music marketing in des moines

Music Blogging – Des Moines Style

Music fans across Des Moines are taking notice of our burgeoning music community. Many of them are helping push our scene to the next level by blogging about it.

We absolutely love how many bloggers in Des Moines are covering music. We encourage all of you to follow and support these blogs and thank them for chronicling what’s happening here in Iowa’s capital city.

DSM Band Bombshell

Iowa Music Buzz

Iowaves Music Blog


Greater Des Moines Music Coalition

Des Moines is NOT Boring

Central Iowa Music Scene Examiner

The Lonely Note

des noise


Joe’s Music Blog (Metromix)

Did we miss one? Let us know by commenting below!

DSM Magazine feature on 80/35, On Pitch, DMMC, and Poison Control Center

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!

Music Makers

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.

Meet Zoey, the On Pitch summer intern

Hey y’all, I’m the new summer intern here at On Pitch. Excited to really dig in and learn about the world of social media and music marketing. I’m currently a Journalism and English double major at the University of Iowa, but it’s good to be home in Des Moines for the summer, soaking up the rays and the emerging music scene. I’ve been involved with the arts since I was very young—I’ve always played a wide array of instruments, sang in as many choirs as time would allow, and loved doing speech and theatre stuff. Needless to say, having an opportunity to delve right into the local music scene is right up my alley.

To me every aspect of music marketing is directed toward a common goal—to make live music accessible to a grateful audience—and I’m honored to be more involved in that very process. The first show I ever attended (that wasn’t in a huge arena or the state fair) was at Skate South in West Des Moines. It was Senses Fail, and my preteen self felt so cool to thrash my limbs around in the mosh pit while doing everything in my power to ignore my mother watching closely from the snack area. Ever since that first concert experience—the lights, the energy, the joy of hearing the music that I played on my Walkman reverberating in a real room with real instruments and real musicians—I’ve only been eager to immerse myself more deeply in the concert lifestyle.

While I know that I have a lot to learn, I consider myself somewhat of a social media geek because I realize how much our society relies on technology and the innovative nature of the beast that is the internet—it’s fascinating to watch new possibilities for social and professional outreach emerge. That being said, I have a lot to learn, and I think it’s going to be a great summer learning from and working with Jill and Hillary at On Pitch.


Feel free to connect with me on social media:

twitter: @zoeysmiller


facebook: zoeysmiller



Meet the speakers participating in our SXSW panel

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

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

Sean Moeller

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:

Shawn Crahan

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

Amedeo Rossi

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

Panel Details
Landing a Music Career in Flyover Country
Thursday, March 17
Room 11AB

If you can’t attend, watch for updates on Twitter: @OnPitch.

Photo Credits: Scott Booker via ACM@UCO. Shawn Crahan via Brian Leli.

In case you missed it, our feature in the Business Record

Did you catch the article about On Pitch in the Business Record earlier this year? In case you missed it, you can read the feature here. A special thanks to Todd Razor for sharing our story!

Successful online music marketing case studies

Connecting with fans is imperative in today’s music industry. It’s that connection that can give them a reason to buy and support your music. Utilizing social media and having a strong online presence makes connecting with fans much more achievable. Below are some good case studies of bands that found success through an online campaign. I encourage musicians to review these examples and pay attention to the elements that made them successful. Then think about how to implement those strategies into your own marketing plans.

  • Arcade Fire – Interactive Music Video Using Google Street View
  • Watch the video

    Arcade Fire utilized HTML5 to create an interactive music video for “We Used to Wait.” Users are prompted to enter the address of their childhood home at the start of the video. While watching the video, scenes from your old neighborhood are pulled in using Google street view.  The elements of new technology, interactivity, nostalgia, experimentation, and personalization all aided in making this video a huge hit. Think about those factors for your next campaign.

