The Only Way To Save Your Music Scene As A Musician

Photo by Amanda René Photography

Photo by Amanda René Photography

Here in Nashville, I try to stay as connected as I can to the music scene. I go out to see as many shows of different genres as I can. Because of that, I meet a lot of different artists and bands. I do pay special attention to the hip hop scene and also the electronic music scene, since those are the pockets that I mostly easily fit into myself as an artist. Within these two scenes, I’m often asked my thoughts on what we can all do to make the music scene better.

I try to entertain these discussions as best I can. However, I have experienced a philosophical shift in my own music scene beliefs. Let me explain. Here’s how most of these conversations go.

  • “Man, we need to have more unity!”
  • “We need to come together!”
  • “Artists need to support each other!”
  • “Venues need to book different artists!”

Maybe some of this is true. However, I think we’re missing the point. We’re especially missing it as artists, musicians, & DJs. In addition to the music scene here in town, this blog attracts a lot of DJs, rappers, musicians, bands, and producers. They all have similar questions about what software to use or how to get started & mainly how to impact their music scene immediately.

I try to answer whatever I can, but I think this is a great chance to sum up what I think is the greatest thing that you as an artist can do for your music scene.

You ready? This is the secret!

(This probably can extend beyond music scenes and just apply to life as well.)

The #1 thing I think all musicians, DJs, producers, rappers can do to change their music scene is…

Be Awesome.

That’s it. Change lives. Create an experience. Blow people away with your awesome awesomeness. Be freaking awesome.

Only after you are awesome will your music scene change. Let’s examine the artists’ cry for unity. When I hear that “artists need to support each other” I hear “they need to support ME.” When I hear that “venues need to book different artists,” these artists just mean “they need to book ME.” But all the unity, support, & promo in the world won’t help if the music, bands, or artists aren’t awesome.

Or if they suck.

And I didn’t say “Be mediocre.” Mediocre is everywhere. Don’t waste your time or other people’s time by doing the same thing everyone else is doing. I understand that this is subjective, so…

6 Ways Musicians Can Be More Awesome

I’ve been thinking about how I can apply this very simple yet complicated principle for my own life and my own music career. That’s right, this advice is for me too. No one is safe. No one is exempt. So few musicians, bands, & DJs do this; the ones who do will stand out very quickly.

I have come up with these after considering my time in the music scene here in Nashville (Music City) plus my time studying music business, and additionally my time on the road touring with Mutemath.


Make Awesome Music.

Yes, those other things absolutely matter, but only when you make the music as good as it can possibly be. If you have great music, than great branding, design, &social can give you a huge advantage and push you to the next level. It can help you stand out from the crowd and make it easier for you to become popular. But without great music, the best marketing, branding, or even meetups won’t matter at all.

quiet entertainer music

P.S. all my music is here. Click the pic 😉

I’m not saying you should start out without thinking of marketing. If you have time and resources to make videos, get merch, & get all the other stuff right, then do it all. But if you only have time to do one thing really well, there’s no question you should be focusing on your music.

The same goes for promotion. Once you’ve created something epic, you need to make sure other people find out about it. But if you really write awesome music. It won’t take much effort on your part to get the word out. Your new fans will do most of the work.

I’ve seen it happen here locally with people like Wick-It or Cherub or Mike Floss. Every time I’m tempted to get down in the dumps about how I am not getting the gigs I should get, then I have to look in the mirror and ask if I’m making awesome music.


Perform Awesomely Live.

Don’t mistake length of your set or how much time you put into it for how awesome something truly is. I’m sure you’ve seen the way-too-long-and-completely-boring sets out there. Awesome doesn’t necessarily mean long. It also doesn’t mean how many people are on stage at once. I’ve fallen into this trap before. Every time I’ve been inspired at a show, it’s because the performer showcased their skill in a way that no one else can. Blow people’s minds. Look at this KDSML video below. No one else can do this. So he stays booked. What can you do that no other performer can do?

 


Throw Awesome Shows.

