Join 3,421 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

As seen on Metafilter
April 25, 2012 1:10 PM   Subscribe

This FPP brought the wonderful Alabama Shakes to my attention. It got me to wondering if MeFi has ever been responsible for helping a musical act "break out" before. We've got a lot of members with blogs, Twitter accounts, etc. so we potentially have a lot of clout but is this something that can be measured?
posted by tommasz to MetaFilter-Related at 1:10 PM (79 comments total)

I would be kind of skeptical as to that, both as if it is trackable and as if we would have that much sway. I think by the time it reaches the Blue they have more of a base then MeFi could hope to build.

Just my 2 cents worth

The Alabama Shakes are great, but they have been building incredible buzz for the last few months, selling out shows on both sides of the pond
posted by edgeways at 1:26 PM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


My impression is that stuff usually shows up here after the music scene insider taste making machinery has already turned, and that the Alabama Shakes are a case in point.
posted by thelonius at 1:27 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pretty Flowers?
posted by OmieWise at 1:27 PM on April 25, 2012 [14 favorites]


I mean, quoting the April 9 Pitchfork review:

Things are now moving fast: The band has hit the late-night TV circuit, they followed Fiona Apple's headlining slot at NPR's big SXSW showcase last month, their upcoming shows are almost entirely sold-out, and they've been booked as openers for Jack White's spring solo tour.
posted by thelonius at 1:28 PM on April 25, 2012


it's not what you asked, but cortex got mentioned by Wolf Blitzer for the Ballad of Steven Slater.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:46 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't recall hearing PinkStainlessTail's oeuvre before mefi, but I do know some folk who were at some of his early shows, before he hit the billboard charts.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:47 PM on April 25, 2012


The Metafilter Bump?
posted by crunchland at 1:47 PM on April 25, 2012


the Pretty Flowers thread has two of my favourite MeFi-isms ever: "mindbuggling" and "not everyone likes Fall Out Boy dude". they both crack me up.

Did we give a boost to Brad Sucks, at all?
posted by batmonkey at 1:52 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


MeFi introduced me to Glass Candy and The Shaggs, both of whom I love.

Also, the site seems to have an inexplicable obsession with OkGo, who always just seemed like kind of a generic indie rock band to me.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:56 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


People began Punch(ing) 'Em In the Dick because of Metafilter.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 1:56 PM on April 25, 2012 [8 favorites]


as bitteroldpunk points out in his comment, the alabama shakes really started picking up steam when they were noticed by a blog that's read by one of the guys in drive by truckers (who have great musical taste - centro-matic just finished opening for them). but, i think bitter old punk was pretty close to the floor on this one. his first direct mention here came in december (with his first link to them coming here and as far as i can tell it was the first mention of them on metafilter).
posted by nadawi at 2:23 PM on April 25, 2012


Also, the site seems to have an inexplicable obsession with OkGo, who always just seemed like kind of a generic indie rock band to me.

No, their viral videos get posted here a lot, and they'd get posted here even if the videos had completely different music, or no music at all.
posted by empath at 2:34 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


i feel so sad that okgo will only every be known for their videos. i probably listen to this album in its entirely at least once a month, often more. they've got some witty turns of phrase, some great drums, driving guitars, and unexpected flourishes. i think they were getting hidden by all the competition when they first came out, so they came up with a quirk and it's really worked and allowed them to keep doing their thing, but i think they're massively underrated for their actual music.
posted by nadawi at 2:42 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I once saw OK Go in concert, I hate to say before people knew who they were, because ew hipster, but before *I* knew who they were at any rate. 2002 I think. They were opening for They Might Be Giants at the New Daisy in Memphis. Man, they rocked my socks off. So much so that despite never having heard of them, after the show I bought both the singles they were selling, and got them signed by the band. Partly because I thought they really might end up being big; mostly because they just had SO MUCH FUN on stage and I wanted them to know that I had fun watching them. The drummer drew an ET.

