Rock the Garden acts highlight changing nature of the music business

Last week I stopped by Brit's Pub in Downtown Minneapolis to listen to the live announcement of the band line-up for Rock the Garden 2010—UST's Opus College of Business is a supporting sponsor. I'm not the most up-to-date with today's trendy bands, but the line up looks great:


This summer's first and best outdoor music festival gets a kick-start with local phenoms Retribution Gospel Choir - the scorching side-project of Low's Alan Sparhawk - who champion the "rock" in Rock the Garden in slash-and-burn style. Next up are Grammy Award winners and viral video sensations OK Go, whose high-octane performances and rollicking new record are brimming with irresistible hooks, vintage Prince, and noisy nuance. The party continues with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, the Brooklyn collective revered globally for live shows that blaze through gospel, soul, and funk-think R&B revue in a revival tent.

MGMT takes the stage next, mining the pop canon of the past five decades to come up with glittering sounds, game-changing grooves, and cosmic-pop hooks. They perform their new release, Congratulations, for a dazzling-yet irreverent art-rock finale that runs the gamut from futuristic to funky, grand to glam, epic to positively euphoric.

Interestingly at the same time on Planet Money, an NPR podcast, Damian Kulash, the lead singer of OK Go, talked about the radically changing face of the music business. OK Go is "the band that made that treadmill video somebody forwarded you a few years back. Check out their newest video making its way around the internet, above.

From Planet Money's Interview:

Way back in the day -- by which I mean like eight years [ago] -- before the culture at large had picked up on digital distribution, before everybody saw an MP3 as sort of equivalent to a CD, you really did need a brick and mortar system. You needed things to get on a truck and things to get across a country and to get into the hands of people so they could put it in their CD player.

Distribution's a snap now. But the rest of the music business is a mess, and there's no clear path for a young band that wants to make it big.

There's no known way from point A to point C or D or F anymore. ... There's all sorts of room for people to try new ideas and try innovative things. If people make cool stuff, and people are savvy in the way they deal with their cool stuff, I have no doubt that young bands will continue to rise to the top

Read Kulash's New York Times op-ed. You can follow Rock the Garden on Twitter or keep up with us on Facebook for the latest news. Keep an eye on our Twitter feed too as we'll be giving away pairs of tickets throughout May and June, leading up to the show!