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#491410 - 04/09/07 09:28 PM Monday, April 9th, 2007  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 19,401
Brian Austin Whitney Offline
Brian Austin Whitney  Offline

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Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 19,401
Indianapolis, IN USA
Hi Folks,

So this week since I am not going to Florida we'll be kicking it into high gear to figure out where we're going on the Roadtrip. It looks like several cities will sadly have to be cancelled off the tour simply due to lack of interest. I can already see that the entire tour concept isn't connecting with folks like it used to. I remember back when we'd announce a roadtrip and we'd have 40 people step up in every city within a week. That just isn't happening anymore. Historically we've averaged over 30 artists performing per show and anywhere from 1000-2000 people participating in a given Roadtrip season. With 40 initial stops (likely to shrink to 25 by the time I leave) I will be surprised if we pass 800 this time around. If that happens I will likely have to reserve Roadtrip dates for only the largest cities we visit or places like the Northeast where we always have good turn outs. We used to be able to do 3-4-5 events in a major city. Now, except for NYC, Chicago and Nashville we're going with 1. I think a lot of it is simply a shift in society and I've seen it happen in real time over the last 9 years. It's harder and harder to get people off their butts and out of their houses to do ANYTHING when they can "sort of" do it by surfing the web. We used to offer the best way to network by far. Sadly it's STILL the best way to network (face to face in the same room sharing music) but people think they can get a surrogate method by surfing MySpace or something similar. It's not the same.. by a large margin. As great as our message boards are, it's still no replacement for being in the same room.

We don't have the time, energy or resources to retrain or change a societal shift. I hope we can appeal to enough folks to at least have some type of real face to face interactions now and in the future via JPF. Outside of JPF, I think our whole society is losing. We don't know our neighbors. We don't know our local politicians. We don't know who the great talents are in our area. Globalization can be good but only if we maintain a connection to localization. What fun would it be to connect with someone in Australia if they watched the same TV shows, read the same books, listened to the same music, ate the same food and like the US and other countries, sat on their butts in front of the computer and TV without leaving their house.

Food for thought.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@gmail.com
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..."

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#491428 - 04/09/07 10:42 PM Re: Monday, April 9th, 2007 [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 19,401
Brian Austin Whitney Offline
Brian Austin Whitney  Offline

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Joined: Apr 2001
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Indianapolis, IN USA
Ha! Here's an article that sort of matches my thoughts of today. In fact, it's perfect.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html

It's really LONG (meaning many won't even bother to finish it ironically). But man.. it SOOOOO makes my point.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@gmail.com
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..."

[Linked Image]
#491444 - 04/09/07 11:36 PM Re: Monday, April 9th, 2007 [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,554
Jack Swain Offline
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Jack Swain  Offline
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Berwyn, IL, US
Well that was a very interesting article. It certainly does not surprise me. I wish I could have been there to witness it.

#491467 - 04/10/07 01:03 AM Re: Monday, April 9th, 2007 [Re: Jack Swain]  
Joined: Feb 2007
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Kevin Emmrich Offline
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Crozet, VA
Facinating stuff -- would I have walked on?

Kevin


"Good science comes in peer reviewed journals. Conspiracy theories come in YouTube videos. "
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @50/90 2019)
#491473 - 04/10/07 01:23 AM Re: Monday, April 9th, 2007 [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 4,192
bailey bridges Offline
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bailey bridges  Offline
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Posts: 4,192
USA
Hi Brian,

I hear what you are saying. And I want to get out and meet other musicians. There is a bluegrass band that meets every other week at a local historical site. It happens to be on our Sabbath right during Sabbath School time. Still, I approached my husband about it and try as I might, I could not convince him of the value in doing this type of thing. Maybe I should have just defied him and done it anyway. I really don't know. I totally agree with you about the internet thing and the need to stay connected with the real world. Trouble is, noone at my church is performing their own songs. I'd have to go out beyond my church friends to find someone like that.

I have gotten my family (on occasion) to the local pizzeria that sponsors live music every Tuesday. They are one-man bands who perform some of their own songs but a lot of what they do are cover songs. For Mardi Gras I convinced my husband to go with me to a local hospital fundraiser here that hosted a local Jazz band. I didn't get to meet any of the members though. But, I did learn their group's name. Also, I've learned about Willie King, (think that's his name) and his Freedom Festival held in May over in West Alabama. Am planning to go to it this year too. Hopefully, I'll meet some songwriters/musicians there.

