Tag Archives: MWL

Awesome Interview with Decay from The Porcelain Dolls

Old Lineup

We’re talking today with Decay from The Porcelain Dolls.

So where are you from originally, where are you now, how did you get there?

Well the band started out in Portland, OR in 2001. After almost a decade of performing on the west coast and having been born and raised out there it was time for a change of pace(also the police started to suspect us as the cause of many missing children and co-eds)

What Genre would you classify yourself as?

Since most would ask us to classify which can be extremely difficult for some I(decay) took a term from the band orgy and would label my band as “death pop”. It’s a mix of everything I grew up with as a kid from alternative,dream pop,death metal,industrial,shock rock,black metal, and glam rock.
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It’s Time for Indie Artists to Organize, Now More Than Ever! – Join the Music Without Labels Community! – There are Great Benefits to Be Had!!


Right now it is more important than ever for independent artists to organize together. Music Without Labels is an environment dedicated to the ideas and solutions that are going to carry indie artists to where they want to be: in complete control, and with as many options as possible to further their careers.

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The Beat-Play Experiment – Entry #1

I’d like to introduce to you the 1st entry of a new experiment we are proud to be starting.

You may have noticed this blog’s name has changed to The Beat-Play Experiment. This blog, in addition to everything it has represented already, will be dedicated to telling the story of Beat-Play, as it progresses. For more information on what Beat-Play is, go here.

The experiment is almost like a professional baby book for Beat-Play, keeping log routinely of internal problems, successes, plans, events, breakthroughs, overall progress, and looking to the readers for their input. We want to share this journey with our users.

It will also be used in an effort to stay completely transparent, and keep everyone who supports the Beat-Play/Independent movement on the same page as the people running the show. Feedback from posts will be a huge asset to us, and the community, moving forward.

I’ll start off by giving you an update of our status up to this point, and by introducing everyone involved.

First, my name is Dante Cullari and I am the Founder and President of Beat-Play, LLC. I am an independent artist; a lyricist, and a producer. After researching and realizing that there were no solid alternatives for indie artists to promote and distribute their music, without losing their rights to a label, I decided to create my own alternative where artists could maintain full control over their careers, including pricing, song selection, promotion methods, merchandise, ect, and they could do it all online from their home.

I am Beat-Play’s architect. I don’t do any coding myself, though I have a little experience doing it. I however, design the functionality and the interconnectedness of the site, and guide the user experience. I have a very clear vision of what’s best for independent artists, and I do my best to translate it to everyone around me. Every decision I make for Beat-Play has a good reason behind it, and when making decisions, I am always thinking about what’s best from the user’s perspective.

It’s been 3 years since I had this dream, and now, it’s just a few short months from launching. We have the designs done, and the back-end mostly done. Now we are just waiting while the two are being merged together into one functionally incredible tool for artists. If you want to learn more about what our beta version will include, you can check out the Beat-Play Beta Overview.

I’d like to now introduce everyone else responsible for making Beat-Play become a reality, and a sustainable platform for independent artists to share, promote and earn money from their music.


First and foremost, we have my Mom, Kathi Cullari. She is the CEO of Cullari Communications Group, a public relations company based out of Pa, and she is the VP of Beat-Play. She is an incredibly innovative and smart woman, and she has taught me almost everything I know about business. Everyone that works for her, with the exception of 1 person, is a female, and they all work from their homes. She has people in almost every state. Though she is located in Pa, she has created a network of people all throughout the country, allowing her business to reach much farther. She is my primary investor in Beat-Play, (and she also happens to have an AMAZING voice). She is where I get my love of music, and she really believes in this cause. I am so lucky to have her. Not too many people would have so much faith in their 21 year old son, but she’s smart, and I get it from her.

The Team:

Boris Mosesyan

Boris is our Creative Director. I’ve been good friends with Boris since High School, when he would show me the beats he was making and we would make songs together. He doesn’t make beats so much anymore, but he does a LOT of design work for us. He is responsible for our Myspace page, our Blog Header, our T-shirts, our Twitter page, our forums, a bunch of Beat-Play backgrounds, and a lot more. He does awesome work, with a lot of passion, and he’s a character. He never fails to make you laugh.

