The Sharks Circling in the Water

Slowly but surely, the industry is starting to pay serious attention to independent musicians.  Spotify and Amazon have made it incredibly easy for indie artists to make their work available, regional radio stations are inserting local talent into rotation and music festivals featuring unsigned artists are popping up all over the place and playing to large crowds.  It may not look like the golden years of the ’70s and ’80s, but opportunities are starting to open up.  As a result, many people have taken notice.  A good thing and a bad thing at the same time.

People are crawling out of the woodwork, promising the world to artists.  World class promotion, top-notch management, instant fame and fortune.  It’s easy to find somebody promising some (or all) of the above.  Websites are popping up daily touting their ability to take artists to the top of the mountain.  Much like the industry itself, where anybody with a computer and guitar can record and release music, the support backbone musicians have relied on for years has become diluted.  This makes it difficult for the emerging artist to find those that can really help.

I have no personal delusions of grandeur.  While I am a professionally trained musician, I have no right to release anything due to my many years of inactivity.  I may have spent significant time in recording studios many years ago, but I have no place thinking of myself as a producer, again due to my time away.  What I can rely on is my ear, which has not taken a break over all those years.  I can also rely on my close contact with the music business, which again has been almost constant throughout my entire life.  I am relatively new to the radio personality world and continue to learn every day, having some limited success and working hard to have more.

Knowing all of this, I know my own limitations.  The music business, as a form of art, requires a level of expertise that cannot be learned by reading books or attending webinars.  The experience gained in Corporate America does not equip somebody to handle the nuances of the industry.  I’ll never claim to be a producer, manager or promoter because I don’t have the experience necessary to do any of those effectively.  If only others would recognize their own limitations and just stay on the sidelines.

How is an artist supposed to find the right help as they work to break in (or break out)?  Here are a few tips:

Look for meaningful experience in the industry.  This means they should already have a portfolio of work that demonstrates their previous success in the business.  Don’t be shy.  Ask for references.  Ask for the specific results that benefitted the artists they have ‘worked’ with.  Get the numbers and don’t be shy about it.  After all, you are placing your career in their hands.  You deserve nothing but the best.  If the portfolio doesn’t exist, are you willing to be the guinea pig?

Make sure they know the language.  If they can’t talk like a musician, they probably don’t understand the art well enough to be successful.  No matter what level of service they are offering an artist, it is essential that they understand what you do at a pretty granular level.  They don’t have to be able to do what you do, but they should be able to explain what you do to anybody that will listen.  That includes other musicians.

Make sure they are in the game for you.  A little research will help you determine this.  If they are in the game for you, they will be almost invisible to the listening public.  I hide behind a stage name because I want all the focus to be on those I choose to support.  Things must be posted and written by Cozmic Debris because there must be a name of some kind attached.  If their own name is attached to everything to do with your music, are they in it for you or for themselves?

Don’t get me wrong.  Many of you have the talent to self-produce and self-promote.  However, if you are looking for help, there are many, many people in the industry that have the credentials to provide you with excellent support.  You may have to wade through an ocean of ‘wannabes’ to find them, but they are out there.  You have spent years perfecting your craft.  The people representing and supporting your work should be the best you can find.  They should have spent years perfecting their craft as well.  When your experience blends with their experience, great things will happen.  As I said at the beginning of this article, the industry is finally taking notice of the independent musician.  Use that to your advantage and you’ll never have to look back.

A Christmas Story

I know, I know- Christmas was a few weeks ago.  I had planned on writing an end of the year article, but the rebel in me decided to wait a little longer.  The time has come.

Many of us had the opportunity to witness the music version of a Christmas miracle this past holiday season.  From the ashes of a ruined music industry rose one of the most talked about indie cover songs in recent memory.  I typically don’t pay any attention to covers, primarily because I am always looking for new music to hit my ears.  But even I got caught up in the frenzy of this incredible story.  Of course, I’m talking about Small Town Titans.

One evening over the Thanksgiving weekend, I received one of those annoying group Messenger posts on Facebook.  You know the ones- typically a share of something someone found amusing that they feel the need to share with the entire world.  Quite honestly, I ignore most of them, save for a few that come from trusted musicians.  The post in question came from a family member.  I was just about to dismiss it when I noticed the title of the song, “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”  I grew up with the animated version of The Grinch being a Christmas staple (even to this day) and I always had a fondness of the grumpy bass vocals in the song.  So, I clicked on the link, took a listen and watched history unfold before my very eyes.

