As the music business continues to inch toward the digital age, both on-line promotion and music downloading seem as inevitable as pizza delivery. Of course, with digital downloading (just like home-delivered pizza), what you lose in sonic quality is reimbursed in convenience.
Lauren Hoffman is due back in town this week after trekking around France in support of her new CD, Choreography. She says things are going well for her, in part due to the discovery of her music by pop band Fall Out Boy’s bassist Peter Wentz. Wentz, who took to one of Hoffman’s early songs, “Fall Away,” has been writing about Hoffman on the band’s website, fall outboyrock.com. And since he took up her cause, Hoffman has received 500 to 1,000 e-mails, many from 15-year-old girls, who want to be added to Hoffman’s Myspace page. And while these fans may not know her music yet (which is quite different from Fall Out Boy’s punk-pop), the resulting buzz could help Hoffman’s CD get released in the States. In Hoffman’s view, that means Myspace is working, because “it helps make the distinction between local and national matter less.” It could also help local bands Bella Morte and Sarah White, who are both prominent on Hoffman’s Myspace page. Bella Morte and David Sickmen open for Hoffman at the Gravity Lounge this Thursday night, June 15.
As for downloading music, Hoffman says she buys a lot of music from iTunes, and—although she gets handed a lot of music backstage at shows—she tries not to download music for free online. She is in a position to feel the impact directly. “When people get my music off the Web for free, I am less likely to come and play for them live, because the industry takes no notice of [free downloads] at all.”
Coincidentally this week, it was reported that songs from Radio-head singer Thom Yorke’s new solo CD have already been leaked, one month prior to the release date. Of course, it seems unlikely that Yorke’s sales will be affected much—unless the album is, in fact, really crappy, and word of mouth kills it.
Our own great power pop band, Sun Domingo, played Starr Hill this past weekend, and the band’s Edgel Groves says that “digital is our main thing right now.” Groves says that he met 10 people at the Starr Hill gig who showed up solely because of their Myspace presence, and that, on a recent tour swing through Kansas, many of the fans came out to see the band for the same reason. Groves says the Myspace magic is “about making a connection.”
As for selling their music, Groves says that Sun Domingo would like to see their CD in stores, but for now they are content to offer digital downloads, both free and for sale, at Myspace and Disclogic.com. Groves goes on to say that “we are not living in an album age right now. We are living in a singles age. I think very few people could come up with a concept album these days. But I am really about the singles.” Sun Domingo will be back in town at the Outback in July.
If you are not aware of the band (who started life here musically as Wisher), you’ll have more opportunities to check them out, as the group recently returned to Charlottesville from Atlanta. One
of the reasons for the band’s energy
and great songs was guitarist Forrest Burtnette, who just parted ways with the group this past month. He says that the band’s 250 dates a year on the road wore him down, and he is now looking to do other things.