It's tough for me as a mother to get out there. But I'm trying. And this time last year, I didn't know of any performing artists at all---so I'm proud to say I've moved in that direction. How would I go about trying to meet more "plain folks" who might attend a JPF show? Is there anything I could place in the local paper to advertise it (the B'ham show)? I meant to ask this several weeks ago. How do you suggest we promote it?

Vanessa

#491474 - 04/10/07 01:26 AM Re: Monday, April 9th, 2007 [Re: Jack Swain]  
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 4,001
Jody Whitesides Offline
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Park City, UT, USA
The problem is is that with such standardization it's difficult to know what is local. The amazing thing is that I don't get why there are performers in America that would do busking. If a recognizable person like Joshua Bell can't eek out much, what's the point?

Now put him in a Tube in the UK and things would likely be considerably different. There's the next experiement the Washington Post needs to do.

The other issue in terms of knowing local people, places, and things is that your news source has to do local. I know my neighbors, but then my neighborhood has nice people that are sometimes outside doing things for their house. I don't know any of my local politicians. Only the Mayor of LA and the Govenor. That's pretty sad. But most of the news I read in the Times doesn't cover it. So where does one have to look to get that information?

Jody


Jody Whitesides
A Funky Audio Lap Dance For Your Ears!
www.jodywhitesides.com
#491487 - 04/10/07 02:07 AM Re: Monday, April 9th, 2007 [Re: bailey bridges]  
Joined: Nov 2005
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bailey bridges Offline
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bailey bridges  Offline
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USA
Wow! Read the article. And yes it is long but very worthwhile. It so reminded me of how it feels to play the guitar in the park after you've learned only two or three chords and can only play two or three songs all the way through (and that with several pauses) and two and three--year--olds are the first to come up and admire your guitar. But, even fourth grade kids will come up to you and offer compliments. I'll never forget playing my first 'gig' in the park. It was an impromptu thing. Was actually just taking the opportunity to practice while my kids played and enjoyed the little celebration going on there with free snow cones that day.

He sure is a good sport to have played all the way through the experiment. I'm impressed. Thanks for sharing this article Brian.

Vanessa

#491503 - 04/10/07 04:52 AM Re: Monday, April 9th, 2007 [Re: bailey bridges]  
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 4,389
Bob Cushing Offline
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Posts: 4,389
cincinnati oh usa
I hear ya!! This isn't the first time I've been in charge of putting something together like the Cincy stop on the road trip.
Everyone now seems to want to know "what's in it for THEM?" What happend to the days not so long ago when we'd all get together and socialize and share songs, and play for each other JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT?!


bc
#491506 - 04/10/07 04:54 AM Re: Monday, April 9th, 2007 [Re: bailey bridges]  
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 169
Kester Offline
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Kester  Offline
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Posts: 169
Fascinating! That article really moved me in a strange but familiar way. It captures something that I feel that pains me about the world we live and I think it has always been in my awareness somehow. There was a line in the story that almost made me cry - "all babies are born with a knowledge of poetry....then life slowly starts to choke the poetry out of us. It may be true with music, too." But what might sum up the human condition most succinctly is the observation that "He is the one who is real. They are the ghosts." I think there may be a song lyric in there somewhere - albeit a dark one.





please visit my music site at http://www.raucoustic.com
#491508 - 04/10/07 04:58 AM Re: Monday, April 9th, 2007 [Re: Kester]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 19,401
Brian Austin Whitney Offline
Brian Austin Whitney  Offline

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Joined: Apr 2001
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Indianapolis, IN USA
Yeah, that Ghost line was a great observation. Most people really ARE ghosts throughout their lives.. going through the motions leading to death.. there's people like that in my family.. I try to nudge them another way but to no avail and it often makes me sad.. my whole life was like that so I understand.. even though I made music, I was still going through the motions of daily life.. fairly unaware of what was around me.. I still have that disease to some extent and can fall into that lull myself. In fact, I think these roadtrips are my attempt to cure it in myself and hopefully drag some others into it with me. It would be VERY easy for me to say screw it and just stay home.. (and the thought has cross my mind many times). I understand the problem.. I just hope I can offer a few people a tiny cure, if only for a few hours in one night ever couple of years when I blow through town.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@gmail.com
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..."

[Linked Image]
#491516 - 04/10/07 06:17 AM Re: Monday, April 9th, 2007 [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,441
Chuck Crowe Offline
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Chuck Crowe  Offline
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Livingston, TX
Wow! Mr. Bell pulled down $32.17 in under an hour???

I'm just thankful nobody throws stuff at me... usually...

OINK!

Sincerely, I hope you have a high-record-breaking turnout in the Midwest/Southeast.

