Alan Rowoth & Sally Johnson Present: The Big Orange Tarp #NERFA2017

by AlanRowoth on November 6, 2017


Fiske Room (across the hall from 2045)

Click on the artist name to view their web page

Friday Afternoon

 

Friday Night
11:45p-12:30a Neale Eckstein & Friends
3:00 Open Circle

 

Saturday Afternoon

 

Saturday Night
3:00 Open Circle

 

Sally and I are very excited about this year’s lineup. A mix of old friends and new. All high quality, bookable (except maybe Eric Schwartz, you have to talk with him about that…) acts that reflect the best of what our region has to offer.I encourage all of you presenters and DJ’s to come and camp out, enjoy Sally’s excellent refreshments and make the most of our efforts. If you are a musician, our open circles are outstanding and a great place to network with other musicians. (And a great way for Sally and I to hear you, because we don’t showcase artists that we haven’t heard perform live.)

Ordinarily, I sign up for the excellent NERFA mentoring program, but I got tied up with other stuff in the runup to the conference and didn’t reach out to Doctor Bob before it was too late. I was hoping to present my live streaming workshop that I shared this year at SERFA. SWRFA, and FarWest to enthusiastic participants, but the programming committee didn’t find a place for it in the NERFA schedule. So I am considering doing some ad hoc mentoring on the how and why of live streaming your music. I’m talking hardware, software, platforms, monetization. A pretty comprehensive overview of this technology that I think couldn’t be more timely. Check out my blog post regarding Far West and you can read some of the handouts I created.

If you are interested in learning more about this, send me an email to BigOrangeTarp@gmail.com and we’ll see if I can find a time to talk with you about it. We are blessed to have some wonderful formal showcase artists playing in our room, but here is a smattering of videos from fine artists we are presenting who didn’t make the formals. We give great room.

 

 

The Big Orange Tarp at FarWest 2017

by AlanRowoth on October 3, 2017

I’m very excited to be attending my first FarWest Folk Alliance Regional Conference this coming weekend in Bellevue, Washington. It’s the only Folk Alliance Region I have never attended.

I will be hosting a Guerilla showcase in partnership with Access Film Music in their Blue Room #647

Friday 11:30p-12am Beth Wood, Nathaniel Talbot, James Lee Stanley in the round
Saturday 11:30p-12am Alice Howe, Freebo, Chicago Mike Beck in the round

(Artist names are linked to their websites)

I will also be doing a workshop “Using Video to build Fans and Make Money” on Sunday from 11:30am-1pm in the Evergreen A room.

This will draw on material from several of my recent blog live handouts:

Videos – How and Why

Your Internet in 2016

Live Streaming – What are you waiting for?

Getting the most out of Live.me and live streaming alternatives (updated 9/27/17)

Video Q&A and gear notes from SWRFA

Playlist Live D.C. – Impressions

There are many ways to use video to forward your career, I’m going to try to touch on as many as I can while leaving an ample amount of time for Q&A. I do online handouts for several reasons. Primarily because the the attendees can pay attention to what I’m saying instead of madly scribbling notes the whole time, but also because my handouts contain dozens of live links, making it easier for you to drill down to the information you need, and because these are living documents which I may update from time to time. This way, you are always seeing the most current version of the handout. I encourage attendees to peruse some of this material before the conference to determine if the workshop piques their interest and to be thinking about questions they may want to ask.

Video Q&A and gear notes from SWRFA

by AlanRowoth on October 3, 2017

I had a great session on video at last weekend’s Southwest Regional Folk Alliance conference. Thanks to Dalis Allen, Paul Barker, the Flying A’s, and everyone else working the conference. We had a spirited Q&A session afterwards and I wanted to add these notes and gear links.

For artists concerned about posting video to YouTube, read this post from CD Baby. Performing covers in live streams seems to be SN issue that’s almost impossible to track and regulate. At present, there don’t seem to be any legal roadblocks.

I mentioned that I have started a Facebook group called Live Music Streamers and asked people to join if they start streaming or are considering it, so that we can work together to support each other, handoff broadcasts, and share information.

We talked about other (mostly expensive) gear options.

I’m dying to get my hands on a Soundcraft ui24r. I’m told it’s now core audio compatible with iOS. It features 20 Studer mike preamp channels, 4 lexicon DSP effects processors, 2 channels of DigiTech guitar amp modeling, featuring 4-band parametric EQ, high-pass filter, compressor, de-esser, and noise gate on each input channel and 31 band graphic EQs on each output, remote control from your computer device, built in wifi and Ethernet as well as direct recording to USB stick. It is also a full featured A/D, D/A interface for your DAW software. An incredibly powerful and versatile piece of gear.

We talked about the Cinamaker Mobile Creators Studio, a live video switcher tool that can also be used for video editing. Now entering Beta, it supports up to 4 iOS cameras, prerecorded video insert, ChromaKey effects and much more.

We talked a little bit about the Livestream Mevo event camera, a self contained solution for broadcasting to Livestream, Periscope, Twitch, or Facebook live. This camera does not currently support any of the new live streaming apps. It has a couple of interesting features and some dramatic limitations. Still, I would love to play with one. Music Streaming would likely require additional audio gear to achieve acceptablesonic quality. Here’s a couple of reviews:

Mevo, the Live-Action and Live-Editing Camera

I mentioned Stream.io, an upcoming service that promises to rebroadcast your stream concurrently to multiple streaming services at once. Mevo also promises a multistreaming service, based on a subscription model. It’s too new to say for sure if either of these will truly launch. Stream.io missed its initial launch date.

