Bringing Back the Fire and Originality: My Jam TV Network and an Indie Music Movement
By Chris Tepedino
The event was Woodstock, 1969, a showcase in the Catskill Mountains for legendary and impassioned arts like The Who and Jimi Hendrix. Critics had glowing praise for that awe-inspiring festival: The theatrics of the performers, the totality of a counterculture movement, the music full of fury and brilliance.
Today, that has been lost. Young starlets and bands are lacking fire, passion, and originality. They live in bubbles; producers, press agents, ghostwriters. Sometimes they don’t even write their own songs.
David S. Zucker wants to bring back that passion and bring exposure to originality. And he’s started an organization to start the revolution.
It’s called My Jam Music Network, and it was initially formed in 2016. It started with a premise: Give indie artists a platform to showcase their music, with their own music videos, for their fans. It started small and grew large. Today, it broadcasts to 193 countries, with tens of millions of streams.
In Zucker’s words, “It’s the MTV for Internet TV. No matter what part of the world you’re in, you’re on.”
The genesis was simple. Zucker saw a struggling music industry. An industry dominated by auto-tunes and ghostwriters, who cultivated artists from a young age and groomed them for stardom. A built in fan base mattered more than passion, and if they didn’t have skill–there were people to help them with that.
The ones neglected in that culture and system were the indie artists, those that pushed music through innovation and creativity, but perhaps lacked the exposure of the mainstream artists and the resources behind them.
““[The] mainstream does not pay attention to these artists,” Zucker said. “And the music industry went downhill. It’s in turmoil now.”
That’s where My Jam Music Network comes in. It is, as the slogan goes, “24-hour music channel created by musicians, for musicians and their fans.” My Jam Music Network and its creator, Zucker, back that up.
There are musicians from all around the world competing for slots on the My Jam Music Network channel stream. From England, from France, from Italy. Across the world to Japan and Korea. Featured artists in Latin America.
Indie artists, all of them. Rock, pop, alternative. As long as it moves, the videos are clean, and the sound isn’t what’s featured every day on the radio, the musicians move through. They have their video accepted. And their work–their own work–is featured throughout the world.
Relationships with artists are crucial to My Jam Music Network’s mission, and few help more with that than John Nagle, a long-time musician turned VP. Nagle “speaks the language” according to Zucker and communicates with artists regularly.
“He’s very personable,” Zucker said. “He’s a big musician. That helps. Musicians talking to other musicians.”
In another avenue to promote indie artists, My Jam TV Network is looking to expand beyond just artist-submitted music videos. Zucker wants to create content, including top hit shows from different countries.
He has started with a good source, a man some saw as a visionary in the music industry, Alan Merrill. You may know him through a song–he wrote and sang “I Love Rock and Roll.” Merrill hosts “Across the Pond”, an original content show, which features artists from the UK, indie artists.
Zucker sees original content as integral to My Jam TV Network’s future. Planning has started on a show broadcast from downtown Nashville. “Rock-Metal-Country”, a new talk show, will feature Paul Crook, a very well-respected musician. “Courting the Grammy” with Alan Merrill and legendary producer Glen Kolotkin will have artists vie to become the next Joan Jett.
For indie artists, Zucker wants more exposure, more original content and further–concerts for choice musicians, four bands traveling together on a bus around the country, playing venues, and a change in the music industry.
He wants real festivals with otherworldly performers playing original, impassioned music. Could he bring back the brilliance of the golden age of The Who and Jimi Hendrix? Zucker is going to try.