I don't really keep up with music, so I didn't really keep up with them after; I don't even know for sure if I still have those CDs. But every time I hear people talking about OK Go, it makes me smile. Good for them.
posted by solotoro at 2:51 PM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


I first knew of Alabama Shakes when they were just 'The Shakes', but it was still BitterOldPunk, mentioning them on G+ back last August. The only circle of mine that he's in is 'MetaFilter'. That's about as ground-floor as it gets.
posted by carsonb at 2:51 PM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yay! I'm finally a hipster! A real hipster!

Oh shit.

That band I liked last August is popular now!

Man, Alabama Shakes is played out. I'm so over them.

Throng of Shoggoths is the new hotness.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:58 PM on April 25, 2012 [8 favorites]


Yeah put me down for "Turned on to Alabama Shakes via BitterOldPunk on G+" as well. It is one of the 2 or 3 best things that G+ has done for me.

You can also put me down for "Alabama Shakes suck now that y'all like 'em."
posted by Mister_A at 3:07 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, what's up with all the love for Jonathan Coulton? I mean, he's alright enough I guess, but why does he get so much attention around these parts? Is he "Metafilter's own" or something?
posted by Afroblanco at 3:12 PM on April 25, 2012


The metafilter post on Kutiman was one of the first references to it on the web, and remains the best discussion on why it was the best thing ever.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:28 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also if you look through my posting history + the Music tag you will see that no amount of effort and enthusiasm will ensure that good music goes viral.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:31 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Resistor was posted to MeFi before he got super famous.
posted by ludwig_van at 3:37 PM on April 25, 2012


I put together a X-Mas mix CD for my local bar that was really heavy on Mefi Music cause they wanted new stuff and they've used it a few years in a row now so, yep, there is a bar in NYC where people know Jingle Rock Bell and look forward to it.
posted by The Whelk at 3:43 PM on April 25, 2012


Brandon Blatcher: "it's not what you asked, but cortex got mentioned by Wolf Blitzer for the Ballad of Steven Slater."

I liked him before he sold out, but man, cortex is so last year.
posted by arcticseal at 3:44 PM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


(and if we're gonna push Our Favorite Bands That Don't Suck well.......)
posted by The Whelk at 3:44 PM on April 25, 2012


what's up with all the love for Jonathan Coulton? -- I'm making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS.
posted by crunchland at 3:54 PM on April 25, 2012


Count me among the peeps who found Alabama Shakes through BOP's twitterins.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:57 PM on April 25, 2012


I knew BitterOldPunk back when he was still going by IdealisticYoungPunk.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:12 PM on April 25, 2012 [12 favorites]


I was once introduced to Lisa Loeb back when she was at Brown University performing in a duo as Liz and Lisa.

Yeah, I'm not that impressed either.
posted by Trurl at 4:15 PM on April 25, 2012


armoured-ant is a MetaFilter member (real name, Antonio Lulic) who played SXSW this year and deserves to be showered with cocaine and recording contracts. (Seriously, he's the best.)
posted by ColdChef at 4:35 PM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


A review: His songs personify and embody your strongest, basest, most influential feelings, the feelings that set people aside from animals and automatons, and make us feel really genuinely alive and a part of this crazy world...It is a wonder to me that Antonio Lulic has not already been signed, he has a voice that needs and deserves to be heard…Somehow I don’t think it will be long before he is snapped up by some eager record label executive.
posted by ColdChef at 4:44 PM on April 25, 2012


I was friends with BitterOldPunk before he was bitter. or old. or even a punk.
posted by special-k at 5:13 PM on April 25, 2012


> I once saw OK Go in concert, I hate to say before people knew who they were, because ew hipster, but before *I* knew who they were at any rate. 2002 I think. They were opening for They Might Be Giants at the New Daisy in Memphis. Man, they rocked my socks off. So much so that despite never having heard of them, after the show I bought both the singles they were selling

This happened to me around 1986 with Thelonious Monster and look at them now!

...You all know Thelonious Monster, right?

...Anybody?...
posted by languagehat at 5:18 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


...You all know Thelonious Monster, right?

You've made a beautiful mess of my evening with that reference. Thanks a lot.