Dave Botero

Dave has had many titles. Among them are director of business development, account executive, media coordinator, national sales assistant, HMFIC (head motherfucker in charge) and he now he calls himself the Sous Chef of Beat-Play. I met Dave when he was at a different company and he came to me with some of the most ridiculous, and creative marketing ideas I had ever heard. We developed and maintained a relationship despite us not using his company anymore. Then about a year later Dave and I started working together again. This time Dave was the HMFIC of his own company, Livid. I was Livid’s biggest client and eventually I just had to snag Dave all to myself. He is an incredibly creative and connected individual and we’re lucky to have his expertise on this team.

Mark Valente

Mark is our Online Marketing Director. I actually went to high school with Mark as well. We’ve been friends for a very long time, and both share a hunger for knowledge that drives us to learn about anything and everything we feel can make a difference in our lives, and the world. He is the social butterfly of the group, reaching out on hundreds of social networks and blogs to spread the message of better alternatives for indie artists. He is our online ambassador, and if you found this blog through another website, it’s probably because of him. He’s also a pretty dirty drummer!

Jimmy Iles

Jimmy is our Director of Operations. He has a strong background in sales, having worked for a major food wholesaler for a number of years before Beat-Play. Now he is the one responsible for making sure the rest of us don’t fall off a cliff. I have actually known Jimmy for a long time. He is my mom’s best friend’s son. He is an amazingly diligent and organized person to work with, and he is also a great guy to hang out with. He’s based in Colorado, right outside of Denver, while the rest of the team is in Harrisburg, Pa for the time being. Jimmy is our connection to the real world at times, but even he’s a bit of a dreamer, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. He is a crucial asset to our team.

Dan Lineaweaver is the President of Skyward Thought, the development team working to make Beat-Play into a reality. Dan is also a drummer in a metal band. He really believes in this project and understands it better than most people I know. He is the best possible guy I could have ever hoped to build Beat-Play. The name of his company exemplifies his process. He was one of the first people on board with Beat-Play, and he has proven to be an amazing addition, throughout the whole journey. He’ll be adding more info about his company here in the future.

I make it a point to surround myself with geniuses. Everyone on the team operates at a higher level. We think big, and act. There is nothing we believe we can’t do. That is why for us, solving every single problem associated with the music industry today is simply another goal to be reached, and we are relentless. We feel like we will make major contributions to the welfare of independent music as a whole, and we will continue refining our methods as long as we are here.

We are getting EXTREMELY excited for the launch of Beat-Play into beta, which hopefully will be out of the lawyer’s hands and online by May. This is a big moment in time for independent artists. Stayed tuned for another entry shortly.

Entry 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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The Problem with Song Recommendation Engines, and How they could be Better

I thought I’d talk a little bit today about song recommendation engines, as far as where we are currently with the technology online, and how it can get any better.

First of all, we’ve all heard about Pandora’s Music Genome Project. They actually have a very dedicated staff that goes through each song for about 10-15 minutes and reports on a list of many different musical variables. The results get fed into the algorithm and BAM, there’s your playlist.

Last.fm does something very similar, but they use different variables, and many sites, like thesixtyone.com, use a “similar” function that introduces you to music with similar variables.

So how do you tell which one works the best? You’d almost have to go through and look at the variables they use to tie music together. It would be almost impossible to tell if the site could have played you a better song than the one it did. Streaming music seems to be the way to go, but right now I believe the biggest factor in people’s choices between these different websites may be the design appeal and ease of use. That, and the lack of anything better.

There are several problems I see with this picture. Number one is that it never seems like a good idea to use a tool that has no clear distinction between it’s competitors. There’s gotta be one that’s better, but in this case it’s too hard to tell, or would take too much effort. This most likely has a lot to do with the fact that these concepts are no new, and no one has really settled on one ultimate solution, yet people do have their favorites of the moment.

That brings me to the second problem with this picture, which is a fundamental one. The current song recommendation engines all use the song’s variables to tie the songs together, and then tie you to the songs by entering a song or artist you like. This a pretty cool, but your control over your music ends after you enter your favorite artist or song.

Music is such a social thing. It seems to me that our playlists shouldn’t be controlled by similarities between songs, but similarities between people.

