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  1. #1
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    How Do YOU Support Classic Soul

    A discussion that I had earlier started me to consider this for a few reasons.

    Through first-hand knowledge, I've noticed that in recent years, several Classic Soul shows have been less than fully attended & still others have been cancelled. I've also noticed that groups like The Rolling Stones, et.al, could likely come on stage in wheelchairs & still have sell-outs.

    If you could place your finger on a few of the problems facing Classic Soul, what would you say that the problem[[s) are & what do you think could be done to reverse the trend? More that, aside from discussion, how do you primarily support Classic Soul & its artists & what makes this particular audience different from that of the Rock & Roll or even Doo Wop crowd?

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    A few ways:

    1. I attend as many soul concerts as I can. I live in a rock/country music town, with few soul concerts. I fly or drive to Seattle or Portland for shows, it's 500 miles one way or more to those venues. In the past five years or so I've seen The O'Jays twice, The Spinners once, The Whispers/Jeffrey Osborne, Hall & Oates, and others. In the last decade I've seen Tops/Tempts shows three times. My next show appears to be Tower of Power at a jazz festival this winter.

    2. I buy CD's. I buy many classic soul CD's I'm either replacing on vinyl or I didn't buy earlier. I also buy new productions as I recently purchased Ronnie McNeir's new album, which should arrive tomorrow or the next day!

    3. I post in this forum.

    4. I encourage my friends to buy classic soul albums and ask them to attend shows with me.

    My next step is to subscribe to a soul magazine like The Touch of Classic Soul or Soul Express [[Heikki's Finland magazine).

    How I would reverse the audience trend? I'm not sure. I do know that the shows I attend are usually in mid-sized venues, very large casino rooms that probably hold 2,000-3,000. The Whispers/Jeffrey Osborne was sold out, as were The Spinners, both casino shows in Oregon and Washington, respectively, hardly soul hot-bed states. Hall & Oates was a benefit concert that was spendy in Portland at a nice downtown concert hall. It sold out. Perhaps the lack of many soul shows in the Northwest has people dying to see them because whenever I go, they're packed. They're not big arenas, but they sell well.

  3. #3
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    TSull,

    Great answer! I do likewise & over the years have posted as many reviews & pictures as possible. I was just wondering if there was something specific that our fans believe could be addressed. I guess I wondering whether it's simply economics, a generational thing which finds Keith Sweat, New Edition & Guy as oldie" acts, or something else which needs addressing.

    Given the fact that folks like Hall & Oates, The Rolling Stones & even some Doo Wop groups can draw well in mid-sized venues, I'm just wondering why they can still receive this type of support while many of our Soul acts whom are still sounding great sometimes struggle to fill 2,000 seats despite their excellence.

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    Having been in the trenches of this since roughly the Fall of 1990, the solution is not quite as cut and dry as a bunch of us running out to buy a ticket to a concert. In many ways, this is out of our hands.

    A little history …

    Back around 1994, 1995, 1996 there was a resurgence of interest classic soul, which probably coincided with the re-issue of countless albums on the newfound CD format and Rhino Records putting out countless greatest hits compilations and their “Didn’t It Blow Your Mind” series. Here in New York, the two top urban contemporary radio stations [[WBLS & WRKS), along with a popular AM station [[WWRL) changed their format to classic soul, and it was quite popular. This was the equivalent of the nostalgia revival that began around 1970, and to which countless doo-wop / oldies acts have capitalized on ever since.
    Having said that, too many classic soul groups / acts of the 60s & 70s did not milk this the way they should have. I remember in the fall of 1996 when my first book came out. I hooked up with Wendell Sawyer of Blue Magic [[who lived in my neighborhood) that day to give him a copy and asked if things had picked up for the group over the last 2-3 years. He admitted that the 70s groups blew it by not jumping on the resurgence of classic soul the way they should have.
    Here in NY around that time, there was a promoter [[I won’t mention his name) who booked several classic soul shows in the auditorium of Fashion High School down on 24th Street. I went to one and saw the following: the Escorts, Soul Generation, GQ Rahiem, Ted Mills, Ray, Goodman & Brown, the Chi-Lites, and maybe one or two more that I just can’t remember some 15 years later. There were two shows on a Saturday night and both of them were sold out. He and his organization were putting on these shows roughly every six to eight weeks and all of them were sold out. I heard some rumors about problems with the groups getting their money, but as one of the people in the organization later told me, ‘Marc, do you really think so-and-so group is going to go on stage without having been paid in full?’ Made sense to me. In reality, the grumblings were about how this guy and his organization were making some serious cheddar. Instead of looking at the glass as being half empty, some of these acts should have looked at it as half full and realized, ‘If it weren’t for **, I wouldn’t be working any gigs.’
    I was at the Jan 97 show where one act [[I assume after having signed a contract to be paid x amount of dollars for the night), looked out and saw how many people were in the audience and refused to go onstage until the promoter coughed up more dough. This was only “handled properly” after the promoter’s security force got involved. Things were going well until someone ratted out the promoter; something about how it is illegal to have a concert at a high school auditorium. He then had to move his show uptown to the Apollo and pay top dollar to secure the venue. Their next gig was to book the Dells, who command top dollar, and they lost their shirts. In attempts to try to recuperate this loss, business sense went out of the window and greed took over. As a result, the gig was up. For example, you can’t have a show at the Apollo on Mother’s Day and again on Father’s Day and charge top dollar with the Persuaders as your headline act for both gigs. Juice, this was well before Tony Riley and company were part of the act. Around 1999, they were booking gigs at a little dinky join a block away from Penn Station and brought in a few 1970s acts who I guess had nothing better to do on a Friday night. By the summer of 2000, they were out of business.
    No one has really picked up the slack since. Roughly around 2005 / 2006, someone else came in and was putting together multi-act classic shows at the reopened Paradise Theater in the Bronx. He actually brought in some top-notch 60s / 70s soul acts and I was able to secure several interviews for AToCS, just from hanging around there. Again, fate stepped in. Once the word was out, other promoters started hosting gigs there, and whoever owned the Paradise Theater considerably jacked up the rent. As a result, this promoter of classic soul shows was priced out of the market. In all honestly, however [[help me out here, Juice) this promoter was quite a nasty guy, and I seriously think his karma just started kicking him in the ass. One gig was cancelled because of a snowstorm and a gig a few months later was cancelled because of a power outage. Stuff happens; nothing that anyone here on SDF can do about it.

