Biz: Interview w/ Adam Blye of Mutiny on the Microphone

Written by Aidan Rush Posted in: Biz on June 26, 2012

Most radio listeners and nearly all of those making up the radio workforce will tell you that terrestrial radio is not the most hospitable environment for local `up and coming artists seeking airplay. Ex radio employee Adam Blye knows this fact all too well, and after leaving the radio industry, set out to build a podcast that would serve as a platform for the best bourgeoning New England acts. That podcast is called Mutiny on the Microphone, and it’s done a great job of living up to its mission. However, Adam has bigger plans for MOTM, all which start with him taking it from a podcast to an Internet broadcast. Read out interview with him below, and head over to his indiegogo page if you have any cash to help him make the jump!  

Indie Ambassador: Before we get into talking business, tell us about a few New England bands you’re currently listening to.    

Adam Blye: Oh boy, there is an eclectic mix about to be listed here.  I am mainly a fan of punk, ska, hard rock, and anything that mixes those together. My current favorite is Cradle To The Grave, they have a sound that I think is just what the punk/rock music scene in Boston needs right now. Other bands I’ve really been getting into lately include The Pomps, Self-Proclaimed Rockstars, Goddamn Draculas, Roll The Tanks, The Okay Win, Miss Fairchild, Yale, Massachusetts, Burning Streets, The Stereo State, The Suicide Dolls, Full Body Anchor… this list could go on for quite a while.

There are a bunch of great New England based artists outside of my favorite genres that I enjoy as well. Some include the Shills, In Like Lions, Sarah Blacker, Hayley Jane & The Primates, and Dan Cloutier. I’m sure I’m missing a few bands, but that’s the list that immediately comes to mind.

IA: Can you give us some background on MOTM? What does it entail in its current state?

AB: Mutiny On The Microphone was initially created as a creative outlet for me after leaving the radio industry. I enjoy listening and discovering new music everyday and wanted to start something that would help others find a new band or two as well. Currently MOTM is a podcast dedicated to playing music by up-and-coming artists from the New England area. Not only do we play music from great new artists, we dash in a few songs by some well-known Boston artists (Aerosmith, The Cars, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Pixies, Dropkick Murphys, etc.).

We also conduct interviews with bands and one of our contributors, Gina, writes many of the show and album reviews.  On the Facebook page, I update fans (almost) daily with the list of the day’s shows from venues in and around the city that are playing host to local bands that night.    

IA: What’s driving you to make the jump from Podcast to Internet radio?  

AB: With the recent loss of another locally owned terrestrial radio station in Boston, it is increasingly difficult for musicians in Boston to find an outlet for promotion of their music. Becoming an Internet radio station will allow me to expand the station’s playlist, and be able to make real-time updates depending on factors like the weather, news, or opportunities.  The platform I intend on using will also pay royalty fees to the artists that are played on the station (well, those who are affiliated with ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC) and I want to make sure I can help artists receive the compensation they deserve for the art they create. The podcast is currently hosted on a platform that allows for people to stream each episode, but it isn’t a very user-friendly service, and making a move to this new program should solve that.

IA: What legal steps do you have to take to make this transition?  

AB: I have registered Mutiny On The Microphone as a business through the IRS and am in the process of opening a bank account with a local Credit Union (I’m all about helping local businesses, and Credit Unions do a great job a loaning out to local start-up companies). The service platform for the 24-hour streaming broadcast has royalty inclusive pricing and monitors the playlists to make sure that everything is DMCA compliant.  I have a few mentors who are willing to guide me through any other legal obligations that may arise while finalizing details, but I look forward to overcoming those obstacles as they take place.  

Adam Talks MOTM in this indiegogo Promo Video

IA: What will the $5,500 raised go towards?   

AB: In order to get Mutiny On The Microphone to 24 hour broadcasting capabilities, I will need a few things:

  • One is a dedicated computer with enough hardware and software capabilities to store a large music database (which will constantly grow) and be able to broadcast the signal to a streaming service. A desktop PC with the hardware/software needed would roughly cost $2,000.
  • Another cost is a service called RCS Selector and Linker, which is a service that will take songs and station ids or promos from the music database and schedule them based on the categories that are put in place. This service is leased on a per-year basis, and the cost for Selector & Linker is $1,100 per year.
  • The broadcasting company. This will be what allows me to stream live on the internet all day every day. The broadcasting company not only charges for their services, but also pays the royalty collection agencies (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC) and passes those charges on to me. This way the artists get paid for their work, and we know that we are helping support their livelihood. Setting up this service is roughly $1,000 plus I am anticipating a $500/month cost for each month for services and fees.

