Making a Living In the New Music Industry

HearthPR Roots is part of Hearth Music specializing in artists with strong traditional roots.

HearthPR Roots is part of Hearth Music specializing in artists with strong traditional roots.

Note: This installment of The Music Room has been split into two parts. We had so much to say, we couldn’t fit it in a single episode!

On The Music Room on April 29 and May 6, we’re talking with Devon Léger from Hearth Music and Kathy Anderson from the Hadley Music Group to discuss how the music industry has changed in the recent years. Both Kathy and Devon are dedicated to getting music they love to the ears of anyone who will listen, building an audience for their artists, and making sure their artists can make a living. During the course of the interview, we also feature music from some of the artists they represent, including Natasha Borzilova, The Railsplitters, Donna Ulisse, and Cahalen Morrison on Eli West.

In the first half of this discussion, we talk about how technology has changed every step from production of media to how it’s distributed and what an increase in self-control in the industry means for both artists and labels in an age of digital downloads and social media.

Hadley Music Group

The Hadley Music Group is based out of Nashville. They are both a music publishing house and an independent recording label.

We then compare the current market with the monolithic industry of old, which focused on making a few stars to make most of the money, and had clear conflicts of interest throughout the process. We also discuss the risks of market saturation, which puts start-up acts at risk because now just about any band with a decent budget can release their own CD.

In the second part of the interview, debuting May 6, we talk about the decentralization of the music industry and how new avenues like Kickstarter have made independent production and distribution of music more viable than ever. We also the discuss the growing divide between physical and digital media, what that means for consumers and the distribution of music, and how other growing markets around the world adapt to the current state of music. There’s also a discussion on the issue of piracy and how the changes in the market have forced the music industry to compete with the pirates. Devon and Kathy also talked about how the decentralization of the industry and the advances in digital recording and distribution have led artists to foster a sense of community with their audiences, a new way of making music a viable career.

You can learn more about Hearth Music and Hadley Music Group at their websites.

The Interview

(The interview was recorded using three cell phones, hence the audio quality comes and goes. But the content is well worth the listen!)
Anderson and Léger, Part I (Recorded 3/16/14; original broadcast date: 4/29/14; host: Mandorichard), 29:59, 28.8 MB.
Anderson and Léger, Part II (Recorded 3/16/14; original broadcast date: 5/6/14; host: Mandorichard), 30:00, 28.8 MB.

The Music

  • Artist / Song / Album (or note) / Label (or source) 

    Part I
  • The Railsplitters / Room At the Top of the Stairs / The Railsplitters / self / 2014 / Hearth Music
  • Natasha Borzilova / Better Than Me / Out of My Hands / Hadley Music Group / 2012

    Part II
  • Cahalen Morrison and Eli West / James is Out / I’ll Swing my Hammer with both my Hands / self / 2014 / Hearth Music
  • Donna Ulisse / I’ve Always had a Song I Can Lean On / Showing My Roots / Hadley Music Group / 2013

Naomi Wachira

wachiraimege1This week on The Music Room, we talk to Naomi Wachira, an up-and-coming musician who had been voted Seattle’s Best Folk Singer by the publication Seattle Weekly. Naomi and had recently released her first full length self-titles album, following up on her 2012 EP African Girl.

Naomi names musicians like Miriam Makeba and Tracy Chapman as two of her musical influences. She also draws inspiration both from her homeland of Kenya and her life as a citizen of the Pacific Northwestern United States, bringing references to biblical figures, Kikuyu lyrics and socially aware, hopeful songwriting along with her style of playing the acoustic guitar to create a sound that is unique and delightful to listen to.

Over the course of the interview, we talk about Naomi’s past and her culture and how it influences her songwriting process, her distinctness as a musical citizen of the world, the joys and trials of attempting to start up a music career, and the lengths she has gone to achieve her dreams.

You can find out more by visiting Naomi’s website, which includes information about upcoming performances and her album.

The Interview

Naomi Wachira (Recorded 3/24/14; original broadcast date: 4/15/14; host: Mandorichard), 29:53, 28.7 MB.

The Musicwachiraimage2

  • Artist / Song / Album (or note) / Label (or source) / Date / Notes
  • Naomi Wachira / You Better / Naomi Wachira / Self / 2014 / Excerpt
  • Naomi Wachira / African Girl / African Girl / Self / 2012
  • Naomi Wachira / I’m Alive / Naomi Wachira / Self / 2014
  • Naomi Wachira / I Know  / Naomi Wachira / Self / 2014

Darren Nicholson: Papertown

nicholsonimageOn this edition of The Music Room, we spoke with Grammy Award nominated musician Darren Nicholson, the mandolin player of the bluegrass group Balsam Range. After being involved in over 25 albums released since 2002, collaborating with bands including Hazel Creek, The Crowe Brothers, the Alecia Nugent Band , and Audie Blaylock and Redline, Darren gives us a veteran’s perspective of the Bluegrass scene.

Over the course of the interview, we discuss the passion and friendly nature of the bluegrass community, Darren and his band mates’ experience living in Canton, NC, and how that influenced their album Papertown, and he previews their upcoming CD, expected in June of 2014. Darren also commented on several of the songs from Papertown, including the Gospel number “Row by Row.”

For more information, you can visit Darren’s website, Balsam Range’s website, and the homepage for the Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival, where he and Balsam Range are scheduled to play this summer.

The Interview

Darren Nicholson (Recorded 3/05/14; original broadcast date: 3/25/14; host: Mandorichard), 21:45, 21.0 MB. (Note: The songs released on Mountain Home/Crossroads were played in full on the radio broadcast, but are excerpted in the podcast version.)

Cover to Darren Nicholson's solo project

The Music

The following music is heard in this episode of The Music Room:

  • Artist / Song / Album (or note) / Label (or source) / Date / Notes
  • Darren Nicholson / Sugar Creek Gap / Things Left Undone / Bearded Baby Productions / 2013
  • Balsam Range / East Virginia Blues / Trains I Missed / Mountain Home, Crossroads / 2010 / Excerpt included in podcast
  • Balsam Range / Papertown / Papertown / Mountain Home, Crossroads / 2012 / Excerpt included in podcast
  • Balsam Range / Row by Row / Papertown / Mountain Home, Crossroads / 2012 / Excerpt included in podcast
  • Balsam Range / Born Ramblin’ Man / Papertown / Mountain Home, Crossroads / 2012 / Excerpt included in podcast