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The Pen, The Page, The Paper
|How Stuff Works: Unsigned Band Hook-Ups
|I have a handful of days off of work, unintentionally. It just sort of happened, magically. So I'm catching up with stuff, I mean, HARDCORE catching up with stuff. Tomorrow, I'm headed off to PA to meet up with Zach from East Coast Independent about the possibility of me going out on Warped Tour with them. If all goes well, I'll be blogging and interviewing from the road for them in conjunction with AP.net. It'll be my first time on Warped Tour (for realz), and I get giddy every time I think about it. I'll let you know more details as soon as I reel 'em in.|
But right now, I'm working on the Unsigned Band Sponsorship Hook-Up, and I figured I'd shed some light on how I organize the contest and how the sponsors, AP.net staff and I select the bands that will make it to the semi-finals.
Last year, I ran the Unsigned Band Merch Hook-Up. The winning band received a fresh design from Glamour Kills and over 100 shirts printed by American Icon Screen Printing. Sell all those bad boys, and there's at least 1000 dollars in your pocket, all profit. That was my logic - everything costs money, and there only so far that posting bulletins will take a local band with part-time jobs at the Freeze King. If I can help an unsigned band get a little extra money in their pocket and provide first-rate promotion at the same time, that's a bit longer they can tour or another release they can finance.
This year, I knew I wanted to switch it up and run the Hook-Up with sponsorships so closer towards the beginning of the year, I started racking my brain for companies that might want to be involved. I knew I wanted to work with another apparel company - they're easier to work with than bigger, more "corporate" companies. Find the right one and they can carry a ton of recognition and prestige in our "scene". Rockett Clothing is one of those companies, and despite the fact that some of their shirts are terrifying (they don't suck or anything, I mean actually scary), they have a grasp on creating styles that are major feats of design and technical skill. And they don't sponsor EVERYONE, which was really important. Who cares if your sponsored if any band can get sponsored? I wanted a sponsorship that would earn the winning band a certain level of legitimacy.
Going back to the money thing, I also knew that I wanted an equipment company on board. The less equipment a band needs to purchase, the more money they can spend on food or gas on the road. Or strippers. And that's why Ernie Ball rocks - a year of free strings could really add up. Plus, they're active in helping small bands with their Warped Battle of the Bands every year; it was an obvious fit. Denny's, thank their hearty souls, was down for a gift certificate too, which goes directly in line with this helping-the-bands advertising kick they're on. If I wasn't so impatient, I'd probably haggle it out with an energy drink company, but I didn't want to be sent up and down the food chain for a couple cases of liquid crack. What I should've done was get GNC to throw in a lfe supply of vitamins - then maybe I could ensure that bands stay healthy on the road. Hmmmm. Not such a bad idea.
Anyway, once I have the prize pack finalized, I sort through the logistics into a final game plan. What's the best way to execute this? How many bands should make it it the semi-finals or finals? And how should we pick them? I know that all my sponsors are busy folk, so to start off, I listen to all the bands that entered the contest and sort them into three categories: YES DEF, SORTA YES and ON THE FENCE. The bands in these categories represent all the competitors that I honestly think have a fighting chance with the AP.net voting class. Some bands just won't make those three. I don't look at Myspace plays or the ratio of hair swoop to font size: I usually just bring up the page, let the music play for a few songs while busying myself with things like writing this infinitely long blog post. Quality recordings are always a plus. If the first song on your player is "Balls In Your Ass" and you would obviously enjoy being on tour with Brokencyde, I doubt AP.net members would join in support of your voting brigade.
After I've gone through all the entries, I send over the list (without my categories) to my sponsors and to the AP.net staff and ask them to pick their favorites. Last year, we narrowed it down to 17 semi-finalists with the overlaps, but this time, I'm hoping to keep it around ten. With that list of favorites, I contact each band and double check on their eligibility. You might remember that there was some confusion last year with You Me and Everyone We Know and whether or not they were actually signed to Drive-Thru ... we couldn't have our Unsigned Band Hook-Up winner secretly signed! Pssssh. For the Sponsorship Hook-Up, I want the contestants to be a touring band, so I'll have to ensure that each semi-finalist band was on the road for at least three months out of last year. Don't ask me how I'm gonna figure all that out ... I'm kinda dreading that part.
Once I have the final list of (around) ten, I'll post a poll for AP.net members to vote on with song streams (and maybe a video) from each band. Members can only vote once, and I warn the bands that I'll be on the lookout to make sure they aren't encouraging users to make duplicate accounts. Thankfully, Jason has moderation tricks for checking this. The poll is up for between a week or two, and in that time frame, competing bands can promote as much as they want. The three bands with the most votes will make it to the finals, where the voting process starts again. The band with the most votes gets the big cahuna. Booyeah.
But probably the best part of this whole ordeal is that I get to walk away with a ton of unsigned bands that I had never heard of but am now pumped to follow. I'm about halfway through categorizing the bands in the contest thread, and I already have a list of 12 bands that are on my YES DEF list. When I get through these entries, hopefully today, I'll post a list of my favorites.
|Tags: unsigned band hook up, warped tour
|CIWWAF and Puppies
|One of coolest things about working here is that sometimes, the good opportunities knock on your own door. A few weeks ago, Fueled By Ramen asked if we wanted to do a tell-all sit down interview with Cute Is What We Aim For at Take Action. Jamie Pham and I are handling this bad boy in February, and I think it's gonna be a good one.|
Also, the Unsigned Band Sponsorship Hook-Up is still on. In the last couple weeks, I've wrapped up three sponsorships, but I'm aiming for one of two more before we launch. God, I love this contest.
PS - I'm watching a commercial for Space Buddies. My soul will never be complete until I have another dog in my life. I want a puppy, boo.
|Tags: cute is what we aim for, interview, unsigned band hook up