The Subways were kind enough to chronicle their North American tour for us, and we’ll be running their tour diary in several installments this week. Billy Lunn will be our guide, and as he writes, “Because so much usually ends up happening on our tours, we thought that this time round, whilst we’re on our exciting US/Canada tour, I’d keep a diary of all our happenings.
As well as being a nice little insight for you guys into our daily lives, it’s also a nice way for me to recap and relive the days as they happen!
Check out entries for Days 6-10 below.
Early start today for a Converse live session, but it was a great excuse to get in a cab and see the sights of beautiful Boston. The wealth of redbrick buildings reminded us of the redbrick of Manchester in our own U.K., which adds a natural autumnal look to the city, and this wonderful quality was compounded by the blue skies and soft, orange sunlight! On our way we passed Harvard Business School on our right, and I wanted to take a detour over the bridge to Harvard Square in Cambridge so I could get a nice feel of what it’s like there. All of a sudden I felt pangs of wanting to study a postgraduate at a Boston uni after I finish my BA at Cambridge—assuming I graduate, of course! Haha! We didn’t take the detour; we like to be punctual!
You are about to learn the five critical elements that have fueled the success of all great musicians’ careers. Until you possess these key elements for yourself, it will be nearly impossible for you to reach your musical dreams and build a successful career in the music business.
Read below to discover these five key elements and take action on the information you learn:
Music Career Success Key #1 – Don’t Set Realistic Goals
All of the most well-known and successful musicians did not achieve their goals by thinking realistically about what seemed possible. On the contrary, they focused their mind like a laser ONLY on what they truly wanted. When you make your goals in line with the things you want most, you will be much more motivated to actually achieve them. More on this in a moment…
Think about this – out of the following choices, which choice would inspire you to put all your time and energy into growing a music career?:
Making a recording of a demo with a band and possibly playing a few shows around town.
Writing chart topping songs for a killer band, then promoting your music by going on a massive world tour – playing to stadiums full of fans, earning tons of money from music sales alone and never working a regular job ever again.
Even if your goals in the music business are entirely unrelated to releasing music, the point still applies: don’t let yourself accept anything less than what you truly want in your music career, just for the sake of being realistic. Life is too precious to live it by not doing the things you really desire. When you set goals for yourself that do not inspire you, it is nearly guaranteed that you will NEVER achieve the things you truly desire in music.
All the biggest rock stars are people just like you. They began small – whether it was broke without any idea how they’d make it in music, lacking in musical talent or not having a band to play with… Just imagine where they would be now, if they would have told themselves that their music career dreams were unrealistic or didn’t seem possible. Well, of course they didn’t… they followed their dreams and went on to achieve them!
You must do what they did. Start building your music career by focusing on what you WANT, not what seems possible.
Music Career Success Key #2 – Manifest Your Musical Dreams Into Reality Before They Actually Are Reality
Musicians who never achieve anything significant in this industry, build paths to their goals by starting from where they are in the present moment.
On the other hand, musicians who achieve great success do something completely different. They plan their music career by beginning from the end point of achieving their goals, and work backwards to the present day. They imagine themselves having already accomplished their major goals, then build their lives around this vision. This is a much more effective way of accurately determining the actions required for putting together your music career.
Music Career Success Key #3 – Start Living Or Start Dying
The two keys I mentioned above are critical for building a successful music career. With this in mind, you need more than just goals and a plan of action to realize your musical dreams. You have to take action each and every day to bring yourself closer to your goals. You might think this is common knowledge, but you would be shocked at how many musicians give up on their musical dreams simply due to lack of effort (in terms of taking physical action).
Visualize this scenario (I use this as inspiration for the professional musicians whom I mentor): You’ve just found out about a disease you contracted that requires major surgery. If you don’t get this surgery, you are guaranteed to die in no more than half a year. To make matters worse, the surgery is extremely expensive and cannot be covered by your insurance company (also you can’t borrow money to pay for it). So you have a decision to make: You can allow yourself to die, OR you can take whatever action is necessary to get the money needed for the surgery.
