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Author Topic: Becoming A Label (andventures in self releasing a record)  (Read 10158 times)

j.hall

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Becoming A Label (andventures in self releasing a record)
« on: April 08, 2005, 12:26:48 pm »

i just saw a post in the publishing thread that asked me to share what i've been going through with self releasing my band's record as "correctly" as possible.

i think this is a great idea.

so, let's start at the beginning.

my band is called, "The Secret Club"  http://www.thesecretclubhouse.com/

i've been a drummer my whole life, literally, started formal lessons at age 5.  i've played in punk rock bands and indie rock bands since i was 14.

around the time i was 17 the band i was in got frustrated with me trying to sing song ideas to them. (no drummer jokes please)
the bass player handed me an old beat up guitar and said, "here, learn how to play, then just show us the ideas"

what a mistake that was for every guitar player i would play with from then on.

so, i taught myself how to play guitar by putting my finger in most unusual places (as i've come to be told) and finding chord shapes that i liked the sound of.  from there i guess i developed a rather odd way of playing and some rather unusual chord structures.

around my 20th year, i started dreaming up a concept record that i was to write.  it seemed far fetched, and grandios at the time, but then again, that didn't differ from any other idea i've ever had.  

i started writing music to all these ideas, in an attempt to create music that actually told the story and displayed the emotion i was after.  then adding lyrics to simply support the musical story line.  

i hadn't a clue if i was actually getting it there, but that was my plan and i was excited about it.

i wrote a few songs with a guy i ran across that liked the ideas i had.  parted ways with him.  went to recording school, blah blah blah.

now i'm 23, i've become a requested mixer (for some weird reason) and i'm going down to fayetteville, arkansa to work on a record with an old friend who happens to be a brilliant drummer.

i mix the three songs i was hired to mix, and we get to talking about various things.  after a few more projects down there, he and i start collaborating on this concept record of mine.

LOTS of driving ensues and i add 4 more songs to the record.

an odd introduction landed me with Jeff Limer who can sing the phone book and you'll want to listen.  also plays guitar well too.  he heard the tunes and practically insisted on joining up.

July 1st, 2000.  i load my own drum kit into the studio i was working in at the time.  the drummer friend's car broke down and he couldn't make it, so i was all of a sudden the drummer on the record.

we get everything set up, click tracks were ready to role, jeff playing scratch guitar and we rolled takes on 8 tunes through the holiday weekend.  we came out the other side exhausted and excited that this crazy dream was starting to take form.

between jeff and i, we finished off the 8 songs in the coming months when time permited and set forth to cut scratch vocals and get things rolling.

i grew increasingly more upset with the sloppiness of the guitar playing and bass playing.

i canned the whole record but the drums.

(i'm giving you the short version BTW)

1.5 years click by.  in that time a good friend and brilliant bass player, Chris Wagner, catches wind of the "demo" tracks.  asks a few questions (i've played drums in about 5 bands with him at this point) and decides he needs to join up.

he and i sit down and write 2 more songs i had tossing around as various parts.  we rehearse them with a drummer friend as he's packing to move back home to south carolina.  we record the drums.

july 2003, we load butt loads of guitar amps and cabs, and bass gear into the new room i'm booking and set forth to actually finish the record.  at this point i have recorded all 11 songs (one was done as the opening piece in a friends house on a 1" 16 track, totally different vibe to open the record)

we track guitars and bass and cut almost all the vocals.

mixing is not working out in this room and in frustration i shelve the record till i can acquire some distance from it.......yeah right.

i listen to roughs and collect my thoughts.

it's obvious we need to re-cut the drums on three songs.  the only three i didn't play on....HAHAHAHAHA, that sounds bad.

another old friend calls me out of the blue and asks what i ever did with this record.  i say nothing, he says, "well i just quit my band, need a drummer?"

WHOA, this thing is real now.  we are practicing, playing shows.