Small Town Titans, for those that are not familiar with them, are an indie band from Harrisburg, PA.  Prior to Thanksgiving, they probably had a small local following and made a habit out of self-producing their own songs and covers, releasing a video every week of something new.  Most had probably not garnered much attention.  That is, not until they covered The Grinch.

The last time I looked, they had garnered over 220,000 followers on Spotify, received tens of millions of views on YouTube, watched digital downloads of their music explode exponentially and were in constant reorder mode for copies of their CD’s.  It went deeper than their cover songs- people started taking interest in their original music as well (which is some really good shit).  This band, one that had been working on their craft for years, had finally become relevant.

I tell this story because it represents a glimmer of hope for independent artists everywhere.  Despite the best efforts of the major labels to convince the world that the only good contemporary music consists of autotuned and oversampled trash, good music can rise above the noise.  There was no huge production budget involved here, and no corporate machine driving the release of the song.  What Small Town Titans were able to accomplish was done through the magic of viral social media.  It was only after it started becoming a hit with its fans that traditional news media started taking note, and when they did, it only added to the momentum the band was experiencing.

So, to all of my independent friends and heroes, I say this- stay steady and committed to what you do.  Put your music out there for the world to hear.  Maybe, just maybe, you can enjoy the same kind of ride one day.  We now have proof positive that big money is not required to have a cultural hit.  My personal view of the landscape changed dramatically over the holiday season, as I am starting to see new possibilities for those that deserved to be noticed.  There is still a long way to go to come to true equity in the industry, but it seems to get a little closer every day.

To all of you, best wishes for a healthy, safe and prosperous New Year.  Let’s make 2019 our year!

 

Coz

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. 

Nothing In Life Is Free

In America, you cannot avoid advertisements for the cellphone industry.  They are everywhere.  For many years, those ads promised free phones if you signed up with the particular carrier that was showing you what a great deal it had.  The truth is there was nothing free about the transaction.  The company paid the manufacturer for the phones they ‘gave away’, and the cost was passed along to the consumer in the price paid for the actual service.  The customer did end up paying for the phone without even realizing it.  But the one thing they did not pay was sales tax- because the phone was sold at a $0.00 cost, no taxes were added to the transaction.

Enter a number of state governments who realized they were missing out on a major revenue source in this (then) growing market.  In most states, the cost of the service itself is not covered by Sales Tax law, but the sale of a physical product (the phone) is.  Eventually, states started passing legislation requiring the collection of Sales Tax on all cell phone purchases and required that tax be based on the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) of the phone being purchased.  If the manufacturer listed the phone as an $800 product, tax was to be collected based on that $800 price tag regardless of the actual cost to the consumer.  Sell the phone for half price, collect the full tax.  Give the phone away for free, collect the full tax.  Pay the customer $300 to take the phone, collect the full tax.  Government created a new revenue source and changed the landscape of the American cellphone market forever.

You may be wondering why the hell I’m talking about cell phones on a music blog.  Hopefully, you’ll get the correlation by the end of this article.  We live in a society where getting things for ‘free’ has become an expectation of the consumer.  As different segments of the world economy have become hyper-competitive and the reach of any business has taken on a global playing field, companies have been forced to rethink their marketing strategies, in an attempt to gain visibility with the consumer market. “Free” is a commonplace word in advertising, and as a result, the average consumer does not recognize the negative economic effect the word can have when used in the wrong places.  After all, they are getting something for nothing.

Enter Spotify with their free tier of music streaming service.  The consumer pays nothing to listen to as many songs as they wish for as long as they want.  It is no wonder that this service has become wildly popular with music listeners because it provides an endless supply of music (including brand new music) at absolutely no cost to them.  Spotify creates their revenue stream through advertising and paid subscriptions, and this revenue is used to subsidize the cost of providing free service to a growing share of customers.  In the end, this looks much like the old cell phone strategy.  However, the outward appearance is the only thing that follows that business model.

To understand where I am going with all of this, we need to come to agreement on one thing- music is a product just like a cell phone.  It may not take on a physical form you can hold in your hand, but it is still a product, a commodity.  It is the result of human effort and a very creative process that is unique to musicians.  In the perfect world, the creation of music is the lifeblood of the musician, just like the cell phone is the lifeblood of the worker that assembled it or the engineer that designed it.  Now, back to our story.