And there’s the Samson Go Mic Mobile Wireless system for times when you can’t run microphone wires to the correct location. Here is more info:

Another handy tool for streamers on the go is the Smove, video stabilizer and power bank with face follow and auto panorama shooting. Smart gimbal stabilizers are the latest thing in making motion videos look more stable and professional.

Reviewers also love the DJI Osmo stabilizer which costs about twice as much as the Smove and doesn’t charge your phone. DJI is best known for their camera drones, like the $1000 DJI Mavic. Great toys, but probably not essential for most music videos. I want one, even though I can’t think of one excuse good enough to buy one. I wonder if anyone rents them?

Live Streaming – What are you waiting for?

by AlanRowoth on September 27, 2017

(This post is wordy. If you don’t want the metastory, you can skip down to my previous post for more how and less why).

Live Streaming is the hottest thing in social media. Studies have shown that posts accompanied by a graphic are much more effective than text only posts. Video ups the ante even more. In the battle for your ears and eyeballs, all the major social media platforms are falling over themselves to feature video content of all kinds. Engagement and “stickiness” rule the day. In a society increasingly too impatient to digest the written word, Instagram and YouTube currently rule the internet. Facebook is rushing to catch up. A platform that makes you pay not to hide your content from your friends and followers, Facebook currently gives 1000% priority to your Facebook live videos. Instagram is copying SnapChat with daily “stories” for your followers. There are a dozen competing live video streaming platforms all trying to be the next Facebook. Periscope, Live.me, Musical.ly, Busker, Livestream, YouNow, Twitch, Bonklive, Concert Window, House Party and others are all attempting to pull the sword from the stone and knock YouTube off its perch atop the streaming world. Their position is far from secure.

Launched in 2005, YouTube really caught fire in 2007, spawning dozens of video stars making comfortable livings sharing all manner of video content thru the service. There were essentially no gatekeepers and you could build your own niche. The demographic of early adopters was primarily young and somewhat socially rebellious. Unsurprisingly, many of the successful broadcasters made their living playing pranks on each other and making asses of themselves. But there were also musical sensations like Justin Beiber and Carly Rae Jepson, who broke out to very successful mainstream musical careers. Meanwhile Network television survived a punishing writers strike with a successful zigzag to “Reality Television” (though there is very little “real” in that genre…) Thousands of Americans lunged forward, looking for their 15 minutes of fame. The terminally ADHD flocked by the thousands to Vine with its videos limited to only 6 seconds in length. In its initial foray into video, Instagram only allowed 15 seconds (then a minute, now even more). Even YouTube is now in the streaming video business.

The shakeout has already begun leaving Vine and Meerkat in the dust, but the battle rages on. Bonk Live launched in September and Live.me recently celebrated their 1 year anniversary. I have friends who believe that video streaming is only a fad. (To which I respond, “Like motor cars, motion pictures with sound, and the cell phone…”) Like most emerging technologies, the demographic of early adopters has been young. When Facebook was launched it was for college students only and primarily used as a tool to hit on girls, but now it is mostly populated by adults. When I attended the Playlist Live conference is D.C. Last month, Facebook was universally distained, with one panelist emphatically proclaiming, “Nobody under 50 is on Facebook anymore!” While I know this not to be true, I have observed that most under 25’s who are using Facebook now save the really juicy content for their contemporaries on other platforms like SnapChat and Kik. Facebook is still the place to share graduation pictures with Grandma and Grandpa. I believe that streaming services will also see an influx of adult users, who are traditionally slow on the uptake. Don’t get me wrong, I am an enthusiastic user of Facebook. My 3 primary uses are to stay connected with distant family and friends, music evangelism and discovery, and political activism, but I also clown around a bit. Like many though, I have grown increasingly disillusioned with their financial model, which is crafted to extract as much money as possible from both users and content providers. They have no understanding or empathy for the regional, independent musician and make it increasingly difficult to use Facebook for audience development.

We live in an era where music has become formless and media free. With the disappearance of the physical CD, it becomes increasingly difficult to make audiences attach a monetary value to music. Most radio stations have been supplanted by streaming services like Spotify, Amazon Prime, and Apple Music, all of whom remunerate artists at shockingly low levels. Record stores have disappeared almost entirely. A full time musician these days must make the lions share of their income from gigs and in person merchandising. It can be a grueling lifestyle. Couple that with the ever increasing level of competition in the field and it’s no wonder that many lifelong performers are turning to other occupations.

One constant is music has always been change. In the early 20th century, composers earned their income from the sale of sheet music. In the early 1930’s live radio caught fire. In 1934, less than one household in 3 owned a radio. A year later, 2/3 of American households had one. Many homes also had a Victrola. At the end of World War II, German audio technology flooded into America, making possible high quality and multitrack audio recordings. The 45 rpm single and the 12″ LP weren’t far behind. Radio and television were transformed from live mediums into broadcast platforms for recorded content. Copyright law was amended, ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC were created to provide and income for songwriters whose sheet music sales had dropped to infinitesimal levels. At the same time, opportunities began to appear for exploiting published music in radio and tv production.

In the 1960’s Marshall McLuhan sagely proclaimed, “The Medium is the Message!”

