August 2016: Minoring in PR

My good friend Rita Ballou has recently been beating the drum about an issue that is minor among the most pressing facing our cottage music industry, yet one that is important nonetheless.  It’s the notion of “exclusives” and “premieres”.  Many of the biggest artists in our scene employ management and publicity agencies that are disconnected from Texas.  Whereas once they might have featured a new tune on our very own The Drop or over at Radio Free Texas, it’s now hosted on those uber Texas Music-centric sites such as The Boot, Texas Monthly, Taste of Country and Rolling Stone.  At least those sort of make sense.  We’ve also seen previews end up at GQ and just yesterday a new Cody Johnson song landed at that vital hotbed of Texas Music info PopMatters.

As I said, in the grand scheme of things it’s not that big of a deal.  Bands outgrow venues.  And, I suppose they can argue that they outgrow websites.  In all the talk of major league vs minor league loyalty, I think this minor portion was lost.  It seems to me that one would rather be a big deal on a regional website instead of an easily ignored/clicked past part of a national site.  But, I guess that’s just me.  And Rita.  Far be it from us to keep that song on a pedastal and away from a sidebar sandwiched between The Band Perry’s latest drama and The Oak Ridge Boys Christmas tour dates. You know, the important stuff that Cody’s fans want to know.  In the end it doesn’t matter because we dedicated fans will traverse wherever we need to, to hear the music and a website that doesn’t care about us or the music gets to boost their hits on the backs of our passion.  It also allows the Nashville publicity team the allowance to pretend they are expanding the CoJo brand.  PopMatters and rodeo have a big crossover.

TownSquare Media controls all of it and it is what it is.  I promise this isn’t sour grapes.  We plug along either way and so do they.  Rita and I just find it interesting. It’s all irrelevant really.  I was at a tech conference within the last year that talked about web hits steeply declining each year as the Idiocracy of our culture continues and (present company included) people only want content via their phone and social media platforms. We don’t want to wait 15 seconds for an ad and we’re becoming immune to clickbait.  For example, via GW. I can post a video on our FB page and generate 30K views.  I post the same video on our home page and only hit 3,000.  That’s just the game in 2016 and beyond.  I sincerely hope that PopMatters feature generated hundreds of new CoJo fans. He’s amazing.  Arguably our best current representative on a major stage.  Point only being that a cursory cruise by PopMatters today showed no sign of yesterday’s feature whereas here or RFT or Lone Star Music would still be prominently displayed and promoted. Just saying.  Long ago, Pat Green liked to use the phrase Taking Texas to the Masses.  If this is what it looks like, maybe we’re all doing it wrong.

MINOR CHORDS:

-Greenfest 16 was another success.  As we said in the run-up.  We’ve never tried to be the largest festival, but we do strive to be one of the realest.  It’s about connections with people.  And although there weren’t thousands of folks raucously not paying attention to the music.  There were hundreds enjoying each other’s company and building relationships.  That’s what GF is about.  We’ll do it again in 2017.

-If this column offended you, speak to the person who inspired me to write it via her tersely worded text rant:  Rita Ballou.  She’s also my complaint department.

-It’s been a minute since a photographer in this scene caught my attention, and Todd Purifoy remains the gold standard.  But, Georgia transplant Tim Murphy aka Crackers and Cucumbers has an eye for human detail that is phenomenal.  His shot of Jason Eady watching Courtney Patton play at GF is incredible.

-Football is finally here.  Now, we just need the weather to get here too.

-Wouldn’t it be cool if there were an audience for a Randy/Wade -Hood/Eady type collaboration…but females.  Like if Jamie Wilson and Courtney Patton went on the road with a badass band and played their tunes and Haggard covers?  How awesome would that be?

-If you float/eat/drink from an outfitter on River Road other than Lone Star Floathouse…you’re doing it wrong.

-Instagram is also doing it wrong.  Stop trying to be Snapchat.  You too, Facebook.

-This month’s recommended album: Cody Jinks – I’m Not the Devil. Jinks is on the threshold of national recognition.  He’s poised to launch himself into that Sturgill/Isbell/Bingham level that’s beyond the Texas plane without sacrificing anything. It’s been a long, steady climb for Jinks who has built his career out of straightforward baritone honky-tonk Texas tinged honesty.  This is the record that makes him next level.  Listen to “Chase That Song” on The Drop

-“Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” – Mark Twain

 

Brad Beheler

Raised in Waco, refined in the Hill Country, escaped from DFW. I've worked in just about every facet of the music business for 20 years. I like to write about it all. e-mail Brad Editor-in-Chief

15 thoughts on “August 2016: Minoring in PR

  • August 3, 2016 at 2:14 pm
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    I think I remember some ladies doing a tour a while back called something like Hold My Purse . . .

  • August 3, 2016 at 3:07 pm
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    I literally just had that thought about a female audience. It’s doubtful, but I’d attend.

  • August 3, 2016 at 7:15 pm
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    When do we stop blaming these out of touch agencies & management companies, and start holding the artists accountable. We love to blame the industry but the artist allow them to do it, they sign the deals across the board. As a long time Texas Music Fan, that lives out of the region we see the same issue with where they are booked continually. But over and over the artist allows it to happen. Just try’n to shine a little more light on a big subject.

    Side note: Jamie & Courtney will be heading to the NorthEast for a show with us and at least one other down in MD.

  • September 6, 2016 at 11:55 am
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    There are artists that hire Texas-based publicists out there, I promise! While I started my PR career in Nashville, and still utilize those contacts, I know and agree that Texas Music needs more coverage. Artists that aren’t pursuing a national presence on radio have a difficult time no matter what. A lot of the issues have to do with outlets being regional wanting a show in the area before offering any coverage. I’m always looking for sites like this and outlets like Lone Star, Texas Music, Texas Monthly, Buddy and others that aren’t so specific about an area. I have new music coming out from Jamie Richards, The Warhorses and Isaac Jacob Band that I would gladly premier with you all!

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