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August 17, 2009
The Struggle to be Noticed
It has been said many times, but it bears repeating once more: the biggest threat to most new artists is not copying, but obscurity.
I've been watching the struggle as one of my favorite new acts - the steampunk band Abney Park - works through the difficulties of getting themselves, and their unusual musical approach - noticed. They don't fit any radio or categorization format I'm aware of. They do mix in elements of industrial, but they also do old-style sea shanties, which doesn't make them consumable by the usual radio stations that play industrial.
Unlike writers, who can organize things like an Interstitial Arts book publication and join in the effort to publicize themselves, the band seem to be going it mostly on their own. They've played a number of conventions - steampunk cons mostly - and related festivals.
And in addition, they're giving it away. Almost every song they do is up on YouTube and other sites. If you prefer a direct feed you can subscribe to a blog (LiveJournal) at: http://community.livejournal.com/abneypark - and get fresh live vids of songs that aren't even released yet. According to numbers I've seen there, at least one of their vids has over 100k hits on YouTube.
Still, I'd venture to guess that most folk don' t know about Abney Park and I'm certain there are thousands upon thousands of other great bands out there all needing exposure and ways to connect to people who will love what they do. We so desperately need ways to help these creative types, and not more ways to lock up content.
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