HITS Daily Double
Lazlo @KNDD: I remember Nirvana... I also remember Right Said Fred...
Ivana B. Adored: You are too sexy for this column...


Randy Irwin, KNDD's Lazlo, Ted Volk, Errol Kolosine, Bill Carroll, Abbey Konowitch, WRZX's Lenny Diana, Kris Gillespie, Ben Berkman and Dave Richards Hold Forth on Artist Development

Note from Ivana: Lenny is in NYC this week, so I bombarded friends on my Buddy List with the following question: “What advice would you give ‘the industry’ on breaking artists in the current climate?” Here are their responses:

Ivana B. Adored: hi randy-i'm writing my column-what advice would you give "the industry" on breaking artists?
Randy Irwin/Wildlife Ent.: my advice? tenacity, patience, apply your head and your heart to it 24/7. utilize every avenue that presents itself that makes sense for your band
Ivana B. Adored: how do you keep a label motivated, since it's their purse strings?
Randy Irwin/Wildlife Ent.: it's like a marriage. you do whatever it takes to keep it alive and thriving. divorce is not an option if you want to find success. particularly moving forward, where we're getting into a "partnership" mentality. labels have always been allowed to fail, as they can always move on to something else. as rosters tighten up, and there are less bands signed, label needs to stay at it much longer than they've had to in the past. with bands having the ability to actually get things going on their own, labels are going to have to clearly indicate to bands that they have the tenacity to take the band from 25k to 500k. otherwise why does the band sign? anyone can make a record for 50k these days. 15k even. labels are going to have to adapt to the tech mentality of evangelism, or they'll continue to lose believers
Ivana B. Adored: that doesn't guarantee it will be heard-doesn't it still take many $100ks to break a band?
Randy Irwin/Wildlife Ent.: yes, and probably will for a few more years. but labels need to be adapting to the future now. you can't change in a day, but you better be changed in 2 years. with vc's like ingenious out there throwing money at bands (and some labels), the money part may not come solely from the labels in the very near future. and for the labels to stay in the equation, they'll need to adapt to get the artists to believe in them and their ability to take the artist to the promised land.

Ivana B. Adored
: lazlo?
Lazlo @ KNDD: play new artists and stick with them. that goes for radio and record companies
Ivana B. Adored: will you go out on a limb for a band if it isn't a label priority?
Lazlo @ KNDD: for sure if I really believe in it. It does make it harder though. radio and record companies need to work together to break new artists. we need to work as a team. and we should think long term.....we need artists with 5 and 6 albums
Ivana B. Adored: i love you
Lazlo @ KNDD: we need to develop core artists. and i you
Ivana B. Adored: you're one of the few programmers who thinks about careers
Lazlo @ KNDD: well i think about bands careers because i think about mine. and if this format is going to survive we need to develop bands and bands that survive
Ivana B. Adored: can a modern rock station play more new music than it is playing currently? what's your ideal split?
Lazlo @ KNDD: 60/40 somewhere around there.....in order to play new music we have to healthy dose of familiar records. it is about balance
Ivana B. Adored: i also think we need a musical revolution
Lazlo @ KNDD: i think revolutions are overrated. we usually don't notice we had one ‘til it’s over. and we all wax poetic about it
Ivana B. Adored: you didn't feel it in the midst of nirvana?
Lazlo @ KNDD: i don’t know. nostalagia stands in the way of progress. i remember nirvana...i also remember right said fred
Ivana B. Adored: you are too sexy for this column
Lazlo @ KNDD: thank you
Ivana B. Adored: so who is the "voice" of your audience's generation, as it were? jon stewart?
Lazlo @ KNDD: i thought it was jon stewart but i'll lay my money on stephen colbert
Ivana B. Adored: snarky is the new sincere
Lazlo @ KNDD: perhaps it's a collective voice. the internet might just have given everyone a voice