The burgeoning middle class and booming economy led to all sorts of innovation and consumption. 8 track tapes, cassettes, CDs, Laserdiscs, DVD’s were everywhere. With the widespread acceptance of the CD, record company greed had tripled the retail prices for a mainstream record release, even thought the manufacturing costs had dropped by a factor of 3x or more. This made record companies wildly profitable, but it also opened the door for the independent music industry. For the first time, small labels and even individual artists could afford to produce, manufacture, and distribute their own recordings. Not long afterwards, home recording equipment became widespread and highly affordable. It had never been so easy or so affordable to be a professional musician. With over 25% of music sold now coming from outside the “Big Six” music conglomerates, their stranglehold on radio and retail was broken and the gatekeepers lost their ability to dictate America’s musical tastes. Musicians had never had it so good and many finally saw a way forward to make their living in music. Cable TV and subscription radio appeared. The number of outlets for art multiplied exponentially.

In the 1990’s Al Gore and others recognized the promise of the internet and transformed it from a research only platform which expressly forbid online commerce, into a marketing juggernaut that democratized the creation and distribution of all manner of digital content and information. There has probably never been a more American Innovation than the internet. It supports our entrepreneurial spirit and progressive policies, but also institutionalizes our racism, prejudice, and provincialism. It is a tool of enormous power and threat. If we don’t embrace our better angels, the Internet could eventually be the weapon that consumes our society. Only time will tell.

But now in 2017, the music industry is faced with sea change again. Record companies and radio are largely irrelevant. Retail in all sectors is on the ropes, under siege by giant internet corporations able to provide better selection and pricing for all manner of goods and services… sales of audio and video content have reached historic lows with no sign of rebound. The economic model that created the independent recording industry is no longer reliable. And, once again, the music industry needs to reinvent itself.

I hope and pray that there will always be an appetite for live music concerts. Never have we faced so much competition, but I think live performance retains substantial power. Clearly though, there are not enough live performance opportunities to sustain the talent pool and even long standing music venues frequently disappear. I don’t believe a resurgence here is what will save us.

The massive redistribution of wealth in America has had soul crushing consequences. Our eroding middle class and tone deaf politicians have pushed us into an economic death spiral. Although hopeful that we can reverse this trend, a great deal of damage has been done to the consumer and their pool of disposable income. It will be years before we can truly solve this problem. In the meantime, I think the patronage model illuminated by Patreon, kickstarter, and other platforms offers the hope that composers and performers will be sustained by those who can afford to help and music increasingly distributed to whoever loves and appreciates it.

Compelling as that Patronage model is, I don’t think it is the only solution. Life in any profession has a financial balance sheet. Your adjusted income as a musician is the net result of your income minus your expenses. Every dollar you don’t have to spend in pursuit of your art is a dollar (or more) that you don’t have to earn. Four hugely draining expenses for the professional musician are travel, food, lodging, and time. (Yes, Virginia, time really IS money…) and

This is why I believe live streaming is destined to become an essential leg of the stool that many musicians rely on to survive.

Today a typical gig for a regional musician might involve $100 worth of gas, $100 worth of lodging, a full day wasted doing non musical tasks like driving, humping gear, searching for a decent restaurant, etc. if that gig only results in a couple hundred dollars worth or ticket sales and merchandizing, a handful of names to your mailing list, many of these gigs may leave you in the red. It may erode your personal relationships at home. Occasionally you will break a toe or destroy your transmission and incur much more significant losses. It takes a lot of dedication (a.k.a. Stubbornness) to be a road dog.

But imagine you could roll out of bed, do a couple of items on your honeydo list, pick up your seven year old from school, make dinner for her and your spouse, step into the music room, push a few buttons and 5 minutes later be performing for hundreds (or thousands) of listeners on the internet. Surprise! You can. Platforms exist today where content creators are already doing that. Musical.ly boasts over 300 million active users, Live.me has over 625 million. The penultimate live performer at the Playlist Live conference I attended a few weeks ago was a young woman named Dodie Clark who has over 1.2 million followers on YouTube. Screams were deafening when she took the stage. I had never heard of her before that weekend.

I’ve been beating the drum for 5 months about Live.me with surprisingly little result in our community. Human beings instinctively hate and fear change. Many musicians have a poor technical background and a bad track record with technology, but if you learned to operate a guitar amp or PA system, you can certainly master live streaming. A lot of people ventured into concert window and failed because the conventional wisdom was that you should use a laptop, a cheap webcam, and a USB microphone. This may have made sense to the guys who invented it, but struggling musicians often aren’t computer geeks. Many have laptops that are 6-10 years old which are slow and poorly configured. By contrast, a majority of them own smartphones that are less than 2 or 3 years old which make much better broadcasting hardware.

There’s not a lot of information on piping album quality audio into your smartphone, but I demystify that for you. Check out my video on 3 alternatives. Your smartphone probably also has an amazing camera or 3 built right in. However you decide to stream or record video, you will find sensible lighting design to be important. The good news is that you can acquire this for a pittance. With very little financial outlay, you will discover that you can create a very effective stream and reach thousands of prospective listeners.

All it takes is enthusiasm, dedication, consistency, investment of time and (I believe most importantly) a quality performance of quality music.

The ease and convenience of streaming is a double edge sword. You can walk into your music room and push a button, but so can everybody else. The listener only has to listen for long enough to decide if they resonate with you before they swipe down and move on. They haven’t invested time and money in a car ride. If you bore or disappoint them, there is an endless supply of other streams.

