In college I participated in competitive debate. And while those debates offered no shortage of thrilling dissections of the math behind the subprime mortgage crisis and ethical and First Amendment implications of circumcision, occasionally, we also touched on pop culture. My all-time favorite round was in the finals for Oregon State University Speakeasy in 2007 when we debated the merits of the Radiohead business model.
The topic wasn't just a perfect pairing of pop culture and economic theory. With no shortage of names to drop and lyrics to reference comically, it was also a genuinely contentious issue. Whether musicians and fans like it or not, the industry is changing, and the question of whether a band can be financially viable while staying independent, or whether they can only do so after spending a decade on the major label gravy train, is key to where the industry, and music, ends up.
There aren't necessarily any clear answers, which was part of what made it such a fun topic. But for musicians and interested parties out there looking less to philosophical inquiry and more to the looming shadow of next month's rent, clear answers are preferable.
Luckily, today there's an opportunity to get some of those answers.
As part of a series of workshops sponsored by the Boise City Department of Arts and History, musicians can learn about the biz from Matthew Stringer, formerly of Sony Commercial Music Group. He will offer strategies and techniques on how musicians can market themselves in the rapidly changing music business. Best part, the workshop is FREE, making it something even a working artist can afford.
The workshop starts at 5:30 p.m. and is at the Old Idaho Penitentiary.