Internet Music Fans Find, Buy More

Via RAIN, word of a study done by the Digital Music Association showing that subscribers to digital music services like Rhapsody, iTunes, LastFM, Pandora and the like have a bigger appetite for music, spending upwards of $300 a year on the Internet to feed their habit. Additionally, these consumers are more varied in their choice of genres:

Across all three digital music services nearly 60 percent of consumers are listening to more music since they started using the service.

Digital music services have had a positive effect on overall music discussion with friends and co-workers, which in turn has led to music service recommendations.

More than 4 in 10 digital music service consumers are discussing music more frequently.

More than 7 in 10 have recommended a music service to others.

Listening to and purchasing music over the internet has expanded the musical taste of the vast majority of consumers by allowing them to discover new artists.

More than 6 in 10 digital music consumers have discovered some new artists while nearly 1 in 4 have discovered a lot of new artists.

Nearly 7 in 10 consumers have explored new genres of music.

What to make of this? Far from being a scourge to the recording industry, the availability of music online drives a bigger overall hunger for it. The study also showed that these consumers discuss music more with friends and co-workers, and recommend the services they use to other.

The only surprise I found was that the number of concerts these consumers attend stayed basically the same. 67 percent attend 1 to 5 a year, and their Internet habits had no impact on that number. More likely, obscenely high concert prices keep them indoors – which is good news for Mark Cuban.

Almost half of them spend more than $200 a year on music. 13 percent spend over $500.

Why does the industry try so hard to punish their biggest fans? I’d be very interested in learning how much P2P activity these same consumers engage in. My guess is it’s a pretty high number, which doesn’t change their tendency to buy music.

Arcade Fire Strike a Blow Against Scalping

arcadefire.jpgBy today’s standards, alt-rockers The Arcade Fire are big, big, big. Thus, it’s no surprise that their upcoming NYC shows – five in all – sold out quickly. What’s nice to see is that the band is drawing a firm line again ticket resellers.

Basically, if you didn’t buy it yourself, you can’t use it. If only more bands took this approach, then attending concerts would stop being a lottery for opportunists and be returned to the fans:

ALL 5 ARCADE FIRE SHOWS ARE SOLD OUT* TICKETS ARE NON-TRANSFERABLE. The ticket purchaser must enter the venue. Copies of ID, Credit Card or Confirmation email WILL NOT be accepted for entry. Only complete parties will be admitted. No exceptions. Please DO NOT buy tickets on eBay, Craig’s List, etc. YOU WILL NOT BE ADMITTED!

Bravo. I’m so-so on this band’s music, but their integrity gets a big shout-out.

BTW, their five show run in Montreal is also sold out.

Weekend Review

boccellis.JPGIt felt like a fall evening in Bellow Falls last Friday, with a smattering of rain and overflowing cheer at Boccelli’s on the Canal. As Josh Maiocco took the stage, I was reminded why the scene there is so compelling. Josh played a couple of his original songs, then remarked, “it’s great to have an … audience.” Guys like Josh (and co-headliner Jesse Peters, and Colin McCaffrey, Jason Cann, Chris Kleeman) play songs which deserve to be heard, yet too often suffer the indignity of being background music. Not in BF, where Boccelli’s fans sat and paid attention.

Charlie Hunter, who came out of retirement to present shows for Boccelli’s, introduced the performers and also confirmed that the tentative Dave Alvin & the Lonely Men show is now confirmed for February 1. I haven’t seen Charlie looking so chuffed in a long time.

Also in attendance was Ezra Veitch, who had plans to leave the area for Arkansas last fall that “fell through.” Ezra’s been out of action due to a hand injury that’s fortunately now on the mend. He told me he’s mixing a Mr. Burns album; he also said it won’t be heard on MySpace. “I don’t like their policies,” he said, referring to the social networking site’s willingness to allow pages from “artists” who are really fans. This situation is benign sometimes – Shana Morrisonwas “surprised” to find out she had a MySpace page neither she nor her management set up, but professed that it stayed up to date and was basically a good tool for her fans. Not so in Ezra’s case.

I was only able to stick around for Josh’s set, but I did see a Josh/Jesse duet that was pretty good. Josh is s very talented songwriter, and line from one of his songs sort of summed up the night for me:

“It’s winter then it’s spring and now it’s winter/there should be a name for the season in between”

That’s the way the weather is, and that’s the way Bellows Falls has been, never letting the twin devastation of a big venue’s closing and the fire at Oona’s kill their spirit. A mostly packed house helped celebrate the return of spring to one of the area’s vital musical homes.

Later, I headed back to Claremont to catch Al Alessi and Bill Wightman’s second set at Sophie & Zeke’s. Bill’s looking forward to the next JOSA show, and both he and Al are exicited about January 20 at the Newport Opera House. Though the show’s being advertised as the Al Alessi Band, it’s really a full-band version of what Al and Bill do the first Monday of every month in Claremont – a dip into the Great American Songbook with a healthy dose of jazz. It’s a huge hit at Sophie & Zeke’s, and I’m sure it will wow the crowd in Newport.

I wasn’t able to get to Bistro Nouveau for Jason Cann’s Saturday set, but I assure you that he was a crowd pleaser. I took some guests to the Shana Morrison show December 29; Jason opened, and at least two of the women there wanted more Jason. Mr. Cann’s original songs are quite good. “Inside Information,” in particular, is timely, topical and soulful. He also does some clever covers – he re-worked Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” in a different key with a slowed down tempo and exposed a part of the song I’d not seen before.

Jason plays open mike at the cramped and often indifferent Skunk Hollow every Wednesday, and most every Friday in Ascutney.

Speaking of Ascutney, the next big show there is the duo of Barry Goudreau (Boston) and James Montgomery. I hope they do it in a different room than the Crow’s Nest, which is IMHO unsuitable for concerts. Background music, maybe, but if you actually want to concentrate on the band, there’s nary a good vantage point anywhere.

I also heard a rumor that there may be an outdoor CSN show in the summer. We’ll wait and see on that one.