The last time Dismemberment Plan released an album was the same year Napster was shut down due to copyright infringement. But the legendary indie band is now gearing up to release a new album, Uncanny Valley, and needless to say that album will enter a much different digital music world.
One person that certainly recognizes this is Travis Morrison, lead singer of the band. In the intervening years since his band has been on hiatus from recording, he has worked in digital media at the Washington Post and the Huffington Post. Now he is working on a new startup called Shoutabl, which aims to provide a social media platform for DIY musicians.
While the company currently provides musicians a simple way to create a website, the future goal of the site is to be an all-encompassing social network. And while we’ve written about the importance of social media to up-and-coming bands, Shoutabl aims to be more useful than the existing networks. Co-founder Travis Donovan spoke to Billboard about why there is a need for something new.
“At the end of the day, it’s awesome if your band has a million likes on Facebook — but that’s Facebook’s community. And you’re not making money off of them on Facebook,” he said. And while there are a number of social networks aimed exclusively at music artists, he adds that, “There is no one even close to the network we have in mind.”
Morrison concedes that “Bandcamp has the barest glimmer of the community aspect, but it’s more of a commerce platform.” With full details of the service still forthcoming, it will be interesting to see if the company can come up with a great way for bands to promote themselves and their music. This could change the current landscape of how bands exist in the digital world.
But Morrison, speaking exclusively about the new Dismemberment Plan album that will be released October 15, also points out that many working in the music industry are trying to find the next big thing.
“It’s like it’s not even an industry anymore,” he said. “It’s kind of gone back to some weird gold rush with people grasping at straws in an energetic way. It’s hallucinatory. Like a kaleidoscope of new potential products –- small, big –- but you have to be a f**king genius to assemble them all into a coherent toolkit.”
As for his own band, he certainly recognizes the importance of the existing tools in the industry, and plans to use them, though perhaps not right off the bat.
“Maybe for the plan it’ll work to not have the new record on Spotify for six weeks, two months, but f**k yeah we need our catalog on Spotify –- we’re an obscure catalog artist,” Morrison said. “For me as an artist, I would always want to give people the possibility of going down to rabbit hole of my catalog.”