At first, I put the email aside, figuring I’d get back to it when I got a chance. Then I realized two very important things: 1. My friend Kitty was involved. 2. There was a blog that caught my deep interest. I’ve in turn written here at Daily Duranie about that blog – it was in reference to Justin Biebers followers – the “Beliebers”. (a word I still have trouble saying AND typing…) If you need to catch up, you can read that blog here.
Upon doing some research for that blog, I wandered unattended onto Andy’s site, aptly named AndyTaylor.tv After wandering, I realized that if I wanted further enlightenment, I would need to chat with Kitty, our good friend from Gimme a Wristband. She was kind enough to broaden my field of vision a bit.
Andy’s website is unlike anything we’ve seen before. Essentially free from the suits that run the music industry, along with Sonic Vista (his state-of-the-art recording studio in Ibiza) “he’s become his own personal broadcaster”. I suppose like anyone else, I have my own visions of what Andy must be like in good old reality. He has always struck me as the type of person that is only going to put up with so much, and when he’s had enough, he has had enough. I’ve always liked that about him, even if it sometimes seemed to be to his detriment. I have a similar attitude in general, even though I know how to play the game – I typically choose not to play. I want my own rules, dammit! His website seems to be his answer to idiocy of the music industry. Kitty continues, “…there’s nothing filtering Andy’s message to – or from – fans. And why should there be? Fans are to be treated with respect that they deserve, not like children being constantly spoon-fed with tasteless marketing drivel.”
I think we should all read that sentence again. Slowly. Let it flow through your body a bit and allow the brain synapses to fire. Now go have it printed on a t-shirt.
It narrowly avoids inciting violence within me when I think about this industry that continually calls itself progressive and forward thinking, yet is stuck in the absolute mindset of making BRANDS rather than BANDS. It is more important, more lucrative (by some accounts), and lets face it – easier – for the industry to find someone/something that looks good (or just make ’em look good) rather than find something that genuinely IS good. Sadly, our world is such that we’ve gotten to the point where we’ll accept the former rather than insist on the latter. Talent? Who needs that with photoshop, autotune, smoke and a few well placed mirrors? All I can say is good on Andy! Take for instance his “about me” section…I prefer to think of it as a mission statement. Here’s the link, I encourage you to read! Call me crazy, but I think he’s got the plot.
What I love most about the site, and there are many, many things I adore, is that Andy encourages the broadcast to be a conversation between himself and viewers. The site is not purely dependent upon his content. It’s dependent upon everyone, whether you’re fan, friend, famous, or as Kitty put it, infamous! Anyone who wishes to guest blog can drop them a note at firstname.lastname@example.org The beauty here is that the stories take on a completely different life depending upon the storyteller. Kitty explains, “look at the recent “BIG BOT” posts by Luke James, lead singer of the band Fashion. He was slogging it out onstage right there in Birmingham as Duran Duran was preparing to launch into the stratosphere, but tells the story from the perspective of a band in the same place at the same time going through the same motions with very different results.” Any Duran fan has read many, many tales of their time at the Rum Runner, some lucky fans may have even been there during the time, but Luke James has a totally different view, and his perspective just opens the door a bit wider for discussion.
I specifically asked questions regarding the Ibiza section of the site because in my wanderings, it looked like a blank slate. Kitty explains, “The ‘Ibiza’ section of the site recognizes that Andy is broadcasting from the perfect geographical location from which the new direction of the music industry is emanating. The electronic dance movement has essentially re-invented the experience for the punter —after all, it was Duran Duran kicking it all off back in the day with the Night Versions. It’s all coming full circle now with EDM. Andy’s sound, history and freedom are enabling some killer new artistic collaborations that are guaranteed to blow a few minds. In fact, he just finished co-producing and laying down some guitar tracks for The Ting Tings new album as they were recording at Sonic Vista. And there’s more — much, much more — with new remixes and a full new album, “Motherlode” coming out in the spring.” (Note to fans, before you ask – I already did and yes, tour dates are in the works!)
We can all say what we’d like about Andy Taylor and his departure from the band…or the bands departure from him (I was never quite clear on that, not that it really matters now), but he has a clear sense of what works, and what does not…in this century. Let’s face it, Top 40 radio is a thing of the past. Album sales? Who buys full albums anymore? YouTube is more than a way for a young girl to show off her Christmas prezzies. It takes more than just having and occasionally using a Twitter account to effectively harness fan power. One can’t just say they recognize the force on one hand and cast it aside with the other simply because they don’t “trust”. Use the power you’re given. Be creative with the technology and use it to your benefit. That doesn’t mean, however, that we all need to relearn how to interact on Second Life, either. (my apologies to Nick Rhodes…) Cast aside the dead weight on your line, cut your losses, pick yourselves up by the bootstraps and get on with it, or else the world is going to leave you behind, if they haven’t already. That’s where Andy stepped up and grabbed that tiger (yes, that tiger…the Ragged one) by the tail.
I’m looking forward to seeing what Andy does with the site. I feel as though my eyes are finally opening after a very long nap. (or else I’ve just stayed in bed with the covers pulled up over my head waiting for it all to be over!) I like what I’m seeing and hearing thus far and hope it continues to grow!
Hearing? Have you checked out the Planet Earth ReU-nite version? Open your ears and give it a listen! here
The bottom line? Andy gets it. I have a little hope for the world again, or at least for music. I’ll save a seat for everyone on the bus to hell that this world is traveling…but at least I’ll be listening to some good tunes along the way. I’ve been whining about radio, the music industry, and the lack of respect for fans well before I ever started using N*Sync or Britney Spears CD’s as drink coasters around my house. (they work well) It’s time for the pendulum to start swinging back in the direction of real music. Real talent…and a new thought…communication and partnership between fans and artists. I’m sick of the “fast food” that the music industry is trying to serve, and it’s breathtaking to see one of my heroes doing something about it.
Before I finish, I have to give huge huge huge kudos to my friend Kitty at AndyTaylor.tv for her help and patience with me. Not only is she brilliant at everything she does, she’s a genuinely good person and a great friend. Kitty runs the editorial/promotional/fan liaison side of things for AndyTaylor.tv, and I know we all look forward to seeing good things continue to come in the years ahead!
One final thought:
Andy’s biggest and brightest statement is the one in bold print at the bottom of the ‘About Me’ section of his site, and it’s the one that makes the most sense.
“….It’s never been about simply one issue.”