I’m not even talking about your set anymore. I mean the experience you create at your shows. Are you booking your own shows to build credibility? Great. Now who is doing the show with you? What’s the vibe you’ll create? What’s the venue? Can people really hear your music there? Can they see you? Is it well lit? Is it a raised stage? Is it all ages? 21+? Can people easily park there? Do people need to BYOB?

Don’t make the mistake of trying to throw awesome shows without outside inspiration. Get out there and go see some shows. Get inspired yourself, then infect your music scene with that inspiration. Locally, This is Art does this very well. I’m going to see his show tonight.

 


Use Awesome Professionalism.

You might not have to be professional if you are strictly booking your own shows and they are all house parties and you never have to deal with people who are doing business. But chances are, you’re going to have to work with other people. I’ve found that in my own music career; it’s been much better to be courteous & on time whenever possible. Not only that but also if you’re in charge of a show, you have to make sure everyone knows what they’re expectation is. Let people know how long your set will be. If you don’t know, ask. Is it a paying gig? If you don’t know, ask. If you know it’s not paying, tell them. Do you not have a huge draw? Be realistic about the show expectations. Or be honest if you don’t plan on promoting. (Psst… why aren’t you promoting?)


Have an Awesome Web Presence.

We can’t be everywhere at once. Having a web presence is the next best thing. Do you have your own site? Your own place to let people know about shows? Your own spot to host your music? Your own place to spread your ideas? You can’t just rely on Facebook. What about other social media? Where are you? Where does your music scene hang out? You should be there. But really, it’s not the one social media site you’re using. It’s everything you’re doing.


Have an Awesome Mindset.

This is the one I struggle with the most. Yet it’s the most important and it’s the one from which all these others will spring. Your mindset will absolutely determine your actions. Your belief in yourself and your music scene will inform and inspire all the moves you make and also informs what the rest of your scene will do. It’s hard to try and get everyone on the same page about what you want to do for your music scene but then when you get together, all you do is complain. I’ve done this and I have seen this especially in hip hop and electronic music. Guilty as charged. No one wants to get behind cynicism. People only will get behind awesomeness.


The next time you start wondering why you aren’t getting tons of fans or people at your shows, the next time you wonder why no one is sharing your stuff, don’t start looking to Twitter or Facebook for the answer. Instead, start by asking yourself one simple question:

Am I being awesome?

A big thanks to Corbett Barr who inspired this post many years ago with an epic post of his own.

Follow me on Twitter @qentertainer

  1. Make Awesome Music
  2. Perform Awesomely Live
  3. Throw Awesome Shows
  4. Use Awesome Professionalism
  5. Have an Awesome Web Presence
  6. Have an Awesome Mindset

 

 

Bloggers are the New DJs: Interview with BreakOnACloud’s Rob Bragdon

Rob Bragdon Breakonacloud
It’s no secret. Music blogs are one of the new gatekeepers to the music industry. They’re also how both fans and DJs find new music. Remember my song “Blogworthy” ? My whole point was that we need not wait for press to find us as artists and musicians. We can simply create our own broadcast signal and become our own press by creating a blog. Lots of people really “get it.” BreakOnaCloud.com is based here in Nashville and it’s been a huge deal locally and now both regionally and nationally as they continue to simply post about and blog about what they like. I’m so grateful to Rob Bragdon at BreakonaCloud for taking the time to do this interview.

QE: How long have you been involved with music blogging?

Rob: Started in Dec 2010. After coming back from law school, Just saw a lack of coverage in certain genres of music. There was a gap. So I met up with one of my best friends in Nashville Matt Miller, who is a great videographer. He said “I want to do something music related.” We came up with the blog idea and said “Let’s start attacking shows” in and around Nashville with interviews, recaps, whatever we could do to spread the word about shows that weren’t getting as much love as the others.

QE: OK, so the next question is like that. Why does BreakOnaCloud exist? Did you just answer that?