    There is also the matter that these acts need to start helping themselves. I mean, at least have a modicum level of handling your business. Over the years, I have seen countless [[excuse me for using that word too much) threads on SDF about how “so and so should have been bigger and it wasn’t fair how [whatever record label owner] didn’t promote them.” Again, it’s not always that cut and dry. Also, I realize that with me being press/media, I have a bit more intimate knowledge of what goes on than the casual fan does. For instance, for anyone who saw the latest issue of AToCS, we now have some sense that it wasn’t necessarily Berry Gordy’s fault that the Elgins weren’t bigger. On a more personal note, there was an artist [[I won’t mention the name) who is a truly gifted vocalist and should have had a much bigger career than his 1980s commercial prime turned out to be. This artist put out a CD roughly two years ago. I got in touch with this artist’s publicity people and left a message. I made it clear that although I wanted to interview ** for a retrospective on his career, I would devote an unlimited amount of space in the story to talk about the new CD. In all fairness, the call was returned. Since this person was on the West Coast and there was a 3-hour time difference, I had no reservations about calling this person back at roughly 6PM Pacific time. Well, the first thing this person did was chastise me for calling so late in the evening. He then said, ‘I’ll see what I can do.’ To make a long story short, roughly six or seven of my phone calls and e-mails went unreturned after that. Somebody explain this to me like I’m a three-year-old. An artist who you’re handling publicity for puts out a CD, publicity shows up at your front door with an offer to devote unlimited space in a publication to the new product, my readership is one that had an interest in the artist’s career when he was in what little commercial prime he had, and you don’t have enough professionalism to return an e-mail or phone call. Excuse me… but aren’t you trying to promote a muthaf_____ CD!!!! The same thing happened in ’06. A veteran artist came out of nowhere to put out a CD, and there was quite a bit of noise here on the Forum about it. Although I eventually got an interview and the story ran, this was only after having been stood up twice. Someone with less patience would have said, “‘F” it.” Again, this was a truly gifted vocalist who should have had a much bigger career. Now I understand why this artist didn’t. It’s not necessarily in your best interest to have “Pookie down the street” handling your business.. Again; nothing anyone here on SDF can do about it.

    Then there’s the excuse of the bad economy, and of course that does have something to do with it. You can make the claim that whites [[who are the primary supporters of the nostalgia revival) have more disposable income than blacks [[who make up the majority of the audience at classic soul shows). I don’t necessarily buy that. Statistics show that blacks spend a greater percentage of their disposable income than any other ethnic group. Also, when I look at the websites of Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, Gene Chandler, the Pointer Sisters, Terry Johnson’s Flamingos, and countless [[there’s that word again) other acts, they stay booked up nearly every week for the next year and a half. The Edsels, a group that I never even heard of until two years ago, were a one-hit-wonder act with a little ditty called “Rama-Lama Ding Dong.” That group STAYS booked!!! When the Edsels are working 3-4 times a month and a group that had a string of hits can only get a gig 4-5 times a year, it’s time to look in the mirror. Many of these groups overprice themselves and the promoter asks the tough question, ‘Can I get someone else, who is a bit cheaper, and still draw the same number of people to my show?’ many times, the answer is ‘yes.’ Again, nothing SDF can do about it.

    Hate to give a gloomy outlook here. I’m just keeping it real. Like I said at the top, it takes more than people on SDF buying a ticket to a show. The acts, people handling their business, and concert promoters all come into play, and everything has to fit like a glove.

    Just my two cents [[well, maybe four cents).
    Marc Taylor

  5. #5
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    Bravo Marc,
    This was worth dropping a few things for a sec and commenting on.

    I agree there is nothing cut and dry to the answer to Juice's question but you bring a reality to the disussion that many people, especially artist need to hear.

    There is no doubt there are a lot of classic soul artists out here handling their business and doing their thing so before anyone gets air in their jaws for what Marc wrote or I'm about to say, chill, this isn't about you.

    Being a totally independent artist is a tough road for any artist to take, it is especially tough for an older indie artist and before I continue let me say this loud and clear....IT IS A REAL JOB...a real job that doesn't start at 9am and end at 5pm....it is 24/7... 365/66 days a year and if you expect a paycheck, be prepared to work your arse off....AND...be prepared to be humble...I don't care how great you were back in the day, how many records you sold back in the day or how many gnats you have buzzing in your ear and kissing your behind telling you all the things you WANT to hear but none of the things you NEED to hear to make a living in the industry in 2011 and beyond.

    This industry has changed and people can debate until the cows come home whether it's changed for the better or worse but that debate will not sell one record or get you one gig! Embrace the changes, understand and learn those changes...get in where you can fit in ...or hang it up and forget about it.

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    Ms M,

    My experiences with you back in 2006 was the complete opposite of the two incidents I mentioned, and you clearly express more than just a "modicum" of professionalism when handling your artists. Also, unlike the two incidents I mentioned above, this wasn't a case of free publicity showing up at your front door.

