Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Ultra Fine Art of Narrowcasting!

Have you ever ventured into a Wal-Mart for a tube of toothpaste only to approach the register with a buggy full of items totaling $149.95?

They have us figured out so well! The Science of Psychography & Marketing have so taken apart the human mind and manipulated the triggers of sounds, shapes, colors, fonts, textures and space that we are often rendered helpless to buy. Dozens of books have been written on the methodologies that entice us to purchase and of the various strategies, one thread remains. It’s the art of ‘narrowcasting.’ The premise is “Merchants don’t sell to the Masses – They Sell to You.”
Entrepreneurial Musicians would do very well in employing this narrowcasting strategy. We often boast that we are producing and performing our music for ‘everybody,’ while the most enduring entertainers realize their success in appealing to a chosen few.
Instead of saying, “My band plays Jazz,” why not say: “We are Unconventional Jazz Fusionists who play New Funk for Old Schoolers who grew up in the 70’s.” Or, “We play Jazz Rock for people who appreciate Coltrane AND Hendrix!” Or even, “Our Four Piece Cello Ensemble is a Grateful Dead Tribute Band.” SounDoctrine often states, “Our Music sounds like George Duke crashing into the Rolling Stones on his way to Quincy’s house while listening to Steely Dan!” It may be overkill, but it’s Specialization!!
People love to feel and express their Uniqueness. They buy products and services that Speak personally to Them. They migrate to artistry and musicians that touch and embrace their core. Gospel Music & Hip Hop do extremely well in this context.
Have you truly ‘studied’ your audience? Are you involved with their interests, cultural and/or political affiliation? Do you know their Age & Income bracket? Education or Career Status? Are they Married, Single, Divorced, Straight or Gay? Do they live in Urban, Rural, Warm, Dry or Wet Climates? What type of Car do they Drive & What Brand of Clothes do they Wear? Jewelry? Cologne/Perfume? These are all valid questions to ask when determining who your real audience is and to what extent you will appeal to them throughout your career. You can do simple surveys to obtain these answers. Although this approach may seem invasive, its essential information for the EM and like Wal-Mart, it may be the difference between your audience purchasing a Single Download or your Entire Discography!
Obviously, there are exceptions (who doesn’t appreciate Stevie Wonder?) and Pop Music would make us believe that the whole world worships a Justin Bieber or a Taylor Swift, but that’s really the work of great PR machines. For the most part, these artists have only appealed to a certain segment of society… and so should we.
I’d love to hear who you’ve written your music for and who you identify as your audience.
Dig In!
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A Rainy, Lazy Saturday Morning Vol 1

Good Morning!

My blogs are generally pre-written. I usually choose which I am going to post on the night before D-Day.

But I got up this Saturday Morning, had my Devotional Time and chilled with my beautiful Lori over an excellent Cup of Coffee as we looked out at the Pouring Rain. Upon approaching my iPad, I viewed my Linked In Groups first (no reason). I made a few endorsements and added my links to some as requested. I then got the Big Idea to do so here as well, instead of my general post, in hopes that you would send me your links and we could begin a dialogue and connect more openly…and so I can also get back to my Lori, my Coffee and the Rainy, Lazy Saturday Morning!

Connect With Me  & Share Your Links on this Blog!

Facebook

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Jere B Personal Twitter

SounDoctrine Twitter

SounDoctrine.com

SounDoctrine You Tube Channel

Soundoctrine Cloud Channel

Youngstown Jazz Fest

I’m always seeking positive collaborative, networking opportunities.
1 second ago

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You Define YOU!

I well remember 70’s Radio when you could hear “Doobie Brothers, Blue MagicDavid Bowie“(1), Parliament/Funkadelic, Fleetwood Mac, Stevie, Aretha, Air Supply, The Bee Gees, Sly, Ray Charles, The Eagles and Marvin Gaye all on the Same Station – In The SAME HOUR! The Only Exceptions were Hard Rock, Classical & Country. The beauty of that level of programming was the amount of variety and influence You & I Listener could ingest into our daily lives and we were the better for it – musically speaking.

