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INSIDE MUSIC: Musician life before Facebook - Part 1
By Rosemary Conte
originally published: 03/22/2018
Credit is due Facebook for changing the way we communicate with our peers, our fans, prospective audiences and prospective employers, making musicians’ lives easier.
I was thinking about the way we once promoted gigs and built a fan base; how time consuming and expensive it was before we had cell phones, email, and FB. The newest generation of working players and singers can’t know how lucky they are unless a veteran of the trenches clues them in. (Have you noticed that older musicians use the language of warriors? Even as recently as 15 or so years ago, making a living as a musician with no more than local fame was a struggle. And non-musicians were called “civilians.”)
It’s always been best to send out promo that’s attractive, and anyone with a computer can do so today. Back in the day, however, an entertainer would visit a print shop and tell a staffer what he wanted to say in the promo piece… and maybe bring a by-hand mock up. He would confer on the design and provide a photo which would cost at least an extra $10 to print.
It would be safest to pay more for heavier paper, as all-purpose copy paper, though cheaper, would arrive in a physical mailbox wrinkled or torn and that’s not good for one’s image. If you ordered a colored piece it would cost far more than black and white. The printing bill might cost as much as the gig paid and sting especially hard if you were promoting a one-nighter and you hadn’t built a dependable following.
It would be more cost effective if you had a few dates to advertise in the piece… but not always easy to set that up. And a big but here; if you don’t send out one-nighter ads it’s tantamount to standing still. The idea is to keep your name out there. And, if you don’t bring in an audience to your show, it too, looks bad, and you may not get another gig in that place because you didn’t draw a crowd. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place!
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I recall that back then, Jersey Shore’s troubadour, Pat Guadagno would send a small card of a monthly calendar with place and time of his gigs posted in the respective boxes. I was impressed. It was so practical.
You hope you got your print job back with time enough for the piece to be delivered to friends and fans. You use a post-card size announcement rather than stuff an envelope to save money. Still, mailing to everyone you knew, the postage too, might cost as much as the gig paid.
If you were courageous, you might have bought into bulk mailing from your local post office. The process to mail bulk can be cumbersome when mailing hundreds of pieces. It’s time consuming and there’s no guarantee as to when your mail will arrive, so you have to mail earlier than if you used first class postage. You save money, but it’s not all that economical unless you’re mailing thousands of pieces.
When I mailed my All Music Magazine to a couple thousand musicians and fans in the 1980s and 90s the bulk mailing process took over my kitchen, as boxes of the magazine, each box going to a specific zip code, lined the room making it not a functional kitchen until I hauled all the boxes to the post office. Bulk mailing was so challenging and time consuming, that it took two people working on it. Oh, and until I acquired a dot matrix printer and learned about mailing labels, the pieces were hand addressed!
In comparison, it’s almost heavenly today - to design a promo piece in a matter of minutes on your computer and with the click of a key send it to your email list and post it to FB for the whole world to see - for FREE.
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Tommy Castro & The Painkillers To Return To Lizzie Rose Music Room
(TUCKERTON, NJ) -- Tommy Castro & the Painkillers return to the Lizzie Rose Music Room on Wednesday, April 17 at 7:30pm. Whether he’s squeezing out the deepest blues or playing the funkiest soul grooves, legendary blues and soul giant Tommy Castro knows how to ignite a crowd. Tickets are $38.00 Advance and $45.00 day of show.
Experience Hendrix at NJPAC on March 29th
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World Famous Bachata Artists To Take The Stage for Uforia Bachata Fest 2019 At Prudential Center on Saturday, March 16
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Youth Symphony and Youth Orchestra To Perform at Princeton University January 27
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Rickie Lee Jones To Perform At Grunin Center
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The Empire Strikes Back in Concert with the NJSO LIVE! at the State Theatre
Some of our favorite childhood memories growing up at the Jersey Shore involved going to our town’s grand old movie palace, The Community Theater, in Toms River. Built with colonial architecture and featuring large white columns in the front, paned glass windows in the lobby, a circular brick walk from the sidewalk to the box office, and a white picket fence which enclosed a lawn and a flower bed, this local gem presented the latest Hollywood films. For kids like us back in the 1960’s, that meant pictures like Mary Poppins, Cinderella, The Love Bug, and Flipper.
Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes At Riverside Rhythm & Rhyme
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"He Totally Wowed Us!" John Oates LIVE! at SOPAC
It’s brisk for an evening walk on South Orange Ave. in South Orange, NJ, this Friday, Jan. 4, 2019 evening, but it’s a good road to follow as it leads us directly to the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) for a special performance by singer, songwriter, and guitarist John Oates and his backup group, The Good Road Band.
“Tons of Fun!” The Glenn Miller Orchestra LIVE! at the Grunin Center
Although Friday, December 21, 2018 is the shortest day of the year, the audience of big band music lovers here at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center for the Arts is hoping for a long evening of classic swing and holiday tunes performed by the incomparable Glenn Miller Orchestra!
Mike Davis and The New Wonders
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He grew up in a musical family, with both his parents playing strings in the Seattle Symphony. But Davis wanted an instrument of his own.
Then, at age 9, he saw “The Aristocats,” the animated film about a bunch of French felines — including a group of jazz-playing alley cats.
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Featured Music Video: "One Guitar" by Mardi GrasThis month's Featured Music Video is a special one. It's a cover of Willie Nile's "One Guitar" by Mardi Gras, a band from Rome, Italy. That song has become the anthem for Light of Day shows which raise money to fund a cure for Parkinson's. Mardi Gras recorded the song and made this video to help raise money for the Light of Day Foundation. The band told us how the song and video came about.
A Look At Light of Day Winterfest 2019Recently back from shows in Europe, Light of Day Winterfest 2019 is just around the corner. In addition to shows throughout Asbury Park, shows will also take place in North Jersey, Philadelphia, New York City and Rockland County. Light of Day, now in its 19th year, not only raise money for the Parkinson’s Foundation, but does much more.
Dr. Demento Covered In PunkDo you remember Dr. Demento radio shows from back in the day? The show featuring music and comedy was nationally syndicated for decades and is still available weekly online. Many of the legendary songs from the show’s history are celebrated in the compilation album Dr. Demento Covered In Punk, which was released in January 2018.
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