Kevin Cornell, TuneCore
💭 Thoughts on newsletters, Full Catastrophe Living, and Australia as a bastion for great rock music.
Thought Enthusiast is an AdHoc Project where we chat with fascinating thought leaders across various facets of music, tech, and culture whose work we admire, simply asking “what’s on your mind?” and “why do you care?” 💭
Kevin Cornell is part of the growing marketing team at TuneCore (a digital music distributor). As a Brand Partnerships & Events Manager, he's had the privilege of taking one of the strongest names in independent music distribution to the next level through the development of brand awareness campaigns, artist education initiatives and events. TuneCore is an important hub for independent artist development that has played a huge role in amplifying and empowering creators across all genres. In addition to that, he also co-runs a small, scrappy label called Living Waters Records, putting out limited-run vinyl and full digital campaigns for developing artists from across the globe. Kevin is based in Ridgewood, Queens, only uses TikTok for recipes and his interests include cycling around NYC, spinning records in bars/venues that'll have him, and seeing live music.
🌎 Seeing the global impact of independent music
This might sound lame or a bit on-the-nose given my place of employment, but I've had the great privilege of traveling around the world in the past year with TuneCore. Each time – regardless of the event, conference or festival – I am genuinely blown away at the energy and aspiration surrounding independent music creation in this current moment. Speaking with artists and managers at these events reinforces the passion I have for working in music: no one has all the answers, and no one thinks they're cracking a code. There's simply a level of drive and talent that breeds a truly infectious enthusiasm, whether I'm chatting with electronic producers in Amsterdam, R&B singers in Toronto, MCs in Spain, or Afrobeats artists in Ghana. There's a lot going on in the music industry that needs fixing, but I am uncharacteristically optimistic about the future.
🦘 Australia as a bastion for great rock music
This isn't groundbreaking stuff, but I feel inclined to celebrate the land down under as it churns out some of the most consistent, fun, and straight-ahead punk and indie bands of the last five years. While I consider my personal music taste to be broad these days, punk music is what spurred my thirst for music discovery as a kid, so I'm heartwarmed by such a strong revival in guitar music as younger people tune in. Aussie bands like Mini Skirt, Split System, Rot TV, Stiff Richards, CLAMM, C.O.F.F.I.N. and CIVIC are absolutely kicking out the jams right now and I think it warrants a continental call-out.
📚 Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn
I recently took some time off reading political/social-related non-fiction that generally just serves to make us angry or disappointed and tapped into this Kabat-Zinn guy (who's written some pretty famous stuff). The whole book is based around the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction clinic that the author founded several decades back and how its methods can be applied in the lives of anyone dealing with any level of stress, pain or anxiety. It takes a not-too-self-help-y and not-too-clinical approach to practical mindfulness that I really enjoyed. If you're a neurotic overthinker operating with relatively constant, low-grade anxiety, I can't recommend it enough. (It even got me doing yoga in the morning now?)
🗞️ Newsletters galore
OK, I realize this is a newsletter and that Substack subscriptions have been in play for a number of years, but the easiest way to keep my attention on a good ole fashion long-read is to send it to my personal inbox. While I am generally trying to be "in my phone" less, a thoughtfully curated list of subscriptions comes in handy when I'm dining alone, riding a short subway trip, or simply trying to avoid eye contact with others in public. For music, my favorites are Zachary Lipez's Abundant Living, Gary Suarez's CABBAGES, and Tracy Wilson's Turntable Report; for the fight against rot economics in tech and monopolies, well, everywhere, I enjoy Ed Zitron's Where's Your Ed At? and Matt Stoller's BIG; and for keeping up with the endless blackhole of weird online culture and fandoms, I look to Garbage Day by Ryan Broderick (with help from Allegra Rosenberg).
🎶 Always paying attention to…
📻 Weekends with Rhythm Revue on WBGO 88.3 FM
That's right, I'm going terrestrial with it. WBGO is the nation's biggest community/independent jazz station and it's based in Newark, NJ. But every weekend (Saturdays 10am-4pm, Sundays 12pm-5pm) DJ Felix Hernandez takes over with his long-running Rhythm Revue program, consisting of commercial-free soul, R&B, funk and dance music that spans the decades (mostly 60s/70s). To me, there's nothing better to blast from a radio or speaker on weekend mornings/afternoons - it is truly some of the most universally enjoyable music and helps set the tone for the day. I'm fortunate enough to benefit from WBGO's nearby antenna, but they have a mobile app and stream live so folks all over can enjoy the FM radio experience. And any neighbors who can see into my second-floor apartment are unfortunate enough to catch my girlfriend and I dancing like idiots. This is appointment-worthy radio.
Thanks for reading Thought Enthusiast! Subscribe for free to receive new posts straight to your inbox.