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Brian Travers Presents

   name is Brian Travers, I am aBrian Travers - UB40 professional musician, a song writer, lyricist, saxophonist & horn arranger to be precise and have been for nearly thirty years.

The vast majority of my time has been spent with UB40 making records and touring the world, but not exclusively. I have had the good fortune to be involved in many Music, Film,TV and Live projects over the years,working as a musician, a film director and film producer,I am currently in partnership with Martin Meredith writing film scores and specific title themes whilst still actively involved in UB40’s writing, recording and touring commitments.

I have seen the music business go through many different phases and trends. I say this because right now I see Music going through the biggest change that I have witnessed and I have seen a few . Admittedly most were in the popularity of certain genre’s, music style and music production technique from analogue through digital, but this is different, this is far more fundamental, this I Believe is about the future of music, not only as a business but also an art form.

The last time the Music business got a real shake up was back in the mid 1970’s with the welcome arrival of Punk, not solely because of the Music but because anyone could be in a Punk band. All you needed was an instrument, plenty of attitude and some mates prepared to get up on stage with you. Every venue, pub and club had gigs on seven nights a week. Of course from this came some great bands that not only challenged the establishment idea of ‘what music was’ but they went on to change music and the way it was made and marketed forever. Not only could anyone be in a band, anyone could be part of the new record business. There were literally thousands of record labels run by teenage impresarios from their Moms kitchen table all over the UK, pressing a thousand records by their favourite band, sticking the labels on the vinyl and selling them through their local record store. Young entrepreneurs became promoters putting on gigs, the whole scene just invented itself and grew to be a musical revolution. These are the same guys who now in their forties are running what is left of the major label record business.

UB40 came from this same D.I.Y. scene, our first record “Food for Thought’ was released by a little independent label from Dudley called Graduate Records and distributed by an independent distributor, it went on to be a top five hit, the first of what turned out to be another fifty one hit singles , seventy million album sales and still counting. There is a famous saying in the world of entertainment, ‘Nothing Succeeds like Success’ and I have to agree. The hardest part of having a hit record is getting a deal in the first place. I should add we were very lucky and found ourselves in the right place at the right time, a bit like winning the lottery,like they say “you’ve got to be in it to win it “ I Believe for some of you this is your right place at the right time ?

I Believe that the same musical revolution is happening again, in fact it is already happening and well under way, except this time the technology has set the musician, producer, song-writer and record label free. FREE from the big label hype department, big label stylists, PR departments , the X Factor type talent show’s whos spectre haunts the music charts worldwide. FREE from the ‘same old same old’, FREE to be whoever and whatever you want. FREE to write, record and market your music to the whole world without anyone interfering or creating a marketing strategy designed to beat all the other marketing strategies.

I think you can see where I’m coming from. The technology has been able to turn the bedroom song writer into a producer with multi track studios inside their laptops and the ability to publish and upload their art on to the world wide web for the whole world to hear. All this can take place without a record company A&R man giving the thumbs up. Without any input from anyone but the musician and completely independent of the music business establishment.

The effect of all this freedom and independence is already casting huge waves across the bows of the established record business, all the big name labels are having to tighten their belts. EMI is not renewing contracts with lots big name artists. I wont name names BUT everyday there are reports of established stars deciding to set up their own labels and publishing companies, rather than admit that they are not selling the numbers needed to sustain their seven figure deals and album advances.

‘The Record Business is Dead.. Long Live the Record Business’ if y’know what I mean?

I Believe the days of the multi million pound advance are gone, the market just cant sustain the kind of sales needed to create the funds, at least not for the foreseeable future. The Future of music lies out there in the bedrooms and garages of the new and unheard young bands. The future of music lies out there on the stage through live performance, where bands can build lasting meaningful relationships with their audience. I Believe we have always looked to the new young bands for new grooves and inspiration, thats their job. I Believe Musics traditions and heritage are and will always be safe guarded by the established artists, the artists and bands that have had the hit records and tours and by the artists that take their inspiration from the great recordings and performances of the past, both are valuable, both contribute to what makes music the most abstract of all the art forms. An art form that we can’t touch, taste, smell or see, but we can feel it and it can touch us in unexpected ways when we least expect it to.

