Gene Simmons At Canadian music Week

KISS frontman, reality TV star and non-stop entrepeneur Gene Simmons delivers the keynote address for Canadian Music Week. He recently announced he is forming a record label, partnering with former MP Belinda Stronach for this venture, that will focus on finding and promoting new Canadian talent.

Gene is an interesting speaker. Lots of charisma, a few controversial ideas, very funny. It was a good speech, and he made it all up off the top of his head.

The real highlight of Canadian Music Week will be the coming weekend when over 500 bands will be performing multiple showcases in nearly every club in the city. It's a massive live music party, rivalled only by the huge North By NorthEast Festival in June.

I'll be covering the Indie Awards on Sat. with performances by some of the best up and coming acts.

Listened in on the conversation amongst the photogs for the major papers while we were waiting to go in (1 hr. delay), and it seems the big rumour is that at least one, possibly two, major Toronto dailies are moving to be fully video in the near future.
The plan is to use screen captures off the video cameras for the newspaper photos, video only on the websites.
Photographers will becomer largely superfluous.

I was talking to a guy last month who had just been let go by the Toronto Sun. He's photographed every single Toronto Maple Leafs game since 1992. If you need someone to do hockey shots, this guy is the master class on doing that.
But I can't help but wonder, what kind of a skill is that in the larger world? In the sports journalism niche it's priceless, outside of that, next to useless. And now he has to claw his way back into a sports journalism world that is rapidly video-izing.

The media were held back in three waves for placement within the huge room the event was happening in which was completely sold out for Simmons appearance. First the TV cameras, then the major newspapers and wire service guys, and last (of course) the online media.

Now, the two major private TV networks in Canada are hemorhaging money. One is rumoured to be going under, and both have had hundreds of layoffs, stations closed, overseas bureaus shut.
They're even so poor there's talk of them giving up station licenses they can no longer afford.
All this is being blamed on lower ratings leading to sharply declining ad reveue.

The major newspapers have been cutting staff with equal enthusiasm (last I heard the National Post was down to just two photographers), dwindling readership, declining ad revenue, etc. etc.

Supposedly all the ad revenue is fleeing to online internet sites - because I haven't heard one story of hard times in the Advertsing business, I actually believe this. All that money is still being spent somewhere.

So my question is; What's with the online media always being treated like the poor cousin and getting the absolute dregs when it comes to photo ops? If traditional media is in decline, new media ascending, why are we third in line to get a spot in the room?

For that matter, why is it that every press conference I attend, the writers are right up front with a perfect view?
This is a group who could (and often do) conduct the questioning over the phone, or by direct link with a studio on another continent if they had to.
While the people who need line of sight are all way at the back - and in this room for Gene Simmons I mean WAY at the back. The 400mm equiv. (50-200mm Zuiko) lens I was using wasn't nearly enough from where we were postioned.

It's like there's a traditional way these things are done and nobody is ready to move on yet.
TV and major print always get preferential treatment because that's the way it's always been.
And the channel that, more and more, everyone uses - online media - gets treated like an after-thought because no one knows what to do with us :)

It's ironic that Gene, as the keynote speaker, mentioned many times during his speech how there has been a seismic shift in how things are done, about the need for 360 degree marketing in this all-new environment and for new creative thinking and different approaches.
Yet there's the media, all frozen in time, arranged in a rigid pecking order from another era.

I say, lets put the writers on the riser at the back, put the photographers and videocams at the front (with a rope to keep the TV guys from getting out of control and filming the subject from a foot away, ruining it for everyone else) and see if that doesn't get us better visuals while not hampering the writers in the tiniest little bit.

For this press conference the live audience in attendance would have kept the organizers from doing things this way.
But for the future ... Come on communications people. Think this thing through.

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