Vox Populi Part II
Last time, I wrote about my
friend Michael who has had more than 45 of his reviews
of music and films posted on the Amazon "Customer Reviews"
feature. This is worth comment because, for all the broadcast
minutes and column inches devoted to the dot com/dot bomb
phenomenon of the past two years, there's been less attention
paid to the evolving ways in which individual people are using
Another of my New York pals is using the web to promote his
music. SunPK is a performance artist/painter/musician who
would probably list those professions (and others) in different
order depending on when you talk to him.
In the late 1980's and into the '90's he was part of the downtown
Manhattan club scene, where he performed in drag. His characters
were many and varied, both campy and thought- provoking. He
has been writing for more than 20 years and publishing his
music for more than a dozen years.
The year 2000 saw him record his debut solo album. But in
the last couple of years, he has used the internet to have
his music played, and to self-promote his CDs.
It's important for me to take a moment to try to describe
his work; heavily but delightfully influenced by '60s ,'70s
and '80s pop music, his lyrics focus on the stuggle for individuality,
understanding, and love. This free mix of musical influences
make it hard to sum up his music easily, SO... go to his web
and play for yourself.
This will help clarify some of the twists and turns his promotional
efforts have taken. Indie musicians have to solve the problem
of being heard. Even a really condensed tracing of Sun's web-based
activities is an interesting insight into how individuals
are actually using the internet for business, and reminds
us why it is a 'web'.
MP3.com (MP3 is a type of sound file) has been part of his
strategy for exposure, but it proved to be a less-than-ideal
setting for his work: he called it "a crowded mess" when I
asked him about it (via e-mail, naturally...!). But he was
heard, and he feels MP3 helped "a bit". The internet website
called Playhouse radio.com put one of his cuts, "It's A Smiley
Face World", found by them on MP3.com, and put it into their
children's listings; there it was heard by a new internet
children's radio station which was scheduled to go up in June.
More of his music, listed in the 'Mod' section, was heard
by a Brazilian radio station, and still other cuts came to
the attention of someone in Italy browsing 'Dance' music.
And to make things even more interesting, country music.
Sun co-wrote has had more hits than the rest of his pages
combined... In some respects, the newest developments for
Sun's music are the most telling, because they remind us of
the power the internet gives us to communicate directly with
people we would have no contact with using any other medium.
Last fall, after releasing his CD titled "Inquire Within",
Sun learned about an indie distributor called Not Lame Records,
who in turn told a reviewer in California about the disk.
He reviewed it, and, though his favorable review was not quite
a rave, has recommended other indie columnists. Subsequent
reviews by other columnists probably came when they found
the disc through Not Lame Records, or possibly another online
group who mentioned the disc. (It is interesting that even
Sun is not sure who found what where in cyberspace...! No
matter; the resulting reviews were all raves.)
Then a Swiss journalist told Sun about Hiroshi Kuse at Air
Mail Recordings in Japan; Sun is now in the last stages of
negotiations with Air Mail for distribution in Japan, where
his CD will be released this week. His observation: having
the music reviewed on the web has made journalists aware of
him and this has lead to several interviews, which, Sun says,
"...hasn't sold many CDs, but it has begun to sell me"!
About the Author
Nancy LeMay is a five-time Emmy winning broadcast designer
who has worked both in New York and LA, in network and local.
She is a teacher and a painter as well. You can reach her
through her website, www.Nancylemay.com
and by email at NancyLeMayCo@aol.com