2004, we load into yet another studio and recut drums on three songs.

i renovate my basement and build Theta Rhythm.

we re-group and cut all remaining parts in my basement.

mixing commences and is completed in march 2005.

final mixes get sent to max lord for the placement and creation of segues to cut the entire record together.  remember, it's a concept record, and needs to hold true to that original vision i had for it, no matter how crazy it was, i was actually getting close to pulling it off.

late march 2005, segues are done and approved with only one revision, max rules, what can i say.

march 31, 2005 i drive out to memphis, TN to assemble and master this thing.

april 1, 2005, mastering begins in the am, ends in the PM with a ref and much relief as 8 years of my life is now coming to a sweet ending.

here we sit with a finished record and artwork being created.

this concludes the back story, further posts will be what has happened to get us to self release, and what we are doing to pupll it off.
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j.hall

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Re: Becoming A Label (andventures in self releaseing a record)
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2005, 12:55:12 pm »

The Big Show

so, somewhere along the line, as a four piece that operates as a fairly good democracy (first time ever), we start discussing actually putting this record out.

across a few years i had been looking for small labels to put it out with no luck.  i didn't look very hard, but still.

the guys inform me that they think we have something really special and unique and we need to get it out there some how.

with that in mind, we all vote to self release.  the problem is, we hadn't a clue what was about to happen to us as a band.

before i continue.  the self release decision was very difficult, we understood what it meant.  we knew EVERY one in the band was going to have to really work in a specific area (divide and conquer approach) to pull this off.

for the most part, we were four guys deciding to take on the role of the label while playing in the band at the same time.

it was almost like agreeing to kill yourself.....although we would botch the attempt and live in agonizing pain for a few weeks before finally bleeding out.

so............

up until a few weeks ago, we were playing as many shows as we could get, trying to build our fan base from scratch.  for some reason this town was not much into this band.  can't say i'm at all surprised, and i can't really say it's that great anyway.  i'm too close to it at this point.

anyway.  i called chris wagner (Bass player) to go to a sunday night show with me.  a guy i was mixing an ep for was playing and i wanted to make an appearance.

we show up to a club that is way out inthe burbs and not a standard spot for rock in this town.

IT WAS PACKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

the local intercom station hosts a local music show there every sunday night and they do a remote there while local music airs on the station at the same time.

wagner wastes no time in finding the person in the bar that books it, and promptly exchanges information with this guy.

we book the club and find an opening band.

the place is PACKED.....

we play second to seemingly interested crowd.
we do our usual antics (standing on the kick drum, leaping into the crowd, knocking over mic stands, you know putting on a show).

after the show we get the usual cast of characters telling us we were great....blah blah blah, i never believe a word of it.  they just liked seeing a scranny guy playing guitar while standing on a kick drum and getting nearly decapitated by a ceiling fan.

so, i heard some murmur from Jeff (singer/guitar) about the station jock wanting soem stuff to play.  i didn't pay much attention.  WE AREN'T A RADIO READY BAND.....................

two days later i get a message through myspace (http://www.myspace.com/secretclub/)

it's the jock, she wants stuff to play.  i email back, "sure whatever, let me know what song titles and i'll get em to you"

my way of being a jerk.....as if she knew our song titles...........

email comes back.  "cool, i want, "raygun", "Autumn Song", and "This Ones For Me", thanks!"

i was floored!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i rip the disc and head over to the station at our pre-arranged meeting time.

we talk, i go into the on-air booth to continue talking.

turns out.  she is going completely CRAZY for this band.  after a 45 minute conversation it basically boils down to this.

her saying, "i love your band, tell me what i can do to help your band out"

WHOA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

this kind of thing never happens to me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i sort of blow it off and she invites me to come hang out the next sunday.

sunday comes, our song airs first, and she follows with the massive glowing endorsement of us.  i grab my coat, kiss my wife and head out.

i hang with the jock most of the night and we hammer out a few plans for promotion and such.

basically, they are going to sponsor our release party and promote it on the air to get as big a crowd as possible.

this changes everything for us.  the game has grown much bigger.

we aren't looking at some "sell 50 copies" type release anymore.

we're looking at something larger.  if corporate radio loves these songs, maybe we actually are sitting on something special....something unique.
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j.hall

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The Great Band Meeting
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2005, 01:10:55 pm »

The Great Band Meeting

so, another week clicks by.  i'm scheduled to leave for memphis in about 5 days.  the band has divided up many jobs and so far, only a few are done.