Unlike the cell phone, the free Spotify user is not paying an associated cost that can be used to subsidize the free service.  The service is completely free to the consumer.  This is a decision made solely by Spotify, as a way to gain market share.  It is a brilliant marketing strategy and one that has been hugely successful for the company.  Unfortunately, it comes at the detriment of the musician.

Somehow, Spotify has been able to create a two-tier royalty schedule, paying significantly less for the activity of the non-paying customer than that of the paying customer.  Their justification is that because they are deriving no direct revenue from the free plays, they should be able to pay less to the musician. I won’t get into the argument of why Spotify and other interactive on-demand streaming services should be paying significantly higher royalties than just about any other music service (a topic for another article), but what the company is doing here is forcing the artist to subsidize a business model that cannot sustain itself.

Spotify alone made the decision to offer a free tier of service.  Spotify alone made the decision to price unlimited paid service at $9.99 a month.  If that pricing model is not enough to pay for the cost of doing business properly, it is not the responsibility of the musician to subsidize the company by taking less than their fair market share for the product they created.  By keeping their pricing artificially low in the name of being number one, they have convinced the PRO’s and major record labels that they need to lower the price paid to artists and that it is the right thing to do for the industry as a whole.  They have also convinced that same group that because they choose to offer their service for free, those plays have less value in the marketplace than those that are paid for.

Spotify is quick to boast that 80% of their revenue goes back through the pipeline in licensing fees.  What they fail to point out is the failure of that 80% to replace the lost sales resulting from the creation of streaming services.  The cost of producing music has not gone down, but it is now produced in an environment of diminishing returns.  They also fail to point out the insane number of hoops an independent artist must jump through in order to get paid, hoops designed to take the legally required reporting burden off themselves and save money.

This two-tier approach to royalties has to stop.  Their convoluted formula for determining how artists get paid needs to stop.  No product in any other market or industry is less valuable or less costly because one company decides to offer it to consumers for free.  In addition, this type of on-demand service should be required to pay a significantly higher licensing fee than those types of music services that are non-interactive in nature, whether they are getting paid or providing the service at no cost to the consumer.  Just like the cell phone industry, companies like Spotify should be required to pay fees based on the value of the product and not by the price point they are in full control of.  There are many other ways they can monetize the business to recover the cost.  If they choose to undercut the market on pricing or not explore other ways of showing a profit, it should become a decision that affects only their bottom line and not the bottom line of the artist.

Companies like Spotify need to absorb the cost of providing a service for free and not pass it along to musicians.  They will say it makes it unprofitable and is unreasonable for them to play by these rules.  They fear the loss of subscribers if they go to a pay-only subscription model that is priced at a level providing more financial benefit to the artist.  My response is that the music industry flourished before streaming, and will flourish again if the business model of music streaming is found to be fundamentally flawed and incapable of making money.  In fact, I can build a very solid business case for the exponential growth of the music industry in a world totally devoid of streaming services.

Don’t get me wrong.  Spotify is not the only one taking advantage of the market, but they get all the attention because they are the biggest player in the game.  Apple and the major record labels are just as much to blame.  It’s time for sanity and common sense to return to the music industry.  Any other industry would be knee deep in antitrust litigation with the type of business practices in play here.  The big players in the business, like Spotify, have made it clear they have no desire to do so.  Maybe it’s time for them to be told to do so.

 

 

 

 

