January 9th, 2012

challenge accepted

2011 Magnolia Red Family Holiday Party

A few years back, I heard a speaker talking about his travels to a third world country.  He told us that when he returned, people were shocked he didn’t have more photo documentation.  His response was, “I was too busy doing what I went there to do to take pictures.”  I somewhat share his sentiment for 2011 – I didn’t prioritize documenting what was going on because we were so busy “doing what we are in existence as a company to do.”  I apologize for this and am hopeful for more consistency in 2012.

This past year was hard work. It seems that way for most people I know.  Don’t get me wrong; there were wonderful things in the midst of the work.  We left off in April with the lovely visit from my dad [“the Bob” as he’s known in my circle].  The last eight months of the year, we had some amazing highlights – Castle Lights had some incredible show opportunities with major touring acts, Folk Family Revival released their debut full-length album, Unfolding, and Shellee Coley finished recording her album, Where It Began, set to release at the end of February.  We’ve been busy busy with all this goodness and hard work.

2011 reminded me of the awkward adolescence phase – lots of growth and change, somewhat awkward, and loads of anticipation for what lies ahead.  At the start of 2012, I feel like the metaphorical growth spurt has slowed down, the acne has cleared up and the voice is no longer cracking.  2012: here we come.

Never before have I felt such anticipation for a year or felt such confidence that it will be good.  The other day, my colleague and friend, Kent Coley, texted myself and our other business partner, Jeffery, saying, “I challenge everyone to expect something great to happen everyday and really believe it!”  My response: “Challenge ACCEPTED!”  While I’m not a “name it and claim it” type of person, I do believe I can expect great things and choose to see the good rather than focus on impending doom [since apparently the world may end this year anyway…if so, we’re going out with a bang!].  Something we like to do every year for our holiday party with our artists is to compile a book of photos documenting the previous years’ growth and experiences.  I found myself getting emotional at all the incredible things that occurred.  We celebrated them in the moment, but quickly moved to the next goal, the next mountain to climb, the next fire to put out.  While I know we have to be diligent to stay on top of things, deal with the struggles and growth pains of being a newish company in an ever-changing music world, what we can do is believeBelieve in our artists – seeing the best in them, walking well with them as they pursue their dreams, working with them to create beautiful music that can impact so many.  Believe in our partners and allies– that the folks who have given us so many opportunities will continue to believe in US and that we can contribute positively to them as well.  And to believe in our team at Magnolia Red – giving each other the benefit of a doubt when times are stressful, encouraging each other in the midst of stressful circumstances and long hours, and reminding each other that good will happen and is happening.

Below is a picture of our “Wall of Good Things” we’ve posted in our office.  We have a sheet for the current month with space to write down the great things that happen on a daily basis, a bulletin board for emails, reviews, memories from that month, and then beside that, we will be posting our year-long vision and goals for each artist and our company.  This way, we’ll be reminded of what we’re setting our sights on, and what we WILL be accomplishing this year.  It seems crazy, but I just know these things will happen.  I’m believing it – expecting it – and ready for whatever turbulence might come our way this year.  I hope your year is starting out well too – and I would love to hear your stories of anticipation and excitement for this year too.  Let’s all believe it can happen for each other.

Magnolia Red's 2012 Wall of Good Things

April 21st, 2011

The Bob

This is my dad (I also call him The Bob) and I a few months back

There are few moments in life where I’ve had the thought or feeling, “I’ve made it”. This past weekend included one of those rare gems.

My dad and stepmom were visiting from Missouri which I was particularly excited about because they haven’t been to Houston since Magnolia Red was formed. Most of what they hear about my life is centered around this seemingly ambiguous job and these bands I work with. I was anxious to show them our offices and the studio. Also, Shellee Coley has been recording for her next album, so they were going to see a real glimpse of the whole music production and creation process. They stopped by shortly on Friday while we were in the thick of things and were very impressed with what they saw. Plus they were able to meet most of the people I work with.

