Welcome to Just Plain Notes!
Just Plain Notes: July Awards Bulletin, July 10, 2005
Written by Brian Austin Whitney
Visit the Website: www.jpfolks.com
Mail CD's @ 5327 Kit Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46237
Copyright 2005 Just Plain Folks Productions.
Just Plain Folks Member Population: 26,047
2005-2006 Just Plain Folks Music Awards Entry Period has Officially Begun!

Yes, we're at it again! After a record setting program last year, we're ready to launch our JPF Member Music Awards. For those of you familiar with the program, you can click the link below and get the needed info to enter:

Just Plain Folks Music Awards FAQ and Entry Guidelines

To see who was nominated and won awards in 2004, please visit this page:

For those of you who are new members or have never entered before, I'll give you a little background on how and why we do this. If you're not interested in the awards, we'll send out a regular JPF Newsletter later this month. Quick note to those who have sent music in since the last music awards ended: We will automatically include your CD's in this year's awards so no need to send another copy!

The JPF Music Awards, a Brief History:

In 1998, I started JPF from an idea I had. I wanted to travel across the entire US and find a songwriter to co-write a song with, visit their state, record the song and then pack up and head to the next state and songwriter. I went onto AOL and found one male and one female songwriter (from the info in their online profiles) and sent them all an email. This was still early on in Email and the Internet so I wasn't sure what to expect. I got replies from 60 of the 100 people I contacted and most of them were saying my idea was one of the coolest ever and they'd love to participate. Many offered to host me in their homes, invite their friends to join us and make a big gathering out of it. 7 years later, we've visited writers and artists in 48 US States and across Canada doing exactly that. We've done nearly 1000 member showcases and featured roughly 15,000 different members live at a JPF Roadtrip Showcase. (We just finished a JPF Summer Roadtrip Tour to the NE US and Canada and you can see some group photos from that tour on our home page at: http://jpfolks.com/home.html

That first year I was on the road, members started handing me their CD's to check out as well as sending them to my home in Indianapolis. After collecting about 700 albums and 10,000 songs, I figured we should do something to recognize the outstanding talent of the group. I decided to have a music awards program and to do it unlike all the other awards shows and contests I was aware of. We decided that it would be free to enter, that we wouldn't put any unnecessary limitations or requirements on what was entered and that we'd treat all levels of artists and writers exactly the same. In other words, everyone would be welcome to enter, whether they were independent, on a major label or an entry level artist/writer just getting started. We focused solely on the music itself rather than the fame and success (or lack thereof) of the folks who entered. Rather than have a long list of factors and standards that the music would be judged by, we'd have only 1 criteria for songs:

Does it move you?

That meant that the listener/judge could use any personal criteria they needed to choose the music that moved them the most. If commercial production pushed their buttons, they could use that. If it was deep emotional lyrics, that was fine. If it was raw stripped down performances, that was okay. If it was complete originality or even someone who was great at mimicking a traditional style and approach that was okay. We wanted people to listen to and screen music in the most honest way possible.. what moved them.

The first awards show took place in November of 2000. It was so much fun we decided to do it "officially" the next time around and it grew to 2400 albums and 35,000 songs the second time around. We added more genre categories and once again had a wonderful time and discovered (and brought attention to) a lot of fantastic music. The 2nd awards show was held in November of 2001. The third time around the awards grew to 7880 Albums and 102,000 songs (due in part to the support from our friends at CD Baby who invited their members to enter and sent entries directly from the CD Baby warehouse for free)! We also had to adjust the timing of the awards cycle due to the amount of music. We held the awards at the famous Highland Complex in Hollywood (where they do the Oscar Awards) in March of 2003 and just as had happened the previous 2 years, the show was amazing. We extended the time frame for 2004 and gave ourselves about 17 months to complete the ever growing process. Fortunate for us we thought ahead because for the 2004 Awards we received 140,000 songs and 10,400 albums. Whew!

