Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Reflectacles - Current Events - November 3, 2009

Holodigm Artists The Reflectacles will perform live:

Cal State Northridge - TODAY - November 3, 2009
The Stronghold - Venice CA - Saturday, November 7, 2009
The Viper Room - West Hollywood - November 21, 2009

Come join The ReflectaFolk at these exiting shows.

Photo by the legendary photographer Henry Diltz.

Join the revolution in The music Renaissance. Hartmann

Monday, October 12, 2009



mmv724 asks:

I have never been the type to claim that "music these days sucks," but I have often felt conflicted with the fact that almost all of the leading acts these days lack any real talent. While I do enjoy popular pop and hip-hop music, most bands that I find to be truly inspiring and talented are in the underground, independent, or alternative scenes.

How does one look at this from a manager's perspective (popularity vs. personal preference)? Do you think it is still possible for a popular mainstream act to be talented, classic, and genuinely good? Do these more "underground" acts purposefully choose the off-beaten or less mainstream career paths in order to make an artistic statement? What are the advantages/disadvantages of this path?

Hartmann responds:

If you go on what is happening today, it will be over before you catch up. The fact is ninety percent of the music posted on the Internet lacks enduring value. Only ten percent of the competing artists will create a large enough fan base to reach the first level of success. The initial goal is survival, as a musical attraction, without a day job. If this can be accomplished in your home market, it is possible to spread that popularity from local success to regional, state-wide, national and global popularity. If you can't make it at home, the world will not likely follow.

With the advent of peer-to-peer file sharing all genres of music, and virtually every record ever made, are readily available to the fan base. No longer can record companies effectively funnel their preferences through radio airplay to an eager public. Music lovers promote preferred songs through instant messaging and texting, from iPods and iPhones, to their friends free of charge. this has taken the discovery of new artists out of the hands of A&R executives and placed it directly under the control of the fans themselves.

Most creative musicians search for innovations in the musical styles of established genres. Lyricists give voice to the truth as they see it. This medium is constantly changing to keep up with the social concerns of each succeeding generation. Artists speak the concerns of their time. They incite a need for listeners to search for and discover songwriters and performers with whom they can personally identify.

Young people always go through a generational rebellion. They abandon the music of their parents and choose the soundtracks of their own lives. This is a perennial process that compels every generation to select its musical heroes and join their tribe. Although the promotional mechanism has changed from broadcast radio to Internet exploitation, the digital process has liberated music and handed the digital youth the most powerful distribution mechanism ever. The best part of it all is that the talented are no longer suppressed by the corporate status-quo.

Creative musicians can now make low cost records and introduce them to the public through Internet marketing systems free of charge. They can attack niche markets through underground channels that focus on their particular style of music. The principals of natural selection still prevail. Only the most talented musicians vigorously pursuing online marketing will survive. The additional ingredient of a strong live performing act is an imperative necessity for building a large enough following to make a living in the music renaissance.

QUESTION OF THE DAY - LADY GAGA - October 12, 2009


Adam Handwerker asks:

In class you shared with us your opinion on the future of music and who or what would be the forerunners in the art. Lady Gaga was one of the artists you mentioned in the genre of electronica. Though you expressed a slight distaste for her in terms of music preference do you think she is the next superstar that will catapult music into a new era?

Hartmann responds:

Her Ladyship may not be your personal cup of tea, however she is undeniably popular. She has the only platinum album from a new artist so far this year. Her foundation as a songwriter drives her performance art which demonstrates a certain courage and creative audacity. Strong songs and good records coupled with an entertaining live show and a strong dance component are a proven combination for success. Madonna, Britney and Christina have all enjoyed fame and fortune exploiting these ingredients.

In the case of The Material Girl there was an additional skill employed to extend her career over several decades. She had an uncanny business acumen that built an empire around her musical success that extended into the establishment of Maverick Records and a film production company.

It remains to be seen if Lady GaGa can build duration into her act and compound the initial success into a life long career. Her electonica hybrid style could be the vehicle that eventually brings this musical genre to ubiquitous popularity. This long bubbling under style needs a superstar to create a universal audience. There is always the possibility that the emergence of a great star performing in a new or dormant genre, could eclipse the ultimate popularity of electronic music. However, at this time electronica appears to be the most likely source of the next big thing in pop music.

New experiments in Hip Hop have recently produced a sensation called The Jerk which with catchy beats and an innovative dance step, continue to gain popularity. This Southern California phenomenon is spreading around the globe via the Internet. Whatever catches on first, this is the process that will expose the new artists to the world wide fan base. Careers in the music renaissance will not be built from the record company penthouse down; it will evolve from the cyber-grass-roots up.

Sunday, October 11, 2009



P. Rhee asks:

Why is it that bands and artists are having trouble establishing themselves as respected musicians? You hardly see them having the same impact as some bands from the 80's and early 90's. It seems that more than ever, bands and singers are becoming quick fads and a strong reputation is a thing of the past. Bands like Pearl Jam, Social Distortion, and even deceased ones like Nirvana and Sublime last longer and have more airtime than current ones that will hit the top of the charts for a few weeks, than disappear. Is there an inside industry answer to this?

Hartmann responds:

Colonel Tom Parker told me that the object of personal management is to build duration into the act. Considering the enduring post mortem success of his client, Elvis Presley, The Colonel certainly accomplished that goal. Career longevity is the result of a combination of circumstances. Talent is the primary ingredient. The mysterious combination of great songs, singing and playing virtuosity, charisma and sex appeal combine with media image to create an enduring attraction.

In the early days of the modern record business native talent found expression through 45 RPM singles exposed on AM radio airplay. The raw energy and power of Rock & Roll drove the baby boomers to embrace a myriad of artists who best demonstrated this new music genre. The originators were Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Fats Domino. White artists emulating their style and often duplicating their performances with cover records established the new musical form.

In the postmodern era The Beatles married long playing 331/3 RPM albums to FM radio and brought a new standard of quality to the game. Playing and performance talents reached unprecedented heights of skill and the public grew more sophisticated in its musical taste. The standards for quality have remained very high making it more difficult for new artists to compete.

Neophyte artists pursuing careers in the music renaissance of the digital age have a low threshold to entry. Cheap digital record production and free Internet promotion have changed the playing field. Many more artists can enter the competition; but the governing principals have remained unchanged. Even though more artists compete, the number of bands achieving commercial success will still be restricted to about ten percent of the acts participating. High artistic standards will limit the endorsement of the universal fan base to those artists demonstrating superior talent.

New artists have difficulty establishing themselves even in a system that makes all music free for the taking. This is directly related to the lack of basic songwriting, singing and playing skills. All talent is not equal and a discerning public, familiar with the best of the best, only chooses music of the highest quality. Most artists posting songs and videos on the Internet do not have enough experience in the game to create universally appealing product. The fans are the only true judge.

One hit wonders regularly achieve temporary success online and on the charts, but a good recording of one quality song does not a career make. Only truly talented songwriters packaged in a commercially viable act can create long running careers. This requires a series of great records presented over years of live performing. The bonding experience that occurs in concert situations excites support from the fan base. A succession of hits, achieved over a long period of time, will extend the audience's identification with a specific artist and keep them coming back for more. Multiple hits reinforce the connection and ensure a long term personal appearance career.