frustration mounts between the "doers" and the "slackers"

this is a band of very good friends.  i've never had so much fun playing music and hanging out EVER.  frustration with specific members has always been delt with quickly and as adults.  we simply can't afford to hate each other over something stupid.

i send out a HUGE email outlining all the things we need to be doing to put this record out and that two of the four of us are slacking off big time.

practice rolls around and every one shows up with a 12 pack of beer. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA  a giant peace offering prior to a bout of arguing and hashing out issues.

so we have at it.  every one voices their opinions, we all talk about what is going on, and what isn't working.

then i tell every one what has happened with the local radio station.  thus spilling the beans on how much larger we can take things.

keep in mind that one corporate station playing this stuff on the local hour isn't some huge feat that we are dilusional about.  it's the fact that we've seen that corporate radio will entertain playing this stuff, and after that show, we gained a fairly sizable response from the people at the show.  we basically built a small fan base in one single show.

on top of that.  we each had been sending mp3 files of final mixes to as many out of town people we knew.  sort of hyping up the record to see what sort of response we might get from various markets.

some of you reading got those files......

the response from all that "marketing" was pretty great.  thus adding to our thought that we can sell records....more then 50 at least.

every one agrees to truly go for it and see where all this might take us.

so, to date, here is what we are working on:

1.  pressing costs, and all artwork, liner notes, etc.... associated with that.

2.  merch.  tshirts, stickers, buttons, whatever else we think we need.

3.  bar code.  we need a label name sowe look legit, and a bar coade so we don't stop ourselves from getting into any retail chains, or anything else.

4.  BMI/ASCAP/SESAC.  what do we do.  radio play is currently happening.  we have to act fast.

5.  promotions.  uh, what?

6.  MONEY.  where do we get all the money for everything.

7.  touring.  no van, no contacts, NOTHING.  gotta figure this one out.

tune in.  the saga continues as more things have already happened, and more decisions have been made.

from here out, i'll continue to tell the "story" but things will get much more specific into the business side of what we're doing.

tell me if this thread is at all useful.
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j.hall

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One small step for secret club.
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2005, 01:43:44 pm »

One Small Step For The Secret Club

so, if you are going to market to people that don't live in your city, it does you no good unless they can buy your record and merch.

make's sense right?  it better, or we need to start another thread about business 101.

in today's instant gratification market place it's totally absurd to think that people (or the vast majority of them) are willing to write a check, place it in an addressed envelope and mail it to us for their order.  wait some 3 weeks to get their CD and merch back.  the people that are willing to do that are amazingly patient individuals and i wish there were more of you out there.  but alas, there is not.

so, a band like mine is faced with little options (at least one's that add up on a business level)

one caveat to this entire thread:

i'm going to be as forth coming with information as i can.  but truth be told, some people that are currently (and soon to be) involved want to stay anonymous.  i HAVE to respect that and will not post their names.  i will however post companies and varies outlets we have found to get things done.

back to the featured program.

it only takes a few seconds to realize that we HAVE to find a way to do secure on0line credit dard purchasing for our merch.

various ideas were thrown on the table, and rejected for various reasons.

paypal.  we hate the money they take already, plus we have to administer the whole thing ourselves.  i.e. package and ship everything and deal with all that in a timely manner. REJECTED

starting our own account to accept CC orders:  same as above but too costly to start up.

a few others came up that all equate to the same results as above.

CD Baby, this is interesting.  but we voted no because something else sweeter came to the table.

a freind in NY was in the loop on what was up very early on.  he has a connection to Merch Direct.  http://www.merchdirect.com/

i let this go at first.  merch direct isn't going to do anything for my small time band.  and i'm not about to take advantage of a friend just to hose a good connection of his with a merch deal that will do nothing in sales.

after a few weeks of band talks, and with my NY friend it becomes obvious that the merch direct offer is on the table, and isn't what i thought it was.

it's legit, and it's AWESOME.  we have yet to wrap up this deal and actually put it into motion, but it's considered pending and likely to happen.

basically, merch direct will host our on-line store.  we buy all our merch from them and leave some there in the wharehouse to fill on-line orders.  they take a chunk of money and send us the rest.  if that seems overly simple, go check it out yourself...and honestly, that's all i currently know about it.

like i said, actual numbers and such have yet to be known to me and even so, i probably won't share such knowledge as that's just not cool.