/dons headphones
posted by lazaruslong at 5:24 PM on April 25, 2012


Now I'm spreading that armoured-ant song - good stuff! Hitting the other things linked here, too. Mmm, fresh music!
posted by batmonkey at 5:30 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


My old roommate Bob Kuhn penned the Thelonious Monster / Tom waits number Adios Lounge. I miss him.
posted by pianomover at 5:44 PM on April 25, 2012


it's not what you asked, but cortex got mentioned by Wolf Blitzer for the Ballad of Steven Slater.

Whoah whoah whoah. Cortex and some guy with two thumbs who is pointing at himself.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:31 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


When my album was posted here years ago I got about 3,000 downloads over about four days. But StumbleUpon (where it was first posted) just destroyed that number, pulling in over 15k downloads of the zipped album files.

As of today it's been downloaded around 26kilotimes, which makes me pretty happy. I'd guess at least two people unzipped it and listened to it. Plays of the first and second track from our various web players match that number.
posted by fake at 6:59 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pretty sure my endless babbling about flixel and AS3 programming on the mfc irc channel is the reason that Cortex's FaveRunner exists.
posted by hellojed at 7:24 PM on April 25, 2012


I mostly tend to post about bands which are broken up or music artists who are dead, so...
posted by hippybear at 8:11 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whoah whoah whoah. Cortex and some guy with two thumbs who is pointing at himself.

.....Robert DeNiro?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:11 PM on April 25, 2012


Robert DeNiro only has one thumb. Directors tend to work around this with careful blocking, with only one hand visible at a time, using mirror cuts to switch up the visible thumb, etc.; go back and watch some of his classic film roles, pay careful attention to the details.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:28 PM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't know how you'd trace it to MeFi; you can't start the clock just when it appeared here in front of you, and in terms of individual impressions MeFi does not really represent an especially huge number of people to get your stuff in front of, I don't think.

The Alabama Shakes were posted on my Facebook wall on November 26 by some other musician frieds. They've since been on NPR's World Cafe, in Spin, Paste, the Guardian, and CMJ, opened for Jack WHite and the Drive By Truckers, and played SXSW, and been on national and European tours.

I'd be surprised to learn that MeFi was make or break exposure for any musical act that didn't also start here.
posted by Miko at 8:43 PM on April 25, 2012


If I could do it, I would do it for Tan Vampires.
posted by araisingirl at 9:03 PM on April 25, 2012


drezdn has been posting Scarring Party stuff to music since before their first album came out, and now they've done three albums and toured around the US. I don't think they've exactly "broken out" but they've definitely become favorites of a lot mefi members and been featured on the podcast. (I'm so sad I wasn't able to make it to any of the shows from their recent West Coast tour!)
posted by mbrubeck at 9:18 PM on April 25, 2012


'90s one-hit-wonder Montell Jordan actually shot to fame primarily because of MetaFilter, somehow.
posted by threeants at 9:27 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, and also MeFi introduced me to Washed Out. Who is apparently Not Cool Anymore, and so I can very much look forward to seeing in him an anti-hipster bubble at Outside Lands this year, right?

;)
posted by Afroblanco at 1:51 AM on April 26, 2012


There was this thread that just happened. Gawker picked up on it, mentions they found it through Metafilter. Now she's apparently "break[ing] out", and is thanking Gawker for it.
posted by BurnChao at 3:04 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Rolling Stones? Didn't I hear about them here first?
posted by item at 3:11 AM on April 26, 2012


Alabama Shakes have been getting a lot of press coverage over here. Even the morning commuter paper, hardly a source of what is cutting edge, is featuring them now.
posted by mippy at 3:41 AM on April 26, 2012


'90s one-hit-wonder Montell Jordan actually shot to fame primarily because of MetaFilter, somehow.

I have only done this once. Safety not guaranteed.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:44 AM on April 26, 2012


If we're talking not-yet well known bands who are amazing and who we discovered before most others did...may I present Electric Guest.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:26 AM on April 26, 2012


Robert DeNiro only has one thumb. Directors tend to work around this with careful blocking, with only one hand visible at a time, using mirror cuts to switch up the visible thumb, etc.; go back and watch some of his classic film roles, pay careful attention to the details.