The following day, as my dad and I were driving around town, I let him listen to a few songs off of the upcoming Folk Family Revival album (which will be released on June 28th!). I was particularly excited about this because it’s our first full length album to release and also because he was able to meet a few of the guys the day before. He seemed to enjoy the songs he heard.

Later that evening, we picked up my stepmom to head downtown. He asked that we play a few of the songs for her that he heard before. Of course, I was more than happy to do that. He began to pick out lines to the songs that he liked – repeating the “brilliance” of them to my stepmom and I. He mentioned the way certain instruments reflected the meanings behind those lines and how impressed he was with that. With nearly each of the 12 songs, he seemed to notice these moments. These are moments that our team at Magnolia Red would gush over during the recording, mixing and mastering process. Lyrical lines that I remember Mason playing for us a year ago with just an acoustic guitar, and we all felt the possibility of such beauty. And here I was, listening to my dad acknowledge those same things we dreamed of. This may seem like a nice sentiment – just not that big of a deal. But it was for me.

As a kid, what made me fall in love with music was recognizing these moments in songs. My dad and I would drive around listening to music (mostly 70′s classic and soft rock) and he would forever quiz me about the lyrical meanings, stories behind the songs and the ways the instrumentation reflected those meanings. He would create mix tapes of my favorite songs by Cat Stevens, Dan Fogelburg, Bruce Hornsby and the Eagles that we’d listen to on our six hour drive to Missouri for the holidays.  We’d listen to those songs over and over again throughout the years. He’d point out some of the same stories every time, but I never got sick of it. Those narratives and those moments created such a deep love of music in my soul.

And here my dad was this past Saturday, pointing out the same things in music I watched being created by a band that I love and work with.

And I felt like I had made it in the world. National and international touring would be lovely, a huge catalogue of songs from all of our artists would be amazing, adding 5 or 10 people to our staff would be grand and a Grammy wouldn’t hurt. Those would be huge successes, but nothing could compare to the validation I felt from those few moments driving to Houston this past weekend with my dad.

March 8th, 2011

cultivating creative growth…and vulnerability

Folk Family Revival & I

Shellee & I

Jeremiah of Castle Lights & I

Tyler of Castle Lights & I

Aaron of Castle Lights & I

FFR & Shellee

These past few weekends were ones filled with great shows and moments with all our artists. Each of them operates with a phenomenal amount of professionalism and dedication to what we’re working towards.  We’ve spent the last month or so laying out our goals and strategies for 2011 – all of which are attainable and all of which we’re focused on whole-heartedly (knowing/hoping that multiple things surprise us along the way and bring about new successes).  It’s been an intensive few months moving past our artists being “beginning” acts and watching their reputations solidify as great musicians, artists and songwriters.  It’s a great process to see unfolding.

On the drive home from the second show of the day on Sunday, I was speaking to Alyssa (our new intern at Magnolia Red…who has been an incredible gift to have around!) reflecting on the past few days.  We were listening to a video that I had recorded at the show and it sounded remarkable.  We talked about how rare it is to have three acts that we believe in so fiercely – how we can tangibly grasp how successful all of them will be as they continue going forward.

In reflecting on the previous year of work with all our artists, I am realizing more and more that one of our main responsibilities in managing and working alongside them is to cultivate a safe place for creative growth.  A place that is honest with them when things are hard, celebratory when things are good, and steadfast when things are normal.  Our hope, all along, is that we can encourage and nurture their growth as creatives.  They all already have this greatness – and we want to allow that to rise more and more to the surface by accepting them, loving them and supporting them in this growth process.