shirt designs have been decided upon, graphic design is scheduled.  stickers will be done up, as well as buttons and we are thinking about doing ear plug cases (with plugs in them).

stay tuned.  promotions is up next.
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j.hall

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The day things got weirder
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2005, 02:12:43 pm »

The Day Things Got Weirder

so, i have a myspace account for my mix room
http://www.myspace.com/thetarhythm/

i have three samples of my work on there, one being on a secret club song.

that account doesn't see a whole lot of activity and i don't sue it to get work, just network a little and maybe raise awareness of my place.

i got a message sent through that site a few days back.

it was a radio promotion firm gushing over the club track that is up.  i sort of blew it off and replied sending him to the club's myspace account.  figured he'd wake up and see we are un-marketable once he heard more.

well, that only increased his persistance, and changed his song and dance from "college radio" to "i can get this on corporate radio".

now that got my limited attention.

we exchanged emails and went through a lot of questions and answers.

everything he offers looks great, and i think we are going to proceed with his services.

here is the deal.  for no budget artists like us, he offers a 4 week 300 station (college) promotion deal for around 600 bucks.  the thing we really like about the deal is that we get weekly traffic reports.

i don't have time to explain what a traffic report is, so go figure it out for yourself.

space 380 music promotions
http://www.space380.com/

seems like a small price to pay for some decent help in getting the word out.

now we have to look at some details on the ACTUAL cost of this.

we have to send 350 copies of the CD to him to mail out.

that's 3500 bucks in product.  on top of that, our record is cut together with segues and practically unplayable on radio.

so we send all these out, then we have to send out singles to the stations that actually decide to play it.

that's a lot of cash!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

we decided to have blank CDR's silk screened and have some nice sleeves silk screened for much less.  then we can burn whatever we need on them and send them out to whomever we need them to go to.

think of it as a pre-release  "promo use only" type thing.

we will be printing 1k of the silk screened blanks.

BAM, we just saved a ton of product that would have totally gone to waste.
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j.hall

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Re: The day things got weirder
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2005, 09:12:31 am »

Publish THIS!!!!!!!

so, i'm finding it next to impossible to keep this thread up to date as things are happening at a stagering pace.

but, i'll continue to try and get the core details posted.  hopefully that will be helpful to someone out there.

publishing has been a big "what do we do" type of thing.

it started with wagner (bass player) researching which performance rights agency was the "best".

he spent a lot of time reading, asking questions, reading.......you get the picture.

in the end, he came up with BMI as the agency that pays out the most.

so.  we all signed up on BMI as songwriters.
it's easy to do and basically painless.
http://www.bmi.com/

the next step was a giant mystery to me.  i know a lot about the music business, BUT, i understand very little of it.  when people start rambling on with insudtry jargon, i've always known what they were talking about and very limited idea of what it meant, but generally clueless as to what was really going on.

so, i have a few friends scattered around the country (USA) that i can call and get good information from when i need it.

in this case, my friend megan works for chrysalis publishing in LA.  i shot off an email and asked a few questions but wasn't really clear on what i was after.

she answered everything, but since my questions were off, her answers weren't jiving with me very well.

that was for sure my fault.

i continued to ask around, and wagner did as well.  we were getting a lot of good information but nothing that was answering my one question.

what do we need to do in regards to publishing companies, when it comes to BMI?

i couldn't seem to track down a straight answer.

the most information people were giving us is the giant speech about not signing the entire band onto the publishing contract if they didn't write anything or whatever.

yeah great, i get it, let's put the drummer in a trailer park while we live the good life.....sounds great to me, answer my question already!!!!!!!!!!!

so, i posted a thread about it. Bob Olhsson replied, i went to his forum over on the marsh, i picked up the phone and called him

now, i have to mention this for those of you who don't know.

