Twitter Tuesday: Avicii

How often do Swedish DJs gain international success? I know of one solid case. Avicii, or Tim Bergling as his parents named him, has been gaining more and more popularity within the past few years. His success of producing catchy, EDM (electronic dance music) is on a steady uphill climb. His massive hit “Levels” which Flo Rida had to jump in on, got his name on the charts. For a musician who doesn’t make a sound except through digital programming, what is his online voice like? As do many producers and DJs, Avicii has a lot less face time than, let’s say Lady Gaga or Phillip Phillips. Does his Twitter reflect that, or is it an outlet for his bashfulness to give way to a strong voice?

His profile header may look bland and unenthused, but his timeline tells a different story. Avicii’s tweets bleed humility and gratitude. It’s hard not to want to be this guy’s friend. His use of Twitter isn’t anything groundbreaking or revolutionary. He’s just a simple dude that lets his gratitude be shown via social media.

You’d think after reading the above tweets that Avicii lost out to his competitors the mentioned award (EDM Artist of the Year during the AMAs), but he actually won. Much like his thank you speech was short, soft spoken and sweet, his modesty is easily seen in his Tweets.

He may not take steps for huge interaction with his audience, but that doesn’t stop them from responding to his tweets of thanks with admiration and respect.

Although his direct interaction with fans is limited, Avicii acknowledges individual fans from time to time.

Between his personal tweets and all of the replies on his fans’ part, there is a neverending wave of positivity surrounding his Twitter feed. Avicii is glad that he is alive and he lets everyone know it.

Aside from posting tweets beaming with optimism, Avicii also uses Twitter like anyone in the entertainment industry does, and that’s by promoting. It kind of goes hands down by now that every artist or celebrity is going to let people know about upcoming works. This just goes to show that not even the most meek people will refrain from plugging their feed with links to a new product or song (and that’s okay!).

With that said, Avicii really doesn’t make a habit out of tweeting about upcoming things. Most of his tweets are personal. When his new album “True” was releasing there was more commotion and retweets pertaining to the advertising of it. A few weeks later, though, and Avicii is back to tweeting happy things. It doesn’t seem like he believes in beating a dead horse, or even one that still has life in it. He lets you know what’s going on, and if you get the album or watch the music video he’s forever grateful. If you don’t, well then you don’t have to worry about being spammed with links.

Hey may not get as much interaction (via retweets and favorites) as most of the pop stars ruling the charts, but it doesn’t stop Avicii from continuing his system of thankful and positive tweets.

Thanks for reading.

Twitter Tuesday: Comparison of the “Big 3” record companies

Last week Warner Bros. Records were on stage for Twitter Tuesday. WBR is a daughter company with Warner Music, one of the “Big Thre” largest record labels. The three labels that hold the largest market share in the music industry are Warner Music, Universal Music Group, Sony Music. The past decade has seen the downfall or merging of multiple major record labels. Recently, EMI was sold and became a part of Universal Records. Now that only 3 major record labels remain standing, let’s see how they’re taking on the battle of social media.

Below we’ll take a brief look at each of the labels and then do a round up and comparison.

Warner Music is the only American owned group on the list. Of the three big companies they also have the fewest number of followers. Granted, they own a smaller portion of the industry than the others, but does their approach to tweeting have an affect on their fanbase? While Warner Bros. Records had personality in their tweets with the occasional retweet to promote an artist, Warner Music is nearly zero voice and all retweets. Of their last 40 tweets, 39 have been retweets. All of it is relevant information, whether it be an artist talking about an upcoming event or a music publication commending someone. Although Warner Music’s personal tweets are seldom, they retweet posts from branches of their company such as Warner Bros. Records, The Warner Sound and Warner Bros. Promo.

When they do tweet it’s usually either congratulating a member of their label for something or asking followers to “check out” something new.

Their lack of original content makes it difficult for their brand and profile to be promoted. People wanting an aggregate of other sources may still get something out of this profile, but as for news and insights, they don’t add much.