Rob: Yeah, that’s pretty much the summation of it. We wanted to basically show a variety of music to the people of Nashville versus going in with blinders on and showing just one scene. Granted, I do recognize that there are certain scenes in this area that probably have more momentum than others. But that doesn’t mean that all genres of music should get thrown under the bus. So regardless of what’s hot in Nashville or the United States; if it’s good music, that’s where we come in. That’s all we want to recognize and that’s what we want to put forth.

MiM0SA: Sanctuary Tour at Cannery Ballroom, Nashville (Recap Video) (Presented by MarchOne Music) from BreakonaCloud TV on Vimeo.

QE: What do you see as the music blogger’s role in the music scene / music industry?

Rob: I like to use the word… and some of us probably wouldn’t like to use the word, but I’m boastful about what I do and I’m proud of what I do because I couldn’t play a musical instrument to save my life.. so I’ve always wanted to be involved in the scene. I feel like that’s where a lot of bloggers come in. They’re people that want to be taste-makers And that’s the word that I’m talking about. You want to be able to be someone that people look to to say “Hey, that’s the good music in my area” if not the whole world. Just depends on what you’re going into to represent. But for us, we kind of wanted to do both. Understandably you get views nationwide a lot more than you would locally. But we target local shows. For that reason, that’s why we cover the bands, genres, and events that we do.

Quiet Entertainer opening for Bonobo

pictured by Brendan Donohue / me opening for Bonobo
Click to see more!


QE: It’s funny you say that. That is what I view as the role of the DJ. I was talking about the blogger being the new DJ for that same reason. Being a music taste-maker

Rob: That’s a great term, by the way. The new DJ. I’ve never heard that used before.

QE: Yea, that’s the reason I wanted to talk to you. When I moved to Nashville, I would go to see Wick-It or KDSML. And whatever they were playing was like the hot thing right then. But now it’s whatever BreakOnACloud or 2Ls or whoever is posting about. That’s the hot new thing. It’s how even a lot of DJs find their music. There are a lot of sites out there that DJs pull from because we think “Oh, this is what’s out right now; this is the fresh stuff.” So, even DJs are figuring out that the blogger is important just to find music, not so much to even get featured.

Rob: I totally agree. I’ve actually witnessed that firsthand. I was at a show recently. The opening artist happened to have his computer open. We were upstairs and I happened to glance down… I’m not a stalker or anything.. but I know certain websites… So if I see certain colors on a screen, I look at it. And I just knew it was The Music Ninja‘s website. Which is a great blog. So, this artist was getting familiar with new music via a blog right in front of me. Confirming that this is indeed what they do to find new music.

I don’t really know any other mediums than that. If you’re an artist, you don’t have a lot of time to do much more other than go to a show to hear other music. I guess fans could introduce them to it. But I think fans are more interested to getting to the show or getting in for free or building a relationship with that artist. It’s typically not about ANOTHER artist. So yea I guess blogs are the new resource. The radio is definitely not giving us what we want.

The Boom Bap Live with DJ Charlie White (Nashville) from BreakonaCloud TV on Vimeo.

QE: What are some challenges that a music blogger faces?

Rob: I think the hardest thing to deal with is managing your time and finding a way to be consistent. For me… organization and structure in your blog and in your posts whether it be timing, or a certain subject, or a certain review that needs to go out at a certain time. It could be a festival lineup because we all know when festival season is each year. There’s a lot of things that you gotta think about that you want your fans to get because as a music lover I know what information I would want to get out there. Basically the hardest part is two things. Staying on the ball with information and putting it to them consistently in a format that they can easily and quickly read. You don’t have a lot of people’s time and attention for very long. So you have to give them what they want in a paragraph or two or a statement or two. That’s one of the first thing I learned from John Gotty at the Smoking Section. He taught me that you could go crazy with it; writing an essay about a song or 20 pages about an album. We could probably do it if a professor asked us to because it’d be a cool project! But as far as getting someone else to read that, realistically no one has the time. So being able to succinctly give you the information that you want and need, that’s tough. For example, John had one of his writers do an album review on the new Daft Punk in 100 words or less. You’ve got to check that out. It is so on point for being two sentences.

