The numbers game that artists now have to play to get ahead in music
While Asian-born, now UK-resident singer-songwriter Phoenix J was in the USA recently, she found she had been elected to the top 10 in the UK heats of a BIG competition being held around Europe by Wanadoo, a huge media conglomerate.
Trouble is, the voting system is just like all similar such competitions (Pop/American Idol, etc), being designed more as a revenue-generating scheme (Wanadoo is absorbing the more familiarly-named Freeserve this week, and the traffic generated by the contest can’t hurt the process) than being a true measure of an artist and their music's worth. But it is still a serious event worth any artist being part of, with an online - for now - audience base in the tens of millions.
So what can an artist do faced with such an opportunity? Get busy.. and quick.. drumming up some support with their fans, and via the media to any readers/viewers/listeners they can reach.
But what can an individual musician do against the might of some big labels who can pay for pluggers, PR and people to man the keyboards 24/7? Or a lot of kids who can spend all day trying to win a prize?
What if all you have is a core of busy people who do know you, but with modern anti-spam filters making e-access to such legitimate opt-in fanbases difficult, it’s nigh-on impossible to get to them in time?
Well, if you are Phoenix J, you.. ‘Go East, Young Woman!’
With some of the other acts raging against the system, and each other, she is playing to win. By trying to appeal to an audience which is not even eligible for prizes, but can still vote.
And that is the vast numbers of music lovers who live in the Far East, who may just be motivated to support one of their daughters who has headed overseas to compete on equal terms with the best of the West. And who, by working hard, has built a small, but loyal and growing worldwide audience and critical fanbase, winning hearts and plaudits following concerts at venues such as the UK Coventry Skydome, the Whisky A Go Go in LA and Hong Kong’s mammoth Trade Centre auditorium.
Says Phoenix J, “As soon as we could we emailed our fan base, and we know thousands of lovely people voted.. once.. because that is what we asked them to do. In addition to those who only found me via the competition and kindly added their support. But it barely dented the rankings. I’m afraid a 100 fans voting will be hard-pressed to match one person voting a hundred times.”
It's all about the numbers. What any act gets out of such a competition depends on what they are looking to achieve. No one, from booking agents to record labels, are going to care less until they have some sense that the act has a chance at attracting a decent audience to their gigs or to order their music. Virtual clone voters don’t buy tickets or buy CDs.
What you need to do is motivate the media to sign up, and the muisc business will follow. But at this stage, for the nationals it would take one of the acts setting their audiences on fire, getting their kit off or punching out a journalist in an airport to really get them to take note.
Considering the promotional support Freeserve has thrown behind this, as we get close to the end result (this weekend) it is surprising that there has not been more interest from the fourth estate as to who is going to show how a best of British Indies acts do against our European friends. Especially with all that Song Contest nil-pointing last year to live down. Even more if it is true-grit, Transit-on-the-M4-at-2am grafters against the might of BMG Espana!
So of course, winning the UK round moves the stakes up a level. Winning in Europe even more. Getting those numbers, especially if major media take note, will have to be worth a bit of effort. Move from online to On Air, with a bit of tabloid coverage in support, and the Freeserve/Wanadoo audience base can put a face to a name.. to a song.. to some moves.. to a personality.. to an image...to slot on Ceebeebies, Wogan or Parky.
So it is still worth trying to win, by whatever means necessary. And that means driving those votes any way you can. One at a time.
Phoenix J admits it’s probably too little, too late, but still worth a go. As with this press release. Twenty quid to pique the interest of the UK media enough to promote the message of her music here also seemed a worthwhile and affordable investment.
More on Phoenix J:
For style, think Kate Bush meets Annie Lennox with a dash of Tori Amos and Nora Jones, all sprinkled with her unique signature Eurasian Fusion sound.
Beyond her writing, producing (link to her site for a glowing review from UK’s Sound on Sound magazine), vocal and performing talents, Phoenix J has also embraced the power of new media technologies with a vengeance. She created and manages her own website http://www.phoenixj.com, selling her music and merchandise online, all around the world.
She’s a new breed of artist who has their head screwed on, is content to let her art define her image.. and is prepared to be proactive to make the most of her destiny. Phoenix J likes to make things happen with people, rather than have others just make them happen for her. Her music is pretty good, too.
To learn more on the competition go to www.wanadoodiscoveries.com/gb/index.php .
Contact Peter Martin at Firebird Music on 01989762269 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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