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#206864 - 03/17/04 01:42 AM What Happens at the road trips?  
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 5
the44ds Offline
Casual Observer
the44ds  Offline
Casual Observer

Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 5
Lansing, Mi. USA
Last Year I participated at a road trip for CD Baby at a bar in downtown Detroit. I was the only one from the Lansing area, the organizer ended up being the speaker as his speaker didn't show up. We did some networking however, I think we were under the impressions that maybe we were going to hear other performers or get some tips on how to network into getting someone from the industry to hear us etc....... I'm not sure what is supposed to happen, all I know is that I helped that person sign up people's names and I didn't even get the free soda he promised me. The new people coming in thought I worked for CD Baby, but I was just a volunteer. I have a few demo CD's of other gorups but never made a contact or anything out of it. The beer and food was great though!
So I know there are road trips and showcases that are worth it and would like your opinions of which ones are the best and worth the time and in some cases money too!

#206865 - 04/09/04 05:42 AM Re: What Happens at the road trips?  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,423
Brian Austin Whitney Offline
Brian Austin Whitney  Offline

Top 10 Poster

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,423
Indianapolis, IN USA

Sorry to hear about your experience. Every event/show we do is a little different from the next, often dependent on the local crowd, the venue etc. I will give you an idea of what is "typical" with the understanding that it's always a variation:

Typically a JPF roadtrip show is just that. A performance or 1 or 2 songs be every artist who attends. It's similar in some ways to an open mic in that we can't have bands doing a full set due to the sheer numbers. But it's much friendlier and after doing about 600 of these shows, much more fun than an open mic. CDBaby has always had a different approach in that they don't do performances. It takes a lot of work on my end to set up actual performances, arrange for an appropriate venue, make sure we have a sound system and sound guy and enough time to get everyone on stage. We also have to deal with artists who don't show up or are late which is very frustrating. I think Derek liked our "networking angle" but didn't want to deal with all the extra headaches that came with doing full shows. We try to do both. We have a networking vibe all night, (including an hour at the start and usually a gathering afterwards for hanging out/chatting) and we also get everyone to perform a song (sometimes 2 for nominees or bands) so they can give everyone a sample of what they do. We videotape all the shows, (I have something like 12-13K artists on video over the last 6 years), and take pictures and post them on the site. We take a big group photo (which always looks a little like your old kindergarten class photos.. which I love because I can go back and quickly remember each of the people in the picture, what music they did etc.. ). If we have time and the right venue, we sometimes also have a discussion hour at the start where I answer questions and share stuff that might be helpful and we often try to get other local orgs. involved to share info on what they do as well.

In larger cities, we also will have chapter meetings which usually aren't at a venue but rather someone's house (or the regular chapter meeting place). I'll generally talk a bit and we'll go around the circle of everyone to introduce and discuss what everyone is up to. Sometimes we'll have an industry guest to talk about a topic as well. Often we end up having a song circle, a group recording (if it's in a studio) and eat some food and hang out. I actually love those gatherings because I get to spend much more time with everyone than I can at a venue where I am taking pictures, introducing acts, helping with sound problems, selling T-Shirts, making line up changes etc.

Our shows work the best when everyone just goes to have fun, share a song and be friendly. We encourse folks to bring business cards to share with everyone and if they want to exchange CD's to make sure that both parties are happy to give them out. (I.e we suggest if people want to give out CD's they make it know, meaning others have the option of trading or not.. rather than approaching someone who may not be able to afford to give away their CD's and asking for a free one). Arists are welcome to sell their CD's at our shows, but the reality is that most artists in the room also have them to sell, so I wouldn't count on selling many. (Though a few artists have bucked that trend.. I've seen Seth Horan and VonEm sell a lot of Cd's to fellow artists after their performances blew people away).

We encourse diversity and I love shows that feature folk singers, rap artists, metal bands, classical Celloists, dance divas etc.. throughout the night. That often is dependent on the region we are in. Sometimes shows are simply all singer-songwriters. Sometimes they are chaotic mixes of one extreme to the other. Since usually everyone is doing 1 song, it keeps the shows fun and unpredicatable. It's sad how seldom successful local artists in the same town who do different genres of music ever cross paths. I am always happy when we can break through those walls.

Hope that gives you a little idea of what we do.


Brian Austin Whitney
Just Plain Folks
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