And thanks for turning me on to the article. Oddly, it makes me feel a little better... like my historically poor turnout may not be entirely due to my talent level. Sad, admittedly, but it does.

Chuck

#491517 - 04/10/07 06:37 AM Re: Monday, April 9th, 2007 [Re: bailey bridges]  
Joined: Mar 2005
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Steve Dockendorf Offline
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Steve Dockendorf  Offline
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Clearwater, FL
I used to live in DC and I am familiar with the location of that train station. Within about two blocks is a hotel where I played New Year's Eve for about 100 members of the Phillipine-American Medical Society and their spouses. As I recall I received a fine dinner and over $200 for the night.

Here's my response to the Post: An interesting and well presented article. It brings to mind a similar experiment done nearly twenty years ago on Key Bridge. Don and Mike of WJFK frequently held stunts in public and in this case they had a listener volunteer to dress down and pretend to be a homeless person. They had him beg from drivers and he ended up with about twelve bucks an hour - a little less than what the maestro did, minus the twenty donated by the fan who recognized him. Then, after a few weeks, I positioned myself in Georgetown, along M Street and played my guitar and harmonica. I also got about twelve bucks an hour.
Steve Dockendorf
Clearwater, FL

I agree with Jody. Context is important. I don't think any communication, art or otherwise, will find its mark easily without some preparation in the form of at least moderate marketing. That is why positioning and branding are so important. The maestro Joshua Bell gets the big bucks he deserves because he gets the promotion he deserves. He is marketed to the public that appreciates that type of music and can afford price he commands. On the other hand, the subway experiment did not result in zero response. The kids and the occasional commuter did notice. Pure art injected into society at random is not the ideal method to realize financial success, but nonetheless does result in some recognition and appreciation, however small. I just remembered another busking event that illustrates this. My band was set up early for a gig in downtown DC and I had about an hour to kill. I had a sax in my car that I was just learning to play (my main instrument was bass guitar) so I went out on 19th Street to a deserted area of office buildings and began playing the notes I'd learned so far. No recognizeable songs. Just improvising and playing with as much feeling as I could muster with what I'd learned so far - about ten different notes. In 45 minutes there couldn't have been more than a half a dozen people set foot on that block. I ended up with about four dollars, as I recall.


Steve Dockendorf
Dockendorf Audio Recorders
"Quality music for quality people"
dockendorf2000@yahoo.com
http://www.stevedockendorf.com
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http://stevedockendorf.wordpress.com
#491523 - 04/10/07 07:46 AM Re: Monday, April 9th, 2007 [Re: Steve Dockendorf]  
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Steve Dockendorf Offline
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Steve Dockendorf  Offline
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Clearwater, FL
Dear Brian,

It appears I left you out of my response above, as I was concentrating on the actual event and not relating it to your original point.

If lowered responses indicate a sag in interest, perhaps a survey could reveal what does get people's attention. The experiment done by the Washington Post illustrates the point made by Al Reis and Jack Trout in their book on Positioning. That is that people nowadays have thousands of messaages bombarding them and competing for their attention. It may be that as society (including the JPF membership) is moving in a particular direction, new means of marketing the Road Trip could be devised to connect with potential attendees. For example, some churches now promote that they offer "contemporary" worship services to attract attendees. I think we can safely assume that these churches saw declining attendance as long as they stuck with the traditional format that had nevertheless been successful in earlier times.

I don't know about JPFers in other areas, but as a member of an active chapter, I go to every meeting that I'm in town for. And I travel a lot for my job. I like the interaction and I learn something new every time I go. Personally I would love to meet you and shake your hand and thank you again for the great work you do on our behalf. But aside from the chance to meet Brian face to face and maybe hear him speak, how does a "Road Show" meeting differ from a regular meeting? (This info might appear on the boards in full detail, but escaped my notice). The announcement of a Road Show would have to be stated in a way that

1) gets the attention of today's typical member and
2) communicates what benefits are associated with attending.

That is, what this experience has to offer that nothing else can.

My two cents for what it's worth.