QE: I definitely will. OK, shifting gears, what’s the best way for an artist/band to get posted about in a music blog?

 Rob: I’ll be honest with this answer. Relationships mean everything. That’s one thing I hate about people’s answers about how did you get this or get that. People don’t start out with that. If you know people, you can get places. So if you happen to KNOW one of our writers, it may help you. It may not help you get posted. There have been numerous posts that Kelly (Hite) has sent me saying “Hey this person sent me this. I liked it. So check it out.” Great. Well guess what. I’m at least going to check that out because Kelly mentioned versus an email that comes in. I have 20,000 emails in my inbox. So being able to differentiate yourself in about 60 characters. Basically, your subject line. That’s the tough part. Now do I go through every email? Probably not. I just don’t have time for it. So a lot of it is luck of the draw too. That’s an answer you will NOT get from people. It’s luck of the draw, relationships, and then being able to impress someone in that email via name recognition without being overly excessive, in a respectful manner. And also, putting your content out there in an organized fashion. For instance, having your artwork for each single? Mandatory. Having a soundcloud. Mandatory. You don’t have to put out each single on YouTube. If you want to, so be it. I discourage it. More blogs are functional and able to pick up your post if it’s soundcloud. There are aggregators that only see soundcloud embeds.


QE’s note: Oh, by the way. Here’s a track from my Soundcloud!

OK, now you may continue!


This is why the EDM culture has blown up so fast. They were the first ones to realize and tap into the momentum that soundcloud can offer as far as people sharing your post and then getting put on a blog. Whether it’s hypem.com or elbo.ws, they all read Soundcloud and Bandcamp embeds. They don’t tell you that. We don’t tell you that, but those are the facts. So that’s one of the number one rules for me. Album artwork, Soundcloud, YouTube, Bandcamp links. Have your links organized to where people can get to them if they want to. Sometimes, you’ll listen to a single or see a video from an artist and then you want to hear more because all of us want to know “What else did they do? Is that it?” I think that’s the main thing; Just being able to put it in a presentable format. Hiring a publicist may be another tip in this answer. Recognition and relationships. There are publicists that you can hire that can get you farther than everyone else based on their company and relationships. If you hire them, you tap into all of their relationships. You saved yourself years and years of getting to know these bloggers because they already do. That’s the role of the publicist. Everyone who is serious about their career and has good content should have one that’s been int he game for a long time.

QE:  What are some things that you wish more bands/musicians were doing?

Rob: I’d say being interactive with fans. Whether it’s hosting a simple Ustream chat… Look at Deadmau5 and what he’s done with Ustream. He shows you his life, his apartment, his cat. You can do it that way. Reaching out to your fans on twitter. recognizing a favorite or a retweet. The ones that do it best, they thrive on it. Another thing, communicating with other artists. Basically, you’re lifting each others’ assets to a point that you couldn’t do on your own. It’s simple in theory. Each person has their own fanbase. If you support another artist, then you tap into their fanbase. It’s an exponential thing. The more artists that work together in a certain group or genre, the better off they will be as a whole. One artist may take the cake but three or more can survive if it works that way. Adventure Club? Krewella? If you ever notice their conversations, they have built each other based on their communication. Yes, they make great music but I do think that is at least a part of their success. You see this all the time in the EDM community as a whole on twitter. They talk to each other all the time. You do not see that in the rock community. You see it a little bit in the hip hop community but it’s more compartmentalized in groups and cliques. One more thing. PROMOTE YOUR SHOWS. For Christ Sake, if you’re looking at it from a promoter’s or booking agent’s perspective; these guys are the worst at it. You have to beg an artist to talk about coming into town. You have to beg an artist to share their show dates. You have to beg an artist to share ticket links. How do you expect people to come to your show who only follow you on twitter when they only have seen the show announced an hour before your show OR only saw a picture of your awesome ass show a day later. That’s something that really gets on my nerves. Promote your shows.