Bob started working in "the biz" in detroit for motown.  he's rumored to know more about the music business then most anybody (at least from the stand point of speaking english about it).

he's a really great guy, easy to talk to, and you don't feel like a total idiot asking him questions about things you really should already know.

so anyway, Bob and i talk for about 30 minutes.  i learned more about the biz and how it works in that 30 minutes then i was able to absorb.

basically Bob told me that BMI, ASCAP and SESAC are required to split the money owed to an artist two ways.  50% goes to the writers (however many are credited for the song) and the other 505 goes to the publisher.  

so, if i don't set up a company, they won't pay out the other 50% as it's technically "not claimed".  so, the few pennies i have coming to me will be cut in half.......and i want all the pennies.

bob tells me to go to my local bank, and set up an account with whatever name we choose for our fake publishing company, and an AKA "jason hall" on it.  that way BMI will cut a check to the company name and i have a place i can cash it.

i thanked him enormously and finally felt satisfied that i got the right answer.

i ended up talking with megan, she verbally beat me up for asking all the wrong questions and agreed with everything bob said to do.

so, BMI gives you no information on their site about registering a publisher.  i called them, got put on hold (no on hold music, HAHAHAHAHAHAHA) and finally asked my questions.

they were really helpful and told me i need a "publishers agreement" and they dropped it in the mail.  of course they don't put it on the website, why would they want to help you get all your money?

i haven't done the bank account yet, which means i haven't found out if i need an official DBA (doing business as) filed with the city or not.

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j.hall

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Shake it off
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2005, 02:10:38 pm »

Shake It Off...

so, this morning i wake up and attempt to shake off the few too many stouts i drank last night.

last night we had a practice then a few of us went out the intercom sponsored local show that happens every sunday in conjunction with the local show that gets broadcast (two separate things that happen as one).

we share a practice space with two other bands, and three recordists.  all three recordists (one is wagner, the others are friends) are analog junkies and our practice space literally looks like a museum of tape decks.  we have against one wall, ampex 440b 1" 8 track, fostex 1/2" 8 track, MCI JH-24 2" 24 track, tascam atr-60 1" 16 track, scully 280b 1/4" 2 track, some other old 2 track deck, and a tascam 1/2" 8 track.

only one deck is actually hooked up......hey, don't ask me, i just play rock music there.

all drummer break their kits down (sorta) and store them on a shelf type window sill thing.  we all share a really nice PA owned by one of the recordists who's also in one of the bands.

they have been touring a moderate amount recently and for some reason they take their PA with them......

so we walk into the space last night and most all the tape decks are gone, along with most all the band gear and of course the PA.

wagner explains that he and another recordist are moving their gear to another location, after months of never actually using it, i honestly hope they get things going.  although finding tape is becoming a challenge.

so now we can't really practice for our show this weekend, but we can run down the music and we have a lot more space to move around.

while setting up, we start reviewing our business happenings.

a few months ago i dreamed up a T-shirt concept that we all think will be cool.  requires some good photography.

sweetland (drummer) has a close friend that is a pro photographer (shoots the PGA tours and such)

he came down and did what we wanted, then proceeded to roll off around 250 shots of us playing and we did some staged stuff outside and such.

anyway, he ripped a DVD of everything he shot, gave it to sweetland and away we go right??????????????

for 2 months wagner has been asking for that DVD so he can start picking out album art/promo/whatever shots.  we also need it to finish the merch designs.

come to find out three days ago, HE LOST IT, and the photographer is in europe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

well, last night he found it, and we're back on.  have a designer friend ready to go on merch, wagner is shooting the cover art tonight, and we picked up a copy of the Indie Bible to do a lot of our own promo.

we decided to press 2k copies of the disc due to recent circumstances with radio and what not. and we'll do about 500 silk-screened CDRs in a nice card stock screened sleeve we can use for all the promo copies (reviews, college radio, give aways).

we scaled back some merch ideas that were going to be very costly, and limer (singer/guitar)

we play some new material (we are 4 songs into the next record and i have about 4 more ideas)

talk a bit more and pack up

limer and i head to the show.

we walk in to a mad house.  the radio jock grabs me and we talk for a bit, their remote van got hit by lightning just a bit before we showed up

they aired another song of ours, and we discuss the release party.

a few beers later, we talk release party again.

it's been decided, the radio station will sponsor our release party in mid june giving them time to promo it on air.

we have to do it on a sunday which sort of sucks, but the bar we play at is totally PACKED on sundays for this show so i'm not that nervous about having a crowd.

to top off my night, i got rubbed on by some guy that "loves the secret club" got the whisper and pointing thing from across the bar by some girl i've never met and watched a man strip down to his boxers for two tickets to the new found glory show, and the girl that is picking up our booking was asked, "is that the guy that plays in the secret club, you know the one that just about kills himself at every show?" to which she replied, "he has yet to bleed"

all in all, a lot of this is really starting to freak me out.

