Monthly Archives: February 2010


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No Wonder America is Outsourcing its Jobs to Death

Honestly, after my first time doing business in another country, I really didn’t want to come back and do business here anymore. I went to Colombia for 3 weeks, specifically Medellin, which I’m sure you know by now if you read my blog often.

But during my trip we accomplished many things. We got T-shirts printed, a new Banner printed, Logo Stamps made, promotional fortune cookies with our business cards and custom messages, we interviewed 18 amazingly talented graphic designers, and hosted a party for independent artists at a brewery with 5 free beers for everyone, with about 155 people who showed up, we had a DJ with original music, a photographer, 3 models, and even a local TV show showed up.

Now before I even tell you how much this stuff cost, I want to first talk about the more important aspect – Costumer Service.

The reason I say more important is because I didn’t know what customer service was until I went to Colombia. Once I realized what it was, I realized it was more valuable than anything else, and even if the prices were the same as here, I would have been completely happy.

These people bent over backwards for me. They did overnight designs, on the spot changes, kept in constant contact, and then even delivered the product right to me afterwards…all of them! I’ll give you a great example with the banner. We saw a little print shop on a block near where we were staying, and we decided to stop in to see what they had. They actually did a lot of banner work, and other things like big cut-outs and stuff like that. They were a print shop and a design shop in one.

Their prices were ridiculously low, about $15 for a design, but what was more surprising was that once we said we wanted to make an appointment to meet with a designer, they took us back to a room, and we met with one right then. We gave him a couple files with our logos and stuff, described to him what we wanted, and he went to work, while we were still there. The next day he came back with a finished design version. We made a couple of changes, sent it back, then the next day we saw the changes and it was perfect, and it got printed that day.

It took 3 days to design and print this banner, where it would have taken at least 2 weeks here, by the time it got from the designers to the printers, and here if the design needs last minute changes, and the printers have to mess with it at all, don’t even get me started with what they charge sometimes. This designer delivered the banner to us personally, around 6:00pm after work, and after waiting extra time after for it to dry. If a 3 day turn around, close attention to need, and a personal delivery isn’t customer service, I really don’t even want to know what is.

Okay, the banner cost under $100, where here it would have been about $500-$600 for a banner of the size here. For the whole brewery, staffed, from 6-9:30pm on a friday night, with 5 free beers per person, we paid $5.00 per head, and paid nothing up front. We also paid like $150 bucks total for 3 gorgeous models to come, wear our shirts, and give out our information to the crowd. (Slideshow here) I won’t even go into how great the shirt guys were.

The reasons to outsource just kept adding up. We didn’t even pay these people up front. They honestly will start working before you even talk about method of payment or anything, because they figure if they do the work, and diligently, as they do, you will definitely pay them before you pay someone else. Also it doesn’t hurt that they know American’s have more money than other people in their area, which is just another perk of outsourcing.

Colombia has really taught me something about work ethic. Medellin is supposed to be a pretty laid back city, but from what I saw, people will bust their ass for you. It makes me almost sick to think about how “busy” everyone is here, and how important everyone thinks their time is, to the point where if you even approach them about work, you get thrown on the bottom of a pile that could take the person 2 weeks until they even get to you.

Here, our view of work I think is much more laid back than in other countries, despite our view that our work is more important, or on a higher level. The truth is the lack of customer service and attention to detail actually makes our work of a lower quality than in other countries, while their prices are lower! Why stay here?

Most people are almost always in a residual of work that we’ve had on our plates from 2 weeks ago, and are just starting or finishing now. People in Colombia accept new work and get started right away, literally. Not because they don’t have other work, but because they work so hard on the work that they do have, that by the time new work comes in, they’re almost done with the other stuff and they have the time to dedicate fully to you. Here we are so concerned with how busy our schedule is, and how we’re going to do the work, that we waste more time scheduling, instead of just working.

I’ve ruined it for myself. Now it’s messed up to me when I come to someone with a project and I say I need it by the end of the week, and they say “no one could realistically get that done in that time, it’s going to take probably 1 1/2 – 2 weeks.” Before, I would say “well okay, I understand.” Now that sounds insane. I just saw someone do it in 3 days! and for cheaper! and they delivered!!! Just because nobody else in the market is working harder than you, doesn’t mean it can’t be done. But that is how things operate here in our market, and when compared to other places, who are supposedly less advanced, our work is truly inferior, and worse yet, we’ve gotten used to it.

