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#856377 - 11/09/10 06:50 PM Tuesday, November 9th, 2010  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,004
Brian Austin Whitney Online content
Brian Austin Whitney  Online Content


Top 10 Poster

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,004
Indianapolis, IN USA
Hi Folks,

We just returned from our 5 week Roadtrip tour to Paris, France. It was an excellent visit and we made a lot of new face to face friends and contacts. I even ran into the daughter of an Entertainment attorney I know there by random chance (small world sort of like when we ran into a Grand Rapids chapter member back in the ruins of Pompeii, very near where the recent collapse occured there). The focus of this visit was very different than previous tours and I couldn't be happier with the results. First and foremost it was my first extended tour since my strokes in early 2010 and I did very well across the board physically. You don't know how things will go until you do it and though we were all nervous and a bit worried, including all of my doctors and family/friends, I took the leap of faith and was rewarded with good health and a great energizing experience.

One of my focuses has always been to expand JPF even more around the world by actually traveling to people and meeting them face to face. I've done that 6 months a year, mostly in the US and Canada, but going to other countries is an important part of that strategy as well. I also want to expand to other creative fields outside of music (film, graphic arts, theater and acting, photography, dance etc.) and I really worked hard on that in Paris and made a great deal of new contacts in all those fields. I have felt for many years that a symbiotic relationship with all those other creative folks would be key to providing creative content to the world in the new age of instant connectivity to everyone everywhere. I felt going somewhere that had language differences would test and sharpen my own networking skills to the betterment of my efforts going forward and I was right. And it was a lot of fun to do.

I have a long list of people to follow up with as well as tons of existing contacts to reconnect with as I step more into my old work habits which I had to withdraw from to regain my health. I still have serious medical issues in my life, but I've proven to myself that I can get past them and that was perhaps the greatest triumph of this latest Roadtrip.

Now I am going to once again try and light the flames under a collection of JPF chapters and re-engage with those that have been moving along without my direct involvement for far too long this year.

Onward and upwards!

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#856384 - 11/09/10 07:03 PM Re: Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,814
Herbie Gaines Offline
Top 100 Poster
Herbie Gaines  Offline
Top 100 Poster

Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,814
Chicago,IL, USA
SO happy to see you back here with renewed health and energy Brian ! ! Best news in awhile ! Hugs from Chicago !


Herbie
JPF Chicago Chapter Coordinator
http://www.herbietunes.com

#856403 - 11/09/10 09:11 PM Re: Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 [Re: Herbie Gaines]  
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 7,714
Colin Ward Online content
Colin Ward  Online Content

Top 25 Poster

Joined: May 2006
Posts: 7,714
Saint Petersburg. FL
Brian,

I am glad your trip was such a success.....mostly because your health is allowing you to get going again!! May you take many more trips like that one!!!!


Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#856481 - 11/10/10 02:29 AM Re: Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 [Re: Colin Ward]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,004
Brian Austin Whitney Online content
Brian Austin Whitney  Online Content


Top 10 Poster

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,004
Indianapolis, IN USA
Thanks guys. We probably won't make it overseas again until late 2011. But I hope to take some trips in the USA again and visit some key chapter cities before then including a long overdue visit to Los Angeles and Orange County. If we can recruit some strong Florida Chapter Coordinator volunteers we might head down there as well.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#856509 - 11/10/10 03:38 AM Re: Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 436
Jeff Epstein Offline
Top 500 Poster
Jeff Epstein  Offline
Top 500 Poster

Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 436
Melrose, MA, USA
Yeah! Brian, for what it's worth I am really proud of you. I don't know if I would have the courage to do a big overseas trip after all you have been through medically. But because you did, you scored a touchdown and proved to yourself and everyone else you are not done yet, not by a longshot. You are truly an inspiration. Never give up! Never, ever, give up!!!! smile

#856519 - 11/10/10 04:05 AM Re: Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 [Re: Jeff Epstein]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,004
Brian Austin Whitney Online content
Brian Austin Whitney  Online Content


Top 10 Poster

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,004
Indianapolis, IN USA
Thanks Jeff.

