Sources of Inspiration: @EHPO, Niels Aalberts

Niels Aalberts, Andrew Dubber and Marco Raaphorst
Niels (Andrew Dubber and Marco Raaphorst) explaining his vision to students of the Academy of Pop Culture

This year, I would like to share with you the people and companies that inspire me. There are plenty to choose from, so I had trouble picking the first one.

Luckily, it is January. And January is the month that Eurosonic Noorderslag Conference takes place in my hometown of Groningen. A music conference, one that I have attended for a lot of years. At first as an aspiring musician, later on as a music industry bystander. Which makes it easy to pick the first person to highlight.

Niels Aalberts (also known as @ehpo)

When we thought we were doing pretty wel highlighting the new developments in the Music Industry with our blog Lopend Vuur, all of a sudden we were overtaken by this new blog ‘Eerste Hulp Bij Plaatopnamen‘. With daily posts and keen insight, Niels details all relevant new developments in the Dutch and international music industry. By allowing plenty of room for real life examples from real bands, his blog really has become the main inspiration point for a lot of bands with regards to the way they can take their future into their own hands. The new way.

“If you cannot share, you cannot multiply”

That is one of Niels’s favorite sayings. He is featured in online content all over the place, but not too much is in English. I found this video, shot at last years Un-Convention Groningen (which, not so incidentally, also takes place this week in Groningen).

Kyteman, a succesful story and proof

While storming past our Lopend Vuur by frantically blogging about the Music Industry, Niels also managed one of The Netherlands biggest music stars of 2009: Kyteman. By putting his money, time and effort where his mouth was, Niels (and the incredible team arond Kyteman) proved that it is posible to really Do It Together, without involvement of traditional Major Labels. Kudos for that.

Upcoming: the book!

Niels knows how to talk, but he also is very good at converting the attention he gets into real product. He will be releasing his book “Doorbraak” (Breakthrough) on February 11th, both detailing the story behind Kyteman and documenting the ‘new way to do it in the music industry’. I can’t wait to read it.

Useful links

Niels’s blog Eerste Hulp Bij Plaatopnamen (Dutch)

Niels on Twitter

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Bands Should Not Have to Pay to Play Midem

So Echonest is offering to pick up the tab for some of them.

Midem, one my favorite music industry conferences, announced that it’s offering bands the opportunity to pay about $680 or $1377 (500 or 1,000 Euro) to play on one of four stages during the event.

I love Midem. But I have a problem spending a week with industry peers in beautiful Cannes discussing how to build a sustainable music industry for artists and fans, while the bands I’ll be seeing that week pay to play for me and the other attendees.

Still, as a Midem attendee, musician and a music fan, I’d rather see the audience pay the band than the band pay the conference. With that in mind, here’s another approach: The Echo Nest will put up the Midem performance fee for a band to play (preferably at Morrison’s, where you’ll find The Echo Nest hanging out anyway). To the bands  considering playing at Midem:

  • Send over a link to a live performance video to, and let us know when you applied to the Midem event (or if you have yet to apply) along with any other relevant submission details you’d like us to consider.
  • We’ll work with you and with Midem to get your performance fee paid (we haven’t yet talked to Midem about this, but figure they’ll be fine as long as the fee is paid).  We’re assuming if you’re a band considering this, you already have the travel/lodging figured out.

Though I know the trip to Midem isn’t cheap even without sponsoring a band, I humbly suggest that other companies do the same and pay for a performance slot. This approach seems more in keeping with why we are at Midem in the first place: to help great musicians make great music.  If you’re up for it, shoot us an email and we’ll help coordinate getting more bands’ performance fees covered.  (Of course, nothing precludes Midem from picking up a slot or two). 



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