If you’re a follower of BAMM.tv, you’ll no doubt be aware that we’re a global bunch. As well as our main HQ in San Francisco, we also have offices in London and Amsterdam, as well as fanbases in numerous other parts of the world (special hello to our legions of very vocal BAMMers in Taiwan!). Now we’re happy to announce that we’re spreading our worldwide reach that little bit further …
… and opening a BAMM.tv office in Düsseldorf.
Why Düsseldorf? Well, we like to think we can spy great opportunities when they pop up, and Dusseldorf is fast emerging as one of the most exciting cities for digital innovation, development and commerce. This is particularly true within the mobile sector: the city is often referred to as the ‘Mobile Capital ‘ of Europe.
At BAMM.tv we believe that mobile is the new frontier of entertainment consumption, and a key enhancement to next generation IPTV services that are popping up around the world. And while it may lack the name recognition of Berlin, the quality of life in Düsseldorf is among the best in the world.
“In quality of living ratings, Düsseldorf was ranked sixth in global comparison and the top city in Germany. Düsseldorf’s cultural offering can easily match other big cities in the world. While offering art and cultural events many larger cities might envy, it has remained that rare thing – an exciting, yet relaxed cosmopolitan centre. Dependable political majorities and a political climate favouring businesses and entrepreneurship make Düsseldorf a prime target for investors.”
By moving in here, we’re adding another fantastic location to our roster … and we’re also looking forward to exploring the many wonderful aspects Düsseldorf has to offer.
But we’re not stopping here! This is just one of the many exciting global expansion programs we’re working on at BAMM.tv. Stay tuned for future developments – if we’re not already there, maybe we’re coming to a city near you…
We’re happy to announce that wonderful singer-songwriter Diana Gameros is our Artist Of The Month. Yesterday we featured an exclusive in-depth article and interview with Diana, and – later this week – we’ve got some amazing giveaways in store (including the chance to see Diana live, and even to spend time with her in the studio!).
Today, however, we’re simply going to show you why we’re such big fans. Here’s a special message from Diana herself:
And click on ‘more’ to see a selection of performances from the BAMM.tv archives, as well as Diana’s appearance in our exclusive documentary ‘City Of Fog’. Sit back, chill out and enjoy …
Time for another BAMM.tv Artist Of The Month feature: a selection of great music, exclusive articles and prize giveaways (among other things) from one of our favorite up-and-coming artists. This month we put San Francisco singer-songwriter Diana Gameros under the spotlight …
Soulfulness is a hard thing to quantify. People are a varied breed, and experience tells us it would be foolish to go all-out and categorise emotional response – music that leaves one listener cold may well prove to save the life of another. Music may be universal but the gamut of reactions works on a far more personal level – an innate form of relativism that both unites and separates us all.
Sometimes, though … sometimes you just have to appreciate the resonance of an artist. Opera may not do it for you, but you can’t help but quiver at the bombastic authority of a tenor or soprano. Heavy rock could well be the last thing you’d listen to, but you’ve have to be a cultural zero-mark not to marvel at a virtuoso guitar solo. As for emotive, Latin-tinged, classical acoustic songwriting? That might be outside your sphere altogether, but – frankly – if you’re not massively moved by the heart-stopping performances of Diana Gameros, then you might as well nail that coffin lid down now.
Luckily – here at BAMM.TV – we are big fans of emotive, Latin-tinged, classical acoustic songwriting. And we’re even bigger fans of the heart-stopping performances of Diana Gameros.
Why are we writing about a video game? Because the Grand Theft Auto franchise is no mere video game – it’s a genuine pop-culture phenomenon, and, as anyone who keeps up with joypad-twiddling will tell you, music is becoming an ever-more integral part of gaming. The Rock Band/Guitar Hero franchise have flogged themselves to death, yet were undeniably a turning point for the industry. And Valve’s ‘Portal’ series has featured a couple of bespoke bona-fide popclassics (sung by an evil computer no less), not to mention a specially commissioned tune by The National.
But Grand Theft Auto … ah, Grand Theft Auto. The music that features in the game – blaring from a selection of in-car radio stations – adds to the experience on an almost indefinable level. Remember blowing up helicopters to the strains of Blondie’s ‘Atomic’ in Vice City? Cruising a motorbike through smouldering drug plantations while humming Loretta Lynn in San Andreas? Speeding away from a bank robbery to Alexander O’Neill’s ‘Criticize’ in GTA IV? Sure you do.
