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TMN Interview: Isaac Hanson on the music industry

The Music Network

Ahead of Hanson’s Australian tour next month, Isaac Hanson, the band of brothers’ eldest sibling, talked to TMN about the recorded music industry and why he believes it is falling apart.

Since their inception in 1992, Hanson have sold over 16 million records worldwide, had six top 40 ARIA singles and five top 20 albums – not bad for a band who commercially peaked with 1997’s Middle Of Nowhere and have been wholly independent since 2003. That year, Isaac Hanson and his brothers Zac and Taylor started 3CG (a reference to their 1998 compilation LP 3 Car Garage) after a merger between their then label Mercury Records and Universal lead to ‘creative differences’ between the band and the team they were assigned.

Now, after eleven years of dancing to the beat of their independent drum, Isaac has seen a shift within the recorded industry as labels forgo quantity over quality.

“The music business has fallen apart for all intents and purposes, and is continuing to fall apart,” he says. “I think most of the reason why it has done that is because it has lost focus on two most important things: first and foremost, the quality of your product; the artist you are signing and their ability to create music consistently that is quality and consistent with shall we say the first album that they made. And then subsequently, equally important, the other side of that coin is the relationship with the audience who is purchasing that music.

“People don’t value what they don’t purchase so you need to encourage people to see the products that you are making as valuable,” he continues. “When you release a crumby product, albums that don’t have an adequate amount of decent songs on them, people don’t value it, so they don’t feel they need to pay for it.”


Isaac also believes the rush of free music has affected the industry negatively and while Hanson’s last three releases are available to stream on Spotify, he’s a vocal and firm believer in paying for intellectual property.

“When you have people who are able to get hold of music for free, by and large, or at least more so than before, then you have a problem. I think the record industry, by and large, has done it to themselves and I think the artist will find a way to fix that.

“As long as fans understand that the goal is to have your favourite band be successful and for you to be as involved and engaged in that process – because the fans need to appreciate the bands and the bands need to appreciate the fans – as long as you can create a good connected relationship, everybody’s going to win.”

While Isaac would never directly condemn the major label industry, he does openly push artists to consider all options. Hanson may not have mirrored their Billboard #1 with MmmBop in 1997 but with international sell-out tours year-on-year, a “comfortable, blue-collar” touring lifestyle and their own beer (Mmmhops), their career sans major label has been a resilient one.

“There is an opportunity that we have as a music community in general to facilitate the music and the art that we’re doing without arbitrarily aligning ourselves with something that doesn’t have our best interests in mind,” he says. “I think it’s all about partnership, ultimately it’s about finding the right people to do the job.

“If you can find a label that is a major label where you have people that are in it that are passionate about what it is you’re doing you can be successful. If you have a small company that is passionate about what you’re doing and is focused on what you’re doing, you can be successful. If you can find investors or fans to acquire enough [money] to help financially or if you can do it on your own and fund your own music, which most aspiring and independent artists do, then all the power to you and you could probably be successful doing it. I think there are a lot of ways to skin the cat.”

Telethon 7 Hanson Auction

Telethon is a registered childrens charitable trust dedicated to raising funds to improve the lives of children and young people throughout WA.  They have up for sale a Hanson Meet & Greet currently at AU $355 for the August 15th show.  The auction includes 4 tickets to the show and a Meet and Greet with Hanson.

The auction is on Ebay:
Details about the telethon can be found at

This day in TRL – If Only

Check out the Tumblr “This day in TRL” with notes on the Top videos of the TRL countdown, with notes from a music video director who grew up watching them.  July 21st, 2000 If Only was the #1 song on the countdown.

Win a beer with Hanson

Mix 102.3

Hanson are playing in Adelaide on Tuesday 12th August at HQ.

Last month Jodie, Soda and Snowy spoke to them and discovered they’ve now launched their own brewery call MmmHops!  We offered to take them to down the road from HQ to West End Brewery for a beer when they come to town … and they accepted.

Would you like to join us for a beer at West End Brewery with Hanson? We’ll even give you some of their MmmHops beer too.

To enter*, tell us about your celebrity ‘Brush With Fame.’

If you have met a celebrity in the past (especially if you bumped in to them in a random place) tell us about who, where and why below?

Jodie, Soda and Snowy will pick their favourite story to choose who will accompany them to West End Brewery to meet the boys for a beer.

*Entrants must be over 18 years of age.

Check out their greatest and their latest songs!

Read more at–Soda-and-Snowy#T3O3RhbFlvzWg5BY.99

Oldest Hanson warns newbie pop stars Bieber and Miley on regrettable behaviour

Herald Sun

Hanson is back, from left, Isaac, Taylor and Zac.