Steve Dockendorf
Dockendorf Audio Recorders
"Quality music for quality people"
dockendorf2000@yahoo.com
http://www.stevedockendorf.com
http://www.myspace.com/stephendockendorf
http://stevedockendorf.wordpress.com
#491524 - 04/10/07 07:59 AM Re: Monday, April 9th, 2007 [Re: Steve Dockendorf]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 19,401
Brian Austin Whitney Offline
Brian Austin Whitney  Offline

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Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 19,401
Indianapolis, IN USA
Steve,

Actually I had the same thoughts as you before the 2005 tours. (We didn't tour much in 2006 due to the Music Awards). So I found that folks were really interested in participating in the Documentary project. The funny thing about that project is that the individuals and groups I spent time with taping found the experience in and of itself to be valuable and enlightening, perhaps in the same way therapy can be. They talked out and were prodded to explore their careers and goals and successes and failures and dreams. In group settings, where the questions weren't so deep, folks learned all sorts of little tidbits about all the others in the interview (we often did 4-8 people at a time in a group thing). That seemed to really carry a lot of interest into the 2005 tours. For 2007 neither seems to be quite as interesting. So I am not sure what the new "gimmick" might be. I don't like promising labels and A&R people will be there because frankly, a large number of the artists aren't even close to being ready for that who will participate. I would never invite industry out to a non filtered show. (That said, it's not uncommon to have SOME industry folks there just because we're already friends or their involved in the chapter or just want to participate like everyone else.. but having them there on an "official" basis not so much). Most scam companies make false promises of industry people and I never wanted our events to be that kind of crap. So the reality is that there's not a lot to offer beyond networking, having a diet coke or a beer with some old and new friends and sharing your very best song or two with a group of peers. That has tremendous value, but I don't know how to make it "sexier" to people. And I am not sure I want to "bribe" folks to come out. I find the folks not there for the real and right reason make for lousy community participants for the most part.

I did think of getting together a handful of top notch artists to tour with me, but I can't pay them and most of them couldn't afford to do it. It would be cool to have a little set within a visit for some of the best talent we've found to play but unless we had a significant sponsor, it won't likely happen. I want to do something similar in Europe where we take a collection of great US artists to showcase along with locals in many countries as an exchange.. but I have no idea where to find the funding for something like that.

I also planned to send another email with as brief a message as I can do trying to get interest up. We're having trouble getting venues which is really the hardest part of this. Without named venues, getting people to sign up is very hard. That's been the case since day one. But with the very light interest, I am worried about aggressively booking venues because we may not fill them up and then the venue is unhappy and that's bad too. We work hard to make sure every venue LOVES us when we leave.

I am not sure what will attract folks these days. Perhaps setting up mobile web cam concerts at each show would be a gimmick that would work. Or perhaps we need to partner with a charity. Right now we only have 4 venues locked in out of 40 stops on the trip. And there's about a half dozern cities with ZERO people signed up to participate (a couple that are shocking). And even long time regular cities are light. Chicago, Detroit, Des Moines, Tampa all seem to be in pretty good shape and Cincy is coming along according to Bob Cushing. But the other cities are pretty light.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@gmail.com
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..."

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#491623 - 04/10/07 03:31 PM Re: Monday, April 9th, 2007 [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 775
Steve Dockendorf Offline
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Steve Dockendorf  Offline
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Posts: 775
Clearwater, FL
Dear Brian,

Since booking venues is the biggest roadblock, have you thought of going "house concert" style in cities where there is some (but not great) response? It seems to me that if enough interest were later generated to outgrow a given house, one could then approach a venue with confidence.

Back to the interest point, something has obviously changed for there to be that drastic a drop in signups. Discovering what change (or changes) took place would be the job of the survey. Using the information gleaned from the survey would give you the promotion campaign e.g. if people were now joining JPF to "hear what the competition sounds like" as opposed to "expose your music to your peers" or "network" or whatever, you could then promote using the most frequent survey response as the attention-getter.

I would go ahead with not one, but several email blasts promoting the Road Show tour. Repetition is getting more and more important in promotion.

I think that podcasts would be beneficial for anyone not close enough to any of the major cities on the tour or people who can't get off work to attend.

Of course, all this brainstorming about the Road Show would be unnecessary if we could just figure out how to make it into a video game. wink


Steve Dockendorf
Dockendorf Audio Recorders
"Quality music for quality people"
dockendorf2000@yahoo.com
http://www.stevedockendorf.com
http://www.myspace.com/stephendockendorf
http://stevedockendorf.wordpress.com
#491647 - 04/10/07 04:58 PM Re: Monday, April 9th, 2007 [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,249
Jeff Van Devender Offline
Jeff Van Devender  Offline

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Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,249
Colorado
Hey Brian,
Interesting article. Josh Bell, no less!
As I was reading it, I couldn't help but notice some parallels between that story & one Jesus told of The Good Samaritan. People generally just can't be bothered. No matter whether it was 2000 years ago or presently. Only difference is, they didn't have the internet &/or a 'fast paced society' to blame it on back then.