There needs to be a system where I can follow people that I share a taste in music with(my friends, favorite band members, ect). Then anything in those people’s playlists will get sent to my radio player, at random, or at my control. This not only ensures that you’ll hear only the best music, but also it will automatically update you when new songs are out, and it doesn’t bind you to one genre, or one sound.

If you’re like me you could listen to 4 or 5 different genres, back to back. This system would also allow for filters on things like genres, moods, tags, ect, and could create a much more custom listening experience.

Also for new bands, this would almost take the place of promotion, because it is basically automated word of mouth and is the epitome of viral. With this model, who knows, you could be the one to discover a band for your whole generation.

I don’t know about you, but I think that sounds a lot better than trusting variables and algorithms. This model will actually be out soon. It will be included in my website, Beat-Play, coming out in beta this April, 2010. It will be undergoing many changes early on in the beta process, but we hope to get it all fleshed out by June.

When it comes to the internet and all of the crazy, complex, and really cool tools out there, it’s best to keep this thought in the back of your mind: “Is this the experience I want?” If the answer is “I don’t know”, then there’s usually a problem somewhere, and also a void waiting to be filled.

For more info about the Beat-Play beta check out the BeatPlay Beta Overview

And to sign up to beta test, visit: http://MusicWithoutLabels.com

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

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The Invention of the Toolbox, and How it can Save Music

What came first, the toolbox or the tool? This is not a trick question, it’s obviously the tool, and we have proof. However, with the emergence of more tools, and more applications for these tools, it became apparent that another tool, a tool’s tool, was needed: the Toolbox.

It is no different for the current state of the music industry and all of it’s awesome web tools. I see the future of music going in one distinct direction in order for it to flourish the way it naturally should. It may sound cliche, but the only way true, good music(like the old days) will live on, is if the surviving community of great music decides to unite as one. This may sound like an empty gesture, but with today’s standards, uniting is as easy as selecting and supporting ONE universal music social network online. It’s almost as simple as a mouse click these days to organize collectively toward a common goal.

Once a single platform is established, the possibilities for collaboration and integration of all of the awesome sites and tools that are out there are opened up increasingly, and can benefit the users way more than the current set up. Third party apps can be integrated with the social network to expand the capabilities of the site and its users.

Also, a huge part of this platform should include an effective ad model, that is unobtrusive and that sponsors the content. Artists can track ALL of their plays, vid views, profile views, merchandise page views, shares, ect, and if they give their music away for free, they could then gain ad revenues based on popularity. The downloads on this network would also be very safe, putting an end to crashing computers and lawsuits.

Bands could be able to perform live streaming concerts and sell tickets on this platform, as well as their merchandise, and they can have their updates sent directly to their fan’s profiles. Band members could even eventually practice with each other from across the world if this system is created, leaving even the opportunity for new bands to form, where it would have been impossible before.

Having one music platform would open up the doors to a more efficient way of artist promotion as well. There could be a system where users follow people they share a taste in music with, and then the user’s radio pulls songs from their friend’s playlists when they press play. There could be many ways for users to control this. What this really means is the best free promotion an artist could get (and currently can’t). For example, if my friend likes a song enough to playlist it, then it will get sent to me, and if I like it enough to playlist it, it gets sent to everyone who’s following me, creating an automated word of mouth system that makes the music itself completely viral, as long as it’s good.

There’s currently no term for this, but it can be described almost as a 2-way status update, where a user not only receives the content, but passes on the content that they like. This amazingly simple, but innovative system. will have incredible implications, not just for the promotion of music, but eventually for any product.

Basically, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t have ONE platform online for music, and a million and one reasons why we should. It doesn’t mean the end of all of the current music sites, it would just mean the integration of them all together, performing the role of a toolbox for all of the cool web tools out there. Imagine, before tool boxes, people only had access to a limited amount of tools at a given time; but with the toolbox, the options became almost limitless, given the tools. I see the future of this spreading generously throughout many facets of our lives.

Also in the future, along these same lines, could eventually be mobile hardware, as well as mobile apps that are universally accepted for music distribution. Then, of course, I hope we would do the same thing for TV and Movies, which would be to essentially free the industries, in almost every sense of the term. This system is inevitable and I am certain it will happen in this decade, just as sure as the invention of the toolbox was after the introduction of numerous tools. Organization is key!