I think something really incredible can happen when people feel safe to be who they really are – and feel connected to others in that.  I ran across the video below reading one of my favorite artist manager’s blogs (Wesley Verhoeve – if you haven’t read his blog and you are in the music business, you’ve been missing out on some incredible wisdom and overall industry knowledge).  It’s a TEDx talk from a local professor from the University of Houston (Brene Brown).  It’s all about vulnerability and connection.  Wes mentioned the importance of artists connecting to their audience and being connected to themselves as a means of deeper creativity.  I found this talk to be incredibly true and it has resonated with how we want to operate (and hopefully we’re showing pieces of that already) as a company and as individuals.  Once I watched this, I immediately sent it to about 10 friends and sat with them as they watched it.  It’s brought about wonderful discussion and allowed us to reminisce on how we learned so much of these lessons together. Hope it does the same for you and that you can cultivate growth, change and connection in your realms of influence and be open to it from those around you.

December 6th, 2010

diet coke beer helmet, shake weight and a pomegranate

Kent, Jeffery & I being toasted at our Manager Appreciation Night

Last night, our artists hosted a “Manager Appreciation Night”.  In was, in one word, monumental.  The three of us arrived at the house and were greeted, hugged & given amazing stew (made by the one and only Jeremiah Wood).  We all sat around the table together laughing, telling stories, talking about our weekends.  An hour into the meal, we were told to all sit up front (Kent, Jeffery & I).  That was only slightly awkward (thankfully they didn’t make us do the trust fall or anything like that).  They had all gone in together to get us gifts for the night – and each gift included stuff we loved.  Jeffery got a huge supply of Diet Coke complete with a Beer Helmet (don’t worry…he would only ever drink Diet Coke from it).  Kent was given a plethora of his favorite Bolthouse beverages and a Shake Weight (ohhh man some good laughs were had).  I was given a box of office supplies (my very favorites), along with Twizzlers & a pomegranate because they know how much I love those.  Everything was extremely thoughtful.

We then all went around and talked about our gratitude for this community that has formed in the last year.  Each artist spoke about their experiences, how much all of this meant to them, how hopeful they are about what we’re building together, and how much they love us.  It was beautiful.  Tears were shed (ok, ok, mostly me…but it was very sentimental!).  It meant SO much to be encouraged by this group of people that we’ve been working with.  Their gratitude made me all the more excited to work with them and to build into this community.  It makes the long hours seem not as long, the difficulties not as hard and the exhaustion like a mere blip on the radar.  And we are so excited for the years to come, to do these kinds of things with more artists and our growing team of partners.

On the whole, artists are given a rep for being selfish and self-centered.  Sometimes they are (who isn’t most times?!), but we are fortunate enough to be working with a community of artists that DON’T make themselves the center of the universe.  They regularly support each other and artists surrounding them, they tell us and others often about how much they appreciate and support us, and they are all around great people.  I think they have just needed the setting and foundation to be those people in a music community (and for it to be seen).  As we’ve watched all our lives get increasingly intertwined, messy and complicated, we have seen the payoff of depth, growth (personal and creative), and genuine love for one another.  It’s been pretty great.

So, whether you’re an artist with a management team, friends who work your merchandise table, or you have a label that supports you, you’d be surprised what communicated gratitude can do. It may energize your team to work harder or to just realize that you see what they’re doing and appreciate it.  That is always welcomed.  I believe that where we arrive in life is oftentimes based on the people around us – what we contribute to them and what they contribute to us. So, go get someone a Beer Helmet for their Diet Coke or their favorite pens or maybe just a text, note or email telling them how grateful you are to have them in your life.

Mason Lankford & the Folk Family Revival, Castle Lights & Shellee Coley signing our cards & poster.

Our Poster :)

September 22nd, 2010

must have the normal shenanigans

One of the pictures from Trish Badger's photo shoot. A good one!

Apparently I don’t like consistency…but here I am again.  This is more a reflective post than one to do with anything music related. But it includes my music family.

