A special thanks to The Des Moines Register and Todd Ezren for the article about On Pitch, picking DSM over LA, and my career path. I’d also like to thank all of our clients over the years and of course, Hillary Brown and Zoey Miller for making On Pitch a success. Another special thank you to Amedeo Rossi and Zachary Mannheimer for their very kind words in the article. I’m very fortunate to work with these gentleman that are reshaping Des Moines. Read the feature and watch the video.
A special thanks to DSM Magazine, Chad Taylor (writer), and Dan McClanahan (photographer) for the “Music Makers” feature on 80/35, On Pitch, Greater Des Moines Music Coalition, and The Poison Control Center!
If you’ve lived in Des Moines during the past five years and have somehow managed to completely avoid the 80/35 music festival, I don’t even know what to do with you. 80/35 (July 6–7 at Western Gateway Park) has quickly built a national reputation, drawing acts from across the country, and has helped put the capital city on the musical map. Read more.
Read more about the awesome portraits Dan created for the article in this blog post.
Last week I moderated a panel called Landing a Music Career in Flyover Country at the SXSW Music and Media Conference in Austin, Texas. Jill and I submitted the idea for the panel last June, and after months of planning and eagerly awaiting the arrival of the big day, we were excited to finally come together with our rock star lineup of speakers to conduct the panel.
We’re happy to report that the panel was a huge success. Attendance was great, with about 70 people joining us for the discussion. According to the poll we took during the panel, our audience was about 50/50 musicians and music professionals.
We’d like to thank everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to attend the panel, including our panelists: Sean Moeller, Scott Booker, Shawn Crahan, and Amedeo Rossi, who provided invaluable advice and insight on the topic of how to launch a music career in any region.
From Sean Moeller’s desire to record and write about music on his own terms, which has ultimately led to a revolutionization of online music through Daytrotter, to Slipknot founding member Shawn Crahan’s innate need to unleash his creativity since he was a young child, there were a few consistent themes throughout the panel. All of our panelists exuded innovation, fearlessness and motivation – they have truly carved their own paths while creating their own unique and successful music careers right here in the Midwest.
All of the panelists also have a higher purpose and vision of creating a better tomorrow for the music industry. From Amedeo Rossi’s vision to foster a cultural landscape that encourages up-and-coming artists to stick around in Iowa through the Greater Des Moines Music Coalition, to Scott Booker’s innovative career path leading him to cultivate and educate future generations about every aspect of the music industry at ACM@UCO in Oklahoma City, the speakers have not only impacted the music scene and industry in their communities, but they’ve influenced movements that will ultimately impact the music industry as a whole.
Their stories and advice were inspiring, uncut and raw – the kind of stuff that SXSW is made of.
Listen to a podcast of “Landing a Music Career in Flyover Country” here.
Check more photos from the panel on our Facebook Page and some recent press coverage below.
Exactly one year ago we officially launched On Pitch at SXSW Music. It’s been quite a year for us. We’ve been busy working on a variety of projects including managing publicity campaigns, coordinating event sponsorships, collaborating on website launches, scheduling advertising buys, executing online marketing pushes, and the list goes on.
Over the past year, we have worked on projects for the following clients:
- 80/35 Music Festival
- Greater Des Moines Music Coalition
- Sound Farm Recording Studio Environment
- Civic Center of Greater Des Moines
- Simon Estes Concert Series and Nitefall on the River
- First Fleet Concerts
- The Envy Corps
- Vaudeville Mews
- The Autumn Project
- Bonne Finken
- The Nadas
- The River Monks
- Des Moines Oktoberfest
In June we submitted to host a panel at SXSW, which ended up getting accepted. Hillary moderated Landing a Music Career in Flyover Country yesterday alongside panelists: Shawn Crahan (Slipknot), Sean Moeller (Daytrotter), Amedeo Rossi (Des Moines Music Coalition), and Scott Booker (Hellfire Ent./The Flaming Lips manager). Listen to Radio Iowa’s feature on the panel here.
As you know, On Pitch has been a passion project for Hillary and I outside our full-time positions at Lava Row and Olde Main Brewing Co. This month I am excited to announce that I’ll be transitioning into a full-time role with On Pitch. Moving forward, we hope to continue to grow our music and entertainment client base locally, while expanding to take on more projects and work with clients regionally. Thanks to all of you for your continued support. Be sure to follow our blog, Twitter, and Facebook for future updates.
Tomorrow we host Landing a Music Career in Flyover Country at the SXSW Music Conference in Austin, Texas. We are honored to feature such an accomplished group of professionals with successful music careers in “flyover country.”
From a Grammy-award winning musician that maintains his home base in Des Moines, an entrepreneur that carved his own path opening a music venue and launching a major summer music festival, a record store clerk turned manager for major recording artists that cultivates his music community, and a blogger whose website not only revolutionized his city, but the entire indie music scene.
Please take a moment to get to know the Landing a Music Career in Flyover Country speakers.
Scott Booker started as a clerk at Sound Warehouse in Midwest City, Oklahoma. After enrolling at the University of Central Oklahoma, Scott simultaneously managed Rainbow Records. After Scott met The Flaming Lips in 1990 he quickly became – and still is – their manager. In 2001 Scott formed Hellfire Enterprises with his wife Jennifer, helping get the word out about bands like Sigur Ros, Devendra Banhart and El-P. Currently CEO at the Academy of Contemporary Music at UCO, Scott’s focus is helping cultivate and educate future generations about every aspect of the music industry.