Diversity isn't just a buzz word.. it's a fact!

The growth of the awards and the JPF Organization was illustrated by the diversity of the entries. We got music from 85 countries in 60 different genres of music (for a complete Genre list, click the FAQ link above). The entries included famous artists and writers who have won every type of award and even included a few Rock and Roll Hall of Famers! But more importantly, it included the widest cross section of the grassroots music community and their music of any awards ever attempted in world history. Our awards show featured live performances from artists across all genres and from literally around the world. Ask anyone who was there. It was a magical night last November of 2004.

So here we are, after a short breather, ready to start the program again. We know from past experience that the process will likely grow. As it is, we received 10 times more music last year than the Grammy's consider each year. (Essentially 1 out of 3 albums released each year). Our initial plan is to accept entries for older music (i.e. that which was recorded before 2005) until September 30th, 2005. We will accept all music recorded/released in 2005 that is postmarked by December 31st, 2005. We will then spend the next 8 months or so screening all the music and hope to announce the nominees in September 2006. If we meet that deadline, we'll announce the winners live at the awards show which will likely be in Southern California in November of 2006. Of course that assumes we don't get 20,000 albums and 250,000 songs. If we do.. we'll get back to all of you on the dates! = )

What others are saying about the Awards:

If you'd like to read a cool article about our 2004 Awards show, here's a link to a PDF file of an article that ran recently in Singer Magazine: http://www.jpfolks.com/AwardsArticle.pdf

For answers to the many questions you might have, please read the info at the link at the top of this article. If you still have questions, please post them on that website page. You can also email them to me directly at jpnotes@aol.com if you place "Awards Question" in the subject field. But PLEASE take a look at that post first. We have too many members to answer all the questions one at a time if they are already covered in the FAQ.

Yes.. it's free. There's no hidden strings attached!

In case you're wondering, yes, the awards are free to enter. Each year we do work to find sponsors to help with the enormous (and ever growing) cost of the program. I want to acknowledge our 2 ongoing Community Partner Sponsors who support Just Plain Folks year round, and without whose help we couldn't do any of this for free:

Disc Makers: Nobody makes CD or DVD manufacturing easier and no one delivers faster. When you need CD or DVD replication, short-run duplication, complete printing and packaging options, sturdy duplicators and printers, or affordable blank CDs and DVDs look no further. They've got it. See them at: http://www.discmakers.com/jpfolks

TAXI: The independent A&R Vehicle. If you want to work toward getting your music to the top publishers, labels and industry opportunities, TAXI is your best bet! See them at http://www.taxi.com

I'd also like to thank our friends at CD Baby whose unique support make the logistics of the awards entry process possible:

CDBaby: The best place to sell your CD's on line as well as getting your music into the Online Digital Sales Sites (like iTunes, Rhapsody and Virgin Digital). They also have the best on-line hosting service called Hostbaby. See them at www.CDBaby.com and www.Hostbaby.com.

We are always open to new awards sponsors (previous sponsors have included Guitar Center, Korg, Future of Music Coaltion, ASCAP, Oasis CD Duplication, Disc Makers, TAXI, CD Baby etc.) who would like to help support our awards process and we accept member donations as well. (We also have JPF Hat's and Shirts for sale, and will be posting the new Colors/Designs for sale in the next regular JPF newsletter later this month). We will continually update everyone on the status of the awards in each newsletter a bulletin. Remember all questions are answered in the Music Awards FAQ linked at the top of this newsletter.

So we look forward to hearing all your music and bringing as much positive attention to it all as we can in 2005-2006!
Copyright 2005 Just Plain Folks Productions

Brian Austin Whitney
Just Plain Folks
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney
Facebook: www.facebook.com/justplainfolks

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

"It's easier to be the bigger man when you actually are..." -Brian Austin Whitney

"Sometimes all you have to do to inspire humans to greatness is to give them a reason and opportunity to do something great." -Brian Austin Whitney