The Power of Building a Community

It’s been a busy and chaotic month.  I’ve taken the next step in my ‘pay the bills’ career, and that has forced some changes in the way I can approach what I do here and other places to promote indie music.  Time is a little more precious and there is not as much of it to use doing what I truly love, but I will find a routine and rhythm that allows me to continue being a productive resource for the indie music community.

That previous paragraph may sound like I’ve ground to a halt when nothing could be further from the truth.  A number of projects I am working on are running at warp speed.  Some of these I can talk about, others I can’t at this time.  But one thing rings true with all of them- a community is being built that can ultimately take on the big corporate music machine that has ravaged the industry.  Once again, David is taking on Goliath and I believe there can be a happy ending to the story.

One of the new communities coming to life in the indie music world and starting to make an impact is the International Singer Songwriters Association.  Started by Tamanie Dove, herself an independent singer-songwriter, the ISSA is a not-for-profit association dedicated to supporting and serving independent artists, and encouraging aspiring and professional songwriters in all genres of music worldwide.  In 5 short months, ISSA boasts a membership of over 5000 artists spanning a wide variety of musical styles from around the world.  Most importantly, it does so with no cost to the artist.

I’ve witnessed some of the work of ISSA first hand.  Whether it be teaching new artists how to write a bio, put together an EPK or offering assistance in finding the necessary resources to become a successful recording artist, the flow of information has been astounding to watch.  Seasoned artists are passing along the tricks of the trade to the new generation, and ISSA can boast over 5000 members in its first five months of existence.  It has been a wonderful thing to watch, and I know there are even more great things in store for the members of ISSA.

Very shortly after ISSA was formed, I was approached to become a partner in their efforts, one of the first to be asked.  I have to admit more than a little shock at the request.  After all, I’m just a small-time blogger, a social media micro influencer and on-air personality on a small (but quickly growing) internet radio station.  I’m still more than a little baffled, but extremely honored to associated with such a wonderful organization.  A large part of my plans for 2019 revolves around this partnership with ISSA, which I’ll talk about in the coming months.  Don’t worry- everything else I’ve been doing will still be there.  There will just be more of me around.  I hope that is viewed as a good thing.

The story could end there, but it doesn’t.  Over the last few months, a partnership of sorts has developed between ISSA and Music Mafia Radio.  Two months ago, Rick Landstrom made the decision to dedicate our live Friday night program to showcase the members of ISSA.  For some of these artists, it may be the first time they have heard their material on the air.  It has been a wonderful thing to see and hear, and successful to the point where we talk about expanding ISSA programming in the future.

It all sounds great, but there is even more.  Most recently, talk has turned from the performers to the songwriters themselves.  In many cases, a songwriter may write great material but not be able to translate that into the kind of performance they would like for their work.  Hell, I fall into that category- I can write and arrange music all day long, but no longer possess the fluency to bring it to life.  For a pure songwriter, it can be challenging to get your music seriously heard.

Once again, here comes Rick Landstrom with an idea.  Music Mafia Radio has now dedicated a page on its website to songwriters, a place where they can post their demos in the hopes that an artist likes what they hear and works with the songwriter to bring the song to life.  This is something that is unheard of in the radio industry- connecting songwriters with performers.

When I heard the idea, I immediately became excited.  It excites me because I am seeing folks thinking outside the traditional boxes to find ways to get the exposure and acclaim that many of these artists so richly deserve.  People are willing to shed the traditional boundaries of their position in the industry to grow the industry in a positive way.  And there is one more thing these people share- they are not receiving or expecting a single penny for their services from the artists.  It is all being provided at no cost.

I titled this article, “The Power of Building a Community.”  Hopefully, you see the power of what is going on with Music Mafia Radio and the International Singer Songwriters Association.  I can tell you this is only the beginning.  There is much more to come from both of these organizations, and I am more than a little bit excited to be a part of it.  This is a story you’ll want to follow, as I believe there are some great things in store for independent artists in a big way.  Stay tuned.

Coz

You can get more information about ISSA at https://issasongwriters.com.  Find out more about Music Mafia Radio at http://musicmafiaradio.net.  You can listen to Cozmic Debris at his new time of 10:30am Eastern every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on Music Mafia Radio at http://musicmafiaradio.net. 

I Need Your Help

My job around here is to support indie music in any way I can, and I like to think I do a pretty good job of doing that.  But, now I find my self in a position where I need to turn the tables and ask you to support me.

As you know, I am an on-air personality for Music Mafia Radio.  We find ourselves nominated for Best Independent Music Station by the International Singer Songwriter’s Association, a wonderful new organization for up and coming musicians that provides tips, tricks and some mentoring to help artists navigate the music landscape.  They may be young, but they are proving to be mighty!  And there is a part of my ego that wants Music Mafia Radio to become #1 and get the recognition I believe we deserve.  So, yes, I am going to ask you to vote for me, for a change.  More on that in a moment.

Now, I get the fact that these types of polls and ‘awards’ are all over the internet, but just like the artists I support, any kind of recognition is appreciated and creates that special ‘brag’ moment where you can say you were Number (insert number) somewhere.  It is a big deal to artists, and now I’m finding out it’s a big deal to those of us behind the scenes as well.  Last week, this blog got picked up by a great California news aggregator, a first for me.  I lost my mind because somebody had recognized my work and cared to share in a big way.  So, yes, to have Music Mafia Radio recognized as the best independent music station by anybody is a big deal to us.  And now I need your help.

Please go over to ISSA Radio Station of the Month Part One and vote for Music Mafia Radio.  It is one vote per day per electronic device, and the poll close October 31st.  Any support you can give is greatly appreciated!


 

What follows is horribly out of character for me, but I have to get it off my chest.  Feel free to stop reading here if you don’t want to listen to the grumblings of an old grump.

Now that I have that out of the way, I want to get up on my soapbox about one of the other stations on the poll and vent a little bit.  I won’t mention them by name, but they exemplify everything that is wrong about these type of recognition moments.  In an attempt to garner votes, they have blatantly copied every move we’ve made to garner some votes.  Last week, we announce a new special show format we are premiering this Friday and today they announce the exact same format to premiere tomorrow night.  There social media advertisement for the show is an almost exact clone for the one we’ve been running for a week.  One of our fans creates a Facebook chat group specifically to talk up the votes, and less than an hour later they create the same kind of group.

I get that everything I’ve described is pretty common practice and none of it falls in the category of unique.  It’s also not the first time we’ve noticed our thoughts, ideas and programming used by another station, sometimes word for word.  We know other stations listen to us, primarily in search of new music for their own rotation, which I actually love.  I love being the place people come to for new music, whether it be listeners or other stations.  I also know that it is a part of the business- you hear something you like, you find a way to use it.  But when it becomes a regular occurrence of taking ideas from the same source time after time, it enters the realm of “I have no creativity of my own, so I’ll just steal your schtick.”  It is disappointing.

So, to that radio station that shall remain unnamed, I ask this simple question- are those votes you are getting the result of your own talent or are they for your ability to parrot someone else (and not do a real good job of it in the process, to be honest)?  My suggestion is to try and come up with something original, for a change.  I recognize it may be a struggle, but it’s worth a shot.

Coz out.