Killer Mike Kelly Hite Nashville Breakonacloud

Pictured by Kelly Hite: Killer Mike at Exit/In in Nashville

QE: What’s the best thing that music blogging and BreakOnaCloud has done for you?

Rob: I’d say general satisfaction. Like I told you before, I wasn’t able to play an instrument or anything like that. So just being able to contribute to a scene and be considered a taste-maker would be a pleasure to me. I don’t know if that’s happened yet; but, I hope it does and that’s my goal.

QE: If someone wanted to start their own blog? what kind of person do they need to be? and What should they do?

Rob: I’d say someone that’s completely motivated. Someone that’s not too shy to ask questions. someone that wants to be involved in a scene. someone who’s willing to make sacrifices. There are a lot of shows that you initially don’t want to go to. You end up going to them and you walk out of and you say “I feel good for going to that.” That happens to me a lot of the time. I realized that maybe I’d shut myself off to a certain person or a style of music but you learn about new people each day. That’s one of the gratifying things. Being able to support an artist.

QE: Anything else you want the world to know about you and BreakOnACloud?

Rob: It’s not a one man job. This has been a team and collaborative effort since I started this whole thing. As far as guidance, and actual contributions. Everything. Someone like John Gotty has helped me with advice. Every person that I’ve met in the music business has helped me with advice. And I could name venue owners, promoters, whatever. They’ve all come to me to say “hey you could be doing this.” Not to make money off me, but just simple advice. I appreciate that more than anything. But my team, I have to give it up for them.

Kelly Hite, Rob Bragdon, Brendan Donohue, and Matt Miller Breakonacloud

From L to R: Kelly Hite, Rob Bragdon, Brendan Donohue, & Matt Miller

Kelly Hite, Number 1. That girl is a photographer but she’s also an activist for good music. She is one in a million. For a girl like that to be involved in our team is such a blessing. Same goes for Brendan Donohue, Pureform Media. Unbelievable Character. Unbelievable videographer. Always there since day one. Then Matt Miller, who started the website and has since moved to Los Angeles and now doing bigger and better things for a record label that I can’t mention right now. But you’ll hear about what he’s doing soon. I love them all and BreakOnACloud would not be the same without them.

QE: What are your future plans for BreakOnaCloud?

Rob: My goal is simply to be able tap into the entirety of Nashville and then some. If I could wrap up the entire Middle Tennessee area and have all the music lovers lovingly and with care go to our site because we have information, then I’ve succeeded. That’s my goal. From an artist’s perspective, I want them to be able to say “they made a difference in my career.” I don’t mean life-changing experiences, but If 5 people post your album instead of one, that’s a big difference. I’d love for that to happen.


Thanks so much to Rob for the interview. You can visit BreakonaCloud.com and also you can follow him on Twitter.

Celebrating The Success Of Others

Bassnectar at Electric Forest Family Photo

Photo Credit: Shaun Hollingsworth

 

It’s hard to celebrate the successes of others when you have come up short on your own. The most viewed post at this site is “How I Got My Music On Pandora.” The second most? The one about How I Quit My Day Job Too Early. One is about a very cool success story. The other detailing a monumental letdown. It’s easy to feel like you’re not living up to your potential when you look around at others your age or in your field and you start comparing.

I work another day job now. It’s been exactly one year since I quit that other day job. One of the things that inspired me to quit that job a year ago was a lifestyle of comparison. I was looking at everyone else who was doing what I wanted to do and comparing my life to theirs. I was looking at DJs and Electronic Musicians; watching them tour the country wishing I could do the same. I was sitting back and counting my Facebook Fans, Twitter & Soundcloud followers and wondering how can I take over the internet.