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

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iTunes talks About Purchasing LaLa.com

There has recently been talk of iTunes’ potential purchase of the music streaming website, lala.com. Currently iTunes is using the old model of paying for songs individually rather than buying entire albums. From this initial model, which iTunes had perfected, LaLa came along with a similar idea, with lower prices for the individual songs. Along with the purchasing of music, LaLa offers a streaming system in which you can listen to a song at anytime for the cost of 10 cents a song.

Currently this is all iTunes has to go for right now, being as their model has become outdated. They need something to keep them at the top of the music industry, so it’s understandable to see this being a potential investment.

The main issue lies within the model itself. There is not enough change being brought the table here. Beat-Play will dominate this model, offering more to the artists and fans through free promotion, social network media player, free online auction, and virtual estore. This will be the change that everyone had been searching for, where you will then be able to purchase your music for an extremely low price because the artists will also be receiving a piece of the ad-revenue based on the traffic to their page on Beat-Play. Upon the release of the site we will gladly welcome all of you to THE FUTURE OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY.

Music Without Labels

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Music Without Labels & Beat-Play Interview With Jaway

Give us some background. Where are you from originally, where are you now, how did you get there?

I’m from Liberia, West Africa, but I’ve lived in Los Angeles, California for the last six years. I fled from a very bloody and destructive civil war to make a better life for myself and to help my family.  It’s kind of funny—I never intended to pursue a career in music even though I grew up singing in a church choir. In fact, my mom still directs that choir. When I got to Los Angeles, my only goal was to pursue a career in business. But I’m also an athlete and I like to stay fit, so I go to the gym a lot. Anyhow, one afternoon I was singing in the locker room at the gym, not knowing anyone else was there. But in fact another gym member overheard me and assumed I was a professional singer. When he asked me about my next performance, I laughed. I told him I had no upcoming performances because I was not a professional vocalist. He gave me this weird look and said, “So what are you doing in LA, then?” Before I could answer, he said, “Look, son, I think you have a natural talent, but don’t take my word for it. Let me introduce you to a friend of mine who’s been a vocal coach for the longest time. Listen to what she has to say then decide what you want to do.” I took his advice and here I am now. 

What Genre would you classify yourself as?

My music crosses Pop, World, and Adult Contemporary. 

What is it that drove you to pursue a career in music, and what it is that drives you individually as a musician or a band?

Most of all, my passion for the craft. The challenge of seeing the start, development, and completion of a song. The thought process, persistence and dedication needed to put all the pieces together so that a song will transcend the ordinary but also make sense to the next person.  The fact that I can share my thoughts and feelings through this medium still amazes me.  What drives me as a musician? Like my song “Feeling” says, I got a feeling in my soul that’s running twenty miles a minute. A feeling that has taken a serious hold of me and won’t let go. And believe me I’ve tried. But no matter what I do, it’s always there. I’ve come to realize that this is me and has always been for as long as I can remember. Like another one of my songs, “But U,” says, “Don’t try to be no one else but you,” because it won’t work. It just won’t work because you can only be you—so here I am. 

What struggles have you faced with having your music heard and getting your name recognized by outside markets?

Hummm, where should I start? Seriously, being an independent unknown artist says it all. It’s difficult getting on the radio, getting paid gigs in LA, getting promotion and advertising, weeding through the people who talk lots of game and connects but have none, weeding through the real and the fake, getting the music to the right people. The list goes on and on. This is because indie artists are still up against the labels with all the money and connects. However, you have to continuously seek the way. It takes a lot of work, time, and energy but you have no choice—especially if you want to make a living in this game. And, yes, unfortunately that’s what it is to some people, a game. But, I’m doing what I can through friends (grassroots marketing), social networks, word of mouth, and a medium like this interview. Hopefully, all that effort will kick things off.  You see, I appreciate this interview so much because it’s a great way to get the word out there. So thanks very much to Music Without Labels for this opportunity. And those of you who are reading this, please help spread the word about my music. I greatly appreciate it and promise you won’t be disappointed.  
 

What kinds of things do you do to promote yourself?           