As for the Road Trip, we'd still like to see you out our way! smile

Jeff

#491649 - 04/10/07 04:59 PM Re: Monday, April 9th, 2007 [Re: Steve Dockendorf]  
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 6,403
Joe Wrabek (D) Offline
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Joe Wrabek (D)  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 6,403
Garibaldi, OR USA
Brian, a few thoughts. I read the article, and it was fascinating. I'm not sure I agree with some of the conclusions. What the exercise underscored for me, as a former professional marketing person, is the importance of *context* in selling anything these days. It's not (in my opinion) lack of interest--it's lack of *time*. Everything moves *so* fast, and we are *so* busy, that we've erected rather substantial blinders to tune out distraction, much like the blinders they used to put on hansom-cab horses 100 years ago to prevent the beasts from getting freaked out by traffic--and just as effective. Most of the folks who passed Violin Dude by simply did not see him, because they weren't expecting him to be there. The reason Violin Dude got a different reaction from the kids is they don't have blinders yet.

Wherewith, a War Story. Some years back, our Friday Night Group got tapped to play at the "Moograss" Bluegrass Festival in Tillamook (OR). It was the first time the "Moograss" folks had ever recognized there might be such a thing as "local talent," and we were determined to do 'em the best job we could--we knew if we could pull it off, other local folks would be able to follow in our hoofprints. We spent a lot of time discussing what exactly "bluegrass music" was, because we wanted to make sure that was what we played. (We're an awfully eclectic bunch of musicians.)

We finally concluded if we just had a banjo on stage, people might assume we were going to play bluegrass music no matter what we actually played. That begged the question whether anyone actually had to *play* the banjo, because none of us could. (We did have that remedied by the following year.) So what we did was put the banjo prominently in a guitar stand on stage, and nobody touched it for the two hours that we played. And afterwards, people complimented us onm our "bluegrass music."

I wouldn't say context is everything, but it counts for a lot. If you give people what they think they're expecting, they'll think they got what they expected. (I think Queen Victoria said that.)

One of the facets of modern society one has to deal with (because I don't think we can change it) is the demise of the Donna Reed Family. That's what has produced the lack of time we all have. We are prone to having more gadgets (we call them "time-saving" devices, remember?), and we can use the gadgetry to accomodate people's lack of time, we will potentially be successful. The other thing we need to do (my opinion, again) is raise the priority of us (or whatever we believe "us" represents) in people's consciousness. We want as many as possible of them to be like the guy in the article who had three extra minutes so he stopped to listen to Violin Dude.

How do we get there? I don't know--I'm not an expert at this stuff. A couple of ideas, though, based on things I've seen discussed here:

I think filming each Roadtrip venue, no matter how small, is a real good idea. (I am assuming you're already doing an audio recording.) Have somebody with film expertise edit each one down to a professionally-looking 2-hour show. Sell DVDs. Let artists featured in the show get DVDs at a deep discount and sell 'em themselves.

Also give each artist a DVD of just their performance. That's something they can make copies of and give to venues they're soliciting gigs from. There's one open mike out here where the venue videotapes the evening's session, and I have started asking for copies for the reason above. That accomodates the *venue*'s shortage of time; they don't have time to do auditions any more, but they do want to know what a performance by you is like. So give 'em the DVD and tell 'em to watch it when they have time.

And of course, the CDs. I don't know if you're producing a CD of each Roadtrip, because I haven't gone to one yet (have I said "lack of time"?), but if not, I'd highly recommend it. The CD could even be the soundtrack from the DVD. One song, probably, from each artist, and then let the artist purchase 'em at deep discount to market to their friends, contacts, &c. Would I sell a professionally-done CD that just had me on it for one song? Sure, I would.

There's three ideas that might drag people who don't have a whole lot of time to one of your Roadtrip shows.

I wouldn't worry about the Roadtrips being big productions--might actually help in some cases if the venue and show were small. I'd suggest including a few "house concerts" on the tour, just to see what it's like; you haven't done it (a lot of us haven't), but some pundits are saying this is the wave of the future for independent-music entertainment, and a lot of us, I think, would appreciate your perspective on it.

Yes, it all ties into "guerilla marketing" of a sort. I myself don't see a lot of mileage in trying to attract record-company A&R types, &c.; sure, I'd tell 'em it was happening, but otherwise, I'd be inclined to just ignore 'em, saying in effect, "If those guys had any conception of talent, they'd have noticed you before now." Bypassing the system, in other words, until the system is forced to take notice.

I'll probably have more thoughts later.

