F**k The Radio, We've Got Apple Juice, Miranda Ward
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Miranda Ward

F**k The Radio, We've Got Apple Juice

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Why do we make music? What do people want from bands? How do they make a living – and what is a living?

Oxford-based band Little Fish were signed to a major label, recorded an album in LA and played all over the world. They supported Courtney Love; Debbie Harry saw them and was impressed enough to invite them to support Blondie for a UK tour.

They were living the rock 'n' roll dream, but it wasn't making them happy. So they came home, set up a recording studio and started doing the things that did make them happy, instead of the things they thought they should do to get played on Radio 1.

F**k the Radio is a book about independence, about making your own way and making stuff. It asks important questions: Why do we make music? What do people want from bands? How do you create a community? How do you make a living? What is a living? And what happens when you rewrite the myths you live by?
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And yet for all my irreverence, my selfishness, music is still a form of escape, a way of subverting the negativity of all those anxieties and ambitions.
Grasmayer outlines a set of steps to success. In the first step, “a band, group, artist, label, has to differentiate themselves […] their music has to be very good, but it also needs an element which defines it.” The second step is “to give fans a message that spreads […] you have to be a story, as an artist or a label, be remarkable and be worth mentioning.” Then, “when this story starts spreading, that’s when you start building your ecosystem.” The fourth and final step is to use this ecosystem: “once the ecosystem is in place, one should start listening very closely to […] see what it wants. This is a paradigm-shift in marketing communications, because it has traditionally been about finding a consumer for your product, but this is about finding a product (business opportunity) for your consumers.” Everything he writes makes sense, of course. It may be initially jarring to read about “consumers”, “products”, and “business opportunities” in the context of music (especially because music, as Grasmayer points out elsewhere, is always also more than just a product 5 ). But it’s true: fans are consumers, an album is a product of sorts, and if it’s profit (or even just self-sufficiency) they’re after, bands need to look for business opportunities. And, as Grasmayer writes, “the power of an ecosystem in a digital world” is potentially liberating:With a strong ecosystem, one also doesn’t need to worry about gatekeepers that one traditionally would need, such as the people who decide what to play on MTV…the ecosystem should be like the cool party happening down the street.…Soon enough, the party will be attracting people from all over the area…the fun of the party depends on its own existence and therefore the party protects its continued existence. Now imagine that party without geographical limitations.
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