It’s All About The Teamwork

In an earlier article, I wrote about the mountain of responsibilities that come with being an independent musician.  It was a daunting list, but an important one.  To their credit, many bands split up the responsibilities, which makes thing more manageable.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are bands where a band “leader” ends up taking on the lion’s share of the list.  Somehow, most are successful, no matter which approach they take.  However, there is a third option that I don’t see utilized often that adds layers of perspective and accountability that are sometimes missed in the world of trying to make music.  This leads to my question for today- have you thought about building a team? Everything done by the Cozmic Debris brand is the work of one person- me.  I do all of the writing, social media, website upkeep and promotion.  I listen to dozens of hours of music a week, looking for more musicians I can get behind, and still find time to get on the air anywhere between 6-8 hours a week.  Of course, that requires time to put each show together.  I can get it all done, but whether or not I do it well is a subject for debate. Compare that to my work with Music Mafia Radio.  We have people to handle the website.  We have another person that does an incredible job of maintaining our social media accounts, a person who also produces eye-catching graphics.  We’ve got people who take care of all the organizational stuff and make sure Rick and I know what we are supposed to mention on air.  We have a person who handles the business aspects of the station.  I handle the stream programming.  While I dabble in parts of the rest of the list to help out, all I really need to do in any given week is flip on the mic and start talking and playing music.  Everything gets done with much more polish and much less stress than my activities in the Cozmic Debris world.  And it happens because we have built a team. Building a team around a solo musician or band can be a long process.  The first hurdle to clear is finding people that can be trusted without hesitation.  After all, your career and reputation are at stake, and you will be asking your team to promote your brand.  You will be looking for people that serve as ‘experts’ for a particular portion of the responsibilities. They need to take your idea and run with it in a way you may not be equipped to do.  They need to understand the music and the philosophy of the band and demonstrate a true passion for your music.  You also need to find people possessing these traits who are willing to volunteer their time, because the reality is that you probably can’t afford to pay anybody to help out.  The reason it can take some time to assemble a team is that you need to be able to check off every single one of those boxes, and the trust piece can sometimes be hard to come by Don’t get me wrong- all final decisions on anything should remain the responsibility of the musician or band.  After all, it is YOUR career and YOUR music.  That’s the whole point behind being an independent musician.  You are not looking for these people to take over the decision-making process.  Instead, you are looking for people to put the decisions already made in motion. Now that we’ve laid the groundwork, what kind of people do you need?  Here’s a basic list you can consider: The Social Media Guru:  This is the person who handles all of your social media accounts.  A person who knows how each platform works and knows the tools that make working on those platforms effective and efficient.  A person who knows how to get the most visibility.  As social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter continue to change the rules of engagement in a way that makes reaching your current and potential fans almost impossible, having someone who knows how to get around the roadblocks becomes even more important.  Finding the right social media person can have very positive effects on your brand image. The Mouthpiece:  This is the person who handles all of the real world interactions and publicity.  They are the one to help you find and talk with venues, work with radio stations to get you airplay, find bloggers and interviewers who are willing to put the spotlight on you.  This is the person that can explain the music to anybody they come in contact with. The Techie:  Developing websites, creating mobile apps, building Alexa skills… there are skilled people that consider these things fun hobbies, and the chances are high you know one of these people.  Your brand value and awareness can grow exponentially with a professional looking web presence. The Organizer:  This is the person who knows every aspect of what the band has going on.  They are the person that reminds you of upcoming interviews, upcoming gigs, studio sessions… they are the person that tells you what you need to wear and what you need to know for wherever you are going. The Mentor:  This is often an overlooked part of the process, but can be the most important.  Typically another musician, this is the person you seek advice from when things appear to not be going in the right direction.  You run available options by them to get an unbiased analysis.  Ideally, this is the person whose ear you trust the most, someone you can take honest feedback from when it comes to your music.  You don’t want a cheerleader.  You want somebody you respect enough to take critical feedback from if it is warranted because you know they have your best interests at heart.  This person should fall outside the entire music creation process (including recording and mastering). They need to understand music on a level that allows them to provide meaningful feedback.  This only works when the trust and respect levels are extremely high. There you have it- the perfect team to help you get back to the business of making music.  Even if you can’t find somebody to fill every one of these roles, just getting a couple of them will help free up your time to work on the more artistic side of the business. One of these days, I’ll build a team to help with Cozmic Debris.  Until then, you are stuck with my jack-of-all-trades approach.  Who knows?  Maybe when I finally do build an incredible team, I’ll have time to write that book that’s been rolling around in my head for the last year.

A Restatement of Purpose

As I stated in a recent article,  I took some time away from writing for most of 2018.  Part of the reason for doing so was to digest a wide array of knowledge I was gaining on the industry as it stands today.  Doing so allowed me to not only better understand the players in the game and their roles in the current upheaval in the music economy, but it also gave me the ability to identify those things that need to change or simply go away.  Some of the answers did surprise me, but I feel that my understanding of the mechanics will allow me to be a much better advocate for musicians everywhere.

