New Media Pioneer: Vinny Bond of Music on the Couch

New Media Pioneer: Vinny Bond of Music on the Couch

Come sit on The Couch every Monday when Vinny Bond will chat with unsigned artists, artists who are self-producing and artists who have signed with labels to discuss their songs, their journey and what is in store in the coming months. This is where you will find the success stories of tomorrow!

http://www.musiconthecouch.com

Q) Tell us a little bit about your site. What inspired you to start it?

A) I began writing about music on my ‘home blog’ Big Leather Couch (www.bigleathercouch.com) about 2 years ago.  I love music and wanted to share new, unsigned artists with my readers.

It began as a review of their music and then developed into a written Q&A with the artists and a posting of one or two of their songs.  My readers were asked to vote in a poll as to their feelings for the artists.

This past February, I began my BlogTalk Radio Program “Music On The Couch” (www.blogtalkradio.com/musiconthecouch) as I felt it was time to be more personal with the artists I was looking to feature.  This also resulted in my starting the Music On the Couch Blog (www.musiconthecouch.com), where I recap the interviews and have links to the player for that particular interview.  I also set up my podcast on iTunes (http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/id358016657).

Additionally, I maintain another blog “Tuneage Tutelage” (http://tuneagetutelages.blogspot.com) where I do album and concert reviews and informative histories of bands and people in the music industry.

Q) Why do you believe new media resources (i.e. blogs, podcasts, internet radio stations) have become so popular? How have they been beneficial to artists? How have they been detrimental?

A) With the decline of the major labels as home to new artists, there is a strong demand for blogs, podcasts and internet radio stations.  New artists with the desire to be found have to have an outlet and these provide that for them.  Many go onto Facebook and Myspace, but to be heard you need to be found.  The plethora of bands out there make it like finding a needle in a haystack for the public.  As I have said many times, “The good news is that, today, anyone can get their music heard.  The bad news is that, today, anyone can get their music heard.”

My podcast features music of many genres including pop, blues, rock, R&B and reggae.  These are the genres that I am most closely associated with and I feel the most comfortable speaking to.

Honestly, I have not seen a detriment to these new media resources as of yet.  I believe that any way of getting the music out there is a benefit.

Q) Media 2.0 has changed the way artists communicate with fans. Where do you envision online communication going next? Any thoughts on what Media “3.0” will look like?

A) I believe the next step is vodcasts. Many internet radio stations already stream video from their studios and this ability will grow with the growth of bandwidth.  Additionally, some artists are already using sites like ‘Second Life’ to showcase their music and this avenue will grow larger as time goes by.  An artist can give a concert to the world from their home by using these sites.  Eventually sites like Facebook will have to adapt to also give artists this ability.

Q) What does an artist have to do to get your attention? Are their specific characteristics that you look for?

A) Play good music!  It is all about the music and the lyrics. I really just find music I like and that I believe my listening audience will also enjoy. Recently I did a show that featured an artist that sings pop/classical and then a reggae/dub/punk band.  A total 180 from each other, but mixing it up like that keeps me and my listeners on their toes!

Q) What do you ultimately hope to accomplish with your site?

A) In some ways, the Music On The Couch podcast is already accomplishing what I hoped it would and that is to give exposure to bands who I feel need to be heard.  During a number of programs, listeners in my live chat room will inform me that they have already gone to the featured artist’s site and purchased some of their music.  This is a thrill for me as I sort of take on that ‘proud papa’ persona.

As anyone with a podcast knows, this is not an opportunity to make a fortune in life.  At this time, I have no financial benefit from the time it takes to research the guests, set up the program and do the actual broadcast.  This takes up to 6 hours each week, if not more.

BUT, as I mentioned, I get a benefit knowing I allowed a listener to find new music which will enhance their life and knowing that I am assisting an artist to gain the popularity they seek.

I am also working to feature more local (Memphis, TN) bands as I believe strongly that this is a cradle for some incredible music as it always has been.

Thanks to all at Ariel for recognizing my contributions and for giving me this forum to reach out to other artists, bloggers, and broadcasters.

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In Gratitude… 4 People On My Dream Team

Today is my birthday and today I have a great deal to be thankful for. To have a long career in the music business is something I’m very proud of. These past 12 months have been an incredible journey and I want to acknowledge a few people that have made it a year to remember.

And I want to remind us all about something Derek says, It all starts with who you know and it’s our connections to each other in the world that make us.

