Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Peter Himmelman, Furious World: Online Video is Key to the Music Industry's Survival

I caught up with Peter Himmelman, independent singer/songwriter, at the Online Video Platform Summit following his panel discussion "How to Choose an Online Video Platform for Your Business", to talk about how video has helped extend his reach and engagement with his worldwide fan base. While Himmelman is not a familiar name to most, he's cultivated a long career as an imaginative rock musician, children's entertainer, TV and film composer, Emmy and Grammy nominee and for the past two year, the star of his own weekly webcast show, Peter Himmelman’s Furious World.

Himmelman is also Bob Dylan's son-in-law, being married to his daughter Maria Dylan, who he counts as one of his many influences. Himmelman is known for his conviction as an independent artist and for his unpredictable performance style (as evidence of this impromptu video interview). Most notably, as an observant Jew he does not perform on Fridays, and turned down an invitation to perform on the "Tonight Show" because it fell on Shabbat.

He broadcasts his musical web variety show, Peter Himmelman’s Furious World, from his Santa Monica, California studio every Tuesday at 7:00 pm PST on using the Newtek TriCaster. The show features live music and spoken bits by the Himmelman and his cast of regulars, off-the-wall videos, and guest performers. Himmelman says that the portability of streaming production is a key in getting his artistic message out, in lieu of a demanding touring schedule.

As a music recording artist he says that hosting his webcast on Ustream's highly trafficked website has helped increase his visibility and brought him closer to his fans. He's using video because he says that, "the music industry as we had known it is pretty much done, the death knell has sounded," and he decided to try online video as a new and different way to put his product out there.

In an interview with Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt of the Mountain Xpress, he talked about how he got started producing his weekly Furious World webcast.
"It was just a fluke. This guy that works for me, Mark Jacobs, he said, “Hey, there’s this thing where you can broadcast live.” So we set up this camera and thought, “Wow, this really looks good.”  
It hasn’t lived up to where I want it to be right now. It’s not paying for itself, which is a huge problem, and I don’t know if it ever will or not. It’s a really great thing, it’s a cool idea, but without any money coming in — and I’ve done it for two years — I have to constantly say to myself, “What it’s for?”
But I always get letters and a lot of encouragement. Yesterday I met with a guy who was trying to help me with the show and he said (he’s from Israel), “Look, you have to remember what the president of General Electric said: Either fix it, sell it or close it. This is what I’m trying to help you with. Either we’ll fix it, or sell it or we shut it down.”"

Become a Facebook Fan: Peter Himmelman's Furious World
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