Why Can’t They Just Pay For it Themselves?

If this is your first reaction when you see those Kickstarter and other crowdfunding campaigns come through your Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds, I’m sure you’re not alone. Especially when it comes to musicians—seems like every couple years they come to you with their hand out looking for money to make another new record.

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But is it really a handout they’re after? Take a closer look—what are they offering in exchange for your donation to their campaign? The minimum pledge of $10 on PledgeMusic, gets the pledger a digital download of the album. PledgeMusic is solely for musicians so a digital download of the album is actually included with EVERY reward. While each artist has the discretion to offer other items at any price, many offer their potential new CD for the same price it will sell for on their website once it’s released. Sure, there are always those fun, one-of-a-kind rewards and experiences available at a higher price, but a smart artist won’t set a goal amount they can’t reasonably expect to raise based on their past digital downloads and CDs sold, combined with the growth of their fan base and how engaged those fans are.

We all know the music industry has changed drastically in the last decade or so. One no longer needs a record label to make and release an album, but if you don’t have that traditional music-industry backing, an artist is fighting an uphill battle to make a name for themselves and be heard. Independent artists generally don’t have the extra funds to cover the cost of professionally recording new material, but it’s kind of a catch-22 because a current CD is vital for touring artists. If you see someone in concert but can’t purchase the music they’re performing, chances are you’ll forget about them—especially if they’re independent. No amount of clever Facebook updates and tweets are going to replace being able to listen to current recordings that are competitive with anything else you have in your playlist.

Have you ever heard a new artist and found yourself saying, “I really like them, why aren’t they on the radio?” The odds of being “discovered” or having a song or music video go viral are similar to winning the lottery. Most independent artists’ success is based on a combination of how hard they’re willing to work—and the level of support they are able to garner from their fans—the people who really believe in them.

So, if you like an artist, go to their concerts, buy their CDs, spread the word about them—and by all means—donate to their crowdfunding campaigns. If you’re thinking you’ll wait to buy it when you see them in concert, or get it on iTunes after it’s released, there’s a good chance you AND they, will be left empty-handed.

Full disclosure: I am the manager of Nashville-based sister duo, Chasing Lovely, who has a campaign on PledgeMusic to fund their second EP that ends on Thursday, November 20, 2015 at 11:58pm. Chasing Lovely has sold over a thousand copies of their debut EP, released in Nov. 2012. They have 2,070 followers on Facebook, 543 on Instagram, and 385 on Twitter. Click on their PledgeMusic widget below for more information on their campaign. http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/chasinglovely

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PledgeMusic.com/projects/chasinglovely

Show the Ladies Some Love

When it comes to March Madness, most people are talking about the men—I admit, I’m guilty. In fact, until this year—actually this exact weekend—I didn’t even realize that both the men and women of the NCAA have their Final Four on the same weekend.

To paraphrase a line from the late Rodney Dangerfield, can’t the women get any respect?

When Warren Buffett offered a billion dollar pay-off for anyone who could come up with the perfect bracket, that road to the Final Four only included the men’s teams, not the women’s.

When I saw Cassadee Pope and Danielle Bradbery, were scheduled to play for the women’s tournament here in Nashville, I made a comment to my daughters about whoever booked the entertainment didn’t know their target audience very well. When they asked who I might suggest, Chloe and Taylor laughed out loud when I mentioned Carrie Underwood or Jason Aldean. Seeing who was booked, they didn’t think the women’s tournament had a chance of getting someone at the level of those two country chart toppers and clearly the organizers didn’t either.

Then a post came through my Facebook newsfeed on Friday about the Eli Young Band and Jason Aldean doing a concert for the Final Four! Since I live in Nashville, and the friend who posted lives in Nashville—I naturally assumed they were playing for the women’s Final Four, since that tournament is IN Nashville. Naturally I gloated to my daughters that my earlier suggestion hadn’t been so ridiculous.

But, I couldn’t have been more WRONG!

Last night when I saw folks posting about Kentucky and UConn making it to the championship game, I knew the women hadn’t played yet, and Kentucky was not one of the teams in Nashville. Thus my first realization that both the men and women have their Final Four on the same weekend. With that came the realization that maybe the Eli Young Band and Jason Aldean also hadn’t played for the women here in Nashville.

It gets worse. Not only did I find that those two played in Dallas, TX for the men’s tournament, I also found out their weekend festivities included a THREE DAY MUSIC FESTIVAL! Who is playing in Dallas you ask? In addition to the other two top names they also had Bruce Sprinsteen, fun., Tim McGraw and LL Cool J.

Nashville is frickin’ MUSIC CITY and the best they can do is a couple of winners from The Voice? I’m all for supporting female artists. If women (and girls) supported female artists the way they do male artists, women would rule the world—but that’s a whole different blog post I need to write. Why wasn’t Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Kasey Musgraves, Sheryl Crow, and Kelly Clarkson booked for the women’s tournament? Heck, I bet some of the ladies even have Luke Bryan on their playlist. Cassadee Pope and Danielle Bradbery could still be on the bill as support, just like the men had Jack Ingram and Pat Green.

