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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Help MusiciansConnect.net reach the next star!

Vote now!MusiciansConnect is entered in a business start-up contest at pitch.co.

Please vote for our idea!

From Ben Seigel


"In the fall of 2001, I was looking for musicians to form an original group.  I didn’t have much success with available methods for reaching people—bulletin boards, online ads, word-of-mouth, and I grew frustrated.  In response, I built MadisonMusicians.Net to support Madison, Wisconsin-area musicians in their search for players, gear, and instructors.  Over the years, MadisonMusicians.Net has registered nearly 2,000 members, and been instrumental in the formation of area bands. It has also connected gear sellers to buyers, teachers to students, and stores to customers.  And as a site user, it helped me too—through the site I found a recording engineer for my album. Madison is a very small market, so the site has been run virtually as a non-profit since its inception.  Because the site yields no profit and I have other commitments, site features and usability have languished in recent years.  However, the model works!  I've long considered that a redesigned, re-focused site would be very successful in larger cities like Milwaukee, Chicago, New York.  For comparison, Madison, Wisconsin has about 230,000 people, and MadisonMusicians.Net has about 50 instructors listed. By contrast, the Chicago Metro Area has over 9 million people.  A proportional instructor count for Chicago would be about 2,000.
After several false starts, I partnered with Corey Losenegger, an seasoned web developer, who is building the site on an open source platform with an expected launch in Summer 2010."

Launch

We plan to run a short public beta version for Madison, migrating all MadisonMusicians.Net users while providing a range of feature upgrades, including user photo uploads; capturing instrument skill levels; complete, editable instructor biographies; sign-up via Facebook Connect; and more.
Following our Madison launch, we will add a large metropolitan area and aggressively market the site to the region's musicians.

Marketing

We plan to use clever, inexpensive marketing to reach our target audience. This may include:
  • A presence at music festivals like Lollapalooza
  • Partnerships with music stores, instructors, schools and venues
  • Viral video, gear giveaways, contests
For me, one of the best things about marketing MusiciansConnect is that it’s totally natural to discuss with any musician I meet.  If I see someone carrying a drum, guitar case, or bass amp, I can easily and naturally strike up a conversation and hand them a business card. Since 95% of the site is free (we will eventually charge for instructor listings), I can heartily promote it all day long with infectious enthusiasm. It is a self-perpetuating business—the more musicians that use it, the more useful it becomes to all.

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