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j.hall

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Tick Tock, Tick Tock
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2005, 10:47:09 am »

Tick Tock, Tick Tock...

i'm losing my mind.  i'm mean literally, everything that is going on has finally made my brain explode.

i can hardly keep details straight enough to post them here.

wagner and i are basically running this release by ourselves at the moment, and we are both far beyond busy with other things.

he went to shoot our cover art last night in the rain cause we are just simply out of time.  i think it stopped by the time he started shooting but still!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

so, right now, we have a mid june release which means EVERYTHING we plan to print and have ready needs to be all the various printers by may 1.

here is the current list of things that need printing that aren't even designed yet.

1.  T-shirt design
2.  new stickers
3.  new buttons
we're re-doing our logo so a lot of things are hinging on that

4.  silk screened CDR on disc artwork
5.  cardboard sleeve for CDR
6.  full release artwork

let me add, neither of us has a clue how to do any graphic design and the clock is ticking.  wagner could probably pull it off if he weren't so busy as it is.

i'm starting to freak out that i worked my tail off getting us to this point and we're going to miss the boat.

sweetland is getting married in may and they are planning their wedding all themselves and he's in the midst of that.

limer is working on the press pack and organizing the entire budget and keeping tabs on it.

the rest of everything lands on me and wagner.

which means, if we can't pull it off, we'll be playing a huge radio promoted release party, with NO RELEASE.

this simply can not happen.

i think i'm going to have a stroke or something.

merch direct is still not set up, but we are very close
our booking girl is ten steps a head of us
and we decided to do our radio promo ourselves

YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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j.hall

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a brief calm
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2005, 09:38:13 am »

A Brief Calm

so, yesterday i spoke with a good friend who happens to be a really great graphic designer, greg franklin.  i told him what was going on and he insisted on helping.  like that was a hard argument to win.....................

so, we meet with greg thursday night (tomorrow) to get started.  

we have band practice tonight, so that will be good to meet back up, play some rock and get every one caught up on everyone else's status. then we have a show sunday, which marks sweetland's last show with us until he returns from his honeymoon.

we have two shows booked while he's gone.  i will be stepping back behind the drum kit (something i haven't done in two years) and we'll have to figure out how to play the songs without my guitar parts......should be interesting.

the jock from the radio station is swinging by to pick up a copy of the full length.  we hope to get more details worked out about the promotion of this release party.

i'd like the show to be catered or something cool like that, but i'm not holding my breathe.

i've been reading a book sweetland bought a few months back.  "the indie bible"  this thing is a decent resource.  it covers tons of ways to promote your band totally DIY.

it also gives you some insight on the do's and don'ts of promotion in various areas (radio, TV, posters, press packs)

i'm not sure how helpful it's going to be, but i'm getting a few answers about radio promotion and things like that.

we finally decided on who to press our CD with.  Furnace CD is awesome

i can't say they are the cheapest (i haven't checked everywhere) but they are super good.

http://www.furnacecd.com/

i'm hoping to have them do both the full length and the promo discs all in one shot and be done with it.  also hoping they can pull off the jacket packaging for the promo without too much trouble.

saturday wagner and i are setting up our DBA (doing business as) and the associated bank account for the publishing company.  then i can finish off or BMI registration and have that done.

i think for the time being we will just have our two names on it, and whatever pennies are earned will just stay in there.

probably need to get a PO Box going as well.

right now....i feel pretty good about everything.  i still think this release will be the death of me, but i guess i'm comforted by that thought at the moment.....at least it's looking like it will get done.
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j.hall

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Another One Bites The Dust
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2005, 10:27:05 am »

Another One Bites The Dust

i'm not sure how this whole saga will play out, but for now, it's almost as entertaining to write about it as it is to be living through it.

band practice last night.

i head over to wagner's house to load up our PA since we finally had enough of having a PA and not having one.  we get down to the space, and the PA is back......that was predictable.