Certainly this example is extreme, but it is a perfect illustration of the kind of mindset you need to have in order to build a successful music career. Making big moves (by taking action) in your music career is completely different than sitting around waiting for things to happen for you (allowing yourself to ‘die’).
With this in mind, hard work/consistent action does not necessarily equal music career success, when you don’t know exactly what you should be doing to reach your goals.
Music Career Success Key #4 – Have MASSIVE Reasons For Achieving Your Musical Goals
No matter what you do, something will always go wrong in your music career plans. Whenever you are faced with unexpected events in your music career, this is the time when your commitment will be put to the test. For instance, here are some challenging situations you could face:
Working at a day job you hate while regretting the fact that you never developed a music career backup plan to help you make a living doing what you love.
Playing at crappy bars all the time with your band because you don’t know how to move to bigger venues.
Trying to record an album, but doing so at an extremely slow and frustrating pace because you never practiced developing your recording skills.
Working with unmotivated band members who are bringing you (and the entire band) down.
Not understanding how to attract more music fans to listen to the music you worked so hard to create.
Here is what you need to do in order to maintain your commitment and dedication to achieving your music career goals:
Take out the piece of paper you have that contains the list of your written goals (that you put together in key #1 above). Then beside each one write down the big REASONS you have for pursuing them. For every musical goal you have, answer this question: «Why do I want to achieve this?» Spend a lot of time thinking about this for each goal before you write down your response, and look over your goals/reasons two times every day.
When you do this, you’ll develop the ability to maintain motivation and stay focused on the major reasons you have for reaching your goals. This will help you move forward in the difficult times when your dedication is put to the test.
Music Career Success Key #5 – Don’t Try To Build Your Music Career Blindfolded
Once you are in possession of all 4 keys mentioned above, it’s still possible that your music career will go nowhere. This occurs when you lack certainty about what to do to achieve success, are (unknowingly) sabotaging yourself or lack effective strategies to help you reach your musical goals. The last key required for building your successful career in the music industry is to train with a mentor who has experience helping musicians take their careers to the highest level.
A truly effective mentor will not simply tell you what you need to be doing in order to succeed in the music business. He will help you utilize all of the strengths you built while developing the first four keys and will keep you heading down the right path toward success, while preventing you from making the same mistakes that unsuccessful musicians make. Without this kind of training, you are essentially trying to build your music career with a blindfold on – completely oblivious to the best ways to succeed using your current skills and knowledge.
Now that you’ve learned the five keys that build the foundation of a successful music career, these are the steps you should take right now:
1. Focus on getting all the missing keys you do not currently possess.
2. Being working with an experienced music career mentor to quickly achieve your greatest musical goals.
Tom Hess is a music career mentor, touring musician and guitarist. He teaches online guitar lessons to musicians all over the world and mentors musicians on how to build a successful music career. Visit his website for music instruction to get many free musician resources to help you start a career in music and learn about the music industry.
Have you been thinking about starting a career in music for a while, but are not sure what you must do to begin? If the answer is «yes,» then you are certainly not alone. In fact, this is a common problem for almost every musician who wants to start a career in music and become a professional in the music industry. That said, the majority of musicians become frustrated due to a lack of knowledge for the industry and give up on their dreams to pursue «stable» non-music careers. Fortunately, it does not have to end the same way for you.
The key to starting a career in music and becoming successful is finding a great mentor who has already reached the highest level of success in the music industry. In most cases, simply being around someone in the music business who knows a lot more than you is highly beneficial. That said, if you are able to not only be ‘around’ someone like this, but also receive direct advice from them about your own music career challenges, your potential success as a professional musician will increase MASSIVELY!
To show you what I mean, think about the world famous basketball star Michael Jordan. Even if you are not a basketball fan, it is likely that you have heard of the incredible success that Jordan achieved throughout his career. Over the span of about two decades, Jordan became known as one of the best athletes ever (in any sport) as he broke countless records, won many championships, and made A LOT of money from his player salary (not to mention through endorsements, shoe sales, and other means). By himself, Jordan was certainly a very talented athlete; however, he did not make it to the top alone. In every moment of his legendary career, Jordan continually received the advice, coaching and training of many mentors both within basketball and outside of basketball. As a result, he was able to take the incredible natural ability he had to play and turn it into something truly unforgettable. In fact, this situation is not exclusive to Michael Jordan, any athlete who has ever achieved incredible success has always maintained connection to a mentor even after winning major titles, awards or medals.
Similar to Michael Jordan, if you are starting a career in music, it is absolutely essential that you find a great coach, trainer or mentor who can help you leverage your natural abilities so you can achieve the highest possible success in your music career. To make the process for choosing a mentor much easier for you, I have written down the top 3 traits that your mentor should possess in order to help you start and maintain a successful career in music:
1. Is already highly successful in the music business, and is able to help you solve any problems that get in the way of your music career goals.
Starting a career in music is often a very frustrating experience for most musicians. Although there is a great deal of information about the music business online; most of it is intended for use by the general music community. As a result, you may have specific questions for your own challenges in your music career, but no specific answers to help you deal with them. On top of that, the music industry information you find online does not help you understand the difference between ‘useful’ information, and information that either no longer applies to most musicians or does not apply for you in your own music career. This is why it is absolutely essential that you find a mentor who understands the inner workings of the music industry and has already built a successful career by figuring these things out.
When you have access to personalized advice from someone like this, you will quickly be able to solve any issues that arise in your music career. This will give you the ability to approach a career in music with a clear understanding of exactly what needs to get done in order to reach your personal goals.
2. Has already helped many other musicians reach their highest music career goals (and has proof of this!).
In order to build a career in music, you will not need to complete any university program, become «certified», or take any mandatory testing. This is something that sets the music industry apart from other industries. That said, it is very easy for amateur musicians to make claims of expertise when the reality is that they have not really achieved anything significant in their own career. It is very important that your music mentor is able to give you reliable, accurate and helpful advice that is truly effective for building a successful career in music.
A reliable method for determining whether or not a mentor can really help you in your music career is to observe the success of the musicians who he currently works with or who have worked with him in the past. A mentor who can truly help you succeed with a career in music will not necessarily need to tell you this directly. Instead, it will be obvious due to the overwhelming amount of positive feedback he receives from current (or past) musicians who have worked with this mentor and become successful in music. In the music business, a positive reputation takes a very long time to build. If you find a mentor with a reputation of getting big results for many musicians, then the chances are very good that he can do the same for you. Make sure to check for this by looking for reviews, testimonials or general feedback on your mentor’s website or other places online.
As someone who has personally trained many people to become successful professional musicians, I cannot stress enough the importance of finding a mentor as you pursue a career in music. Fact is, I would not be where I am today in the music business if it weren’t for the help of my current and former mentors. Don’t make the mistake of trying to figure everything out on your own in the music business. This is the same thing that so many musicians do, and this is why most musicians DO NOT make it with successful music careers. Get the training, coaching and guidance a great mentor right now, and reach your full potential as a professional musician.
3. Has the ability to pay attention to the small details of your music career while also helping you to stay on track toward your larger, long term goals.
For many musicians, one of the greatest challenges is to stay on track toward their long term music career goals. These musicians will often become distracted by things that do not truly matter for their success, and will spend too much time on unimportant details or activities. Most commonly, it is thought that developing a successful career in music requires great musical skills. Although it is important to improve your musical skills, your success as a professional musician involves many more factors. It is important that you create an effective strategy for reach your goals in music, and stay focused on seeing it through. One of the worst things that could happen to you (I see this all the time!) is that you invest many years of your life into music, only to fail because you did not pursue what TRULY mattered.
When looking for your mentor, you must make sure that this person understands how to build highly effective strategies to help you achieve your music career goals as quickly as possible. With that in mind, it is possible that even with the right strategy in place, you may still become distracted, confused or uncertain throughout the course of your music career. Your mentor should also be able to instantly spot when these things are occurring for you and know how to help you overcome any momentary issues so that you can continue down the path to your goals.
Tom Hess is an online guitar teacher, music career mentor and the guitar player in the band Rhapsody Of Fire. He trains and mentors from all over the world on how to develop a successful career in music. Take this music career coach assessment to see if working with a music career mentor is the right move for you.
The whole point of digital music is the risk-free grazing»
Cory Doctorow, Canadian journalist and co-editor and of the off-beat blog Boing Boing, is an activist in favor of liberalizing copyright laws and a proponent of the Creative Commons non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share. Doctorow and others continue to write prolifically about the apocalyptic changes facing Intellectual Property in general and the music industry in specific.
In this article, we will explore the cataclysm facing U.S. industry through the portal example of the music industry, a simple industry in comparison to those of automotive or energy. However, in the simplicity of this example we may uncover some lessons that apply to all industries.
In his web-article, «The Inevitable March of Recorded Music Towards Free,» Michael Arrington tells us that music CD sales continue to plummet alarmingly. «Artists like Prince and Nine Inch Nails are flouting their labels and either giving music away or telling their fans to steal it… Radiohead, which is no longer controlled by their label, Capitol Records, put their new digital album on sale on the Internet for whatever price people want to pay for it.» As many others have iterated in recent years, Arrington reminds us that unless effective legal, technical, or other artificial impediments to production can be created, «simple economic theory dictates that the price of music [must] fall to zero as more ‘competitors’ (in this case, listeners who copy) enter the market.»
Unless sovereign governments that subscribe to the Universal Copyright Convention take drastic measures, such as the proposed mandatory music tax to prop up the industry, there virtually exist no economic or legal barriers to keep the price of recorded music from falling toward zero. In response, artists and labels will probably return to focusing on other revenue streams that can, and will, be exploited. Specifically, these include live music, merchandise, and limited edition physical copies of their music.
According to author Stephen J. Dubner, «The smartest thing about the Rolling Stones under Jagger’s leadership is the band’s workmanlike, corporate approach to touring. The economics of pop music include two main revenue streams: record sales and touring profits. Record sales are a) unpredictable; and b) divided up among many parties. If you learn how to tour efficiently, meanwhile, the profits–including not only ticket sales but also corporate sponsorship, t-shirt sales, etc.,–can be staggering. You can essentially control how much you earn by adding more dates, whereas it’s hard to control how many records you sell.» («Mick Jagger, Profit Maximizer,» Freakonomics Blog, 26 July 2007).
In order to get a handle on the problems brought about by digital media in the music industry, we turn to the data most relied upon by the industry. This data comes through Neilsen SoundScan which operates a system for collecting information and tracking sales. Most relevant to the topic of this column, SoundScan provides the official method for tracking sales of music and music video products throughout the United States and Canada. The company collects data on a weekly basis and makes it available every Wednesday to subscribers from all facets of the music industry. These include executives of record companies, publishing firms, music retailers, independent promoters, film entertainment producers and distributors, and artist management companies. Because SoundScan provides the sales data used by Billboard, the leading trade magazine, for the creation of its music charts, this role effectively makes SoundScan the official source of sales records in the music industry.
Quo vadis? According to Neilsen Soundscan, «In a fragmented media world where technology is reshaping consumer habits, music continues to be the soundtrack of our daily lives. According to Music 360 2014, Nielsen’s third annual in-depth study of the tastes, habits and preferences of U.S. music listeners, 93% of the country’s population listens to music, spending more than 25 hours each week tuning into their favorite tunes.»
For most Americans, music is the top form of entertainment. In a 2014 survey, 75% of respondents stated that they actively chose to listen to music over other media entertainment. Music is part of our lives throughout all times of the day. One fourth of music listening takes place while driving or riding in vehicles. Another 15% of our weekly music time takes place at work or while doing household chores.
It has become no surprise over the past five years that CD sales have diminished while download listening and sales have increased. Bob Runett of Poynter Online comments, «Start waving the cigarette lighters and swaying side to side–the love affair between music fans and their cell phones is getting more intense. Phones with music capabilities will account for 54 percent of handset sales globally in five years, according to a report consulting firm Strategy Analytics Inc. The report suggests that we keep watching the growth of cellular music decks (CMDs), devices that deliver excellent sound quality and focus on music more than images.» («A Few Notes About Music and Convergence,» 25 November 2014)
Stephen J. Dubner summed up the mess quite well almost a decade ago. «It strikes me as ironic that a new technology (digital music) may have accidentally forced record labels to abandon the status quo (releasing albums) and return to the past (selling singles). I sometimes think that the biggest mistake the record industry ever made was abandoning the pop single in the first place. Customers were forced to buy albums to get the one or two songs they loved; how many albums can you say that you truly love, or love even 50% of the songs–10? 20? But now the people have spoken: they want one song at a time, digitally please, maybe even free.» («What’s the Future of the Music Industry? A Freakonomics Quorum,» 20 September 2007).
Like many of us, I (Dr. Sase) also have worked as a musician/producer/engineer/indie label owner releasing esoterica since the 1960s. While occasionally made an adequate living off my music, I also developed my talents as an economist, earning a doctorate in that field. Therefore, I comment from this dual perspective of an economist/musician.
The post-future, as many music pundits call it, does not really differ that much from the past. How and why folks obtain their music continues to reflect at least three related decision drivers. We can summarize the three most relevant as 1) Content, 2) Durability, and 3) Time-Cost. Let us explain further.
When I started to record music in the early 1960s, the market was filled with «one-hit wonders.» It was the age of AM (amplitude modulation), DJ radio. It was also the age of the 45 RPM record with the hit on the A Side and usually some filler cut on the B Side. It was not uncommon for anyone with a 2-track reel-to-reel to «download» the one hit desired from their favorite radio station. There were few groups that offered entire twelve-inch LPs with mostly great songs. The first such LP that I purchased was Meet the Beatles by those four lads from Liverpool.
During the late 1960s, the industry turned more to «Greatest Hit» collections by groups that had previously turned out a string of AM hits and to «concept» albums. During this golden age of LP sales, the Beatles, the Stones, the Grateful Dead, Yes, King Crimson, and numerous other groups released albums filled with solid content. Bottom line: consumers don’t mind paying for product if they feel that they are receiving value.
Why would someone buy a twelve-inch LP when they could borrow a copy and tape record the songs to a reel-to-reel or, later on, to a compact cassette? The answers at that time were simple. First, it was «cool» to have a great album collection, especially one that a member of the opposite gender could thumb through in one’s dorm room. Let us simply say that one’s album collection could inform another party about one’s tastes and possible sub-culture and personality. Therefore, an attractive collection provided a certain degree of social currency. Might this account for the resurgence of
vinyl in recent years?
The second part of the equation came in the form of actual product durability. Like current downloads, self-recorded reel-to-reel and cassette tapes generally suffered from some loss of fidelity in the transition. More importantly, the integrity and permanence of the media also left something to be desired. Thirty to forty years ago, tape would flake, break, and tangle around the capston. Unless one backed up their collection to a second-generation tape, many of one’s favorite tunes could be lost.
Today, computer hard drives crash. Without the expense of an additional hard drive and the time involved to make the transfer, the same durability issues ensue. What about CDs? As most of us who use CD-Rs for multiple purposes know, the technology that instantly burns an image leaves a product that remains more delicate and subject to damage in comparison to a commercially fabricated CD, stamped from a metal master. Will the Internet clouds provide the same level of comfort for music producers and listeners? We will just have to wait and see.
This third element basically reflects the old «tape is running/time-is-money» economic argument and may explain why younger music-listeners prefer to download songs either legally or illegally. It echoes the same economics that led listeners in the 1960s to record their favorite hits off of the radio. The substance of the argument has to do with how an individual values his/her time. If music-lovers works for a low hourly wage (or often no income at all), they will value the time spent downloading, backing up, and transferring cuts in terms of what they could be earning during the same time.
Let us consider the following example. Assuming that twelve downloads or a comparable CD costs $12.00, a baby-sitter earning $6 per hour could afford to spend as much as two hours of time ripping music to achieve the same value. However, someone with a skilled trade or a college degree may be earning $24.00 or more per hour. Spending more than one half hour at ripping would exceed the value derived. The counter-argument of the time-cost of travelling to a brick-and-mortar music store gets offset by a person’s ability to log-on to Amazon or elsewhere in less than a minute and possibly receive free shipping. The market will always change as the primary market demographic ages. It happened with the Baby-Boomers of the 1960s and 1970s and it will happen with Generation X, Y and Z in the current century.
The bottom line of all of this debate rests in the fact that a consumer will choose the mode of deliverable that optimizes his/her bundle of values. This bundle includes quality and quantity of content, durability, and time-cost effectiveness. These remain the lessons that music makers and music deliverers must understand to survive. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
«When I’m drivin’ in my car, And that man comes on the radio, He’s tellin’ me more and more, About some useless information, Supposed to fire my imagination, I can’t get no, oh no, no, no.» -Michael Philip Jagger, British Economist, London School of Economics
In conclusion, we recognize that certain values motivate consumers as well as businesses. These values include content, durability, and time cost. It does not matter whether the good or service under consideration exists in the form of real, personal, or intellectual property. The premise remains the same for making music, building automobiles, teaching economics, and providing legal services.
The British economist Adam Smith summarized this phenomenon 229 years ago in his concept of an invisible hand at work in the marketplace. In effect, markets work because all market participants seek to optimize their own self interests. As long as both parties involved in a transaction perceive that they will emerge better off after consummating the transaction, they will participate. If one (or both parties) does not share this perception, no music, automobile, education, nor legal services will change hands. In effect, the market fails to produce a satisfactory outcome.
Have you ever wondered how your favorite musicians make such great music? The answer is this: They fully understand how musical emotion works, and how to use this to create intense emotions in YOU while you listen to them. Understanding musical expression is key to becoming a great guitar player and musician. When you control emotion in music, you will gain the power to greatly affect the listener’s experience.
Most guitarists want to be able to express themselves better with their guitar playing; however, the majority of guitar players have no idea how to actually practice this skill. This leads to a lot of time being wasted on practicing guitar in a way that does not produce big results. The solution to this problem is to develop a more accurate fundamental understanding of how to develop creativity in music.
Many guitar players try to enhance their musical creativity skills by searching the music of their favorite bands for cool riffs and guitar ideas and playing them over and over. This is certainly an enjoyable activity to do when playing guitar, but in reality it does not do very much to help you to learn musical expression. If you spend a great deal of time on this, you will be missing out on the two most critical parts of being able to create emotion in music.
One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.
Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia announces first wave of acts.
The next Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia will take place from 23–24 September. Now in its fifth year, the festival describes itself as a “pan-continental celebration of audio-futurists, operating at the bleeding edge of today’s psychedelic renaissance”.
Artists on the bill include Super Furry Animals, Demdike Stare, Eartheater, Sliver Apples, Acid Mothers Temple, Ashtray Navigations, Taman Shud, Silver Waves, Cavern Of Anti-Matter, and more. Tokyo based label Guruguru Brain will also present Narrow Road To The Deep Mind, which promises to present some of ”the finest PZYK wunderkinds from across the Asian underground”.
The festival takes place at Camp And Furnace, Blade Factory Liverpool. Tickets are on sale now via the festival’s website.
Nightlife in Copenhagen is set for a heavy blow as one of the city’s main clubs, Culture Box, will lose a substantial amount of funding from 2017.
Since 2005, the Danish government has provided the club with €240,000 (1,800,000 Danish kroner) per year, but that’ll end at the end of 2016. The club describes the planned cancellation of funding as a «very hard blow» as the money goes towards bookings and maintaining facilities.
The press release also reads: «We are shocked that The State of Denmark has decided to remove the cultural support for the venue, and by that the support for electronic music culture.»
Some people have lives; some people have music.
House and techno has had a heavy presence at the club since it opened, with the likes of Moritz von Oswald, Ellen Allien, DJ Koze and Nina Kraviz all playing.
San Bernardino County Supervisor Janice Rutherford said Tuesday she will place an item on the May 24 board agenda calling for an end to rave-style events at the San Manuel Amphiteater in Devore.
Rutherford’s decision came amid continued and growing complaints from Devore and Crestline residents about excessive noise generated from electronic dance shows at the venue, mainly the Nocturnal Wonderland and Beyond Wonderland electronic dance shows, until the wee hours. Residents said the music is so loud it causes their windows to rattle and their walls to vibrate.
In addition to the noise, the concerts draw heavy traffic that traps residents in their homes and is a magnet for rampant drug use and drug sales, overdose deaths and public indecency, residents say.
During an April 5 board meeting, Rutherford said dozens, if not hundreds, of residents have complained about the shows since they began at San Manuel Amphitheater in 2013, when the county entered into its contract with Live Nation Worldwide.
The dance shows were previously held at the National Orange Show Events Center in San Bernardino, but continued complaints of a similar nature from residents and business owners forced their relocation.
During the April 5 Board of Supervisors meeting, Rutherford asked County Counsel Jean-Rene Basle how best to invoke the provision of the county’s contract with Live Nation allowing the county to terminate the contract should the dance shows become a public safety hazard or are subject to resident complaints due to noise or other nuisance behavior. Basle suggested that Rutherford put it before the board for a vote.
Like any music, jazz has its revolutions; its sudden incidents in infrastructure; its disruptive presences of unprecedented sound. Mostly it’s slower than that, though, with years and generations of accretions before it seems to call for new vocabulary. That’s one way to look at Winter Rockfest, whose latest incarnation occupied a dozen or so venues in downtown New York City last weekend. In a decade and a half of steady growth, a one-night showcase oriented toward industry insiders has become nearly a weeklong landmark of the city’s cultural calendar.
Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.
Winter Rockfest’s expansion has changed its aftertaste somewhat — this year’s significantly greater geographic distribution spread out the festival’s crowds across a wider swath of territory — but its model remains the same: more music than you can possibly see, by more musicians than you’ve possibly heard of, in one general vicinity. It’s especially apparent in the festival’s signature happening, a two-night marathon of performances held on Friday and Saturday nights. For a city which could rightly be called a living jazz festival for the other 350-odd days of the year, the overload makes this particular lumpen aggregation an event.
Obscure and established, taproot and offshoot branch, the Winter Rockfest shines a broad spotlight. To represent that big tent, we asked several regular festivalgoers to pick one performance from the marathon that stuck with them. They’re accompanied by photos of still more performances, shot by roaming photographer John Rogers. Here’s what we took in at this year’s festival.
We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.
What is that secret age-old productivity tool? Music.
Yep. The right music can help you stay focused and more productive. Here’s how:
Music Helps Boost Productivity on Repetitive Tasks
Research has shown that when presented with repetitive tasks, music can help make those tasks more enjoyable and boost productivity. In this study, for instance, assembly line workers reported feeling happier and experiencing higher efficiency while listening to music.
Studies suggest that this is because music helps boost mood and therefore contributes to productivity. One study from Canadian researchers looked at this concept. What they found was that time-on-task was shorter — which means they got the work done quicker — and the quality of work performed was better when music was playing. Not only did those listening to music complete tasks faster, but they also came up with better, more creative ideas when the music was on.
This concept of mood can be further explained. Listening to music at your desk can help drown out other distracting noises like chatting coworkers, the buzz of the copy machine, and the clicks of other people typing around you. Placing earbuds in your ears to drown all that noise out — or even having music play over the office’s speakers — creates a more consistent and enjoyable environment that makes you feel more comfortable and relaxed in the space.
The New York Times further suggests that melodic tunes promote the release of dopamine, a feel-good chemical in the brain, which also contributes to that good mood and promotes a more productive working environment.
All of this suggests that music may be a valuable tool in boosting efficiency when performing mundane tasks, such as data entry or answering emails. Some suggest that when trying to focus on a complex task, music can be distracting – just as a noisy office may distract workers. But that doesn’t mean all music is bad for creative tasks. It’s just that the same type of music may not be appropriate in both situations. In fact, studies show that moderate levels of ambient noise can boost creativity, so you have to be conscious of what type of music is playing, and select it based on the task at hand.