Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Music Business Wed Mar 12 2014

CHIRP Announces 12th Annual Record Fair (& Other Delights)

Local non-profit independent radio purveyors CHIRP have announced this year's CHIRP Record Fair & Other Delights, and the 12th since starting the event in 2003. Like last year, the fair will be held at the Chicago Journeymen Plumber's Union, 1340 W. Washington Blvd., and will feature music (on vinyl, of course), food and local performers. The fair runs Saturday, April 12 from 10am until 7pm, and will play host to over 50 vendors from throughout the Midwest, along with local labels like Hozac, Already Dead Tapes & Records, and Hausu Mountain (among many others) offering up thousands of rare and out-of-print records form their admittedly intimidating collections. Real aficionados, however, are encouraged to arrive early, before the vendors' racks are completely overrun by the dusty fingers of the city's more determined collectors, with CHIRP offering a special early bird rate that grants entry onto the grounds starting at 8am, all to the tune of $25.

Luckily, if getting up on an early Saturday morning to immerse yourself in literally hundreds of thousands of sought-after vinyl is your kind of bag, Dark Matter Coffee will be there hawking their premium roasts, along with vendors like Goose Island and Upton's slinging food and beverages throughout the day. Within the Other Delights portion of the fair are DJ sets by the likes of Windy City Soul Club, and there will even a music quiz by CHIRP DJ Austin Harvey, who will be sure to test your wits while you test your patience perusing the stacks.

General admission begins at 10am, and costs $7, or $5 with a flyer. Parking is free for all attending.

Mike Bellis / Comments (2)

Music Business Wed Jan 29 2014

MAEK: The World's First Free Music Record Label

MAEK Records logoWhile many record label companies struggle to fight against their listeners who try to get music for free, a new Chicago-based company has decided to stop fighting against the current. Maek is the world's first free music record label, and there's no catch.

"We believe there's a bridge between music being available and free for fans but musicians still making a living, actually making more money, off of their art than they would just trying to title it to fans," said Jason Sizer, president of the company. Sizer originally studied to work as an architect, but decided to tailor his background in graphics and art development to music.

Sizer spoke with a mentor about his idea for a free music record label back in 2011 when the company was first founded, and people thought he was crazy. The company continued making progress and was officially established in September 2013.

Continue reading this entry »

Rima Mandwee / Comments (10)

Interview Thu Sep 19 2013

A Strange Victory: Derek Becker on Life Lessons, the Hideout, and the Best Rock Band in Chicago

Derek Becker is behind some of Chicago's best and most unique bands. He's not a musician, nor a producer, nor some wealthy benefactor of local music. He's an agent, and through the Strange Victory Touring Company, the agency he cofounded in 2011, Becker is responsible for getting great and strange music to the populace: Crime and the City Solution, Daniel Knox, Silver Jews, M.A.K.U. Soundsystem, Mucca Pazza, and dozens more artists from around the world.

Continue reading this entry »

Timothy Schuler

Event Mon Jun 17 2013

Early-Bird Spots Open for Free Chicago Music Summit Sessions

cmslogo356.jpgThe City of Chicago announced today that registration is open for the inaugural Chicago Music Summit this fall, on Friday, September 20, 2013. The Summit is planning panels, workshops, concerts, and networking opportunities, with the aim to "shine a spotlight on Chicago's innovative and thriving music scene and connect professionals with local and national industry leaders." Space is limited, but registration for the Summit is free and open as of today. While the panelists have yet to be announced, the City has promised the following topics to be discussed at the workshops and panels:

  • Industry Leaders
  • Success Stories
  • Innovations
  • Revenue Streams
  • Booking
  • Promotion
  • Technology
  • Audience Building
  • Distribution
  • Songwriting
  • Fundraising
  • Licensing
  • Business Plans
  • Legal Issues & Policy
  • Community

The Chicago Music Summit will take place at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.

Anne Holub

Music Business Mon Jan 28 2013

Review: The Indie Band Survival Guide (2nd Edition)

image.JPGSo 2013 is the year. You've resolved to strike up the band and make music your priority. If you still have some extra Christmas cash in your pocket after you buy all those mic stands and recording equipment, there's one more small purchase that you could end up finding essential: Chicago career musicians Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan of the band Beatnik Turtle released the second edition of their highly praised The Indie Band Survival Guide in late 2012.