The Artist Formerly Known as Moonless Joe

#491653 - 04/10/07 05:12 PM Re: Monday, April 9th, 2007 [Re: Steve Dockendorf]  
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,400
John W. Selleck Offline
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John W. Selleck  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,400
NJ
Hi Brian,

I didn't notice the link to the article when I was here the last time. I took the time to read it this time and I would have bet against him getting a crowd too. Much too often we get into our zones and ignore everything around us. I wrote, and demoed a song called "Wild Seeds". I'll post it on Lyric#3. If you get a min., take a look. It describes this situation well.

Have a goodun,

John

Last edited by John W. Selleck; 04/10/07 05:13 PM.

Have a goodun,

John W. Selleck BMI Songwriter
A day without learning is a day lost forever.

www.soundclick.com/johnsings
www.soundclick.com/johnwselleck
www.soundclick.com/johnselleck
https://www.soundclick.com/artist/default.cfm?bandID=1468958 For Selleck/Kay co-writes
#491682 - 04/10/07 06:59 PM Re: Monday, April 9th, 2007 [Re: John W. Selleck]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 19,401
Brian Austin Whitney Offline
Brian Austin Whitney  Offline

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Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 19,401
Indianapolis, IN USA
Joe,

The CD and Video/DVD ideas are good, but after years of doing this, not realistic. The time and effort it would take to produce them would be tremendous and the odds of selling any nearly ZERO beyond a couple people at each stop. There's no market beyond that. We haven't even been able to do a great recording and product for the actual awards show because interest outside a small number of folks is small. At a given roadtrip event, there's a few outstanding performers, many average ones and some really bad ones. Who cares outside the folks there about seeing that? After all, we have trouble getting folks not directly involved to come out to watch as well, we're not going to get them to buy enough DVD's to pay for the work involved in creating them. Even a "best of roadtrip" DVD wouldn't likely have an audience of more than 100 people and that's extremely optimistic. We've continually wanted to do a Best of CD project from the awards, but find there's no interest from our members there either. We've polled and surveyed that year after year with the same disinterested results. I spoke with Derek Sivers and he tells me the best selling compilation CD in CD Baby history sold less than 200 copies. Even the Compilation he promoted for months to his entire member base (it's 180,000 now compared to our 40,000 one) sold only 50 copies. The compilation project that CD Baby, TAXI, Disc Makers, JPF and Sonic Bids promoted to our combined list of well over a million people only sold a handful of copies and that was to raise money for Katrina Victims. Even THAT didn't sell. Can you imagine how pathetic the Roadtrip discs and DVD's would sell? They didn't even cover the COST of the disc and that was with Disc Makers doing it themselves.

You'd think (and hope) ideas like this would work, but the sad truth is they don't.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@gmail.com
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..."

[Linked Image]
#491685 - 04/10/07 07:12 PM Re: Monday, April 9th, 2007 [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 6,403
Joe Wrabek (D) Offline
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Joe Wrabek (D)  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 6,403
Garibaldi, OR USA
That's too bad. I'll have to think on it some more. I continue to believe it's a marketing problem.

Joe

#491731 - 04/10/07 09:16 PM Re: Monday, April 9th, 2007 [Re: Joe Wrabek (D)]  
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 171
Gerry Manning Offline
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Gerry Manning  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 171
Dublin, Ireland
I agree that trying to sell CDs etc. is a waste of cost and time. I too have tried to sell high quality music (and I'm not referring to my own humble stuff) for an extremely worthy charitable cause. I thought the cause alone - alleviation of the most abject and pitiful poverty - would be enough to make folks dig deep regardless of the music. And I'm a marketing manager too and used the tools of the trade as creatively as I could - but no dice! Handful of sales.

It's sad but it seems that everyone's favourite radio station these days is WII FM - What's In It For Me....

There are Open Mics everywhere and free or cheap music everywhere. The Rolling Stones are coming to Dublin soon and they can still fill a venue, as can U2 and some other top acts...but after that it's increasingly difficult to get people to come out.

I'm pretty new to JPF and have no experience of your road trips/shows...but I'm gathering that a change of formula seems to be indicated. The one thing that really seems to bring people out in their thousands to participate in anything musical is the prospect of winning a recording contract or at least their 15 minutes of fame. All the idol shows play on that as well as many other local spin-offs with a similar formula (in the UK the X factor, in Ireland You're a Star etc etc...

These are mainly for would-be singing stars, but there may well be a possibility of operating the same principle for songwriting, singer/songwriters, or bands playing their own material. So if you've the contacts to partner with to offer such a contract for, say, the best act from all the combined roadtrip venues and/or to make the prize an appearance for the best acts on a TV programme that would receive widespread play...

