Muzikman interviews indie musician and author of The Indpendent Musicians Contact Bible, David Wimble. Find out why Wimble, an aspiring musician in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, ended up putting together one of the most successful musician guides available today.
By Keith "Muzikman" Hannaleck
MuzikMan: Big question to start things off David-Can you tell me where
you come from and what experiences brought you to where you are today?
David: I’m from Ottawa, Ontario Canada. It’s just above upstate New
York. It’s a beautiful clean and very safe city that is actually the capital
of our country. I’m still here, so whatever experience I’ve had in life, they
haven’t been profound enough to get me to move anywhere.
Actually, with the way the Internet is today, it doesn’t matter a great deal
where you work out of. I’m still very close to the northeastern U.S., where
many music conferences take place, so I drive there, and any shows that I have
to fly to (ie: SXSW) I’d have to fly to ifI was in New York or Los Angeles anyway.
MuzikMan: How long have you been a musician and what
kinds of instruments do you feel you have command of?
David: I certainly don’t have command of any instrument. I use the guitar
to write songs, but would be lost if I was asked to jam with anyone. I can play
the basic chords, and then some, but don’t even consider myself a musician.
I’ve been writing and playing guitar since I was a teenager.
MuzikMan: Your Indie Bible has been a huge success. How did that all
start and why?
David: I fulfilled my life’s dream by recording a CD a few years ago.
Just as we were getting ready to finish building the band, and then tour around
and sell some CDs, we imploded, and broke up in a manner that was irreparable.
So, there I was, with a closet full of CDs, and no band to help me promote them.
One thought was to build a new band and then promote the CD, but it occurred
to me that the same thing could happen again, and I’d be back to square one.
I decided to keep working at my job (high-tech) at the time, and find some
places to promote the music (get reviews, and maybe some radio airplay). I went
on the Internet to see if there were any local stations that might play Independent
music, and found a few. Then I wondered if maybe other stations outside my city
would do the same? I did some more research and found there were many. I continued
on looking for reviewers, and then eventually vendors that would sell my CD
for me. My database kept getting larger and larger.
I kept accumulating information for months, and contacted these people that
I would find on the Internet. I started to get some reviews for my CD, and radio
airplay here and there.During the whole time, I wished I could find a single
resource – a directory that would have all these sorts of places I’m looking
for listed. There were lots of different directories and books, but nothing
really targeted to an Independent musician or songwriter that just wants to
get exposure for their music. I actually bought a few of the resources I found
advertised on the Internet and was very disappointed when they arrived.
After about a year of research, the idea came to me to publish a small resource
that other musicians in my position could benefit from. I ran the idea by a
few musicians, and they loved it. So, I went for it.
As I accumulated information for the Indie Bible, I realized that I could not
succeed if I censored the book according to what I thought was tasteful or not,
and certainly could not limit its scope by including only the styles of music
that I liked. Every style had to be included if I was to succeed.
I continued to research throughout all genres for another 8 months or so, and
finally in October of 1999, the 1st Edition of The Indie Bible was
MuzikMan: Do you feel most artists need the guidance
and resources that your contact bible provides to be successful marketing their
music? Can’t anyone do the research you have and get results? Or do you feel
it is a matter of having the time and patience to actually look?
David: Anyone that is serious about getting his or her music out there
and heard cannot do without the Indie Bible. There are THOUSANDS of hours of
research put into this book. It’s a real insult when someone looks at it and
says something like “It’s just a bunch of Internet sites”. That’s like opening
the phone book and saying, “It’s just a bunch of names and phone numbers”, as
if someone whipped it together in an afternoon. Anyone that has tried to find
places to promote their music knows how painfully long a process it is. For
a very small investment, the Indie Bible can show you where the places are (the
sections are broken down by genre of music and then by geographic location)
that you can best expose your music. You can invest your limited hours into
contacting these places, rather than spend those hours trying to find them.
I’ve already found them for you. The bulk of the work is done!
MuzikMan: How many copies of the guide did you
sell your first year in publication and how many in the year 2000? I’ll bet
there is a big difference!
David: I think the first year I sold about 1000. Last year wasn’t a
lot more, but in the range of 4000. The 2nd Edition was the first
edition to be sold throughout North American in book and music stores, but the
distribution process took a long time to take hold. With the new 3rd
Edition, the distribution process is in place and I now also have over 80 sites
selling the book over the Internet. I’m hoping to sell in the neighborhood of
10,000 copies this year. It may be a lot more. As your readers can tell by the
cover, it’s a totally new look. Famous poster artist Bob Masse did the cover
design, and the book is now like a large music book (9” by 12”). Most will recognize
Bob’s art. You may not be able to pinpoint where, but you’ll know that you have
seen his style before. He’s been doing poster art since the 60s.
