Rediscovering the joy of music

A set of awesome Podspeakers
A set of awesome Podspeakers

I don’t know if you can relate to this, but something odd happened when I got really involved in music. I kinda lost interest in great music while I was busy being ‘in the music industry’. Argh!

Musicians don’t dance

Ages ago, when I first started going to concerts, I was one of those kids who would try to get as close to the stage as possible. I’ve seen quite a few famous musicians up their nose (or skirt) that way, and was mightily impressed most of the time. Mind you, no dancing was involved as we were all crushed against the barriers bij the crowds behind us. Which was fine by me, I was kind of shy that way.

Once I started playing in bands myself, I would regularly state that musicians don’t dance. Because it wasn’t cool. And I would often find myself mesmerized by the sounds, skills and performance by the band I was watching, trying to ‘get’ how they did it. But I could still enjoy music, both live and recorded. As a matter of fact, I remember some instances where I actually got chills down my back during concerts, and the odd sensation of tears welling up every now and then when the band dit extremely well.

Music Industry people have no taste of their own

As I got involved with Lopend Vuur (the Dutch indie music blog that Ard Boer and I started in 2006), my focus shifted from creating my own music to finding interesting, engaging music that was ‘worth our time and attention’ on the blog. I adopted a new set of criteria, apparently. Criteria that were more geared towards how others would appreciate the music we selected, I presume. I hardly noticed, apart from a tendency to want to go out to see bands live less often than before. But that could also have been caused by getting older, getting into a relation, getting involved in a more intense work life…

I did joke about it to some people. Whenever someone would ask my opinion on the latest hottest bands, I regularly said that I knew all the local bands, but none of the international bands that they were referring to. When we founded New Music Labs, and my music involvement became even more businesslike, it even got to the point where I lost interest in a lot of the ‘classical’ albums. Stuff that I had liked all my life went into a dark little corner of my mind.

I did enjoy some new music, though. My appreciation for regular guitar bands waned, but my interests in Rap, Drum ‘n’ Bass and even Dubstep increased (but I still wouldn’t dance to it).

Happy accidents do happen, even to musicians

A lot happend, in 2010. New Music Labs evolved, changed gears and Ard and I decided in the summer of 2010 that we would leave him at the steering wheel. I would take a step back and manage the shareholder’s interest for De Ondernemers BV (my main company. A difficult step, because I did (and do) love the fact that I was able to start a company about music. But Ard is the real dealmaker, and New Music Labs will undoubtedly excel under his guidance.

The other thing that happened, though, were Podspeakers. As a present for my 40th birthday, I got a wad of money that allowed me to finally complement my home hifi-system (NAD) with a pair of decent speakers. And I was rewarded with a whole new experience, one (I realized then and there) that I had missed for some time: awesome music!

Since then, I have once again enjoyed a number of great live shows, and listened to a lot of great music, from CD or through Spotify. And last week, Jeff Buckley brought tears to my eyes. The curtains have been lifted.

Let’s dance!

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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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