Thursday, April 26, 2007

My city's a sucker: San Diego thinks San Diego is DA BOMB for that indie rock all the kids are into

I'm going to try to write this whole thing without using the term "the man."

The San Diego Visitors' Bureau has launched a campaign called "San Diego Soundscape" to promote the city as an "indie rock" destination on par with Austin, NYC, PDX or Seattle. Or Memphis. Or Detroit. Or Chicago. Or Milwaukee.

San Diego Soundscape promotional page

They've put together a two-disc promo CD of "up and coming San Diego bands" (Rookie Card is the big name on it, to give you an idea of what we're dealing with) and are offering a sweepstakes for the San Diego rock and roll experience!

That's plane tickets, a stay at the Manchester Hyatt, a show, dinner, and the Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues, one of the most generic musical experiences the city has to offer. Oh, also a Hula Hut Honeymoon Holiday at Spa Tiki.

This all seems right up the alley of the businessman who saw a great house band at a Gaslamp bar last night. All that's missing from this ad campaign is a reference to "The O.C."

There's even a San Diego music history section on the Web page, with the requisite Tom Waits and Blink 182 references.

There are some great local bands here, and there's definitely some kind of disconnect that is keeping them from getting bigger exposure inside and out of the city that other cities' music scenes don't have. But this is like when you were a teenager and your mom declared that she was cool. Part of becoming an indie destination, by definition, is that it can't be forced or promoted.

Read today's Union-Tribune business section story for more details about the absurdity. "Gen-X" shows up a few times.

I'm not slamming the bands for being a part of this; it's a great way to get more people to hear your music. But if you're going to do a promotional gig, go all out:


adamg said...

What?! I heard Rookie Card is THE buzzband around town!!! Damnit, now I've got Lcd Soundsystem in my head. See ya at Arcade Fire! (nice Talking Heads recommendation )
xo Adam(rookie)

jason @ insomnia radio said...

So let me get this straight - no big name artists on the tracklist, the CD is being given away for free, artists retain full rights to the included music, one artist has already been signed and several more have opportunity staring them in the face as a result...

And you're stuffing down the urge to use the term "the man"?

Interesting viewpoint.

Scott said...

Sorry if your band was excluded from the package. Sounds like sour grapes to me. Or are you just an unhappy person by nature?

The Baby Heisman said...

Just to be clear ... I'm not slamming any of the bands, just the idea that you can cultivate an "indie destination" through a visitors' center promotional campaign that includes a tiki spa package. At least throw in some drink coupons for Live Wire and some quarters for the Donkey Kong in the Casbah Atari Lounge.

adamg said...

I totally agree that you shouldn't go throwing the word "indie" around casually. The Union Tribune article did but it's not really on the SD Soundscape site, though the creators run You can't really blame them if the press (or bloggers) make it look like something it's not. That tiki spa is independently owned but Donkey Kong was created by evil corporate giant, Nintendo. Fight the power!

The Baby Heisman said...

talking smack about Donkey Kong? Oy! Perhaps the only way to settle this rift is with a Duck Hunt shogun showdown.

IRSD said...

The goal of any band is to get their music heard, right? And if it takes a corporate sponsor's effort to re-define a city's "music scene" to get some major exposure for those artists "trapped" in San Diego . . . then who frickin' cares?! Kudos to ConVis for trying, and I'm sure they'll be tracking hotel stays to measure success. But, the bands getting signed, going on tour, more myspace hits, and filling venues are all we as "indie" music lovers should care about! MC

Ginger said...

OK... so... you are a music authority in a city who's trying to up its music marketability? And you are complaining about this? Wouldn't this ultimately be GOOD for you? I am not sure I get your point. Or perhaps, you need to read one of the fine marketing textbooks that have been published like EAT THE BIG FISH or TRUTH LIES & ADVERTISING.