It’s no wonder everybody outsources. If you work at a company where they’re starting to outsource to another country, I would suggest taking a trip there if you can, or at least check out some Youtube videos, or make some phone calls to see how they operate there. Chances are they’re much more efficient and easier to deal with, as long as you speak their language. If you can even start to replicate what they do in the least, you would completely distinguish yourself amongst everyone else working around you.

We really need to learn something from these countries. It’s not JUST that they’re cheaper; they actually work extremely hard for their money, and the price is just a plus. They’re value-given to money ratio is WAY higher than ours. We’re all about giving a little for a lot, while they do the opposite. For them, they’re still getting paid usually more than a local job, and they’re just as happy as you are in the end.

Why would people here not outsource? Unless we start giving people a reason not to, by upping our customer service and work ethic, we will just keep losing jobs. We need to check ourselves for a second, and realize we are not as superior as we think, and I think our prices need to start reflecting the value that we do give. If the price don’t go down, pump up the customer service!

Written by: Dante Cullari Founder & President Beat-Play, LLC

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LaSonora Album Review

Band: LaSonora


Musiquita para viajar de noche vol. 1

Band Members and Positions:

Chucho (voice / guitar), Mata (guitar / vocals), Juanca (bass / vocals) and Alexis (drums / vocals)



Record Label:

Difficulty of Music:
The music on this album is extremely well put together. It’s laid back, cruising in your car music, and they do it right. Their music embodies their roots in Medellin, Colombia, and the guitarist’s licks are extremely tasty.

Comparisons to Other Artists:

Influenced by Los Rodriguez, Bajotierra, Foo Figthers, Gin Blossoms, U2, Beatles, and some of The Killers

Lyrical Significance:

LaSonora’s music has deep emotional significance and very meaningful lyrics, usually about love, or hard times, but with an uplifting tone in most songs.

Overall Rating (out of 10) : 8.5

Band Website:

LaSonora’s CD is completely in Spanish, but even if you don’t understand, their music is great to chill out to..and it might make you wanna learn.
Reviewed by: Dante Cullari Founder & President Beat-Play, LLC

Why Video Blogs will Rule

In the age of bloggers, basically independent journalism, and the fast-paced world of the internet, it is only a matter of time before vloggers become America’s top choice for news, a trend I think will catch on in the rest of the world as well. This is because of the vast range of sources and opinions that are available on blogs. Collectively, they usually paint a pretty accurate picture of problems, solutions, and opinions, which is what news can only really be judged on – Thier ability to paint the most accurate picture of current circumstances.

Already every time I flip on CNN or MSNBC, I see something about Twitter, or Facebook, or about the news channel’s blog. Plus the big channel’s news coverage is already mostly based on what’s being talked about online, which is usually the first place for a story to break. If it’s been on Twitter for a week steady, CNN will be all over it.

As blogging progresses, I think that it will be much more common for people to switch from written blogs, to video blogs..especially as professional blogger numbers continue to rise. The reason is more information, faster, and without being limited to having all of your attention on one screen.

It’s like the difference between books, and books on tape. You can’t read a book while you drive, but you can hear one. It just makes sense. If everyone video blogged, everyday, I could take the articles I want, and essentially add them to a playlist. The they could even sit in the corner of my screen as a minimized version, just playing, while I write emails, make a spread sheet, play games, ect. Add this functionality to a Discovery Engine like Alltop, or Redditall, and I would never have to jump from blog page to blog page again, wasting time hitting back and waiting for each page to load.

A huge part of internet usage right now is to gain more information about a specific topic, many times related to business or promotion of some kind. If I could gain all of this information in video form, not only could I fit in and absorb more information, and faster, but I could still be productive at my business while I’m learning. It’s the ultimate multi-task internet hack.

Now if only the playlist functionality existed…maybe if it did more people would video blog. What comes first, the chicken or the egg? This functionality would implement PERFECTLY into a browser. If no one else does it, I will, but the reason I’m letting it out is because I’m so busy with Beat-Play, that I wouldn’t mind if someone else stole it, because then I could benefit from it without putting the tremendous amount of work in to launch IT as well as Beat-Play. But whoever does, could end up being pretty well off..hint, hint.