The handbook itself is an excellent, if not exhaustive, resource for anyone looking to make money by being in a band. In fact, even if turning your music into your moneymaker isn't your endgame, it's still a good read for anyone trying to make music into a successful personal outlet or hobby.

Version 2.0 of the Survival Guide, according to the authors' forward, focuses less on the world of major labels -- a testament to the fact that "going indie" is becoming an ever increasing trend in music. Chertkow and Feehan's guidebook simply teaches you how to do it successfully.

As far as getting the most out of this new edition of The Indie Band Survival Guide, after reading it myself, I have a couple tips for anyone interested.

Continue reading this entry »

Katie Karpowicz / Comments (1)

Music Business Wed Mar 21 2012

R. Kelly's "Hip-Hopera" Trapped in the Closet returns to IFC

Fear not, faithful R. Kelly fans, we at Transmission are happy to report that R. Kelly's 2007 soap-opera-esque series Trapped in the Closet is making a heroic comeback on IFC with brand new episodes. In an interview with Rolling Stone, the star said: "When I first began experiencing the unknown journey of writing Trapped in the Closet I knew after the first chapter that I had tapped into something that was not of this earth." You got that right, bro.

J.H. Palmer

Music Business Tue Jul 26 2011

Hey, Need a Spotify Account?

You may have heard (from us, even) a couple of weeks ago that music-sharing program Spotify finally jumped the pond and arrived on U.S. shores. If you're still without a free basic account, Motorola has a ton to give away.

Anne Holub

Music Business Thu Jul 14 2011

Spotify Comes to the US

7-14-2011 9-04-06 AM.pngSpotify has finally come to the US. This is the cloud music service that has taken Europe by storm over the last few years and has been rumored to be landing here for at least the last twelve months. The service promises to link the music love across all of your devices and platforms. They are claiming to have millions of tracks ready for you to search, create playlists, share, store, and play anywhere. They have also partnered with Klout so if you sign up for Klout you will get an instant invite to Spotify.

Jason Behrends

Stores Thu Apr 14 2011

Record Store Day 2011 (Part 1)


Just in time for a spring thaw, it's time for Record Store Day again! Like Christmas wrapped in a birthday tucked into a bucket of geekery, this coming Saturday will be the most wonderful day of the year for audiophiles. It's also a great excuse to do a little local economy stimulating and head out to your neighborhood record store to do some shopping. Maybe you want to check out the latest releases, maybe you just want to wander and enjoy a free prize or two, any way you look at it, it's going to be fun. Take a look at the splendid Record Store Day special limited releases you might be able to snag, and then plan your route using our handy list (after the jump) of participating Chicagoland stores. Let us know what you pick up in the comments (or by tweeting us @gapersblock), and keep an eye out for our staffers at your local store. We promise we won't cut in front of you in line.

Remember - If you're using Twitter while you're out and about, use hashtag #rsd11 for your tweets about Record Store Day!

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub / Comments (5)

News Wed Nov 24 2010

Quick Links: Thanksgiving Survival Guide Edition

Want some ways to escape the humdrum old Thanksgiving traditions this year? Here's a few ideas for how Chicago's making the holiday week sound great:

Shopping. Sure there's Black Friday at the mega-stores, or you could help yourself to some local music-oriented deals.

  • Act now to get your hands on some just found Thrill Jockey vinyl released in honor of the shopping holiday. They've got the scoop on what they uncovered in the dark corners of the TJ warehouse. The stock is low, so quantities are limited.
  • Hustle over to Wrigleyville to check out Metro's Black Friday deals on everything from show posters to Metro and Smart Bar emblazoned gear, as well as show tickets and a special $5 bin of bargains. You can also enter a raffle to upgrade your New Years Eve Yeasayer tickets if you buy them on the 26th. [Speaking of, check out our New Years Eve show roundup.] See the Metro's homepage for details on Friday — but note the deals are only good in person at 3730 N. Clark St.
  • Buy some new tunes online from Bloodshot Records during their annual sale. Tip: If you also "like" Bloodshot on Facebook, you'll get the scoop on special deals from Bloodshot Rob's private stash during the sale, which runs through the end of 2010.
  • Head out to grab some special Black Friday releases at Reckless Records (any location). Items will be up for grabs to anyone who makes the trip in (no special orders or holds). All three locations will open at 10am.
  • Hit up Dave's Records for your vinyl-only Black Friday releases. They'll limit you to one of each item per customer until 2pm, then it's a free-for-all. List of releases to be carried will be posted today on Dave's MySpace blog. Dave's opens at 11am on Friday. 2604 N. Clark St.
  • Head north to Evanston's 2nd Hand Tunes for their Black Friday releases (selection TBD, but might include some of this list). 800 Dempster St., Evanston. They're open 10am-8pm.
  • Explore one of the newest Chicago record stores by heading to Saki in Logan Square for their Black Friday deals. No holds, limit 1 per customer for the first week of the sale. 3716 W. Fullerton Ave. Saki is open from 12noon-8pm.
  • Dance the blues away while you shop for "speculative fiction-fantasy books and horror vinyl" at Bucket O Blood Records in Logan Square with a Black Friday dance party and record release celebration for J+J+J at 8:30pm. The store is open from 11am-10pm Friday. 2307 N. Milwaukee Ave.
  • Get some bargains from Numero Group. Their "massive" sale started this past Monday, and will continue with one great deal per day until mid-December.
  • Dance your way to some bargain dance music at Groove Dis in Chicago, in person only at their warehouse. They'll have sales for Black Friday starting at noon-9pm. Deals include 12" singles 3 for $20 and all CDs for $10. Import and domestic are each on sale, but not multi-record/disc sets. 346 N. Justine St., #202. (Near the intersection of Ashland and Lake.)
  • Can't deal with work when you get done with a long weekend of gluttony? Check out Schubas' Cyber Monday deals on merch! [Update: Get $5 off all show posters November 29th in the Schubas online store.]

Shows. For when you need to hear some music that your parents will love, too.

  • Explore the sounds of Mar Caribe at the Hideout on Friday. They might be from Chicago, but they're bringing a melting pot of music with a little southwest flavor dipped in some South American style. Here's a cute lil' animated video for their song "Deux Petits Bateaux". They'll hit the stage just before fellow Chicagoans The Lawrence Peters Outfit and right after Majors Junction starting at 10pm. Tickets are $8 (21+). 1354 W. Wabansia.
  • Need a friendly, dark place to hide? Grab a quick beer and have a breather at the Empty Bottle while enjoying the hard country honkytonk sounds of the Hoyle Brothers for free, starting at 5:30pm on this Friday, November 26th (and most Fridays).
  • Check out Thrill Jockey artists The Sea & Cake at Lincoln Hall on Saturday November 27th for some dreamy experimentation that even your folks will groove on. Tickets still available ($18 adv/$20 door), 21+. 2424 N. Lincoln Ave.
  • Want to get vocal? Take the whole herd to the Music Box Theatre for the Sound of Music Sing-a-long show. Caution: You will get yodels on this ride. Screenings start on Friday, November 26th through Sunday, November 28th. Tickets range from $8-$15. 3733 N. Southport Ave. 773-871-6604.

Anne Holub / Comments (2)

Feature Thu May 13 2010

Welcome to Daytrotter

A hundred and eighty miles west of Chicago, the Mississippi River wraps around Arsenal Island and cuts through Iowa and Illinois. Towering over this river, Centennial Bridge connects these states. A few steps in from shore is the Great River Trail. One can move along it slowly and savor it for miles. A few more steps in is the small city of Rock Island. There are streets and people. At night — voices and lights. There are bars, restaurants, businesses. There is Huckleberry's Pizza, SEO Copywriters. Up above them both, there are engineers and magicians at work. In one room a magnificent sound is created. In another it is nudged gently onto BASF 468 1/4" analog tape. This is done 15 inches and one second at a time. Seven times a week, for several hours a session, for over four years this has been done here. The tape collection has been growing. And now, one can move along it slowly and savor it for miles. Welcome to Daytrotter.

Continue reading this entry »

Brian Leli / Comments (6)

Music Business Fri Mar 12 2010

The Not So Hidden Sonicbids/Chicago Connection

Panos Panay_Founder of Sonicbids_01.jpgMusic is a living organism. It lives, breathes, and is changing constantly. How music is made, found and promoted is part of this life force and is also morphing. The international company Sonicbids is a huge contributing factor in this. Since its incarnation in 2001, Sonicbids has provided pragmatic outcome to an ever changing industry making gigging a reality to many struggling musicians and giving people in the music industry more fresh faces than they could have ever imagined. The company blends business, music and technology giving necessary tools and guidance to both performer and promoter. The company also nurtures what they call "The artistic middle class."The artist in limbo somewhere in between a deal with a record label and busking for spare change. They interact with their worldwide network of members to provide and accept feedback to a global community involved with constantly emerging music.

Continue reading this entry »

Aharona Ament

News Fri Jan 29 2010

Phoenix Phenom vs. Black Eyed Peas

Curious about that lawsuit filed against the Black Eyed Peas by Aurora-based producer Manny Mohr and Chicago singer Phoenix Phenom (aka Ebony Latrice Batts)? Compare the two songs in question:

"Boom Dynamite" by Phoenix Phenom:

"Boom Boom Pow" by Black Eyed Peas:

Now, consider that "Boom Dynamite" was released in January of 2008, while "Boom Boom Pow" was released as a single in March of 2009. The lawsuit contends that Phoenix Phenom sent their song to Black Eyed Peas' label Interscope in hopes of getting Fergie to sing with Batts. Whether the band ever heard the song is unknown, but it'd be hard to argue that there's no similarity between the former and the latter. We'll see how far the lawsuit goes.

Andrew Huff / Comments (2)

Music Business Tue Dec 15 2009

Looking For A Thrill

If you read our recent articles about Chicago music interns, maybe you figured you could play the part, but didn't know where to start. Wonder no more - Thrill Jockey has put out the call for some office interns to start come January. There are certainly worse choices for New Year's resolutions...

Dan Morgridge

Music Business Sat Oct 31 2009

Top Sellers: Gramaphone Records in Lincoln Park

This week's list comes from Michael Serafini, owner of Lincoln Park's Gramaphone Records, and Alycia Ryan, a commercial hip-hop buyer for the store who also spins under the name DJ AMPM. The store, at 2843 N. Clark St., focuses on "electronic and dance music -- all indie electronic-based, not just rock and indie rock," Serafini says.

Sa-Ra, Love Czars II (Ubiquity Records)
The Drastics vs. Michael Jackson, MJ A Rocker
2562, Aerial (Tectonic)
Bop, Clear Your Mind (Med School Music)
Leron Carson, Red Lightbulb Theory, '87-'88 (Sound Signature)
A Work in Progress (Chez Damier and Priceless One), Moment of Truth (Yore)
Daniel Wang, The Balihu Years 1993-2008 (Rush Hour)
Various Artists, Spatula City Swings (Spatula City)
Tevo Howard, Passion Sound (Beautiful Granville Records), which Serafini describes as "deep, deep introspective house music...starting to blow up."

Continue reading this entry »

Sheila Burt / Comments (2)

Music Business Tue Aug 25 2009

Top Sellers: Dusty Groove America

This week's unofficial list comes from Doug Arnold, a buyer at Dusty Groove America, 1120 N. Ashland Ave.

Various Artists, Psych Funk 101 -- A Global Psychedelic Funk Curriculum (Stones Throw Records), which Arnold says "flew out of here. It came in and went."
Eric Roberson, Music Fan First (Blue Erro Soul)
Harlem Underground Band, Harlem Underground (Traffic Entertainment/Paul Winley Records)
Tim Buckley, Live at the Folklore Center, NYC, March 26, 1967 (Tompkins Square)

Sheila Burt

Music Business Sun Jul 19 2009

Top Sellers: Grape Juice Records' Booth at Pitchfork

Ian_Tsan.jpgI normally stop by or call a local indie record store in the Chicago area for these weekly posts, but in honor of Pitchfork, I took a different approach this week. On Saturday, I spoke with the very approachable Ian Tsan, one of the owners of the local label Grape Juice Records, about what he was selling. In addition to selling records from bands on Grape Juice Records, Tsan was also selling some older favorites on vinyl from other labels. The locals are bolded. Here's his list:

Junior Boys, Begone Dull Care (Domino)
Pavement, Slanted & Enchanted (Matador)
Iron & Wine, Around the Well (Sub Pop)

Plus, three bands on Grape Juice Records:
The Minneapolis Henrys, The Way of the Albatross
The Butcher's Boy, Skin and Bones
The Lower 48, Everywhere to Go, which Tsan noted is "one of our favorite prospects of 2010, for sure."

Sheila Burt

Music Business Fri Jul 10 2009

Top Sellers: Dr. Wax in Hyde Park

This week's list comes from Duane Powell, manager of the Dr. Wax store in Hyde Park at 5226 S. Harper Ave. Powell says for this list, he didn't include any Michael Jackson records because all his records are selling "like crazy, of course. I couldn't even tell you a title because it's everything Michael, whatever they can get their hands on." Here are Powell's non-Michael choices:

Maxwell, BLACKsummers'night (Columbia)
Mos Def, The Ecstatic (Downtown)
Jesse Boykins III, The Beauty Created (Nomadic Music)
Musiq, On My Radio (Atlantic)
Jaspects, The Polkadotted Stripe (Jaspects)

Sheila Burt

Music Business Tue Jun 16 2009

Top Sellers: Wazoo Records in Ann Arbor

wazoo.jpgIn the spirit of the great Midwestern summer, I took a road trip this week to Ann Arbor. Instead of posting on a Chicago indie record store this week, I decided to stop by a great A2 local indie called Wazoo Records. Walk up the stairs off of South State Street (not to be confused with our State Street), turn right, open the door, and you're in a great record store. Just don't confuse it with the apartment door nearby. Almost knocked on that.

This week's list comes from the friendly Forest Juziuk, manager of Wazoo. Grizzly Bear has made the list three times in a row, and this time, the Ann Arbor locals are bolded.

Continue reading this entry »

Sheila Burt

Music Business Fri Jun 05 2009

Top Sellers: Hard Boiled Records

This week's list comes from Mark Ferguson, owner of Hard Boiled Records at 2010 West Roscoe Street in Roscoe Village. Looks like the new Grizzly Bear record is holding up well, as it was on last week's list as well.

Grizzly Bear, Veckatimest (Warp Records)
Chris Watson, Stepping into the Dark (Touch Music)
Group Doueh, Treeg Salaam (Sublime Frequencies)
The Field, Yesterday and Today (Anti-)
Various Artists, Eccentric Soul: Smart's Palace (Numero)

Sheila Burt

Music Business Fri May 29 2009

Top Sellers: Dave's Records in Lincoln Park

This week's list comes from Dave's Records, an all-vinyl store that packs in nearly 40,000 vinyl records in all formats -- from LPs and singles, to 7" and "12-inch records -- at 2604 North Clark Street. "All I do is vinyl," owner Dave Crain says. Even though he hates lists ("I'm always afraid I'm going to leave something out"), Crain passed along this list of top-sellers. He also blogs at the store's MySpace page.

Passion Pit, Manners (Frenchkiss)
Grizzly Bear, Veckatimest (Warp Records)
White Rabbits, It's Frightening (Tbd Records)
Leonard Cohen, Songs of Leonard Cohen (re-issue, Sony Legacy). Crain notes, "They re-issued five of them, and all of them are selling well, but this is the most popular."
Mastodon, Crack the Skye (Reprise)
Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Nonesuch)
Townes Van Zandt, Townes Van Zandt (Fat Possum)
U2, No Line on the Horizon (Interscope)

Sheila Burt / Comments (1)

Music Business Fri May 22 2009

Top Sellers: Jazz Record Mart


This week's list comes from RT Edwards, an employee at Jazz Record Mart at 27 East Illinois Street. Rather than tout Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, which Edwards says "always sells" no matter what the week, he came up with a list of some rarer top sellers that have been popular this week.

The list is divided between Blues and Jazz artists, and locals are bolded. Interesting note: The store's owner, Bob Koester, also runs Delmark Records, which is home to some of the artists on this week's list.

Otis Rush, All Your Love I Miss Loving: Live at the Wise Fools Pub, Chicago (Delmark)
Zora Young, Sunnyland (Airway)
Chicago Blues, A Living History (Raisin Music)
Buddy Guy, A Man and the Blues (Vanguard)
Little Walter, Complete Chess Masters, 1950-1967 (Box set, Geffen)

John Coltrane, Meditations (Impulse)
Josh Berman, Old Idea (Delmark)
Max Roach, We Insist! Freedom Now (Candid)
Cannonball Adderley (with Miles Davis, Hank Jones, Sam Jones and Art Blakey), Somethin' Else (Vinyl, Blue Note)
McCoy Tyner (with Ron Carter and Jack Dejohnette), Guitars (Half Note)

Sheila Burt / Comments (2)

Album Thu Apr 23 2009

Top Sellers: Permanent Records

This week's list of unofficial top sellers comes from Lance Barresi, owner of Permanent Records, 1914 W. Chicago Ave. Per the usual, Chicago artists are bolded.

