Hypebot's Upward Spiral Podcast is now 21 great episodes old. While we're proud to sponsor each and every one of them, Upward Spiral commentators Jason Spitz, Kyle Bylin and Hisham Dahud each have their favorites which include interviews with Ian Rogers, Jack Conte of Pomplamoose and Jason Feinberg of Epitaph Records. Here are their Best Of The Upward Spiral Podcast:
I am proud of all our Upward Spiral episodes, but one highlight is definitely our interview with Ian Rogers in Episode 9. At the time, Ian was still CEO of Topspin. We asked him to weigh in on the recent controversy sparked by Grizzly Bear. The band implored their Twitter followers to buy their album at indie retail instead of streaming it on MOG or Spotify.
This was the entry point for a very interesting interview. As always, Ian cut to the chase and gave frank answers that still managed to touch on all the multifaceted aspects of artist compensation. His insights from the captain’s chair at Topspin gave him real-world perspective on what types of fan support actually helps artists the most -- information that I think every artist should hear. He also lamented the tough spot that indie retail finds itself in; he longed for the community and shared experience of the record store, but admitted that it was difficult for it to belong in today’s digital-driven marketplace.
Later in the episode, Kyle asked Ian about the future of streaming music, and specifically Apple’s potential to disrupt the space. Ian’s thoughtful answers were even more interesting in hindsight; just four months later, he would accept a position as CEO of Beats, the as-yet-unreleased streaming music service driven by Jimmy Iovine and Beats by Dr Dre. It’s cool to hear Ian’s insights on the streaming-music business right before he took a leap directly into the space.
In episode 13, Jack Conte of Pomplamoose blew us away with his incredible insights. It was like being a fly on the wall during an intensely honest conversation. We were incredibly fortunate to capture his ideas.
Jack did not hold anything back; he cut through a lot of bullshit. He talked about the early days of the band, living without Internet access; how they set out to learn the music business by reading books and trying experiments; and admitted that luck and magic played into his success.
Recently, I asked an industry friend what they thought about a news story that emerged that day. They gave me a dark and candid answer. I asked what they would say if they had been talking to a reporter. “Oh, something completely different,” they said.
When you ask Jack about the music business, he speaks the truth. You get the sense that answers honestly no matter who asks the question. This is why episode 13 is still a favorite of mine -- because no one played journalist and subject, or interrogator and detainee. Everyone just spoke the truth, which is rare.
By episode 15 of the Upward Spiral, we really found our groove. We interviewed digital music veteran Jason Feinberg of Epitaph Records about current and emerging online music hubs. He shared his insights into the state of the landscape and how it has shifted in recent years. Little Monsters, an online community for Lady Gaga followers, took the center stage of the discussion as an example of a platform that empowers fans to connect to each other through their favorite artist.
We also talked about SoundCloud and how the service is attempting to engage performers outside of the DJ and producer community. Feinberg said that SoundCloud serves many purposes for him professionally and personally, but that YouTube still holds a higher value proposition. In terms of reaching and engaging fans where they are, music videos are a better means of contact than audio files. And once that contact is made, YouTube provides more ways to monetize that consumption.
Most of all, though, I enjoyed talking to Feinberg about his perspective on the state of the official artist website. He said that what is ideal for the artist isn’t always ideal for the fan. Thus, while having an official website with e-commerce tools is important, artists must still connect to their fans on Facebook and Twitter (and elsewhere), because that’s where the fans want to be. That’s not going to change anytime soon, so artists must have presences on those services.
Listen To More Upward Spiral Podcasts Here.