 

going viral

 

When you live a lifestyle of comparison, you can only set yourself up for disappointment and feelings of inadequacy. Is my music good enough? Am I working hard enough? Did I make a mistake that I can’t recover from? Should I give up? No one really develops artists anymore. I never had a DJ mentor; I’ve been kind of just doing it on my own. I had already learned a lot about the new music economy since moving to Nashville. But I had a lot of questions that only DJs could answer.

But you can’t learn from people when you’re jealous of them. It’s hard to have an open mind when you have a sense of entitlement. I definitely needed a shift in my mindset. Why not celebrate the successess of others? These are the things that I could learn from and ultimately grow as an artist. I had definitely not grasped the art of being an apprentice. Nor the art of becoming good at things or being a master of my craft.

I talked to Greg Rollett and he suggested that I start interviewing DJs. Well, I had already been doing that. (DJ Orig, Ducko McFli, Bateman) However this would be different. This time I would put everything together and build a course that would help people like myself trying to change their DJ career. The result of that is The Definitive DJ Mindset: 5 Ways To Take Your DJ Career To The Next Level.

Definitive DJ Mindset Long Banner
 

The process of putting this together has been very educational for me. Just having an open mind and being willing to learn has been a huge difference. This difference for me has been being willing to learn and not being bitter about the success of others. I’m thankful and grateful for all the people who have been willing to invest in me. Including you, who are taking time out to read this. Whether you’re a DJ or not, I’d want you to consider that you can learn both from your mistakes and from the successess of others. In time, I hope that people will be able to celebrate your successes, too.

Five Things To Consider Before Launching Your Kickstarter Campaign

When I wrote my blog post awhile back about quitting my job too early and how I now need to work even harder and more hours, a lot of people on my email list wrote me and suggested I launch a Kickstarter campaign. I’ve seen some artists get well known for their success on Kickstarter. I’ve also seen some artists and bands not do so well with it. Lately, I’ve heard about a lot of bands going the Kickstarter route. It sure seems better than selling all my gear on eBay. I’ve felt uneasy about using Kickstarter. I’ve hid from it. I didn’t want to launch a huge page just asking for money. Even though I have a donate button on my page (wink!), It’s kind of off to the side, my own way of passive promotion. I’ve been looking around and I’m still considering whether I want to do it. If you’re in my same boat, I’m thinking there are 5 things we should consider before we launch a Kickstarter campaign.

Do you have a following? Or at least a list?

You have to have an email list. I was thinking about one campaign from a guy I know. This guy was in one band that had a huge following. But then he left that band and started another band. So his new band and new music had a Kickstarter. So yeah, he was Kickstarting his new project, new album, etc. But for the majority of that campaign, he was doing it just through friends, family, and social media as far as I could tell. I think at some point, his previous band reached out to their huge list to promote it to people who already were fans of his music from before. I wonder if Kickstarter is best for launching your FIRST project or your first record. Otherwise, I think about that band and wonder how it would have gone if the previous band would launched the campaign from the beginning. I don’t know the details of that; so I’m only speculating. But that’s one of the things that’s held me back.

Do you have a cause?

What’s the reason for having a Kickstarter campaign? Are you just trying to put out an album? I have this feeling that it has to be about more than that. Amazingly, technology has made it that you can make a fantastic record without the thousands of dollars that some are asking about. Here’s a great post about that. I guess that is the main thing that artists will try to raise money for. I don’t know all of the rules for using Kickstarter. I remember wanting to buy a new mixer before. I still haven’t done that. What if I did a campaign to buy a new mixer? Still kind of lame. What about a new mixer so I could start a new DJ teaching business? A little better. What about money so I could start my new business of teaching DJ lessons to kids? Now we’re talking… by the way, what a great idea for me. What about you?

Are you adding value?

What do people get for backing your project? It’s got to be more than just downloads to a new record. Especially if you don’t have a list or following. What does a fan get? I was messaged about a band’s project one time. I had never heard of them. For the different tiers of giving, you could get free downloads, posters, vinyl, t-shirts. This would all be great if I were a fan of the band. But this campaign was my introduction to the band. So I absolutely did not want to buy any of that stuff. Would you? If I were already a fan of the band, I’d have been more into it. When I think about this, I consider that maybe kickstarter is only best for fans. Maybe just for checking out the kickstarter project they should get music for free anyway. I don’t know.