Pretty soon you will start to see more video blog posts from me and my team. If all goes well, we would eventually like to transition totally to video blogs, in order to better serve our readers. I know that this is the future..because it’s just better..and better makes sense..someone’s going to figure it out. For now, don’t stop blogging, but maybe consider getting a makeover.

Written by: Dante Cullari Founder & President Beat-Play, LLC

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Interview with Salem on the Risan Project – The International Multi-Media ECO Tour

We had a great opportunity to talk with Todd Anders, the lead singer and drummer from the band Salem, based out of Boulder CO. Salem is currently on the Risan Project Tour.

Todd, can you give us a little background about the tour and what the main message of the tour is?

The Risan Project utilizes multi-media events to raise awareness of climate change and the praxis of alternative lifestyles. The message of the tour is derived from the belief that environmental policy must reflect the acknowledgement of a global climate crisis. Affecting policy decisions begins with knowledge and awareness of the current state of the environment and alternatives to current systems of energy production and usage.

Who are some of the people behind the Risan Project?

The 2009-2010 tour features Boulder’s conscious funk, jazz hip-hop band, Salem; film premiers with Sweetgrass Productions’ latest film, “Signatures”; the film-short “Generations” produced by Protect Our Winters/Northface/Teton Gravity Research, the Kyrgzystan Plan and appearances with presenters from Al Gore’s Climate Project and Olympic athletes from the Climate Project “Play It Cool” Campaign. The Risan Project is also working towards powering select events with solar and wind-powered sound systems with Atlanta’s Tree Power & Sound and San Diego’s Sustainable Waves.

What were some of the reasons you wanted Salem to become part of this tour?

I think that combining live music with films and presentations can bring a message to a wide audience while still being entertaining. Salem lyrics address themes of social justice and I have been involved in various awareness tours such as Bono’s One Campaign in Philadelphia. I have found that we can bring these themes to other social forums.

If someone was interested in coming to a Risan Project Tour show, what can they expect to see?

They would typically see films, a speaker or presentation and live music.

You and the band have been on tour for a couple months now, can you give us some of the places you have been recently and how the fans have responded to you and the Risan Project Tour message?

We toured to Park City, Utah and thoughout Colorado; through Wyoming and Montana and a 2 week British Columbia and Alberta tour along the Powder Highway. We just returned from a tour to Washington state with shows at clubs, breweries, wineries and a stop in Sun Valley on the way back to Boulder.

The reception has been great; “Signatures” is an acclaimed ski film and the response has been positive. The “Generations” film short is also a good merging of climate knowledge and perspectives of regular folks and pro skiers that carries the message well. The Canadian tour included speakers from the Canadian Climate Project as well as Gold Olympian, Adam Kreek.

What are some of the alternative ways of transportation people can use that can help slow down the effects of the ice cap and glacier melting?

I have met Tai Robinson in Park City who spoke at our event there. He runs Intergalactic Hydrogen which outfits cars and trucks with alternative energy systems like electric power and natural gas engines. We are working towards outfitting a sprinter with four wheel drive and electric and bio diesel systems with him. Utah has the nation’s leading natural gas fill up stations. Tai utilizes several alternatives combined as a substitute for normal gas and diesel engines.

If someone wanted to learn more and wanted to get involved in the Risan Project, where can they go for information?

Our site is and a short video that I produced which features my music, Alaskan glacier footage and interviews  with climatologists and mountaineers is on youtube at:

Salem is very conscious about the environment and the effects we as people have on our planet. What are some of the other environmental issues you tackle and how does that play a part in the creation of your music?

We are touring with music, films and presentations that address environmental issues. We are working with companies that incorporate  solar and alternative energy into their productions. We are working towards having our own mobile Salem bio diesel/electric/solar tour vehicle and will perform off the grid shows. Salem lyrics follow the historic tradition of relating music to social issues and I believe that it is a means to making change in our lives and the nation that we live in.

I want to thank Todd Anders very much for this extremely insightful look into their latest awesome project, and we will definitely check back with him in the future to catch the progress of this very progressive tour.

Interviewed by: Jimmy Iles, Director of Operations Beat-Play, LLC

The Process of Innovation – Think Social!

This is an awesome topic that I love to share with people whenever I can.

