Thursday, January 22, 2009

Getting Covered

While working on the Tiempo Libre story, I received an enormous press pack from their publicist. It was a fantastic collection of articles and interviews that gave me a wealth of background material. In it was an interview with their producer, Elizabeth Sobol, done by It was a fascinating article for many reasons, but one of the paragraphs jumped out at me as being appropriate for any art form, not just music. Just replace "timba" with any other art form.

She said:
I see so much commentary on timba newsgroups about how timba isn't given any attention. There's even often the implication that there is some sort of cabal--political or otherwise--that is standing in the way of timba receiving its due recognition...Media is not going to cover a genre. They cover artists. And the artists have to have a compellign story to tell in order for it to be interesting to the media. They have to deserve the coverage. Thinkingthat you're the best is not a story. Getting media attention takes time, it takes lots of work, it takes investment. And, once an artist actually gets their initial media opportunities, they have to have an innate sense of how to itneract with the media, how to give interviews, not to mention basic things like arriving on time and following media schedules.

The last, and very important point on this subject, is that the music business is a business. People have to make money--the promoters, th erecord companies, the managers, the radio, and the TV stations--not to mention the musicians. That means that they have to sense that there is an audience out there interested in and willing to pay money for that music. I am always amazed at how much moaning goes on here in Miami about the music scene and how little attention is paid to timba, but when the night of the show rolls around, most of the timberos don't show up! It's not unlike complaining about the current situation in the WHite House and then not going out and voting on Election Day.

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