On The House, a fantastic platform for musicians to get their music reviewed and heard by industry folk. It’s creator Marcus Osborne is a busy guy with the platform venturing in to band management and his own band doing well so I thought I would grab a chat with him whilst I still can! So . . . let’s get to know Marcus!
So ‘On The House’. How did it begin?
On The House started originally back in 2013 as a music review blog that only reviewed music by local artists who had released it for free download. The idea initially was to shine a spotlight on artists who wanted to get their name out there at all costs, because traditionally, free music releases from small artists wouldn’t get any form of major press – if any. But, as the streaming era started taking over the website became almost obsolete and I was too wrapped up in Crooked Little Sons to try and salvage it. I decided to take some time off and decide what step to take next.
During the two years where the website wasn’t active, I was constantly trying to think of ideas on how to revamp it with a stronger community ethos to it, based on the attitude of the punk rock scene in Exeter that I was heavily influenced by. I had the idea after playing a tour with CLS and meeting a load of interesting and charismatic people within the music industry over those few weeks and thought; ‘How cool would it be to have a place where all these dedicated people could chip in to help local artists in more ways than just financially’. So I decided to turn On The House into the worlds first ‘Community Music Reviewing’ website!
What changes have you seen since you first started?
We’ve been incredibly lucky in the last year to have built up such a solid fanbase of music enthusiasts, artists and industry professionals alike that loads of amazing opportunities have risen from them being involved. Visiting a host of UK Festivals last year and hosting our own stage at the UK Music Expo, as well as attending a load of local shows that we wouldn’t have had the resources to get to before. We’ve really noticed a difference in people’s compliance to testing out new features as well and most importantly – giving us feedback. Which is the most important thing to us at this point in our development, as we want the users who regularly visit the site to suggest updates that we can then save up for and apply them as soon as possible.
If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?
Streaming has completely changed the game and there’s no turning back from it now. I guess in an idyllic world, artists would get paid fairly from streaming services so they could sustain a career from it, or at least help towards the cost of being an artist.
I think with this in mind, a more practical solution to the streaming issue in my opinion, could be creating a service for artists to be able to send their music directly to the film/tv-show/independant movie world. Not only to help reclaim some lost royalty payments they wouldn’t receive from streaming services/lack of physical purchases, but also to create a new method of exposure that isn’t utilised to the best of its ability. People don’t listen to the radio anymore, people barely even check out videos that are directly sent to them – but EVERYONE binge watches TV shows/films to some degree, so you have no choice to hear the track. With major streaming services like Netflix bringing out a new series every week and each episode having the ability to feature 5-30 snippets of songs, alongside the ridiculous amount of revenue these films/series generate – a fraction of that will sustain an artist financially until their next release! But i’m just throwing out ideas at this point, i’m sure there’s already 100s of start-up projects ready to change the game again with ideas none of us could have even dreamed of, we just need to be patient!
Who have been some of your favourite artists to sign up to On The House?
This is a super hard question to answer haha. Pretty much every artist I’ve reviewed myself I’ve loved barring to odd couple, and each artist has been added to my personal playlists! At the moment i’m jamming Lunar Birds new album (Shoegaze/Dream Pop – Cardiff) as well as Bird Shoes’ newest single (Angsty Punk Duo – Brighton), who are both destined to rip the music scene a new one in the near future.
What do you hope to achieve with On The House?
The end goal is to hopefully have enough reviewers on board with the website that new local artists who haven’t received/don’t know how to obtain any press for their releases, can guarantee at least one review from a respected industry name to use on their press packs. Eventually we will be looking in to events, festivals and our first ever magazine. But we aren’t going to run before we can walk, we want to make sure that when we debut these new ideas that we can put 100% of our effort into them so they have the best chance of being a success!
Why did you decide to branch out in to management?
I’d been toying with the idea for a long time, and after meeting Slackrr at the Music Expo back in February 2018, I brought up the idea with Scotty a while after reviewing their debut single for the site. They are an incredibly talented, driven and lovely bunch of people that reminded me of countless bands I had met over the years who wrote amazing music – but not the industry knowledge on how to run the business side of being an artist. So they ended up fizzling out.
So OTH Music Management was built to show artists what to do & what not to do when you’re starting up a new project, getting artists in touch with promoters/festivals and then showing them how to maintain a professional relationship, organising press shoots, artwork, social media and general management tips on how to make the boring side of music more bearable. Once they think they know everything, they are free to leave the contract whenever they like! It’s very rewarding to know you’re a part of giving someone fighting chance in the local music scene, even if its just getting their foot in the door for them.
How much of a pain the ass are Slackrr? 😉
Haha, other than Scotty messaging me at 3am and waking me up all the time 😉 – I love them all to bits. Seriously though, they’ve never felt like ‘clients’ to me and that’s what I wanted from the start. We call up each other to gossip about music, have meetings over a few drinks and make a lot of jokes – we just get a lot of work done in the process too! They are one of the most dedicated and hardworking bands I’ve ever met and every task I ask of them is completed within the day, which is why it’s no surprise that they have grown so quickly! They keep me on my toes that’s for sure!
What else do you get up to in the music industry?
Anything I can get my hands on really. I like to help out wherever I can if I have the time to dedicate to it! I’m helping out with a new festival (born from an old festival with a new committee behind it) summer that I can’t reveal just yet, but it’ll be my first time diving into the open-air festival world and experiencing how its done so i’m very excited!
Apart from that, I have been working with BlankTV for about a year now as one of their only UK interviewers/representatives and i’m being sent to a whole host of dream festivals this year to interview some of the best bands in the underground game right now. I can’t thank the team enough for the support they’ve given myself & On The House by setting up these opportunities with the intention of letting me use the time to promote all my other projects! Everything goes full circle in this weird music game and the team are very much behind every part of it.
I’m also the guitarist for punk n’ roll band Crooked Little Sons, who are playing some killer shows this year and will be taking our first trips over the pond very soon with some good friends. I also front & play bass in hardcore punk band DORKS, which is my little passion project for just acting like a lunatic and destroying my vocals chords – it’s great fun!
What would you say is your ultimate guilty pleasure?
There’s no such thing in my eyes! But if I had to pick something that other people wouldn’t expect me to like, I have to say I love a good bit of ‘BTS – Mic Drop’ when i’m ready for steaming night out. Fight me.
Are you a foot tapper or a head banger?
Depends on the show! I actually have a bit of an issue with jittery legs (probably due to drinking 10+ extra strong coffees a day) so i’m always foot tapping haha. I’m not much of headbanger, it fucks with my neck too much from doing it too much when I was 15, but there are certain bands that just bring out the monster inside of me and I just can’t help but get involved in the pit. There’s only about 5/6 bands (mentioned in my top five below) that get me so pumped I actually crowd surf and become an absolute nuisance (apologies if you’ve been in the firing line before, I’ve stopped wearing DMs now..).
Top 5 all time favourite albums?
This question has taken the longest to answer, but I’ve managed to just about narrow it down based on albums that I can put on at anytime and never be sick of it!
Foo Fighters – The Colour And The Shape
The Flatliners – Cavalcade
PUP – Self Titled
The Hotelier – Home, Like No Place Is There
Sum 41 – All Killer No Filler /// Blink 182 – Dude Ranch (I can’t choose)