Event Review: Beat Boot Camp
Indie Artists Meet Clear Channel Execs
Some painful truths and a whole lot of hope were on
the agenda at the Music Boot Camp event sponsored by
The Beat 94.5 FM in Vancouver.
"What does it cost to get a record on the charts?" The
question was directed to Mike McVay, programming
consultant to about 400 radio stations owned by media
giant Clear Channel.
A hush fell over the audience, as this was a piece of
information that could determine the fate of independent artists everywhere.
McVay pulled no punches. Depending on your genre, the
amount is "a hundred thousand dollars up to a quarter of a million."
And suddenly, the economic reality of the airplay portion of the record business was in full view.
In a different part of the day's event, someone asked another of those all-important, career-shaping questions: "How many slots are typically available to
This time, the question was directed to of Clear Channel Entertainment. "Not many" was his reply, albeit in the nicest tone imaginable.
Did these terrifying facts of life appear to dampen the enthusiasm of most of the artists? Nope. After all, hope springs eternal.
Judging from the questions to other panel members
during the day, it was clear that many artists in
attendance thought that somehow they would be the one
who got past the gatekeepers, the one whose awesome
talent would cause cold-eyed business people to waive
the entry fees, the one whose marketability would get
them the major label contract and backing to enter the
game with a large checkbook behind them.
And why not? Why shouldn't they be hopeful? Are they
not talented? Judging from the CDs handed to me, there
were some amazingly gifted artists at the conference
known as the Boot Camp workshop, which was organized
by Blak Dog Promotions in association with The Beat
94.5 FM and the Western Canadian Music Awards.
Consider some of the artists: makes music
that vibrates with consistent excitement. Ultimate
Power Duo blends equal parts modern punk and retro
Liverpool sounds for an album that is fun from
beginning to end. Lyricist Jacqui Leddy has written
lines that make you feel the inside of the human soul.
There also was silky, subtle and seductive jazz from
Sandy Foster; strong rock from Scott Douglas;
evocative country from John Wort Hannam; excellent rap
from Don Castro; and power plus glory in the heavy
grooves of Aly Young.
Not to be outdone, event
organizers Shawn Smith and Chin Injeti are themselves
supremely electrifying recording artists.
The quality of the acts was of the highest level of
any event at which I've been a panelist. Group after
group, artist after artist were very impressive. Karen
Howlin' Fowlie seems to put megawatts of electric
power into even her softest vocal passages. Sonicjoy
delights in fusing electronics with rock 'n' roll.
This is not to overlook Rallycar, Green Door Club,
Chesterfield Rock, Morgan Mayer, Maurice, and James
Pender, all of whom are excellent.
Here's hoping this music gets to your ears. And if
would be terrific if someone was recording the panels,
because a lot of valuable information was presented by
a lot of very smart people, including:
Chris Myers, Program Director, The Beat
Michael McCarty, President of EMI Music Publishing
Michael Persh, Music Manager, E! Networks
Jonathon Simkin, Co-owner, 604 Records
Christopher Ward, Songwriter (Alannah Myles, Ming Tea)
Bob Power, Producer (MeShell N'degeocello, The Roots,
Jim Vallance, Songwriter (Bryan Adams, Steven Tyler,
Terry O'Brien, SOCAN
Tom Wilson, Songwriter (Billy Rae Cyrus, Jimmy Rankin)
The event was well-run by Smith, Injeti, Natalie
Rhodes, and a large contingent of volunteers.
Attendees seemed uniformly pleased: "Extremely
informative," said singer and voiceover artist Marina
"The whole day was very encouraging," stated
Mitch Helten of SPI International.
enlightening," said singer Jafelin.
"This was great,"
said Jacqui Leddy.
You can't stop people with this
kind of enthusiasm.
For more information and to contact the author, click on the author’s name at the top of the page.
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