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RARB/CASA Forums • View topic - college vs. semipro

college vs. semipro

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Postby jduchan » Fri May 18, 2007 2:45 pm

Joshua S. Duchan, Ph.D.

Department of Music, Wayne State University

Univ. of Michigan Amazin' Blue, 2001-2007

Univ. of Pennsylvania Counterparts, 1999-2001

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Postby seth » Sat May 19, 2007 11:13 am

I can't help but notice that the semipro groups mentioned here seem to be relying on pre-internet methods of building a fan base and making money. It's great that you send out your tour schedules by email, but there's a lot more that could be done to cultivate a community of dedicated word-of-mouthing fans.

Deke, where's the weekly House Jacks clip of things you never thought you'd hear in six-part harmony, and where's the web-based discussion forum that goes with it? Where's the contest I can enter to win a ring tone that sings "Hey, Seth! This is the sound of your phone. Somebody wants to talk to you."?

Sure, some people are getting your music for free, and some of those people might have paid for it if they had to, but you're also competing much more these days just for people's attention. For every person who copied your album there are a million who never heard of you. Tim O'Reilly (book publisher) , "Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy." Cory Doctorow, who gives away his novels on his web site says, "All the people out there who didn't buy my books mainly did so because they hadn't heard of me, not because they could get it for free."
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Postby elocomotive » Sun May 20, 2007 7:59 am

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Postby dekesharon » Sun May 20, 2007 1:57 pm

- Deke Sharon • 800.579.9305 • http://www.dekesharon.com

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Postby whataboutrob » Sun May 20, 2007 9:19 pm

It's a funny thing. Consider this: who is the most popular a cappella group in the world? Probably Rockapella, right?

Is this because they're the most talented, or best looking, or even most original group out there? Not really (although when they came to Purchase this fall I sat in the 4th row and acted like a total fan-girl. No joke, my friends were actually ashamed to be with me). Most people know Rockapella from Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego and that Folgers commercial, not exactly the cover of Time magazine.

Boyz to Men were really popular in the 90's, but I don't think this community would define them as an "a cappella group" (nor, to be fair, would I.)

There was a time when do-wop was really popular in America, but they used bands to back them as well. Vocal music? Sure. A cappella as this community traditionally defines it? Nope.

What's my point? Well, I don't think that vocal bands (or a cappella in general) will ever be really "popular", with singers in vocal bands doing as well financially as "mainstream" pop artists. You know what?

I'm totally ok with that (and I say that as someone who is seriously considering doing this for a living when I graduate in a year).

And you know why? We have something better that DOES work.

I think the best part of a cappella is it's accessibility and the ability to realy educate/engage young people. I think that Deke or anyone else making a living doing this would probably tell you that the best part of their job is turning young people on to the art form (through workshops at schools and the like). In fact, I bet everyone who reads this board probably had some sort of "conversion experience", where they heard a group and realized they wanted to make contemporary a cappella a part of their lives (mine was the Potsdam Pointercounts, Summer of '01)

So maybe that should be the discussion here. How can we use technology (recordings, the internet, etc) to reach out to more young people to get them interested in the form? I think that's the biggest drawback to semi-pro groups: the limited size forces you to be really selective with gigs and how you manage your time that there isn't as much time to educate. So how do we do that? How can we get semi-pro a cappella more involved in education of the larger community without part time singers having to quit their "day jobs"?[/i]
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Postby sahjahpah » Sun May 20, 2007 9:47 pm

pick five guys from every school, and hand them a pitchpipe and an arrangement of "for the longest time." works like a charm. spreads like the flu, except ten times as deadly.

(this is part joking. please nobody get offended)
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Postby dekesharon » Sun May 20, 2007 11:00 pm

- Deke Sharon • 800.579.9305 • http://www.dekesharon.com

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money and money

Postby mister tim » Mon May 21, 2007 4:28 am

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Postby Jesus » Mon May 21, 2007 6:53 am

Steve Ryan 2004-2007 • Taal Tadka 2007-2008 (Sound Engineer) 2007-current

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Re: money and money

Postby sahjahpah » Mon May 21, 2007 8:05 am

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Postby Chris » Tue May 22, 2007 9:03 am

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European a cappella... wow

Postby dgooding » Tue May 22, 2007 11:10 am

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Re: European a cappella... wow

Postby dekesharon » Tue May 22, 2007 1:31 pm

- Deke Sharon • 800.579.9305 • http://www.dekesharon.com

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Postby jared allen » Tue May 22, 2007 11:16 pm

I know of two Utah based Acappella groups that when they release a new CD they sell over 50,000 copies within a 3 month period. Ya, do the math! Most of their CD’s are sold the old fashion way…remember the day when if you wanted a CD you had to go down to your local music/Ma and Pa store to purchase it?

These two groups I don't think are ever discussed in this forum. These groups maybe do 5 shows per year is all (if they are lucky). No online mp3 sales to my knowledge. And I would say their arranging/recordings are average. So why does their music sell? What is their secret? They know their market and what people want within their market…and Yes, Utah is its own little bubble.

I once read an article about Louis Armstrong. He said, and I am paraphrasing, I play what the people want to hear…it is after the show I play the music that I like. Why are groups like Rockapella and The Nylons doing so well? They sing what people want to hear. They were also one of the first groups to the industry with contemporary acappella. Remember 90% of the world still thinks that Vocal Percussion is a new thing. While in the acappella community this is old news. It takes a long time for the industry to catch onto a new style of music.

Where does that leave groups like the House Jacks and the “newer” generation of contemporary acappella/Vocal Bands? They are creating their own market. This is AWESOME! Do I think Vocal Bands will some day be in mainstream, Yes! And it will be because of groups like the House Jacks who are blazing the trails.

However, these groups will not survive if we “the acappella Junkies” are always swapping music and never paying for it. We should be the biggest supporters/advocates for this music and stop cutting our own throats…wow that came off harsh…can’t we all just get along?

I will also say how do we stop technology? It will just become easier and easier to download music for free. So, we “as artist” need to adapt. ANY IDEAS???
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Postby carlyonders » Wed May 23, 2007 4:07 am

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