NEAL CONAN, host:
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington.
In the recent series of the comic strip "Doonesbury," rock 'n roll star Jimmy Thudpucker signs a contract with Burger King's record label and brags that his music is going to be played in every franchise around the country. In fact, he says, his demographic is in the ladies room. This spoof was clearly aimed at Paul McCartney and that coffee shop on every corner.
(Soundbite of "Ever Present Past")
Sir PAUL McCARTNEY (Singer): (Singing) I've got too much on my plate. Don't have no time to be a decent lover. I hope it isn't too late, searching for the time that has gone so fast.
CONAN: That's an excerpt from "Memory Almost Full," McCartney's new album on Starbucks record label, Hear Music. And the idea that one of the most popular recording artists in the world hopes that you'll buy his new CD along with your skinny latte suggests that the music business is changing, and fast. Traditional record companies aren't exactly going out of business, but a lot of record stores are closing down. Radio and MTV are still important, but these days, so are video games and TV ads. And as we'll hear, some indie bands are looking for corporate sponsors.
So what unusual places are you finding music in these days? And if you're a musician, what are some of the more unconventional techniques you're using to get your music out? Our number, 800-989-8255. That's 800-989-TALK. E-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also join the conversation on our blog. That's at npr.org/blogofthenation.
Later on in the program, interested individuals and activist groups now have access to what was once a super powered duopoly: Google Earth and democratization of spy satellites.
But first, new ways to market music. We begin with Cora Daniels, who wrote an article called "The New Music Moguls" in Fast Company magazine. She's also the author of the book, "Ghettonation." And she joins us from our studios in New York. Nice to have you back in the program.
Ms. CORA DANIELS (Author, "Ghettonation"; Writer, Fast Company Magazine): Oh, thanks for having me.
CONAN: And how are you? In the series of interviews, I was fascinated by the number of ways that new companies are using music to promote themselves and vice versa. Hallmark Cards, for instance, you don't think of them as a major music producer.
Ms. DANIELS: Right. But they're producing platinum-selling albums, which is really amazing because you don't think of Hallmark Cards that way. But their albums are actually doing, you know, the best of the companies that we profiled. And they take it seriously. They have a team that is just devoted to music.
CONAN: A team that's just - and when they decide - it was interesting. The - interview with the woman from Hallmark said, you know, they spend a lot of time figuring out which artists to use - which artist to record but once they do, they let the artist have control over what they do.
Ms. DANIELS: Exactly. I mean, what Hallmark does, because they are a card companies, they tie to holidays. So they put out a Christmas album and they put out a Valentine's Day album. And they poll their customers. They give them choices of different artists and really ask them very specific questions. Would you rather listen to this artist at Christmastime? Would you rather listen to it at Valentine's Day? And - but once they decide which artists are going to go for what holiday, they give the artists free reign. So - they're not having trouble getting artists to sign on because they do have complete creative free reign. It's just a matter of when the album is released.
CONAN: Yeah. And the one qualm that you said the artist have is that doing stuff that far and advanced. They're not quite used to that.
Ms. DANIELS: Exactly. Exactly because they are - they work 18 - at least 18 months in advance, which is not typical turnaround for the music industry. So that's usually the stumbling block for artists. You want me to do something when?
CONAN: When? Yeah. And also - and I guess we're all accustomed by now to the idea that Starbucks is selling records in the stores, but this Scion car company, a division of Toyota?
Ms. DANIELS: Exactly. Actually, just a couple of weekends ago, I found myself at a - inadvertently, I found myself at a Scion event. I went to a local music gathering in my hometown of Brooklyn and there was a big Scion display and it was promoting some of the artists. And they make vinyl records to give out to DJs promoting local hip-hop bands.
Ms. DANIELS: And it's - they give the artist the masters. They print up about a thousand copies. They distribute it through the club network and the club scene. And it can be a real break for artists that don't have a traditional record deal because they are now being heard in the clubs. And that's traditionally where bands can break, in the clubs.
CONAN: What is in it for Hallmark and for Scion cars?
Ms. DANIELS: Well, there's that - for Scion, there's the cool factor that they can definitely be seen as the cutting edge because they were trying to market their cars to a younger audience.
For Hallmark, they are making a truckload of money. The albums are tied to their merchandise. So you can get the album for a cheaper price if you buy three cards. And when you present it that way to consumers, every - consumers want to deal so they end up buying three cards. They can get an album for five bucks. And so they make a lot of money.
