More Rob Chapman

In case you weren’t convinced by my previous Rob Chapman video here’s another.

This was way back in 2008 long before  other things happened but he tells you how he got underway. Since then of course he has gone further than he might have expected in 2008.

What is perhaps notable about his advice is the lack of music biz jargon. SXSW is on again, and that’s a useful yardstick with its many pundits and acres of Powerpoint. He has none of that.

It is now well over a decade since I started writing about the music business online. And one of my key findings in that time is the irrelevance of media froth. It’s worse than irrelevant, it’s a distraction. Rob Chapman cheerfully ignores it.

Things have been quiet here for a year or so. There are many things I could do but I have spent a lot of time thinking rather than uploading. At the heart of this is froth overload and time wasted keeping “up-to-date” with irrelevance. There are things I must do to clean up the site and correct old info, so updates will occur. I also have new material but the hours, days and weeks I have recovered from froth have gone into real world activity so far. So apologies for the lack of stuff recently but that is why.

6 thoughts on “More Rob Chapman

  1. Since i left allt he social networks, i’ve come to a similar conclusion about time. It think you are right: it is less important to post on a regular basis than posting things of interest. This urge for having something new in the “news-tab” i believe is the consequence of advanced blog systems, which make your blog look boring if it isn’t constantly filled with “news”….

    I droped my use drupal (similar to wordpress) for jekyll, which has canceled the burden of the need of security updates in PHP systems. Not to mention it is also an opensource freedom tool. And since it is all static, thanks to jekyll’s brilliant template system, i have got way more flexibility with my layouts. Basically any article could be different looking from each other. And this is a great way to release album art!!!!

    I hope you find courrrage and will to keep up your excellent work!


    • Very true. (I don’t know about Jekyll, very happy with WordPress at the mo.)

      I think there’s a potential problem with social media and a potential problem with the Internet at large. Before the Internet it was easier to manage our time and attention, there were natural limits to what you could put out and take in. Now the web gives us unlimited access to almost everything and social media promise to increase our audience likewise. But I have noticed my thinking time and depth of attention has deteriorated slowly over the past 20 years and I’m trying to rebalance that. Obviously the resources of the web and its access to other people are incredibly useful but I also need time for digesting and reflecting on what’s happening. It’s too easy to get caught up in social media churn without actually getting anywhere.

      • Thanks for getting back at me. I fully agree with the time consuming aspect. But something else i’ve kindof come to insight with lately in the matter of branding and promotional tollsets: no matter how hard you promote your own brand on social media, it is actualy the social media platform’s brand that is being promoted the most……. Freedom of expression acnnot be obtained in social media yet, that is unless you consider the entire internet as THE social media. 🙂

  2. The web has been and is a cause of constant frustration to me. When it all kicked off i grasped it with both hands, thought it was the most wonderful thing. This is before active websites and social media. It was just the whole idea of being able to publish things, words and music in my case.

    All those years having to struggle to publish things, having to wait for someone to say “yay” before the big wheels ground into motion and allowed something to reach a wider audience. All these frustrations would be gone, the world would be there and it would listen to me!

    The thing i forgot, that perhaps everyone forgot was that people, the same people, were sitting there at the end of it and they are fickle – people. They aren’t sure what they like, they get nervous with too much choice. They like things for different and complex reasons. One reason might be that someone else like them likes it, or someone they identify with likes it. Antother reason might be that someone they think must know what they’re talking about likes it, thinks its important.

    The internet hasn’t done away with the critic, should have done. It hasn’t done away with branding, once again it should have done. If everyone who ever bought an item can do a quick review and give a score then surely we would fall into some great meritocricy where the cream would just instantly float wherever it came from and however it arrived in the milk… but nope, still people stubbornly stick to their favourites, get hypnotised by advertising, believe BS because its delivered by a familiar or favourite person or authorative accent.

    It seems that rules built up over many generations are very hard to change… or at least they can be changed for a while but soon people revert to type.

