college vs. semipro

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Postby mattootb » Wed May 23, 2007 5:28 am

For some reason the quote from Baseketball is popping into my head whenever I read this... "The Oilers moved to Tennessee where there is no oil, and The Jazz moved to Utah where they don't allow music" :D
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Postby jared allen » Wed May 23, 2007 7:08 am

Each group does sell over 50,000 copies, not combined in the first 3 months of the release. I don't know what their sales are after the first 3 months of the release but I would have to imagine it would be around 5000 to 10,000 copies per year. Both of the groups have over 4 CD's too. Talk about a nice part time income.

By the way I predict Jazz lose in 7 games to the Spurs.

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Postby whataboutrob » Wed May 23, 2007 7:14 am

We discussed it a bit when we were talking about BYU a cappella and it's new-found place at the top of the ICCA pile (having your all-girl and all guy group from the same campus win it two out of three years! Nuts!)

I think the reason a cappella is so popular in Utah is the same reason that a cappella is popular at BYU: Singing is "cool" because it's such an integral part of religious life, and religious life is central to a large number of Utah citizen's lives. You know where Utah actually reminds me of? England, where Anglican Choirs are very much a part of the religious/educational experience in a way that it's just not elsewhere in the US (Everytime you walk into a store and buy one of those "MOST SOOTHING CHORAL MUSIC EVER" volumes, you're likely buying music made by a Cambridge or Oxford Choir, and these are COLLEGE kids).

In England, this popularity of choral music translated into the success of groups like the Kings Singers, who are very good "choral" singers indeed, they're just doing sort of cheeky Beatles covers instead of Byrd. Correct me if I'm wrong, but "contemporary a cappella" (VP, soloist brought out in the recording, etc) is still a relatively new thing in England. I think I remember Matt from OTB saying on this Forum that their new album (whch I haven't heard yet) was a big step for them in terms of "contemporary recording process", like groups in the US have been doing for close to a decade now. The Oxford group at this year's ICCA finals wore formal dress and sang a lot of what I might call pseudo-choral jazz, and sounded nice enough doing it. You get my point.

In Utah, though, they've managed to do something which is even more interesting/wonderful: they've taken really good choral technique, and moved into the area of "contemporary a cappella" singing, whose focus on "proper technique" isn't much at all, and rather than sounding uptight or somehow uncomfortable, they sound really good (And trust me, Ronald Staheli, Brady Allred, et al. teach VERY good technique at the Universities in Utah. I've been a big fan of Dr. Staheli's for years, whose choirs always sound amazing, and Brady is actually an old mentor of mine. I'll take the college choirs in Utah right up against those from Cambridge or Oxford any day of the week and twice on Sundays).

It's really cool to see the evolution of singers who come from a really solid "choral" background into really good contemporary a cappella singers. Essentially turning the legacy of a really great English art form (really: Anglican Choral singing-Eastern American Christian Choral singing-Mormon Choral singing-Contemprary a cappella in Utah) into a distinctly AMERICAN art form. Think about it, contemporary a cappella today is really a truly American art form: it's largely American popular music that's been re-thought and performed in a way that had never been done before, and other countries are fast picking it up. That's awesome!

What's even more interesting is how groups at BYU (and I suspect other college groups in Utah, although my knowledge of the college a cappella scene in Utah is limited to the guys and gals at BYU) is their ability to program "spiritual" music right alongside their contemporary fare without missing a beat. Go here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=_lM0W1oMtIk and tell me that doesn't give you chills. I mean, I'm not really much of a Christian at all, and this makes me want to start putting spiritual music in my group's program.

Even cooler than that: BYU's a cappella groups, because of their strong choral training, are more familiar with "world" choral music, and use it in their programs. I forget the name of the piece they did at this years at ICCA's, but Noteworthy was the onle group I can remember doing something that wasn't American pop, and it was one of my favorite songs of the night.

What's the point of all this? I guess I'm really not surprised that groups in Utah (pro, semi-pro or college) sell so many cds. I think there's a larger point too (if you've managed to get through all of this), and that is: get your community involved. Use your local churches, if not for concerts than at least for general support. Get schools in your area involved, get a local business to sponsor your group, enlist the local high school kids (and college kids) to sell your cds, and pay them to do it. You'll probably sell more cds, expand your fanbase, and get a new pipeline of people looking to join your group when they're old enough.