When you investigate the streaming platforms, you will encounter enormous amounts of vapid, valueless content. You will be tempted to think that the audience is stupid and the platform is without value. This is a huge mistake. But if you want to “win” at the streaming game, you will have to be talented, entertaining, proficient musically, and an engaging personality. You will have to understand the quirks of the platform you choose and the best ways to reach out to its user base.

Above all, do not be afraid to define your streaming space as a place you feel comfortable. The gatekeepers are gone. If you want to busk, busk. If you want to stream your rehearsals or songwriting sessions, that’s okay too. You don’t need to copy the other broadcasters, in fact, you will likely do better if you don’t, but instead create a unique space.

I have seen users succeed with streaming and it is quite clear that it is possible. Brenna Katz, a partially deaf high school senior from Sudbury MA has made over $5000 in tips in the last few months on live.me which she has invested in a home studio. She’s working hard to live her dream of moving to LA and entering the professional music business. Ironically she might find it just as easy to succeed from her parents house… Alexis Rose has 125,000 fans, Amber-Tiana has half a million. There is no doubt that you can build your social media following on Live.me.

Tubefilter.com publishes a weekly chart of the top 50 broadcasters on live.me. Some of these have been wildly successful. Several Twitch and YouTube streamers are millionaires. Beyond simple in-app tipping, Agents, managers, and MCN’s (MultiChannel Networks) have discovered a myriad of ways to monetize your social media using endorsements, sponsorships, product placement, affiliate links, YouTube’s AdSense, Google’s AdWords, and a variety of other tools. (Including public appearances, book deals, modeling and acting in film, tv, and commercials.) There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but there are lots of opportunities for those who search for them.

At the recent Playlist live conference in DC, the message I heard over and over again was that persistence and consistency are the key. Panelists didn’t seem to think as much about quality content, but I believe that is paramount. There are so many choices, and so many more who will be joining the gold rush.

I think your music and your performance are crucial. All the persistence in the world isn’t going to build a following if you don’t make the grade.

The other thing I feel very strongly about is that Now is the time. If you wait for everyone else to figure out how to master this new opportunity before you dig in, the competition will be far more daunting. So… What are you waiting for???

Getting the most out of Live.me and live streaming alternatives (updated 9/27/17)

by AlanRowoth on September 27, 2017

Rob Lytle - Audio checkRob Lytle – Audio Check

Streaming Video seems to be the focus of all the social media services. In a world of short attention spans and a pathological fear of reading, Live video is the most effective way to engage and grow your audience. Although Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all offer live streaming, you may want to examine some more video specific alternatives. I found quite a few including Live.me, Concert Window, YouNow, LiveStream, Twitch, Busker, and Twitter’s Periscope. For the purpose of this post, I chose to focus on Live.me, since it seemed to be an industry leader. The service claims over 600 million active users,  has recently generated an additional $60 million dollars in investor cash, and has handed out a couple million dollars in payouts to live streamers since launch. They celebrated their one year anniversary in April 2017. There were more metrics available since Tubefilter tracks the top 50 Live.me broadcasters. For instance, veteran broadcaster Kristina Plisko has over 623,000 fans and has amassed over 46 million “diamonds” thru the Live.me tipping system, worth about $230,000. (This may be a little misleading, the most successful broadcasters might reinvest as much as half of their payout in tipping other broadcasters, supporting the community, and raising their visibility within the system.  Still the payout clearly beats Spotify and Apple Music) Kristina added over 3700 fans last week.) The services all have their individual cultures and oddities. I really like Concert Window, but they seem to rely mostly on you supplying your audience thru social media advertising.

Live.me is like a big open air bazaar where thousands of people are wandering about, 24 hours a day. All they have to do is swipe up to see the next thing. There is a lot more opportunity for serendipity there.

Have I piqued your interest? I know this is a bit mysterious to many of you.  Here are some tips to smooth your entry into this brave new world. The first thing that may surprise you is that you can’t stream from your computer. You need an iPhone, iPad, or Android device to become a broadcaster. (Although streams may be viewable thru a web browser on your computer…). The Apps are free and there are no mandatory fees. Participation in tipping is strictly voluntary (and surprisingly well embraced by the users.) tips come in the form of gifts bought with Live.me coins. These gifts can cost the tipper anything from a few cents to $200 or so for a Dream Castle. I see Castles drop with amazing regularity.  Where the users get that kind of money, I don’t know.  There are various opportunities to earn free star points from the system and you can earn free coins from user sponsored Coin Drops.

To get started, you must first download the App and set up your user Profile.  Use a name consistent with your branding.  My Live.me name is BigOrangeTarp.org, my blogsite.  Most performers use the name their act is billed under on a marquee. You get a space of about 50 characters in your profile to include your Twitter/Instagram/Facebook or website info.  Make the most of this. if you have multiple devices, you may want to set up a secondary account or two. My secondary is Alan Rowoth. This way I can gift, like, share, and otherwise boost my own streams.

Don’t start broadcasting immediately.  Watch some streams first to learn the terminology and etiquette.  Read a couple of tutorials like this and this and maybe even this. Don’t pass up chances for free coins, star points, and experience.  You get experience and star points just for logging in each day. Popular live casts may feature multiple coin drops for viewers  (Don’t be a “coin thot“, always gift back a portion to the broadcaster.  These gifts help you and the broadcaster “Level up” within the system.)  Earn star points by sharing broadcast links on Social media. You can watch up to 3 advertisers 30 second videos each day to earn even more star points. Thru coin drops, I have earned as many as 100 free coins in a day. If you have money to invest, live.me has various coin purchase plans. I bought 720 coins for about $10, but I haven’t spent much.  There are some people who spend enormous sums on gifting.