so we start setting up and talking about current events and where everyone is at.

right about that time, the radio jock that is helping us shows up to grab a copy of the full length.

we have a few questions for her on various topics so she hangs for a bit and talks with us.

we asked what it would take to get a slot in regular rotation.  this particular station sort of thumbs their nose at entercom and plays unsigned bands in regular rotation if they like the stuff.

come to find out they have a jock there that is THE stereotype.

he thinks he's god's gift to music and that he truly controls the fate of the music business himself.

some how this chode has gotten himself into a position of being the stations music director but he doesn't actually have that title.

for those that don't know, big stations have a "music director" (MD) that sets up all the play lists and actually chooses the music that goes on the air.  these guys get hounded by labels and PR people all the time.  tons of under the table stuff goes on.....it's just as corrupt as you might imagine it to be.

anyway, this fat bald man (another jock stereotype) is just a jock, he's not the MD.  basically he has this station in a choke hold and can do whatever he wants.

this is the same guy that thinks all local music sucks, and openly bashes the local music show that resides on his station, YET, he has taken four bands that the local music jock found, and put them into regular rotation.....................

turns out, that the local show girl (who does a few other shows at the station) has been told that she has to submit her playlists for this hypocrit (yet a third stereotype in radio) to review and approve prior to her playing anything.

so, we have a guy with a massively over inflated sense of self, that openly runs his mouth on air about how much local music sucks, reviewing the playlists for the local music show obviously looking for more bands he can "break" and then claim that he broke them and made their whole career, thus continueing the cycle of him thinking he's some musical genius.

on top of that, the jock that runs the show now does a great job of keeping the show diverse and not playing the same bands every week.

this guy told her the show needs to be "more alternative"

ALTERNATIVE??????????????????

is this 1993?  it's 2005 you idiot.  alternative isn't even a genre anymore...........

so basically, it's looking like a great resource for local bands is going to slowly die.

this whole saga doesn't effect us in the least bit for the moment.

we'll see how it plays out as time goes on.
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j.hall

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Hello Cleveland
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2005, 11:02:36 am »

Hello Cleveland

we played a show last night, sunday, not a popular night to go hang out in clubs.

we've had some decent luch with sunday crowds, but this club (used to be THE SPOT) has turned into the local dance party central where it's typical to see a guy dressed up in a 70's McDonald's milk shake suit.  and i'm not kidding.

anyway, we played to about 25 people.  and decided we weren't going to play that club anymore.

there is something i just don't like about being on a high stage.  we typically play places with a stage maybe 2' off the ground at the most.  it's not uncommon for us to play without a stage at all.

i just can't get into rock mode when i'm towering over everybody.

that in mind, i pretty much refuse to let people pay money to see us play and do nothing to entertain them.

we played well, and won a few fans over.  i think we managed to stay in tune for the majority of the set as well.  we have a tuning problem between limer and i that i can only relate to the brutality the two of inflict on our guitars......anyway.

i got grilled by a few friends about the CD release and merch.

basically we are moving forward with a mid june release.  we might decide to sell the disc on-line prior to then but i wouldn't hold my breath.

graphic design is moving rapidly forward.  Tshirt designs are nearly finished and the full length album art is under way.

greg is having little reservations about meeting the deadline, and that's helping me sleep at night.

merch direct should be contacted or contacting me this week, so i'm feeling pretty good about our progress

on a publishing note.  wagner and i headed over to the bank on saturday and got shut down.  we have to file a DBA with the county (through the bank from what wagner got out of them) prior to opening that account.

which turned out fine because i opened the BMI folder to fill out as much as i could on the publishing agreement.

i had to put down 5 publishing names in the hopes the one of the will be unique....................

and, we're signing up as an idividual cause that's easier to deal with, and it only costs 150 bucks to register an idividual's publishing agreement then it does for a partnership or LLC.

seems a bit silly to have to pay, but whatever.

i've been considering having a nice postcard made up for the radio station mailings.

put a stamp on it and ask the music directors (or whoever listens to it) to simply put if they liked and and intend to play it, or not on the postcard and drop it back in the mail.

it seems like a great way to make life easier on them and actually get a response, but it costs money to do and we have to evaluate our point of diminishing returns.

our initial idea of running 2k copies of the full release has faded a bit.  our initial numbers made 2k seem like a worthy investment as it's pretty cheap to get another 1k CD's after the first 1k, (only about 500 bucks) thus lowering the unit cost, and keeping our inventory at the on-line wharehouse from dipping into our "inventory".  but, 2k is a lot of CD's to move, and due to some artwork issues (spot glossing and full color clear trays) we're cutting it back to 1k so we can have what we want.

i hate second hand smoke hang overs!!!!!!!!!!!!