An idea just occured to me: has anyone ever done a masterclass with a local community choir of adults (maybe a local church choir?)? These are people who sing because they love it, and maybe they're looking for a creative outlet and contemporary a cappella might get some new creative minds, or at least fans. I'd be interested to know.
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Postby mattootb » Wed May 23, 2007 8:39 am

whataboutrob wrote:I think the reason a cappella is so popular in Utah is the same reason that a cappella is popular at BYU: Singing is "cool" because it's such an integral part of religious life, and religious life is central to a large number of Utah citizen's lives. You know where Utah actually reminds me of? England, where Anglican Choirs are very much a part of the religious/educational experience in a way that it's just not elsewhere in the US (Everytime you walk into a store and buy one of those "MOST SOOTHING CHORAL MUSIC EVER" volumes, you're likely buying music made by a Cambridge or Oxford Choir, and these are COLLEGE kids).

In England, this popularity of choral music translated into the success of groups like the Kings Singers, who are very good "choral" singers indeed, they're just doing sort of cheeky Beatles covers instead of Byrd. Correct me if I'm wrong, but "contemporary a cappella" (VP, soloist brought out in the recording, etc) is still a relatively new thing in England. I think I remember Matt from OTB saying on this Forum that their new album (whch I haven't heard yet) was a big step for them in terms of "contemporary recording process", like groups in the US have been doing for close to a decade now. The Oxford group at this year's ICCA finals wore formal dress and sang a lot of what I might call pseudo-choral jazz, and sounded nice enough doing it. You get my point.


Pretty much spot on as regards the UK. You have upwards of 50 Cathedral Boys Choirs (and now lots of girls choirs too, though this is a more modern development), who then feed 200-300 or so highly trained choral singers into the (usually) private school system aged 13-18 (more often than not on fairly substantial music scholarships, meaning the parents can afford the top dollar education, and they have the kick up the backside needed to continue their music studies). These kids have been singing challenging music every day, 20-30 hours a week since age 8; it's not the level of childhood prodigy you see in instrumentalists, but they are damn good musicians. An impressive number of these then feed into the Oxford and Cambridge system, many of these to choral scholarships in the 5 'choral foundations' (Magdalen, New and Christ Church in Oxford, Kings and Johns in Cambridge). It is likely these choirs you are getting on your CDs.

A few of the students once they reach university gravitate away from the top-level choral singing (like myself, though it's something I'm getting back into through singing occasionally with Magdalen and the like). Some manage somehow to combine the choral stuff with A Cappella and other stuff (OOTB's current director holds down an organ scholarship at a small college, and treasurer of Schola Cantorum, another choir often featured on commercial CDs).

In addition, 4 of the 5 choral foundations run A Cappella groups on the side, mainly for corporate events, singing anything from Poulenc through to (largely cheesy-choral) Michael Jackson covers. This is exactly where the Kings Singers spring from, and the groups are fantastic to hear. Because of their choral commitments, they rarely tour or record, which is a shame for you guys! It's a different style of A Cappella, but just as valid. Then they often feed back into the choral stuff; Bill Ives went from choral scholar to Kings Singer, to director of music at Magdalen.

The "Contemporary A Cappella" influence is utterly imported. OOTB started by a Callback coming over for Grad School (2000), Oxford Belles started by a Virginia Belle doing exactly the same (Late 1990s). This is in contrast with the Gargoyles, who clearly come from the British A Cappella tradition. Is there an element of this with the BYU groups? I always kinda felt this left groups like OOTB in a funny position - where to take our influences from? We sang US-style arrangements and tried to record them as British choristers would for a while. Hopefully the sessions with Freddie, Tat and James Cannon are helping to change that, but if you lose the Britishness, then you lose a large part of us... The key is extracting the best of both, and hopefully that's what the group will keep striving for.

The only group that I can't fit in with the above theory are the Magnets, not knowing how they came to be. They were all at college in London together in the 90s if memory serves, but do not know their influences and such.