Over the previous years, there are few things I’ve appreciated more than getting to have normal life with people.  I realize this is perhaps the most generic statement ever given, but it was profound when I first saw it.  I remember the first time I ever witnessed two of my closest friends (who are married) get into a fight when I was with them. They weren’t throwing things or screaming, but it was intense, and they didn’t wait until I was gone.  It was like family – you get to see the ugly parts and the pretty parts, and you often don’t get to choose which one you see on any given day.  I remember sitting in the car on the way to Best Buy (I was in the front, the guy in the back seat & the wife driving) thinking, “I think I want to jump out of this window, but I’m also fascinated by the fact that they’re comfortable enough around me to do this.”  Ten minutes later, it was all over.  I asked what had happened to resolve it and she said, “You pick your battles. This wasn’t a battle that’s all that important so we just are moving on, no big deal.”  I was holding their daughter and we were looking at projectors.  It was normal, it was a funny situation, but very profound to me.

The last day or so at work has been like that moment for me…I’ve had conflict with my colleagues (that is always worked out within 10 minutes, but still…), intense decisions to be made, hours of research done to put into our 5, 10 and 20 year plans (my eyes crossing a million times in the midst of it), and moments of feeling less than proud of myself and responses to things under pressure.  But I work with a team that gets through whatever situation with grace, resilience and hope.  We choose our battles too, decide what to do to move forward, and go look at projectors (so to speak).

Yesterday, I got to help one of my colleagues’ kids with his math homework – we discussed writing out twenty-seven-thousandths (which I first explained incorrectly, but quickly made it right… it’s .027).  One of my other colleagues, after a brief spat, asked me to give my thoughts on the very subject of our disagreement, inviting me into the creative portion of this project right after I was a jerk.  One of our artist’s birthdays was yesterday and we went out to lunch with the families, ate good food, laughed a lot, and ran to our cars in the rain afterwards, going on with our days.  Today while they’re recording upstairs, I was reprimanded because I screamed after one of our artists threw a foil ball at my office window and I thought it would hit me.  On Friday, I’ll start taking guitar lessons from another person in our artist community which I’m outrageously excited about.  All these things that seem normal are parts of every day.  I get used to the normalcy, but I don’t appreciate it any less (at least I hope not).

Our office is a mess right now; we have loads of gear downstairs that we haven’t put back, my coffee mugs from the previous 3 days are still in my office (this is how my room is at home too), my papers are scattered and there are pieces of lent balled up on the carpet (sometimes cute decor is a pain to clean).  It’s extremely normal as far as normal life goes.  There’s this balance of pressure, mess, grace, normalcy, laughter and inspiration for more.  As I’m looking at our plans moving forward, and all of those being written out and official, I wish I could capture the last few days and put them in there, too.  It would read something like this, “Must have the normal shenanigans of every day life with people I love in order to operate healthily. Fighting necessary, practical jokes essential, and always provision of french press coffee for the insanity that ensues.”

Typical ridiculousness of our staff at Magnolia Red

August 31st, 2010

the grateful dead, john prine & mariah carey

Many of you know my recent love affair with the show Freaks & Geeks (RIP). I just watched the final episode on Sunday…which is only slightly devastating. There is a scene where Lindsay (Linda Cardellini) is given a Grateful Dead album to listen to in order to solve some angst she is feeling. Later in the episode, we find her in her room listening to the album, re-listening to certain songs, dancing in her room, laying on the ground taking it all in. Something in the midst of those songs moved her. There’s an unspoken connection and the series ends with her going with some friends to a multi-city Grateful Dead tour. While I don’t think this is the way everyone should react to great music (dropping all responsibility and following a band around), it was a great example of how music can move someone to risk and communicate what is often unspoken.

On Saturday, I took a surprise trip into town to Amy’s (incredible Ice Cream shop in Houston) and swung over to Cactus Music (one of the only great music stores left in Houston) with one of my roommates. I looked around for a while before finding a vinyl tribute to John Prine (whom I had never heard of). The compilation showcased a few of my favorite artists (Josh Ritter & Bon Iver), plus I liked the album artwork, so I bought it. All my roommates were gone for the evening, so when I got home, I sat in my chair next to my record player, put on the vinyl and just listened. When I really liked a song, I would move the needle to play it again. I sat with my tea, listened and enjoyed new music by artists I love honoring a truly great writer. It was a rare moment of rest, reflection, and enjoyment. There was that same unspoken connection that I saw in that episode of Freaks & Geeks one day later.

