Webwords

By Ken Casper

After writing my first for the LMN last month, I was happy to hear from so many readers. I've added songs by those artists who so requested to my Showcase Louisville station at www.mp3.com/stations/lky.

One correction regarding www.undergroundlou.com: I stated last month that the associated Internet radio station was for alternative/heavy metal music. Jake Wheat, co-founder of the site assures me that it is open to all artists and is non-genre specific. So go visit the site, make some contacts and get your music heard on one of the world's most successful Internet radio stations.

That leads me to this month's topic. Just what sort of music IS Louisville promoting on the Internet these days? I went in search of the answer. First, I visited the "links" page at undergroundlou.com, as there are many local artists listed there. Most of these artists have websites, but few allowed me to listen to songs - dead end for my purpose.

My next step took me to Mp3.com where I went to a local band's page and clicked on "Find more artists in Louisville, KY." That opened a chart ranking that appeared to be a complete ranking of Louisville artists. But it was not complete; in the drop down box containing "Louisville" there were another 20 "Louisville" selections, and a total of 48 including Buechel, Shively and all the others. So I was forced to broaden the search to include the entire state of Kentucky for all genres.

I had never done this before, so I was surprised that the top 15 chart positions were held by four hip hop artists: Nappy Roots (Bowling Green), L.O.R.D. (Lexington), Knife In Ya Kneck Records (Louisville) and Deacon the Villain (Versailles). I counted 38 hip hop songs in the top 100 as of July 22.

The rest of the top 100 is a mixed bag. The Singing Hayes Family owns the first non-hip hop slot at #16 with a Christian country ditty. And wow, these guys really can sing. Bill Monroe owns #19 with a bluegrass tune. Bill has just the one song on Mp3.com, and it's gotten 648 plays in the first 20 days of July. Put some more out there Bill, and you could be the, uh, King of the "Bluegrass."

So where were all the rockers I expected to top this list? There was not a single rocker until #20. There I found Elliott followed by The Muckrakers, Crush!, The Velcro Pygmies and Jakeleg, who were strung out all over the bottom 80. Are these charts worth pursuing? I don't know, but I checked them out and found some great music I hadn't heard. To my knowledge, these are the only music charts on the Internet that break rankings of indie artists down to a local level. They are a subset of the overall Mp3.com charts which rank over 2 million songs.

It's not really hard to chart in the Kentucky top 100. The Velcro Pygmies have nine rock songs on the chart. They get about 30 song plays a day and have 36 Mp3.com-listed tunes. EdgeN Animations has 16 songs in the top 100, and that's "filmish trailer music" and stuff I don't understand, like "ambient," but EdgeN is getting almost 400 plays a day, so kudos to Justin Durban. Our Crush! page has a song at #29, "Who Do You Want to Be?" which is getting about 20 unique plays a day, plus nine more songs ranked between #29 and #53 getting fewer plays. We average about 140 daily plays of our songs. To put these numbers in perspective, our song at #29 in Kentucky does not appear in the top 10,000 of all songs on Mp3.com.

What's my point? Maybe we Kentucky artists are doing a relatively poor job of promoting our music via the Internet. So here's what I'm doing to foster a little more local artist support. I've created a second Louisville Showcase - Hip Hop station at www.mp3.com/stations/lkyhip. I've put meters on both stations. Who promotes better? Who reads this ? Hip Hop vs. The Others. Send me an email if you are an artist I failed to include on a station. Go play the stations. Spread the word. I'll report back next month. In any event, be prepared to be astounded by some great music. I certainly was.

Ken Casper is a lead vocalist/guitarist and songwriter with the band Crush! and can be contacted at kgcasper@bellsouth.net or through www.mp3.com/crushrocks or www.mp3grammyawards.com. Come hear Crush! with .38 Special and Rare Earth at Waterfront Park at 6 PM on 8/2.