Writing this on a public website, you'd better hope DeNiro isn't as vindictive as Tom Cruise, Cortex.
posted by inigo2 at 6:32 AM on April 26, 2012


No, he's cool with it, he gave me the thumb-up and everything.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:55 AM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Are you talkin' to me? Are you talkin' to me? I'm the only thumb here.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:00 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


In retrospect I could have written a fairly meaty post on "hypnagogic pop" (which later became chillwave) in the summer of '09, linking to Memory Cassette (later Memory Tapes), Washed Out's "Feel It All Around" and a few other bands, and we'd have been one of the first sites to cover the chillwave phenomenon. No doubt it would have been filled with people snarkily hating on everything, but hey! I think that's why I don't post about a lot of musical discoveries, honestly. I often feel like it's not worth the grief from people who don't get it or don't care to try...
posted by naju at 7:20 AM on April 26, 2012


Brad Sucks does not, in fact, suck.
posted by slogger at 7:51 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


If I could do it, I would do it for Tan Vampires.

Ha, back when I was still booking shows around here, I had them on my list. Of course, now I'm not booking shows and I still haven't seen them, but my local has them in the jukebox. So there's that.
posted by yerfatma at 8:36 AM on April 26, 2012


Let me just point out that, with his permission, I use a Brad Sucks song on my podcast, and it is the most awesome thing ever.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:06 AM on April 26, 2012


Robert DeNiro only has one thumb. Directors tend to work around this with careful blocking, with only one hand visible at a time, using mirror cuts to switch up the visible thumb, etc.; go back and watch some of his classic film roles, pay careful attention to the details

Radar (Gary Burghoff) in M*A*S*H had a similar problem, watching the episodes while watching for the workarounds adds a mini-layer to an already great series.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:16 AM on April 26, 2012


(wondering if the Beetlejuice rules apply to Brad Sucks...)
posted by batmonkey at 9:16 AM on April 26, 2012


The Metafilter Bump?

I doubt Metafilter itself can break a new band/artist, yet I'd argue that Metafilter does have influence in this regard. It is a largish community. I've definitely discovered stuff via links and posts here, which I've in turn programmed on my radio show, thrown into various mix-CDs that I've passed around. And yeah, Alabama Shakes are one of these bands. I first heard them here via B.O.P's link a few months back. But when I got around to posting something to Facebook, there was an old DJ friend who'd heard them from elsewhere.

So yeah, in answer to the original query (It got me to wondering if MeFi has ever been responsible for helping a musical act "break out" before), I wouldn't say Metafilter is SOMETHING, but we're definitely part of SOMETHING.
posted by philip-random at 9:24 AM on April 26, 2012


MetaFilter occasionally makes something happen with the seaspray from the Reddit waves, but almost actually starts to trend here.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:30 AM on April 26, 2012


...almost nothing, that is.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:30 AM on April 26, 2012


music scene insider taste making machinery

I prefer the phrase 'star-making machinery behind the popular song.'
posted by box at 9:48 AM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


'star-making machinery behind the popular song.'

Which is as good an excuse for a gratuitous Neil Diamond link as any. ROCK that orchestra!
posted by philip-random at 10:12 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO COVER JONI MITCHELL
posted by shakespeherian at 10:31 AM on April 26, 2012


Some of my favorite artists are Mefites, many of whom I learn about via the MetaFilter Compilation CD than many invested in and worked hard on and that mathowie screwed over by launching the Music section of the site while we were trying to sell that CD. Brad Sucks is awesome. And so is The Harvey Girls.
posted by terrapin at 12:27 PM on April 26, 2012


Aw, we still covered costs on meficomp and then about the same again. I think we sent about $1700 to charity in the end on that. As much as anything I think Matt was bummed that Music didn't come along in time to be a more helpful part of the process of doing the comp; I can say for sure that there's no way I would have tried to do 25 volumes of meficomp CDs, which is what we'd have to have released to even come close to covering the volume of stuff that's been posted in the ensuing six years or so.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:39 PM on April 26, 2012