CONAN: We're talking with Cora Daniels, a writer about new ways of marketing music. If you'd like to join the conversation, give us a call, 800-989-8255. E-mail, email@example.com. And let's talk with Francisco(ph). Francisco is calling us from Moreno Valley in California.
FRANCISCO (Caller): Hey. How is it going?
CONAN: All right.
FRANCISCO: Well, what I wanted to do is that I have seen a lot of these commercial albums in stores such as Starbucks. And I even saw one with Sir Bob Dylan in Victoria's Secret, which was kind of scary. But the way I get my music - I'm 18 years old and I'm a musician, and some music is pretty big - is that I get it to my friends who will send me files, or burn me CDs.
Also, there are a number of Web sites online that are just geared towards discovering new music. For example, there's a Web site called Pandora that will - if you enter an artist that you enjoy, it will give you a list of recommendations for other artists. And I believe there's another one called the Music Genome Project, which is pretty interesting.
Also, commercials - to really get close to the topic that you're talking about - play a big part, I think, especially - a few years ago, there was Volkswagen commercial for an artist named Nick Drake, who up until that point had only received moderately successful sales. But once his song "Pink Moon" appeared in the Volkswagen commercial, there was a mass resurgence for Nick Drake records. And so I think commercials really will play a big part.
CONAN: Mm-hmm. Cora Daniels, commercials?
Ms. DANIELS: Yeah. No, he's definitely - the caller is definitely right. I mean, one of the folks that I talked to was a vice president at Grey Worldwide. And they have artists pitching them all the time. They have actually concerts in their offices of artists pitching them their albums before they come out because they want to get their songs linked to commercials. And we had a really interesting discussion because he's also found that folks are crossing the line. So you have songwriters that you suggest write jingles, who were crossing over to the music industry; folks who have been at record labels for a long time, who are moving over to ad agencies. And there's really been this cross-pollenization. So, I mean, his dream is to have a hit song to - make a hit song in a commercial.
CONAN: And I was fascinated in that part of your article to see that, in fact, one of the arguments for this is there's nowhere else anymore where you can get that heavy rotation that you can…
Ms. DANIELS: Exactly.
CONAN: …when a song is part of a television commercial.
Ms. DANIELS: Exactly. Exactly. It's - MTV and the video channels, they - you know, they're playing a lot of shows now. They're not actually playing videos. And it is the advertisers. It is retailers who have that kind of money to buy airplay. And this is what we're thinking of as airplay. So that Volkswagen commercial is going to play a lot more times than the traditional video on MTV.
CONAN: Mm-hmm. Francisco, thanks very much for the call.
FRANCISCO: Thank you.
CONAN: Oh, I - one before you go, Francisco?
CONAN: Did you buy the Bob Dylan album at the Victoria's Secret?
FRANCISCO: Oh, no. I - unfortunately, I didn't. I don't really equate Bob Dylan as being all that sexy, although he's one of my favorite artists. But…
CONAN: Well. I'm sure some people would beg to differ - but anyway, thanks very much for the call - perhaps people at Victoria's Secret. Joining us now is Steve Schnur, who's one of the new moguls that's profiled in the Fast Company article. He's worldwide executive of music and marketing for Electronic Arts video games. He joins us from NPR West in Culver City, California. Nice to have you on the program today.
Mr. STEVE SCHNUR (Worldwide Executive of Music and Marketing, Electronic Arts Video Games): Hi, Neal, how are you?
CONAN: I'm well, thanks. Now, your job is to create the soundtrack for EA video games. And, you know, fogies like me keep thinking it's going to be, you know, just, you know, some pulse track. In fact, for many years now, music has been a big part of this.
Mr. SCHNUR: Well, you're correct. And I don't mean to infer that you are a fogy.
CONAN: Oh. You don't need to infer.
Mr. SCHNUR: Ok good.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. SCHNUR: And by the way, hi, Cora. How are you?
Ms. DANIELS: Hi, how are you doing?
Mr. SCHNUR: You know, about six, seven-plus years ago, you are correct, Neal. The average video game sounded like what we - what I like to refer to is good humor truck music, you know, music done on Casios predominantly by employees. And one of the things - when I got first hired at EA, one of the first things that the then-president of the company said to me is you'll know you'll have succeeded here if every internal audio guy hates your guts, because basically, it was going to be my job to stop them from making music. And what we did was we started utilizing the real estate in video games to do what MTV and radio had done for all us and older generations for decades before.