Find Scott on Twitter: @scottdbooker
Before revolutionizing online music, Iowa-native Sean Moeller was working full time as a sports and entertainment writer for the Quad-City Times and freelancing for various music magazines across the country. While out on a run one morning, Sean came up with the idea of having touring bands drop by a studio in Rock Island, Illinois, and play an impromptu set on borrowed instruments. Now considered one of the most popular indie music blogs on the internet, Daytrotter allows for free music discovery and is home to a host of creative music, writing, and artwork.
Find Sean on Twitter: @realdaytrotter
Shawn “Clown” Crahan is one of the founding members of Des Moines-based metal icons Slipknot. His resume includes seven Grammy nominations and one win, 14 million albums sold world-wide, and tours spanning the globe. Shawn also performs with Dirty Little Rabbits and is currently preparing for the release of the debut album from his latest Group The Black Dots of Death. He continues to maintain his roots in his hometown of Des Moines, Iowa.
Follow Shawn on Twitter: @MShawnCrahan
Iowa native Amedeo Rossi’s goal is to foster a cultural landscape that encourages up-and-coming artists to stick around. After years of corporate human resources, Rossi shifted his focus to Des Moines’ budding arts and entertainment scene and collaborated to open indie music venue Vaudeville Mews in 2004. Rossi helped found the Greater Des Moines Music Coalition and has led the development of the annual 80/35 Music Festival.
Follow Amedeo on Twitter: @amedeo10
Landing a Music Career in Flyover Country
Thursday, March 17
If you can’t attend, watch for updates on Twitter: @OnPitch.
If you’re a musician or in a band that’s trying to get your music out to the world, your website is a valuable marketing tool. Your website helps your fans, bloggers, and journalists find out who you are, what you sound like, and where you’re playing. It’s important that your website contains content for all types of visitors, from fans – current and potential – to booking agents and media outlets. Below are ten essential elements that every band’s website should have.
- Relevant information.
- A current bio
- Reliable contact info
- Hi-Res PR photos
- A way to showcase your music
- Sharing features
- Newsletter signup
- Google Analytics and Feedburner
If you have an album out, include easily accessible info about when it came out or will come out, the track list, and the label. Post a tour calendar with upcoming shows so fans can see when and where you’re playing, how much it costs, and where they can buy tickets. Be sure to include links to the venue website, ticket sales, other bands who are playing, and your Facebook Event.
Your bio is your opportunity to tell your story, share your history, and talk about your influences and accomplishments. Press and bloggers often refer to band bios when writing features and reviews, so it’s important that your bio is current, interesting, informative, and versatile. Can your current bio be used on a venue website to promote an upcoming show? Does it convey the message that you want to your fans? If not, it’s time to refresh your bio.
If journalists or bloggers have questions, they expect to easily find reliable contact info on your website. If you have a PR/publicist contact, list who it is and how to contact them. If you don’t have a PR contact, list who to get in touch with and how.
Journalists (bloggers, web editors, print editors) who want to cover a band usually accompany any given post with a photo, but sometimes it’s hard to figure out which photos are for the press. Be sure to have high-resolution photos available on your website for journalists and bloggers.
Your music is your art, and anyone visiting your site is going to want to hear it, so make sure you have a way for them to listen and sample it. You can share your music on your website with a music player, embedded tracks, or MP3 downloads.
If you have merch and music for sale, let your fans know where they can purchase it. If you have an online store (iTunes, Bandcamp, CD Baby, Amazon) that’s separate from your website, be sure to link to those online stores. Also, if your music is for sale locally at coffee shops and/or local record stores, be sure to list those addresses too.
Think of your website as your home base and all of your other digital presences as extensions of that presence. Each social network potentially has a unique audience, demographic, and benefit for your fans (with some crossover). That’s why it’s important to integrate, or at least link off to all of your digital touch points from your website.
You also want your fans to be able to share the content on your website with their friends. Social bookmarking plug-ins to allow your fans to easily share content from your site on their favorite social networks. With over 500 million users, a Facebook Like Button, Like Box or Activity Feed is a no-brainer. Want to keep your fans in the loop on what you’re working on? Be sure to add an RSS button or “subscribe via email” widget to your site, so that your fans can subscribe to your posts.
Even if you’re not regularly sending out a newsletter (yet), you should have way for your fans to sign up for one. Newsletters are a great way to directly reach your fans and create a more personal connection with them about new releases and upcoming shows. We recommend MailChimp, Constant Contact, or FanBridge. In addition to having a newsletter sign-up on your website, you should be collecting e-mail addresses at every show.
The key to getting your music heard is always building more fans and attracting new people through creative marketing. Music videos are just another form of creative marketing for your band. They allow you add another layer to your artistic capabilities and capture the full attention of your audience by combining your audio with visuals. Music videos also make your band look more legitimate and professional, help you stand out, provide your fans a sneak peek at what they might experience at your live performance, and give any prospects a more personal look at you as a band.
Want to know where your fans are coming from and find out what parts of your site are getting the most traffic? Google Analytics can provide this information. Using such analytics can help you measure your website performance, help you drive traffic to your site, and cater to your fans’ online behavior. FeedBurner’s services allow publishers who already have a feed (RSS) to improve their understanding of and relationship with their audience. Once you have a working feed, run it through FeedBurner and realize a whole new set of benefits.
Our very own Hillary Brown was featured on the SXSW website yesterday in the Music Panelist Spotlight. Read to find out what our “Landing a Music Career in Flyover Country” panel will cover, as well as Hillary’s advice for SXSW newbs, favorite SXSW memories, and top 5 albums.
The panel planning is coming along great! We have some rockstar panelists lined up (literally). We can’t wait to announce!