Networking on the `Net

By Ken Casper

I learned several years ago, when I returned to playing music after a 13-year hiatus, that results can be achieved if artists just reach out to fellow artists. On the Internet, it's so easy to find good music. I often email those artists whose music I enjoy, and ask them to check out our music in return. Most artists will reciprocate. I have met fellow artists with similar likes from all over the world. I personally communicate regularly with great artists from Japan, Italy, Sweden, UK, Canada and others from all over the good old USA. We help each other out with recording and production tips, promotional ideas, and of course, we even spin one another's tunes. We support one another in good times and bad. If someone tells me about a problem, I'll always listen and do what I can to cheer them up. And I can't even tell you how many times I've been helped, or given that golden idea or spark which I couldn't find myself. I've even received lyrics from an artist in NC which we used line for line in our newest song, "Every Single Word."

Hardly any professional these days can reach their true potential without some degree of "networking" among their community's other professionals. The world of the music professional is no different. Networking among artist peers can be very rewarding. One day you might turn up a gig. Another day, you might find a life-long friend or bandmate.

It is not at all unusual these days for artists to write collaboratively and produce songs over the Internet. Artists who have never even met face to face are getting together in cyberspace to jam. There are Internet services available, like those found at

www.emagicstudios.com

and

www.tonos.com

, which enable artists to contribute tracks to songs from anywhere in the world. These sites even have built-in search engines that assist in finding collaborating partners for specific instruments and music genres.

Perhaps more commonly, collaboration occurs with one artist laying down tracks and then sending them to another artist via email or snail mail. The second artist might add a few more tracks of his/her own and send it back or forward it to yet another artist for input. This works great when the collaborating artists have a computer-based recording studio product like Pro Tools.

Networking the `net does, in fact, work. Recently I received an email from Karen Spanbauer of the band Olive Trees. She mentioned that she was in a local band interested in increased networking. She provided their URL,

www.mp3.com/olivetrees

and asked me to give the band a listen. Actually, I was already familiar with the band, having added them to my MP3.com station, "Showcase Louisville," months ago. I received the email on the same day that Crush! was to appear at the Highlands Tap Room on Bardstown Road. I invited Olive Trees to bring a CD and sit in for a couple of songs.

As it turned out, two members of Olive Trees showed up and played a couple of their original tunes for the crowd. Management loved them and hired them to play another night. We thought they were a perfect fit to open for us at Barretones, and this was a good opportunity for them to be heard by our fans and Barretones' management. Olive Trees publicized the show in an email to their fans, resulting in a larger crowd on hand to hear both bands. All of this came about from a short email.

I'm not saying that every artist who emails me will get a showcase slot. We have a hard enough time finding those ourselves. But a little communication will sometimes yield positive results. No communication will yield zero results. No gigs. No introductions. No listens.

If your music can be found on the Internet, there is a great opportunity to network with some of the hundreds of thousands of artists who are struggling to climb the same mountain. At the very least you will confirm that you are not alone and that others are out there cheering for you if you'll just take the time to find them.

Ken Casper is a lead vocalist/guitarist/songwriter for Crush! and can be contacted at

kgcasper@bellsouth.net

or through

www.mp3.com/crushrocks

or

www.mp3grammyawards.com

. email to have your band's Mp3.com-listed tunes added to the Mp3.com Showcase Louisville station

www.mp3.com/stations/lky