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calmstock posts

3 words for indie artists

indie_wordsFor the past few years new media guru Chris Brogan has practiced the “My 3 Words” exercise to guide how he conducts his many efforts in the coming year. The idea is to chose 3 resonant words around which you set goals and develop projects. Given our increasingly over-complicated world, I found this to be a fresh way to plan my year as an indie musician and marketer.

As winter turned to spring I began to realize how perfect this exercise is for the indie musician. We’re bombarded every day with new tools, new platforms, new “best” practices. new opportunities and new challenges. “My 3 Words” is a great way to make sense of it all, providing a means to organize, prioritize, and focus. So, without further adieu, my 3 words for 2010 continue to be..,

Content. Network. Equity.

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A (big) return to (micro) patronage?

piggy_bankI’ve been MIA for a while. Getting a new EP recorded, CDs and vinyl pressed (one-sided white vinyl!), gigs and radio appearances booked, promo packages together– it’s a ton of work as you all know. But I think I’m coming out of the woods a bit and want to get some thoughts down on the exciting re-emergence of patronage via new, arts-focused, micro-funding platforms.

Perhaps best known as a driving force behind the European Renaissance, arts patronage has played a vital role in advancing culture for centuries. And beyond the visual arts, patronage has impacted the work of some of the greatest writers, scientists, and composers we’ve ever known. Nowadays, however, there’s a lot less in the way of direct-to-artist patronage. But since I’ve only taken one art history course, I’ll stop there and leave the history lesson to others.

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Making sense of it all

Which wayIt’s been a hectic fall. I attended my first Musicians for Music 2.0 meet-up, found my way to Music Hack Day Boston, tapped into some super smart brains on Twitter, started writing about what I was seeing and hearing, and read seemingly a dozen articles a day on the business of music for about 4 weeks straight.

And all the while I’ve been hard at work on the new Longwalls EP; recording, mixing, and wondering… wondering what the hell we were doing! Everything I was reading and hearing was having a real-time impact on what I thought about promotion, distribution, making “records,” managing a little label, and being in a band. It got pretty overwhelming at times and a fair amount of sleep was lost. But as I get ready to finally unplug for a week, I realize all the thinking has lead to a bit of clarity. Some things I’m thinking about heading into a new decade of music making… (more…)


Debating the future of music

“It’s hard to get someone to understand something if their paycheck depends on them not understanding it.”

I’ve been thinking about that quote all week. I forget exactly where I heard it, but it’s been stuck in my head ever since last weekend’s Music Hack Day in Boston. The event brought hackers together from every corner of the globe to develop new music applications to advance the future of music. And amidst all the hacking, music’s future and past briefly clashed, making for some compelling moments during the Sunday afternoon panel discussions. (more…)


Regional hits sound so fine

They sure do Mr. Gent. In fact, most of my favorite music is in some way “local.” From post-punk to punk-punk, new folk to new country, I by and large listen to music made by people that I in some way know— or that at least I might have the to chance to get to know. Sure I’m a bit spoiled living in Boston, and if you live in NYC or LA a whole lot of music is in some way “local.” But the point is this: for those out of touch with their local scenes, get in touch! Plugging in to your local scene is beneficial to you and your community–and the music is way better than you might think. (more…)