Here’s something to think about…

How’s this for a business model?

From last.fm

Five Times August, a name with a reputation as one of the most important commodities in the music industry’s new business model for up and coming artists. The completely unsigned solo project of 24 year old Dallas, Texas native Brad Skistimas returns with the new album “Brighter Side.” After selling over 100,000 digital downloads without a record label, getting 18 song placements from one album on various popular television programs, and becoming the first unsigned act sold in Wal-Mart stores nationwide, one can only wonder what Five Times August will accomplish next.

With “Brighter Side,” Skistimas has crafted an album of balance. Relatable catchy pop tunes without the overly produced sound that invades today’s Top 40 market. The music is real and each song is its own. In the midst of an industry looking for one novelty hit after another, “Brighter Side” proves to have quality and charm. It’s not just another album with two polished hit songs and ten okay fillers. This album throws away the standard formula of co-writer after co-writer, heavily produced studio tricks, and keeping to a genre specific theme.

At the core you will find, simply, a songwriter with an acoustic guitar. Skistimas blends these acoustic pop arrangements with flavorful hints of roots, country, rock and even punk at times. The mellow “Who You Are” will appeal to fans of Norah Jones or Ryan Adams, while the rebelious rocker “Overrated” might pull in fans of Fall Out Boy or Green Day. The nineties-esque “One Way Road” reminisces that of Matchbox 20 or Hootie and the Blowfish while the blue-collar anthem “The Lighting” reflects the heavy electric guitars of Oasis. From start to finish the album takes you on a journey equivalent to a mix tape featuring a compilation of artists.

And it’s no wonder “Brighter Side” has a sound all it’s own, considering the team that helped Brad put it all together. Recorded in Dallas at Bass Propulsion Laboratories, it was produced by the studio’s owners, brothers Todd and Toby Pipes (Deep Blue Something, Drowning Pool, Flickerstick). At the recommendation of the Pipes Bros, Skistimas recruited local studio musicians for most of the instrumentation, but also took it upon himself to invite former Vertical Horizon drummer Ed Toth to provide a solid backbeat for the record.

“Since Five Times August is a solo project I have the freedom to bring in a variety of players to fit each album.” Skistimas says. “It’s great because those different inputs provide a level of comfort in knowing my sound will never get repetitive from one record to the next. It’s like forming a new band each time around.”

In addition to recording at BPL Studios, Skistimas had the album mixed by Grammy Award Winner Andy Zulla (Rod Stewart, Kelly Clarkson, Jessica Simpson).

Five Times August wrapped up an extensive college tour in 2007, traveling 8 months out of the year, visiting 43 of the 50 states, and plans to start the whole thing up again in 2008 to support the release of “Brighter Side.” This time around FTA will be releasing the album with the help of Croshal Entertainment Group, a virtual label based out of LA.

“I figured if I accomplished what I did with my last album by mainly word of mouth and almost no promotion behind it there’s no telling what can happen if I actually give myself a marketing fund this time around!” Skistimas proclaims. “The great thing about working with CEG is that I’m still unsigned and in control of my own image and music, but will still get the attention that many major label releases receive.”

While Skistimas continues to break barriers as an unsigned artist, the music industry should prepare itself for a new breed of music and marketing upon the release of Five Times August’s upcoming release. “Brighter Side” will be in stores nationwide on March 18th 2008.

Not only that…this guy is donating half of the proceeds from April 15-June 15th to To Write Love on her Arms, which is a “non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.” Cool.


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23 Responses to “Here’s something to think about…”

  1. Snowstorm Says:

    That’s a great success story for this guy. Sounds like he came out of no where. But, there is absolutely no way to compare him to Taylor Hicks. Taylor Hicks is American Idol winner… that alone is a big difference. Taylor Hicks came out of a TV screen. Taylor Hicks inherited a TV audience for his fanbase.

  2. suze4158 Says:

    Description of FTA and clips make me want to see/hear more from him. A stark contrast to Taylor (but, yes, I want to hear more from him, too.) in business model, for sure.

    I have questions about this: What made Wal-Mart give him an exclusive?
    Who does his marketing?
    Had Taylor not won AI, could a soul version of this story been his? Could he have been discovered and filtered into national musical consciousness through the same digital avenues?
    Has Taylor been saddled with the mixed curse and blessing of his ‘title’? Did the national exposure go to his head and thusly drive out the music?
    This definitely made me think….

    Also, I love the fact that last vid was from Sun studios…I am from Memphis, and music permeates its history.
    The worthiness of his music being featured there is a testimony to his talent.

  3. jerseyirish Says:

    Didn’t care for his voice or music, give him credit for going after it though. He must have some kind of money backing him, family or something, studio/producing time is expensive, don’r really think he is doing it alone. Hope he does well, he is young enough to hang in their. If he doesn’t try his voice will not be heard, just like Taylor is doing the end of Grease show and shadow dates those are all new territories, Taylor is trying something that has never been done before. He is working the Grease role to his advantage.