Are you showing work? Showing yourself?

I just don’t want people to think I’m lazy. I work a day job (hopefully not forever). And I work on this blog. And I work on music. Yet musicians are often seen as lazy. I would not want people’s pity. I’ve been really challenged with the thought that people want to support hard workers. People don’t want to give out handouts. In my financial struggles, I’ve received a lot of handouts. I appreciate those but also, I hate that I was in the position of need. On the other hand, I would want people to know that they are not just supporting some project or some record. They are supporting me. Supporting the pursuit of art; and therefore supporting the artist. Me as a person. Do people see that when I communicate? When they read my blog? When they are on my email list? When they follow me on Twitter? Do I only speak about how I’m working on my hot new track? What is Quiet Entertainer really about? I have to think about these things. What about you? What are people supporting? The work? Or the pipe dream.

How long will your campaign be? How much will it be?

If I give people two months to donate, then is it really that important? I don’t know. Do I want my fans to raise money so that they can afford to help me raise money? It seems kind of backwards. I suppose if I did something I would make it really short. I’d know very quickly. Either I have the following and the interest of fans to support what I’m doing, or not. If so, great! If not, I can not waste two months of posting, updates, and emails with everyone asking for money. One big push and it’s over. There is some principle from Influence. Scarcity. I don’t remember it right now, but I know that if the opportunity is short to get the value, then it’s more attractive. Maybe two or three weeks max for me. What do you think?


I suppose I should stop over-analyzing and just do something. Don’t want to think it to death. However, these are some things I’m thinking about before I launch a Kickstarter campaign? What else? Let me know in the comments.

Pics by FurtherBeyondPhotography & Audible Imagery

Why I Use Reverb Store For Selling Merch

I was talking to Ugly Lovely the other day. He has some new hoodies and t-shirts printed up. He was asking me what I was using to sell my own merch. So I wanted to put this out there. I am currently using Reverb Store through Reverbnation. I do this simply because they allow me and the customer to buy merch on demand. What that means is, I don’t have to print up a huge bulk order of t-shirts before someone can buy one.

This is great for me because I can’t always afford to buy a bunch of merch. I also don’t always have room to carry around a whole bunch of shirts that may or may not sell. I enjoy having this setup because the people who want them; will buy them.

I understand that at live shows, it’s tough to get someone to buy anything online and have it shipped to them. Also, they don’t get that “take-home” item. Also I see now that with on-demand shirts, there is no scarcity. Meaning, there is no urgency to buy a shirt. No chance that I’m going to run out. So no need to buy TODAY. These are the only drawbacks. Otherwise, it makes great sense if you don’t have hundred or thousands of dollars to drop up front.

I’ve found that when I have shirts printed up; it’s easy to let the shirts go for less than what they are worth, just so that people will have them. I end up doing this to disguise and to hide myself from the simple truth: The demand for my merch isn’t that high right now.

Or put another way: No one wants to buy my merch yet.

It’s pretty demoralizing to just have a bunch of shirts and hoodies lying around. Just like it’s a bummer hanging on to a thousand CDs that no one is buying at the shows. So you end up just giving them away.

Mind you, if I were touring across the country. Being in front of a new audience every night. Introducing myself to someone new every time. It might make more sense then to have physical merch pressed and ready to go. As it stands now though, I’m working a day job. Looking for another day job. My work as a DJ right now is to create more music and content and to make money quickly and steadily as I continue. Here’s another great perspective on what I need to do in 2012.

Anyway, I use Reverb Store. It’s easy. Maybe one day I’ll use Topspin. Maybe not. What are you using?

(BTW: I’ve put up some pictures of people wearing their Quiet Entertainer shirt! Be sure to send them to me if you have pictures of yourself wearing one!)