Music harms No one, No one has to buy a CD or a Download, or buy a concert ticket. We can turn the radio or TV off if we choose not to listen to a certain song. Music is driven by FREEDOM of choice, by passion and commitment, thats why I Believe.

There is a point to all this, I am building up to saying something I Believe is of great value to all the unsigned musicians out there with beautiful music, recorded, mixed and just waiting to be heard; so stick with me. I was talking with a young musician, a great guitarist sometime ago after a gig, I asked “ have you got a deal? ” he said, “no, what’s the point? No one buys records anymore, we just put our tunes up on our website for people to download. I don’t think I’ll ever get a shot at being a professional musician where I could actually concentrate full time on song composition, without having to go do some shitty job to pay rent. BUT if we could earn a small living from music I would do it in a flash! I aint looking to make it rich and buy a Bentley” It just seemed so incredibly sad that this young imaginative guy could see no future for himself in music which got me to thinking about a good friend of mine Robert Orton. A music lover primarily but also a guy that spends his time promoting new bands and trying to get gigs off the ground, not too unlike the punk impresarios I talked of earlier. He had a great idea to set up an online portal for the guys he was working with, a way for them to get their music out there to the big wide world and possibly earn them some money from their music. I told him about the conversation I’d had and it was just a matter of a few thousand phone calls and ten thousand man hours researching the possibility and potential of the venture that he eventually named Music Up.

Music Up is an online portal where bands who can’t get their material on Itunes or other established download sites can make themselves at home and treat the place like their own . Unlike Itunes Music Up is a platform for artists at the beginning of their recording career, virtually unknown to the commercial sector of the record business although quite possibly legends to their families, friends and fans. I Believe that Itunes is the place you go to buy the music you already know you want, whereas Music Up is a Voyage of Discovery, a place to hear and buy music you didn’t know existed; from Bands you’ve never heard of. Until now that is.

Music Up is a place where bands can establish a future in music, a place where they can get paid for their music. Twice the amount in fact that Itunes pays its established world famous artists, thats not including P.R.S. & M.C.P.S. which once our artists have become members of both societies pays another royalty for every download that is purchased. This is just another indication of Music Ups commitment to its artists who we like to think of as fellow Believers, Music Up will help and guide all its bands through all these different stages of registration.

All that remains for me to say is this, Although there is great change taking place right now within the music industry some things never change. Music needs to be played live, to be brought to life for the listener. When played with the conviction that screams you mean every last note the audience will reward you with unconditional loyalty, don’t think for a second that they cant spot a phoney, they can ALWAYS tell if you mean it or not and lets not forget a Great song is a Great song whether its played by the London Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall or a kid on the underground with a cheap guitar. The greatness of a song lies in its essence, attitude and the passion committed to its structure and has very little, if anything at all to do with the production, hype, stylist, haircut, shirt or the video girls and boys in skimpy point being , get out there and play your stuff live, tell your audience where they can hear it again, where , if they wish, they can buy Chris Blackwell the guy that started Island records and discovered Bob Marley & The Wailers famously said..

“y’know what happens when you don’t promote your music ?.....................................................NOTHING ! “

I Believe this is the start of a new musical revolution, just waiting to be shaped by the musicians and the listeners, I’ve always Believed that technology would set the musician free, free from his or her limitations, free to become the musician, producer or impresario they have always wanted to be. I Believe within these portals great music is waiting to be heard, waiting to be unlocked and set free by the listener

I’m a Believer..Brian Travers UB40 mentor and facilitator to Music Up ltd.

All Believers can congregate at the Forum,the font of all things that are good which will soon be up online and we can continue this discussion..

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