The age of information and media entertainment are what I refer to as the Tale of Two Cities. As Charles Dickens opened with his book "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, It was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us . . . " Charles Dickens, The Tale of Two Cities.
Fifty years ago, America had over 50 plus media corporations that controlled 90 percent of the media and entertainment industry. Today only 6 corporation conglomerates own and control 90 percent of what we as consumers watch, read and listen to, what they offer is the grand illusion of choice. These are the worst of times.
However, with all the new technology of self publishing books, music, podcast radio, t.v. streaming and independent distribution of all media resources, we truly have everything before us and these are the best of times.
Indie artists at all levels have a new playing field, level ground and an opportunity to carve out a place for themselves, to impact the world of the arts and media.
You may be wondering, how can I make an impact against 300 corporate giant executives who run the world of media and entertainment? How can my voice rise above the giants who run multi-billion dollar corporations? How can I stand up to industry leaders, when I am living on a shoestring budget? Never forget David and Goliath! God chooses the unlikely people to get the job done.
Now, to answer your question. The solution is complicated if you believe the media giants hold power over you and you believe they are the occupying force.
The answer is simple if you know that we as consumers can take action by winning over one listener, one reader and one follower at a time. You see, it's a numbers game to the media giants. And we have the numbers, the wallets and time.
In 1988 I entered the arena of music entertainment. Our bands mindset at the time was we had to play as many concerts, sell as many records and get signed to a record label in order to make it. Without the internet we worked hard and we were exhausted trying to compete. We were playing clubs, coffee houses, festivals, and parties. We had to have a manager who stayed connected by making telephone calls, which was a full time effort and he was payed very little for 5 years. Does anyone from that time remember our music? Very few do, even though we were considered #1 College underground metal band.
Today, with the reach of the internet - Ruthies Space Bus, my new electronica project is making an impact globally in just a few short months. In the summer of 2018 I decided to start writing music and publishing again, but this time using technology to leverage my efforts. I created one song called Lizard Alien, an experimental electrontronica song. I published the song on a streaming website called www.numberonemusic.com. Shortly after publishing Lizard Alien people from all over the planet started sending me emails with requests for more music. So, I wrote and recorded a whole album of songs and sounds I wanted to make. I experimented with different styles of electronic music, from EDM, Breakbeat, Tech House, Hip Hop, Ambient, etc. The result was amazing because people caught on and in less than 60 days I had over 50,000 downloads and my music was moved to the #1 Rank in Dallas, Texas for the experimental genre.
Reviews started coming in from Germany, Spain, Poland, England, Australia, Canada and from everywhere in the United States. As more people became familiar with Ruthies Space Bus the music began to rank higher still #1 in Dallas, #2 in all of Texas, #9 in the United States and #19 globally. I created various styles of film music under the name of Vin Zeeland. Two of my classical songs went to the top. Tender Nightmare is ranked #1 and Skeleton Key is ranked #2 in Dallas. Shortly after my song Beautiful Blue ranked #1 for the Ambient genre. Vin Zeeland and Ruthies Space Bus have received an additional 210,000 streams in less than 75 days since January of 2019.
January 16th, 2019 I was interviewed on ArtistFirst.com to promote Ruthies Space Bus first album. That's when opportunity came knocking on my door. After the interview, Scott "Zman" asked me if I would be interested in hosting my own radio broadcast show. I committed to doing a weekly one hour show every Tuesday night at Midnight Eastern and 9 P.M. Pacific. February 13th, 2019 was the advent of the Vin Zeeland Radio Hour. I interview independent musicians, authors, film producers, video game artists, and entertainers. ArtistFirst Radio broadcasts have an average listenership of 98,000 listeners per episode and in the last 12 years they have had over 500 million hours of podcast downloads.
The Vin Zeeland Radio Hour at the time of this writing has only had 7 shows. But, I have had the opportunity to interview some of my music heroes from the past 30 years, an author who first impacted me when I was a teenager through his independent music magazine. I am currently working on securing more interviews with highly influential artists.
You may be asking yourself, what does any of that have to do with me? I don't write music, write books or know how to speak on the radio?
The answer is simple. For those of you who are not independent artists and you want to have an impact, support the indie industry. Look for artists you have never heard of before, download a song, an album, buy a book or a film not in the mainstream. Stop supporting the multibillion corporations who dictate what you and I watch, listen to or read.
What you may not know is independent artists work just as hard, if not harder, we work longer, we are personable, you can write us and we will write back, you can call us and reach us, you can meet us and we are friendly. In my experience we bleed more money than we make, but we do what we do because we love making the world a better place. We work hard to make the world a better place, not to make media companies rich, glutted and drunk at all the big high profile events.
In my personal experience, I work tirelessly anywhere from 12 to 16 hours a day writing music, writing blogs, writing books, updating posts, managing my team, preparing and researching artists for the radio show, etc. Am I getting rich? No, but I do it because I make a difference in others lives.
There are millions of older experienced and new vibrant artists out there grinding away at their craft. Gifted, passionate, and hard working, living and building a dream, bleeding and investing into folks who don't seem to give a damn sometimes. But, we don't complain, we just keep getting stronger and better and work harder and keep turning out better products knowing that we are making a difference.
Can you make a difference as a fan? The simple answer is, Yes! Find an independent artist and join their team, help them get the word out, use the resources you have to help them, even if it's just your time. We would at least know you care.
If you are an indie artist, take up the mantle, fight the good fight, and make a difference, one person at a time. Work hard, rise above the corporate giants who seek to control the arts, the wealth and the minds of the people.
Vin Zeeland Productions