Once you start accruing diamonds of your own, I recommend you set aside a percentage to invest back into the system.

Live.me is a community. People will appreciate you if you are kind and generous. Broadcasts start slow and can build to 10,000 viewers or more. Being one of the first people into a broadcast and dropping a small gift is one of the best way to make a good impression on a broadcaster who may boost your broadcasts, ask their followers to follow you, come to your broadcast to reciprocate your gifts, or even ask you to “Beam” into their stream and become part of their broadcast thru a Picture-in-Picture option. These are among the most powerful shortcuts to a large following. People who participate in the community can make friends fast. Rude and selfish streamers may never make much headway.

When you do start to stream, pay attention to the tech.  Make sure you have decent lighting and an appropriate background. No matter what kind of setup you have, good lighting is imperative, but it doesn’t have to be expensive.

For god’s sake, use some sort of mount for your iPhone. The most common mistake on Live.me is phones propped up against a pillow or something falling over. I see this happen multiple times per day  it’s so annoying!

 

Pay attention to audio quality, especially if you are streaming music. Telephone microphones aren’t optimized for music. You can buy various addon mics for $50 or more that plug directly into your phone.  I took it a step further and bought a lightning audio interface that allows me to use professional recording microphones, optimized for the best placement, or even directly insert your guitar or keyboard signal (or mixer output) directly into the audio stream. Poor sound is a common problem in amateur videos, don’t let it be a problem for you. Currently I use either a Roland Duo Capture EX Audio interface with an Apple USB camera adapter, an MXL990 stereo condenser microphone, or a Line 6 Port VX microphone with a built in guitar processor, or a tiny Shure MV88 lightning Microphone.  I also have a cool little TP-link wifi controllable light bulb.

 

Even more crucial than the tech is your narrative, your personna. As with any musical endeavor, the quality of the songs and the performance are fundamentally important, but that isn’t all you need to succeed in Live.me. It is a one-to-many performance that feels like one-to-one. The best broadcasters feel like they are performing for you. In a great livecast, the “4th wall” comes down and the viewer feels like they are right there with you. You don’t need to lay bare the most intimate details of your private life, but you have to at least seem sincere and genuine in your interactions with the audience.  They will appreciate your honesty and kindness. Smile and be funny if it fits your persona. Look nice. Be courteous and grateful for their participation. They love to hear their names  if you can shout them out for gifting, liking, sharing, or following your stream without disrupting your performance, by all means do it. Learn who your “regulars” are and acknowledge them. Broadcasters over level 5 can establish a “family” with a shared direct messaging forum. Read your direct messages in the system and respond if it seems appropriate. Engage your audience. Ask their opinion on things, find out where they are from, look for synergies that bind them to you. Social sharing is key. An active group of dedicated fans will be a huge help in growing your following. Your meta-story is important. Are you the seasoned veteran of a dozen years on the road? Are you the fledgling musician just trying to break into the big bad world of the professional music business? Are you a Faith-based performer who realized this is their true calling? Think of this as an elevator pitch style synopsis that fans can use to describe you to their friends. Why do you need them? Why do they need you?

Don’t be shy about asking fans to follow, like, and share your broadcast. Some broadcasters can be annoyingly insistent when they ask followers for gifts. Some are very successful at this. It’s hard to harp on this without seeming like an ass.

I find a laid back approach to this more palatable, but by all means be appreciative for even small gifts, likes, shares, and follows. Ask followers to follow your top gifters. (And follow the top gifters of other successful livecasters.

I suspect that 90% of live.me gifts emanate from less than 10% of viewers. Follow and befriend the people who shower those gifts)  The amount and type of engagement (as well as the length) of your broadcasts, new followers added, gifts received, and valid (not gibberish spam) comments all contribute to the experience “score” that live.me awards each of your broadcasts. This experience raises your broadcaster level and increases the chance that your broadcast will be “featured”, resulting in a lot more traffic. Broadcasts at least 30-60 minutes long score better, having a good cover photo for your broadcasts also helps. It helps to be consistent  the most successful broadcasters invest an hour or more at least 4 times a week. It takes a while to build up some things, but once things start to snowball… I’ve seen broadcasters get to 1000 views in less than 5 minutes

There are some crazy, disruptive trolls lurking anywhere people congregate on the internet. You can designate a couple of your most loyal fans as “Admins” to help protect you from the worst of the riff raff.  Admins can temporarily block disruptive or disrespectful visitors, so you don’t have to handle that stuff in real time. Most followers are proud to be selected for this duty. Broadcasters can permanently block trolls from visiting your broadcasts. Don’t let anyone bully you or harsh your mellow.

At this point, I believe that quality original music is still underrepresented on Live.me. There is a lot of room to stake your claim to a broader audience, but I suspect that 2 or 3 years from now, there will be a plethora of choices for listeners. The early bird gets the worm. If you join the Live.me community be sure to follow both of my accounts (BigOrangeTarp.org and Alan Rowoth) Let me know that you are there and I’ll check out and help to boost your broadcasts. If a bunch of us do that, there will be good synergies. I’m also happy to field any questions you have about how things work.