    JI

  4. casualfan Says:

    I like this guy! He’s got a John Mayer thing going on. I also appreciate what he’s doing with helping people who suffer from depression and other mental health disorders. He’s a dedicated musician with a cause….I like that.

  5. casualfan Says:

    Taylor is trying something that has never been done before. He is working the Grease role to his advantage.
    ====================================
    JI-Tagging his music onto the end of a musical isn’t what I would call a success…sorry. Taylor is coming across as desperate in doing this and clearly it’s not helping him. I’m not being a negative nellie but his cd sales reflect this.

  6. jerseyirish Says:

    cf, He is out there trying just like everyone else. Don’t think it is desperate just something different to try and promote and get folks to hear his music. It was a clever way to do Grease and promote his CD. Maybe he is not getting the perfect results he wanted but he is selling CD’s each week, his sales are not at a stand still.

    JI

    JI

  7. Rather like his sound.

    The cost of studio time, like touring, is relative. An amazing amount of good music is recorded on a shoestring . . just the way TH did for two albums.

    Sun Studios has been doing the Sessions program with artists for a while now. Believe Charcoal’s Miss Potter was one of the first to kick off the series along with Adam Levy and David Ford. There are a couple of other FTA videos on the site and would recommend checking out all the artists who have done Sessions.
    The whole series is here . . .
    http://www.sunstudio.com/sessions/

  8. casualfan Says:

    It’s clever from a fan’s point of view JI but not so much in the music industry.

    His cd sales should be way past where they are now, especially if all this Grease PR was garnering him all those new fans that everyone seems convinced that he has.

  9. casualfan Says:

    AH Says:

    May 19, 2009 at 2:29 pm
    Rather like his sound.

    The cost of studio time, like touring, is relative. An amazing amount of good music is recorded on a shoestring . . just the way TH did for two albums.
    =============================================
    I agree AH. I also believe that Taylor will be known mostly for his first two albums because they weren’t jaded and true to who he is (or was) as a musician.

  10. I also thought this Guy had a John Meyer sound to him. Nice Guitar too.

    As far as Taylor’s CD sales. They are pretty good as Indie sales go and we don’t know how many are sold at the shadow tours and after Grease because they aren’t reported to Sound Scan. He is under his own label and not eligible to report those sales yet. I’d say he has sold a pretty good number there since we have heard back from attendees seeing a lot being sold.

  11. hicksaholic Says:

    I asked in the prior thread but charcoal didn’t respond. He may not have seen it so I will ask again even though it is probably crazy.

    Charcoal said he was driving in Alabama a few days ago(?) but I was thinking he was from up north. I wondered if he might have anything to do with the new management of Headquarters. (Since then I saw a post on the Boogie that said the new management is out of New York). Perhaps charcoal is from New York.

    Just wondering.

  12. casualfan Says:

    I was under the impression that Music Today runs HQ although that may have changed.

    Taylor’s management is located in L.A. CA.

  13. One tip when dealing with charcoal: Don’t believe a word he says. Except the whole zombie thing. I believe he was sincere.

  14. Virtual Speak Says:

    CF- I believe his new management is ArtistArena in NY.

  15. casualfan Says:

    Taylor is still with Career Artist Management. He has several management firms he works with. Maybe Artist Arena is handling another aspect.

  16. casualfan Says:

    Artistarena handles fanclub managment and marketing. Glad he’s away from Music Today.

  17. hicksaholic Says:

    Aristaarena is who I was talking about being the new management for the website. I believe I saw that on the Boogie Board.
    I’m sure the Charcoal connection is a big stretch but Taylor could really use a jumpstart like having a one stop fan website that kicked ass like Gray’s did.
    I know- wishful thinking.

  18. hicksaholic Says:

    You know, casualfan, I was thinking for a casual fan you sure do know a lot about Taylor.

  19. charcoal Says:

    The most interesting thing about this guy is that he can be so “successful” yet such a huge swath of people have never heard of him.

    Market fragmentation baby.

    Any caryl is right about the Zombies.

  20. What huge swath of people would you be referring to? The “huge swath” that read this blog? Or is it just because you’ve never heard of him? Is that the rule we’re supposed to be going by now?

  21. casualfan Says:

    hicksaholic Says:

    May 20, 2009 at 7:06 am
    You know, casualfan, I was thinking for a casual fan you sure do know a lot about Taylor.
    ====================================
    I read alot. 😉

  22. charcoal Says:

    What huge swath of people would you be referring to? The “huge swath” that read this blog? Or is it just because you’ve never heard of him? Is that the rule we’re supposed to be going by now?

    Yes, that’s the rule.

    Seriously though, I only see one mention of these folks on elbo.ws outside of eight listings for simply “being” at SXSW and almost nothing on Hype Machine so, yes, in the music world I travel in that’s a huge swath of folks who’ve never heard of them. Granted, it’s not the only music world but it does compromise a pretty vast universe.

  23. After selling over 100,000 digital downloads without a record label, getting 18 song placements from one album on various popular television programs, and becoming the first unsigned act sold in Wal-Mart stores nationwide…

    This alone is pretty impressive. Just my opinion.

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