On October 19th, members of the Houston music scene will converge on Caroline Collective to discuss the Houston music scene, how to improve it, local government’s role in artist support and to teach each other tips and tricks they’ve pulled together on the road…

Over the past several years of being a contributor and a purveyor to the Houston music scene, I’ve come to believe in the fertility and potential of our local musicians and the possibility of success outside of Houston for a large number of our local artists. This seems to be my private obsession however because in none of the cities that I frequent do these local Houston artists register even a blip. This is disappointing as many of these local Houston artists are far better than some I see at SXSW any given year. Pondering the reason for this I have come to the conclusion that there seem to be multiple barriers to entry that result in a lack of acknowledgement of the vitality of the Houston music scene. One of the largest deterrents, as I see it, is an absence of complete knowledge of the aspects that contribute to a successful music career. There are many artists in Houston doing many things correct however I do not see enough knowledge sharing between these artists that could contribute to a complete picture.

It would be incredible to see talented Houston artists mounting successful tours routing around the nation. It would be incredible too see talented local artists have the ability to carve out a successful living by playing only Houston for the duration of their career. It would be incredible to see these talented artists receive national media attention for practicing their craft successfully. That would make me very happy. And so I’ve decided to attempt to provide those options for local artists.

Along with my co-hosts of KTRU’s Revelry Report: Philip Beck and Ian Wells, we’ve decided to put together a day long discussion about the Houston music scene. Over the course of the day we hope to give artists a cursory view of how to do things that can help them practice their craft successfully specific to their personal goals. The best part is that we’re pulling from only local talent to teach these skills. Additionally, we plan to discuss ways in which the city of Houston can better contribute to musical artist’s careers.

It seems that this is a fortunate time to be calling this meeting to order. At least one major article has been written in the near past addressing the dearth of public support for Houston music, even to the point where local venues are reticent to add local artists to the bill for fear that they will contribute little to the overall attendance. Additionally, several contributing members of the Houston music scene are beginning to express malaise which stands in sharp contrast to their previously optimistic belief in the strength of local music.

To join the discussion, PLEASE visit http://barcamp.org/BandCamp and sign up. An open discussion of this sort can be a watershed moment for the Houston music scene but only if you are there to contribute.

Over the next two weeks leading up to Bandcamp, I’ll be tackling some of the facets that are part of the whole of running a successful band or managing a successful artist career as well as ways in which local governments support their musical communities. The issues that I’ll be addressing are artist management, licensing, online promotion, offline promotion, merchandising, recording, touring, web presence, and selling your music, to name a few. I’m not an expert in everything and I’ll be pulling information and expertise from local talent to complete this picture (see below). There are many people in Houston that have intimate knowledge of specific facets of these tools and tips and I look forward to highlighting their expertise and contributions.

If you’d like to chime in with your comments or suggestions for the Houston Music scene, you can call 713-568-8908 and record your thoughts (3min. max). Please introduce yourself, your affiliation and comment on any of the following questions. I’ll edit the clip and post it on the site.

1.    What do you think is unique about the Houston music scene?
2.    What do you think Houston musicians are doing better than artists in other local communitys?
3.    What do you think could be improved about the Houston music scene?
4.    What can the city of Houston do to better support musical artists?
5.    If you are attending Bandcamp, what do you hope to teach or learn?
6.    What one tip do you have for emerging local artists?
7.    What role does community play in the strength of a local music scene?

Your answers will help to frame the ensuing discussion over the next two weeks, during Bandcamp and what follows.

One Comment

  1. can’t wait for band camp, Matthew. Thanks for putting this together. Better Musical Times are rolling into Htown, and it’s time to buy the ticket.

    Posted October 8, 2008 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

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