Bluebird – Tin Pan South sidebar

Wed, Apr 13, 2011

Music, Technology

The first night of Tin Pan South two weeks ago, I was at The Bluebird Cafe. The Bluebird Cafe is the shrine and holy temple of songwriting and songwriters. I was there to witness an incredible "in the round" show that included my friend, Barry Dean, Natalie Hemby, Luke Laird and Lori McKenna. I bet you’ve never heard of any of them except maybe McKenna. She had a major label deal for all of about 12 minutes. Then not knowing what to do with her, the label and Ms. McKenna parted ways.

McKenna is now thriving on the iTunes indie singer/songwriter charts (alongside The Civil Wars). The other writers in that particular round have all had some measure of success. They even count No. 1 hits amongst their many accomplishments. Still it was one of the purest nights of musical entertainment I’ve ever experienced.

I couldn’t help thinking that the event should have been webcast live over a service like UStream (and archived away on YouTube) with the ability to buy merchandise, CDs, or even a live audio and/or video recording of the show a click away. So that some kid somewhere half way across the world could be inspired by the same event I saw unfold before my eyes. That’s the stuff our profession is made of. Not just No. 1 hits. (Note: They do have a show on Nashville Public Radio called "Live At The Bluebird Cafe.")

Once music makes an emotional connection, that’s when you have the potential for a business transaction. For so long, the music business has tried to make that interaction flow in the opposite direction. That almost never works unless you have a captured market. Those days are gone.

Indie songwriters now have the ability to make emotional connections and business transactions simultaneously with some of the tools at our disposal. This also presents an opportunity for organizations that purport to lead us to show leadership, innovation and creativity by capitalizing on these new business models.

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This post was written by:

Charles Alexander - who has written 45 posts on Outside The Box Music.

Charles Alexander is a performing songwriter, music entrepreneur and digital media marketing strategist. He was born in Malaysia and lives in Nashville. He recently bought a shinier, new vocabulary. He can also be bribed with "gulab jamuns" and an insulin chaser.

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  1. [...] The opening night of Tin Pan South, I went to the Bluebird Cafe. I was there to witness an incredible "in the round" show that included my friend, Barry Dean, Natalie Hemby, Luke Laird and Lori McKenna. And I had an epiphany…(read more) [...]