The Creative Resurrection Of The Recording Industry With Jack Conte Of Pomplamoose

Over the past decade, we have seen some drastic changes in the music industry.  Thanks to mp3’s and file sharing websites, it has never been easier to obtain a free “copy” of a recording.  Sales of recorded music have dropped more than 25% since the turn of the century.  Record stores have shut down; record labels are struggling to keep afloat.  Musicians make most of their money from live shows and merchandise.  It would seem that the recording industry is dying.

Yet Jack Conte–of the indie musical duo Pomplamoose–found a way to thrive off his own record sales.

“We don’t have a record deal, and we’re completely outside of the music business,” says Conte.

“We’re successful working musicians and songwriters, without any corporate connections or ties whatsoever.”

In an industry that seems to be in a constant state of flux and uncertainty, an industry thatâ€â€for better or worseâ€â€has become so saturated that talented musicians resort to giving away their recordings for free just to be heard, how did Conte achieve such financial success and creative freedom?  He used a promotional tool available to every human being with a camera (even a cell phone) and internet access: YouTube.

“There was this big hole in the music market,” Conte recalls.  “There were lots of people looking for a new content.  Everybody was focusing on myspace and record labels, and YouTube was emerging as this major powerhouse in terms of viewer hits.  It became very clear to me that I needed to start uploading my music.”

In 2009, Conte and his girlfriend Nataly Dawn–the other half of Pomplamoose–began uploading performance videos, as well as a new breed of music video called a “videosong”, in which the final mix of the song is synched with split-screen images of the band recording each track in the studio.  There is no lip-synching or “air guitar” involved.  The end result is a sort of behind-the-scenes, intimate look at the song’s creation in the studio.  The viewer feels a bit like a welcome voyeur, and is compelled to watch and listen intently as each sound, each instrument, each voice on the recording is laid out in a collage of actual performance visuals.

“My passion is music and video, and figuring out how to combine the two to reach people,” Conte says.  In 2009, approximately 100,000 Pomplamoose songs were purchased online.  “Now I’m a completely independent musician.  [Pomplamoose] makes a living off of our mp3 sales.”

Asked about his motivation to take the journey toward becoming his own boss, Conte reflects:

“I didn’t have any connections to the music industry.  I didn’t want to give away all my copyrights.  I felt like I had to figure out a way to do it by myself.  So many musicians sign with a record label, then lose control of everything they do.  And that just didn’t make sense to me.  I wanted to figure out some other way to make the music that I wanted to make, still maintain all the control, and make a living.”

Pomplamoose Videosong

“Bust Your Knee Caps”

Maybe video killed the radio star.  Maybe the Internet is killing both.  But it has given new life to the musical entrepreneur.  Rather than become disheartened by the shifting music industry, Jack Conte took advantage of the opportunities the internet affords to make a unique product and deliver it to a large number of consumers.

To learn more about Pomplamoose, please visit:






About the Author: Justin Wiles

Justin Wiles is a Musician, Songwriter, and amateur Audio Engineer. He has previously written blog posts for Stem & Leaf, an artist collective based in Austin, TX. He is a contributing writer for BossStart and Co-Editor/Featured Author for BossStart’s upcoming sister site, PauseStart, launching early 2012.

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2 Comments + Add Comment

  • Great Article! I’m glad to read is writing about unique artists. Keep it up guys

    • Thanks, glad you liked the article. Keep checking back for more.

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