    It was as simple as ABC. You knew that Juice had to handle some business in CT with Ronnie, you knew that I associated with Juice, you got in touch with me and asked if I'd be willing to ride shotgun with Juice and interview Ronnie, when Ronnie arrived, he was aware that he had to conduct an interview before showtime, I researched his career, the interview went well, and the story ran. I [[and I imagine you also) couldn't have asked for better.

    And in my essay above, it wasn't about beating up on the artists. It was just to show that SOME of them play a part in the decline [[for choice of a better word) of classic soul. If Thom Bell [[who I assume is well off financially and has absolutely NOTHING to gain) can talk to me for over THREE HOURS, then a one-hit-wonder who had a popular club jam at the end of the 1970s and really hasn't been heard from since, can return at least one of my numerous e-mails asking for an interview; especially since this artist is trying to generate new product and is constantly on FB bitching about how veteran artists can't catch a break.

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    Crap....I just lost a post...a pretty good one. too....LOL

    Marc, I don't have time to re-post everything I said but I never thought you were trying to beat up on anyone but I've seen artist up close and personal be their own worse enemy in today's industry.

    We live in a world where a kid who could not sing their way out of a paper bag can rack up 5 million hits on a youtube video and translate that into a major label contract and world tour. Now artist and fans of classic artist can bitch and moan about how unfair that is or they can find away to tap into that world....they can step out of the shadows of yesterday and embrace today or they can go home.

    I'm not overly thrilled about the lack of support many artist receive and I agree with Juice that a rock artist could be rolled on stage in their coffin and still fill a stadium but when I think about that realistically, it's always been that way to one degree or the other....so what does a classic artist do....you bitch, get over it and move on. You define you own level of success that has nothing to do with climbing the billboard charts or filling the seats in major arenas...you get in where you fit in...be it here or outside the country where you will probably be a lot more appreciated anyway but you can't do that holding on to the past and the way things use to be....and if you're waiting on Rolling Stone to call while ignoring Touch of Classic Soul whose already on the line....you've already shot yourself in the foot...so again, just give it up and go home.
    Last edited by ms_m; 11-01-2011 at 06:30 PM. Reason: sorry about the name change...I fixed it:)

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    Hi Juice,
    I have not yet read the responses in this thread, but I can point to:

    1) The record labels' lack of real support and interest for the genre and it's artists beyond a few well-worn crossover favorites like Marvin Gaye, Earth, Wind & Fire, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, and Kool & The Gang. You have a lot of people in power positions at these labels who just can't relate to the music, or remember it, so it doesn't get any love. They say they have done their studies and have found that R&B/soul music fans do not buy much music. When I was first told this by an industry insider, I first thought to myself that I was never asked an opinion. Second, I did my own little survey and found that soul fans don't buy much music because they don't have the money to spend for such luxuries, and they like their old vinyl just fine.

    2) Oldies radio. They concentrate on the pop hits that their so-called professional consultants tell them people remember and like, and i'll bet most of the study subjects are not R&B/soul fans. Also, many figure the music has a small market. Why go for a small segment when they can go for a bigger audience, and keep their advertisers happy? In the older days when independantly owned stations were around and mattered, Many radio owners and managers do not like that "n***** music". Yes! I have heard, or heard about many radio people say how they will not play "that" music. They say their listeners don't want to hear it either. It doesn't matter if a song in question was a #1 smash single. No, i'm not crying racism, but it's there. I'm just not going to ignore it. Other than that, radio doesn't really care much what music gets played, as long as it make the advertisers money.

    3) Retail. Retail, like radio, will only stock what they think their customers want. Retail does care a bit about what they sell. Too many times, they are concerned with politics or image. Unfortunately, that "r" word rears it's ugly head again.

    4) You now have a generation that grew up in the 60s, 70s, and 80s who do not remember all that great soul music of the past because of the three reasons mentioned above. So, if they don't hear it, or can't buy it, what's to remember? They'll remember some awful song by The Romantics [[What I Like About You), they'll remember some minor-charting single by the Rolling Stones, or some obscure love song because it was in some chick-flick. But do many of them remember that it was the Ohio Players that had the hit with "Love Roller Coaster", or Stevie Wonder had the hit with "Higher Ground"? Do they remember that Inez Foxx did "Mockingbird" and not James Taylor and Carly Simon? Do they remember MFSB or The Whispers? No, because radio doesn't play it, and you rarely find the music of the other artists on CD. And if it is on CD, they can't find it in the stores. Oh yeah, they had their high-school dances listening to the stuff, dod football cheers to the stuff, played it at home and in the car, but somehow, they now don't remember the music.

    OK, i'm done ranting.
    Last edited by soulster; 11-01-2011 at 07:18 PM.

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    Marc,

    You know that I know full well the hard work that you've been doing for years now. In fact, you'll always be someone whom I respected before I met you for your first book, "A Touch Of Classic Soul Vol. 1". I respected your thoroughness & the fact that you werent trying to dog anyone out, but rather were filling us in about what was happening with some of our favorite artists. Having been doing the same kind of research but never really knowing how to reach out to anyone [[no internet back then), I admired your doing something which had been in my heart for years.

    You were also burned into my mind because when I met you & purchased the second of your books, "A Touch Of Classic Soul Vol.2" directly from you at The Rhythm Review Dance Party at Roseland on Sat., June 9th, 2001, I had noway of knowing that that would be the last function that my wife & I would attend together, as she died 2 days later. So the events of that day was burned into my memory, likely forever.

