Hello and welcome to BandsNI.co.uk – I’m delighted you’ve decided to pay us a visit.
The newest and freshest supporter of local music, BandsNI.co.uk will help Northern Irish music by discussing news, reviewing music and providing social media and music industry tips for musicians.
Northern Ireland has a plethora of hugely talented bands: as a website BandsNI is here to support, critique and give exposure to them in a way they’ve never had before. The main ethos of BandsNI is to help: the more we can support the music scene the more it can thrive, and that can only increase the positive image of our country culturally and socially.
‘Start A Band’ – The Beginning
I remember the inception of BandsNI; it was August 2011, not long after I had attended Glasgowbury for the first time, an experience which will remain with me as one of the highlights of my life to the end of my days. I had the debut albums from Mojo Fury (Visiting Hours of a Travelling Circus) and Cashier No. 9′s (To the Death of Fun) on repeat all summer and was about to take on another exciting and growing NI Music festival, Sunflowerfest. The experiences of that summer and my growing obsession with the utilisation of social media for the benefit of local business were amalgamated and resulted in the inception of a BandsNI Twitter account.
The idea was to spread news of reviews, gigs, new music releases and share the nostalgia of some old tunes, whilst generally mixing in and spreading news about the bands of Northern Ireland to the wider (non-music affiliated) community through Twitter, a social network that was growing rapidly. As BandsNI and the concept behind it was well received, the next stage was to create a Facebook page and reach another community via the medium of a very different social network. This meant a proper logo had to be created, something that would make BandsNI look that little bit more professional. A friend swiftly came up with the following logo:
The start of the Facebook campaign was a great success: with 700 Likes in little under three days, it was clear that the message was spreading quickly and that there was a scene crying out for a network dedicated to solely supporting NI talent. BandsNI wasn’t just focused on spreading the word about the musical offerings of this country, but also about providing tips and advice on the new and changing ways of a music industry that was transitioning from traditional to digital methods – this is still its purpose, and will be for the foreseeable future.
‘The Machine’ – The Present
The launch of BandsNI.co.uk on Tuesday 15th October represents a huge step in the brand’s ability to support the humungous amount of music talent that this country has. There’s also the opportunity to offer musicians all over the world advice on how the music industry today is evolving and tips on how to not only react, but to be pro-active and make headway through the maelstrom of information and possible routes to success.
The team and I want to help bands and local musicians alike by reviewing as much music as possible, offering guidance, and spreading the word about them to the best of our ability. We will also be critiquing and offering constructive criticism: critical comments won’t be made for the sole intention of stirring things up, however; if it’s not helpful it won’t be written.
Since BandsNI’s inception in August 2011 there have been some turbulent times within Northern Ireland’s music industry, with significant funding reductions badly affecting organisations who supported this important part of NI culture. Along the way I’ve watched Northern Ireland’s weekly BBC Introducing slot being dumped, AU Magazine fold, various music shops (which happily provided a local music section) close down and, most recently, heard the sad announcement that Glasgowbury Music Festival has had its final weekend upon its perch at the picturesque Eagle’s Rock in Draperstown.
Whilst some of these decisions may have made good business sense on the part of the Arts Council, there hasn’t been much investment into areas where Northern Irish music needs the most help.
“N. Ireland’s music industry suffers from key gaps in the supply chain infrastructure (e.g. no major publishing capability, limited presence of major labels, limited access to distribution) and its geographic distance from the epicentre of the UK industry in London. However, it is not short of talent, and this is what drives the music business.” (Music Industry Strategy for N. Ireland, DCAL, 2011)
I’m a big believer in the power of digital technology and social media with their ability to fill in certain gaps: they’ve done a lot for me. I created BandsNI as a basic Twitter account two years ago and it’s resulted in many amazing opportunities that would never have before been possible. And the best one is the ability to help drive and shape the digital future of N. Irish music. BandsNI will endeavour to involve ourselves with local organisations who will not only help grow the interest in this music community, but to actively create and sustain a structure that will equip N. Ireland’s music scene well for the digital future.
‘All Hail Bright Futures’
What does the future hold? I don’t know. I tend not to think too far into the future, there’s enough to think about here and now, in the present. Of course, I have ideas in mind, I’m learning every day about the future of the music industry – but these ideas are not set in stone and must be evolved over time. I can’t foretell the future, no one can when it comes to the music industry, but what I and my team can do (with your help) is utilise the tremendous community spirit the people of Northern Ireland have to drive a force that can propel this country’s music onto that next level.
As ASIWYFA so aptly named one of their most important songs – A Little Solidarity Goes A Long Way.
ASIWYFA – Start A Band
ASIWYFA – The Machine
ASIWYFA – All Hail Bright Futures
ASIWYFA – A Little Solidarity Goes A Long Way
Tags: industry insight, twitter