There are major shifts waiting to happen this year in how we consume music. 2013 is likely to see the expansion of trends from last year – the shift towards streaming, the rise of social television, and increasing use of video content online.
But the impact of all of these factors means the shape of the digital music landscape will dramatically change before the year is out. Will personal music collections be entirely displaced by portable libraries? Will crowd-funding become a standard procedure for tours? We consider these possibilities and more in a roundup of this year’s expected trends.
Ownership versus accessibility
This year sees big developments in the streaming subscription market with the arrival of Google, Microsoft and Apple’s new loan services. They are all keen to take on the growing might of Spotify, which has so far managed to take the largest share of the market via its partnership with Facebook. Owning music could become secondary to portability and accessibility across multiple devices. Arguably, ownership might even be seen as a burden given syncing and copyright issues.
What does this mean for musicians, given the negligible rates given by streaming services? Last year, Damon Krukowski of Galaxie 500 highlighted how 680,462 plays of his record ‘Tugboat’ (above) garnered only a soul-destroying $9.99. It’s unlikely the margins will grow – though some might argue a bigger market with more competitors will create more revenue for everyone. However, it could also make it harder for musicians to claim fees as companies compete to keep subscription charges low. Pandora is currently contesting the fee paid out to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers for digital radio plays of artists. It is likely only the biggest artists will benefit from keeping their music away from streaming services – as shown by the high sales enjoyed by Adele and Coldplay.
It’ll be interesting to see how many major musicians make their music available and the correlation between sales and their music’s availability on the streaming services. Either way, the year will mark the decisive break with the ownership culture as the biggest technology creators become effectively lending libraries of content.
The first ever fully-sponsored album?
Here on BAMM we’ve previously discussed the increasingly close relationship between brands and bands. Even the most credible of musicians have lent themselves to one-off projects by companies. One of the weirdest collaborations this year has been ‘Gatwick: The Departure Lounge Sessions’, which featured a 30-minute track by Benga which corresponded to the 30-minute journey between Gatwick and London Victoria.
Could we see an extension of that trend so that musicians end up writing whole entire albums themed or inspired by brands? What’s certain is that it’s not just the obvious suspects who would be up for doing product placement. At the moment, it may be musicians who are getting the best end of the deal. Working with brands guarantees a payout at a time when sales are so low. Brands are also stepping in to nurture and develop musicians from the outset, creating long-term relationships in order to tap into younger audiences. Conversely, consumers may take to personalising brands in ways that make image control near-obsolete. Given the power of social media and Facebook, even the coolest brands may have to roll with the punches.
The return of MySpace
MySpace’s acknowledged strengths were always its music sharing and DIY aspects. For many bands, trying to cut out the noise of Facebook activity to get a few ‘likes’ is too difficult. New MySpace has had mixed reviews but its music functionality is better than ever. The new site (as trailed below) is clearly aimed at a younger ‘creative’ demographic – which is ideal for bands who want to take a hands-on approach to their promotion.
Focusing on sound
The rise of the visual is unquestionable – we have ever bigger screens on all our devices to accommodate more video content and visual information. But sound-only platforms have a role to play. Soundcloud has enjoyed its biggest year yet with more exclusives and streaming from performers like Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent. One of the major appeals for musicians is the convenience of uploading a track, without the faff of a big launch or shoot. Given low marketing budgets, more musicians could start using sound-only platforms to reach out directly to fans and reward them with special cuts and additional work.
More ethical models
The fightback has begun already. BAMM leads on the way on this trend, giving artists a fair rate for their tracks. Some sites such as Bandcamp are giving bands the chance to sell their music and merchandise directly to fans, taking a much smaller cut of the proceeds than sites such as iTunes.
Digital radio and personalised radio
BAMM was in on this early with its Open Thread radio. The internet has breathed new life into the radio medium. The trend will explode in 2013 with the development of multiple streams, podcasts, and local digital radio stations redefining the relationship between the global and the local. Radio is also relatively low-tech, opening it up to more DIY producers and labels. Personalised radio will continue to grow, but there should be platforms designed entirely for sharing carefully compiled and curated tracks with friends.