You know what? I'm listening to you guys talking, and I think that it's a very simple equation. The bottom line is you bring music to where people are versus where they're not. We were all brought up in a radio-driven society. You listen to - I was brought up outside of New York, so I would listen to the rock radio stations there, and that's where I first heard about the Police. That's where I heard about whatever - U2. Then, came the MTV generation and it was obviously very visually oriented. And a whole new generation was brought up, expecting a visual attachment. Thus, came the Duran Durans and eventually the Nirvanas.
Now, the bottom line is anybody between the ages of 12 to 24, pretty much on an international basis, spends the predominant amount of their time either online or playing games. They're not listening to the radio. They're not watching MTV. And like Cora mentioned - you know, through consolidation of radio, which means a much more limited playlist, and through the understandably so programming that MTV and others have to adhere to now - programming of shows versus music.
Video games are a natural place to go, considering that the love and discovery of music is the one consistent that has not changed. Every young person wants to discover their new favorite band - something that they can call their own, something that makes their parents say turn that down.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Ms. DANIELS: I mean, I think that's what our caller - our 18-year-old caller. We got distracted of the thought of Bob Dylan at Victoria's Secret. But what he did say was that he had fell in love with the song through a video game.
Mr. SCHNUR: Absolutely.
Ms. DANIELS: And that's where he had heard his music.
CONAN: It could've been their good humor music. I would have told my kids to turn that down, too.
(Soundbite of laughter)
CONAN: But anyway, we're going to duck away for just a minute. We're talking with Steve Schnur of EA video games and with writer Cora Daniels. If you're like to join our conversation about where you find that new music, give us a call. 800-989-8255. 800-989-TALK. E-mail us firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm Neal Conan. It's the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.
(Soundbite of music)
CONAN: This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington.
The music we used to listen to - the music we listen to used to depend on what MTV or our favorite radio station put in their rotation or which bands were picked up by major record labels. This day, CD sales are down, downloads are growing - even the paid ones - and you're just as likely to find the latest hot single in a car ad or a new video game. Today, we're talking about and with some of the new music moguls. Our guest are Cora Daniels, she wrote the series on "The New Music Moguls" for Fast Company Magazine, you can read it through a link at our Web site, npr.org/talk; And Steve Schnur is also with us. He's head of music and marketing for Electronic Arts video games.
And we're going to hear from one of the indie acts that he signed in a few minutes. If you're finding new music in interesting places, let us know. If you're a musician, what are some of he more unconventional techniques you're using to get your music out? 800-989-8255, e-mail us email@example.com and let us know who you'd include on the list of new music moguls on our blog, npr.org/blogofthenation. And, Steve Schnur, when you look for these acts, how do you find them?
Mr. SCHNUR: Well, the first year - about six years ago - we had to spend most of our time out there scouring the world, so to speak, musically speaking, and explain to folks at record companies and publishing companies why it was important. Fortunately, the people we didn't have to ever explain it to were the bands and artists themselves because they spend most of their time either in the green room or on the road or on the studio - when they're not recording - playing video games.
So I found that over the last five yeas in particular, we get bombarded - for lack of a better term - with thousands and thousands and thousands of submissions from around the world - artists that want to be in games, because they themselves have played one of our games and have discovered other bands. So I think again, artists themselves have been the ones who got it from the very beginning.
And what - the tangible evidence of how it works is that they are also on the frontlines every night in a club somewhere, and there would be kids. And I've heard this from bands as a small as an indie ban from Sweden, hypothetically, to as big as Green Day, where they've come up to me after and said, man, there's kids every single night at a gig, saying, first time I heard this song, or the first time I heard you, or I got turned on to you through "Madden" or "Need for Speed" or whatever the case may be.
So we just have to be ahead of the curve because just like Cora mentioned with the folks at Hallmark, I'm programming music for, for instance, "Madden Football" in January for a game that comes out in August. And I want that to be the first time somebody hears and gets turned on to a new artist. So what ends up happening is we have to end up - we end up going in the studio with a lot of bands as they're recording to sort of figure out along the way which of the maybe three or four thousand submitted artists will narrow down to the 30 that make it in the game.
CONAN: Three or four thousand submitted artists.
Mr. SCHNUR: For "Madden NFL Football" and for "FIFA" and the biggies, we have three or four thousand, yeah.
CONAN: One of the artists who has had this experience is Jonny Dubowsky. He's the lead singer of the indie band Jonny Lives! and founder of Rock 'n Renew, a non-profit group that promotes awareness of sustainability.