Derek Sivers

Most of you know (and worship) Derek. The reason why is because you have probably met him, and because he has probably given you great advice on how to make your music career better (or better yet, he has written you a check for your music). Even though he’s not in charge at CD Baby anymore, what he created so lovingly and well lives on with his spirit intact.  But there’s a part of him you may not know.  He’s an impeccable friend.  When the phone rings it’s never “how are you?”  It’s always….  “Have you ever thought about what you would do if one day (fill in the impossible, and most thought-provoking question you can think of…)  Derek is always helping me push my limits as a creative entrepreneur  and my the re-invention of my business has a lot to do with him. Derek remains my sounding board in this business. On days when I get discouraged and think it all won’t fly couldn’t fly, he is my biggest cheerleader and thought provoker and idea generator.  Thanks D…

Millie Millgate

If I had to nominate the hardest working woman in the music business,  Millie gets my vote.  As the head of Sounds Australia , her job is to make sure all Australian artists who attend international music conferences (SXSW, CMJ, Liverpool Sound City, Great Escape etc.) have a platinum experience, and because of her they do.  Its so easy to go to a conference and get swallowed up by the overwhelming experience but Millie ensures that this won’t happen by  getting her charges connected to all of the right people to not only play in front but also meet and network with. She never stops thinking about how to make each conference better and more effective for artists, label owners and managers. Her book on how to tour Australia, where she covers every possibly angle and answers every possible question you may have is like everything she does detailed , meticulous, and impressive.  She inspires me when I watch her in action…. She graciously invited me to Australia last September, and introduced me to APRA who hosted a series of master classes, and I’m here now at Song Summit celebrating my birthday in gorgeous Sydney.

Shelley Nordstrom

I had never heard of the ECMA‘s when Shelley first invited me to come speak at The East Coast Music Awards conference and ceremony.  What I‘ve discovered is some of the most incredible talent I have ever seen (Hey Rosetta, Joel Plaskett, and David Myles are just 3 examples). Shelley ‘s job is to invite international delegates to attend the conference and experience the jaw dropping talent and ensure that that talent leaves the East Coast of Canada.  She and the entire conference make guests feel like complete rock stars.  I have never been so well taken care of at any conference, and because of Shelley, I have met life long best friends and colleagues, 2010 was my third trip to the East Coast of Canada and I’ll go back every year (if I’m invited).

Anna Hildur

In September 2008, Anna Hildur, the head of IMX, The Icelandic Music Export, invited me to Reykjavik to speak at the fabulous You Are in Control conference. She chose me not only because she wanted someone to speak about how social media is affecting musicians, but also because she wanted more women to speak at the conference and I was honored to be included. To watch Anna in action is marvelous. She wields two cell phones and switches between her sing-songy Icelandic and English, (depending on which one is ringing) and I can’t find one Icelandic artist who doesn’t know her personally. When the financial crisis hit Iceland, Anna, and I co-developed an online course to help Icelandic artists fully master online marketing and PR so that they could get exported the most efficient and cost –effective way she could think of.  I have been introduced to so many amazing musicians through that experience and have had the great pleasure of working with over 40 bands and musicians from the land of fire and ice including Ólafur Arnalds, Sunna Gunnlaugs, For A Minor Reflection and Dikta

Derek, Millie, Shelley & Anna, I couldn’t have done my dream without you,… I believe there is no luck in the music business. Luck comes concurrently with dedication and hard work and by having others help you along your journey.  My journey would look profoundly different without you.  Thank you from the bottom of my soul for all you do for me and for musicians around the world, and for all you do for me.



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New Media Pioneer: Joey Smith and Peter Nash of TrekWest5 Podcast

http://www.trekwest5.blogspot.com

TrekWest5 is a podcast that strives to bring thoughtful conversations to television, books, movies, music, and pretty much anything else they want to talk about.


Q) Tell us a little bit about your site. What inspired you to start it?

A) Peter says:
We love television, but the idea of just turning off your brain for mindless entertainment never felt right to us – it seemd to close to the Looter mentality.  We feel that you can have intelligent and entertaining discussion based on the subjects that television shows handle.  Our aim is to facilitate such conversation in ourselves and our listeners.

Joey says:
Television has been called “the opiate of the masses”. While there are certainly those who will always view it that way, we struggle to tear people away from their “mental sofas” and show them that seeking entertainment need not be an abdication of their personal values.

Q) Why do you believe new media resources (i.e. blogs, podcasts, internet radio stations) have become so popular? How have they been beneficial to artists? How have they been detrimental?

A) Peter says:
Blogs/Podcasts/Facebook/Twitter give fans real time access into a world that they think they love.  All of a sudden they can know exactly what is going on with the artists they follow.  This increases the accessibility and makes the fan feel like the artists know them individually.  The problem with such an idea is that artists are people too, so when an artists wants their own space then all of a sudden it looks like the artists hates their fans.  But you are never going to get away from crazed obsessed fans.