Have fun, I hope to see you there!

 

 

The Big Orange Tarp at SWRFA 2017

by AlanRowoth on September 26, 2017

I’m excited to be returning to SWRFA this year with a Big Orange Tarp artist showcase (partnering with Access Film Music), some One on One mentoring from 1:30-3:00pm on Friday afternoon in the Elm Room. and a Live Video Streaming workshop from 10-11:30am on Saturday morning in the Elm Room. 

Big Orange Tarp showcase SWRFA 2017,
In cooperation with Access Film Music
Room 721
Fri 11:30-midnight Cosy Sheridan, Dave Dersham, Dan Pelletier
Sat 11:30-midnight Catherine Miles & Jay Mafale, Rob Lytle, Dan Pelletier
Sat 1:00am Rachel Laven

(moved due to a scheduling error on my part)

 

 

Playlist Live D.C. – Impressions

by AlanRowoth on September 7, 2017

The Playlist Live conference is relatively new. Started in 2011, they held 2 3day events this year. The first in April with a reported 12,000 attendees. I attended the Washington DC conference last weekend for the first time. It was an eye-opener.

First off, I felt incredibly old. The Woodstock generation was almost entirely unrepresented at the event. The 500-600 attending “Content Creators” mostly ranged in age from 10-30 years old. A majority of the agents, managers, and other industry representatives who joined the panels similarly appeared to be in their 20’s and 30’s. “Old School” creators mostly dated back to the earliest days of YouTube, which debuted a mere 12 years ago. There is no intrinsic reason to believe that content creation is the province of the young. On the contrary, I felt that a lot of Creators must be hampered by their lack of life experience and experience crafting art, words, or music. The audience demographic also typically is predominantly young, making it tougher for older creators to gain traction as quickly, but it can be done.

What these kids lack in technique or life experience is largely offset by their youth, enthusiasm, and a burning desire to “be somebody” on the internet. I had come to the conference for a variety of reasons, but maybe the biggest driver was to see how original musicians were leveraging the various apps and platforms to bolster their careers. In that respect, I was largely disappointed. I met only a handful of musicians who were performing their own material. The audience seemed more than receptive to hearing new songs. But, even the musicians I met who are doing that kind of content seemed to have a lack of training and focus. Much of the material felt contrived and amateurish. Noted exceptions were Noah Schnacky,   Kayla Nettles and Dodie Clark, all of whom I found credible and engaging. I couldn’t connect emotionally with Spandy Andy and some of the other featured artists. Artists featured on the live stage all seemed to have fantastic hair, but many of the musical performers sang their hits to music tracks which already contained their own lead vocals. The result was largely cacophonous. I guess this is the new normal, but I found it unsatisfying.

Many of the “creators” I met seemed surprised when I asked them “what” they did, if they sang or danced or tutored math or whatever. A surprising number of creators had no discernible talent and their content generally centers around rants, pranks, parodies, sight gags or other forms of general nonsense. There are also an abundance of 15 year olds giving life advice, makeup tips, or general emotional support in teaching people to “Love themselves”, (which seemed to come quite naturally to most of them…) The LGBTQ community is well represented in the ranks. And they aren’t all kids. For instance, there’s Granny Pottymouth.

YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and SnapChat seemed to be the main focus of conference attendees, who displayed an almost universal distain for Facebook. I was surprised that live streaming has not yet been widely embraced by more creators. I guess, no matter how young you are, you can still get set in your ways. Personally, I think live streaming is the most exciting thing to come down the pike in years. Platforms like Live.me, musical.ly, Bonklive, Concert Window, Periscope, and Busker are all gaining traction within the community.

The first day of Playlist Live was a business day, a series of workshops, looking at various business aspects of social media stardom. We met with content creators, agents, managers, Multi Chennel Networks, publicists, and other support professionals. It was very interesting. Coming from folk music world, I was stunned by the enormous amounts of money people were talking about, and the panoply of ways to monetize a career in Social Media. Not just gifting and tipping as in apps like Concert Window, Live.me, Busker, Musical.ly or Bonklive. But brand deals for product placement or creating association videos, merchandizing, commercials, acting in TV and movies, book deals, and personal appearances. There were several representatives there from companies seeking branding partners. I spent 20 minutes talking to a girl from Red Bull. This is a significant plank in their marketing platform.

There were techies too. I was very interested in an iPad based video switcher product from Cinamaker. Most broadcasters seem to be shooting content on their iPhones. Video producers all seemed to lean towards Apple’s Final Cut editing software.

For content creators and aspiring content creators the message was clear, unified, simple, and direct. Anybody can do this, you don’t need any special skill, talent, or training. If you have the desire, the work ethic, and the emotional honesty to be truly open and authentic with your audience. If you have the patience to learn the business (and the business is complicated and ever changing.) you can make a go of this. Everyone seemed very certain of this. And, judging from the creators that I met, they appear to be correct.

Given my background as a professional musician and computer geek, I found the underlying message disturbing. I come from a world where we hone our craft, practice our instruments, write and learn songs, learn stagecraft, etc. Study, practice, and aspiration all are qualities that I admire and respect. And I think they add value, a lot of value. I don’t doubt that creators can become popular solely on the basis of authenticity and desire. I’ve met them. But I can’t help but believe that people who can create artistic content with standalone value like music have an edge. The showcase artists chosen for the conference underscore this. Singers, dancers, artists, all add value to the equation.