My Step Dad was pretty adamant about my listening to multiple genres of music. He made sure the house contained everything from Slim Whitman (right?!) to Shirley Caesar to Frank Sinatra to Bootsy Collins to the Soundtrack of “Hair”! He would always remind me – and I was a very young boy – that drummers could be called in to perform with any artist or group, so I should respect and learn all styles of music.
Subsequently, as my musical tastes matured, I never lost the appreciation for the assortment of flavors the 70’s had to offer and no doubt, my personal music collection couldn’t be more diverse. Anyone who listens to my music will find it obvious that my compositions and productions continually reference the variables I was weaned on.
As SounDoctrine began to build a brand, the pressure to define our music, in light of the then stringent Radio Formats, became a challenge. Our Music, although based in Jazz, was not Traditional or Contemporary and Definitely NOT Smooth (a term I came to loathe). We could not be described as Latin, Funk, R&B or Soul. Although we appreciated Rock and incorporated each of these elements, one label alone didn’t fit.
We are in fact, a Hybrid. True Fusionists. Alternative Experimentalists.
Now Mind You, Experimental Fusion Hybrids are rarely played on Radio. They’d prefer You to Stay in their Box, so they can comb Your hair. And when the media begins to write reviews and report on Your Music, they are compelled to label Your Sound as something much further from who You proclaim Yourselves to be.
Believe me, THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO BE SILENT!

Having Your Music mislabeled by the Gate Keepers will only lead to a backlash by other outlets or Potential Fans* who may be seeking out what they ‘thought’  or ‘heard’ Your Music was, only to find that You’re – simply YOU!

So We began calling  Our Sound “Originalternativefunkjazzfusion!!” While this didn’t secure any additional airplay, it did provide clarity for all who were looking for our kind of music
You would do well adopting a definition, motto or tag and posting it on Your Website and sending it out with every single email, press release, flyer and circular that references Your Name. Shout It Out in every Interview, from the stage and even in Your Videos. Completely OWN IT and make certain that all concerned can immediately define Your Music whenever they hear Your Name!
So Let Me Know How You Define YOU – What Do You Call YOUR Music??
(1) What Song was this phrase taken from?
(*) Read My Upcoming Blog on Fans
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On Tuesday, we discussed how compartmentalizing a week as opposed to chopping a day may have more impact on your musical output Please read to last week’s post to catch up!

c) There’s Nothing like Family! 
Assigning just One Day per week, for our purposes, is not at all suggesting that this is the ONLY time you give them! What is being suggested is that you carve out a Concentrated Day in which Your Family is receiving Your Undivided Time & Attention. No Phone, No Tablet, No Last Minute Meeting. No Quicky Texts in the Bathroom!
I can’t stress deeply enough how many times I’ve dropped the ball here. Talking to my wife while texting a band member, pushing my little girl on the swing while trying to set up a gig for the following friday…sooner or later, they realize they are not your priority and it takes a lot longer for wounds to heal. Selling 22 CDs and getting 43 more names on your email list doesn’t add up to the possibility of losing those closest to you.
A quote I read once reminded me that no one at the end of his or her life wishes they could have spent more time at the office (or in our case, the studio, the stage or band practice). As each person reviews their life, they are more prone to thnk about the people they are leaving, moreso than material possessions. So find a day you and your loved ones can all agree on and make it exclusively yours.
d) Remember to REST!
Because of my High Energy Ratio, I tend to redefine “Rest” in a myriad of ways, so I won’t be as hard on you here as I was in the family section. But it is vital that you choose a day where you are the center of gravity. Whether you choose to remix that funky detuned bass line, go for a hike, cuddle with your kids or sleep the day away surrounded by a bed full of jalapeno cheese twists, it’s a great, guilt free discipline because you scheduled it and this is what you were supposed to be doing!
There are many well written articles on how Musicians can make the most of their time, but only a few which address the schedules of Multidimensional EM’s who must make every second count.
Try implementing this Schedule I’ve suggested and let me know how it turns out.
Or if you have a great one you’re using, SHARE IT!! We’d Love to Read About It!

A Refrigerator, A Tightrope and You!

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Balancing a Refrigerator on Your Nose….

…while walking a tightrope suspended thru mid air in front of thousands is probably the closest description of being an Entrepreneurial Musician I could come up with. The others were far too graphic, nauseating and painful, so I scrapped them…

Today, I want to talk BALANCE as an EM because it’s so hard to acheive.

I also wish to confess right up front that BALANCE is a discipline I am still trying to master. Just when I feel I’m managing all of the airborne spinning plates, I sneeze and need a tissue…and a band aid, so…

Chopping the Day between Your Family, Day Job, Church, External Committments, Booking Gigs, Paying Bills, Posting to Social Sites, Following Up on Calls & Emails, Rehearsing the Band, Eating, Showering and Sleeping, (those last three some times optional), it’s easy to see why many musicians have abandoned their passion for the 9 to 5 cushion.

