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Published: 2014/01/10

Umphrey’s McGee Management Responds to Wall Street Journal

Umphrey’s McGee manager Kevin Browning has written a blog post responding to a Wall Street Journal article that bashes the band’s Headphones and Snowcones program.

In a January 8 article titled “Sounds Isolated,” WSJ’s Eric Felten argues that the Headphones and Snowcones—which gives concertgoers the opportunity to listen to the select Umphrey’s shows in perfect audio via a pair of headphones—further isolates people in an already isolated world. Felten goes on to compare the program to wearing headphones in a public space, adding, “Portable music players have succeeded because they isolate. Headphones create a magic aural shell in uncomfortably close quarters, and are invaluable in such places as the airport, where we are surrounded by people with whom we share nothing other than perhaps a desire to avoid the middle seat.”

Needless to say, Browning disagrees. The longtime member of Umphrey’s McGee’s management team—who is the brains behind many of the band’s creative offerings—responded yesterday with a blog post that outlines just how different the Headphones and Snowcones experience is from listening to an iPod at the airport. Browning noted that, “Comparing someone that tunes out their day to day environment by isolating himself inside a pair of headphones to a music fan that relishes a deeper connection to the nuance and artistry being performed live is missing the point. They are different animals; one is an escape, the other an immersion.”

Comments

There are 24 comments associated with this post

mindtonic January 10, 2014, 17:52:05

Plus, you got to love having Chris Mitchell’s mix right up in your ear hole.

ajos January 10, 2014, 17:58:55

chris michetti? um…no

Brenden LaPier January 10, 2014, 18:33:27

Chris Mitchell.. Front of House for UM, dumbass!

ralph milite January 11, 2014, 07:40:52

I was wishing for this while seeing a great show with lousey accoustics at NY s Barkley Center

HAHAHAHAHA January 11, 2014, 09:48:57

Good finally a real news outlet pans Umphrey’s continual tries to take money from their fans. Kind of like their flood relief show where they “donated” 15 dollars of a 200 dollar show to Colorado Flood Relief. It was pretty obvious if you were at the run they used the money from the Flood relief shows to make up for the vastly undersold shows from the first 2 nights at the Fillmore. Now toss on some headphones, maybe a UM onesie for a baby or some Myers Hair Club for Men autographed Conditioner bottles and maybe just maybe you will notice UM hasn’t written a good new tune in ages and relies on songs Brendan and Joel wrote in college ninety percent of the time. Sorry guys its not 2009 anymore. Umphreys may just be the next Ekoostik Hookah over the following years.

Immersion stfu January 11, 2014, 10:12:12

Anybody else think bands need to gag guys who think they are smart in this tiny universe, before they talk to a massive publication? That is such a poor reply to the article by “their management” it may make someone feel a UM show is a Soho Bath house (this is arguable) or take away from the overall show as most UM gimmicks do.

spikenyc January 11, 2014, 12:19:40

I think the WSJ guy nailed it. Why would go to see a band play live and put on headphones to hear a mix from the sound board? Isnt going to a concert about shariing the music and vibe with all the other people in the room? Although you have to admit that this is a really great marketing tool. Look at all the press UM has received from this.

Tellsemasiseesthem January 11, 2014, 12:58:07

Umphrey’s McGhee = double thumbs down They truly suck

Joe January 11, 2014, 13:24:26

Any PR is good PR? Probably 50/50 but they will get some new fans out of it. I love this band but they will always play theaters/clubs, which works for me.

rob January 11, 2014, 13:35:21

This wsj author’s obviously never heard a concert at the electric factory …. Yeesh. Also, for those sccusing umphreys of taking their fans money, you do know the headphones are optional right. Meaning if you dont want to wear headphones you dont wear the headphones. Pretty easy solution right?

What the? January 11, 2014, 14:24:32

For criminy’s ake, just change the channel. No, it is not always about a communal vibe. Sometimes, it about escapism as well, and judging from the myriad assholes who chat up a storm or won’t turn off their cells for five minutes straight, I applaud the band for comng up with an option.

