Indie rock and online casinos
"It's like some infernal machine," Carl Wilson wrote of the Toronto music scene in 1967, "Each part necessary but only parts and not a whole; all intricately working yet never getting anywhere." This has been the perennial tragedy of the Canadian indie rock scene: it is truly one of the more under-appreciated scenes on Earth, filled with some of its country's finest musicians, yet not producing any sort of cohesion.
Last week this changed ever so slightly when the Polaris Prize was awarded to Austra, an all-female synth pop band hailing from Toronto. For once, a Canadian act captured an international audience (the jury is scattered between Canada and the rest of the world) and won a major award, bolstering the scene's credibility in the eyes of music fans who had never heard of it.
"It was great," said Matt King, frontman of Toronto indie band July Talk, when asked about Austria's win. "We all eat from the same plate: we play in bands and we like to see our friends succeed. It's hard for us to get attention internationally, because we're all very small fish in a big pond."
The Toronto music scene has many artists that could have won the Polaris Prize just as easily as Austra did, yet they never got their chance. Those who remember July Talk probably do so because of its recent opening slot for the Rolling Stones. July Talk's music is rough, raw and honest, but it has no relation to the style of its namesake: Austra has electropop written all over it.
"My biggest concern was that our genre isn't seen as credible by the people who vote on the Polaris Prize," said Katie Stelmanis, the band's lead singer and songwriter, when asked about her reaction to winning. "It was nice that [the jury] also saw it as a 'rock' album."
Though she is correct in saying that synthpop is not seen as credible by rock fans (no matter how many synths bands use), there are many small scenes within the Canadian indie scene that do not get along. The Toronto-centered "theory of everything" was created in an attempt to bridge the gaps between the scenes, yet it failed miserably at its goal.
Future collaboration between music bands and online casinos
On their Twitter Casino , posted a message to their audience asking for help in the research of whether or not online gambling will be accepted with open arms by the music industry. Chris Jordan, editor of Gambling911.com explained that he was "trying to find out if anyone on this site knows any musicians who have done or are considering doing some kind of promotion with an online casino. It would be great if anyone in the music business could contact us."
There is no doubt that online poker's popularity has skyrocketed since Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker Main Event after qualifying for it through an online poker site, inspiring many to try their luck at the virtual poker tables. It has been speculated that online casinos have not yet fully tapped into music's popularity as a marketing tool for their promotions, and some believe that they are missing a significant opportunity to attract a large portion of the millennial generation who seek entertainment in many forms including live music events.
"It's actually something we've been discussing a lot," says Marlon Young, manager of American Rock band The Cadillac Three. "I've had a few poker buddies who have worked with an online casino and they said the experience was incredible."
Mr. Young went on to say that he's been in talks with some online casinos but nothing had taken shape yet.
"I really think it's a great idea for musicians to work with online casinos because it has such a large audience that comes from all different age groups," he adds. "With the recent layoffs of concert promoters on many campuses, it seems like there is an endless supply of talent to help promote these establishments who are just looking to give them an opportunity."
According to research conducted by Thrasher Marketing Group in partnership with Nielsen, the median age of today's college students is 24.5 years old, almost 25 percent older than when colleges first started keeping these records in 1980.
"It makes sense for both industries to work together,"says Mr. Young. "I was talking to an online casino for free and they said that their demographic is mostly in the 21-27 range. I think artists can benefit from working with online casinos much like concert promoters because you can reach a large audience regardless of your genre."
Online casinos are a great place to promote artists' songs, and gaming companies go to great lengths to create a cool experience for the player. So it's a great idea to associate yourself with the right personas.