Hanson is back, from left, Isaac, Taylor and Zac.

NINETIES pop star Isaac Hanson has issued a warning to his 2014 counterparts Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus to pull their heads in or be left with regrets.

The oldest member of clean-cut band-of-brothers Hanson — who rose to international fame with their 1997 smash hit MMMBop — told the Leader that he “felt bad” for Bieber and Cyrus because of their controversial antics.

Justin Bieber onstage in California earlier this year. Picture: Kevin Winter, Getty Image

Justin Bieber onstage in California earlier this year. Picture: Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Bieber has recently uploaded a photo of his crotch onto social media and Cyrus is becoming increasingly known for her provocative ‘twerking’ dancing.

“On some level or other I feel bad for them,” Isaac, now 33, said.

“I think in the ways those artists are behaving, they will look back and regret some of the stuff they are doing.”

Isaac Hanson says the behaviour of Miley Cyrus, pictured here in a selfie on Instagram, m

Isaac Hanson says the behaviour of Miley Cyrus, pictured here in a selfie on Instagram, may come to override her music.

The Tulsa band, comprised of Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson – all now married with children- has received several Grammy nominations, sold more than 16 million albums and have just released a new album, Anthem.

At the time, the pop stars, aged 11, 13 and 16, were likened to the Beatles due to the legions of screaming female fans at their concerts.

But Hanson remained the good boys of pop, keeping a clean image from then to now.

Isaac put out a warning to Bieber and Cyrus that their behaviour could overcome their music.

“As an artist or musician, you want to be remembered for the music you make,” he said.

“Hanson will be associated with MMMBop and long blonde hair, in the same way the Beatles are associated with mop tops and suits.

“What Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber (are doing), they are ingraining a certain thing with people’s minds and they stand a good chance to regret those things.”

Hanson is in Australia touring with their new album, Anthem, will play Melbourne’s The Hi-Fi on Sunday, August 10, and have already sold out their show the night before at the Palais Theatre.

Isaac said the band’s concerts attracted hardcore fans who have been on board since they were 13, to new fans who have just discovered their music — but the “screaming quotient” remained.

“For some reason or another there’s definitely still continues to be a significant screaming quotient at Hanson shows,” he said.

“In some ways, Australian fans are more dedicated and more enthusiastic than some of our most loyal fans in the US.”

In the Words of Taylor Hanson

Sam Noble Museum

As you know from Digging Deep for Leadership, each year 12 high school students from across Oklahoma participate in Paleo Expedition – a hands-on two-week paleontological experience in Black Mesa. This year Taylor Hanson and Zane Woods, two of our Board of Visitors members, decided to visit the site to do a little digging of their own! And of course, we were thrilled to have them.

Wait! It gets better. Hanson has chronicled the experience in a four-page story that will appear in the summer edition of Tracks, the museum newsletter. And today, we’re offering you a sneak peek! So relax, pull up a chair and lose yourself in the words of Taylor Hanson.


In the Footsteps of Dinosaurs

After our introduction to the site we were anxious to get to work and be of some service. At the front edge of the quarry was a cluster of earth, which had recently been coated with thick layers of plaster carefully molded around it to protect the fossil during transportation before being examined at the museum.

Now that the team had a couple of extra willing strong backs, Zane and I set out to perform the task of carefully flipping the nearly 300-pound cluster of earth that was half in plaster, in order to finish the preparatory process of chiseling away the remaining sediment for transport.

We set out to perform this simple task with smiles on our face and a not-so-small streak of nervousness – knowing that in a matter of minutes we could be responsible for destroying millions of years of time-protected fossil and a fair bit of labor by our hosts. Thankfully with close instruction and a healthy heave, two science tourists were able to perform the task successfully (and greatly relieved to have done so). 

Over the period of the afternoon we took on whatever tasks we could.  We joined the team in the detailed and dusty job of excavating one inch at a time the excess soil and clay, each clinging to the bottom of the fossils earthen cluster, and I enjoyed every scuffed knuckle and dust-coated wipe of my brow.

All around me I saw a team of passionate people putting their years of dedicated study and practice into action, carefully unearthing a new part of history. To be among them brush and pick in hand as a total novice getting the chance to share in that discovery was absolutely incredible.


Amazing, right? Now, we know what you’re thinking. Where are the other three pages?! To read the rest of Hanson’s story, pick up a copy of Tracks – available at the end of July in the museum lobby. Or better yet, become a museummember! We’ll even mail it to you. Either way, you won’t want to miss this article. Because whether you’re a lover of paleontology, Oklahoma or Hanson, there’s something for everyone in this rich recollection.