Innovation is something that can be thought of in several different ways, however there are good ways, and then there are better ones.

Innovation can be basically anything that solves a problem that has not been previously solved, or it can be something that solves a problem that was previously solved, while solving other problems at the same time(these are the better ones).

There are really two perspectives into innovating. One is purely the scientific aspect of it. The physics, the research, the testing, the technology. Then there is the practical, social side of innovating, which does not always agree with the scientific side.

The process of innovation should contain both views, almost at the same time. It is not enough to innovate and solve one problem technically, while socially creating another problem.

A quick example of this may very well be gas powered vehicles. They’ve solved a huge problem in enabling faster travel, but they’ve also caused a sort of social dilemma, because people are almost forced to use them in some fashion, and they are now proven to have negative impacts on air quality and perhaps weather.

Innovation should be approached from the view of the true designer:  the architect, who builds not only for aesthetics, but for purpose, and function. The architect builds for the social function, while utilizing the best scientific practices and innovations available. But the purpose is always foremost, for the people.

People are weird. They do not really seem to fit any set pattern as a whole. There is an infinite variation, and this must be accounted for in design.

Innovations when designed for people, tend to solve the most problems, and leave the least behind. The best innovations, the truly beautiful ones, seem to leave no problems behind, and just fit, like a puzzle piece finally being snapped into place.

When designing Beat-Play’s music search solution, I ended up solving several social problems: How do I find new music? How do I find good music? How do I not waste time searching for music?

The way I solved these problems was to think about it from the approach of the social first. The first step is always to survey what already exists. I studied the different methods of how music was found and shared now.

I found some methods that were better than others, and I looked at the best ones, and searched out the problems there. It turned out that I found some.

The best solutions available at this point for finding music are Pandora or, where the music is suggested and played for you, allowing you time to focus on other things. This is a great innovation, but I saw flaws.

It went right back to thinking socially. Pandora finds songs based on other songs, using basically scientific data and variables to link songs together into an automated playlist.

This I knew, was the wrong way to think about it. People are not defined by any given variable. They are defined by many variables that vary all the time. Music is no different. It is a mere extension of people. There needed to be a social way for people to find music.

So my idea came to me almost rather simply. It was to use social networks, and people to create a user’s playlist, instead of a computer.

On Beat-Play you can follow friends or favorite bands, who you share a taste in music with, and who are infinitely as variable as you are; and the music those people like enough to save, will automatically get played in your radio.

This enables you to find the best new music literally as simply as a mouse click, without searching through mounds of bad music, wasting hours before finding a good song. And it keeps you updated.

Also this method does not limit a person’s playlist to one genre of music, or a certain group of artists, like Pandora does, unless the user wants these limits on.

This solution is so beautiful because it solves several other problems at the same time. When you hear music on your radio coming from your friend’s playlists, if you like it, you save it into one of your playlists, and it then gets sent to anybody following you.

For the best artists, this is an amazing way for fans to spread the music for them. It’s actually a form of free promotion and distribution in addition to being a much better way for fans to find the music. It can even be a great way for artists to gain advertising revenue by tracking plays, which could then result in the best music being free.

The more the people love and share the music for free, the more the artists will get paid, making everyone happy, and rendering piracy irrelevant!

That is what I mean by snapping in a puzzle piece. This solution fits on all sides, perfectly with it’s surroundings. This solution came by simply analyzing the environment that the innovation must exist in, which is always an incredibly social one.

If we inject this social perspective into our innovations, we can adapt what we know about the scientific, physical stuff, to coincide with the social factors, to form the ultimate solutions.

Design thinking is an extremely powerful thing, especially when approached in the right way. The formula is simple: Search out the problems, and then fix them, integrating what you know both about the social and scientific or technological environments currently present.

If you do that, you will do great things. Innovation is everyone’s responsibility. There are too many problems for us not to all try and solve them. Good luck. Think social!

Written by: Dante Cullari Founder & President Beat-Play, LLC

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Beat-Play Pro Independent Artist Event – 3 Cordilleras Brewery – Medellin, Colombia

I want to thank all of the independent artists who came out this night to hear solutions for growing the independent artist community’s real goals of stabilizing and strengthening our roles within this industry, and helping to spread our message. We had an amazing response from artists who are excited about what Beat-Play is capable of offering them in terms more effective free promotion and revenue generation. I will post videos of the presentations in a few weeks. For now, check out the Slideshow. For more info about Beat-Play, check out our about page on this blog. Also a big thanks to 3 Cordilleras Brewery for letting us host our event there.