Sony Music is second in market share, but number one in Twitter reach. With over 300,000 followers, Sony boasts nearly 100,000 more followers than Universal. Their take on Twitter is very contrasting to Warner Music Group, yet similar to Warner Bros. Records. They utilize a highly informational, yet personal voice. Instead of running info like a scrolling banner on a message board, Sony’s tweets are talking at their followers. Instead of posting newspaper clippings of what others are saying about their clients, they are the ones plugging and reinforcing them. There are actually hardly any retweets. They stick to trying to engage readers with the content by stimulating the conversations with relevant information and semi-rhetorical questions.

Although they don’t respond to followers and they hardly ever retweet posts, Sony Music has a strong group of followers. This can probably be thanks to their smooth promotions, which pass viewers on to a new video or song premiere without them relying on someone else’s tweets.

Universal Music Group is the leader in major record labels. In 2012 they swallowed up (or the more technical term “merged”) EMI, reducing the “Big 4” to the “Big 3”. They may not have as many followers as Sony, but a look at their timeline doesn’t show anything that would indicate a poor job with social media. If anything, their balance of professional and personal, and original and retweeted content is a perfect blend. Everything about their profile is fun and engaging. From their collage of album covers as a background (which is similar to Warner Music’s) to their integration of Vine, Universal isn’t afraid to step out of the “suit & tie” formal atmosphere. They wish people happy birthday, redirect you to sales and host free giveaways of concerts and music. Colorful is a good word to describe this Twitter feed. Not all of their tweets are black and white advertisements for their artists. Almost all of them link to a musician on the label, but some are more acknowledgement than promotion.

Round Up

I’ve said it before, and I’ll reiterate: Twitter followers don’t directly indicate how “good” or “bad” a company is doing. With that said, it does say how people react to that company’s social media use. Twitter serves as a place for people who don’t have the time or desire to browse the web for full length blogs to scroll through and discover new info and be plugged into a network. With more and more people spending their days on Twitter, it is becoming a valuable means to relay information and brand yourself. The cool thing about it as well is that there aren’t any set rules for how to Tweet. The “Big 3” all take different approaches at gaining followers. And while Warner is getting the least involvement, it isn’t drastically behind Sony and Universal, considering the share of the market each group holds. Maybe it just comes down to who likes one group’s artists more than the others, and that will indicate a larger reception for social media use. If there is one universal thing that can be said from all seemingly “successful” Twitter users, it’s that people like getting info (normally from the actual poster) and interaction. Followers yearn for information. That’s why they follow music label Twitters, not for shocking dance moves and racy comments. They also like to know they they are noticed, which is why things like Q&A’s, contests and questions catch people’s attention.

Which of these three record labels are the “best” at using Twitter? That’s subjective. Universal brings a fun, no holds barred vibe, Warner leans on other’s posts as the primary source for content, and Sony goes a more tame, composed form of posting information.

Does one look better than the other? Let me know in the comments below!

Concerts in the Cloud Part 2

Last week I looked at the effectiveness and ethics of concert attendees recording and uploading live footage to the internet. The consensus on the internet seems to be weighted on the side of it being more harm than good. Despite promotional uses, people waving their phones around at a concert takes away too much from the experience and ultimately harms all parties involved.

This week I want to move on to a different form of “concerts in the clouds”. While it is easy to hate on the people recording performances on their phone during concerts, what can be said when artists or venues live stream and upload concerts? It’s a similar crime with a different perpetrator. But is it really a crime? Many services and sites exist that bring live performances to online viewers. Not only does it capture an intimate concert experience and extend it to the cloud, but it does so often in its entirety. Some sites offer thousands of concerts available for viewing for a subscription-based membership. Should this be a cause of concern for reasons stated from last week? Or is this a new breed entirely? Do people look down on this or is it more accepted? Below is a video about IRocke, a massive concert streaming services that spans countless venues and artists.