  • Jason Parker – Name Your Price Using Bandcamp
    You may recall this example from our previous blog post: Pay What You Want Model: Does it Work? Jason Parker is a Seattle-based jazz musician that has found a lot of success utilizing Bandcamp, a site for bands to sell their music and merch. After deciding to allow fans to name their own price for his music, revenue increased from $15/month to $300/month. Pay attention to what Jason is doing on his social networks. He knows how to connect with fans and give them a reason to buy. He says the majority of his sales from Bandcamp are directed from Twitter, “I see a direct correlation between how much I converse on Twitter and how many downloads I sell. It’s a no-brainer.” Read more about Jason Parker and how he utilizes Bandcamp and social media in this Techdirt article.
  • Josh Freese – Crowdfunding and Miniature Golf
    The one size fits all product days are gone. Having something for the casual fan to the super fan is a great way to be able to sell more and put additional money in your pocket. One way to utilize this method is through Kickstarter, an online funding platform for artists, musicians, inventors, filmmakers, etc. Josh Freese decided utilized Top Spin (a similar site that becomes available for all artists next month) to help fund an upcoming album. The thing I like about what he did was the creative “product” offerings that fit his personality, including:
  • Lunch with him at Cheesecake Factory or PF Chang’s
  • A round of miniature golf
  • Josh washes your car or does your laundry
  • He joins your band for a month
  • A private drum lesson
  • Take three items out of his closet
  • Josh writes a song about you
    See the full list of packages and items Josh made available, which ranged from $7-$75,000. Check out Kickstarter to see how you can use it creatively to fund your next project. Just remember to do something that fits your band’s personality. If you make it the right fit and support it correctly, it can work.
  • Amanda Palmer – Turning the Power of Twitter into $11,000 in 2 Hours
    Amanda Palmer is widely known for her social media expertise. Advertising Age said, “Palmer is more sophisticated than almost anyone on the internet — musician, brand or otherwise — when it comes to gathering her audience around her and keeping the conversation going.”
    On a boring Friday night, Amanda managed to rake in $11,000 in just two hours. It all started with her tweeting about how she was alone, again, on a Friday night sitting in front of her computer. Others started chiming in and began claiming how “we are all losers.” Dialog continued and grew at a rapid pace. A faux organization was started called, “The Losers of Friday Night on their Computers.” Amanda created the hashtag #LOFNOTC and thousands joined the conversation.
    A follower suggested the group create a t-shirt. Amanda quickly decided to run with it. She took a sharpie and made a t-shirt design. A website was thrown up that night with the t-shirts available for $25 a piece. 2 hours later… $11,000.
    What can you learn for this example?
  • Interact with your followers and don’t just mass broadcast.
  • Be personable and share a variety of things with your fans.
  • Always be on your toes, ready to act quickly when opportunities arise.
  • Matthew Ebel – Subscription Site for the Super Fan

    The packages range from $5/month to $15/month, as well as annual options.  He offers a wide range of perks are including members-only parties, VIP seating at shows, access to new music as soon as he creates it, new live concert recordings every month, broken apart tracks ready for remixing, behind-the-scene sketches, drafts, and ideas, and many more. View the full list of packages and perks here.
  • The Poison Control Center – Tumblr Tour Blog
    A special shout out to Iowa’s own The Poison Control Center for their awesome tour blog. The band uses Tumblr, a simple and free blogging platform, to regularly update their fans from the road. After each show they share pictures, videos, and posts about their experiences, even down to thanking the sound guy, door person, bartender, and of course the fans. They do it right by updating frequently, providing a wide variety of content, and always remaining authentic.
  • Gossip Grows on Trees – Building Your Email List with a Fortune Cookie
    Email is one of the best ways to directly reach your fans, but sometimes it can be difficult to grow your subscription list.  Gossip Grows on Trees from North Carolina executed a creative way to gain more email addresses at live shows.
    They created a download web page that gave visitors a free music download in exchange for their email. At shows they walked around and handed out custom fortune cookies with the URL of the download page and a short message from the band. This gave the band an opportunity to spark conversation and develop relationships with fans. Plus, a lot more people visited the download page and provided their email address because they were approached in a memorable way.

All of these online music marketing case studies have a common theme of musicians connecting with fans. It isn’t enough to put your music out there and hope people will gravitate towards it. You have to be willing to push it out there and utilizing online mediums is a key element.

If you know of a successful online music marketing case study, please share it with us in the comments.

Hey, I'm Andrew.

Well hey there.

The title says it all. To say I’m incredibly pumped to be interning with the On Pitch team is an understatement. I’m currently an electronic media major at Drake University, but music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Whether it be singing in my grade school Christmas concerts, playing saxophone for a year in middle school, or touring with my men’s acappella group in high school, I’ve been involved in music for almost two decades. At the moment, I’m a part of the Drake Choir, a select touring ensemble on campus. I’m also a specialist at the Apple Store in Jordan Creek.

I’m a Des Moines transplant by way of St. Louis. Working in restaurants and clubs during high school afforded me opportunities to work closely with both local and national artists. I love all types of music – I’ll listen to anything twice – and discovering new music is a favorite hobby of mine. I’m relatively new to the indie scene, and I hope to learn a lot about the inner workings of the music industry. I’m excited to help organize 80/35 and to work closely with local bands to get their music to the world by using social media tools and brainstorming creative ideas to get the word out.

