Are You an Alternative, Indie Artist or Do You Want to Have a Chart Hit?

66498302 - prague, czech republic - march 9, 2012: czech pop singer samer issa performs during his concert in sasazu club in prague, czech republic.

It’s hugely exciting that CEDIA is one big movement and voice now, a truly global organisation. I’m so glad the voice is bigger and louder now because my voice is so quiet, I barely get heard by my audience. I have to use a microphone, amplifier and speakers to be heard. My sound system still doesn’t have enough power output, though it’s made up of some great gear — Crestron, KNX, HDL Buspro, Sonos and Ubiquiti. It sounds OK to me but to my audience, they don’t really look at the gear and say the music I play sounds like alternative futuristic music and whilst they appreciate the innovation and artistry they, keep asking me to play the latest releases in the download charts. Current requests from the Top 10 include Amazon Echo, Sonos (I can play that tune really well), Nest thermostat, Apple TV and Siri. Now and again I play the crowd-pleasers. They’re actually very easy to play and I didn’t have to spend a long time practicing them because I was already a competent musician.

What’s interesting when you play the hits from the top of the charts are that they are normally short and sweet — you get a good reaction and people ask if you have anymore similar songs. After the show, I had additional requests to book me at other gigs from friends who were at the last club we played at. It’s quite a good feeling, I’m now playing 10 gigs a month, I don’t need to practise as much and have even started writing my own songs (three chord guitar tracks mainly).

I’m still a small town singer but who knows where it could lead? What I need now is PR. What I need is the support of a global voice to put me on a bigger stage. Could CEDIA start putting the spotlight on the rising stars and the next generation of talent? Could they pull themselves away from promoting the big indie artists on their label? It’s going to be hard for them. Maybe setting up a new label for smaller artists could be an option, CEDIA Lite maybe. No, this is a step too far. I agree.

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So, how about this? Why doesn’t a new committee or subgroup start that’s tasked with identifying this new smart home install generation, start listening to what they have to say, give them some spotlight, provide some mentoring and PR support and media training, introduce them to younger (millennial) audiences, help them write more songs and maybe even get them collaborating with other artists?

Music tastes change as listeners get older and a younger generation who listen to the charts will mature and start seeking out new music, more grown up music, like some of the indie acts that CEDIA has a label full of, custom installers/integrators.

CEDIA will not have to look far to find these upcoming artists — lots of them are already members. But they should try communicating with them better. They may prove to be the gateway to producing a smash hit.

Please share your stories of the smart home scene where you work and let me know if you are starting to get requests for chart hits from your audience.

Keep #LiveInstall’ing!