Part of the push was because everyone said I better go while I still could. We set our goals that I'd be able to be active 3-4 days a week best case scenario. But on a 5 week trip I took 1 full day off and had several days well over 12 hours walking around Paris meeting with people all over town and seeing some sites as well. But I approach interesting people everywhere we go and strike up conversations with any and everyone fishing for friendly folks who might become friends or contacts for the long haul and you never know where those folks might come from.

My health is brittle at best. I felt great while in Paris most of the time but have already had a couple bad days since getting back. So they may have been right, I went while I still could and I am glad I did. And I will try to keep doing the same going forward as long as I am able. I had a few friends that were really worried about me going but my family was oddly totally behind it. I do know that I had no future sitting in a chair here at home waiting to get better. It's like my quote below, don't sit and wait for success to find you, it doesn't know the way. The only solution is to go out and get it yourself.

Thanks again for the well wishes!

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#861980 - 12/03/10 11:18 AM Re: Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 116
R1NGG1T Offline
Serious Contributor
R1NGG1T  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 116
Through the Looking Glass
Dear Brian, wishing you the very best of health.

Thank you for starting JPF, I find it a really valuable resource for songwriters--I have learnt a lot since joining. I was thinking, it must be expensive keeping the JPF forums running. I was sad to read about the JPF chapters that have closed in recent times.

I would like to see JPF do well and continue on as a valuable songwriter's resource for many years to come. And to do this, I feel that you need to bring in some revenue from somewhere, without needing to depend on donations.

My understanding is that there used to be a JPF song contest, pls correct me if I'm wrong. I would therefore like to propose the following:
  • Hold a JPF songwriting contest.
  • Only JPF members can join this contest.
  • Registration fee of each song entry is USD10. The registration fee also acts as the ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP FEE, so sending in a contest entry also makes the person a JPF member. :-)
  • Each member can submit a maximum of 5 song entries, to ensure only the best songs are submitted.
  • Winners are chosen similar to a Grammy Awards process, where JPF members vote for their favourite songs in the various categories, after a screening process.
  • For prizes, I feel that as a songwriter a valuable prize would be a one-song publishing deal with a reputable music publishing company (for each winner) + a year's membership to Taxi would be cool too! :-)

I hope that you and the JPF team will seriously consider this idea. I believe it's a win-win for everyone, especially for songwriters. I would also like to hear feedback from other JPF members on this.

I think that JPF has the brand and the connections to build up a really cool songwriting competition that every songwriter would want to join, knowing that it is being run by trustworthy people. Again, such a contest would be win-win for everyone. If I can help in any way to make this happen, pls let me know.

Cheers, ian

PS OK, I just saw this article :-) Pretty cool! Wish I had known about JPF earlier. The time, energy, and money that went into the JPF Music Awards must have been enormous. I'm thinking of a songwriting competition much smaller in scale that can be run without too many headaches.

#862042 - 12/03/10 04:50 PM Re: Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 [Re: R1NGG1T]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,004
Brian Austin Whitney Online content
Brian Austin Whitney  Online Content


Top 10 Poster

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,004
Indianapolis, IN USA
Hi Ian,

Actually that article was from the 2004 awards. By the time we got to the 2009 awards, they'd grown MUCH larger. 50 times larger in size than the Grammys for example. Last time around we had 560K songs entered and 42K albums.