    I believe that you have given some very honest & realistic answers, to something which not so easily solved. And you make a great point about artists blowing off "little" guys until they need them, as though Rolling Stone & Vibe were knocking down their doors. I still remember our encounter with a certain individual who had the nerve to tell you that he didn't talk for less than a certain price. It was no shock to see this same individual turn up on a documentary show & my skin crawled as I watched him speak.

    Nor will I forget an encounter that I had with someone who had all of one song, who had been a member of a very successful group. No one had heard a damn thing from this guy damn near since the Eisenower Administration, but he was preening & strutting around as though he was a combination of Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye & Sam Cooke all rolled into one. I told him about what we do here & he blew me off & went into his "Mack Daddy" role with his fake-assed cubic zirconia rings. And you know what, we haven't heard hide nor hair from him since. And the 500 POSITIVE words that I'd have written about him here & the 15 or 20 pictures that I'd have posted, would've been 500 more words & 20 pictures more than anyone had written or posted about him in the previous 25 years.

    Being that I didn't start attending these shows until a few months after joining SDF in late 2003, I had no idea about the concert landscape back in the 90s. I went to a couple of shows, having met The Whispers at one of those concerts that you're speaking of which used to be held at The Beacon, but that was about the extent of it. As for the promoter of whom you speak, you definitely know how I feel about him & why. I was there the night when that transformer blew immediately after Russell Thompkins Jr. & The New Stylistics finished their set. Dennis Edwards & The Temptations Review were set to close the show, but the transformer blew before they hit the stage, so that was that. This guy & his partner make it their appointed duty to be as difficult to do business, as well as to promote their shows FOR FREE. I'm talikng about FREE stories, FREE publicity which turns up all over the internet. Yet instead of understanding how this helps their bottom line by receiving FREE publicity which ends up all over the internet, they choose to make it as difficult as possible to help them to promote THEIR SHOWS.

    Contrast that with how T.J. operates, how Rob operates, Mrs. Nader operates. And newer to the scene is Kevin Rivera & Vannessa Gaston of The National R&B Music Society & Maurice Watts of Lovezone 247. .These are people whom have been more than gracious in how they've treated me & you, as well at their shows & give us few problems doing what we do. While most of them didn't necessarily NEED us, they opened their doors to us & pretty much gave us carte blanche' to do what we needed to do, with plenty of access to boot. Because they know what we're trying to do, that we're not exploiting them, nor are making boocoo dollars & know that more than money, we've been at this for years, primarily for the love of our music & those whom make it. People whom for the most part don't receive the type of love that they should elsewhere.

    Anyway, as regards the man, let's just say that karma is indeed a bitch & sometimes, chickens do come home to roost. That's the nicest thing that I can say about that.

    Marc, as regards some entertainers & the way that they handle their business, you're 100% on-point. I remember you encountering an artist whom was by no means a overly successful artist, not on the level that we're talking about & this person, whom Leonard Nimoy & Bigfoot are still searching for, had the nerve to demand a cover story from you. As though we'd read so much a 3 sentences about him on youtube.

    NOT!!!

    Now contrast that to our experiences with folks like Russell Thompkins Jr., Al Goodman, Wendell Sawyer & Keith Beaton, Ronnie McNeir, Alicia Myers, Blue Lovett, Reginald Haynes & about 1000 other artists whom are more than gracious with their time, whom will actually thank you for caring about their careers & truly appreciate your efforts. Some get it & some don't & while I've met a know a lot of damned fine artists [[and most of them are damn cool), there are those few whom make you shake your head in wonderment.

    I just believe that folks who don't support those whom support them are out of their mind & a truism is definitely the phrase "what comes around, goes around". If you don't support those whom are helping you when no one else is, exactly whom will you turn to when those people get tired of the disrespect, or have to go out of business due to lack of mutual support?

    Marc, thanks for your hard work & for providing your perspective. And by all means, keep doing what you're doing!
    Last edited by juicefree20; 11-01-2011 at 07:41 PM.

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    Well Ms M, as you're here, I can let the cat out of the bag.

    This thread came about because of the conversation that we had. As you were speaking & I was mentioning how things have been going on the concert scene of late, I decided to start this thread in order to see what those whom are more on the consumer end of things have to say, as well as how they feel about all of this.

    I was beginning to wonder whether the fact that I'm more connected to the inside of thing, has simply caused me to lose touch with what the people whom are buying tickets are feeling, as well as how they perceive this situation. Now doing what you do, I know & appreciate that you can give us a different & likely a more realistic perspective from the indy perspective & just how much hustling & hard work it takes in the industry as things stand today.

    I appreciate both your perspective & what Marc has said. I understand what Marc's saying because we pretty much deal with the same type of things. I appreciate what you're saying because you're speaking about the need for artists to get knowledge in order to empower themselves & to understand that its not what you've done in the past,but how you negotiate the waters of the present which can either make you or break you. Both perspectives are important because they're but a part of a much bigger whole.

    I thank you for adding your knowledge to the mix & I truly hope that rather than to inspire knee-jerk reactions which serve no useful purpose, that this discussion can lead to various point of views which will help to figure out ways to make things better for all.

  11. #11
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    Hey Juice, I figured out a way how to post pics here without having to worry about limitations. I posted it on your other thread: http://soulfuldetroit.com/showthread...2129#post72129

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    LOL....I recognized the conversation immediately Juice and I'm glad you decided to bring it to the forum.

    Trust me, I not only understand what Marc is saying I agree 110% and I think it all ties in to understanding what it takes to make it in this new day.

    Ironically, a lot of people you deal with now a days are much younger and many of them have the same complaint. They admire and respect classic artist but they often run across divas and divos who think they can command the world and all it's gold based on what they've done in the past and it simply doesn't work that way.