While platforms like Pandora and Last FM are dominated by more hardcore fans of music, sites such as Turntable FM (above) which combine gaming and social networking could bring together new audiences. In short, personalised radio platforms could appeal to the entire music-buying community, by offering the chance to discover and customise in easy ways.
More sophisticated music discovery and curation
Music discovery apps, including BAMMs, will become ever more complex and vital to get through the sheer volume of material online. The FOMO (fear of missing out) syndrome is the web’s newest disease, and the best way to tackle it is to call in the curators. Music discovery apps will not only select the best material, they will also order it for you, so that you don’t have to wade through numerous disorganised links.
Apps will have to be able to configure music in different ways – for example, adopting mood-based curation as well as genre and decade. They could also take the place of traditional tastemakers such as magazine websites. Expect a lot of morphing between the two formats.
The rise and rise of video
Despite Youtube’s success, few media outlets have really gone for exclusive video. This could change massively in 2013 with predictions from Cisco that video will grow to drive 80 per cent of traffic across the internet. Music will play a major part of this, given that most songs neatly fit the three to four minute limit for a standard online video. Services like XBox Music (below) have also made playing music, watching video and gaming on one device manageable for even the biggest technophobe.
No barriers cosmopolitan music trends
Gangnam Style (below) has become the most popular Youtube video ever uploaded (please let’s not talk about Ai Wei Wei and the Anish Kapoor versions). While Psy has been dismissed as unrepresentative of Korean music or a novelty act, the music has actually seen a wave of interest in non-Western pop.
More specialised crowdfunding
There are already dedicated music crowdfunding platforms, but none which specialise in concert funding yet. Touring is still a tried and trusted way to build up a fanbase. The ideal platform could enable networks of fans to chip in together to bring musicians over, making more bands perform off the traditional tour route.
Outlier trends: The hologram trend
The biggest comeback of 2012 was also the least expected. Tupac appeared at last year’s Coachella, giving rap a genuinely hair-raising edge. The most astonishing thing was that the company Digital Domain Media Group animated the entire performance, rather than pulling it from an archive. Could this be the beginnings of a niche industry, devoted to reanimating and choreographing holograms for old fans and newcomers? You can’t buy charisma but you sure as hell can try to project it.
Tupac (above) was an obvious candidate for revival – in fact, the hologram (when first spoken about) appeared to be a smart joke about the fact that the late rapper sold more after his death than he did before it. The music industry is pretty unconscionable when it comes to making money off the back of its deceased stars, so who knows how far the trend will go?
The deluxe album
The trend for artisan goods shows no sign of abating. Like the similar trend for slow food and slow living, the deluxe album signals leisure time. The box set used to be something to buy the fangirl or fanboy in your life for Christmas. Now almost every physical release aims to be special, limited and good enough to put on your minimalist bookshelves. The physical album has almost become a statement. Beck released his album ‘Song Reader’ as sheet-music only (above) , reminding us that the format is only a vessel for the real work.
As we recalled last week, BAMM.tv has had its eye on Amsterdam over the past year … and the verdict’s in: the Dutch can bring the goods with the best of them.
As we learned in the third episode of the Global Scene Amsterdam documentary series, the Netherlands produces a considerable amount of English-language output, with diverse influences. Inspiration comes from within, but location matters — even in a small country, with artists in the West tending to “play towards” the UK and the US, artists in the East keeping an eye on Germany, and artists in the South taking influence from Belgium. There is also a “Schiphol sound”, reflective of the large international airport at the heart of Western Europe where everyone seems to pass through at some time or other.
Global Scene is our flagship network program, offering a snapshot of what it’s like to be a musician in the most interesting music cities in the world (as well as Amsterdam, we’ve previously looked at the ultra-cool city of London). BAMM.tv doesn’t necessarily set out to produce “world music”, but we do produce interesting music from different parts of the world – music that we think deserves global recognition.
The diversity of the content we found in the Netherlands was astounding, and we think you’re in for a treat. We’re kicking things off with a week’s worth of singles from our Global Scene Live concert series, recorded in Amsterdam this year, as the documentary series was coming to an end.
