By Zach Collier
The internet is cool. Twenty years ago, the thought that a band out of Salt Lake City, Utah would develop a kindred friendship with one out of Chichester, UK without leaving the country or meeting in person would have been improbable at best. Now, that’s exactly the case for acoustic/pop act Cinders and UK natives Dutch Criminal Record. The two bands have been working together to bring their music to international audiences.
Cinders has formed a tight relationship with indie music tastemaker Alex Rainbird, and their entire debut album was given its own dedicated upload on his YouTube channel prior to its release last May. Dutch Criminal Record recently landed the opening spot on an AlexrainbirdMusic compilation. As Cinders’ Jordan Zabriskie was listening through that very playlist, he was struck by their sound.
“The second we heard it we had to contact them,” says Zabriskie. “They are so upbeat, energetic, and fun that we had to become best friends. Their strums hit so hard with the vocals so clean that it creates an extremely big sound that is appropriate for all settings. You don’t ever get tired of their melodic leads and walking (practically running) bass lines.” So Zabriskie shot the band a message.
“Cinders sent us a message saying that they were partial to our music,” says Dutch Criminal Record guitarist Sam Thrussell. “They gave us some contacts from America which they thought might like our music – Reach Provo being very top of the list. In return we sent them over some blogs/podcasts from the UK that had helped us out. Meeting a band like Cinders who make great music but come from another part of the world is super beneficial. The music scene online is so vast so having a point in the right direction can be very helpful.”
Many artists understand Thrussell’s sentiment. It’s easy to get lost in the ocean of online music. As helpful as technological advances have been when it comes to global communication and the creation and distribution of music, those same advances have also created some unexpected challenges. Because of advances in home studio recording technology (allowing artists access to cheaper, higher quality equipment), there has been an astronomical increase in the number of sound recordings being uploaded to popular music distribution sites.
“Every band is on all the social media platforms, which means the internet is completely saturated with music – which makes it just as difficult to get yourself heard,” says Thrussell.
According to YouTube, 300 hours of new videos were uploaded to its site every minute in 2014, compared to 100 hours of video a minute in 2013. Spotify alone carries 30 billion songs in its catalogue. That would take you 200,000 years to listen to it all. This oversupply of music has dramatically reduced the amount of money artists are able to make from sound recordings. On average, most artists only make $0.007 a stream – just shy of a penny. So how are musicians – especially indie musicians – supposed to make a living in an era of diminishing returns?
“Streaming has obviously damaged bands’ income,” Thrussell says. “I think it’s also created an attitude where, because people haven’t paid for the music, they don’t respect it as much as if they’d bought it on a physical copy.”
Despite challenges, Cinders is optimistic about the future and the role music will play in it. “I think there have always been challenges in the music industry no matter what decade it is,” says Zabriskie. “Musicians are entrepreneurs. It is more about finding new ways to get your brand out there and make money than it is worrying about obstacles and drawbacks. Some say that streaming services have killed the money making game in music. What it really has done has created a bigger game for us to play. It is difficult and there are millions of players, but people make a living off of it each and every day. I believe the internet and technology have created an amazing network for musicians to be heard and appreciated that could not have been accomplished twenty years ago. Anyone can be successful now if they just work at it. We are extremely grateful for the success we have had and that we are able to do this as a career. Plus, we wouldn’t have met DCR without it, and that would have been a tragedy.”
It could also be said that without the internet, Dutch Criminal Record would not be getting featured in an online magazine that covers the Provo music scene. They hadn’t even heard of Provo until they met Cinders. Now, they’re considering coming here if they ever get to tour the US. “We’ve never played outside of the UK, but we’d love to come over,” says Thrussell.
This smart use of technology to network and navigate a vast ocean of bands and listeners is having a huge impact on both bands. Zabriskie notes that working with a band like Dutch Criminal Record that exists outside of the local music scene has eliminated any aspect of competition there otherwise might have been, allowing their interactions to be nothing but positive. This long distance relationship has landed Cinders on UK podcasts and the radio in DCR’s hometown of Chichester.
“Online marketing is key in the music industry,” says Zabriskie. “If you don’t have that, then you are only doing half of the work involved with being a career musician.”
Make sure to like Cinders and Dutch Criminal Record on Facebook. You can watch the official music video for “Socks and Sandals” by Dutch Criminal Record below!