Wavves, Wavvves
Kurt Vile, Constant Hitmaker
Lazer Crystal, EP 1
Flipper, Generic
V/A, World's Lousy With Ideas Vol. 8
Wooden Shjips, Dos
Psychedelic Horseshit, Golden Oldies
Sneakers, Children Into People EP
Serge Gainsbourg, Histoire De Melody Nelson
Monks, Black Monk Time

Sheila Burt / Comments (4)

News Wed Mar 04 2009

It Ain't Easy Being Indie in the Windy City

As early as Saturday morning, word was making the rounds that the non-profit performance space AV-aerie had (once again) run into zoning issues with the City of Chicago. A benefit show being held at the venue on Friday evening had been raided and shut down by authorities, and now the venue (with the help of the Empty Bottle and other parties) was reportedly scrambling to move future AV-aerie shows to other venues around the city. This morning, TOC's Areif Sless-Kitain blogged about the AV-aerie's troubled state of affairs.

On a related note: Talk to anyone who's been involved in event booking or promotion in Chicago, and they'll tell you it's an exceedingly tough place to try and do business. With that in mind, Greg Kot posted an update on the current status of the city's proposed "Chicago Promoters Ordinance" via his column at the Trib.

Also, The Reader's Miles Raymer chimes in on both of the above topics here and here.

Graham Sanford

News Mon Mar 02 2009

Losers, Beautiful and Otherwise

While he may have once been a running punchline on The Young Ones, it seems that Leonard Cohen's pop-culture status has been overwhelming rehabbed in recent decades. So much so that, as he prepares to tour the U.S. for the first time in over 15 years, it looks like his fans (including those hoping to catch his performance at the Chicago Theater in May) might consider teaming up with those of Bruce Springsteen for a class action suit against Ticketmaster. The Reader's "Crickets" blog tells why.

Graham Sanford

Music Business Fri Jan 23 2009

The return of Muxtape? Looks like it. Sort of.

The internet is currently abuzz with rumors that, after a long hiatus, the popular playlist-sharing site Muxtape may be up and running some time in the weeks to come. However, the site now bears the qualifier "in the service of bands" -- suggesting that the 2.0 version will probably come with be for restricted use. In a long explanation about the site's legal snags posted back in September, owner and operator Justin Ouellette indicated just what the revamped Muxtape might involve:

"Muxtape is relaunching as a service exclusively for bands, offering an extremely powerful platform with unheard-of simplicity for artists to thrive on the internet. Musicians in 2008 without access to a full time web developer have few options when it comes to establishing themselves online, but their needs often revolve around a common set of problems. The new Muxtape will allow bands to upload their own music and offer an embeddable player that works anywhere on the web, in addition to the original muxtape format. Bands will be able to assemble an attractive profile with simple modules that enable optional functionality such as a calendar, photos, comments, downloads and sales, or anything else they need."

So, just how this will differ from Myspace remains to seen; but interested parties should probably keep their eyes on the site for future developments.

Graham Sanford

Music Business Wed Jan 14 2009

Shrinking The Party Pool

Econ 101: In times of financial strain and hardship, people start re-prioritizing their expenses. And an individual's entertainment budget is usually the first thing to get a selective "dialing down."

In his "Turn It Up" column in today's Trib, Greg Kot gives a run-down of how the present economic downturn is impacting the concert industry in Chicago:

"Because bands don't make all that much money from recorded music, their primary source of income is the road, and they need to tour more frequently," [Jam Productions vice-president Nick Miller] says. "They look at Chicago, and they plug it in every three to six months, and that's where we will see attendance fall off."

That and more in the full article.

Also in related news today: If you blog, Twitter, or just routinely share YouTube vids with friends, the New Yorker's Sasha Frere-Jones points out that you might encounter some obstacles -- starting now.

Graham Sanford

Event Wed Dec 03 2008

Attention Local Musicians!


So you've gotten some friends together and decided to form a band. You've thought of a clever name for yourself and have written a few songs together. You're ready to take the next step, but aren't sure where to start. Rather than sitting around waiting to get noticed, you can take matters into your own hands. With some hard work and ingenuity, you can book your own shows, promote yourself, and sell your music without paying someone else to do it for you. Martin Atkins is here to show you the way.

Martin Atkins, author of Tour:Smart, has made a name for himself as a drummer for Public Image Ltd., Ministry, Pigface, Killing Joke, and Nine Inch Nails. He's also the owner of Chicago label Invisible Records, and writes an advice column for bands on Suicide Girls (link NSFW). Pretty much, this guy knows his stuff, and he's willing to impart his wisdom onto you and your band tomorrow night, for free. Martin will be hosting a seminar at Reggies on Thursday, where he will discuss the state of the music industry, plus how to book yourself, market yourself, and succeed as a band. Did I mention the seminar is free? They'll also have free appetizers and Red Bull.

The Tour:Smart Band Summit is happening Thursday night at Reggies, 2105 S. State St. It lasts from 6:30 - 9:00 pm and is all ages. While the event is free, you must register beforehand by signing up here.

Stephanie Griffin

Event Wed Dec 03 2008

What is the future of music?

soundopinions.jpgGreg Kot and Jim DeRogatis have a ton of knowledge between them in rock music and the going-ons in the industry. You've heard them on "the worlds only rock 'n' roll talk show," Sound Opinions, and now you can join them live to discuss the future of the music industry in this uncertain time.

It's no secret that the Internet and the digital age have changed the way we listen to music, buy music, are exposed to music, and generally enjoy artists we like. Record companies are left scrambling to try to figure out how to still make a profit in this new time, but what does it mean for you the consumer/ listener, and for the musicians themselves? Kot and De Rogatis promise to break it down for you tonight at Columbia College's Conway Center (1104 S. Wabash). It's free, but space is limited so get there early. Doors open at 5:30, and the talk begins at 6pm.

Chicago Public Radio Event Details

Michelle Meywes

Artist Sun Nov 30 2008

FINISH HIM! Local DJ and Producer Hernan Sanchez voices key Mortal Kombat phrases


Interestingly enough, his hidden celebrity has brought him admiration from his own heros in the world of electronic music. Hernan says,

I meet people on the dancefloor throughout the world; they'll introduce me as the "Mortal Kombat voice guy" and you can see their eyes get as big as plates. These are people that I respect within the industry, that I'm a fan of, and they'll look back at me and say, "I'm am so glad to meet you!" Then the conversation eventually comes around to, "Hey can you please do 'Finish Him!'" or something like that, and it becomes an exchange of fandom from one world to another.

Hernan performs locally under his own name and as Bastard with Brian Franzen.[via]

Liz McLean Knight

Music Business Tue Oct 21 2008

Because it didn't just go away...

Chances are you heard a fair amount this past spring about the so-called Chicago Promoters Ordinance, and about how -- after rapid grassroots mobilzation from the city's cultural community -- the Ordinance was tabled for a later date.

But in the face of the city's current budget woes, as municipal powers look for ways to fill a $496 million-dollar budget deficit, you can expect they'll be looking for a lot of ways to squeeze out revenue -- tapping into whatever resources that seem viable. Which most likely means that the Ordinance could be making a re-appearance at the earliest opportunity.

As Sun-Times music critic Jim DeRogatis describes it, the Chicago Promoters Ordinance (aka the "Event Promoters Ordinance," or Chapter 4-157) constitutes "a full-on war against the music community." But that's only one part of the larger picture. In case you hadn't followed the details very closely, the Ordinance would have a detrimental effect on culture in Chicago that would extend far beyond the indie music and dance scene. It would also affect the city's art and performance venues of every stripe -- including theater, comedy, literary events, as well as alternative arts spaces and galleries. In short, the scope of the Ordinance would effectively sever this city's cultural life at the roots.

By way of a recap, local multimedia producers JaGoFF and TheRecordIndustry have put together their own video documentary Chicago's Promoters' Ordinance Kills Independent Music. Shot over the past summer and quickly posted for viral circulation, the documentary features interviews with Jim DeRogatis and Chicago Tribune music journalist Greg Kot; as well as commentary by a bevy of other Chicago scene-movers including Shawn Campbell from CHIRP, DJs Derrick Carter and James Lauer, Galapagos4 hip-hop DJ/producer Maker, and plenty of other figures from Chicago's multi-faceted cultural landscape.

The video's long on testimonials, but also features some excellent info and commentary -- most notably an extensive walk-through of the Ordinance provided by Henry H. Perritt Jr. As a law professor and cultural advocate, Perritt subjects the Ordinance to a relentless critique in terms of its legal and cultural ramifications, and offers the verdict that the thing is both "unconstitutional" and "just plain bonkers."

Stay tuned, because we'll most likely be seeing more of the Chicago Promoters Ordinance in the future. And that'll probably end up being sooner than later.

More to come.

[video]: Youtube version
[video]: Google version
[video]: Myspace version

Graham Sanford / Comments (1)

News Mon Sep 29 2008

Know Your Audience (and Your Employer)

Even though the crowd was mostly Cubs fans celebrating a win, all clamoring for a chorus or two of Steve Goodman's tune "Go Cubs Go", musician Ted Wulfers should have let the request go the way of "Freebird". Instead, he played a few minutes of the song...while doing a set at a Milwaukee bar inside Miller Park. The Brewers fans didn't appreciate it, and he lost a future booking at the bar as a result.

"Go Cubs Go: 2008 Edition" [Video]

Anne Holub

Event Tue Sep 09 2008

What is the Future of Music?

The Future of Music Coalition, a national non-profit "education, research and advocacy organization that identifies, examines, interprets and translates the challenging issues at the intersection of music, law, technology and policy," is holding a workshop titled "What's the Future for Musicians?" at the Old Town School of Folk Music on September 22, from noon to 7pm. Quoth the news release:

The "What's the Future for Musicians?" seminar will provide musicians, songwriters, independent label owners and music fans with practical advice about a range of internet-based promotion and distribution options, how to navigate the health insurance landscape, the importance of open internet structures and how copyright law and business models affect musician compensation. Breakout sessions will give attendees a chance to interact with the experts on the latest developments in music, technology and policy. The forum is a great opportunity to network with other musicians while getting informed on topical issues.

Panelists will include several FMC folks as well as Nan Warshaw, co-owner of Bloodshot Records; Frank Mauceri from Smog Veil Records; Shawn Campbell from the Chicago Independent Radio Project; Todd Bachman, producer of "Sound Opinions" and more. The organizers also promise a "special conversation" with Rob Sevier of Numero Group about how they find the artists they highlight and how they get permission to re-release recordings.

Admission is $25; register here.

Andrew Huff

Event Thu Sep 04 2008

Drag City via the Scenic Route

Gastr del Sol, Mirror Repair EP, 1994, Drag City Records

As it goes with music, the best art can often be a little unruly, a bit difficult -- doesn't behave, in other words. It can prompt discussion, steer conversation in unforeseen directions, or -- at its most poignant -- sometimes render speech useless altogether.

Throughout the course of its long and diverse history, the Drag City label has dealt with its share of musical artists who defy pat categorization -- releasing records by the likes of Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Royal Trux, Silver Jews, Gastr del Sol, U.S. Maple, Joanna Newsome, and many others. Not only do many of these musicians also produce visual work on the side, but a few of them have collaborated with artists in other disciplines. Case in point: The stalwart experimental-rock outfit Red Krayola, whose ranks have included a number of internationally-established artists from the visual art realm -- benefitting from contributions by Albert Oehlen (see above) and Christopher Williams, as well as sometimes collaborated with members of the British conceptual art collective Art & Language.

To showcase this facet of the label's history, Drag City and the UIC's Gallery 400 recently mounted the exhibition Chances Are The Comets In Our Future - A Visual Introduction To Drag City. As expected, the show features cover art and various designs from the DC back catalog, but it also includes miscellaneous art-works from label artist such as Ian Svenonius, Neil Michael Haggerty, and Will Oldham. Also included as related pieces by Oelhen, Williams, Stephen Prina, and legendary punk designer/illustrator Savage Pencil.

The exhibition is currently on view at Gallery 400 at the UIC School of Architecture and the Arts, is free to the public, and runs until October 8. For directions, gallery hours and additional info, see the Gallery's website.

Graham Sanford

News Mon Aug 18 2008

Muxtape Gets Served

Although the details are still murky, it appears that our beloved Muxtape has run into the music mafia, the RIAA.

There is a short entry on the Muxtape blog that expounds on the situation a bit:

No artists or labels have complained. The site is not closed indefinitely. Stay tuned.

Beta users of Muxtape For Bands: you are unaffected by this outage.

More details forthcoming as they emerge.

Daniel Melnick / Comments (1)

Music Business Fri Feb 08 2008

SXSW: Chicago Represent!

sxsw 08 music chicagoSXSW, America's (and perhaps the world's) largest music festival, posted its list of performing bands yesterday, and Chicago bands are legion. A list of all 34 local acts -- and a bunch from within driving distance -- follows after the jump.

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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