• Category Archives Music Industry
  • Pulled into Nazareth

    Levon Helm passed away today. As drummer and vocalist of the fabulous 60s/70s rock band The Band, Levon was an inspiration to generations of singers and songwriters, including Bo. I hear echoes of Levon’s soulful southern voice in several of Bo’s songs, most especially See The Light. Me, I’m no musician, but back in the day I spent many a road trip belting out “Take a load off, Annie” and “The niiight they drove old Dixie down.

    Here’s Bo and Bart Walker with The Weight

    Rest in peace.


  • The night has come

    The great songwriter Jerry Leiber passed away today. The man had a passion for music and a way with words that few writers will ever match. He and his partner Mike Stoller helped shape both rock & roll and R&B, and anyone who wants to be a legitimate songwriter would do well to check out their music.

    I don’t know about you all, but the songs they wrote made up a lot of the soundtrack of my childhood. This passage from the LA Times obituary sums it up –

    With their sassy lyrics and playful melodies, the songs liberated American teenagers to enjoy their youth and poke fun at their elders.

    “They corrupted us with pleasure,” critic and author John Lahr wrote of the songwriters in the introduction to Graham’s “Baby, That Was Rock & Roll: The Legendary Leiber and Stoller” (1978). “Dancing and laughing, we came of age to their songs.”

    I’m sure all Bo fans at least remember Leiber and Stoller night on American Idol 4 – Bo seemed to be the only contestant who knew who these wonderful writers were, and he damn sure was the only one who did justice to one of their songs. Fifty years after it was written, Stand By Me still resonates. It’s been recorded more than 400 times, and has had somewhere above 7 million radio plays. That’s one hell of a legacy. RIP, Jerry Leiber – your work lives on.


  • Bo stands with fans

    We’ve all been there – online or on the phone the minute concert tickets go on sale but somehow they’re sold out already. Maybe that will be changing – there’s a new coalition in town that aims to protect fans from scalpers and sketchy resale sites. Stand With Fans says:

    We believe fans deserve a great event experience, from ticket purchase to the final encore or the last seconds of the game. This begins by changing & improving the ticket-purchase experience by providing fans with greater access to reasonably-priced tickets & enhanced protection against fraudulent business practices. We are standing up for fans so they can continue to stand with the artists & sports teams they love.

    Ticketing, on both the primary and resale markets, should always have the fans’ best interests at heart. That’s why artists, teams, venues and a host of others are working together to make five common sense changes to how tickets are purchased, marketed and sold.

    The Fans First Coalition is committed to:

    Ensuring Fair Access to Reasonably-Priced Tickets
    Ending Deceptive Marketing Practices/Misuse of Artists’ and Venues’ Intellectual Property
    Full Disclosure
    Clear Pricing Display
    Complete Disclosure About Speculative Ticketing

    The coalition includes 3 Doors Down, Anthrax, Bo Bice, Dixie Chicks, Don Henley, Earth, Wind & Fire, Gavin DeGraw, Jason Mraz, Jennifer Hudson, John Mayer, Journey, Maroon 5, New Kids On The Block, R.E.M., Sara Bareilles, and Tom Waits among others.

    I’m thrilled to see Bo joining in with this effort – lord knows it’s needed. But I can’t help thinking I’ve been there and done that. I’ve been hearing various groups say they’re going to do something about scalpers ever since I started going to concerts (and that’s a looong time). Let’s hope it works this time.


  • Doing the rounds

    Bo’s been busy chatting up all the radio stations set up in Nashville for the CMA Awards this week. We won’t be hearing his name announced on Wednesday, but he’s working it anyway. Here’s a sampling:

    And for those of you suffering hair shock, links to a few strictly audio selections:
    WIRK in Palm Springs Bo on CMA Week

    WQYK Tampa Bay Bo’s thoughts on painting

    KMPS Seattle Bo talks pet tricks

    Country 102.5 Boston Bo on parenting

    KRST Albuquerque Bo’s living the dream

    That must have been some kind of coffee in the press room, because Bo’s been sounding pretty hyped up all day.


  • Show ’em what you got, Bo

    Tomorrow is a big day for Bo, a day that could also mean a lot for all of us fans who would like to see more of Bo on stage. He and the band are performing at the International Entertainment Buyers Association conference in Nashville Sunday night. Say what, you say? The IEBA describes itself as a “trade organization for talent buyers, concert promoters, agents, managers, artists and other related entertainment professionals. IEBA provides networking, showcasing and educational opportunities to strengthen relationships, foster growth and increase revenue for the live entertainment industry. IEBA is known for showcasing the best and brightest talent in all genres of music and all fields of entertainment—exposing buyers to the freshest acts for the buying season.” In other words, Bo’s going to be showing his stuff to a whole bunch of the people who put on concerts. If they like what they see, maybe we’ll all get a lot more chances to see it too.

    Check out the schedule – it’s all about how to make money from touring, and there’s an impressive lineup of artists appearing who all want a piece of that. Bo will be part of a showcase put on by his booking agency, APA.

    APA will get the showcases started at IEBA on Sunday, October 3 with a strong mix of soulful, southern rock and country that will get everyone in the mood for three days of partying. Don’t miss Blackberry Smoke, Bo Bice, Darryl Worley, and a surprise special guest artist!

    Knock them off their feet, Bo!


  • Bo Bice to help kick off songwriter’s festival

    It looks like we aren’t the only people impressed by Bo’s songwriting these days:

    NSAI’s 18th Annual TIN PAN SOUTH SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL will be held MARCH 30th – APRIL 3rd in NASHVILLE. A festival preview party will take place MARCH 9th, from 3:30-5:30p (CT), at THE RUTLEDGE in NASHVILLE.