Joey says:
I would like to believe that we’re zeroing in on a culture that is more aware of Chris Anderson’s “Long tail economics” – that people are moving away from the blockbuster world and finding that it’s not only *OK* to have your own tastes, but it’s actually MORE ENJOYABLE. Obviously, this has had (and will continue to have) a dramatic impact on the lumbering behemoth of “Big Media” as it tries to avoid re-adjusting itself to fit into this new landscape.

Q) Media 2.0 has changed the way artists communicate with fans. Where do you envision online communication going next? Any thoughts on what Media “3.0” will look like?

A) Peter says:
If I did then I would already be marketing it. :)

Joey says:
I think the Imogen Heap project “The Song that Never Was” might be a good indicator of where the changes in the world’s media platform are driving the interactions between artists and fans. As the explosions of Twitter, YouTube, and Wikipedia have shown us, the generations coming up now *expect* to be part of a participation culture.

Q) What does an artist have to do to get your attention? Are their specific characteristics that you look for?

A) Peter says:
Honesty and integrity stand out the most.  We can’t stand rudeness, vulgarity, or unsubstantiated arrogance.  We seek after things that are praiseworthy, lovely, or of good report.  And we can never look down our nose at hard work and expertise in one’s craft.

Joey says:
Peter gives a pretty good answer here, but I’d like to add a little bit more regarding “specific characteristics” I seek in music and in the bands themselves. When it comes to music, acoustic or things that sound somewhat “instrumental” really stand out for me. I’ve generally preferred female lead vocals, but a soulful male voice can certainly grab my attention very quickly. I prefer lyrics that speak to the beauty and happiness of life over those that bemoan troubles and heartache, but I also enjoy a good ballad about *overcoming* adversity. Sure, life is hard, but I don’t find value in music that wallows in “the evil that men do.”

In the band, I mostly look for people that give an appearance of having a high personal standard of values – usually modestly dressed, well-groomed, and happy people will get my attention over people looking mournful, tatooed and scraggly.

Q) What do you ultimately hope to accomplish with your site?

A) Peter says:
To facilitate good conversation and thoughtful debate.  If more people get involved in their communities then only good things can come from it.  But if they just sit on their couches and lazily vegetate the day away then our society will stagnate.  We don’t have all the answers, but if enough of us start talking the answers will come.

Joey says:
My primary goal is to shake people loose of the malaise that seems to grip them. The world is falling down all around us, and mostly because people can’t be roused to an awareness of what is going on. By teaching people to engage their minds when seeking their entertainment, perhaps we can help them grow the habit of doing so in all other aspects of their lives.

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“Music Success In Nine Weeks” Reviewed by Music 3.0′s Bobby Owsinski

I was fortunate to finally meet Ariel Hyatt at the ASCAP Expo a couple of weeks ago, something that I had looked forward to for some time. Ariel is founder of Ariel Publicity, a PR firm that specializes in the music business (especially helping bands) and one of the few centered exclusively on online public relations (she calls it “Cyber PR”).

A few months ago when I began asking around for recommendations for a PR agency for a client of mine, two people who I respect enormously, Derek Sivers (founder of CD Baby) and Bruce Houghton (founder of the influential music blog Hypebot), both told me she was the best in the business. Now that I’ve met her, I totally believe it.

Ariel and I spoke for about 45 minutes about the music business, social networking, and the steps that bands need to take to make their presence felt online. To say that I was impressed is an understatement. She’s one of the few people in the business that totally gets it, but even better, knows how to use what she knows to help those that can’t do it for themselves.

After the conference, I eagerly read Ariel’s book, “Music Success In Nine Weeks,” and totally loved it. It’s loaded with information about navigating the online space, but it’s also a workbook that takes you by the hand and shows you how to do your own PR (both online and traditional), establish and build your email list, get the most out of your website, how to set up a successful blog, and generally focus yourself and your energy to make sure you’re aiming in the right direction to attain your musical goals. It’s very well written and a quick and easy read.

How good is this book? I figured that I would just skim through the book since I already know a good bit about how the social media world works, but I couldn’t put it down and wound up learning a lot myself since the book covers so much more than social media. Her information is concise, to the point, and easy to grasp, no matter if you’re a social media veteran or just dipping your toe into the online waters for the first time.

The title is not hype. If you want music success in a relatively short time, read this book (and read Music 3.0: A Survival Guide For Making Music In The Internet Age too). If you don’t have the time or inclination to do it yourself, hire Ariel’s company. At the very least, check out her archive website and sign up for her email newsletter. I guarantee you will learn a lot.

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Sweet Relief Musician’s Fund Needs Your Help

I love making a difference. When musicians come up to me at conferences or at gigs and say “Thanks for writing your book, it really helped me learn how to market and promote myself more effectively.” Or, They say: “I read your articles online and they really help me and my band.”  It makes my day.