The fact that there are so many concert streaming services indicates that it must be at least partially accepted by the music industry. Concert Window, a streaming service based out of New York, is ran by “musicians, music lovers and tech enthusiasts.” IRocke is another extensive concert streaming site, with both of its founders being involved in the entertainment industry (one was involved with MCA/Universal and the other a venue owner). These are bound to not be the only examples of streaming services being handled by members of the music industry. Also, a majority of the streaming services work directly with the acts that they stream, giving them a portion of revenue earned. With venue owners, artists and other personalities involved in the creation and running of these sites, there isn’t too much of an ongoing conversation about whether it’s “wrong” or “right”.
The main objection that can be found on the matter is that streaming high definition concerts will deter people from going through the hassle of buying a ticket and physically attending the show. Sure, people are still paying some amount to view the stream, but they aren’t physically present to add to the experience and intimacy of a concert. A concert on a computer, phone or TV screen is less dimensional than actually being surrounded by the loud, energetic atmosphere of a show.
Despite the concern of losing potential physical concert goers, many venue owners and musicians see concert streaming as a way of promotion and expanding their reach. Forbes’ calls it a, “nice additive to the concert-going experience.” Alex Pham of Billboard says in a USA Today article that it doesn’t harm ticket sales, but, “drum(s) up excitement for the events.”
The video below features Nic Adler from the Roxy Theatre commending the use of streaming concerts, as well as connecting concerts to social media to help better future performances.

The ethical landscape for professional concert streaming seems to be getting a nearly unanimous thumbs up. Beyond ethics, it is almost indisputable that streaming has effectively helped bands and musicians with promotion and branding. This infographic, featured in the aforementioned Forbes article, displays the huge reach of streaming, as well as the continued growth in ticket sales revenue for festivals that are generally broadcast online.
I think Forbes summarizes the music industry’s use of streaming the best by saying,
“In the past five years, music festival and concert producers have quickly adopted live streaming as a surefire way to increase social media engagement, attract more advertisers, strengthen brands, and ultimately grow revenue.”
It may seem interesting, the contrast of opinion between fans uploading and streaming concerts and concert producers and sites doing the same thing. In summary, the distinction can maybe be put like this.
Concert goers streaming performances
  • Distracts performer and other attendees
  • Often poor quality
  • Detracts from the user’s personal experience

Sites and services streaming performances

  • Always have artists’ consent
  • Artists’ generally make some form of profit from streaming
  • High quality
  • Beneficial to the promotion and branding of artists

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading.

Twitter Tuesday: Warner Bros. Records

The social networking world is normally head over heels obsessed with celebrities’ every little move, including what they tweet. Popular artists will gain hundreds of thousands of followers and people will over scrutinize what they say to the smallest punctuation mark. It’s these same musicians that are fun to analyze and do Twitter Tuesdays on. This week, we’re going to look at the music industry’s use of Twitter from a slightly different standpoint. Warner Bros. Records is one of the largest record companies in the United States. They boast some of the biggest musicians on the scene. From alt-metal masters Avenged Sevenfold to classy jazzy pop artist Michael Bublé, Warner Bros. spans the spectrum of genres. Having political punk rock (Green Day) and Cher on the same label seems crazy, but alas Warner Bros. proudly claim both.

So what does their use of Twitter look like? Is there an obvious lack of personality because it is a collective rather than an individual?

It is apparent by the lack of emotion fueled banter that they don’t try to be anything other than what they are. At the same time, however, there is some sort of personality to the tweets.

Even Warner Bros. can appreciate the end of the week.

Take tweets where the record company asks followers for their input about a who’s tuning into a certain event, or tweets asking people to “check out” or “tune in”, and it doesn’t look much different than what a celebrity’s personal Twitter would tweet.

Although  most of the questions asked are basically rhetorical, by them throwing the questions out at all encourages followers to respond.

Apart from questions, there is still a fun and playful voice. For instance, they, like the rest of the YouTube and internet society, can’t help but talk about what the fox says.