He's with us now from the studios of the BBC Western House in London. Nice to have you on the program today.
Mr. JONNY DUBOWSKY (Lead Singer, Jonny Lives!; Founder, Rock 'n Renew): Nice to be here. Thanks for having me on. How's it going, guys?
CONAN: Good. The song "Get Steady" from your first album was selected for an Electronic Arts video game. Here's a clip. Let's listen.
(Soundbite of "Get Steady" from video game clip)
Mr. DUBOWSKY: (Singing) I'm an anaconda. I slither as I slide. You know that I wanna dip and take a dive.
CONAN: Now, Jonny, what video game was that from?
Mr. DUBOWSKY: "MVP Baseball 2004." And thank you, Steve, by the way.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. SCHNUR: No, thank you. I mean…
Mr. DUBOWSKY: That…
Mr. SCHNUR: You know, you're the creator. I just can provide the real estate. You're the guy that came up with the tune.
CONAN: But after you did that, as I understand, did you play that song in concerts and people would say, oh, yeah, I know that from the video game?
Mr. DUBOWSKY: As recently as last week, actually. The new assistant I just hired for Rock 'n Renew came up to me when we first met and said I must have listened to that song easily for 5,000 times, because they play the video games, you know, countless hour-upon-hour. And it's such a great soundtrack of different songs that is on all of those games.
Mr. DUBOWSKY: So it's great exposure. And, you know, there's really a captive audience, when that kid is coming home after school playing the game for four hours in a row.
CONAN: Hmm. Now, did you send a tape to EA or did they contact you?
Mr. DUBOWSKY: You know, I'm not really sure. I think that our manager at the time…
Mr. SCHNUR: That's exactly what happened.
Mr. DUBOWSKY: …sent a CD. I think it was our manager Jaime Shawnfeild(ph)…
Mr. SCHNUR: It's exactly…
Mr. DUBOWSKY: …who sent a CD? Is he a friend of yours, Steve?
Mr. SCHNUR: I've known him since I lived in New York, yeah, for about 15, 20 years.
Mr. DUBOWSKY: Yeah, and I just remember getting the call, and I still have the voice mail saved in my phone. And it was just - it was really, you know, it's hard to pinpoint the big break, but certainly, that's the one, time and time again. It made so many impressions on young people and it really - before there was even a MySpace - it created an exchange between us and our fans.
And it really - we have a history with our fans because now, the kids who grew up playing that game are in their '20s, and they are the kids who come and see us play when we're on tour. And, you know, that video game was the reason -that paid for us to come to England.
And then - oh, and it is a typo in the article. We didn't get $30,000.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. DUBOWSKY: I'm sure my band saw that. They were like we're, you were -you've been holding out on us.
(Soundbite of laughter)
CONAN: Well, how much was it?
Mr. DUBOWSKY: I think it was a couple of thousand.
Mr. SCHNUR: Yeah. I think there was one-zero-too-many, Jonny.
Mr. DUBOWSKY: Yeah.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. DUBOWSKY: But still, you know, that being said, as a bartender who was self-funding really everything that we did, that paid for us to come to England for the first time, where I sit today for my, probably, 28th time. And I'm about to go to Madrid on Friday with the Kaiser Chiefs. I'm doing a show with Sean Lennon in Belgium on Saturday.
And all of these things, I still continue to fund it through corporate sponsorships in these relationships.
CONAN: Hmm. You've been working - as I understand, from the article, from Cora Daniels' article - with Nokia, the cell phone company?
Mr. DUBOWSKY: Yeah, they were really on a cutting edge of the video aspect of the phone. They had this Carl Zeiss optics, which if you're, you know, I'm kind of a tech-nerd myself. And that the camera phone on this one particular phone was remarkable.
And so we used it to shoot a music video. And, you know, the way that these companies really get it when they start working with an indie band is to not try and hit the audience over the head with the marketing and integrating their product into the campaign because that doesn't ever really work.
So we just, you know, it was an accoutrement to the treatment of the video, but it actually - it wound up making for a really good video, integrating that into it.
Mr. DUBOWSKY: And that was an additional - great amount of exposure.
CONAN: Yeah, Cora Daniels, I guess the secret - like you were talking about the car company - be subtle, don't hit people over the head with a two-by-four, and just benefit from the cool factor.