10 Celebs with Their Own Brand of Booze


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Getty Images

Hanson Are Letting Australian Fans Pick Their Setlist


Image for Hanson Are Letting Australian Fans Pick Their Setlist

Hanson, the American pop-rock sibling trio responsible for provoking teen hysteria in the mid 90s, have announced they will be allowing fans the opportunity to have their say on the set list for theirupcoming Australia tour.

The band’s second Sydney concert at the Hi-Fi on August 13th will be one of the select cities to get this rare treat from the pop-rock trio, along with their show at the Gold Coast’s Coolangatta Hotel on August 6th and their final Australian show of the tour at Fremantle Metropolis on August 15th.

Fans will have the opportunity to vote for up to 15 of their favourite Hanson song and will have to make the impossible choice from a list of 39 tracks. The selection includes such gems as Penny And MeIf OnlyThis Time Around and, yes, MMMBop.

“We have been blown away by the response to the coming tour, so to say thank you we’ve decided to put the set list in the hands of the fans – something we have never done in Australia before”, saidTaylor Hanson.

Speaking to Music Feeds recently, Taylor Hanson explained that it was exactly this kind of industry foresight and connection with fans that’s allowed them to thrive in the internet era.

“That seems crazy to talk about because it wasn’t that long ago, but we were able transition in a smoother way. What allowed us to leave our label once it started turning into a big, corporate mess and start our own was we knew where our fans were, who they were and how to talk to them.”

Setlist voting is take place on the band’s website right now. Hanson’s Australian tour will kick off on Tuesday, 5th August at The Tivoli in Brisbane.

Hanson’s Anthem Tour, Australia & New Zealand 2014

Tuesday, 5th August 2014
The Tivoli, Brisbane (18+ show)
Tix: Via Ticketmaster

Wednesday, 6th August 2014
Coolangatta Hotel, Gold Coast (18+ show)
Tix: Via Oztix

Friday, 8th August 2014
Enmore Theatre, Sydney (All Ages)
Tix: Via Ticketek

Saturday, 9th August 2014 – SOLD OUT
Palais Theatre, Melbourne (All Ages)

Sunday, 10th August 2014
The Hi-Fi, Melbourne (18+ show)
Tix: The Hi-Fi

Tuesday, 12th August 2014
HQ, Adelaide (18+ show)
Tix: Via Oztix

Wednesday, 13th August
The Hi-Fi, Sydney (18+ show)
Tix: The Hi-Fi

Friday, 15th August 2014
Metropolis, Fremantle (18+ show)
Tix: Via Oztix

Sunday, 17th August 2014
Powerstation, Auckland (All Ages)
Tix: Via Ticketmaster

Hanson – 22 years on from the boy band, still going strong

Newcastle Herald

BROTHERS UNITED: Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson.

BROTHERS UNITED: Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson.

TAYLOR Hanson describes it as the album that could almost never have been. After 22 years of writing music and constant touring with brothers and co-songwriters Isaac and Zac, the Grammy-nominated pop rock trio skidded to an unexpected halt in the lead-up to their guitar-soaked ninth studio album, Anthem, which was heavily influenced by their love of ’60s soul and rock’n’roll.

Hanson in 2014

“We really did have some friction and a lot of that friction really came from just being non-stop,” Taylor says from the band’s headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“We’d never really stopped; we were coming off a long tour and then we went into a really intense process and we just basically hit a wall and had to say ‘Hey, we’re not ready for this’.

“Once we came back together [six months later] the record was made in one of the shortest periods of time and it was really clear what the album was going to be – there is some intensity that’s on there, because we were in an intense kind of spot.

“But part of our whole staying positive ethos – the way our songs sound and our message to people – is we acknowledge frustration and difficulty and all kinds of dark spots that you go through in life, but it’s the music that pulls you through. The music is you’re trying to find an answer; you try and get through it.”

If these musicians were the kind of men to give up easily, they would have had more than enough reasons to do so by now.

Guitarist Isaac, 33, pianist Taylor, 31, and drummer Zac, 28, had already recorded two independent albums of their own songs, Boomerang and Mmmbop, when they were signed to Mercury Records for their first major label album, Middle of Nowhere, which sold more than 10 million copies worldwide and was to become synonymous with the late ’90s.

Released on May 6, 1997 – which Oklahoma’s then-governor, Frank Keating, declared Hanson Day in Tulsa – it found its way into the hands of one in 10 Australians.

The brothers were just 16, 14 and 11 years old.


“We got started so young that the music was our driver; it wasn’t fame and girls,” Taylor says of staying level-headed as they grew up in the public eye.