As far as your suggestions:

-We already have a music awards. Our view is that Awards are different than Contests. Awards recognize merit only. Unlike "contests" we don't give out prizes in hopes of luring more entries. In fact, we intentionally don't want people to chasing prizes. Instead we want an unbiased volunteer based process to fairly recognize music that moves them. Contests have many competing agenda's, not the least of which is making profits and also pleasing their business partners and in many cases their "industry" contacts. Large televised awards programs face huge influence issues from the very people they are supposed to be judging and recognizing. If you want artist X, Y or Z to attend, you have to bribe them with huge "gift bags" which in my view are bribes. (i.e. if I give you this, you'll attend"). Others tell the winners before the show they are winning in exchange to get them to show up and/or perform. Contests are most interested in pumping up entry numbers to pump up the coffers to pay staff and the owners. In some ways they also bribe people, only in this case it's offering cash and prizes to get entry fees.

This doesn't make them dishonest, but it does influence everything they do in ways that, in my opinion, are not conduscive to simply choosing the music that most moves people. And of course there's also the corruption and dishonesty and outright scams which simply steal entry fees for pre determined winners, or who peddle winning slots in exchange for all sorts of things. I've seen so much corruption that is out in the open in the industry that I wanted to create something different. And even if there were no corruption at all in a perfect world, the models above still aren't appealing to me. Why should an artist have to pay for a chance to be recognized? That's like paying to be in a "who's who" type book just so you can buy 10 expensive copies of it to show your friends how important you are. It's hollow.

It is VERY expensive to do the awards. The cash expense eats 2 years of our sponsorship income AND more out of pocket and from our donations, t-shirt and hat sales etc. But the most costly portion is the app. 600,000 hours of time donated to screen the music. And there's the rub. We couldn't possibly charge enough to make this a non volunteer based process. And unlike an awards such as the Grammy's or others, we actually REQUIRE all judges to listen to the music they are judging, not just choose their favorites from a list of names. (Many folks aren't aware that they do not supply music for judges to listen to, but rather a list of names to simply vote on).

Our awards grew so large we took them on line because the manual labor (not listening but just opening packages, getting info manually into databases and literally mailing thousands of CD's around the world multiple times, burning new discs with compilations of songs etc...) cost a tremendous amount of money and time. It also took over our very large home year round to deal with it all. So moving it on line got us past those costs but an interface had to be built to my specifications (i.e. I designed the process, but they had to create the software) and it had to be donated to us to use. We spent much of the 17 months working on that round by round trying to stay ahead of the process of the judges who were working away month after month whittling down 100 genres of music in both full albums and separately songs. Sadly, when we finally had the interface built, it was taken away from us leaving us now having to again start over to do it all again.

Even if I had gotten 560K in income for all those songs (not to mention the albums) it wouldn't have begun to pay for all of that. Imagine paying over 10K people only 500 dollars each to do on average nearly 50+ hours of screening each? (And many folks did 100's of hours and the top screeners did more than the equivelent of a full time job). Instead of doing it for the passsion and love of the music, they'd do it to make a buck and most would just put time in to make more money. It would just be a big scam opportunity for exactly the wrong kind of people. In addition, imagine paying top notch programers salaries for 17 months to build, tweak, fix and finish a judging interface larger than any previously existing in world history? (This is a fact, the people that did it build the current audio players for Yahoo, AOL, CBS Radio and many others). It would have cost more than those entry fees alone. Basically one this became about money, and nothing was donated, it would probably have cost north of a million dollars to do, maybe 2 million.

And the VIP judges? Who says we didn't have many "VIP" judges? We did. But we weren't there to falsely trick suckers into thinking some famous person might discover them simply because we attached a rock star's name to a judging list. Those judges are not doing the heavy lifting. In some cases the "famous names" listen to a handful of songs in TOTAL. I spoke with one famous star who told me he listened to a single song and was asked if he liked it. He said it was okay and he wanted to hear more and was told, "well, that's the winner, it's already been picked, we appreciate you listening to it." Even when "stars" do some actual judging, it's only the end finalists. All those people who dreamed of being discovered never got near the star who in truth isn't going to "discover" them even if he loves them. Active industry people hear tons of songs and artists they love every year and they can't help any of them. No one can. And then there's the scams where a pet project by a famous "judge" wins (what a coincidence) as payment for their "participation." Using famous names in my opinion is at best misleading to all entrants who think that star is there from day 1 listening to all the entries and at worst a scam.