It seems incredible how many folks have stars in their eyes but they do! None of that is really relevant if your underlying purpose is just social fun and music making for the love of it, but if there's a commercial rationale, then this seems to be the phenomenon to tap into.

Gerry

#491742 - 04/10/07 09:57 PM Re: Monday, April 9th, 2007 [Re: Gerry Manning]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 19,401
Brian Austin Whitney Offline
Brian Austin Whitney  Offline

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Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 19,401
Indianapolis, IN USA
We do use the Roadtrips to choose a Live Artist of the Year at the awards show. That artist get's a slot during the awards show to perform. In the last 2 cases however the best artists we saw performed at the previous awards show. We could exclude those who perform there, but often that's the only chance we get to see those folks live (i.e. we have performers come to the awards from all over the world including many places we never otherwise visit) so it seems bad to exclude that show in the process. We do note the best performers during each tour and it's not uncommon for us to recommend them for all sorts of things after that fact. It's how I got to know many of the artists I've forward to conferences and house concerts and music festivals etc. Until I see you perform live, I can't really recommend you. But that's not a specific carrot to put out in front of folks. I never when or where those opportunities will come. I also don't want to turn the Roadtrip events into callous opportunities for folks to audition and then not connect with anyone else. I want folks who "get" the point of the events to participate. If we don't start with those types, then the events would be shallow wastes of time. In the past getting those types of folks was probably too easy. We'd have 75-150 people at every event we set up no problem. I think one major reason for the decrease is we took 2006 off to work on the awards and lost touch with everyone. That's clearly part of this problem. When you disappear off the scene for a year, people forget and move on. Unfortunately the only fix for that is to get back on the horse and ride. It may just take a weak year to get back to better years going forward.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@gmail.com
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..."

[Linked Image]
#491830 - 04/11/07 04:12 AM Re: Monday, April 9th, 2007 [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,608
Linda Sings Offline
Linda Sings  Offline

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Posts: 5,608
Scorpio
I am surprised and sad to hear there's not so much interest in the Roadtrips so far this year.

I would love to come if only for the chance to MEET in person some of the people I talk to on the boards here! And of course it would be a thrill to perform on stage, so long as I didn't choke because Brian was in the audience evaluating me. LOL

Brian... I wonder if you could "spam" the boards a bit here and send out a "Sign up for Roadtrip!" message on every forum. ???

I *did* catch the link in the newsletter... but I didn't catch the link on the General Board (if it was posted there). I didn't figure out I was supposed to go to the JPF "Home Page" to sign up for the newsletter/official JPF membership for months after I'd been active on the boards. (Maybe a "Sticky Announcement" on one of the main boards would help advertise that?) There could be a lot of registered forum board users who aren't getting the newsletter.

I'm just curious, wondering if our marketing to our own JPF Forum members could use some help. Is there a way to send a mass email to everyone with a userID? I can do that on the forum I run from my website. I send a brief newsletter out every week.

I can help write up an ad campaign for the Roadtrips, if you want?

And for the record--I love to get out and hear live music and go to open mikes, whether I'm performing or not--but it's hard to figure out where these things are happening locally, or to squeeze out room on the incredibly full calendar.

I have to agree we are ALL just too busy even to sit back and enjoy our lives these days. I don't know how to change that phenomenon. frown But I sure don't like it.

Linda

#491968 - 04/11/07 06:29 PM Re: Monday, April 9th, 2007 [Re: Linda Sings]  
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,202
Gary E. Andrews Online content
Gary E. Andrews  Online Content

Top 200 Poster

Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,202
Portsmouth, Ohio, USA
What's in it for me is the main motivation for all of us. You can't fault folks for that.

But we may be assuming a lot of erroneous conclusions as fact. Who knows why people didn't stop to hear the greatest violinist playing the greatest music on the greatest violin they'll ever hear? Location? Time of day? Musical indifference? Social indifference?

Time is definitely a factor for a percentage. Donna Reed, as I recall, lived in a mansion (Wasn't that the one where the show opened as she came down a broad, curving, open stairway, dressed in a flowing white gown?) Somebody in that house was making money. The US unemployment rate in February was 4.9%, and some say the government's ability to measure it is flawed and even manipulated to look lower than it is.
Most homes today are two income homes, not just to get the wife out of the house or because she likes working or just desires extra money; survival demands extra money, not to thrive, just to survive. In Appalachian Ohio, many working poor have 2 and 3 jobs each, man and wife, and try to supplement that with picking up aluminum cans, growing some of their own food, and odd jobs. They'd like to (desire) stop and listen, but they need (demand) to eat. Everything that moves by gasoline is passing that cost on to you, food, clothing, shelter, heat, electric, water, sewage and trash disposal.
So there is another percentage of the motives of those who ignored a great violinist.