This must set some kind of record for tandents, but the short answer is Rob, I think you are right!
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Postby jthelegend » Thu May 24, 2007 7:06 am

MattOOTB wrote: Hopefully the sessions with Freddie, Tat and James Cannon are helping to change that, but if you lose the Britishness, then you lose a large part of us... The key is extracting the best of both, and hopefully that's what the group will keep striving for.
!


thanks for the shout-out matt! ...don't really have much to add to this conversation except that these guys rock and their new stuff is gonna be pretty awesome!
also, for matt, i don't think you have to worry about the guys losing their british roots in the least bud! i still remember the sake bomb induced singalongs and soccer cheers...
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Postby carlyonders » Thu May 24, 2007 7:40 am

jaredlallen wrote:Each group does sell over 50,000 copies, not combined in the first 3 months of the release. I don't know what their sales are after the first 3 months of the release but I would have to imagine it would be around 5000 to 10,000 copies per year. Both of the groups have over 4 CD's too. Talk about a nice part time income.

By the way I predict Jazz lose in 7 games to the Spurs.


So, these groups make at least $500,000-$750,000 gross (at $10-$15/CD), each, just from CD sales, in the 1st three months of their release. And it's only a part-time gig for them.

I have a hard time swallowing that, man. Who are these groups, and why are they only doing it part time?
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Postby jared allen » Thu May 24, 2007 10:08 pm

They go through distribution channels so they make $5 to $7 per CD. But that is still a pretty penny. Drop me a line if you would like to discuss it more in depth.

Jared Allen T Minus 5 Entertainment A Cappellastock 801-643-5057 jared@tminus5.com http://www.tminus5.com http://www.acappellastock.com http://www.jaredallenentertainment.com

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Postby jared allen » Thu May 24, 2007 10:57 pm

whataboutrob wrote:I think the reason a cappella is so popular in Utah is the same reason that a cappella is popular at BYU: Singing is "cool" because it's such an integral part of religious life, and religious life is central to a large number of Utah citizen's lives.


This is a big part of why CD's are sold in the Utah/Mormon market. I should say the Mormon market. There are over 14 million Mormons world wide...there are more Mormons outside the US then inside the US. These are people that share the same beliefs and principles. The LDS church has a very good networking system and has its own religious stores/book stores chain (kind of like a Borders Book) world wide. You can check it out www.deseretbook.com

Being an LDS/Mormon artist can open the door to 14 million people and a way to distribute your CD. I guess it pays to be Mormon ;-)

I should have called this entry Mormon Trivia.

Other Mormon Trivia: BYU's Vocal Point sang a song entitled "He is Born" when they won ICCA last year. This song was written, arranged, and first recorded by Aaron Edson. Aaron Edson went on and wrote music for an independent religious movie series for kids called "Liken". T Minus 5 performed the song "He is Born" in one of these movies called "The First Christmas". If you search their site www.likenit.com you will see member of T Minus 5. If anyone would like a copy of the movie let me know...I would be able to hook you up with one.

Jared Allen T Minus 5 Entertainment A Cappellastock 801-643-5057 jared@tminus5.com http://www.tminus5.com http://www.acappellastock.com http://www.jaredallenentertainment.com

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Postby billhare » Fri May 25, 2007 12:39 pm

jaredlallen wrote:I should have called this entry Mormon Trivia.


(Marie) I'm a little bit Country
(Donny) I'm a little bit Rock & Roll
(Jared) I'm a little bit Redneck Avenger

There's some Mormon Rock & Roll history right there! ;-)

But yes, when I went out to Utah to work with Jared et al a few years back, I saw a little bit of what he's talking about - quite impressive, to say the least. But a special circumstance too... it kind of inflates the general numbers in a way that's not reproducible in other markets. Not that I would complain - having our Mormon friends put on an amazing event like A Cappellastock is a HUGE benefit to the rest of us, but not something that can be emulated outside of that special circumstance in my opinion.

Something to strive for, surely....

-B

Bill Hare Some dude who records and mixes people who can't play instruments. http://www.dyz.com

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Postby jduchan » Sat May 26, 2007 7:25 am

Those are pretty impressive numbers, although the Mormon network certainly helps to explain them. But I'll reiterate a question asked earlier:

Who are these groups? Do they have names? Can the rest of us look them up?

Joshua S. Duchan, Ph.D.

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Univ. of Pennsylvania Counterparts, 1999-2001

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Postby jared allen » Sat May 26, 2007 10:59 am

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Postby tekay » Sat May 26, 2007 7:22 pm



Would you add eclipse to this list?

And I'm still missing Extempo. Le sigh.

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Re: college vs. semipro

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Re: college vs. semipro

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Re: college vs. semipro

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