6.8.12



Building a Business Part 3: Groupie.


Part 1: The Beginning
Part 2: Sugardevil

I had a personal website back in the day. I wouldn't technically call it a "blog", but I suppose essentially that's what it was. I had a group of friends who all had their own sites too.  I changed my layout every couple of months and even offered my services to other girls.  I shared little bits of my life, in typical teenager vocabulary, but mostly went on and on about my adventures of being a groupie.  Yes, that's right friends, I was a total band nut, canceling school and work days and having my mom book hotel rooms (since I wasn't old enough) so my friends and I could dedicate entire days to stalking/watching/partying with our fave bands when they were in town.

When I think about it now, I have no idea how our mothers put up with us... we were insane and must have given them near heart attacks when they would hear about our antics!  I was the friend who had a car and could drive, so it was usually my job to drive us around town, or even outside of the country. Eight hour drives to different states were part of the adventure. How we weren't murdered or kidnapped is beyond me considering the situations we got ourselves into!

 somewhere in buffalo (later dated pic)

You're probably wondering what this has to do with "building a business". It will make sense, I promise. I feel like every step I took in life led me to where I am today, so mentioning my rockstar hungry past is essential.

During this time, those same friends and I decided to start up an online music magazine. We had such grand adventures and thought it might be worthwhile to actually try to do something with our lives at the same time.  It was called Starstruck Magazine and our tag line was "stars don't only come out at night...". Har har.

My "co-president" lived in Arkansas but that didn't stop her from making the long journey to Ontario for fun filled visits and escapades every so often. This magazine was the ticket we needed for... well, tickets. I created a pretty awesome (if I do say so myself) website for us where we posted concert reviews, CD reviews, interviews, etc. We were growing and had a staff of about 30 people... photographers, writers, interviewers.  Media departments would send us free CDs and backstage passes. I kid you not -- I didn't pay for a single disc or ticket for years.  We did our own marketing, scheduled deadlines, organized events and of course I was responsible for designing everything. 

I met some amazing bands and some of my fav artists in person while doing interviews, and made some of the best friends of my life. This magazine was when I realized that I could really be worth something. I had my first taste of a "job" with an actual staff under me and was learning the ins and outs of the music business at the same time.  It didn't pay a thing and we did it out of love and dedication.

*i tried desperately to find photos from those years but failed. me + travis barker from a couple years later*

At this point, I thought I was destined to work at a record label. I had found my niche and I was in love with the music scene. What else could there be in store for me?  Even though I was occasionally doing design work for some of the bands I befriended, it seemed pretty impossible to create a design career dedicated entirely to musicians. Or was it....?

Stay tuned for part 4!!!

What were your fav bands when you were a teen? Did you ever get to meet them?

18 comments:

  1. ..stars don't only come out at night.. har har =)

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  2. I feel like I very vaguely remember tripping across Starstruck at one point, but I very rarely trust my brain on these things anymore... It all tends to blend together in a mush I find.

    I was one of those teenagers that got hip to the local indie music scene early on, and most of my energy was focused on doing street team and online promotion. I just didn't have a lot of interest in national acts because of the lack of approachability. I also developed a healthy amount of scorn towards the major record labels after looking into the details of how they do business.

    It seems kind of ironic that I spent two years of my twenties making websites for rockstars at one of the major music labels that I hated as a teenager (though working for them certainly didn't improve my opinion of the mainstream music biz).

    The boyfriend is in the works of setting up his own recording studio in the apartment. There's a two inch tape machine in my closet. There's a wall of amps in my living room. We're aiming to be taking on business by the end of the year. (Knock on wood. Construction setbacks mostly at this point.) I'm hoping to have my own private supply of amazing musicians to make websites for and create promotional strategies. Fingers crossed in an economy where people are like, "Run away from, not towards, the audio production industry, dummy."

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    1. That is awesome that you two are doing that. I'm sure good things will come of it :)

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  3. That's pretty awesome! I wasn't even allowed to go to concerts in high school ._____x Not because my overprotective parents, my stepdad was just a dick.
    Anyways, I wish I had been able to be a band groupie. That just sounds like a stellar time.

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  4. A few years ago I'd have been madly jealous of you! I used to ADORE Blink-182! But how on earth did you manage to get 30 "staff" with your website? And how did you get your website out there? That's where I'm a bit lost. We you just lucky, did you promote in the right places?
    I've only ever been to one concert, and it was a Mindless Self Indulgence concert. It was fun, but I don't think I'm a concert kind of gal. Energy is good but I'm not keen on large groups of people, and I get uncomfortable with songs if they're not studio versions. I don't deal well with change, even if it's just a simple case of a spontanious guitar solo or something!

    I've never met anyone famous, though. Not that I can recall...although now I think about it I can't help thinking I have but I just can't get the face, the location, the year or anything. Maybe I just dreamt it.

    These posts are wonderful. I'm about to open a plushie shop on October 1st, and, unlike my jewellery shop, I actually have a sort of business plan for it, and I should have about 32 listings to start with right away, since I'm not just rushing in. I'm really hoping I manage to take something away from these posts ♥

    Kim, A Blackbird's Epiphany

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    1. Honestly, It was SO long ago I am having trouble recalling how we actually built the magazine and a staff. All I can remember is posting "job" listings on our website and had people sign up... Plus my co-president knew a ton of people interested in music. We advertised back then on message boards and music related websites, as well as in person at all the events we would go to.

      ...but you will hear more from me about actually building my business in the next chapters :)

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  5. You've had such great experiences! My career goals are to be somewhere behind the scenes in the music industry. Just my luck that I've picked probably the most difficult and unreliable industry to work towards. Right now I'm still in college in the UK but trying to build contacts with various people 'in the know', I'll see where it takes me xx

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  6. Very cool how you built it for yourself! Who was your favorite musician to work with/meet?

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  7. Greetings, Dana. I am simply a young girl, naive in the blog-world, but I want to thank you for your inspiration brought to me by your blog posts. I aspire to begin a business like the one you currently own. Thank you so much for sharing everything. And I'm very glad your blog has become so popular. I hope to hear form you soon.
    The best of luck,
    A young author

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  8. Thanks so much for your posts like this, Dana. I've been trying for awhile to start my photography business and it's difficult. I never had a bunch of friends so I can't practice on them or spread the word through them like most new photographers. I'll be on the lookout for more posts like this. I'm doing everything I can to get business (I'm even offering FREE photo sessions right now, trying to build my portfolio) but it doesn't seem like anything is working. I could use all the help I can get, and your posts are so inspiring!

    Lauren
    http://laurensweetnothings.blogspot.com/

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  9. PS: I am officially your newest follower! I've been steadily reading your blog for a few weeks now, and probably should have followed sooner, but I am now!

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  10. You have such a fascinating story. Thank you so much for sharing it.

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  11. I was crazy about dashboard confessional and bright eyes. like cray cray

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  12. Oh this story is amazing! I also love going to the concerts and I also have some stories with bands. Those are such good memories <3
    http://coeursdefoxes.blogspot.com/

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  13. That is such a great story! I love how even when you were younger you took so much initiative! It is no wonder why you are so successful at what you do! Such a hard worker!

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  14. Travis Barker?!?! I die. Loved me some Blink (still do).

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  15. You've done so much with your life! :) xxx

    http://jeminixlife.blogspot.com

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