One of every 8 women walking by just got diagnosed with breast cancer, or her mother or sister or friend or neighbor or someone did. Stopping to hear the music just didn't break that focus. Some have prostate cancer, skin cancer, due to lack of calcium in their food. Lung cancer will take 435,000 of them this year, and did last year, and they're grieving that loss and their own demise. One of 3 of all of them will get some kind of cancer.

Some 63% of them were overweight, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease. Some 34% were obese. In the last decade of the 20th century (1990-2000) a 60% increase in diabetes took over the lives of many of them. There are some more percentages of the passersby who just aren't in the mood.

Many were recent victims of crimes, or still suffering though the crime was long ago. It took their security, their sanity, their loved one. Many are dealing with the Meth and pharmaceutical abuse epidemic and the Afghan heroin flooding out of the war zone and into their city, or the city they came there from, and wreaking hellish havoc on their children, younger siblings, older siblings, parents, friends and neighbors. More percentages.

Some lost their loved ones to the terror attacks of '93, 2001. Some are eking out a living after the other income in the house took a hit because he or she got shipped to Iraq, or came home unable to work, or didn't "come" home at all, but got shipped home in a flag-draped coffin. Some are still suffering the devastation of the Gulf Coast by the hurricanes. Some are trying to put life back together after their government gave tax dollars taken from their paychecks to the companies they worked for as an incentive to abandon them and move to Mexico, China, and India.

Many of them are trying to figure out what to cut from their tight budget to be able to afford the same amount of gas they've been using to drive the same mileage, but at 5 times what it used to cost. Mortgage foreclosures are at a historic high, Ohio in first place, due to personal bankruptcies, due to medical ills that made them unable to work until their insurance ran out.
A percentage are afraid if they don't get back to work on time they're going to lose their job because their boss is a bitch/bastard, the worst kind.

And some just aren't into music, or that kind of music, or aren't into it right now. That's why they advertise broadly that the artist will be playing at the specified location at a certain time; so that all those who can overcome all those reasons, and are into that music, and can afford the gas AND the ticket, can be found, lured out of the widely scattered masses, not just out of those in that location at that time of day, and fill the seats on the appointed night.

The RoadTrip: "What's in it for me?" I can see that being asked. I can also see those who intend to attend, and/or participate, but haven't felt the pressure to Act Now! Slots are going fast! Others are saying, "Gee, both my cars are in the shop. I may be out of a job at the end of April. Columbus is 90 miles away, Cincinnati 117. I don't feel very good. I'm not good enough for that (Not me! I'm great; but other people.) And, the quintessential, "What's in it for me?"

Perhaps it's just a slow start, different from the past, but just a shift in the paradigm. It's rainy and cold. Don't despair. Focus on the setup for things that ARE happening. Boost the ones that aren't and you want to happen by whatever means necessary. Call on the members to help sell it to the venue and the public, to get off the dime and commit if they want to participate, so you can move forward with confidence, but don't despair until you see the whites of their...whatever they're showing you the whites of that justifies despair. And then, don't despair. Do it as it presents itself to be done. Next year, who knows how the cycle will turn?


There will always be another song to be written. Someone will write it. Why not you? www.garyeandrews.com
#491970 - 04/11/07 06:39 PM Re: Monday, April 9th, 2007 [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 19,401
Brian Austin Whitney Offline
Brian Austin Whitney  Offline

Top 10 Poster

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 19,401
Indianapolis, IN USA
Gary,

Great post. Ironically, for many, the answer to all that misery is often art of some type and music certainly leads the way (along with movies and TV). Music is a way to get those emotions out without actually getting those emotions out. You can listen to music which speaks to your heart and mood and it helps. It's a tangible thing that expresses the human condition better than anything else (including, in my opinion movies, paintings etc.). Something about those sounds wafting into our brains and surrounding us in all directions at the same time is just different than any other human experience.

There's no question in my mind that if he had performed at the same location on Sunday where people weren't rushing to work, crowds WOULD have gathered, even if he was mediocre. If you have to be at work, you have to be at work. Also don't overestimate the public's understanding of or appreciation of the difference between Josh Bell and any average violinist who could have been playing. Only the trained ear would know the difference. And of course even though Classical is still the most popular "Format" in music, a lot of people aren't into it.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@gmail.com
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..."

[Linked Image]

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