“It was like ‘Hey, we get to be in a band, really? This is our job, this is what we’re going to get to do and people like it?’

“We had a good family around us. We didn’t have a lot of sycophants going ‘You’re the best thing in the world’. We’ve always had people telling it straight and have really focused on what we do best and tried to not do the rest.”

It was this determination that would propel them through one of the most tumultuous periods in their career, when their label, Mercury Records, merged with Island Def Jam Music Group in May 2000.

The album on which they were working at the time, This Time Around, was released just after the amalgamation, but sold poorly due to a lack of promotional funding.

Island Def Jam eventually removed funding for the band’s impending tour – leaving the brothers to finance their travels on their own – and refused more than 80 songs the band had started writing for their next album, saying they lacked marketability.

The brothers decided to leave Island Def Jam in 2003 and establish their own label, 3CG Records, which has released their past four albums.

Taylor said they wished they had broken away even sooner.

“I remember when our first major record on 3CG [Underneath] came out in 2004 as an indie act after our initial success and that feeling of having a number one independent record [on the Billboard Top Independent Albums Chart] – which was for us the goal – and knowing it was our label and we’d really tried to build a team and it had worked to some degree,” he said.

“That was an extraordinary feeling of success and so I think we learnt pretty early on in the label process that you have to sort of define what you want success to be.

“If you go ‘well, success is selling these shows and doing well on the charts and keeping this many fans engaged’, then you can be successful, you can achieve a lot of things.”

Keeping one of the most devoted fan bases in the world engaged is no small feat, with the non-stop entrepreneurs stoking the connection forged over two decades with a range of innovative experiences, including annual Hanson Day celebrations in Tulsa, where fans can buy the brothers’ artwork, their five-day package holiday called Back To The Island that includes activities with the band such as cooking; and a fan club in which members have access to exclusive music, merchandise and opportunities to meet their idols.

“We realised a long time ago that being successful over time is not just about being in the music business, it’s about the Hanson business,” Taylor said.

“It’s about being in the business of connecting with people through all the things we care about and if you can build a community around you where people feel like they’re part of something legitimate, then even when you’re not touring every week or month or putting out an album constantly, people feel connected to each other.

“I love to take photos, to paint, to cook, so if you can share those things with fans, then they have the opportunity to be more deeply connected with you.

“To us it’s a natural connection – it doesn’t seem that out there to try and find ways to be more accessible and interesting and connected with your fans.

“It’s a two-way street – the best street is a two-way street.”

While most of their fan events are held in the US, distance has proved no hurdle to the loyalty of the band’s antipodean supporters.

The upcoming nine Australian and New Zealand shows come soon after their 2012 visit, which saw some fans fly between capital cities to attend every show.

“We did know from the history there that we’ve had a great fan base there for a long time and so I think we were just grateful and excited and really blown away and very much looking forward to coming back,” Taylor says of the fan response.

He continues to write and develop the second album with his side project Tinted Windows, which also includes guitarist James Iha, previously of The Smashing Pumpkins, bassist Adam Schlesinger, of Fountains of Wayne, and Ivy and Bun E. Carlos, of Cheap Trick.

Mmmbop, as you may remember them from the 90s

But do not dare suggest this could signal a halt to performing with his brothers.

“I think we’ll be making music as long as we can walk on stage,” Taylor says.

“That doesn’t mean there won’t be times where we take breaks and people do different projects, but the essence of who we are as a band is bigger than just an album or two.

“The people we look up to are the people whose shows you go to and you see three generations – Tom Petty or Billy Joel or Paul McCartney or Bruce Springsteen – that’s what we want.”

After the agitation surrounding the development of their last album, the band have opted not to impose a time limit on themselves for their next release, choosing instead to find a way to share a smaller number of songs with their fans, but more frequently.

But this hasn’t stopped Hanson forging ahead with a storm of other ventures, including writing for other artists, speaking at SXSW in Austin, further developing their craft beer company that produces their flagship pale ale Mmmhops and recently organising a music and craft beer festival in Oklahoma called the Hop Jam.

“I love doing, I love making things, I love being a part of things, I love supporting good causes and so it is a challenge you have to learn how to juggle,” Taylor said.

“But doing things and being involved and connected, that energises me and that makes you wake up every day and a full plate is not the worst thing; an empty plate is much scarier.”

No limits for Fansons

‘‘I lost count at 400 Hanson shows,’’ the brunette American tells the gaggle of young women clutching coffees, counting down the remaining 10 hours until the band takes to the stage in Brisbane.