When I was a kid, I loved music just as much as (and sometimes I worry even more than) I do now. I remember getting the new Mariah Carey album “Music Box“, plugging in my giant headphones with a mile long cord, lying on my bed, reading through all the lyrics, and being in a complete state of bliss. There would be moments of tears, moments wondering if I’d ever feel what she felt, and moments when I just couldn’t believe she could sing notes at that octive! I would give concerts to kids at the nearby park (while I was on the swing set) of songs from that album.  I can hear myself now belting “Hero” to girls a few years younger than me (they would later request “A Whole New World” from Aladdin…that might have been the only time I’ve felt like a rock star). Even at the age of 8, there was that unspoken connection.

Now, I wonder about this unspoken connection in a world that is so consumer driven that music is just a commodity you can have a million of. I can have songs for years without ever hearing them, ever remembering the title to the song, album or even artist. Rare are the moments of sitting with my headphones on a bed or next to a chair with my vinyl player being entrenched by melodies and stories (even more rare are the moments when I give concerts on a swing set…who knows though, I may start that tour up again). Seeing that scene this past Sunday made me realize there is a universal language that IS music. And I love that whether you are a music enthusiast or the creator of every line and beat to a song, you can understand that language. While I worry at times that it may become an unspoken tongue (along with sanskrit and pig-latin) with the speed of everyday life, I know we all have those moments in the car listening to the radio, walking to class with an iPod, or streaming songs during work, where that language is alive and speaks. And that unspoken connection is still there.

So, today, I’ll be buying that Grateful Dead album and listening to those songs. Who knows if I’ll hop on a tie-dyed van and go in search of Jerry Garcia, but I will enjoy it and choose to hear it.

August 18th, 2010

what is your product?

The past month, I’ve been reading “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber, which is about setting up healthy and organized small businesses. A friend of mine (who just opened a bakery) and I have been discussing it weekly. It’s been great to have her input as a business owner, but one outside of our industry.

This past week’s discussion had my mind reeling because of a question posed in the book: “What is your product?” My immediate response is “Quality production, good artists, great songs, etc.” BUT, that really isn’t the product…that’s the commodity. The product is what a writer/band/colleague/music enthusiast/fan leaves feeling. Does the songwriter leave feeling apart of something more? Does the band leave a meeting feeling inspired to write more songs, connected to a community and valued as a human being? Will the colleague go home feeling they are part of something bigger, seen as a partner, and heard? Does the music enthusiast take off the headphones and feel connected to deeper emotion, more vivid pictures, a story of pain, etc? THAT is the product – those responses. And it really stirred up heaps of thoughts.

Anyone (well…not really anyone, but plenty of people) can make good music, spend gobs of money promoting it, but leave people with a product of superiority, greed, selfishness, fear. That’s never intentional, but if the focus becomes SOLEY the commodity and not the product…it seems like that would be detrimental.

So, what is your product – what you are working towards right now?  How do you want people to leave your company, concerts, or meetings feeling or thinking?

August 12th, 2010

thursday things :: oxygen…you need room to breathe, people!

This will be a short one…but an important one.  No, I will not be going into the process of photosynthesis and the importance of actual oxygen.  I will say that I did not enjoy learning about that in 9th grade biology (sorry to my biology teacher, Mr. Bull).