Through light hearted Tweets about Ylvis’s big hit and questions that are really directing readers to a bigger conversation, Warner Bros focuses on one thing, and basically one thing only: promotion. They don’t spam the same link over and over, and they don’t tweet about all of their artists’ new albums, shows and interviews, that would be too much to bear. How they select what interviews and music videos to tweet about I’m not quite sure, but they spread their love. And if they aren’t directly tweeting about an artist, they retweet their artists’ tweets left and right. In fact, Twtrland says about 53% of Warner Bros. tweets are retweets. It reminds me of that proud grandma that tells everyone about how great her grandkids are and she puts all of the newspaper clippings with their names on the fridge. Warner Bros. is great about retweeting relevant information.

The following tweets were all retweeted by Warner Bros. Records.

Warner Bros. may run a very professional, yet fun timeline, but does it make a difference? Do people care about what a company says when they could follow their favorite musicians personally? The majority of Tweets from Warner Bros. mentioning an artist tag the artist’s personal Twitter handle. It’s easy for people wanting Tegan & Sara or Lily Allen’s latest updates to just follow the account of the artist themselves.

This profile has 163,000 followers, which is a significant amount, but compared to the artists they’re representing it is a tiny fraction of people reading their tweets. Do they succeed at anything that wouldn’t happen without their Twitter? I think the answer is yes. Their fan base isn’t going to be catered to the same as Jason DeRulo’s or the Black Keys. Warner Bros. is a major record label, and people that want to know about major happenings in the music industry will have an interest in Warner Bros.’ Twitter. A look at other prominent record companies shows interesting data. Primarily hardcore record label Rise Records has over 187,000 followers, and Island Records and Def Jam Records each boast over 400,000. According to this USA Today article, Warner Bros. holds a significantly higher portion of the market than the other three record companies. So there must be something else contributing to the lack of reception in an otherwise good looking Twitter feed of Warner Bros. Records.
Check back next Twitter Tuesday for a comparison of different record companies.
Thanks for reading.

Concerts in the cloud part 1

Photo: Henrik Sorensen / Getty Images

Photo: Henrik Sorensen / Getty Images

This is the first of a two part series entitled “Concerts in the cloud”. The series looks at the effectiveness and ethics of connecting live performances to the internet. As far as mass communication goes, there is nothing more broad and reaching than the collective known as “the internet”. With that said, are certain important values of live performance lost in the transmission from live to digital? Part one breaks down the ethics and aid of fans self recording segments of a concert, and then uploading it to the digital cloud of YouTube, Facebook, etc.

Let’s face it, most of the concert-going crowd today almost always have a smart phone glued to their palm. Just like any other outing, people see concerts as something that needs to be Tweeted, Instagrammed, Facebooked and captured by pictures and videos, lest it be forgotten. It is almost as if people believe that if no one sees or hears that they went to a concert, then it never happened. That may contribute to the sea of camera flashes and social media updates that occur at any given point during a concert. And while recording video is the most tangible and multimedia means of immortalizing a concert experience, live tweeting the band’s every move can also greatly add or take away from the performance. Is this necessarily a bad thing? Are there advantages to documenting concert going experiences with YouTube uploads and an abundance of pictures? Some vehemently oppose the glowing screens plaguing the sea of attendees, while some offer tips on how to do it better!

First we can talk about the upsides to connecting a live performance to the digital world. A reported 64% of teenagers discover new music from YouTube. Although this statistic doesn’t say what amount of music are fan-recorded videos of live performances, the fact that over half of teenagers lean on YouTube to discover music is telling. According to this infographic from Forbes, 72 hours of video are uploaded to the internet every minute. Even if a small percentage of that number is concert footage, that is still a staggering amount.

YouTube is artist friendly with their suggestive sidebars, so it is easy to go from one performance to the next, even if you’ve never heard of the band. This type of promotion is nearly unparalleled. On paper, seeing the amount of music that is reaching potential fans sounds great. Apart from YouTube, updates on social networks about what concert you’re attending can be very useful. One of the biggest goals of any musician is to generate a conversation among a community of people. Letting all of you friends and followers know how excited you are to go see ____ gets their name and image out there.

