Using Peer-to-Peer to Launch a Career
How The G-Man Got Played, Got Signed, Got a Publisher,
Got on iTunes. . . all by Giving His Music Away For Free
is a musician who knows how to "work the Web," perhaps because he's
also deeply involved in the worlds of advertising and marketing. Some
of his marketing savvy was put to use in launching his music career.
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DEFYING THE RIAA: What did he do that was so
extraordinary? Defying the wishes of the RIAA and the major record
labels, he offered all the music on his first album for free. In
fact, he went even farther than that: he contacted thousands of
DJs and remixers, established peer-to-peer filesharing relationships
with them, then offered to send them individual tracks (bass, synth,
vocals, drums, guitar, etc.) if they wanted to mix new versions
of his songs.
The results have been spectacular, involving reviews,
remixes, club play, radio play, a record deal, publishing and licensing
agreements, and awards. All three of his albums have been nominated
Electronica Album of the Year by the Los Angeles Music Awards, and
he won for his "Grin Groove" album in 2002.
INDIE SIGNING HIS OWN COMPANY: He is signed
Records, all of his albums are on Apple's iTunes, his song catalog
is administered by Janssongs.com,
and he has opened his own company, G-Man Music Radical Radio, where
he creates songs, sonics, radio spots, and music for film, TV, and
Perhaps best of all, two of his songs have been remixed
by Matt Forger, best-known as Michael Jackson's recording engineer
on "Thriller," "Bad," "Dangerous," and four other albums, and who
also worked with Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Van Halen, and
many more. These tracks are a part of The G-Man's "The Platinum
Age of the Remix," an album featured on StudioExpresso,
home to more than 100 of the world's best music producers and engineers.
Additionally, The G-Man has become a creative director
for NARIP (National
Association of Record Industry Professionals), an associate writer
and a content supplier for Circle
of Songs, L*A*M*P,
Entertainment, and Venus
RAVE REVIEWS: Reviewers have compared his songs
to such artists as Devo, David Bowie, Art of Noise, Brian Eno, OMD,
Thomas Dolby, Spandau Ballet, and Frank Zappa. From mainstream media
like the New York Times and the All Music Guide, to respected Web
sites and eZines, music by The G-Man is written about with zeal.
AIRPLAY: The G-Man is also receiving airplay
on college stations in many cities across the United States and
Internet radio around the world. Most important from the business
aspect, his songs are being licensed for use in radio and TV commercials.
HOW IT BEGAN: "The 'give it away' approach
may be a cool new way of starting a career," G-Man states. "And
some people say this method puts me in the vanguard of changes that
are overwhelming the music industry. Perhaps it's both," he says
with a grin.
"I think that the music business as we know it is
splintering into a million shards," he states, "and it is being
built up into something new right before our eyes."
SIX YEAR OVERNIGHT SUCCESS: Six years ago,
Scott G was an advertising writer, radio commercial producer, and
sometime music critic. But he wanted to make sounds, not just write
about them, so he picked up a guitar and began learning to play.
In 2001, he started recording his first album, creating
music that fuses today's dance grooves with pop melodies and then
adds sly commentary. Some have called it dancebeat, some have called
it Zappa-esque, but Scott calls it "grin groove music."
Using "Grin Groove" as his album title, The G-Man
did several things that together represent the beginnings of a quantum
shift in the way music is created, marketed and disseminated to
listeners around the globe.
First, he put up a simple, graphically clean, "100%
animation-free" Web site at www.gmanmusic.com.
Next, he combed other Web sites for the e-mail addresses of media
as well as 25,000 DJs, remixers, and those involved with raves,
clubs, electronica, dance, and drum 'n' bass genres. "This took
as much time as it did to record the songs, but it was worth it,"
KEEPING IT SIMPLE: Then, two simple e-mail
messages were created. He followed the ideas recommended by Indiespace's
Pete Markiewicz, namely, put the basic idea in the Subject line,
keep the message short, and do not include any graphics.
One e-mail message announced his new genre of music
to the media. The other e-mail offered to send tracks for free to
anyone who wished to remix his music -- and that is perhaps the
most significant part of his approach, as you will see.
IT'S IN THE REMIX: Remixers have been using
his tracks all around the globe. "I have had five songs remixed
in Russia by a sonic master called Random Distribution," The G-Man
states, "and one of these tracks went to #1 over there. Meanwhile,
an Australian DJ known as Zero Point Energy has done a remix that
is now showing up on Web sites around the world. A jazz artist known
as il moroso has begun remixing more of my songs and we have now
agreed to collaborate on an album of acid jazz music."
Perhaps most interesting is the reaction from the
European community. A consortium of remixers called The Allianz,
led by DJ Insane, created remixes of every song on "Grin Groove."
One of the DJ Insane tracks reached #5 on a European dance chart.
PART OF A PLAN: All of this could be viewed
as just a series of fortuitous accidents, but The G-Man doesn't
think so. "I believe that the music world is breaking up and is
at the same time transforming into something new, and you have to
address the peer-to-peer file sharing in order to exist in this
As seen in the presentations by Indiespace's Pete
Markiewicz and Jeannie Novak in the Future Of Music seminars, "the
structure of the music business is different now," Novak says, "and
it involves several new methods of working. One is cooperation in
combination with competition, or 'coopetition,'" a word Novak coined.
It also involves an attitude of total independence
from traditional distribution, and a faith that the business end
of your work will play 'catch-up' to your art. "You create and market
and interchange and share and compete with fellow musicians," The
G-Man says. "And only afterwards does the business world come in
to license your work for commercialization."
Did he write out his business plan? "Absolutely. I
used the methods outlined by John Stiernberg and his Succeeding
in Music organization. Some said my ideas were crazy, and certainly
the record company doesn't let me do this anymore, but the plan
worked. I wouldn't have even been talking with Delvian Records if
they hadn't heard about me from all the activity with my songs all
around the world," he points out.
"Mostly, I love the fact that the business was totally
being driven by the art," G-Man says. "Plus, it was and is the most
fun I've ever had in the world. And besides, under what other set
of circumstances could I be collaborating on music simultaneously
with people in Australia, Moscow, Los Angeles, Big Bear Lake, and
The Hague in Holland?"
by the MusicDish
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It 2004 - Republished with Permission