Ms. DANIELS: Right, right. Exactly. I mean, I think - Steve and I had talked a little bit about this, too. It used to be bands would remember the first time that they would hear their song on the radio. And now, it's - when they hear their song in a video game.
CONAN: Hmm. Let's get another caller on the line. This is Michael. Michael is with us from Savannah, Georgia.
MICHAEL (Caller): Hey, how are you doing?
CONAN: Very well.
MICHAEL: I just wondered - I haven't played video games for probably 30 years, so when do 35 songs play during like a John Madden football video game?
CONAN: Steve Schnur?
Mr. SCHNUR: I think that differs game by game. I mean, sports games in particular, you know, they come up in menus. When you're setting up your teams, you're setting up your players, wherever the kids maybe. And people spend an amazing amount of time setting these things up down to the color of the uniforms in the stadiums. Certain games - racing games like "Need for Speed" others, they play consistently through the entire game play experience.
The interesting point - and I remember before we spoke about the amount of impressions that a television commercial can have - well, if you figure out the amount of hours that the average young person - let's call the young person 12 to 24 in this case - spends playing video games, each person ends up playing a video game on average about 89, 90, sometimes a hundred plus hours each.
You got to remember that video games are a social experience. It's not played by one person. It's usually played by two to three people. And the music rotates to come up about two to three times an hour, the average song. So if you do the math and you figure out you sell about seven, eight, nine, ten million units of a game, which isn't unheard of, when it comes to the games we're talking about, you could get about a billion plus impressions of a song, one particular song, which is more than the number one record in every country around the world.
CONAN: Wow. Michael, thanks very much.
MICHAEL: Thank you.
CONAN: Here's an e-mail we got from Mike in Portland, Oregon. There is an underground group of bands who actually play the old video game music - what Steve calls the good humor music - in engaging progressive ways. The advantage and the mini bosses in particular cover old Nintendo Entertainment System songs with traditional rock instruments and weigh more than the "Madden Football" soundtrack, for example. So…
Mr. SCHNUR: Yeah, I mean, there's a nostalgia in everything, and people like to hear that sometimes. But then, you know, some people listen all these radio and like to listen to, you know, the big bopper, whatever.
(Soundbite of laughter)
CONAN: Let's talk with Jeremy and Jeremy's calling us from Tajikistan.
Mr. DUBOWSKY: Wow.
CONAN: Jeremy, are you there?
JEREMY (Caller): Hello.
Mr. SCHNUR: Well.
CONAN: Jeremy, are you there?
JEREMY: Hi. I actually - I travel a lot. I'm a PhD student and I spend a lot of my time overseas. So, a lot of my music I just find out from online. I listen to BBC 6 Radio online and I read pitchforkmusic.com, which has a lot of indie reviews, and they talk about different videos and records that come out and review shows. So that's where I get a lot of my stuff. Also, when I travel, I read international periodicals and try to find new music that way.
CONAN: Yeah. It strikes me, Jeremy, you must have a very powerful radio receiver there in Tajikistan. How are you listening to us?
JEREMY: Actually, through my satellite TV, somehow. There's no picture, but I'm just listening through the television.
(Soundbite of laughter)
CONAN: Jeremy, thanks very much for the call. Have good time in - what are you doing in Tajikistan, by the way?
JEREMY: I'm working on Tajik and Persian language. I'm here with the program - that's funded by the U.S. government and it's a scholarship program for PhD students studying Persian.
CONAN: Well, good luck to you. Thanks very much.
JEREMY: Thank you.
CONAN: Now, Jeremy with us from Tajikistan. Here is another e-mail. This I get from Michael. I get my new music from a rather unexpected source - anime music videos. There's a large following online of people who plays clips from their favorite anime with their favorite music, and provide a large variety of music. I often find new songs that I like when watching these videos.
So I guess, in a way, these are doing - is this the equivalent of, I guess, a video match up, Steve?
Mr. SCHNUR: It's a very cool concept. I mean, you know, it's a user-generated world. So, it's a fantastic opportunity for creative people out there. Yeah, I would say it is a user match up. That's a great way to put it.
CONAN: Let's get Mike(ph) on the line. Mike is calling us from Seattle.
MIKE (Caller): Hello.
CONAN: Hi, you're on the line. Go ahead.
MIKE: Thank you. I just moved to Seattle from South Lake Tahoe, California, where it is - there's a lot of sports there. And typically, I would get my music from skateboard videos, like the old (unintelligible), PC videos, and you kind of emulate the skateboarders you're watching on television, on the VHS, and you - their video parts would be the music that their listening to. And in turn, it would turn you on to music where you would want to listen to what they're listening to, prior to doing what you do. But that's mainly how I got music. I want to know what role that plays as far as getting bands out and stuff like that?
