldBand lets you create music with other musicians and their fans around the world in both sound and pictures.
Godley spoke to Hot Press in Ireland and claims that the unique audio-visual app could be "the savior of the music industry."
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His WholeWorldBand app is set to hit iTunes in March, and a number of Ireland's finest artists descended on Temple Bar in Dublin to provide some content for it. The Edge, Ron Wood (who is in his Kildare mansion so often he might as well be Irish), Gemma Hayes, Hothouse Flowers leader Liam O Maonlai, Mick Pyro and Cathy Davey have signed up to create performances for the app.
"It's bridging the gap between the musician and the listener," says Hayes. "Somebody can now be a part of the song."
Some artists might feel a bit nervous about music fans adding their own music, videos and messages to their pieces, but Hayes doesn’t seem to mind.
"I'm very precious when I'm writing and in the studio, but once the song is out there people can love it, hate it, play it backwards, I don't care! I'd be curious to hear what people do," she says.
Another person who seems to have a leg up on this digital age is Mike Scott of the Waterboys. He is fanning the flames of diehard fans by opening up his studio archives for their consumption.
He just introduced a Mickpuck channel on www.soundcloud.com. On it, there are great nuggets, including a cover of David Bowie’s “Man Who Sold the World,” a cover of the Hank Williams chestnut
“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” demos of “Pan Within” and some wild electronica in a song called “Cor Chuil Aodha,” a choral piece that probably would never see the light of day on an album but is fun to look at nonetheless!
I’m always a sucker for stuff like this. It’s always interesting to me how basic demos of songs morph into finished product because it gives you great insight into creative patterns.
What’s great about the SoundCloud site is that you can “like” the tracks, re-post on your Facebook and Twitter accounts, expose your friends to the great treasure that is the Waterboys, and that will probably result in more new fans coming to the band.
That’s using yer noggin!