Additionally, for avid fans of a certain musician, there is something so attractive about a live performance. I peruse YouTube like I’m lacking oxygen and it supplies a never-ending tank of the sweet stuff. Listening to a live version of a song on YouTube is hearing it in a whole new light. Instead of just hearing the studio version of a song dubbed over a lyric or music video, watching a live version adds a whole new level of entertainment. Rather than just an audio track, there is live performance, natural vocals and the aspect of crowd interaction. If you’re on the fence about going to see an artist live, and they have incredible live sound and stage presence, then that online video is the push needed for someone to garner an extra fan.

To wrap up the positives, having fans upload concerts to the internet increases exposure, which is almost always a good thing. And viewing live videos online provide a deeper form of entertainment, and can convince listeners of that artist’s talent.

Now, onto the negatives. Unfortunately for the self-proclaimed tech savvy teen, few like people hiding behind cell phones at concerts. A quick Google search of “Cell phones at concerts” will yield a high amount of negative opinions on the matter. Also found on the aforementioned Forbes infographic is the statistic that, out of every 100 concert goers, 47% of them will be texting and 32% will be updating their Facebook/Twitter accounts. Neither of those directly equate to recording video, but the precept is the same: a lot of people are utilizing their phones in the midst of a concert.

The arguments against using a cell phone to transmit a concert experience into megabytes, pixels and statuses can be summed up with three general statements.

The first is that it takes away from the experience for the person behind the smartphone. A concert is something that you probably paid a decent amount of money for. Spending your few hours worrying about getting the right sound, lighting, focus, etc. distracts you from the thing you actually paid for! If you want to experience the concert, then experience it! Don’t try and fervently document it.

Secondly, focusing on storing the concert in your phone every way possible does a disservice to the artists you’re watching. Artists like Wilco and the Black Crows ask their fans to refrain from using their phones to take photos or videos at their shows. Musicians want to play to the beautiful faces of their endearing fans, not the shiny lens of a camera phone. Also, uploading concert footage takes away from the intimacy of a live show, which leads to the third point.

Potential fans deserve to get the full experience of a concert. When thousands of live videos are easily accessible online to view, they build expectations for these shows. Sure, you could say if they don’t want to ruin the mystery of the concert they don’t have to watch the videos, but that’s like dangling a juicy slab of meat in front of a ravenous pit bull.

The debate of whether fans should use their smartphones to capture a concert is back and forth, especially among fans. Some religiously assess the situation, basically insisting that respect for artists and other concert goers must be taken into account.

With all of that said, the ethics is up in the air, but where does the effectiveness of promotion and building fan bases lay when cell phones are involved at concerts? If you value numbers, then shooting video after video may seem advantageous. That may come at the cost of the hollowed ground of intimate live performances, though.

What are your thoughts?

Check back next week for part 2, which takes a look at services and websites that consentingly live stream concerts and performances.

Twitter Tuesday: Lorde

What does a chart topping, international hit get a 16 year old girl from New Zealand? Well, for a start her Twitter account now boasts over 400,000 followers. Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor, better known by her stage name as Lorde, has rocketed to success after “Royals” was released. As a girl in the midst of her teens, Lorde is no stranger to social media such as Twitter. Does her fame taint the freedom that younger audiences love to express via Twitter? A quick look at her Twitter feed will show that Lorde uses Twitter much like anyone else her age would. She just happens to be able to say things like “wow, number 3 record in america, in excellent company! this is so special.”

Lorde’s Twitter feed reflects more of the avid music fan and less of the highly successful music star. She loves tweeting about music she enjoys, retweets generously and apparently hates capitalization and punctuation. The big difference between her Twitter feed and that of many other successful musicians is that hers isn’t all about herself. It is and it isn’t. The recurring theme isn’t “Lorde”. The recurring theme is “Lorde’s eclectic thoughts and funny/relevant things she wants to retweet”. If you squint your eyes and scroll down her timeline it may be difficult to tell the difference between the famous pop star and a teenager with a trigger-finger for sending out tweets. There is no polished star quality to her words, she just says what she wants.

Not even a stint at #1 on iTunes can protect musicians like Lorde from the hypnotic allure of Candy Crush and stress of acne.