Thousands of other people are doing the real listening and none of them are famous, so why imply otherwise? And since when did "fame" mean someone was even a good judge of music? Many artists aren't that great at it frankly.

We use a mix of judges. Music Industry Professionals (Managers, Attorney's, Publicists, A&R, Producers, Publishers, Venue Booking People, Tour Managers, Online Music Libraries etc.), Artist and Songwriter Peers that ranged from entry level to Rock Hall of Fame members, and Music Fans with a passion for a particular genre of music who didn't care about famous names, but loved great music no matter who made it. And just to be clear, we had all levels of entrants as well from famous artists (including some of the very biggest named artists in the world) and those who have won every major music oriented award that exists, all the way down to people making their first recording. All of them were treated the same and though we had some famous name winners and nominees, we had far more who fell short. But it was fair all around. Only the music that MOVED people moved forward. And that was the only criteria. None of this silly list of things to measure something by. People listen to music and it either touches them or it doesn't. It might be formulaic and predictable or it may break every rule in music, (and some of it did) if it moved people in large enough %'s, it moved forward. I think our mix of judges and our voting instructions are the best in the industry. But there are plenty of other Awards and Contests out there to choose from if you prefer a different approach. I am just not that interested in them and why spend a big chunk of my life on something I am not passionate about?

The large numbers actually make it much harder for bias to affect a process as well. Because even if you have someone operating with evil intent (and you always find these people in all things) their one vote simply isn't enough to make a difference. It's not American Idol where people can vote 1000 times.

I personally felt there was a serious need for 1 awards process to exist that didn't charge the people they were trying to recognize, didn't care how commercial (or noncommercial for that matter) famous or non famous, connected or unknown, popular or unpopular the people were. Something that judged only on 1 universally true criteria: Does the music move you?

As for your process, there are a lot of contests that exist exactly like what you describe and some of them I consider honest and reputable. But there's no reason for me to simply become another one of those. Even if we could do it better, it would still not fill the void that the JPF awards fills.

Now, you are correct that JPF needs money to expand. I've taken it about as far as I can with less than a shoestring budget and all volunteer workers (what I wouldn't give for just 1 or 2 full time assistants.. I could probably triple or quadruple what we accomplish right now). But we'll need to find a way to raise money that allows the JPF awards to stick to its vision. And there are other areas of JPF that are just as important. The Chapters, by the way, are always a roller coaster. The biggest problems for them are my health (I was too sick this year to do any traveling which is critical for their health in new cities) and the awards which suck all the energy we have away from all projects other than the awards.

That's why I switched to every other year. So I could travel 6 months and work on the awards 6 months each year. That's a balance I can handle and that worked well for both the chapters and the awards.

Someday I'll find some full time volunteer help.. perhaps someone already wealthy who can afford to do it and who has the same passion I do.. it's a really fun job if you can accept the lack of pay, or we'll find additional long term community partner sponsors to join TAXI, CD Baby, Disc Makers, Hostbaby and our many part time sponsors who come and go each year. With my health in the toilet, I also have to think about what happens to JPF if I am unable to continue. I am always looking for the person or persons I am going to hand this off to. I have a shortlist, but all those folks have other things they are already doing. I'd want someone who would keep things going with the same guiding principles I have. It would be great if that person came out of our volunteer team. I am always watching.

