free html hit counter Get Yer Head Right - John Battelle's Search Blog

Get Yer Head Right

By - February 17, 2008


(Note: This is the first of a number of posts I’ll be doing using mobile technology thanks to a sponsorship from Microsoft and FM. More here).

Sometimes you just need to go to a show (click on the pic for a larger image I shot while there). I certainly did after the past two months of four hour meetings, travel, and general madness. A good friend introduced me to Umphrey’s McGee, a killer jam band out of Chicago. This was my third or fourth time seeing them, and they always just kill it, wherever they play.
If you want a real treat, subscribe to their podcast here.

What does this have to do with Searchblog? Well, as I’ve written before, I find the music industry very predictive of the media markets in general. Umphrey’s is the kind of band that heralds a new approach to media, entertainment, and distribution. The band has a strong following in its native Chicago, but it has found another strong following online. The music doesn’t lend itself to traditional packaged goods approaches to marketing, but that doesn’t matter – online distribution and word of mouth has helped the band play to packed halls all over the country. I saw them at the fabled Fillmore, twice in fact, and they did the place proud. The third show is tonight, go see them if you can…

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3 thoughts on “Get Yer Head Right

  1. bill Furlong says:


    You are spot on about UM– as a Chicagoan and local music scene lover, Umphrey is one of the better bands these days and maybe even better “business” players than most bands, anywhere.

    check this in depth article from the local weekly, the reader, on the business model of UM.


  2. Andy Gadiel says:

    Umphrey’s a great band, with an incredible history and story. We’ve been covering them for about 8-9 years now at JamBase, as they started to gain in popularity at the turn of the century (feels cool to say that)

    The interesting ‘marketing’ story about Umphrey’s is that they came out of Notre Dame, which apparently has one of the highest out of state enrollments. After college, they had tons of friends who moved back to their respective homes around the country, so they’d always have a couch to sleep on in their countrywide travels.

    Their manager in his infinite wisdom would make stacks of CDs from their recent shows (remember this was 2001) and send them to their fan friends from around the country. Those fans would then pass the CDs out to their local friends and the next time the band came through town they’d have a built in crowd who already knew all the lyrics to the shows.

    Over the years due to the evolution of online marketing, great word of mouth and some pretty fantastic songs, they’ve become a mainstay at most summer festivals and of course as you experienced headlining 3 nights at the Fillmore.

    Go Umph!

  3. McL says:

    50+ Umphrey’s podcasts and over 1 million downloads.
    not a bad way to distribute some music, eh?