Hunter January 11, 2014, 16:16:57

artistry lolololol

EAR PROTECTORS January 11, 2014, 21:30:11

I really think the headphones are for fans of the band that don’t want to hear “women wine and song”, “well wishers” “all of mantis” “cemetary walk,” but if you have your ears cover you miss the point. UM shows have become just havens for young dudes generally of “like” mindset looking for numbers and a good time. I’m transgender so I live in the community, and probably the best marketing in roads UM has made is in the LGBT jam community. Denver was a rainbow of love. I absolutely love the freakshow that it entails even if it scares the Notre Dame kidz. They just haven’t tried to push that pig yet!
Rodly

Noodles January 12, 2014, 11:20:38

It’s just the biz of the biz. Cool concept by UM and let the fans figure it out. Maybe one day there will be an easy listening headphone section next to tapers next to twirlers all identified by smartphone apps or NF tech as to who shares your interests near you. People- the % of revenue going to promoters and artists vs the bashed big corps and venues is a waste of time to argue. It is not the start of music and it is not the age of Woodstock. It cost money- outside our scene musicians make a living, as artists, how? They can’t therefore the industry is morphing itself and the future looks awesome for all of us fans- who pay to see and experience live music. Serious post sorry to kill the morning buzz…. Go see live music and support our artists!

danimal January 12, 2014, 22:23:20

always thought this was a bit gimmicky for umph but I also think the comparisons to an i pod the writer should loose his job. By the way i would pay radiohead to see their show with the headphones

Uncle Wally January 13, 2014, 17:27:22

KB proves again why he is the smartest guy in the business. Always coming up with fresh ideas for the best band around. Sorry everyone wants to be a hater… it’s easier just to go see Panic and Phish all the time. Keep it up UM, we got your back!

Uncle Billy January 14, 2014, 05:05:20

I went to the 4 Umphrey’s McGee shows in Denver a couple weeks ago. One of the nights we rented a set of soundboard feed headphones. The sound was even more amazing. My wife and I took turns using them and also let people around us try them out. Everyone loved them. It’s an amazing listening experience and it actually turned it into a better social experience. What other band lets you tap in to the soundboard feed?? I guess if you don’t like amazing sound, then it’s not for you. Go to a UM show and rent the headphones, then you can talk about why it’s a bad idea. Until then you don’t have a clue.

spinning kitty January 15, 2014, 21:34:09

I agree with Uncle Billy. As a professional who has been attending UM shows for over 10 years now I have to say…the “experience” for me of an UM show means many things and, if you have and want to spend the money on it, making available to me and others who may enjoy it an escape from the regular concert sounds and a ticket into the inner sanctum known as the soundboard feed is not a “gimmick” to take money from fans but just another way being offered to experience the magic of UM live! Make it to that show after a 90 hour week in corporate hell and it might make more sense…

spinning kitty January 15, 2014, 21:34:10

I agree with Uncle Billy. As a professional who has been attending UM shows for over 10 years now I have to say…the “experience” for me of an UM show means many things and, if you have and want to spend the money on it, making available to me and others who may enjoy it an escape from the regular concert sounds and a ticket into the inner sanctum known as the soundboard feed is not a “gimmick” to take money from fans but just another way being offered to experience the magic of UM live! Make it to that show after a 90 hour week in corporate hell and it might make more sense…

Dolemite January 15, 2014, 23:23:55

If you listened to the headphones feed, you would understand.

jeff January 16, 2014, 22:33:15

Some of y’all are really dumb. UM shows just a place for dudes to get numbers? No good songs since their college days? Truly suck? Ekoostic Hookah? F@$# you. Stick with her Disco Biscuits shows. If yer lucky, they won’t try to sing. Or maybe you like O.A.R. or Tea Leaf Green. #whatthef@$#amieventalkingabout #canyouevenhashtaghere?!?

rawkhard January 19, 2014, 01:26:41

Totally agree with Uncle Billy.I think I used yours and your wifes headphones if you were upstairs center by the way if it is you, your wife and you were awesome!

Noodles January 21, 2014, 02:29:00

Hey Jeff – u got your wish… All instrumental . As in talented musicians playing real instruments/ pretty darn cool. Nothing against UM, again, the business is about to make all us fans happier than ever. ‘See’ live music. Coming to a zone near you, 50k albums equals tops on billboard – really think that lasts too long?

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