So, if you are a musician reading this, I believe you have a head start. In this new digital world, where millions of dollars are changing hands every year, you can reach out and grab your piece of it. You have to put your fear and disbelief behind you. Abandon your preconceptions. Dig deep and follow your heart. Be honest and authentic. Trust that your audience wants to take this ride with you. Experiment with the tools and opportunities available until you find the best combination for you. The sky is the limit. But you have to DO it, you can’t just sit on the sidelines.

Music Camps at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival 2017

by AlanRowoth on August 2, 2017

Here are the results of our survey for 2017

Camp Name: The Big Orange Tarp
Grid location: M18
Website: http://BigOrangeTarp.org
Organisation: Big Orange Tarp/Grassy Hill
Contact name: Alan Rowoth
Contact email: BigOrangeTarp@gmail.com
Established: 1992
Nights and times you play: Wed-Sunday nights when the festival stage is dark
Music focus: Professional touring artists, especially Emerging Artist Showcasers
Format: mostly ITR performances with occasional pop ins
Target Audience: Venue operators and house concerts, media, avid listeners
Capacity: 60-100 Bring your own chairs
Cover music: mostly original music, most performers have recordings available
Do you accept artist submissions? no
Notes: kid friendly, alcohol tolerated, not encouraged. No glass.
Most Wanted, Showcasers, main stage artists, special guests
Open circle every night after the feature performers. We often see the sunrise.
6 piece house band. all acoustic.

Camp Name Pirate Camp
Grid location M-10
Contact Name Stuart Kabak
Email  stubak911@aol.com
Established 1999
Nights & times to play Wed thru Saturday nite when main stage is off
Music Focus Mostly pro level artists
Format Mostly ITR Originals
Alcohol None served…prefer you leave yours home
Notes Large protective canopy, real stage and lighting, camaraderie to write home about, breakfast and dinner provided to Pirate Camp residents
Artist submissions? Yes*
Target audience People who love great songs performed by great artists
Capacity 30 chairs provided under canopy Room for over 100 around stage

Camp Name: Camp Stupid Americans
Grid location: N3
Website: http://www.philhenryband.com
Organisation:
Contact name: Phil Henry
Contact email: phil@windrant.com
Established: 2000
Nights and times you play: Friday after Mainstage close
Music focus: Songwriters
format: Open song circle
Target Audience:
Capacity: 30
Cover music: Sure, though we love originals!
Do you accept submissions?
Notes: Bringing a chair is encouraged!

Camp Name: The Budgiedome
Grid location: g22
Website: budgiedome.org
Organisation: The Budgiedome
Contact name: musician contact Gordon Nash
Contact email: gordon@budgiedome.org
Established: 2000
Nights and times you play: Thursday night song circle after the Lounge Stage, featured performers Friday and Saturday after main stage followed by open mic
Music focus: emerging artists and new artists
format: Thursday night song circle. Friday night and Saturday night featured performers in short sets followed by open mic
Target Audience: avid listeners
Capacity: 60+ seating, bring a chair
Cover music: we prefer originals.
Do you accept submissions? Yes, electronic only.
Notes: Wandering Minstrels Adopted

Camp Name: Happytown (Dave Carter Song Circle) (this year at the Lounge Camp)
Grid location: near the back corner of 10-acre
Website: https://www.facebook.com/events/246313732526780 (for this year)
Organisation:
Contact name: Beth DeSombre
Contact email: beth@bethdesombre.com
Established: 2002
Nights and times you play: Saturday late night
Music focus: All Dave Carter songs, all the time
format: in-the-round — newcomers and brief visitors can play as soon as they arrive
Target Audience: those who love Dave Carter’s songs and
Capacity: 30-40
Cover music: Dave Carter songs
Do you accept submissions? Everyone welcomed
Notes: Come to play, sing, or just listen. (You can request songs, too!)

Camp Name: Nite Owl Campfire Song Swap
Grid location: Performer parking lot (just across troll bridge from security trailer)
Website: http://falconridgefolk.com/
Organisation: Falcon Ridge Folk Festival
Contact name: Terry Kitchen
Contact email: terrykit@aol.com
Established: 1992
Nights and times you play: Fri & Sat nites midnite-3 AM
Music focus: singers, songwriters, poets, storytellers
format: open song circle
Target Audience: all
Capacity: 50
Cover music: fine, but original encouraged
Do you accept submissions? none needed, just show up!
Notes: This is a festival-sponsored open song swap, everybody gets a turn.

Camp Name: Acoustic Live in NYC booth
Grid location: M26
Website: acousticlive.com
Organization: Acoustic Live in NYC
Contact name: Richard Cuccaro
Contact email: riccco@earthlink.net
Established: 1999
Nights and times you play: Afternoons Fri-Sat 2-4 Sun 12-2
Music focus: Singer/songwriter
format: showcase / 15-minute set
Target Audience: Avid listeners
Capacity: 20-30 bring own chairs
Cover music: mostly originals
Do you accept submissions? by invitation mostly; recommendations welcome