150 Independent Artists from Medellin, Colombia Come Together to Hear about ways to organize, and come up with the solutions to all their problems. Keynote speaker Dante Cullari reveals his website Beat-Play, and how it can contribute to indie artists taking control over their professional careers.

Music Credits:

Rebelution – Outta Control

My Morning Jacket – One Big Holiday

Doxology – Revolution

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RE: Fair Trade Music – The Responsibility of Indie Artists to Act

This is a response to a great comment I got on one of my recent posts: The Independent Fight Below the Belt – How South American Independents are Organizing. I thought this comment brought up an extremely important issue for independent artists that everyone needs to be made aware of.

Reader Comment:

 South America is not alone in this idea. Here in Portland, OR we have organized a few hundred musicians around this idea through Fair Trade Music. Our goal is slightly different, we are trying to shift the local market of concert venues to actually pay the musicians they hire to promote their business and entertain their customers. At the moment most places that regularly have live music are forcing their employee costs and what little promotion they do on the artists. Keeping the lion’s share of money from ticket sales and considering the artists lucky they get what’s left. The problem Brian mentioned is a HUGE one and as you said it makes the artists not think of themselves as professionals and behave in a professional manner. Imagine if a bar or restaurant made it a condition of their contract with a beer distributor that the distributor pay their bartenders wage. How nice do you think that conversation would be? Have a look at, I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter.


Hi Graham, thank you so much for bringing this to my attention. I’m sure this is going on all around the country, and it’s main contributor is the problem Brian mentioned, where people’s outlook on the musician as a profession is just dismissive, and insulting. The only way to fight it is it to do exactly what you’re doing and organize.

It’s extremely important that you get the artists to hear about you and the issues, and help you act.

My plan if I were you, would be to create the standard business model proposal for your area that you would wish to see, and get all of the independent artists there to talk about it and agree to it. Then I would have them put pressure on the establishments to agree to abide by the terms, or the musicians will simply not play there. It has to be an organized and united movement.

At first, not playing at an establishment for not agreeing to the model may mean no shows at all, but if the promoter keeps trying to book shows and ALL of the artists turn them down unless they agree to the new terms, they will be forced to agree. The result in the end will mean more money for all artists. It will not work however if some artists do not want to sacrifice a few shows for a better result in the end.

If the promoter can find artists who will play for cheap, and not care about their rights to be taken seriously, the whole thing can fall apart. Every link in the chain matters.

This is an amazing cause you’re fighting for, and I will help you in every way possible. I think this needs to spread much further than just Portland, but even if one city can demonstrate success, it will give indie artists from other regions more of a reason to do the same, and it will give them a draft from which to build their own model for their city.

If I were you, I would start creating the model you would like to see, that would make everyone happy. It won’t be easy, but someone has to do it, and the standards need to be changed. It’s exactly what I’m doing with Beat-Play. I’ve actually taken a break from being a full time lyricist/performer/producer and focused on changing the standard business model in the industry, with the help of the internet, because without these standards being changed, my work is rendered less valuable, to me, and eventually to everyone else.

The system just doesn’t work. We need people that can sacrifice their true calling for a little, while they work to preserve the integrity of their dreams and their field, and secure the future prosperity of their industry, or there may not be any industry left to work in.

We need people like you who are organizing, and doing the work that needs to be done, so that others don’t have to. However, everyone does play a role, and independent artists do have a job in order for the hard work to be appreciated and felt. They need to come together, and agree to support things like a local fair trade music act, that can have tremendous results for themselves and all their peers if they do, and this is a duty which independents share that I cannot stress enough.

It’s our job to search these things out, and make these things known and we need to remember that in these especially hard times. Let me know if you need help drafting the language to make fair trade a strong ordinance in your area that all of the independent artists can agree on. It’s starts with organization, and we need to stick together. Thanks again Graham, for bringing this to my attention. I will do the same for others. And don’t hesitate to email me if you need help.