Sad to say, this is just one more arena where women are not treated with the same respect as men.

As I admitted earlier, I myself am at fault for not having realized the big dance for both the men and women takes place on the same weekend. However, not only is the women’s Final Four in Nashville this weekend, my daughters’ best friend from Cedar Rapids, IA is playing for UConn. Yep, UConn made it to both the men’s and women’s Final Four! We’ll be cheering on the Lady Huskies’, Kiah Stokes tonight. I’ve got memories (and videos) of Chloe, Taylor and Kiah having sleepovers during which they belted out Earth, Wind & Fire tunes after discovering the timeless band through Ricky Smith on season two of American Idol—now where are those videos?

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Crying Foul–Time For Fans to Play a Little Defense

As a sports fan, it makes me sick if the allegations in Inside ‘The Decision': Miami’s coup was a ‘surprise’ built on long-coveted goal of James, Wade and Bosh are accurate. “The premise that the trio had been talking about teaming up for months hinted there was a plan in place. That potentially would be against rules, and could raise concerns from the league since Bosh and James were playing for teams battling for the playoffs in Toronto and Cleveland”.

Is this the reason despite having the best record in the league, LeBron James was unable to lead the Cavaliers to the finals? It would be pretty hard for the league MVP to justify leaving had his team gone to the final round two years in a row. Nick Arinson, son of billionaire Heat owner has had access to the three since the World Championships in Japan back in 2004, and is now a “rising executive with the Heat”. Was Heat GM, Pat Riley, really taking a risk the last few years in not signing key players in order to save up the team coffers for a deal such as this, or did Arinson and Wade provide him an inside track to the plan years ago? So much for parity in the NBA (the reason for the draft lottery); David Stern better look into the allegations.

Who knew parties and high paying jobs for athletes friends are part of the bargaining with these mult-million dollar contracts? “It was also made known to James that the Heat would take care of his friends the same way the Cavs did — special treatment at the arena, changing practice and travel schedules to allow for money-making late-night parties in various cities, and perhaps even hiring a James associate in a high-paying position in the organization”. I doubt it’s just the NBA.

No matter what, I say the buck stops with the fans. How, you ask? Fans buy the tickets or watch the games on television and fans buy the sponsors products. Without the promise of fans, there is no such thing as a lucrative professional sports world. One only need look back as recently as the early eighties. The book When the Game Was Ours, points out an NBA rep couldn’t get past the front door of McDonalds and Sprite to make a sponsor pitch before Larry Bird and Magic Johnson came into the league. If there is no fan interest, there is NO MONEY! It’s no coincidence a struggling little company, one of the first to jump on the NBA sponsor band wagon, is now billion dollar sports drink, Gatorade.
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John Wooden: They Called Him Coach

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” Coach John Wooden

Friday night marked the passing of a great man.  Coach Wooden was described as “about as perfect a sports personality as there ever was”, by sportscastor Dick Enberg. But sports fans aside, this man’s lessons reached far beyond the basketball court.

Hall of famer Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and one of Wooden’s many student athletes remembers, “He set quite an example. He was more like a parent than a coach. He really was a very selfless and giving human being, but he was a disciplinarian. We learned all about those aspects of life that most kids want to skip over. He wouldn’t let us do that.” Continue reading

Vikings Should Go Green

Greenbay fans would probably say their NFL rival has already changed color with the acquisition of former Packer quarterback, Brett Favre. But the green I’m thinking of is much more “sustainable” than the color of a jersey, and it would mean sacrificing some of that “purple pride”.

Before I go any further, let me qualify this is not coming from some girl who hates sports. I followed Cedar Falls High school’s basketball team to state my senior year by paying my own bus fare. I made a poster (as only a radical fan would) for Morningside College’s basketball team when they went to the Final IV (Div II) and made the trip to Springfield, MO. I won a national contest to see Kareem Abdul-Jabbar play his final game in the NBA by answering eighty “trivia” questions about him. And when I moved back to the midwest from Atlanta, Minneapolis was considered worthy in part, because they had three professional sport franchises (it was before the Wild).

I was caught up in the Twins pennant race at the end of the summer. I think it’s ironic (and cool) a former Laker is now coaching the Timberwolves. And like the rest of the city, I’m thrilled the Vikings national attention this year is for their plays on the field (not off).
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Dear Mr. President

Since when is it a bad thing to have the President address the children of this country? How do you turn asking school children to write a letter telling the President how they can help him, into partisan politics?

You’d think this was Cuba or Russia and not the United States of America.

President Obama

I suggest parents have a little more confidence in the way they’re raising their children. Provide them with a strong consistent foundation (walk the talk), allow them a little room so they aren’t afraid to ask questions (if they don’t ask you, they’ll ask someone else), and the older they get, don’t be surprised if their viewpoints don’t always line up with yours (no matter how much YOU have indoctrinated them).

It’s not as if the Department of Education mandated the kids tell Obama why they support his views on health care reform. I imagine letters from elementary students would actually read something like this:
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