Ivana B. Adored: hey ted-what advice would you give? "the industry" on breaking artists?
Ted Volk/Capitol: good question
Ivana B. Adored: make a video on a treadmill?
Ted Volk/Capitol: wherever you find a believer......support that situation to give yourself a chance to make something happen
Ivana B. Adored: how do you keep radio focused when they want to move on to the next shiny object?
Ted Volk/Capitol: it’s really knowing your radio station and how that particular person thinks and/or reacts
Ivana B. Adored: so we should all have psychology degrees
Ted Volk/Capitol: yes. essentially we’re sales people....so it’s just really understanding your client

Ivana B. Adored: errol? i’m taking a bit of a survey regarding breaking artists these days.
Errol Kolosine/Astralwerks: my advice on breaking artists is to stay focused on your long-term artist development while milking every opportunity in the here-and-now for all its worth: online promotions (myspace, youtube - duh), touring, digital initiatives, product tie- ins...
Ivana B. Adored: what bands on your roster are poised to break?
Errol Kolosine/Astralwerks: phoenix i think - small sins just got the scissor sisters tour, excited about the little ones...
Ivana B. Adored: phoenix can sell out the wiltern because of the band's relationship with kcrw
Errol Kolosine/Astralwerks: that’s true - they are a great help

Ivana B. Adored: hi abbey! what advice would you give "the industry" on breaking artists in this climate?
Abbey Konowitch/Hollywood: identify their strengths, whether unique or well above the bar, and focus on building from there. and stay true to what you stand for
Ivana B. Adored: how do you remain focused when radio isn't "ready"
Abbey Konowitch/Hollywood: radio is highly overrated by us in the industy; the first audience to appeal to is the consumer—if they speak loud enough radio listens
Ivana B. Adored: isn't radio the #1 way to reach the consumer?
Abbey Konowitch/Hollywood: not today. they are the best way to be huge, but the kids today are so off radio as the discovery place. It’s myspace, the tube, friends, yahoo, aol. that’s where they discover. think of all or most of the break-thrus of the last few years: radio followed consumers and real fans.

Ivana B. Adored: bill? what do you think?
Bill Carroll/Virgin: hp and i have the good fortune of having clear priorities and we work in an environment where senior management understands that current business climate requires patience and poise. we always develop a long-term game plan, that affords us the ability to weather difficult and highly competitive periods. equally important is that our staff has great relationships and we super-serve our stations

Ivana B. Adored: let’s ask the format’s favorite curmudgeon..
Lenny Diana @ WRZX: i would think after years of watching a&r and promotions at labels from 'this side of the fence' the keys to breaking artists are communication and accountability. first up: communication. i was shocked to hear that many a&r people do not go to their promo people and play them what they’re thinking of signing. then i've talked to a few of the a&r peeps and they don't really give a rat’s ass about the label or what it does if it interferes with them being brilliant. you wonder what type of drugs people at labels take when they hired these shitheads. secondly, accountability. how many times have you heard that A&R was in the label presidents office throwing the promotions guy 'under the bus' because the overpaid piece of dung didn't get on the radio, mtv or "insert trendy or new medium here."
Ivana B. Adored: don’t pussyfoot—tell us what you really think.
Lenny Diana @ WRZX: while I still believe that radio is a great way to expose new artists to a lot of people, we still forget that we are in a new world of technology and sometimes, and this might be a tough pill to swallow, take a few years to build something. as silly as this will sound. If kiss was on "insert any major label name here," they would have never made it to the live album that broke them 4 years later. ac/dc would have never made back in black.
Ivana B. Adored: frampton wouldn't have made i'm in you. oh, maybe that's not a good example
Lenny Diana @ WRZX: chris cornell would not have the career he has today. so when a&r spends "insert silly number here” on “flavor of the month" and it dies a horrible death, let's make sure you get the guy that got you to spend the stupid cash before you start swinging the axe at people
Ivana B. Adored: do you think about a band's "career" when you add music?
Lenny Diana @ WRZX
: it depends. we live in a now now now we need it yesterday world. If you have a chris cornell who had made some great rock music over the years why wouldn't I want to expose him over "insert new fly-by-night" here?
Ivana B. Adored: because there's an element of your audience that wants to hear something really new?
Lenny Diana @ WRZX: that's not to say it's all about the established artists. bands like hurt and hinder have been on wrzx for almost a year now. they have been doing well in indianapolis and both are new artists
Ivana B. Adored: that's because you know what fits on your station, but where is the risk-taking?
Lenny Diana @ WRZX: people in planes, the zutons, ok go. in summary? rework the system. it’s already rolling over onto itself. if you don’t, it’s only a matter of time before a band breaks by themselves. at that point they won’t need you.