For the rest of the week, we’ll be highlighting six outstanding bands. These include Koffie (playing an irresistable Afrobeat-inspired track), Avant la Lettre (the superb Dutch band with a French name playing compelling American indie), The Secret Love Parade (Holland’s answer to The xx), Hit Me TV (essential indie rockers whose albums you can download for free), Horses on Fire (indeed, they were smouldering that night) and the infectious energy and emotion of The Fudge.
Stay with BAMM.tv this week and next – because once you hear these songs, you’ll want to find out more about the artists. We’ll be releasing exclusive documentary interviews with all the bands all next week, alongside the world-famous International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)! We’ll also be rolling out more great videos from even more Global Scene Live artists, filmed at Amsterdam’s Desmet Studios, throughout the end of the year.
Oh yeah, musn’t forget (as if we would) …
Nobody would doubt that one of the most warmly received music groups in Amsterdam is the band Jungle by Night. Playing Afrobeat-inspired self-envisaged musical journeys, we had the privilege of working with them as they released their first full-length CD at the temple of Amsterdam music performances, Paradiso. We’ve captured the moment with an hour-long documentary introducing you to this unique musical collective, sharing the celebration on the happy occasion of their CD release party, and showing a good long set from Paradiso. That comes out next Monday, and we’re telling you: you won’t want to miss it.
Incidentally, if you’re in Amsterdam, you can pop by the Melkweg cinema on November 24th (time TBC) to catch a live screening!
So keep BAMM.tv on your musical radar in November. You’re going to like what you see and hear.
Musicians, artists, fans, techies, and press filled the BAMM.tv studio this October to experience Sufis, an intoxicating local band. Their sound, described by a BAMM.tv member as 1930’s swing meets Chuck Berry, drove a tantalizing performance. It was like something out of a mad, delectable, roaring, gypsy carnival.
With the kegs in place and cameras rolling, Sufis took the stage under a wild cornucopia of string, plumen bulbs, and multicolored ribbons that dipped across the studio ceiling. Lauren, the band’s lead singer, transformed into the queen of the carnival. Her raw, jazzy vocals lit up the crowded room while band mates Jonny, Felix and Ty swept the audience up into their vaulting tide of gypsy rock.
Navigating the studio was like trying to cross a listing wooden ship in a storm; hands and feet thrown every which way as the audience moved in tandem with the infectious sway of the band. Loud whistles, clapping, and stomping roared out of the crowd as Sufis’ set drew to a close.
You can see Sufis live in San Francisco at The Grant and Green show this Friday (11/9, free admittance) and at their November residency with Amnesia on Tuesdays after 9pm ($5-7).
Benn Jordan – otherwise known as The Flashbulb – is one of our favorite electronic artists here at BAMM.tv. His frenzied instrument-switching and mix-up-mastery has been the focus of many an exclusive BAMM performance, including the three beauties you can see below …
If you’re hankering for some more Flashbulb magic, however (and let’s be honest – who isn’t?) you’ll be pleased to hear that tomorrow (Oct 23) sees the release of his brand new album ‘Hardscrabble’. A whole new world of electro soundscapes awaits …
Take a look at the video above – a killer (and totally exclusive) BAMM.tv performance from Atlanta’s crazed psychedelic hip-hop rockers The Constellations. Ever since they treated us to this acoustic rendition of ‘Setback’ at the SXSW Festival a couple of years back, their star has been shining brighter and brighter (ha – see what we did there? Stars? Constellations? Right? Ah, forget it).
Anyway. If you like what you hear here, you should check out the soundtrack to Jennifer Garner’s slippery new comedy ‘Butter’, as The Constellations make an appearance therein. Trailer below …
You know all those hints we’ve been dropping for the past few months about the incredible app we’re working on? Well, unlike any politician ever, we’ve decided to keep those promises, and today we’re proud to announce that the BAMM.tv iPad app is now live and ready to download. Probably best if you stop reading this right now, actually, and go get it. Immediately. We’ll wait.
Back? Good. Now fire up the app and enjoy. You’re entering a whole new world of music discovery. This app is something we’ve slaved over (along with the expert guidance of legendary designer and all-round genius Mario Garcia), and we genuinely couldn’t be more thrilled to finally share it with you.
We’ll be posting all sorts of app-related stuff on the blog for the rest of the month, but – in the meantime – we hope you have a blast exploring our very own virtual venue.