Aw, we still covered costs on meficomp

I know of at least one engineer who lost money on the project.
posted by terrapin at 12:49 PM on April 26, 2012


It's been a few years, but if that engineer is feeling like they got burnt on it and there's a way I can make it right they are totally welcome to let me know. It is not a project anyone at all made money from, by design, and was very much a "let's do a thing for the hell of it" community venture when it was happening; in any case nothing with how it went was Matt's fault for re-launching Music. I feel like this is a sort of weird conversation to be having here, but, again, if there's some kind of ongoing problem you can totally get ahold of me about it, you have my email.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:57 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


My comment in that Alabama Shakes thread got picked up by Dooce. Groovy.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:57 PM on April 26, 2012


I knew it was gold! righteous.
posted by batmonkey at 1:03 PM on April 26, 2012


In retrospect I could have written a fairly meaty post on "hypnagogic pop" (which later became chillwave) in the summer of '09, linking to Memory Cassette (later Memory Tapes), Washed Out's "Feel It All Around" and a few other bands, and we'd have been one of the first sites to cover the chillwave phenomenon. No doubt it would have been filled with people snarkily hating on everything, but hey!

Ummm, this actually happened, albeit after Chillwave had already crested. (Hah!) And it transpired pretty much exactly the way you predicted.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:25 PM on April 26, 2012


mathowie screwed over by

All the compilation was intended to do was: be a fundraiser and showcase some MeFi musicians. It did that. We consider that project a success.

I am sorry you have hard feelings about it, and sorry-by-proxy to other people that do. However I feel like you either need to let this drop or contact us here or via the contact form and let us know if there's some outstanding problem that we can resolve, especially if someone is expecting payment from us which is definitely the implication of your statement and not at all in line with our understanding of how things worked.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:11 PM on April 26, 2012


I have written cortex to explain and to apologise. I believe I had already discussed this in private without a solution, and I am sure this isn't the first time I have expressed my disappointment with the timing of the start of Music and how disappointing it was to those of us who invested in the project expecting to be reimbursed once costs were recovered. But this is not the place for that, and I apologise to others for dragging the dirty laundry into this thread. Feel free to delete all references to this if it will keep things on track.
posted by terrapin at 3:25 PM on April 26, 2012


But Brad Sucks and The Harvey Girls still rock.
posted by terrapin at 3:27 PM on April 26, 2012


I'll follow up over email as far as the compensation stuff, I'm happy to try and get that figured out.

But I want to reiterate that this really is not at all a launching-of-Music-related thing. That's a project Matt had been supportive of long before (and actually initially tried to launch years before) Meficomp was even a glint in my eye, and the overall excitement on the site about mefite musician stuff that led to Meficomp happening was largely what drove him to get into action to support that stuff by properly re-launching Music.

The bulk of what we sold in terms of copies of the Meficomp album was pre-orders, which came in both before and after Music launched partway through the pre-production of the compilation album; the balance mostly came in when we formally put the album to press and put it out there for sale, which was also after Music launched. People on the site and some off were super supportive of the project and I'm glad we ended up selling like 300 copies, which was honestly more than I was hoping for.

I don't feel like Music launching harmed that at all; we were targeting a pretty captive audience from day one with the project, it started very specifically as a "hey, mefi musicians are great, let's make a neat thing" sort of venture, and really a pretty nice swath of the userbase dished out for it for the same reason that Music itself is a nice little part of this site: people who make music here bumping into people who like listening to music here makes for some nice community interaction.

If anyone is to blame for us not selling more copies, or for any confusion about the administration or logistics of the Meficomp project, it's me; I was spearheading the thing and mostly winging it with the help of email discussion from various folks, and I'm neither a salesman nor an experienced project manager, so it was a hell of an experiment at the time and one that I'm mostly just glad seemed to come out pretty well.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:47 PM on April 26, 2012


I'm neither a salesman nor an experienced project manager

His entire business plan consisted of "20 bucks, same as in town."
posted by inigo2 at 5:19 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is Azalia Banks famous yet? She should be.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:02 PM on April 29, 2012


« Older If a linked article on the blu...  |  Coooooooooooooortex! Happy bir... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments