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Showcasing: Was it worth it?

May 20, 2008

The band returned late Sunday night. Tired, but happy. NewMusicWest was over and it went by in a hot second.

So now that the hangovers, time differences, and caked on sweat, has worn off, let’s take stock of what happened and see if it was worth the trouble.

For me this was a great, great, great, experience. Why? well, mainly because of all the mistakes we made! 🙂

From day one it was a learning experience. Our gear arrived perfectly and we contacted Long and Mcquade about renting all that we couldn’t bring. They were very helpful and located everything that we needed. We started inquiring about Pat’s Pub and seemed to get one review about the venue, “its great but in a sketchy area.”

We checked out downtown Vancouver on that first day and found it odd that there was little to no advertising about ANY SHOWS happening at NewMusicWest.

On Friday we attended a Managers Conference and learned about the in’s and out’s of many different aspects of a Artists Career. It was informative but a little redundant.

What I was amazed to learn was that there are soooo many artists who have no idea about how the industry works. And if they do know whats going on, they are stuck to the old world model: Album, Radio, Tour, Repeat. The internet still is underutilized for so many artists. Most artists who were asking questions at the conference gave off the impression that they see the internet as a place to loose money, rather then a place to cut out the middle men and take control of your career.

On Saturday we hit the conferences again. We arrived late at an Urban Music workshop, but the last 30 minutes that we saw were amazing.

Urban artists are at the forefront of so many technologies. They are embracing this new world rather then shying away from it. Youtube, imeem, Myspace, and Facebook were talked about in detail. Essentially you need to do one thing on all of the: KEEP IT FRESH. New content, new videos, new looks, new music, nearly all the time. This is something that Hoover and I have been saying to each other often. The more the audience has to look at, the more time they will spend on your site. Its working all the time, but few artists have taken advantage of it.

Also at the conferences we met Adam Countryman. He is a booking agent for the Agency Group. We spoke with him about ArmsUp and the small fish big sea problem that us and many other bands have. He told us that unless you have a buzz coming into a festival like NewMusicWest, it is often the case that you are overlooked. Thats something that most people know but hearing it from a industry dude helped hammer it home.

So that night was our Showcase. Pat’s Pub was on East Hastings. It was not the worst part of town, but pretty close to it. That fact kept some of my friends/fans away. But thats really no excuse. if we had the Hype of Vampire Weekend, I doubt that playing a gig on East Hastings would have bothered anyone. Either way the show was fun, poorly attended (NewMusicWest didn’t even make POSTERS!!!@#$#@#), but it was fun. We played for some new people and met some interesting ones.

The things that we learned at New Music West were numerous and valuable. Although the showcase itself was lackluster, it was critical for us to do it, getting this kind of learning experience is something that can be taught, but it really hits home when you experience it for yourself.

——————————–NEWS FLASH———————————-

Now to thicken the plot. ArmsUp have been invited to play at another, even more prestigeous festival.

NXNE in Toronto…….Canada’s Music Business Capital……. so do we do it? or work on more pressing issues… we’ll soon find out.

Lyrics baby lyrics,
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