Ivana B. Adored: hi nan, i'm writing my column-what advice would you give "the industry" on breaking artists?
Nan Fisher: punt. tour, tour, tour, tour, tour.....develop your fan base as far away from radio as possible. one town at a time... lame, eh?

Ivana B. Adored: let’s hear from kris from domino. pearls of wisdom?
Kris Gillespie/Domino : i think the big thing is returning to new music. and i don’t necessarily mean the newest flavors.
Ivana B. Adored: meaning?
Kris Gillespie/Domino : i think we collectively need to re-dedicate ourselves on both sides of the fence to play more new music. as in cycling through more singles quicker. how many singles were released from album's twenty years ago? four or so? i think part of the reason the industry isn't selling as many albums even on marquee artists is that depth isn't there anymore. if you get through two singles in a year's campaign, you should consider yourself insanely luck. i find the real big difference between the uk and the us is, you turn on the radio and it's 95% new and current music
Ivana B. Adored: that's the case with pop radio here
Kris Gillespie/Domino: that's the way it is generally everywhere except here. mod rock's reliance on gold/currents is frightening
Ivana B. Adored: what about the overwhelming research that says people want to hear what they know on the radio?
Kris Gillespie/Domino: i think it's like anything. enough exposures and anything is familiar. i just don't see the point of playing something more than 1000x in active rotation. that's just seems counterproductive to everyone. does anyone care if they hear "dancefloor" or "take me out" at this point?
Ivana B. Adored: i don't believe they're listening as attentively as we think
Kris Gillespie/Domino : oh, i think there's a whole generation of people who music radio has lost because of over-research and playing lowest common denominator. there's little instinct any more. but it's interesting to examine the us/uk dichotomy because youth culture is so very much about music right now. and you really can't say the same here. radio doesn't play much new music
Ivana B. Adored: but there are still 10 records in the top 10
Kris Gillespie/Domino : well, that's just statistics. it's how those records are being used that's the problem. i'd rather see 2000 spins on four tracks thank 3000 spins on one song, and i think any radio listener if given the choice, would wholeheartedly agree.

Ivana B. Adored
: let’s hear from ben berkman
Ben Berkman/Octone
: above all else, patience is the most important part of the equation these days
Ivana B. Adored: at what point do you stop spending money?
Ben Berkman/Octone: that, and keeping your attitude positive and using small victories to stay motivated. if u believe in the act's long-term prospects, and an album is selling steadily i think you can keep spending. if u think the band is very 'of the moment, 'and you aren’t connecting with the consumer, then to continue spending is probably dangerous
Ivana B. Adored: were you ever discouraged during the 18 months it took to break maroon 5?
Ben Berkman/Octone: we really weren’t because i was spending so much time on the road with the band, so i was able to see the incredible tangible connection the band was making with their fans. long before "this" hit the airwaves i saw hundreds of kids singing the chorus aloud every night. so that fits into what i mean about utilizing “small victories” and achievements to stay positive to keep yourself and staff and your artist motivated. they are a very cogent example of the work ethic that is required for a baby band to break. anything else and your project is compromised.
Ivana B. Adored: maroon 5 have earned every ounce of their success. flyleaf isn't a band that many other labels would look at on paper and think it would be huge. but this has been a big record for octone
Ben Berkman/Octone: yes! for sure. we are very proud of them, the record is nearing gold
Ivana B. Adored: and it proves that rock listeners like female voices on the radio
Ben Berkman/Octone: they totally do! but some of these stations. ugh! they are so steeped in their ways. and so not willing to consider broadcasting music that the consumers have proven they want to support

Ivana B. Adored: one last “expert.” dave? what advice would you give "the industry" on breaking artists?
Dave Richards: stay in school
Ivana B. Adored: damn, i wish you’d told me that in 1983.