So, when my former housemate (and GM of the Fox Theatre in Boulder CO) Bill Bennett called me last year and asked me to be on the board of Sweet Relief, a charity I have long admired I jumped at the chance.

It’s all over the news these days: Approximately 15% of Americans are without health insurance, but when it comes to musicians that number sadly exceeds 45%; and that when faced with a medical emergency or disabling event there are very few resources for support that a musician can turn to. Since 1993 Sweet Relief Musicians Fund has been a strong and steady resource for professional musicians struggling with illness, disability or age related problems; but they can’t do it alone and the shrinking economy has made it that much harder for them to help (read: fewer people are donating individually).

So, I would like to ask you for a favor today and for the month of June….

It will take less than 30 seconds of each day and you will help save the lives of musicians in need.

Sweet Relief has qualified for the Pepsi Refresh Project. During the month of June they will be competing for one of ten $50,000 grants with the winners being determined by number of votes. Participants can vote once per day until June 30th. By visiting http://pep.si/votesweetrelief and voting helping to preserve one of the few resources that a professional musician can turn to for support when there is no place else to go.

As a thank you in return I offer you a copy of my ebook the Recession Proof Musician so that you will never have to be faced with the problem of having to turn to a charity for medical help.

1. Vote for Sweet Relief (every day if you can) and spread the word via Twitter, FB, MySpace

2. Download The Recession Proof Musician from me to you (just enter your email address and it will be delivered to your inbox – its not mentioned on the site but it’s there for you).

Thanks for making a difference.

Hang With Sweet Relief:

Twitter:  @SweetRelief

Facebook Causes Page: http://bit.ly/sweetreliefcauses

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New Media Pioneer: Scott Preston of Cincy Groove Magazine and Cincy Groove Live Podcast

http://www.cincygroove.com

http://www.twitter.com/cincygroove

Q) Tell us a little bit about your blog. What inspired you to start it?
A) I have always had a strong interest in music ever since my first concert I attended back when I was 16.  I bought the domain name for the site back in 2005, knowing that I wanted to start my own site someday.  I knew there were things about running a music magazine web site that I didn’t know, so I did some photo and review work for various music magazine websites to learn what to do and what not to do.  I ended up wanting to go shoot a lot more shows than I could get credentials for, so I decided to take more control over my own career.  Since I had been a concert photographer since 2000 I had built up a lot of contacts.  So when I started the website it made it a lot easier for me to get interviews, press passes to shows etc…
Q) Why do you believe new media resources (i.e. blogs, podcasts, internet radio stations) have become so popular? How have they been beneficial to artists? How have they been detrimental?

A) I think blogs, podcasts, and Internet radio stations are so popular because anyone can start their own blog or record their own podcast.  It gives the band from a small town in Nebraska the same ability for exposure as a more popular band say in Chicago.  Once something is posted it has the potential to be viewed by anyone in the world.  Just 20 years ago only artists such as U2, Madonna, or Metallica had the ability to reach that many people.  That’s the beneficial part.  The detrimental part is the fact there is too much out there for your senses to comprehend.  But overall I think these new media sources are a very good thing.  With anything new there are growing pains.

Q) Media 2.0 has changed the way artists communicate with fans. Where do you envision online communication going next? Any thoughts on what Media “3.0” will look like?
A) I often think about what is going to happen next.  It may sound silly, but I can see people putting on some sort of helmet where you will be in a virtual holographic environment where you can talk with someone face to face.  Something even more exciting would to be able to virtually attend a concert in the same fashion.  I have no idea how that would work, but it sounds like something that could become reality.

Q) What does an artist have to do to get your attention? Are their specific characteristics that you look for?
A) Really to get my attention, sending less is better than sending a lot of info.  When I get physical press kits, a cd, a one page bio, and a photo is really all that is needed.  I tend not to look at press kits with 20 pages of reviews etc..  I get so many at times I don’t have time to look at all that stuff.  When I get emails from artists, just telling me a little about the band along with a link to their website or myspace page is enough.  I am open to all genres of music, whether you are in a bluegrass, blues, or heavy metal band.

Q) What do you ultimately hope to accomplish with your blog?
A) Ultimately I hope I can help some artists gain some exposure while having fun at the same time.  I like working with local bands here in Cincinnati just as much as doing an interview with a national artist.  By working with national and regional artists I hope I’ll be able to help as many local artists as I can, no matter where they are from.

Podcast Info – I have titled my podcasts, “Cincy Groove Live”.  I try to record audio from every concert I go to.  So each Sunday I plan to feature 3-4 songs from a concert I attended in a podcast.

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