CONAN: Steve, can you help us there?
Mr. SCHNUR: It plays an enormous role. And ironically to that, we - Tony Hawk has been - the game itself has been probably one of the original games that started to play a significant role in launching new bands and discovery of new bands. We just worked on a game that comes out in a minute called "Skate," and the entire musical selection was based on skaters - real skaters; their selections and it's all based on this original skate videos, the concept of that. I think it's a terrific way to get underground bands on a credible level to be heard.
CONAN: We're talking…
Mr. DUBOWSKY: It's also really cool when you're linking the music to some type of action. And the kids are spending so much time playing the video game, and then they're going outside and emulating the action as well, and, you know, putting that into their lives. You know, putting on that song in the boom box that they saw on the Tony Hawk game, they'll go out in the ramp and try that trick a hundred times with the song playing as a kind of an inspiration to get through the bumps and bruises, I think.
Mr. SCHNUR: You know, it's an interesting thing that a long time ago, I had wish that in a - let's use football as an example - when the obvious idea to - for music in "Madden," or a football game, or sports game would have been Gary Glitter and the Queen; "We are the Champions" and AC/DC.
Mr. SCHNUR: And I made a very, I guess, a bold statement about five, six years ago that wouldn't it be cool if someday the live experience would sound like the virtual experience versus the opposite way. And I think we've definitely come to that. We've seen that happen now because all the NFL stadiums, for instance, all the music that's in Madden football gets played in all the stadiums. Same thing happens with the NBA, NASCAR, and so on. So in order find a younger audience, a lot of the professional sports organizations are looking to video games as a place to where they can sort of emulate the sound.
CONAN: Steve Schnur is with the Electronic Arts video games. Also with us, you heard him just a moment ago, Jonny Dubowsky, the lead singer of the indie band Jonny Lives! And also with us right here, Cora Daniels, who wrote the Fast Company magazine article, "The New Music Moguls."
You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.
And let's see if we can get a Jess(ph) on the line. Jess, is with us from Phoenix, Arizona.
JESS (Caller): Yeah. I - we're always talking about how the Internet and video games and so on are changing the music scene, kind of taken away the focus on the radio. But I got kind of an interesting story about it. There's an independent musician in the States here that I work for that got call from a radio station that heard his stuff on MySpace. And the radio station's in the U.K., and they're starting a station that going to run an evening show that's just going to play MySpace music. So they're actually getting - rounding up musicians from MySpace and then putting on that as new MySpace music on this radio program.
CONAN: Wow, talk about reversal of fortunes.
JESS: Yeah, I was like - the radio is not - not totally dead yet as far as breaking music.
CONAN: Yeah. Jess, thanks very much for that.
JESS: Yeah. No problem.
CONAN: Jonny Dubowsky, I wanted to ask you, you're obviously business-oriented, yet you're also an indie artist. How do you reconcile the business side with the artistic side of the music?
Mr. DUBOWSKY: Well, you know, for me, I always just stayed clear of the major labels. I played guitar in a few major label bands when I was in college at NYU and just saw the short lifespan that the artist has, really, after the record comes out. Once the quarterly report factor starts getting into - in any art, it really is a dangerous territory for an artist to be creating within.
And, you know, I see working with corporate sponsors and working on licensing and placing music, that really, you know, we're not talking about making jingles. They're taking a song I already written, and then they're just really helping to launch it in a greater respect. And for me, that's been the bread and butter of how our band gets to and fro. I mean, more recently, we've chosen only to work with companies who are dedicated to sustainability, just because I feel like the younger kids are ready for a little bit more substance in their music.
And you know, I see - we're talking about MySpace. I really see the music industry going back to like the singles era of the '50s, where you're having an EA sports game that's got 30 great songs on it and that's the, you know, the compilation, like the old record labels used to put out.
CONAN: Jonny Dubowsky, I'm afraid we're out of time. But thanks very much. Good luck with your concerts. Jonny…
Mr. DUBOWSKY: Thank you.
CONAN: Jonny Dubowsky of Jonny Lives! and founder of the non-profit "Rock 'n Renew," with us from the BBC in London. Thanks to Steve Schnur and Cora Daniels as well. Thank you for your time.
When we come back, we're going to talk about what you can see from space.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.