I am hoping to raise $5,500 to be able to cover the initial costs of the computer, one year of service for Selector & Linker, the start-up charge and 3 month's cost of the live-streaming service. Additional funds will go toward off-setting the costs of the perks to the wonderful people who donate, like t-shirts, sweatshirts, and stickers.

IA: Being an ex-radio employee, I’m interested to hear your thoughts on radio’s future role in local music scenes. Do you think corporate terrestrial stations will continue to fail and, in the long run, be replaced with smaller, niche podcasts and Internet broadcasts?  

AB: I actually had a conversation with Adam 12 (former personality on WBCN and WFNX) a few weeks ago about this topic, just before the news that Clear Channel would be buying WFNX’s signal. I was taking into consideration if returning to terrestrial radio as a part-time jock was a good idea, and had a lengthy conversation with him about the future of rock music on terrestrial radio. Adam made this statement that I think is appropriate here; he said, “Terrestrial radio is something that people will always come back to. It waxes and wanes, but it will always be around. It seems like for today, music programming online is where it’s at.”

I read in an article of Wired magazine of how niche music blogs are starting their own labels & production entities to offer a product, like a band’s album or a limited press item, that they truly believe in, and many of them are doing very well because they cater to their niche and develop a good brand loyalty. The problem with corporate style terrestrial radio stations is that there is no heart in how the station is programmed; there is this cookie-cutter method that is designed to attract enough listeners to turn a profit, and bring in enough revenue to get the investors a reasonable rate of return for their money, but nothing more. In today’s world, so many things are able to be customized and tailored to a person’s individual likes and wants, it is frustrating to know that there are so many people out there that WANT to have local programming on terrestrial radio, but won’t get the opportunity because so many radio stations are owned by the same corporate entities.

So, to answer the question, I think corporate terrestrial stations will continue to stifle creativity and uniqueness out of radio until something so distinct breaks through and shows a sustained success that the corporations are forced to rethink how their business is run.  Only then will terrestrial radio be able to make a major comeback.

IA: How can local broadcasts like Mutiny on the Microphone benefit the local musician community beyond the obvious?  

AB:  This is tough for me to answer because something that might seem obvious to me might be something that is less obvious to others. Playing a song by an artist on the broadcast and promoting shows are a no-brainer, but we intend on growing our email newsletter database and creating some special events and offers to our fans to thank them for their support, and I think the local music community can benefit from having a spotlight in each newsletter. We are constantly looking to perform interviews and reviews of local musicians, no matter what genre they are in, and post them on the Mutiny On The Microphone site. I would also love to develop an online store section of Mutiny On The Microphone where fans can purchase the music and other products from bands they discover while on the podcast.

There are other businesses in the New England that musicians can align themselves with that will help with their efforts to gain exposure or make life as a musician a little easier. Indie Ambassador, CQ Presents (who put on a monthly event in conjunction with Pirate! for musicians called Rock Shop), Music Riot, Earn It Yourself, Future Boston Alliance, and Boston Band Crush are just a few, and each of them brings something unique to the table. I think working alongside these organizations, rather than in competition with them, will help benefit everyone and grow the local music community.  

IA: You’ve mentioned that Boston is home to some charitable organizations you’d like to see MOTM benefit. What organizations in particular do you have in mind?  

AB:  There are many great programs and charities in the New England area, and I would love the chance to help them raise more money to do what they do. I’ve learned from helping run a charity event in Canton every year (A Crawl For It All, a charity pub-crawl that raises funds for cancer research) that it takes an incredibly big heart and a lot of patience to start and maintain a charitable organization. Mutiny On The Microphone’s audience are people who have a passion for New England products, and working with local charities will really create the opportunity to strike a chord with them.

With that being said, a few charities that pop into my mind that I would like to work with are the Greater Boston Food Bank, The Joe Andruzzi Foundation, Cradles To Crayons, and Ovations (Ovations For The Cure). I am certainly not limiting myself to only those charities, and I’d even like to hold events where funds raised go directly toward completing a project or something tangible that people can benefit from having. I’m open to anything that will help other people.  

IA: Anything else you’d like to tell us about?

I’m a big music junkie with a passion to help others succeed. I like chocolate, beer, and almost any kind of social event. I can’t tell if my favorite color is orange or forest green, I once ate an entire chicken breast raw and didn’t realize until I had only one bite left. My personal phone number has been revealed live on terrestrial radio MULTIPLE times on multiple stations. I have a plethora of hats in my closet, but probably wear the same three 80% of the time.  I have had jobs as a pizza cook, music store associate, college building manager, assistant to an auto-mechanic, a roof-bracket making warehouse worker, A/V assistant and gumball machine replenisher, web-assistant, bar trivia host, and marketing associate (among others).  In May of 2012 I completed the Tough Mudder race on Mt. Snow Vermont, and can’t wait to do it again next year.

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