There was another reason for my sabbatical, a much more important one.  Recently, I’ve needed to reexamine my commitment to the core reasons for jumping back in and making myself a part of the music community again.  It is important to me that the musicians I support remain the primary focus of anything I do.  This whole Cozmic Debris thing works only if I remain the man behind the curtain.  That doesn’t mean I can’t peek out from behind the curtain from time to time, but only when the music has the attention of whoever is around.  The music and real talent are what this is all about.  It’s really easy to keep the political and social commentary of the day out of the mix.  The music runs deep enough to keep the focus in the proper arena.  The problems occur when the persona takes precedence and becomes more important than the reason the persona exists.

My ‘methodology’ is simple and one that I am not willing to stray from:

  • I scour the internet, looking for the best music out there.
  • I use this website, social media and my time on internet radio to make people aware of that music.  The choice to take advantage of any of this is in the hands or the reader/listener.
  • I make my commentary on the industry available here.  Some people will agree with my positions, others will disagree.
  • In all cases, any ‘fame’ or notoriety any of this gains will be the result of an organic reaction by those that come in contact with my efforts, not from me shouting “look at me” from the rooftops.  I am fine with letting the quality of my work determine my destiny and not the volume of my own self-appreciation. And if the fame never occurs, I am satisfied simply with the impact I’ve already had on artists I’ve come to know and love.

All too often, I see folks (other than artists) getting into the music scene who spend more time and energy in a “Look at me!” mode than they do promoting the wonderful music they’ve experienced.  The satisfaction comes from being able to associate their own name to something, rather than the satisfaction of spreading the word.  The goal is to get their own name in lights, and self-promotion becomes more important than music promotion.

I understand there is a place for personality in the business.  Radio stations need personality to gain a competitive edge and add listeners- the product has to be entertaining.  Hell, a certain portion of my own personality comes through in my writing.  My personal mantra is that there is no need to draw attention to yourself if the product you are producing is good enough to gain attention without an overabundance of self-celebration.  Any fame or notoriety gained in this manner is the result of an organic movement that results in a more sustained and powerful momentum.  If you find yourself having to constantly point to yourself to get attention, the product is probably not that relevant to begin with.

Over the last few months, I’ve had to shed some of my own humility and accept that my ear for music, view of the industry and ability to help artists are all respected and appreciated by a growing number of artists.  I honestly don’t get it and I think you’re all crazy, but I’ve learned to accept it.  That is all the recognition that is required for me to continue on.  If something more comes of it, that’s fine, but nothing further is required to keep the fire lit.  I love what I do, I love my position in the business and I love the people that have crossed my path on this journey.  No amount of recognition can replace any of that.

Every day, I get to discover, listen to and share some incredible music with a growing network of people, in the hopes that more people would listen to that music.  That was the initial goal and remains the goal to this day.  I’m living the dream.  I just needed to take some time to realize that.

I Know, I Know…

Yes, it has been FOREVER since I’ve put anything on paper.  It has been a hectic and chaotic couple of months in the Coz Kingdom, so I’ll give you some of the highlights:

  • I’ve obviously delayed the launch of the social media network, for a couple of reasons.  The primary reason has a lot to do with all of the negative news regarding Facebook lately.  With all of the concerns over user privacy on networks of these types, I decided to do some additional research to be absolutely sure the proper controls are in place before I go live.  I have absolutely no plans to collect data of any kind from users, and want to ensure that the same level of protection goes all the way up the chain.  I should have an updated launch date in the near future.
  • I find myself much more immersed in the local music scene, which has been an absolute delight!  I’ve made some great connections (and even greater friends), and obviously heard some incredible music.  Our weeks are now planned around two things- my broadcast schedule and who we can catch live in the area.  I’m planning an article to go into this aspect of the business in more detail in the coming weeks.
  • I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to catch up with Branford Marsalis.  Brad and I were roommates at Berklee, and hadn’t laid eyes on each other since the late ’80’s.  Once we got caught up on a couple of decades of life, the talk turned to the current state of the music business.  We share many of the same opinions, and he had some great words of wisdom for the new generation trying to break into the business- get out there and play live whenever you can.  He pointed to a number of well known artists that had already gathered a rabid regional fanbase long before “making it” with a big record deal (like Dave Matthews).  Practicing, writing and rehearsing, and posting music online are all fine, but the real way to success is to get out and let people hear your talent live.  Based on my recent forays into the local scene, I can vouch for the logic of this approach.
  • All of this elbow rubbing with musicians has rekindled something in me I haven’t used in years.  I’ve spent the better part of the last week in the studio, trying to shake off the rust accumulated over many years of inactivity.  The advantage of being the “book smart” musician is that I actually paid attention in class, and it amazes me how deeply the knowledge infused itself.  I’m surprised at how quickly all of the old techniques and tricks are coming back to me, and the challenges are more in getting used to the technology available.  Hell, the last time I spent any real time behind a board, we were still splicing tape and using analog synthesizers (yeah, it’s been a minute).  I’ve also started writing and arranging again, which is my happy place.  As the chaos around here subsides, I’m hoping I will continue to carve out time for all this going forward.