‘‘400?’’ I ask incredulously, trying to calculate how much she would have spent over the years on tickets alone – and how to get a similar job. ‘‘Do you even remember all of them?’’

I had thought zigzagging from Newcastle down to the Sydney show and up to Queensland was impressive.

She smiles a little sheepishly. ‘‘No, but that’s not the point. There’s always another show that is new and different to look forward to.’’

It’s September, 2012, and we’re sitting in a shaded laneway next to inner-city venue The Hi Fi, with each Fanson’s left hand branded with a number written in black texta indicating our position in the line.

The women at the head of the queue – along with one tired-looking husband – arrived with lawnchairs at dawn and appointed themselves as organisers of this burgeoning brigade who, while undoubtedly devoted, seem relatively subdued.

The line can’t be seen from the main street and the excited expression on the face of each woman – and let’s face it, most of the band’s fans are women – falls after they rush around the corner and realise they haven’t arrived first after all, before they obediently hold out their hand to be marked.

New neighbours exchange shy glances and gingerly make introductions as they claim their patch of ground, but this soon gives way to the kind of judgment-free, wandering conversations that can only be had with others who share the same level of enthusiasm for this underestimated trio.

When they need to go to the bathroom, they save each other’s places, and share lunches if they haven’t ‘done their time in the line’ to step away.

‘‘Are Hanson still around?’’ ask perplexed passers-by who inquire why we’re lining up, some in a teasing tone but others genuinely confused.

‘‘I remember Mmmbop, but …?’’

Some Fansons pretend they can’t hear them. Others see the potential for conversion.

A few become indignant: ‘‘It was 17 years ago! They’re not those little long-haired blond boys any more!’’

Indeed, the three men have grown into innovative entrepreneurs as much as they are talented musicians.

Their fan club comprises a legion of interconnected members from across the world who receive exclusive access to online content, music and events including meet and greets and soundchecks.

Still, those assembled here feel they are more than just fans; they feel part of a movement.

Their dedication, Fansons argue, is no different to travelling to see a favourite football team play an away game.

Nearby, a quintet of excited Newcastle teenagers in matching T-shirts have roadtripped from the Hunter after missing out on tickets to the sold-out Sydney show.

A Melbourne doctor to my left had been enjoying a gap year travelling overseas and had already seen the band perform in New York when she heard they were coming to Australia for the first time in eight years.

‘‘It’s different seeing them in your own country,’’ she explained matter-of-factly.

‘‘It meant coming home early, but it was worth it.’’

Music Feeds Podcast Episode #87 – Hanson

Music Feeds

Most still view Hanson as the fresh-faced, young trio singing MMMBop in a video clip that defined an era. But speaking to vocalist and keyboardist Taylor Hanson, you realise that this pop-rock trio command a staggering degree of industry foresight that’s allowed them to thrive in the internet era.

“Nobody seamlessly got through it,” he says. “Even those who had captive audiences like we’ve been able to have. We’re all affected by the change. The one thing that’s made the transition smoother for us in the last 15 years is we really understood it before our label and the industry did.”

“We were the audience that was changing,” he continues. “Getting email addresses, getting phones, using the internet, we saw in our fans where they were living. We owned our website and we were doing web stuff at a time when our label was like, ‘Why are you wasting time with that?’”

“That seems crazy to talk about because it wasn’t that long ago, but we were able transition in a smoother way. What allowed us to leave our label once it started turning into a big, corporate mess and start our own was we knew where our fans were, who they were and how to talk to them.”

Listen: Music Feeds Podcast Episode #87 – Hanson (Taylor Hanson)

(podcast at source)

Hanson’s Anthem Tour, Australia & New Zealand 2014

Tuesday, 5th August 2014
The Tivoli, Brisbane (18+ show)
Tix: Via Ticketmaster

Wednesday, 6th August 2014
Coolangatta Hotel, Gold Coast (18+ show)
Tix: Via Oztix

Friday, 8th August 2014
Enmore Theatre, Sydney (All Ages)
Tix: Via Ticketek

Saturday, 9th August 2014 – SOLD OUT
Palais Theatre, Melbourne (All Ages)

Sunday, 10th August 2014
The Hi-Fi, Melbourne (18+ show)
Tix: The Hi-Fi

Tuesday, 12th August 2014
HQ, Adelaide (18+ show)
Tix: Via Oztix

Wednesday, 13th August
The Hi-Fi, Sydney (18+ show)
Tix: The Hi-Fi

Friday, 15th August 2014
Metropolis, Fremantle (18+ show)
Tix: Via Oztix

Sunday, 17th August 2014
Powerstation, Auckland (All Ages)
Tix: Via Ticketmaster