We’ve had a pretty packed week here at Magnolia Red…with our site about to be live, 1 EP release, another to come out shortly, a summer tour, etc…  It’s been extremely fun…but also extremely exhausting.  There isn’t a second of time when I’ve thought, “I have nothing to do.”  So, I’ve done as much as I can do because I love being here, love what I’m involved with and want to build into it more.  But, on Monday (after a weekend full of concerts, seminars and festivals), Kent (one of the Magnolia Red partners) emailed about a meeting we had scheduled for the day…asking if we could reschedule to Tuesday and take the day off.  I.thought.I.would.die.from.happiness (sorry for the incessant use of “.”s).  Not because I don’t love what I do (because I really do love it), but the thought of having a full day at home, to do whatever I wanted (which included seeing Step Up 3D with my roommates) and to sleep was the most amazing gift in the world.

Having the space to rest rejuvenated my creativity and energy for work.  And I think that as creative people, it’s extremely important to take the time you need for you, your family and your friends.  My roommates (I now have 3 of them) collectively said that my day off for them was like a scene in Hook.  There’s a moment when the lost boys see Peter again and they say, “Peter! You’re back!”  It had been years since he had been there, and they were overjoyed to be reunited with their friend.  Hopefully it hasn’t been years since my roommates really “saw” me, but with so much going on, it’s been easy for me to be less available, less patient, less joyful about the things I’m doing outside of work.  I’m glad Kent suggested that for all three of us because we needed it, individually and as a company.

As great as it would be to be a touring musician, loving what you do – that will mean nothing if you have no one to come home to.  Or, just as bad, no one at home knows you anymore because you’ve been gone (not just physically, but emotionally) for so long.  So, for you musicians, creatives, people who love your job or just find yourself having to spend so much time working because the addiction is there…take some time to breathe.  Exercise your right to take a half day or full day off from work, go see a ridiculous movie with no plot or character development, sleep for 10 hours, watch reruns of “Freaks and Geeks” (yes, I did all of these things on Monday…) – do whatever it is you want to do outside of your work atmosphere.  You may be surprised by how much you can enjoy the life happening around you.

August 11th, 2010

shout out

Ok, so when I was 7, I decided to call into 104.5 (Or phonetically pronounced K 1-0-fizz-o) to give a “shout out” to all my friends.  This may have been because my brother was encouraging it and didn’t want to do it himself, OR because I just thought the idea of being on the radio (and especially the best rap station in Dallas!) was romantic and awesome.  To my dismay, at 4:00 one day I actually got through to the DJ.  She (sounding cool and calm) asked me very simply who I’d like to shout out to. But….I…choked.  The fame was too much for me.  I was literally being heard by millions (or trillions) of people at this very moment (so I thought).  So, as any 7 year old would do, I turned quickly to my brother for help and said, “Shaun!! Shaun!! Who do I want to shout out to?!?! Ummmmm….uhhhhh…Steven.  And ummmm…Gina…and….my mom. And ummmm…I think that’s all.”  The DJ was so sweet, just laughed and said, “Alright, honey! Thanks for calling into K104!”  The best part about that embarrassing situation was that the station played that call 5 times throughout the remainder of the day…they loved my silly and giddy response to the fame of being on air.

So, much like my experience with K104, I want to give some shout outs.  But, don’t worry…I won’t choke this time and ask my brother what to do.  Recently, I’ve been so impressed with the people surrounding our little community that I think they should have some attention.  These people may or may not be directly connected with what we are doing at Magnolia Red, but regardless, they are friends and we’re proud of them and proud to be working with and around them.  So…here it goes…

Shout Out #1: Justin Trapp
Justin is a friend we met after we moved into our offices back in January – he moved into our little complex a few weeks after us.  Not only is he a phenomenal photographer, but is a great graphic designer, website programmer and videographer.  A recent photo shoot he did is being used as an advertisement for an MMA fight coming up soon (his stuff is also on billboards around Houston). Here’s that poster:

Then, he pulls of photography like the picture below while doing a bridal shoot.  I mean, who is this guy?!  If you’re interested in seeing more of his fighter portraits or bridal photography, you should click and visit those sites.

