I help bands, musicians, and songwriters sell more music, get more people to their shows, and make more money in the music business.
How It Started...
I started Kathode Ray Music in 1995, while I was still in college. I was studying commercial music at the University of Memphis. My "big plan" at the time was to use my business knowledge in order to get myself a record deal.
I was moderately successful as a musician, playing regionally, but my musicianship was never on par with my ability to get people to shows. Much of my success in marketing was due to the fact that I got into it while still in my teens, establishing my own company and selling various products via direct mail, print advertising, and cold calls. I knew what got people to respond, so I used that knowledge to promote my musical endeavors.
I had been online since 1982, using bulletin board systems and services like GEnie, CompuServe, and Q-Link, in addition to a networked account at the local university, thanks to my father who worked there. Because of this, I was comfortable with email and had an account with the University of Memphis. I used it to keep in touch with friends and discuss music with other people online, but not much else. The Internet of the early 90s wasn't like it is now. It was mostly other students and the "World Wide Web" didn't really exist. Everything was text based.
A friend of mine suggested I put up a Web page on my university account, I did. But instead of a personal page, I put up something about how I was marketing music and looking for other musicians to split the cost of big radio and media promotions with me. To make it sound more official, I came up with the name Kathode Ray Music, taken after a band I had played with, The Kathode Rays.
Here's an early "logo" I made, which is just a scan of a label I made with a label gun...
That's when things took off...
In fact, things took off so much that I dropped my own music to focus entirely on marketing other people.
Using my direct mail and cold calling background, I had initial success doing radio promotion. One of the first bands we helped promote was a group from New York called Marci Playground. The song was "Sex and Candy."
This, combined with my established reputation as a street promotion expert, helped to get me the next client, which got me the next client, which got me the next client.
Not only was I tapped in to the college and independent market, during this time, I was one of the only people doing music marketing online. So when companies needed something promoted, they came to me. That helped too.
During the first few years, I was able to work on promotions by several big acts... No Doubt, Bush, Run-DMC, Ratt, and others. And who I've worked with has gone on from there, but it's working with upcoming artists that I truly love.
My philosophy on helping independent musicians...
I'd rather build something than add on to it. In my opinion, helping somebody go from zero to 10,000 records sold is much more life-changing than helping somebody go from 100,000 to 1,000,000. Plus, going from zero to 10,000 records requires more skill...and I love a challenge.
There is certainly more to the story of how I got to where I am today. Like a musician, things don't just happen overnight. You have to have a foundation in place and be solid with each step you take, before you can take the next one.
But, I hope this gives you more insight as to who I am and why I'm here.
The "Quick and Dirty" Version of the Part I Skipped...
1996 - Founded IndieBiz.com, a Web site devoted to helping musicians learn how to market themselves. This was the first non-porn membership site on the Internet.
2001 - Founded Nashville New Music Conference (2NMC). This multi-day event, which ran from 2001-2004, was the second most popular music conference of its kind, with as many as 2500 daytime attendees, 50,000 nighttime attendees, and 400 showcases at 22 venues across the city.
2002 - Published my first book, "How I Make $100,000/year in the Music Business (Without a Record Label, Manager, or Booking Agent)." I've since published several other books.
2005 - Nashville New Music Conference was officially changed to 2NMC as it evolved to a series of music marketing workshops and seminars, without the showcases, most of which take place in locations other than Nashville.
2006 - Debut of Music Business Radio. The show, a joint venture between my company and Tuned In Broadcasting, features interviews with top music industry professionals, including producers, record label executives, managers, and booking agents.
Still doing the radio show, the seminars, and books. Still doing consulting to help bands, musicians, and songwriters sell more music, get more people to their shows, and make more money in the music business. If you're interested in doing this kind of stuff, make sure you subscribe to the feed and get on my mailing list.