Back to the future: How Greg Billings is ushing his '80s band, Stranger, into the streaming era
In an age in which streaming is king, you'd think every song that can be online already is. That's mostly true for new artists. But for legacy acts like Greg Billings, it still isn't so.
Four of Billings' old band Stranger's albums from the late '80s and early '90s never made it to digital services like iTunes and Spotify, where a new generation could perhaps discover the rowdy Southern rock that made Stranger such a poweful Florida draw -- for a while, they had a deal with Epic Records -- back in the day.
Enter Tampa's Cigar City Management, which manages acts and books concerts. But it also offers "label services," including digitizing old tracks.
"There's all these albums that were released independently, one at a time," said Randy Ojeda, CEO of Cigar City Management. "The artist might not be thinking about getting that music up on digital platforms, but it's where music is going. And if you're not there, it's like the music didn't exist."
On Friday, Billings and Cigar City Management will bring those "lost" Stranger albums online for legal sale and streaming. There's a record release show scheduled for Skipper's Smokehouse in Tampa. They might not reap much income, but it's a slice of Florida music history that otherwise might have been forgotten.
"If you can get it out there in the digital world, you're putting a stamp on what you're doing," Billings said. "Like my wife says, this stuff's going to live forever."
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