I also have a new section, which contains 33 articles from industry professionals
that are sure to help any career. The articles cover all sorts of topics from
marketing & promoting to stage fright. Many articles are by well-known authors
such as Daylle Schwartz, Diane Rapaport, Tim Sweeney, Janet Fisher, Harriet
Schock and Jeri Goldstein.
I’m VERY excited about where the book is now. There’s also a new section for
WOMEN in MUSIC and another new section for CHRISTIAN MUSIC that are sure to
attract a lot of attention.
MuzikMan:Has the response from fellow artists
been positive and encouraging?
David: The feedback right from the beginning has been absolutely amazing!
Not only from artists that have bought the book, but also from many of those
in the industry that have taken a look at a copy. Many of these well known companies
are among those now selling the book from their site: garagebands.com, CD Baby,
CD Street, Indie-Music, DISK MAKERS, mi2n, Zebra Music etc.
MuzikMan:Have you given any thought to offering
the book on CD-ROM with other extras such as ads or sound clips?
David: Thanks to a partnership with DISC MAKERS, the 3rd
Edition is available on CD-ROM. I only sell these from the various music conferences
I go to. For those that purchase an electronic version from my site, it’s sent
immediately by e-mail. It’s essentially the same format – a .pdf file.
MuzikMan: What is your ultimate goal with the
publication? For instance, did you have a five-year plan before you got started,
or have you taken one day at a time?
David: The ultimate goal with the publication is to get the resource
well known enough that it’s considered an industry standard – a book that any
songwriter or musician setting out with their music MUST have in order to be
realistic about achieving their dreams.
I’m certainly not there yet, but I think Edition Three is going to put me closer
to that goal than ever before. Countless people drop by when I’m at music conferences
telling me that they see the book EVERYWHERE on the Internet. It’s just a matter
of having the book out there so that people can browse through it and immediately
see the benefits. This will be accomplished to a greater degree by my attending
more music conferences and the better distribution…. along with the new size
MuzikMan: Was it difficult to market yourself
and your product and first? I would be willing to bet it was easier for you
because you already had a network in place because of your experience in the
David: It was painfully slow. At first I didn’t have anyone that was
even remotely considered a contact. The book itself actually drew people my
way. I started out absolutely flat-footed, with no direction at all. That’s
why I’m especially proud of the progress I’ve made over the last few years.
I now have a network of hundreds of people that I communicate with to varying
degrees. Early supporters that helped me immensely to gain exposure were author
Daylle Schwartz, Holly Figueroa of Indiegrrl, Derek Sivers of CD Baby, Carolyn
Ballen of the Indie Music Forum and Suzanne Glass of Indie-Music. Without the
support of these people, I would not have survived the first year.
MuzikMan: What are your thoughts on the Internet
and all the controversy regarding copyright issues?
David: I know first hand what it feels like to have someone outright
steal your web pages and use them on their site. That happened to me a year
or so ago. It’s a very eerie feeling when that happens.
As far as the music goes, I think it’s all going to work its way out in the
wash. Napster, or any of the technology that it has spawned is never going away.
There are several Napster clones now, so it’s foolish to think that “piracy”
is going to stop, whether it be because of regulations that are set in place,
or anti-piracy file formats.
I guess I’m just watching like everyone else. The majors are getting their
digital downloading technologies in gear, so that’s immanent. I find it kind
of sad when they buy up places like MP3.com. It’s like a bastardization of the
whole Independent movement. They wait for someone to succeed to a safe level,
and then move in with a big handful of money. It’s pretty childish, but I guess
it’s good business.
MuzikMan: What kind of music do you prefer to
listen to at your leisure? Is there any particular genre that you feel has made
major strides in development recently?
David: I often listen to classical music just to mellow out. New Age
stuff too. I find it easier on the nerves when I’m spending hours and hours
on the Internet researching for the next edition. As far as major strides go,
it’s hard to say. I deal with musicians and music people across the board. Hip
Hop is certainly still exploding. Many sites that were once mainstream or some
other format have become a Hop Hop site. It’s huge all over the world – not
just the US.
MuzikMan: Is there anything that you would like
to add to our conversation that I did not cover before we close?
David: You covered most of the important bases. I’ll just mention again
that the Indie Bible is available in many book and music stores across the US
and Canada. I don’t know the names of a lot of the chains or particular stores,
but I do know that it is carried in Sam Ash, Mars Music and the Guitar Center.
I also have a FREE monthly newsletter that I send out (Keith is aware of it
because he does a monthly CD review in each edition). There are new listings
each month where artists can get exposure for their music. This will give you
an idea of what the Indie Bible is about. You can also visit www.indiebible.com
and check out the Sample Page, which displays what some of the listings look
like. To sign up for the newsletter, just send an e-mail to email@example.com
and write “newsletter” in the subject area.
Thanks again Keith for your support!
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