Shout Out #2: Trish Badger
We have worked with Trish plenty of times as a photographer (our company website should be going live tomorrow and you can see her work there as well).  No big deal, I mean, she’s only worked with a few of no-name people like John Mayer and Sara Bareilles below…(there were plenty others in her portfolio, but I chose these ones quickly):  

But, she has recently come up with an incredible idea to inspire the masses.  She’s starting a whole blog/website/collaboration to showcase people achieving their dreams and what it takes to get there.  At some point, she’ll be expanding further her initial project to include seminars and gatherings to assist people in pursuing their dreams (whether this is to be an artist, teacher, athlete, etc).  This past weekend, she interviewed Matt Mullenweg (the founding developer for WordPress…this blog is a WordPress website, as well as multiple others) about his journey to be the founder of a extremely successful company at the age of 26 (and he’s from Houston!)  She’ll be showcasing that interview with photos and a review on her website when it is up and running (he is the first person on her project for this).  I think it’s incredible that she is wanting to help other people achieve something they are striving for and to inspire others in their journeys to keep going.  Keep your eye out for this project, you won’t be disappointed.

Shout Out #3: Emily Maddock
I am a little biased with this one…because she’s my roommate and best friend.  But, I think what she does is awesome and that you should know about it.  First of all, she’s a teacher in the suburbs, so she is regularly putting up with and pouring into teenagers who are entitled (yet wonderful she would say), smart (but they’re still 13 and would drive most people crazy).  She loves her job and is great at it (she’s a Spanish teacher).  BUT, in her spare time, she runs her own small non-profit making what she calls “Ransom Notes”.  She creates artistic pieces comprised of photography mixed with ransom-note-like sayings to sell and raise money to support organizations like IJM and Home of Hope (organizations that are actively fighting to end human trafficking locally and abroad).  Here’s an example of one:She made 9 of these the other day – she receives no profit, yet she spends her time doing these kinds of things.

I love that inspiration can come from strangers and those nearest us. I am fortunate to be surrounded by so many inspiring people – ones that have grand ideas that will change the masses, or simple ideas that will impact one person at a time in profound ways.  I like that.

August 6th, 2010

thursday things (on a friday morning) :: direct-to-fan platform, nimbit

We live in America (said like W.) – and we like things our way (like Burger King).  Efficiency and convenience are of utmost importance – so much so, that I think the next step as a society is that scene in Wall-E where people are just riding around on floating Hover-Rounds with built in toilets and hologram TVs (like the picture below).

But, I digress…I don’t think convenience and efficiency are bad things – they make businesses function better and provide platforms for even better inventions and tools.  In the music world, one of those developments is the direct-to-fan platform.  I am a big fan of musicians being able to host and house their information in the best way possible.  Direct-to-fan platforms offer ways for artists to sell products and connect with fans directly.  Nimbit has been a great tool for us.  The artist can upload all their music, have it sold digitally in various markets as well as their own personal store on their website, Facebook and MySpace.  Nimbit also houses and manages merchandise and ticket sales, so an artist’s fanbase can purchase everything directly from them – and they don’t have to worry about dealing with sales tax, shipping or merchant services.  Nimbit handles all of that, providing reports so sales, inventory, and trends are known.  What I’ve liked most about Nimbit’s services (that differs from ReverbNation) is that the artist can actually provide their own CDs and merchandise to Nimbit to sell.  With ReverbNation, CDs & merchandise have to be manufactured through them to sell which locks the artist into their rates for everything without shopping around.  Nimbit also provides a plethora (I always like to throw that word in whenever I can…) of other services like email marketing, event management, download cards, and most importantly…a person to actually talk to.  They assign a sales rep at the beginning who calls, walks through what they offer and assists in putting all of this together.  I love being able to talk to a person when I have questions, not one of those automated people that make me want to blow up the world after pressing 35285291333333 in order to reach a human.

All this to say, there are heaps of companies out there offering great direct-to-fan services – Nimbit is the place we’ve landed and are very happy with what they’ve provided.  We are almost as happy with Nimbit’s services as this guy is with the Double Rainbow he saw at Yosemite: