« Previous  
 Next »

Flynn: Finding an Audience

07/13/10 5:55PM
 MP3   Download MP3 

(HOST) For young musician Myra Flynn, fame is not the name of the game, despite the media's obsession with stardom and money. It's passion for the art that audiences pick up on.

(FLYNN) The buzz around town is that the attention deficit keeping my generation from reading newspapers and paying attention in class, extends to the music industry as well - that kids just don't know how to listen to, buy or support music anymore.

If the rumors are true, then figuring out how to be successful in an industry with absolutely no formula does young artists like me about as much good as playing the slot machines. And the hardest part is: I just want to sing.

Despite what Simon Cowell represents, there are no golden gates. Only the shape shifters are surviving this industry, not the kids who won the contest. Bands like Radiohead have opted to let their fans decide how much they want to pay for an album. Concert promoters like Live Nation are taking the place of labels, and iTunes personally gives us 85 cents to every one dollar download sold on their site.

Yet it seems no matter how creative we musicians get in our attempts to make a living, someone else is ready to capitalize on our efforts. Internet liaison Sonicbids has figured out a way to charge us to book our own gigs. Once a gig is booked, venue owners send their stipulations for playing: You must bring in 20 people, if you don't, you may not play. Each of your audience members must buy one drink. You will be paid in tips. "Hey Joe! Want to come to my show? You have to bring at least fifteen other friends; and, although you don't drink, you have to. Oh, and after you pay a cover to get in, I would really appreciate if you could throw some extra money in the tip jar so I have gas money for the drive home!" Enticing, isn't it?

Our highest paying gigs are colleges, but they've shifted as well. In order to play a college you must attend a National Association for Campus Activities (or NACA) conference, where you rent a booth and perform for five minutes. Selected students from each school decide your entertainment value. Starting cost for a booth at NACA: $1,000. Placing that booth next to a man on a flying trapeze and the magician who saws a woman in half? Priceless.

Yet recently I played a house concert for a high school graduation party. The 18-year-olds sat in silence for two hours, and at the end bought my CD. This was just an average bunch of Vermont kids, hanging out, grooving to some music.

I just want to sing, and if these kids are any indication, I have a sneaking suspicion that they just want to listen.
comments powered by Disqus
Supported By
Become an Underwriter | Find an Underwiter