    As much as I would love to beat people up side the head and make them spend their money and show their support...I can't do that either...that means I have to understand the way things are done today. Reality can often bite but if you're not being honest with yourself and realistic about the way this industry works now, you're wasting your time.

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    Soulster,

    You know as regards their statement that Soul music fans don't but much music, I really don't know how they came to that conclusion because ever since I was a kid, every household that I knew bought a lot of music. Even when I was a DJ, I bought music from stores from Brooklyn to Queens to Harlem & never saw a shortage of adults & teens purchasing music. I don't know how it is or was in different regions but here on the East Coast, even the poorest family I knew had a stereo & several 45s, albums, tapes or CDs & their families blasted them all of the time. Perhaps as time went on people became more selective once the labels began playing the shell game by playing music on the radio which were held back in order to force LP & CD sales [[eliminating singles didn't exactly help). But if so, I believe that that may be due more to trying to force-feed people music that they didn't want, in order to get the music that they wanted.

    And the fact that they were charging a list price ranging from $16.98 to $18.98, which eliminating LPs which sold for $9.99 didn't help either. In this case, greed didn't help their bottom line one iota.And when you continually show contempt for the consumer, inevitably, there'll be a rather negative backlash.

    In this case, they're being bitten by the genie that they let out of the bottle & truthfully, I see there being no bridge which will ever lead back to the good old days.

    As for radio, I believe that once they embraced this syndicated crap & stripped each region of their particular flavor, that served no one well. By taking the power away from the individual radio stations & DJs & tightening playlists under the guise of avoiding payola, that was bogus, as one would have to think that if there's even fewer spots available on a playlist, that the competition for those spots would be even more valuable, desired & would actually have the effect of more people upping the financial ante in order to secure a few of those spots.

    It's like when they tried to introduce this "Jack" format here in N.Y., thereby eliminating yet another station & format, that was a decision made by some guy in an office looking at charts that didn't reflect the realities of the N.Y./Metro market, nor what the audience wanted,but rather what some guy in a suit figured that it would fly here because it flew in Dubuque, Iowa.

    They've since gotten rid of it, but are still killing us with these syndicated shows & watered-down formats & I believe that that sameness & milquetoast crap is exactly what those folks wanted. from where I sit, it comes down to the fact that that exact sameness is what allows them to plug-in, then unplug these artists, with nary a dissenting word. After all, you can't really tell where one Shai, one Hi-Five, a MoKenStef & a Total begin & end, as there's nothing tjat truly distinguishes one from the other.

    As for the kids, I'd also have to say that due to sampling & the like, black kids today as likely as familiar with old-school music & nearly as accepting of it as we were.

    Sampling has led to a knowledge of some rather obscure artists & has led to sales of their music & artists such as The Dramatics & Ronnie Isley enjoyed a career renaissance via Snoop & R. Kelly. And look what Charlie Wilson's doing these days, whose selling out venues & whose shows have been raved about by just about everyone whom I know.

    Look at the popularity of Roger & Zapp, P-Funk, James Brown & Sly, whose music has been sampled & revered for years. Listen to the countless hits over the last 20 years which are built completely around old-school samples. and with the internet being as vast as it is & artists being more accessible than at any point in history, I believe that these kids are more knowledgeable about who's who than ever before.

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    P-Shark,

    Thanks a lot. I appreciate your effort in getting this information to me & i'll check it out for sure!

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    Ms M,

    I didn't want to bring your name into it without your involvement & you know that if I'm going to put something up which has sprung from something which we'd discussed, then I'd have to give you your just due.

    I have to say that I feel fortunate in that most of the people I know have been pretty great & it's been nice knowing just about all of the people whom I know. There have been a few whom have disappointed, but they are definitely the minority.

    Indeed, this is unchartered territory & the Lord only knows the magic bullet which leads to that pot over the other side of the rainbow.

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    I understand Juice and thanks for the respect.

    You know Juice, it's really not as uncharted as you may think. A lot of the problem has to do with us old heads fighting the inevitable.

    Totally indie artist have been around forever racking up sales and often being laughed at and ridiculed for their unconventional methods....

    Major labels dominated the industry for a very long time and it's been difficult for the labels, artist and fans to accept their hey day is over.

    When Spotify hit the scene in Europe I couldn't wait until it reached the States so I could laugh my butt off. A decade ago instead of ignoring Napster, and suing 12 year olds, the RIAA and major labels could have been embracing the trend, and making money for themselves and their artist...oh well....their lost and the artist gain, if the artist is savvy enough to tap into the power. As a general rule you won't get rich off of "streaming" money but those pennies, every-time someone plays your song makes dollars...and here is the thing Juice, if there is any artist that is reading this and doesn't have a clue what I'm talking about.....it's time to learn!!!!

    Now as quiet as it's kept the suits are waking up and embracing the new trends too...heck...RIAA started Sound ExCHANGE once they figured out how to get their cut too and personally I'm cool with that...it's no different from BMI, ASCAP or SESAC but my point is, if an artist missed out on understanding the BUSINESS of music back in the day [[for whatever reasons) and still refuse to understand and learn the biz now...who's fault is that?

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    I can only speak for my experience having been a life-long Northwesterner. Perhaps it's because this area has an extremely small African American population [[I'm white; Portland is the whitest metro area in America, I think; Seattle is not extremely diverse either) that when soul groups come to the area, people just flood to the arenas. We don't get a lot of soul music out there.

    I live in redneck/country/hard rock Idaho, virtually no soul concerts here so I go to Portland or Seattle for shows. But The Temptations showed up at the state fair a few years ago. I thought no one would go so I drove up to the fair two hours before the show and the highway outside the fairgrounds was backed up for a mile or so. I asked someone who actually got in and they said it was completely jam-packed and they were turning away hundreds of people.