    The preview party will reveal performance schedules, venues and participating writers for this year’s event. In addition, songwriters JONATHAN CAIN, BO BICE, RACHEL THIBODEAU and CHRIS WALLIN will perform at the party.

    It sounds like a great event and I bet Bo is honored to be a part of it.

    Seventeen years ago, a group of songwriters got together to promote the occupation of songwriting through a music festival that would focus on the people who write the songs. Recognizing Nashville as the new Tin Pan Alley, like the New York scene at the early part of the 20th century, these modern-day troubadours were seeking to bring attention to the new center of song: Music City.
    The festival was named Tin Pan South to recognize the past and to celebrate the future.

    Tin Pan South is America’s largest music festival dedicated to songs and songwriters.

    Produced by the Nashville Songwriters Association International, the festival is a legislative fundraiser in support of NSAI’s efforts in Congress. Each year, in late March/early April, several hundred songwriters perform approximately 100 shows over the course of the week. For five days and nights the festival encompasses Nashville venues, elevating songwriters and the contribution they make to the city and to the world of music. Along with raising money for NSAI’s legislative efforts, Tin Pan South underscores the rich cultural heritage of Tennessee and draws attention to the wide variety of songwriters who live and work here today.

    Since he’ll be singing at the preview party, let’s hope Bo will also be performing in one of the regular shows too. Those new songs are gonna knock ’em dead.

    Thanks to sjohnston for the link!


  • Somewhere there’s music, how near how far

    Years ago, my first serious boyfriend gave me an old vinyl single of Les Paul and Mary Ford’s How High The Moon. He told me I just had to hear it, and he was right.

    Les Paul passed away today, and a minute of googling will bring up loving tributes from just about everyone in the music industry, including Bo. It’s not a stretch at all to say that without Les’ innovations in guitar and recording technology, the music we love wouldn’t sound the same, either in person or on a record. What’s going to stick with me, though, is his incredible passion for performing. He was one of those people who simply had to play in order to live. As a young man, his right arm was crushed in a car accident – he had the doctors set and pin it at a permanent 90 degree angle, so he could still hold a guitar. As an older man, arthritis crippled his fingers – he taught himself how to play with them straight.

    Les Paul never stopped making music “until they rolled him down the hill in a pine box.” Here’s hoping that somewhere, his hands are strong and free again.


  • Good strings, bad lighting

    It may be a long time before we get any coherent recaps from tonight’s show in River Falls. So far all anyone has managed to gasp out is “Teh Hat…leather jacket… Hot! Hot! Hot!”

    So in the meantime, enjoy a couple of videos put up by D’Addario strings. In this interview, Bo talks about his background and songwriting. Over here, Luis Espaillat (he rocks!) dishes on his mad love for the bass and how he got hooked up into Bo’s band.


  • Now THAT’S What I Call Music Marketing!

    I absolutely love the Alabama 3. I think they’re just incredibly original and interesting and I listen to them all the time.

    But this blog isn’t a plug for the band. It’s about the creative ways they market their music.

    They’re now recording a new album and they just have the coolest idea. They’re posting 3 demos every month for fans to listen to and rate. The highest rated 3 tracks will be recorded for the CD. But they’re also offering fans the chance to download the tracks and remix them.

    The best 12 remixes will then be featured on a second CD at the end of the year. Now that is smart music marketing!

    In order to get the downloads, or even to vote, you have to give the band your email address. Even more brilliant!

    If you’re interested, you can listen to the demos here. They’re in raw form right now, which probably makes remixing them all the more exciting for someone who can do that kind of thing.

    This idea is absolutely not something that a major label would ever come up with – and yet it’s a brilliant way of involving fans and collecting email addresses, and just another sign that music will live on while major labels slowly expire.


  • Seth Godin on the Music Industry

    Seth Godin is the king of Internet marketers. He founded one of the very first Internet ad companies, and over the last few years he has built a hugely popular blog, which he then uses to sell books and position himself as a high-profile and very expensive public speaker.

    So he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to marketing. One of the concepts he introduced a few years ago is the idea of permission marketing. Simply put, he says that no one is listening to ads anymore – we’re all too busy to pay attention and there’s too much noise. Seth believes that the only marketing that still works is building a relationship with your customer so that you have ‘permission’ to sell them stuff.

    For musicians, email sign-up lists are a form of permission marketing, as are MySpace bulletins sent to friends. The ‘Say Now’ calls that Bo makes are another type of permission marketing.

    Seth has been saying for years that the music industry needed to apply the principles of permission marketing, and in his latest blog post, he outlines 15 lessons from their failure to do so.

    The whole thing is interesting, but I found this particularly applicable to Bo:

    Today, of course, permission is an asset to be earned. The ability (not the right, but the privilege) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who want to get them. For ten years, the music business has been steadfastly avoiding this opportunity.

    It’s interesting though, because many musicians have NOT been avoiding it. Many musicians have understood that all they need to make a (very good) living is to have 10,000 fans. 10,000 people who look forward to the next record, who are willing to trek out to the next concert. Add 7 fans a day and you’re done in 5 years. Set for life. A life making music for your fans, not finding fans for your music.

    Bo already has those 10,000 fans – many more than that judging by his album sales. And many of us are evangelists – we love his music and we tell other people. We love his shows and we bring our friends. So that fan base can – and will – increase over time.

    I recommend reading the whole post – it’s a really good run-down of the mistakes the industry has made. But it also holds out hope for those artists who take advantage of the new opportunities. Those saddled with 5 year-contracts with major labels are screwed, IMO, because they likely have no control over their own mailing lists or websites. But for everyone else, the opportunities are limitless.