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j.hall

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Check 1...2
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2005, 08:07:51 am »

Check 1...2

i haven't posted in here for a while.  things are sort of at a stand still, but not really.

i got my confirmation from BMI that my songwriter application has been excepted.  i think the other guys will be right behind me as i was the first to mail mine off.

we used the last bit of band money to pay for the publishing agreement.  i put that in the studios bank account and cut the check last night.

we need to get our publishing name from BMI quickly so we can get it in the liner notes of the CD.

i saw some initial concepts for the cover art and it's going to be really cool.  the artwork actually plays into the concept of the record, imagine that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

T-shirt colors are being picked out as well as ink colors and we need to see a logo soon so we can do up some new stickers and buttons.

the release date has been set.  June 19th.  it's a sunday, but we get a lot of radio promo for doing it then.

Brad cut the master and shipped it yesterday, i should have it today.

i'm hoping to ship off the CD to furnace on May 1st for replication.

it still seems like chaos to me, but it's looking slightly more organized then before.

i guess the underlying feeling is that we haven't a clue what we're doing, but some how we're doing all this anyway.

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j.hall

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Progress...
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2005, 11:32:03 am »

Progress...

i spoke with Merch Direct this morining.  everything is really cut and dry.  i'm being passed off from one of the owners to a person that will be my contact for ordering and all questions we might have.

from here, we just need to start submitting our artwork to them and discussing what exactly we want.  quotes will be issued, product will be ordered and away we go.

the on-line store is going to be really cool.

we pay a set up fee, which covers them taking pictures of the actual merch on a persons body, and all the setup of the store.

they send us a link to our store and we get it up on our website.

from there, people from out of town (or in town and impatient) just order stuff up, merch direct deals with all the shipping and handling and they cut us a check of our share.  when stock gets low they will re-print and invoice us for the materials.

it's pretty seamless and i like it.

we should have shirts, stickers, and buttons printed in a week or so, and the store will be done shortly there after.

get your money ready..........cause ya'll are buying shirts right?????????????????????????????????????????

i think we will put the CD up a week or so early so people can get a copy of it prior to the actual release party.

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j.hall

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Bring on the Storm
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2005, 01:59:40 pm »

Bring on the Storm

got an email this morning from our booking girl.  she's quiting due to some personal issues she needs to attend to.

i'm a strong supporter of the people that fill my life (there are very few) so i can't really bring myself to do anything other then wish her the best and offer my help if ever needed.

she was a hard worker and was making good ground on getting us into venues out of town.  she also did a good job helping get some people to our local shows and she took just about every live picture we have.

i can't really say this was unexpected, as i'm generally a negative person that waits for the next bad thing to happen.  i just didn't really see this particular thing coming up.

there is a decent amount of slack to be picked up with her absence, so i guess wagner and i get to field some more stress............OH BOY, i can't wait.

album art is almost done, and i can't wait to see some proofs.

all the publishing paper work has been filed and we are waiting for BMI to approve everything and get us signed up.

we're pretty much ready to get this thing going.

things will be sort of quiet for a few weeks, i'll post as more things happen

i'm sure mackenzie leaving us is just the beginning of all the drama.
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Re: What Were We Thinking?
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2005, 03:14:27 pm »

What Were We Thinking?

deadline for getting stuff delivered to the plant is today.

CDR master from Brad went out fed-ex overnight, no sweat.

graphic designer has questions....they aren't getting answered.

liner notes are being changed last minute due to typos and errors....

all i can say about today is that i'm SO GLAD i'm not Greg Franklin (our graphic designer) who stayed up till 4am last night finishing this thing, then woke up at 9am to make sure it was cool and he's been working on it all day.

i'm sure he wants to choke some one right about now.


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