Some of her retweets are as follows:

Don’t be deceived, she doesn’t only tweet typical teenage girl stuff. It is apparent that music plays a huge role in her life, as if the fact that she’s an internationally praised musician doesn’t cue to that already. With the same authenticity and voice that she tweets her adolescent thoughts she shouts out other artists, commends fans and tells about upcoming releases and info.

While she freely shouts out cities she is playing in, Lorde isn’t big on tweeting fans back. According to twtrland, 50% of Lorde’s tweets are replies, but seldom are they to someone other than another artist. Maybe the two-way communication exists in the depths of her Twitter feed before she exploded into the international music scene. Although she doesn’t respond to her pleading fans on Twitter, Lorde also has a Tumblr, where she will respond to questions more frequently.

Lorde doesn’t seem to worry about meticulously planning out the promotion of her music. Not through Twitter anyways. She uses Twitter like I do. If she thinks something tweetworthy, she probably tweets it. And if she sees something funny or relevant she will retweet it. While there are some musicians who try to maintain a personal voice in their mainly professional Twitter, Lorde’s personality is first and foremost. If she’s got a new live performance or music video out she will tweet about it, but unlike many of her contemporaries she won’t spam her followers daily.

She isn’t nonchalant about her success. Caps lock, exclamation marks and smile emojis are pretty good indications of someone being giddy with excitement. While her music may be bigger than life right now, Lorde is just a tweet-loving teen.That makes for an entertaining and easy to read feed. If you scroll down far enough you’ll even see tweets about her school prom.

Of all of the Twitter Tuesdays thus far, none are more candid and personal than Lorde’s. This New Zealander’s voice may be considered old and soulful, but her Twitter is young and playful.

Thanks for reading.

Twitter Tuesday: Paul McCartney

While the subjects of Twitter Tuesday have generally been young, budding stars in the music industry, there will always be a place for music royalty. Sir Paul McCartney has been making music longer than most of today’s Top 20 artists have been alive. With someone of his stature and respect, his Twitter will automatically gain large numbers of followers. With such a following already bound to exist, how will he utilize his Twitter?

Okay, after reading his bio, we have to point out the obvious, Paul isn’t the one typing these tweets. It states “updated by MPL“, which is a licensing and publishing company founded by Paul McCartney. At least he’s not discreetly hiding behind a guise of marketing and public relations personnel. With that in the open, his Twitter is run pretty smoothly. One thing that comes from not directly using your Twitter is not having highly opinionated and controversial tweets posted. Instead, McCartney’s Twitter is filled with promotion, engagement and interaction. McCartney recently released his sixteenth studio album, “New”. Instead of going the traditional route of promoting by relentlessly posting reminders that the album is about to release, McCartney’s Twitter allows fans to interact with the promotion.

As shown in the tweet above, it is clearly relaying the information that his new album is going to be released soon. What it does that transcends one-way promotion is encourage fans to respond. People like to talk about things that they are interested in. As if getting to respond about something you care about isn’t rewarding enough, there are times when incentives such as free concert tickets are thrown into the pot for responding to things such as trivia questions.

McCartney’s Twitter feed may not be run by the elder Beatle himself, but no one can say that it is boring. Followers of his feed are constantly being asked to contribute to the conversation, whether it be a Q&A with McCartney, a trivia question, or just general thoughts about his new album. For the Q&A’s, which began October 3rd of this year, Paul chooses among questions submitted with the hashtag “#AskMacca”. He answered a handful of questions that first day, but since it has slowed to question every day or so.

The responses appear to come from McCartney himself, which breaks any tension that may have accumulated over fans yearning for some actual interaction with the adored musician. Engagement is obviously a huge priority for MLP when it comes to running McCartney’s Twitter. Even plugs such as an article to BuzzFeed that has gifs from his new music video are laced with calls for two-way communication.

It would be easy for the social media staff in charge of running McCartney’s Twitter to just post updates on new albums, interviews, events. McCartney’s music legacy could stand alone without a captivating Twitter feed, but he goes the extra mile. Does he need highly engaging tweets to keep his social standing afloat? Probably not. But the constant interaction between MLP, McCartney himself, and his 1.6 million+ followers surely keeps them coming back for more.