Charity begins at home and ends abroad. As I mentioned above, I started with my friends and asked them to share my music with their friends. Social networks like Facebook, twitter, Myspace, etc. Go into your individual communities. You take every opportunity to perform; you do fliers and post them everywhere you can. Also, I always ask friends for help as well as ideas because you never know. These are just a few of the things I’ve found that you can do yourself, and you build on that. 

Is there a predominant message you hope to get across in your songs?

The most important message is to care for, love, share with and help one another. This will definitely make our world a much better place and alleviate most of our problems. I can guarantee you that.  

What are your thoughts on the future of the music industry and where it’s going?

The future is very promising because artists now have more control over their craft and the fans will benefit from the variety. The industry as we know it—big record labels—will be gone or change dramatically because of the new tools and media that are becoming available to artists. 

Are you currently unsigned, and do you plan on staying independent?

Yes, right now I’m unsigned.  Ultimately, the opportunities presented to me by a major label will determine my decision on whether to go that direction. 

What are your reasons for being an independent artist?

I’m smiling because at this point I have no choice, but the big advantage to me of this situation is the control I have over my music and my image and how they’re presented. 

Who are some of your favorite artists?

Maxwell, Seal, Luther Vandross, Jason Mratz, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Boyz II Men, Neyo, James Ingram, Beyonce, Bob Marley, John Legend, Stevie Wonder, just to name a few. 

Do you ever feel that people will be missing out on your music because you are not signed to a major record label?

Some people may miss out on it because I’m not signed to a major label—but I’m trying to overcome that by reaching out in various ways—like this interview—to connect my music with people I’ll never meet. I hope I succeed because I believe almost everybody can relate to my lyrics even though we all have different tastes in music. 

What would you say if I told you that there’s a new force in Independent Music that will give you all of the power of the Major Labels and more, while at the same time giving you complete control over all aspects of your musical career, and you will never have to sign a thing?

I’d say I need to be connected to that new force ASAP. 

And you would have access to the world’s first ever audio component auction, where pieces of songs are sold off at auction prices to be repurposed in other songs.  What kind of impact do you think that would have on your music?

Potentially a very big impact, especially in regard to opportunities for collaboration, different types of exposure, opportunities to work with different people and genres, as well as opportunities for new revenue streams. 

The only catch is you have to choose to use it to your benefit, or not.

I’d like to hope that any benefit I gain in terms of promoting my music is also in some way a benefit to everyone who hears my music and message. 

It’s called Beat-Play, and it will be beta tested this Fall 09. Sign up at www.MusicWithoutLabels.com

MusicWithoutLabel.com’s Weekly Indie Artist Review

Band Name:

Apex Vibe

Album Title:

Rhythm Music

Band Members and Positions:

Tim Sanchez (Vocals/Guitar)

Chris Howells (Guitar/Backing)

Sam Caudill (Keys/Backing Vocals)

Will Lovell (Bass/Backing Vocals)

Dubs (Drums)

Genre:

Reggae / Hip-Hop

Record Label:

Independent

Difficulty of Music:

Apex Vibe applies very catchy verses along with smooth transitioning into their chorus and solos. The difficulty in the verses is fairly simple while still raising the bar a bit with the transitions and solos.

Comparisons to Other Artists:

Apex Vibe would be most compared to Sublime and 311, with a touch of The Roots within their beats.

Lyrical Significance:

The lyrics used in this album are very up beat and positive, making it nearly impossible not to sing along.

Overall Rating (out of 10):

I would give Rhythm Music an 8 out of 10.

Analysis:

This album is very well constructed but lacking in the track list given the fact that there are only four songs on the entire album. From their perspective it is a decent idea to focus on making four very well written tracks rather than having a 10 or 15 track album and only have a few actually good songs. However plans for a full album are in the works and production is set to start soon. More info about the new full album will be updated as we receive it.

Band Website: http://www.apexvibe.com

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Dave Mathews Posing Backstage

So I wasn’t gonna go to the Dave Mathews concert, until a friend of mine didn’t show up and there was an extra ticket. So then on the way the guy I went with, who I didn’t know too well, gets a call from some guy at the arena and he was told that we were getting backstage.  We were hopeful but not expecting too much. About 2 minutes after we walked through the gate to the backstage area, we see Dave Mathews walking by. I stopped him and asked him for a picture. Cool guy.