Brian



Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#862156 - 12/04/10 04:56 AM Re: Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 116
R1NGG1T Offline
Serious Contributor
R1NGG1T  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 116
Through the Looking Glass
Hi Brian, Thanks for explaining your vision. I hope that you get the funds you need to carry out your vision. Maybe crowdfunding could help? e.g. Kickstarter

In the meantime, take care of your health. All the best, ian

#867237 - 12/25/10 11:25 AM Re: Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 [Re: R1NGG1T]  
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 116
R1NGG1T Offline
Serious Contributor
R1NGG1T  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 116
Through the Looking Glass
Hey All, wanted to put out this idea for member feedback. Brian would have to OK this first, of course. Anyways, here's the idea (UPDATED):
  • Funding the JPF Music Awards is expensive and we need to support Brian's efforts.
  • So, let's create two themed compilation albums that feature 20 songs each, contributed by JPF members (1 song per member).
  • Mixing/Mastering contributed by JPF sponsors or experienced members.
  • These two albums would be used as exchange merchandise on crowdfunding site Kickstarter, to help raise funds for the JPF Music Awards e.g. One regular strategy used by bands successfully funded at kickstarter is to offer placing the crowdfunder's name in the album notes, along with a tangible copy of the album.
Say for example that on Kickstarter, the offers to crowdfunders are:
  • For USD20, you get your name listed on one of the compilation albums + a tangible CD.
  • For USD35, you get your name listed on both the compilation
  • albums + tangible CDs of the albums.
  • For USD50, you get your name listed on both the compilation albums + tangible CDs of the albums + a JPF t-shirt.
  • For USD100, you get your name listed on both the compilation albums + tangible CDs of the albums + a JPF t-shirt + a guaranteed ticket to the awards show.
JPF has around 50,000 members, past and present. If 10% of members invest in the USD20 offer, that's 5,000 x $20 = $100,000.
  • Also place these two albums for sale on iTunes, CDbaby, etc. + limited edition tangible CDs, with funds raised going towards the costs of running JPF activities and the JPF Music Awards.
  • Songwriters agree to give all CD sales profits and mechanical song royalties to JPF, for running its activities and Music Awards event.
  • Publishing rights (minus mechanical rights) of the song remain with the contributing songwriter--the songwriter retains all performance, sync, special use (ringtones, etc.), and print royalties/licensing rights.
Here are some ideas for the two albums:

COMPILATION ALBUM 1: CHRISTMAS WITH JPFOLKS
Christmas-themed one, featuring 20 Christmas tunes by JPF members. It's too late for Xmas this year, but never too early to produce and make available for Christmas 2011. Rationale: most likely to sell, especially during Christmas holidays.

COMPILATION ALBUM 2: JPFOLKS SONGS OF HOPE
Hope-themed one, featuring 20 inspirational tunes by JPF members. Rationale: 2010 has been tough on everyone. The world really needs some hope and inspiration in 2011. I think an album with songs of hope is what people need right now.

I believe this idea is win-win for everyone--we raise funds for JPF and the JPF Music Awards while getting our music heard by a wider audience. If we're lucky, some of the songs might even get picked up for song placements. Remember: the publishing rights (minus mechanical rights) for each song remain with the contributing songwriter, meaning that if your song from one of these compilations ends up on TV, a movie, radio, or an advert, YOU get the full check for the performance royalties (make sure to register the song with your PRO).

Let's do this people! We already have the songs, we just need to pool them together! Let's show our support for Brian and JPF with our music.

Merry Christmas and God Bless smile ian

#868205 - 12/30/10 10:23 PM Re: Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 [Re: R1NGG1T]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,004
Brian Austin Whitney Online content
Brian Austin Whitney  Online Content


Top 10 Poster

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,004
Indianapolis, IN USA
Hi Ian,

Thanks for your efforts and thoughts. I responded at length on the original post tonight. I love your enthusiasm and hopefully we can utilize that on a future project (of which we have many).

Thanks,

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#868414 - 12/31/10 10:54 PM Re: Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 116
R1NGG1T Offline
Serious Contributor
R1NGG1T  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 116
Through the Looking Glass
Hi Brian, Happy New Year! May 2011 be a good one for you, JPF, and its members :-) Cheers, ian


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