Those 24 hours alloted to each of us seem more difficult for the creative mind, because once we are engrossed in the songwriting, or recording, or mixing, or editing, it’s hard to ‘come down,’ especially as the ideas are flowing and you’re completely in The Zone. I am currenlty practicing a method which has seemed to help maintain my sanity. See if it works for you:

Instead of Chopping the Day – Chop the Week. I divide my 7 Days / 4 Ways

a) Choose Three of Your Best Creative Days and Do Nothing Else

b) Choose Two Days for Business Activity and Do Nothing Else

c) Choose One Day for Family and Do Nothing Else

d) Choose One Day to Rest and Do Nothing Else

Assuming you have a Family, a Job and an additional Non-Musical Committment, like church or a charity, the method is not as cut and dry, but you’ll still make meaningful strides by ‘compartmentalizing’. Let’s observe the first two:

a) What days are you Most Creative? Say Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays
Now, Pre-Define ‘Creative’ – Is it Composing,Rehearsing, Recording or Performing?
Then do the ordinary things You MUST Do (take kids to school, work, cook dinner) then Block Out the rest of that Day for your project and NOTHING ELSE – this is NOT the day to answer emails, make calls or post to Facebook! Do Creative Only!

b) Mondays & Wednesday might be great days for Placing Calls and following up with Promoters, Progammers or Venue Owners. Schedule Regular Meetings with Your Assistant and/or Band Members to decide which gigs to take, what website updates are needed, Your Set List and Gear Maintainance – IMPORTANT – don’t discuss this on Rehearsal/Creative Day! Take Care of Business!

Next Time, we’ll explore the C & D. In the meantime, send me your formulas and suggestions on how you divide your time!

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Do it NOW!

Do It

Do It Now!
I recently heard a few quotes that kicked my booty and made me sit down to do some real introspection. They are, “Where You Are Now is the Sum Total of the Daily Decisions You’ve Made Up to This Point.” And its companion, “You Are Where You Are because You Chose to Be Here…” Wow!
The amount of money we make, where and how we live; our level of success – or – failure are all the result of choices we’ve made – or – have refused to make.
Sobering…
How imperative it is as an EM to be brutally intentional about exactly what we want to do. It is vital that we clarify with acute intensity exactly what we wish to accomplish. Some of my greatest failures personally and professionally have been a direct result of not clearly articulating what I wished to do. DON’T let this happen to you.
It is important to have a core team of people that you trust with your dreams and can meet with regularly to discuss your vision and intentions. These are not “yes” folk who agree with your every whim. They are creative, progressive thinkers and visionaries who are not afraid to tell you “no” when necessary.
They are able to see your blind spots and can suggest alternatives or better strategies.
Over and above a Great Team and a Great Plan is the ability to actually pull off those wonderful ideas.
Get Up and Implement those Goals, Plans, Visions and Strategies. Where You Are Four Years From Now hinges on what You Decide to Do Today!
Feel Free to Provide Me with Some Suggestions of what you did four years ago that brought you the success you are enjoying today!
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Don’t Buy The Story!!

As an Entrepreneurial Musician who performs or updates content frequently, your greatest assets are your Local Newspaper, Radio & TV Station, Music Circulars and Entertainment Magazines. Getting to know the people who own and/or operate them is worth more than owning the entire Waves Plug-In bundle. Most are extremely accessible and willing to give you proper publicity if approached correctly.

 

What we EM’s frequently do, however, is spend our incredibly hard earned money on buying their ads, placements or radio time to publicize our announcements.

 

The best method is to Become the Story rather than Buying It!

 

A Story of Your Band headlining a Major Music Fest, complete with a brief discography, personnel quotes and a well tailored history makes a better sustained impression than an elaborate ad in the paper or magazine, which may only contain your Name & Logo swallowed up by the other acts on the bill. Besides, even if the half page ad features your band alone, the perception that it was paid for is far less credible than a good article or news story on you!

 

Your ability to write a great press release takes some practice and there are a number of articles online which can help you publicize your event in a way journalists appreciate. Some will contact you for more information and even print an entire interview with you to support the story. Others will print your press release verbatim, so make sure your grammar, spelling and punctuation is correct and that you captivate your reading audience. Often I will place my own quotes about the product or event to add a sense of realism to the story.

Note: Here’s a link to an example

 

Most local Radio & TV stations have community shows that allow you to come in to interview – and even perform – to promote your music. You MUST grab that opportunity!!
SounDoctrine members have awaken at 3AM many times in order to travel to the next city to be on the Early Morning 5AM newscast. But the amount of feedback we received far outweighed our lost sleep and as a result, we have seen increases in our downloads and at our performances.

 

Here on our local WFMJ-TV21, I am blessed to be able to frequent “Community Connection” with host Madonna Chism-Pinkard whenever I’ve had something to promote. Additionally, SounDoctrine’s “Chi Tea” is the theme song for the show, so opportunities abound.