Camp Name: The Lounge Camp
Grid Location: H11
Website: http://theloungestage.com
Organization: Tribal Mischief
Contact Name: Ethan & Jake Pesky
Contact Email: ethan@peskyjnixon.com or jake@peskyjnixon.com
Established: 2008
Nights and time you play: Thursday night in the Dance Stage, Saturday night from 10 – 2 for the Dave Carter Tribute.
Music Focus: Kindness
format: Formated scheduling
Capacity: ????
Cover music: Sure
Not really
Notes: Bring a Chair, don’t steal others, enjoy the fire pit and/or the tent!
Usually in attendance but on hiatus for 2017:


===================================
Camp Name: GFP (George Fox Pavilion)
Grid location: H10
Website: https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=gfp%20-%20falcon%20ridge%20folk%20festival
Contact name: John Rozett
Contact email: rozettj@gmail.com
Established: 2000
Nights and times you play: Wed-Sat nights when the festival stage is dark except Sat. night when play begins after Dave Carter Song Circle
Music focus:Anyone, pro or amateur
Format: open song circle
Target Audience: anyone
Capacity: Open. Bring your own chairs
Cover music: mostly original music but covers acceptable.
Do you accept artist submissions? no. open.
Notes: alcohol tolerated
Open circle every night after the main stage closes. Fire set up for whomever wants to gather.Self-supervised

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The Big Orange Tarp at Falcon Ridge 2017

by AlanRowoth on August 1, 2017

After our well received return to Falcon Ridge last year, I am even more excited for 2017. I’m delighted to report that Grassy Hill is again the official sponsor of the Big Orange Tarp. I am so grateful for their support and the invaluable assistance of the entire BOT team including Sally Johnson, Jeff Miller, Sandie Reilly, Scott and Paula Moore. With the exception of our cellist extraordinaire, Dirje Childs, who has other obligations this August, the entire BOT house band is returning: George Wurzbach (keyboards), Eric Lee (Violin, Mandolin, Guitar), Mark Dann (Bass) and David Glaser (Guitar, anything with strings). I’m pumped that Annie Wenz will be joining us on Percussion this year. I just added cellist Matthew Thornton.  As always, I’m sure there will be surprise guests as well.

The Tarp features music every night from Wednesday thru Sunday night. On Wednesday and Sunday we start around dusk. On Friday and Saturday nights we begin after the MainStage ends and our feature program consists primarily of Artists from the Falcon Ridge Most Wanted and the Grassy Hill Emerging Songwriter Showcase, sprinkled with a handful of mainstage artists and other special guests. On Thursday night, we start up when the Lounge Stage ends. Our Thursday feature this year will include the Most Wanted artists and a group rom the 2017 Philadelphia Songwriters Project contest, as well as special guests. We do an Open Circle every night after our feature rounds, where anyone is welcome to sit with us and share their songs. We encourage everyone to stop by and participate or listen.Unlike some of the other camp music sites, I never publish a full, timed schedule ahead of the festival because our format is very organic. I program the strongest music I can find and we try to avoid dead air as much as possible. Come sit with us, you won’t be disappointed.

This year’s Most Wanted artists are Bettman & Halpin, Kirsten Maxwell, and Kipyn Martin. This year’s Grassy Hill Emerging Artist Showcase includes: Alice HoweAly TadrosBruce Michael MillerCaroline CotterChristine SweeneyClint AlphinEmily MureFrances Luke AccordHadley KennaryHeather Aubrey LloydIzzy HeltaiJames HearneJohn John BrownJosh HartyLetitia VanSantLisa BastoniMonica RizzioNo Good SisterOrdinary ElephantRenee WahlRobinson TreacherRyanhoodShawn TaylorThe End Of America. Ambassadors from the Philadelphia Songwriters Project include The Whispering Tree, Emily Drinker, and John Sonntag. Rod Macdonald, Annie Wenz, and several other mainstage artists will join us during the festival.

Here is just a taste for you:
















Falcon Ridge 2017 Music Camps survey

by AlanRowoth on July 14, 2017

People keep asking me questions I don’t know the answer to about the music camps in the campground for this year’s Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. Rather than guess, I thought I had better crowdsource the answers. If you are doing a music camp at Falcon Ridge and want people to know about it, please fill out this form and locate the camp (approximately) on the map grid above. A week or so before the festival, I will compile these answers into a single posting and maybe even try to generate some sort of infographic if I am not swamped with other stuff. Thanks. Please only fill out the form if it’s your camp. But other general campground music observations are welcome. Please complete the form and reply to this blog post or email to BigOrangeTarp@gmail.com

Camp Name:
Grid location:
Website:
Organisation:
Contact name:
Contact email:
Established:
Nights and times you play:
Music focus:
format:
Target Audience:
Capacity:
Cover music:
Do you accept submissions?
Notes:

———here is a sample entry——-

Camp Name: The Big Orange Tarp
Grid location: M18
Website: http://BigOrangeTarp.org
Organisation: Big Orange Tarp/Grassy Hill
Contact name: Alan Rowoth
Contact email: BigOrangeTarp@gmail.com
Established: 1992
Nights and times you play: Wed-Sunday nights when the festival stage is dark
Music focus: Professional touring artists, especially Emerging Artist Showcasers
Format: mostly ITR performances with occasional pop ins
Target Audience: Venue operators and house concerts, media, avid listeners
Capacity: 60-100 Bring your own chairs
Cover music: mostly original music, most performers have recordings available
Do you accept artist submissions? no
Notes: kid friendly, alcohol tolerated, not encouraged. No glass.
Most Wanted, Showcasers, main stage artists, special guests
Open circle every night after the feature performers. We often see the sunrise.
6 piece house band. all acoustic.