Thanks for reading.

Twitter Tuesday: Kanye West

It was only a matter of time before Yeezy’s turn on Twitter Tuesday came around. Kanye West has no problem speaking his mind, regardless of how grandiose or pretentious his thoughts may be.

His Twitter may not fully reflect his entire personality, though. West habitually deletes tweets. Only 34 tweets currently exist on his page. His Twitter profile is minimalistic at best, with a white background and a bio consisting of a link to his website, which consists of nothing more than his upcoming tour dates and a link to sign up for updates.

Onto his actual tweets, or what remains of them, West’s Twitter feed is filled with what would be expected from a hip hop icon. He promotes his upcoming works, works of others, and himself as a whole.

Promoting yourself is a standard thing for anyone in the entertainment industry. The way Kanye acts would make it seem like he is at the top of the hip hop food chain. Whether that is true or not is debatable, but his number of followers on Twitter reflects someone who is a heavy hitter, but not quite the alpha rapper. He boasts just under 10 million followers, which is undeniably a huge number of people seeing his tweets, but comparatively a different story is revealed. Wiz Khalifa, Lil Wayne, Drake and Eminem all have more people following them on Twitter. Of course that isn’t solely indicative of popularity, but it shows that for whatever reason, less people want to follow West’s feed.

A huge part of West’s Twitter identity comes through his grandiose statements:

And high octane rants:

The above rant, which includes a portion of what he said, is rather tame. But West made headlines for the umpteenth time at the end of September when he unleashed a not-so-tame barrage of tweets in response to Jimmy Kimmel’s late night skit, where he hired child actors to reenact Kanye’s interview with the BBC. West and Kimmel recovered their bond when Yeezy came onto the late night show to be interviewed by Kimmel. At a point in the interview, a break was taken for Josh Groban to put some of West’s “best” tweets, all which have been deleted, to music. Check out the video below:

West deleted his rant, leaving his Twitter feed mild for the most part.

It’s this brash and bold personality that draws some people in, and also what validates other’s disdain for the rap phenom.

Is his remove-the-evidence routine and basic promotion a good thing for West? His Twitter doesn’t effectively portray his larger-than-life personality. I thought my computer was messing up when it wouldn’t load more than 30 some tweets. Sure,  he has his ego-filled tweets and mini rants, but the lack of consistency and lack of personality doesn’t really effectively communicate much. Maybe he is trying to add to the enigma that is Kanye West. One thing is for sure, and that is that Kanye West is going to do what he wants and no one’s opinion will change that.

Thanks for reading.

Vinyl’s Blast From the Past

For awhile, vinyl was sinking. Sales were dropping, plants were closing, and there wasn’t much of a demand for the vintage medium of playing music. Something happened in the past decade, however, which brought back the allure of the vinyl record. We can chalk it up to the stampede of the hipsters, but there arguably has to be some deeper lying meaning. There’s the argument of sound quality, which I talked about in an earlier post, but even that only speaks for the smaller community of audiophiles.

It can’t be the convenience of records that keep people buying. As Jim Farber from NY Daily News put it,

“They’re bulky to store, vulnerable to damage and a bitch to transport.”

Whatever the reason(s), it is happening, vinyl is making a comeback. It’s not like they’re in the running to overtake CDs or MP3s. They still only boast 1.4% of the market share, according to this article from Zumic. What catches the eye, though, is the consistent growth rate of record sales. Different studies show different numbers, but one thing is certain: people want more and more vinyl. Some may think the resurgence of vinyl is a nostalgia-fueled trend that will fade out, but since 2005 sales have been steadily increasing, and are expected to increase as much as 30% next year!

In a tactfully accurate metaphor, Mike Reid of Tiny Mixtapes said,

“Have vinyl record manufacturers felt the urge to contact their doctors yet? Because this commercial erection appears to be lasting way longer than four hours.”