    Lat year eBook sales went up by 38% in the US, this year by only 3% and some industry pundits are predicting the demise of the rise of the eBook. Of course it will remain but will it take-over, unlikely.

    How about on-demand TV? Once again, not looking so good. In fact if you’re looking for something that just keeps growing and growing (apart from online shopping, price rules of course) its radio. And radio is as old as the eels. Traditional TV grows and TV is now regarded by Hollywood as ‘the’ place to be, best writers, actors, budgets.

    Anyway, the web is here to stay, but i believe it will fall into the role of a utility because its great for some things, but not for others.

    And even in music. I was talking to some younguns in the pub the other day, music types. We were talking about the biz and i said, “well, hardly surprising, who buys records anymore?” To my surprise they all said they bought records, said they liked to own and collect their CDs.

    I heard some author say the other day that he believed the thing that separated us from the other animals was that we liked to aquire things, to collect things… Perhaps one of those things is our thoughts.


    • Thanks for the comments Theo. Wise words as always (Theo is a longstanding online chum of mine from years back, and incidentally a very talented musician and writer). I remember when I was at college and seeing new acts regularly, alongside the touring chart bands, it was frequently said that ” Bloke X lives down my road and he’s a much better guitarist/singer/etc. than Act Y.” And they were often right.

      As you say, there’s little connection between raw talent and public acceptance, let alone commercial public acceptance. The Internet as it is now does at least reflect the artistic world a bit better than the college venues and charts of my youth. Nowadays I can find, see and hear loads more stuff and much of it, as always, is miles better than Act Y.

      As you say, habit has something to do with that. Habits of listening, habits of expectation, habits of consumption, habits of style… But I think we are now seeing the world more like it is than before and maybe it is not the world we want or expect. I was stunned (as I often remind people) that half the population don’t buy any music and never have. Music is not something they like enough to buy. How weird is that? They aren’t pirates or freeloaders… they just don’t like music that much. And the remaining half of the population that does buy music (and this includes concert tickets, merch and all that) the majority all buy the same stuff, basically the top twenty. The fraction of the world that has big record collections and goes to see hundreds of artists is really very small. Maybe 5%.

      The upshot is that on the web you can find (and I often do) a decent artist with 10,000 followers, gigging for a living, with music for sale and for free, who is really scraping by. And that story is repeated thousands of times. The good thing about the web today is that we can all find those people and if we are moved support them. When I was a lad they were invisible, and often not known to anyone.

      • On the question of traditional media, I have always thought there’s a lot to learn from the past. At one time people thought radio would replace recordings. Then they thought TV would replace radio and cinema. Then they thought colour TV would replace monochrome – of course that time they were right. Then they thought quad would replace stereo (at least that technology gave us the portastudio). Then they thought 3D TV would replace 2D… not yet, most of this year’s TVs are smart rather than 3D.

        It’s impossible to call. A few years ago everyone was moving everything online, now they’re talking about “second screens”: surfing while watching TV. Nobody knows what the public is going to adopt en masse.

        And there’s a problem with all the cloud devices that is, frankly, a showstopper. All the “set top boxes” (Roku, Amazon, Apple TV, Google, etc.) and the smart TVs have a different set of content. Even a full Sky package has less, and more than some others. So, like Spotify in the audio sector, Joe Public needs a whole raft of subscriptions to get everything they want. For example, how do you get HBO in the UK? With, say Netflix, iPlayer, and CrunchyRoll? And why does Netflix have a different range of films to Amazon Prime Instant Video (ex-Love Film)?

        Nobody is going to subscribe to all these boxes and channels. If you want to see Game Of Thrones (HBO) in the UK and you don’t have the right Sky package there’s no legal option. So pretty much everyone will be dissatisfied until that gets resolved. And the likes of Spotify will remain uncommercial until a single player gets a grip on the whole market. Or something. As I say, nobody knows until it happens and in the mean time only the lucky startups and venture capitalists make money… if they get out at the right time.

Don't just sit there fuming, write something!