    Colton Thomas I hope can add some stuff here as he lives in Portland and goes to one of the main casinos south of Portland that I go to for soul shows. Chakha Kahn played there this year, it sold out in a week or so. As I noted earlier, The Whispers/Jeffrey Osborne show sold out at the same locale. At another casino on the Oregon Coast, I saw Tempts/Tops maybe 5-7 years ago, completely packed. Spinners in Seattle area casino was sold out, Hall & Oates last September was sold out at an expensive ticket price.

    It's like serving a thirsty man a big jug of ice water around here, man. If you're not given a steady diet of great soul music, you crave it more. I'm counting the days till I see Tower of Power ... and it's in February.

    Just guessing, but if you live in Chicago, NYC, Philly, L.A., etc., it's not that thrilling to see these groups as they come by often. It's a real treat up here in the great Northwest. To that one casino's credit, they've really amped up the soul/jazz with George Benson, War/Tower of Power, Chakha, all last summer.

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    Pretty much the same way everyone else supports it...buying whatever CD's I wish with classic soul, going to some concerts, listening to soul-oriented radio programming [[whether on college radio, Internet radio or Sirius/XM), attending soul-oriented talks and performances at the Rock Hall.

    Best,

    Mark

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    Hey T, when I was in Portland ten years ago, it was all alternative music. I saw a very few Black people there, and, while the area was cordial and peaceful, it wasn't too welcoming. There was no soul music of soul music station to be found, and very, very little of it in the stores.

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    Just getting back in here.

    Mark Spek: You've pretty much summed up what the everyday classic soul fan can do.

    Juice: "I'm not giving you a comp CD. It's for sale over there." [[ I had to get that in, bro.)

    Now, time for me to play devil's advocate and be the pebble in the bottom of SDF's shoe.

    As far as radio, just to be fair, some of the people have to do what they have to do in order to keep a check coming in, and that means advertising dollars. When radio stations switch to a classic soul format, everyone embraces it. At least that was the case with KISS-FM, WBLS, WWRL, and Jammin' 105 Oldies back in the mid-to late 1990s. However, it's difficult to to maximize bring in advertising dollars when your core audience is age 40 and up. Let's face it. When I was in my early to mid-20s, it was nothing for me to run to The Wiz during my lunch hour on payday every other week and spend $30 - $40 on cassettes. More times than not, if I heard something on the radio I liked, I ran to The Wiz and brought the cassette and just took a chance that the rest of it was good. I no longer do that at age 46. The last contemporary CD that I actually bought was Alicia Keys' second CD near the end of 2003, and that was strictly on the strength of "You Don't Know My Name," a 70s throwback song.
    Advertisers know this, so they spend their $ gearing their products to the youth, who mindlessly spend whatever money they have. As a result, stations with a classic soul format cannot command top advertising dollars. If someone whose job is to bring in that dollar isn't getting it done, he has to do what he has to do to keep his/her job. As a result, despite the popularity surrounding stations swithing to a classic soul format, when they switch back to something more contemporary, the "excuse" they usually give is that they were losing advertising.
    WCBS-FM used to be a prime time oldies station. When I say "oldies," I mean "Earth Angel," "In the Still of the Night," etc... Roughly ten years ago, they realized that the audience for that genre was dying out. They then adopted a policy of playing nothing prior to 1960. As Juice mentioned above, they later switched to that "Jack" format and had their asses handed to them. The have since gone back to the "Oldies" format, but, again, do not play anything prior to 1960.

    Also, most classic soul concerts are advertised on urban contemporary radio stations. However, we oldies fans get pissed off at the type of music being played and stop listening to the radio, so unless word-of-mouth gets around, we don't hear about it until the show has come and gone. Now, if it's a multi-act show at a fairly large venue like NY's Beacon Theater, we often find out about it. However, if it's one artist at a smaller venue, that info often passes us by because the promoter only has x amount of dollars to pay for radio time. The rest of his promotion is done by paying people to hand out flyers; a term in New York called "Street Team."
    Think about it, Juice. How did we know Alicia Myers was playing at that little dinky joint in the back woods of New Jersey? You and I [[in our 40s) rarely listen to WBLS anymore, so we didn't know about it. However, Tres, who was in her early 30s at the time and is more open to today's music, is an avid radio listener, and the rest is history. Had it not been for Tres, we'd still think that Alicia Myers was in jail for murder.

    Again, not trying to bust anyone's chops here; just showing a possible other side of the coin.

    Marc T.
    Last edited by mellow_q; 11-02-2011 at 11:26 PM.

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    Marc, in different ways, you and I are saying the same thing.....you want to make it out here, you have to understand the BUSINESS of music...

    I can't remember who it was but someone on SDF once said [[and I paraphrase) I only have x amount of dollars to spend on music and my first and foremost love is classic soul....if I'm going to spend my dollars, I'm going to spend it on classic soul songs I have yet to hear or purchase. It made perfect sense and right then and there I knew classic soul consumers were NOT the crux of the market I needed to focus on.... I also knew I not only had to define my market but FIND my market and in many instances build my market.

    You put a pebble in the shoe. I'm going to place a boulder in the other shoe.... classic soul consumers, especially US classic soul consumers do not purchase new music and yes there are exceptions.....and I will say that again ....YES.... there are exceptions but any artist trying to live off those exceptions, will not survive.

    As an artist you have to understand how PD's at radio stations think and why, you have to understand how advertisers think and why, you have to know how consumers of music think and why...and if you are constantly learning, growing and adapting to change, I don't care if you are young or old you can make it out here.....you may never see a #1 record, you may never get a Grammy but if that's all you're looking for, maybe it's time to rethink priorities...maybe it's time to redefine success.