 

Finally, in the case of Interviews, it is vital that you are well spoken, especially in Radio when the Listener cannot see you, so send your best representative equipped with all of the necessary info to make the greatest impression. The Interviewer is often looking for more than “One Word” answers and expects to have a dialogue and their guests possessing the ability to be Concise AND Thorough, respecting Start Times and Station Breaks. You may be asked questions that may be off topic from what you are there to promote. Be respectful enough to answer quickly with minimal opinion and then get right back to your spiel.

 

There are a myriad of ways you can promote your music while keeping your money IN your pocket. Remain Creative and remember it’s always best to BE The Story – Not Buy It!

 

What other methods have you found which have gained you the most publicity?

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Faith Works

Let’s face it.

Deep Down, We ALL have a System of Faith. Even those who live under a personal discipline to believe in Nothing – or in No One. All of us exercise our Faith every single day without giving it a second thought. And it’s amazing the things we trust our lives to.

Right now, I happen to work in a place where cars are made. The trucks bring in the parts. Big Parts. Tiny Parts. Rubber Parts. Plastic Parts. Steel Parts. People on the inside of this plant, hook, tie, weld, snap, wrap, pound, bend, sew and mend these parts together. You should see some of the people who do this. You wouldn’t believe it and I don’t want to scare you. Some of them may or may not drink or smoke their lunch. Supervisors are on multiple prescription meds. And they operate heavy machinery. And a wide variety of sharp, powered tools. There are unions that protect them, but I digress…
We operate the cars these people glue together. Often at very high speeds. More Often stopping on a dime, placing our faith and children’s lives on the probability that the car may stop on time. Or that one of those air pillows may protect us when someone else doesn’t.
Have you ever been on an elevator alone?
How Many Hundreds of parts make it soar up and down?
Ever Been Stuck in One???
How about the subway?
How about a New York Subway at 4 AM after a Gig?
You & I are people of Incredible Faith, admittedly or not…
What We Choose to Believe Defines Us. Where we are at this moment is a result of what we have chosen to believe. About Life, About God. About Ourselves.
Do You Believe that You Can & Will Succeed in this Music Industry?
Will You Exercise Your Inherent, Incredible Faith that no matter How Long it takes or What You Must Endure in the interim that You are Going to Win, that Your Music will be the Soundtrack of Someone’s life, if not that of an entire generation?
As I write this, I am sitting in this very car plant. I may or may not be on my break. I am wearing a uniform. The name of someone else’s company is sewn into the shirt and hat. I have a badge and a photo ID. I also have a dream. I’ve had this dream all of my life. I’ve made several attempts toward making it a reality. I’ve had Tremendous Success. I’ve suffered Great Set Backs. I’ll make many more attempts. I have Faith.
I Will Succeed.
How About You?
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Have You Listened to Yourself Lately?

Many Artists & Bands are faithful to record their rehearsals and performances as a means of tightening up loose ends and smoothing over rough patches. It can be tough to sit through the taping of a show where the drummer and bass never really locked or where the guitarist constantly played over changes before they arrived or the lead singer…well, you know.

More Often, we listen for technical reasons. Is the Mix Right? Is the EQ On Point? That’s Not the Right KEY! and my absolute favorite, the Drums are TOO LOUD!

But the type of listening I am speaking of transcends the preparatory, technical and reflective.

While vital to our craft and careers, when we constantly reduce our listening to the rudiments of only hearing the imperfections, we’ve lost the essence of why we create music in the first place.

It’s the Soul, the Heart – that Sacred Place inside someone’s spirit that needs to be rejuvenated, challenged and inspired. Isn’t that the reason we first wrote the song? To transform a life – or if that’s being too mellow-dramatic, perhaps simply to make them get their groove on (groove being synonymous with several definitions!) The point is, we should listen to retain that initial spark that overwhelmed us enough to enkindle others.

For too long I’ve possessed the terrible habit of not listening to my projects once they were finished. You spend months creating it, additional months rehearsing, recording, mixing, mastering and releasing it. Weeks more promoting and performing it. When the cycle ends you’re happy you are through and are eager to get on with something new.

Yet, lately, I’ve found it important to revisit those CDs and listen as I would to any other disc in my collection. To simply embrace and enjoy the music, removing myself from the process has presented a new level of encouragement and afforded me a higher sense of confidence. I’ve been surprised, startled and grateful that God would choose to use me as a vessel to express His musical heart to someone, to anyone – and to many I’ve never met.

What About You? Have You Listened to Yourself Lately?

I am sure you’d be amazed. If you’re on Sound Cloud, send a link to your music in the comment section so we can all listen.

Here’s a link to one of my more obscure ideas:
http://soundcloud.com/jereb/originalternativefunkjazzfusio

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