Written by: Dante Cullari Founder & President Beat-Play, LLC

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The Independent Fight Below the Belt – How South American Independents are Organizing

Being in Colombia for 3 weeks has given me an amazing picture of what it’s like on the other side of the equator, especially for independent artists and aspiring people all together.

There are a couple more limitations there than in the U.S., but for the most part, we all have the same problems. Even the solutions we have in the U.S. don’t solve our problems, so though South American countries may be farther behind, the same problems are left without solutions.

For example, in Colombia they don’t have iTunes. In fact, they don’t have any major website for them to sell their music to their fans in Colombia, and even if they did, most people don’t have credit cards, so it’s hard for them to pay.

In America, we have iTunes, and a 1000 other websites that allow you to sell your music, in exchange for one high percentage or another, and the people here do have credit cards, but they still don’t buy their music. The problems are the same, but they are not so apparent at first glance.

Even if Colombia had iTunes they would still have problems. They need a website that allows them to make money from their music not directly from their fans, but through advertisements or sponsors. That way people not having credit cards would not matter.

The big problem though, here and there, is promotion. iTunes, nor any of the other websites I’ve seen (and I’ve just about seen 85% of them, including a lot of start-ups that are in, or almost in beta) provide a practical and efficient form of promotion for independent artists that is both free and incredibly effective.

That’s what we all need! We in the U.S., though we like to think the opposite, are still very far from realizing any real solutions.

What Colombia does have, that the U.S. doesn’t to the extent, is the organization of the independent artist communities. There are thousands of creative and amazingly talented independent artists in Medellin, Colombia, where I was primarily, and their drive is incredible.

There is not really a want in the artists to get signed there, though they do have some small independent and some major label recognition. The artists there however, do a pretty good job at realizing other ways to get paid, and they also take the independent artist title pretty professionally.

There’s one group of indie artists in particular that I was introduced to, who meet weekly to develop strategies for how independent artists can stabilize themselves in their community and support themselves. They also have a publication that they developed to keep people in the loop. It is called Revista Musica, or translated, Music Magazine. They refer to themselves as an amalgamation, not just a group. It’s really that simple.

This is their Vision, as translated by Google:

Use Music Magazine as a means to enable the production of national and international concerts of national artists, from the understanding of our musical expression as a competitive resource and a chance for social development.

I filmed an interview with one of the key members of the organization, and I will post it sometime this month for sure. There is actually a LOT of great footage from my whole trip that I will definitely share on this blog.

One great strategy that this group brought up was for the whole team of independent artists to talk with their local government officials about merging the independent music of the city, with the tourism of the city. Their idea was to use the artists as another resource to draw people in. Anywhere there is a public tourist spot, there should be independent artist’s music playing…Museums, Mono-Rails, Parks ect..

This was one of the most brilliant ideas I’ve heard in a long time as a strategy to proliferate the music. It seems like the people there just think harder about the issues, maybe even because there aren’t as many other options available. I think the lack of a cloud of options around them is actually more beneficial to them getting the desired results.

I talked to another artist who was telling me about trying to get his band’s music to play before a movie starts, or in elevators, or certain public bathrooms. Their thinking is very multi-dimensional.

It’s awesome that they’ve discovered the practical perception that the music itself can be a tourist attraction. And it turns out that selling that idea to their local government, being as it does make a lot of sense, isn’t really all that hard. They are in talks with them now, and plans seem to be moving forward.

I will most certainly track the progress of this awesomely innovative independent artist movement going on in Medellin. I am sure that they are not the only ones around the world banning together like this. After all, the problems are the same everywhere, but I would hope that we in the U.S. try to look past the fog of bad options that can sometimes cloud our view, and I hope we embrace measures to ban together in order to accomplish our true, shared goals, and learn a lesson from our peers in other countries.

Written by: Dante Cullari Founder & President Beat-Play, LLC

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MWL Meets WXPN’s Program Director – How do you get on?

Check out this exclusive interview with Bruce Warren, the Program Director for XPN in Philadelphia, one of the nation’s most widely acclaimed radio stations for the proliferation of independent artists. They were responsible for being the first to give artists like MIA and Kings of Leon a welcoming response on the radio. They continue to offer an array of amazing music everyday. Check out what Bruce has to say about how he selects the music for XPN and the nationally syndicated radio show, World Cafe Live, and hear his advice for up and coming artists.

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