Sunday, March 14, 2010

Citizen Journalism

Citizen Kane is widely considered the most successful film of all time. It has to do with a media dynasty and various levels of love, infidelity, greed, wealth, and death. Released in 1941, this movie did not reach the height of its popularity until 1956 and remains a cinamatic icon. Utimately, the premise of the film is to resolve the meaning behind the utterance of one word traced to a cherished memory.

Music emits, evokes, and elicits cherished memories more than any other creative medium. Music can transport the listener to a time and place more quickly than any other art form. 

This is the primary reason for the creation of, a unique music platform that allows the ticket buying public to talk about live concerts they pay to see. Over and above paid journalists who write for newspapers or music mags, fans really hold the most discerning opinions musicians should solicit and take under advisement. What do concert attendees really think of performances they spend time and money to see?

Over the last two years we've witnessed the demise of journalism which has descended into opinion-based reporting. Citizen journalism has  reached mass appeal, because everyone, at their core, is an armchair critic. A Google search turned up nearly one million entries on citizen journalism. Comment sections to credited journalism outlets, letters to the editor, blogs, and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook encourage people around the world to voice their opinions regardless of tenability.

Musicians who want to rise above the entry level to the performing arts need to solicit opinions about what their audience sees, feels, and hears at every performance because music - for better or for worse - is that powerful. It is the consumer or the music connoisseur  who has the power to enhance any musician's career over and above any media outlet. My dear friend, Charlie Stout, a music photographer and videographer[] once commented " fans don't know what they like, they like what they know. On the other hand, the experienced listener has much to say about what they like and why."

Industry trade magazines were created to recommend artists to industry insiders whether it was a record label (dead and gone); a bank of influential radio stations (jurassic at best); or televised talk shows the performer might appear on (now on life support).

It is, and always has been, the collective audience that makes a musician successful. Magazines, newspapers, radio, and television have never paid for the music they feature. The fans pay for the music, the concert tickets, and any supporting memorabilia. The reaction of the fan to the concert experience is all that really matters.

Musicians, I encourage you to  put up a page at with as much supporting information about your music and where fans might find you either online or in person.

Fans, the most gratifying and lasting tribute you can make to a favorite performer is to write a review, or a series of reviews. You have the freedom to communicate directly with any musician you choose to reach. Take the opportunity as a way to support a musician's career with a few kind words and as my old boss, Mason Williams (Classical Gas) would say, "the cream will rise to the top."

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