No doctors need be contacted, though. The consequence of this rise in records comes in the form of dollar signs for vinyl manufacturers. If any concern is raised, it’s that there is such a high demand and not enough vinyl pressing plants. While a booming vinyl industry isn’t a bad thing, it is worth noting that there are only 16 vinyl pressing plants in the United States, as listed by

It is by route of these pressing plants that the music industry has access to one of the most tangible forms of mass communication, the mass distribution of physical music. Each of these plants, color coded by region, don’t have to worry about not filling any certain quota. The number of records cranked out daily can easily daze. According to this article from Fox, Nashville’s United Record Pressing produces between 20,000 and 40,000 records a day!

Regardless of how many MP3s are being bought, or CDs produced, this one sample shows that vinyls aren’t a luxury or a small-time fad. Vince Slusarz owner of Gotta Groove Records, a vinyl plant in Cleveland, attributes the comeback of records to a fan’s desire for a physical representation of the music they love. In this video he talks about how MP3s are more accessible and portable than CDs, making CDs less needed, yet people still want something to hold onto. That is where records come into play. As far as ways of listening to music, nothing says, “I love this album,” like a grooved, vinyl disc.

It is almost as if vinyls go beyond aural art, and branch into visual art. Seeing record covers of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band,” and “Dark Side of the Moon,” hanging on someone’s wall really adds to their identity. At least more than CDs neatly stacked in a bookshelf would. That speaks to Slusarz’ claim that vinyl is the more desired physical representation of music (even if the numbers don’t quite back it).

Whatever the reason is for this comeback of vinyl, only time will tell where it goes. The trend is looking up for audiophiles and vinyl plants. May those of generations before let a joyful tear well up in their eye as they see the revival of the medium of music that they loved.

Thanks for reading.

Twitter Tuesday: Brendon Urie

Today Panic! at the Disco released their new album Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die. So, it is fitting that today we check out frontman Brendon Urie’s Twitter feed. In the past we’ve looked at single artists topping the charts of the music industry. Urie, however, is one third of Panic! at the Disco. His Twitter feed reflects that, not of a business-minded musician, but simply a person who happens to be the singer of one of America’s favorite pop rock outfits.

Urie’s approach to Twitter isn’t one that seems to hard to comprehend. He doesn’t spam updates for his new album, or incessantly tweet ramblings about life. Rather, his personality is evident in his casual posting of tweets. His Twitter is equal parts promoting new music, retweeting fans, and posting thoughts, including plugs for other artists.

As for two-way fan interaction, there isn’t much. Urie has no problem retweeting fans, especially if they are tweets endorsing Panic! at the Disco. Apart from those endearing tweets, there aren’t many responses, though. For Urie, twitter clearly isn’t meant for developing an interactive fan base.

So if he isn’t spamming and he’s not talking to fans, what is Urie doing on Twitter? Well, for one, he likes to Vine, and his Vine and Instagram is linked with his Twitter.

Urie doesn’t hold himself too seriously. He doesn’t hold his Twitter too seriously either. That’s not to say he doesn’t tweet the necessary, “My new album comes out today,” or “Watch my interview with punk bagel here,” but he does it in a manner that isn’t dull and trite. He likes to retweet select tweets, either from fans, companies or other bands, that say how good his music is. That way, he isn’t trying to redirect people to a new song, or toot his own horn, but he is letting other people talk for him. That way, there is much more credibility.

How effective is this laid-back strategy of tweeting? Well, Urie is no social media entrepreneur. It doesn’t appear that he is trying to become the world’s most retweeted musician. And his tweets don’t indicate that he’s a masterful strategist aiming to keep his band afloat via stellar social media promotion. There almost isn’t anything to dig deep into. Urie tweets about upcoming singles, albums, interviews, features, etc. that his band is a part of. He tweets about bands or albums he likes, or funny things he’s thought/experienced. As far as Twitter goes, Urie seems to just be a guy that loves humor, vines, and being in a band.

Maybe Urie has something up his proverbial Twitter-sleeve. Or maybe he just likes to Tweet whatever he feels like. Regardless, he has his own method of gaining fans.

Thanks for reading.