That’s all for now.  I promise to make this aspect of what I do a more regular thing.  I promise.

Coz

Cozmic Debris Universe- An Update

Before I say anything else, I want to apologize for being somewhat MIA on social media, and absolutely horrendous in getting back to people over the last couple of weeks.  I won’t say I bit off more than I can chew with the creation of Cozmic Debris Universe, but it has added to the pile of activities that are all vying for precious time.  I knew this would happen, and I am just now getting back into a groove where everything can get its proper attention.  For those who have reached out recently, expect to hear from me shortly.

As promised, here’s an update on Cozmic Debris Universe, my stab at creating a social network devoted exclusively to independent music.  I find myself in a position where I may actually be a little ahead of schedule.  All of the introductory material is written and posted, and I’ve started playing around and doing some sample posts (which will be available at launch).  In short, things are looking great, and it’s on to the next step.

Here in the next week, I will start inviting artists to join, explore and post.  My thought process is to have the artists shake the system down and provide feedback.  The goal is to have a bunch of content already available when the network opens to the public.  Shortly thereafter,  I will be inviting some bloggers and influencers to do the same.  Once I feel that all the bugs are worked out, it will open to everyone.

I had originally set a May 1st launch date.  Quite honestly, it is looking more like a mid-April launch, barring any hiccups.  I don’t see a need to delay the launch, and the quicker we are up and running, the quicker we can all see if this can be the wave of the future for indie music.  Excitement and nerves are running rampant, but I would be concerned with any reaction.

With a great deal of humility, I say this may be the next big development in independent music,  one that starts changing the way fans find music and the way artists share their music.  I hope to see everyone there.

More details to following the coming days.

 

Coz

A Big Announcement From Cozmic Debris

No matter what label you choose to use for me- blogger, social media influencer, radio personality or super fan, I hope the passion that drives everything I am trying to accomplish shines through.  There have been many nights where I have questioned my effectiveness in helping musicians, and I’ve talked myself out of just shutting things down and walking away more than a few times.  However, the rewards have far outweighed the challenges the entire way and have energized me in a way that I have never experienced before.  The time dedicated to making my small contributions to the music community has multiplied, and life has become extremely chaotic.  The hobby became an infatuation, which became a mission and has now transformed into an obsession.  And now the obsession takes a big next step.

I am both very happy and very nervous to announce that I am creating a yet-to-be-named social media network devoted exclusively to independent musicians and fans.  A network where artists can share music, music videos and concert announcements, and fans can explore and discover new music.  It is not meant to replace networks like Facebook and Twitter, but rather to be a targeted resource to help gain exposure.

I am very excited.  The platform will provide a number of advantages, combining the best of Twitter and Facebook- no character limitations, no algorithms to determine what people see (they will see it all) and the ability to categorize music in a way that will allow musicians to target specific audiences.  And, of course, this will all be made available at no cost to either the artists or fans.  The goal here is to bring the music to the forefront of the music industry.

Target date for rollout is scheduled for May 1st.  This will give me time to give it a good shakedown, explore some other functionality options that may be of use to musicians, as well as work with artists to have content available when it launches to the public.  This is something that I believe has to grow organically, in order to be truly successful, so word of mouth will be essential.  I’m going to go a little light on the details right now but will start sharing details as we get closer to launch.  Keep your eyes focused here for updates. 

Artists- if you feel this is something you want to be a part of, please contact me.  As I said earlier, it would be great to have a ton of content available when it rolls out

I don’t have any delusions of grandeur, but I do believe this has the possibility of becoming an essential tool for both fans and artists.  If it works, it works, and my dream is for it to be a special place for independent music.  Time will tell.