    Now as far as Classic soul artist, gigs and support.....We all know there are still classic soul artist out here without a new CD that still find work...some get more work than others but many continue to make a living doing what they have always loved. Maybe we should be asking them to weigh in on this issue.

    Thanks for the thread Juice... and Marc, thanks for the conversation.

    I took a mini break but it's time for me to get back to work....I've got cds to sell

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    As for me, I haven't attended an oldies concert in a while because as much as I love Ray, Goodman & Brown, the O'Jays, Delphonics I tire of the same act. How many times do I have to endure the guy, Ice? taking off his shirt showing his abs or the Delphonics singing one of their songs to a reggae beat with the dreadlock wig? At least the Manhattans change their routine from time to time. Realizing there is not a dearth of surviving groups anymore and pickings are slim, I tend to pass on the same show I may have seen before. There may be people who don't tire of the same show; however, imo keeping their show fresh would perhaps help turn the tide around.

    I usually do not buy new stuff but through the efforts of Ms. M, I took a chance and order Ronnie McNeir's cd in 2008 and on the strength of that good cd, I just recently ordered his latest.

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    Hi everyone! I know I haven't been on here in a minute [[my bad) but just to add a little bit to what Marc said- when you have artists who don't even promote themselves, they are also part of the problem. I don't know how many different artists Marc has interviewed that are members of this very forum and when the issue came out, they didn't even promote it. Then it's the case of "who are you, again?". People should be happy that there is even a magazine that even caters to THEIR audience, but hey, maybe they're waiting for something "bigger". Artists have inflated egos and are stuck in a time warp. There was an artist who I was on a conference call with Marc-this dude had all of one or two hits and SWORE he should be on the cover or he wouldn't be able to do the interview. huh?!?! NOBODY would put you on the cover so why should Marc? Marc, if i'm lying, say so. And alot of artists get around to when they feel like getting around-whether it's a busy schedule or they are just on their own sh*t. Look at Thom Bell on this new interview. Marc, how long did it take to GET that interview? damn near 5 years and but for the fact I knew his attorney and we're working on a deal, he remembered Marc after all that time and set it up. If artists are not doing their job to make the public want to continue to support them, then don't expect the support. And you right, how i learned about Alicia Meyers was from the commercial for a show she was doing in west bubble, NJ.lolol if promoters are not putting the proper revenue behind airing spots for these shows, then people won't show up. If i actually hear about a show and interested in going, then i'll go. But like Nosey said-if you see them once, you've seen it all.

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    I think that a small part of the problem could be that some of the venues that sell he tickets don't speak well of the acts performing,case in point i bought tickets to a temps concert back in the eighties and the guys at the ticket place were actually laughing talking about how surprising it would be to sell out that show..well it did sell out and the temps killed em,so what i'm saying is that if folks sometimes listen to the negatives coming from the folks selling the tickets it could hurt sales.

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    I don't know. I have to say that the Funk shows that I've attended in the past 15-20 years have consistently been sold out. I've simply never run into that type of situation. And you know that I live in the tri-state area, where Funk wasn't exactly welcomed with open arms [[especially in NYC). It could be the size of the venues that I've been to that could be a plus in terms of sell out performances.

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    R&B: I haven't had that experience, but it doesn't surprise me.

    Nosey: Given my position, I usually have to be politically correct, but you hit the nail right on the head; particularly with the Ice situation.

    Depending on what kind of career a classic soul artist had, I don't think his/her ability to secure gigs on a consistent basis is dependent upon whether or not they have a current CD out. A couple of years ago, Earth, Wind & Fire had out a new CD that did fairly well. From what I recall, they even received a Grammy nomination. However, when people pay $ to see them live, 99.99% of their show better consist of their hits of the 70s and early 80s.

    The Isley Brothers/Ron Isley are an institution. I do believe they were fortunate that first Angela Winbush in the late 80s and then R. Kelly in the 90s have allowed them to remain current. However, they were consistently generating CDs, and their lean period never lasted more than a year or two. "Young" people are familiar with Ron isley because of his Mr. Big image, but I would dare to wager that it is primarily older people who come to his/their shows.

    Frankly, I think El Debarge was just plain lucky, or had some high-powered publicity people behind him last year when his comeback CD came out and he landed on the front cover of Ebony magazine and got a [[short-lived) reality show. Then again, when SDF talks about classic soul, somehow I don't think they/we are referencing someone whose commercial prime was in the early-to mid 1980s.

    As far as handling their business, I think these classic soul artists should concentrate on securing live gigs. Let's face it, their days of being contemporary hitmakers is over. And maybe classic soul fans are partly to blame. Let's face it; I would buy a 2-CD Stylistics greatest hits set before I would buy a new Russell Thompkins CD. I'm just being honest here; and it's the same with virtually all of them. I also think it's somewhat "lazy" when I hear these artists say, "We're getting ready to go into the studio and re-record our hit songs." Hey ... God bless you, but I won't be buying it. Every once in a while someone breaks through [[Betty Lavette), but that's the exception and not the rule. Besides, she has more of an eclectic fan base.

    Tres: Don't worry; I co-sign what you said about ** refusing to give me an interview unless he made the cover; and quite frankly, I'm glad that I didn't have to spend my valuable time researching his career in preparation for the interview.

