Rascal Flatts "Still Feels Good" Marketing

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Rascal Flatts Wake-Up Calls

Now, this is some good marketing. Maybe last year during the sales the day after Thanksgiving one of the major retailers offered a service like this.

On September 25, the release date for their new album, you can sign-up for either your favorite member of the band or the entire band to call your cell phone with a reminder that the album is now in stores. Of course, its going to be a recorded message type auto-caller, but what a great use for this service. Unless you check my album release dates every Tuesday morning or a Rascal Flatts super fan, it is easy to have the release date slip your mind. I have a feeling that this service is actually going to help first day sales a little bit.

My Coke Rewards

Here is another cool thing, My Coke Rewards members get the chance to hear the album on September 23 on their website. Also, they will replay it on the release date.

In these days of high competition, you have got to be creative. Whether you like the band or not, got to admit that their marketing staff have been hard at work. Now, of course, I always like the idea of just clicking over on Amazon, pre-ordering, and having new music delivered to my front door.

"More Than A Memory" At Radio

Monday, August 27, 2007

Well, fellow Garth Brooks' fans... its here. The new song has hit radio. Its hit radio so much that several website sources is that the song went to #64 on The Mediabase chart Sunday, a day before it was even available to radio. So, that means today, without a doubt it will be #1. Impressive, but then again, what do you expect from an artist that is an absolute master on marketing and talent.

It's not often that you will find me spending so much time one one single, like Brooks, I am all about the whole package, the full album. However, this is big news to me, something new from Brooks is special.

Hearing "More Than A Memory" for the first time, the blood started moving and a smile came on my face. Brooks is back and the passion in his voice is alive and well. A feature piano type ballad beginning to the song draws me into the story that Brooks tells. The intensity strengthens throughout the song as it communicates the feelings when the man in the song breaks up with a girlfriend. Powerfully and intensely, I must day. Again, the only way Brooks knows how to sing.

Even the cat loved it as she roamed around the speakers as Brooks' sang out....
"When your..
Dialing 6 numbers just to hang up the phone
Driving across town just to see if she’s home
Waking a friend in the dead of the night just for hear him to say it’s gonna be alright
When you find the things to do just to not fall asleep
Because you know she will be there in your dreams
That’s when she’s more than a memory"

Now that's powerful lyrics. Now, Brooks' didn't write the song. Lee Brice, Kyle Jacobs, and Billy Montana did. However, no one better could have picked up this song than Brooks to lend his power of lyrical delivery. I know they are so very excited and proud of this accomplishment in their lives. I wonder when this song was put down on paper that this would happen to it?

Garth mentioned in his press conference about the new project a lot of anxiety whether he is going to be able to compete with all the talented artists of today (Keith Urban mentioned.) Well, after hearing this single, there is no doubt in that. Brooks still has it, and always will. That magical spark is alive.

Garth Brooks "The Ultimate Hits"

Saturday, August 25, 2007

For someone my age (30), and a country music fan, Garth Brooks is one of the biggest influences. For myself, maybe just a little bit more than most fans. He is more than an artist, more than a performer, but one that I look up to. When he talks, I listen. When he sings, I listen.

Last week or so, I was listening...closely. Brooks held a press conference to announce the new project. I have posted a brief news story on the website, but I wanted to dig in just a little deeper.

Lets sumerize the conference:

  • A timeline was set about his recent past. (The world tour ended in 98, last studio album was "Scarecrow," retired, Wal-Mart found him, did the Lost Sessions, DVD Tin)
  • Now, a new album coming with Big Machine handling radio distrubution and going to be in all stores, not just Wal-Mart.
  • New project is called "The Ultimate Hits" It is a 3 disc set. 2 audio CDs and 1 DVD. 34 songs in total. 30 classic hit songs, 3 new songs, and 1 new bonus track song. The DVD will include videos for the 33 songs, including updated video for "We Shall Be Free."
  • The first new single goes to radio Monday.
  • No tour scheduled or anything. A Wal-Mart appreciation concert is in the works, but no announcement now.

Now, there were a few other topics that came about I found so very interesting.

Brooks addressed the topic of will fans buy yet another compliation album? His answer was simple, yet so deep. He discussed his love for James Taylor and that he owns all the albums Taylor has done, and fans do the same. Think about it. Its so true. Fans of Brooks will be right in line for this one. Its exciting.

Did you realize that legally, you can not find Brooks' music for sale to download? Why, you may ask? The reason is something that I have talked about in the past and is very important to me. Brooks answer was that he does albums , not singles. His music is made to be heard as a whole package. All the songs, and the cover art. The album is something you hold, you take in the pictures and the linear notes. Especially the art production of an album. Itunes doesn't allow album-only download, so Brooks doesn't do I-Tunes. I love it personally, music is more than just one track from the album. Each album is an experience.

Lastly, Brooks also talked about his fans. He discussed for a moment this idea of fans are on a local level. He wants to be able to bring his product on a local level, Brooks' isn't at some mega-concert. He is your home, locally. This discussion came about while a reporter asked about another Ireland show or a New York City style show. It said no, but it really makes me wonder what is in the plans. Something is up, not sure what, but knowing Brooks, its going to be special.

The next step though in our journey with Brooks is Monday with the release of the new song from the upcoming "The Ultimate Hits" set. The single is called "More Than A Memory" written by Lee Brice, Kyle Jacobs, and Billy Montana. We will enjoy that until the release on November 6, 2007 of the entire project... artwork, all 34 songs, and the 33 videos.

Missing From the Hall of Fame

Oaks and Mandrell top readers' list for Hall of Fame (Tennessean.com)

I ran across the above article that was in Nashville's paper Wednesday. Pretty cool article on who should be inducted into the Hall of Fame. I even posted the question on my message board and Google group, with no activity, so I found it to be quiet interesting.

If you haven't read the article above, here is the top 10 from their unofficial poll:
Oak Ridge Boys
Barbara Mandrell
Hank Locklin
Statler Brothers
Tom T. Hall
Connie Smith
Jean Shepard
Dottie West
Ronnie Milsap
Lynn Anderson

Some amazing talents on that list, no doubt. Wow, its unbelievable that some of these important individuals have not made it in. Especially considering some of the names that have gone into the Hall of Fame already. Think about it, some of hottest current artists such as Vince Gill and George Strait have made their way into the Hall already. Personally, I think there are plenty of years to go for those type artists to make it in. They are still contributing to their careers. Now, I'm not saying the list above aren't contributing still, respectfully with the exception of the one that have passed away (Dottie West.) However, the names above have strongly established their mark on country music.

I hope that the nominating committee will take a hard look at this article and remember next year about these artists. They really deserve the highest honor of a country music artist. They really have some catching up to do, and in the proper way. I am not a big supporter of the large group of inductees, rather be sure next year's inductees come from the list above.

What I found interesting as well about the article is how passionate the comments are about the article below. Readers were very interested in this topic. Take a look at them. The Oak Ride Boys supporters are strong in their beliefs. That makes me very happy. Why? Well, it shows the passion of country music fans is still alive and well. That, my country music friends, is one of the many differences in country music fans vs. other music fans. Country fans are certainly in a breed of their own, and I am so proud to be a part of it.

The Success of Taylor Swift

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

  • On Billboard's Top 200 for 42 weeks, currently #16, peaking at #13

  • 5 weeks (and counting) at #1 on the Billboard Top Country Album Chart

  • 1.1 Million albums sold (Platnium Record)

  • Co-wrote all tracks on the album, 3 solo writing credit of the 11 tracks

  • #1 selling album for Big Machine Records

  • 15th most visited MySpace Music Page

  • Over 20 Million streams on MySpace

  • 3rd best selling country artist of 2007

Pretty amazing huh? I'd say so. How about throwing into the mix, she is only 17 years old. December 13 she will turn 18. Taylor Swift is one of the hottest names in the country music business today.

Why? Here is why I think...

  1. She is connecting with her fan base, big time. The bulls eye target base of young females. They can really relate to the music of Swift, that still is in high school. The rest of country music fans are loving her too, don't be mistaken. Take a look at her website, not many artists have concert photos are of fans on their sites.

  2. Talented, talented, talented. Co-writing songs that are written in proper country style about life that connect with the listener, distinctive vocals that just make you melt, and the label picking the correct songs from the album to release to radio, like "Tim McGraw" as the first single to get people talking
  3. Role model, for the younger generation. This is something country music has been lacking a bit for awhile. Swift is a great role model, especially for young females. Swift dresses nicely, does very good in school (public school), just read her myspace bio and her label bio. You will see what I am talking about.

There many other reasons I'm sure, I have a feeling her live show is amazing. Hopefully, I will get to see it soon.

Only 17, a debut album with huge success, and many positive qualities to her, its pretty cool to think what is head of this talented young lady.

Keith Urban Concert: What Happened to Country Music?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Last night, Keith Urban made his way to Richmond, Virginia to perform here at the Richmond Coliseum. I must say, in my many years of attending concerts, this had to be one of the best I’ve ever seen. Top 10 for sure, out of hundreds of shows. Urban really is a master of energizing and communicating is strong passion for music.

I had one major problem though. I was at a rock show. Don’t get me wrong, I loved what I saw, it was a great show. I have many musical tastes and have seen non-country acts like Billy Joel, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, The Eagles, just to name a few. I felt like I was closer to a Springsteen show or the like rather than what I would think of a country show.

The lights, the energy, the literal feeling of the drums in your bones, the screaming crowds, and all the special auras of a well produced concert can all be brought into a country show. It has been done, I’ve seen it. However, I didn’t last night.

There is a certain respect of the music, country music, that is missing in today’s country music concerts. It’s not just Urban either that has taken this approach. Many of the artists these days take their influence for their shows from rock stars, and not using the technology of today to expand on the influence of country music legends.

It is not Urban’s fault, by any means, he is just one of many in competition for concert ticket sales. He knows what caliber of a show he had to do to sell the seats. Is it Garth Brooks that should be credited with beginning this trend and competition, with his high paced active shows? Probably. However, Brooks’ shows I believe kept in the tradition of a show, taking his influence from Chris LeDoux’s style of show.

Today’s hottest artists should take a nice deep breath when beginning to plan their performances and remember not only are they selling tickets, but also carrying on a tradition and teaching the younger generation (which there was plenty of young people at this show) what country music is in a live enviroment.

Country Music Alive 41st Annual CMA Awards Viewer’s Guide

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Just a quick note to let you all know that I have put up a special feature on the website. The 41st CMA Awards are not too far away, the nominations will be announced August 30. So, I have posted my special feature section on the show. Hopefully you will find it informative and share it with everyone.

There is a link on the very front of Country Music Alive to enter. After nominations are announced, you will be able to share your predictions.

Dick Shuey: OPINION: A Sunday Point Of View - "Line Em' Up...Moooove Em' Out"

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Here is a editorial opinion of Dick Shuey over at TwangTownUSA.com. Now before I share it, you must understand, I have been reading Shuey's comments, thoughts, and news for a very long time. His information is one of the reasons that allows me to keep up in all aspects of country music. Over the years, I have learned much about him. First, he doesn't hold back, as you can see. Secondly, he know his music and loves it beyond words. You can tell easily by visiting his website and reading just a bit, that he is a strong supporter of real country music and also independent artists, that I too believe are such an important part of the country music industry. Now...on to his comments today:

Sunday - 05 August 2007

OPINION: A Sunday Point Of View - "Line Em' Up...Moooove Em' Out"

By Dick Shuey

It is pretty common knowledge by now what the problems are with our Country Music Industry.

Everybody wonders what happened...and when we step back and take a look it isn't hard to understand why the Record Industry can't see the forest for the trees.

Those trees are the cowboys and cowgirls they have lined up put a hat on them...sent them to voice classes and the makeup artists ...bought them a wardrobe ...tell them what to sing ... what to say and try to make them something they just ain't. What a joke...!!!

They all look alike...they all sound alike and they have no style. They look pretty on the cover of a magazine and that's about extent of it. Out of a hundred they may get lucky and end up with one artist who may make some noise. Maybe.

When are they ever going to learn the country music fan isn't stupid.

These so called cowboys and cowgirls aren't even country...THEY ARE POP ARISTS...created in some ivory tower on music row. A new York / LA mentality....bless their hearts.

They just spent a 100 million dollars on trying to make a 100 country music star wannabe's out of a kareoke singers....and they haven't figured out yet why their financial state is in the sewer. If the artist doesn't sell a half of million records on their first release the Record Company drops them and they are never heard of again.

They are herding these unknown artists like cattle and driving them to the slaughter house.

Now you can understand why everything sounds the same on just about all the corporate country radio stations no matter where you are in the U.S.A.

I'd luv' to hear some great country artists and stylist in the vain of Dale Watson & Patty Booker on these radio stations...just to name a couple that come to mind. And they ain't kareoke singers...trust me....and they are working steady and have been for a long time.

It amazes me that the guy's sitting in those high towers in the suits haven't figured it out yet.

They don't have a clue on what a country music record should sound like.

It's time that we "Line Em' Up & Moooove Them Out".

Now.. my thoughts,

I believe there a lot of issues in country music, that is for sure. Shuey raises some great points. Just a post or two back, I talked about The Wreckers new single being re-titled by the label. That is just a small example of the control the big labels have on their artists. You can hear it on the albums. Collectively, they all sound the same. Those corporate people think they know what we want to hear, get those artists to record those songs, and release them on their way to the store shelves. That leads to all the radio stations playing the same sound songs and their corporate world follows right in line. They think they know what the listeners want to hear, what order, and even what the DJs do and sound like.

It really bugs me to know so many great artists are out there and producing the music that truly makes country music special, however, those aren't the ones heard. Without the chance of even being heard, they are just passed on by and those of us that love more than just what we hear of the radio have to really search out those gems.

A lot of country music artists we hear today are pop artists on a country label and dressed up for the country look. Now, those artists I pass by. What really gets me is there are some artists buried on these major labels that really are country artists but then are forced to stay within the guidelines of these corporate decisions to continue to earn their living. It really is sad. They know what country music is, know how to sing it, want to sing it, yet their hands are tied tight behind their backs.

Why hasn't the trend changed, you may ask? Well, thats easy! You spend your dollars on what they create. Until the money dries up, no one is getting out of the line and moved out. Only the true country music artists that have reached a superstar status can do what they wish with their music, and that is even controlled.

Sure I enjoy a lot of the country music out there on radio, but I understand it is not country. Most of it anyway, I must say, there some exceptions to the general rule. Some of what we hear on radio is from country music artists, but they are indeed the exception. Those exceptions I don't feel are even allowed to do what they really want.

I dream of a day that there is a chance for real country music to be heard, to be given the chance to be on the mainstream country music airwaves. With that chance, I believe the listeners will see what country music really is.

You have heard from Dick Shuey, you've heard from me, what do YOU think? Share it.. Post your comments here and also visit Dick Shuey over at TwangTown USA at http://www.twangtownusa.com/