I can’t say that I specialize in any particular area, but I love utilizing the power of social media and other emerging tools to communicate and inform. I’m really excited to learn about social media and music marketing from Jill and Hillary, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to have a blast.

Feel free to connect with me:
Twitter: @andrewpeters88
Facebook: andrewpeters88

Call for On Pitch interns

We’re looking for spring and summer interns to join the On Pitch team. Why? We want to help students learn about the marketing and music industry while gaining real world experience. Others helped us along the way, and we want to do the same for the next generation of aspiring marketing and music professionals. We won’t ask you to sharpen our pencils and fetch us coffee. Interns will get to dive in head first to assist us with marketing projects for bands, events, music venues, and small businesses. Including fun stuff like:

  • Press and blogger outreach
  • Promotional campaign support
  • Street team management
  • Creative brainstorming sessions
  • Research projects (requires extensive music listening)
  • Online marketing efforts
  • Event planning
  • Writing assignments (copy, blog posts, bios, press releases, web content)
  • Social media pushes

Interns will also play a vital role in assisting with the marketing and communications efforts for the 80/35 music festival.

The perfect candidates will posses the below qualities. Apply if this sounds like you:

  • Some marketing internship experience under your belt
  • Writing and communications superstar
  • Proactive, energetic go-getter
  • Passionate about music
  • Fan of process and organization
  • Very detailed oriented (at the brink of being annoying to friends)
  • Not afraid to ask questions – we want you to learn!
  • Ability to work independently
  • Personable and social – we want to enjoy talking to you!
  • A bit of a geek when it comes to music business and marketing

Please send your resume and any writing samples to for spring semester by January 7, 2011 and summer by April 1, 2011.

Iowa Musician Experimenting with Pay What You Want

To follow up to our blog post last week on the Pay What You Want Model, today we noticed through Facebook that Iowa’s Unknown Component aka Keith Lynch is giving fans the opportunity to name any price for his new album. Posted earlier today on Unknown Component’s Facebook and Twitter:

For A Limited Time, And As A Gift For The Holidays, You Can “Pay What You Want” For A Download Of The New Unknown Component Album

The Iowa City-based musician is offering a free download of the entire album, The Infinite Definitive, as high quality MP3s through Dropbox and using PayPal for fans to donate any amount. Also love that the page includes sharing features for fans to easily post to their social networks or email to friends.

Some other services for bands to check out for sharing their music online – SoundCloud, which allows for individual song downloads and streaming. And for donations, give Dwolla a try.

So, today we tip our hat to Keith of Unknown Component for experimenting with the Pay What You Want model. Let us know how it turns out!

And for you music fans out there… go download the album and make a donation!

Pay What You Want Model: Does it Work?

Sure, the pay what you want model worked for Radiohead’s In Rainbows but what about bands without massive followings? I find that bands have varied viewpoints about essentially offering their music for free. Some think it devalues the music and are afraid they won’t be able to make any money. While others believe it creates exposure they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise and find it actually creates opportunities for more revenue.

I recently read a great case study on Techdirt about Jason Parker, a jazz musician based in Seattle. Jason had impressive results when he experimented with the pay what you want model for downloads, live shows, and even physical CDs. Here’s a couple excerpts from the article:

It started with a “weekend experiment,” late last year, where Parker reduced the required price of the download of his albums, to $0 from $5, and tweeted to his followers that they could pay whatever they wanted for it. He had considered setting a minimum of $1, but decided to see what happened if he went totally free. And the results were quite impressive:

“Sunday night at midnight I checked my stats and was amazed. The three Jason Parker Quartet CD’s, “No More, No Less”, “Live @ JazzTV”, and “The Jason Parker Quartet” had been downloaded 128 times! That’s more downloads than I’ve received in the last few months combined. Most days I was lucky if a track or two were downloaded, let alone full albums.” – Jason Parker

Jason recently did a show where he specifically told the audience from the stage that he wanted everyone to leave with a CD, and that they could pay whatever they wanted:

“By the end of the night I had sold 27 CDs with an average price of $11.50.” – Jason Parker

Read the full case study on Techdirt and check out Jason Parker’s music.

Pay what you want may not work for everyone, but you can’t say it’s only for bands like Radiohead.

Have you considered experimenting like Jason Parker? Share your thoughts and experiences with us.

Photo Credit: Daniel Borman