    Peace,
    Marc T

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    Quote Originally Posted by soulster View Post
    Hey T, when I was in Portland ten years ago, it was all alternative music. I saw a very few Black people there, and, while the area was cordial and peaceful, it wasn't too welcoming. There was no soul music of soul music station to be found, and very, very little of it in the stores.
    Portland and Seattle are still not soul/funk towns and the stores are better, but not that great. However, Spirit Mountain Casino [[south of Portland perhaps 40 miles) and Emerald Queen Casino [[south of Seattle 40 miles) found the untapped soul market and have been booking classic soul acts, especially Spirit Mountain, who in the past year have had O'Jays, War/Tower of Power twin bill, Chakha Kahn, The Whispers/Jeffrey Osborne, George Benson, and many others. I understand this is just another month in Chicago or L.A., up here it's good. But correct, neither Portland nor the Northwest in general has a large soul following.

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    I have a website where I've got the odd article and reviews I've done, plus some podcasts for you to download...

    www.soulunderground.co.uk

    There is also my flickr site where photos of any artists I catch over here in the UK are displayed

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/crosseyedbear/

    I buy as many cd's, records, downloads as I can get to fulfill my needs. I DJ and help promote a Rare Soul all-nighter over here in the UK.

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    I support Classic Soul in numerous of ways.

    A.) I spin Classic Soul music once a month for a college radio station.
    B.) I attend Classic Soul concerts,when I can.
    C.) I put the word out to my friends and listeners.

    I think part of the problem is "us." See, I had this discussion before with someone. Part of the problem is that some people just don't want to leave their house to see a Classic Soul artist. They rather remember the artist the way they were,and are content to listen to their music at home,car, etc;

    I wish I was wrong in saying that,and if I am, please correct me. I know a few of us that will support Classic Soul artist when they come to our city, but the ones that don't,shame on you !

    I have nothing against the Classic Rock artist that still tour,and pack a house,but it's a shame that the same can not be said about Classic Soul.

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    GT, Your "problem is 'us'" hit the nail right on the head.

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    Three Basics for Success in the Music Industry
    June 28th, 2011 | Author: Admin
    The music industry is full of talent that may never find success. It is unfortunate that it may take years to get a record deal, even if you’re awesome! And in the independent music world, it still takes hard work to succeed, even with the increased amount of opportunities for this group. The moral of the story is, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Basically, you have to really know your stuff, network with music contacts and know your goals. You don’t want to end blending in with the rest of the music industry hopefuls that don’t succeed.

    Let’s be honest, we all know that too many demos and press kits end up in the trash. So, try stepping away from the idea of a record deal being your only way to success. The music industry is moving out of the traditional brick and mortar and into the digital realm. Independent music artists are finding more and more ways to get there music out of their sheds and into everyone’s iPod. Up and coming artists looking for play time will get their name out there not by sending out hundreds of demos, but by getting their face and name on the web, getting their music played for the people who will listen, and building up a huge fan base.

    When you have been at it for years or if you are just starting out, forget fame and fortune for a second, and get down the basics of the music industry:

    1. Literally, you have got to know your stuff:

    If you’re truly devoted to making it in the music industry, then be committed to your music first. Practice and master your craft because we all know there is always room for improvement. This is the most practical yet significant recommendation you’ll ever get. If you want to make a lasting impact and develop a steady, long term music industry career you should take the time to develop your own distinctive sound. Whether it’s your voice or your piano, you should be unsurpassed at what you do. Only hard work and devotion will get you there.

    2. Be Seen!

    The key is to build a fan base and the only way to do that is to play live! Don’t be a snob about it either. Play anywhere and everywhere you can. Broadcast your performance schedule on your website, in local papers or through your friends and family. Music contacts in the music industry are obtained at performances and gigs.

    In addition to playing live, you have to get your music heard. The radio, Internet radio, on your website, MP3s, ringtones, podcasts and web videos are all usable outlets. Take advantage of all the options out there available to independent music artists.

    3. Lastly, Be Available.

    Four out of five times, the first thing people do when. Find a way to connect to your website visitors. Tell stories, blog, put up pictures, schedules, freebies and anything else you can think of. Talk about what your music means or where you derive inspiration.

    The bottom line really whether or not you have talent and are marketable in the music industry. Next, you have to put the time and effort into actually marketing your independent music to fans, music contacts and to anyone else who will listen. Take the time and put in the extra effort and success will come your way!
    http://rocknrockrecords.com/tag/brick-and-mortar


    There are a lot of sub categories to all the points above but this is a basic outline of what you need to do to make it out here.

    Juice and I had a continuation of this discussion and this is my bottom line on this subject. There was a time I would get very upset that soul fans....classic soul fans ... didn't seem to support classic artist with new music....I don't let it get to me anymore. [[well maybe for a sec but never for long and I keep stepping)

    People like and do, whatever it is they like and do and the job of a totally indie artist or anyone in this biz, is to find ways around obstacles. If people in one group don't support you, find another group that does. Sounds easy but it's not ...it takes work, perseverance, trial and error, going in YOUR own pocket for money,understanding what you realistically can get out of all of this madness and first and foremost understand that no matter how much you love the music, if you want to make a living.... this is a business first!

    You can't pay bills on wishes, on gossip, on why didn't they or why don't they.....

    A totally independent artist is totally responsible for every phase of their career, marketing,art work, phones calls, networking, admin work, PR as well as making quality music and MUCH MORE...if you can't take the heat, don't even bother going in the kitchen.
    Last edited by ms_m; 11-06-2011 at 04:27 PM.

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    BTW....I'm not saying any of that to be mean, I'm saying it to be "real". ....this is an industry [[any part of the entertainment industry) where fantasy and reality too often collide and if you don't keep both feet planted on the ground...your'e doomed.

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    Ms. M, sound like a good idea for a reality show: classic soul artists attempting to survive financially and artistically in this youth driven music scene. As you know, reality shows have jumped started/revived a lot of careers.

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    LOL, never thought of that before Nosey but it takes that type of out of the box thinking some time to get things started. It's the world we live in....

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