The Most Honest Interview About the Music Industry Ever, Featuring Jacke Conte of Pomplamoose

From Hypebot:

Jason Spitz: Welcome Jack Conte.

Jack Conte: Hello there. Thank you for having me.

Jason Spitz: Hey, Jack. It’s a pleasure to have you… Jack is one half of Pomplamoose, a band you that you may know from their illustrious YouTube videos and ad soundtracks, but he’s also an independent musician in his own right… I want to take a second for Jack to tell the listeners a little bit about yourself. What’s your story?

Jack Conte: Well, I finished college and thought about going to film school, and then in the middle of an interview for film school they said, “So where do you see yourself five years from now?” And it was sort of this moment where I just felt like being really honest and so I just told them, “Well, I see myself making music and writing soundtracks and coming out with records.” And they sort of looked at me completely perplexed.

And that’s kind of when I started being really honest with myself about what I love. It just seemed that music was an impossibility so I figured I’d just do my best at it. I started uploading music to MySpace and just trying to make it happen, and one day somebody sent me a video of a kid who was sort of okay at acoustic guitar and singing, not great by any means, but just decent, and he had like 250,000 hits on this video; and I sort of went back over to my MySpace page. I saw that I had, you know, like 3 plays or 4 plays, that’s what I’d usually get for the day, and I kind of realized then that YouTube was the new place people were looking for content.

So I started uploading all my stuff to YouTube and just converting all my efforts over to YouTube, and sure enough, it worked and things started taking off with my solo stuff and then Pomplamoose, and that sort of brings me here. A lot, a lot came from that. I mean, we didn’t have a label or a management or anything, and we started getting e-mails and requests to use our songs on television and in ads and in movies and TV shows, and it just came from uploading videos to YouTube. So I guess that’s the short version of how I got here.

Jason Spitz: That actually transitions nicely into Kyle’s first big topic. Kyle?

Can Your Band Save The Music Industry?

Kyle Bylin: Our topic for today is, “Can your band save the music industry?” So between sort of 2009 and 2010, they’re arguably the biggest years for Pomplamoose, the sort of hip and sarcastic YouTube stars. And there were definitely people who asked questions like, “Can Pomplamoose save the music industry? Is Pomplamoose the future of music?”

These sort of questions, as hyperbolic as they may sound, are a great example of how artists who are successful on the Internet often get put on this pedestal and heralded as the next savior of the music business – whether it’s Amanda Palmer or Radiohead, Corey Smith, or even Nine Inch Nails, among others – they have all been put out there on these pedestals in recent years and used as the case study for making money in this sort of post-Apocalypse music industry…

Jack, as somebody who became branded by trade publications as an artist who figured out how to make it in music, what was it like to see your band Pomplamoose sort of rise and sort of become heralded as this success story?

Jack Conte: It was really exciting and really cool, and we were totally stoked about it. The funny thing is, you know, we lived in this place really without Internet. We couldn’t get Internet at our house. Neither Nataly nor I is especially good at social media, and a lot of people called us like a “social media band” but, you know, we tweet and Facebook like once a week, if that.

I think pedestal is the right word. I mean, people were not rightfully sort of doing that to us, and the truth of the matter is, as hard as we worked and I think as good of an insight as it was to start switching content over to the YouTube, you know, that was really what we saw, right? What we saw was, “Holy shit. YouTube is the place to be for musicians,” and I really felt like YouTube was going to blossom. I mean don’t forget, YouTube isn’t that old. It’s what, eight yeas old or something? So when we were doing this in 2008, it was maybe five years old, four years old, and there wasn’t a lot of high-quality content on YouTube.

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