What is Musicians' Desk Reference?
We believe that every individual in the music industry deserves a fair chance at finding success. Our dream of living in a world where hard work and talent prevail has driven us to build a product that informs, instructs and inspires, all while trying to simplify the music business.
Musicians' Desk Reference is a nationally praised online platform that focuses on the foundational elements of education, efficiency and experience. We are hoping to nationally relaunch the platform this March with a monthly subscription + free trial, and we need your help.
Whether you are a musician or hopeful industry professional, you've probably asked yourself:
to find success in the music industry. These are the question we aim to answer.
It's a combination of three powerful elements, designed to meet the modern artists' and industry professionals' needs, built into a platform that allows you to navigate and manage essential stages of development between you and your team. It's basically the music industry in a box, modernized into an online resource.
#1: Knowledge Base Index
Featuring approximately 75 documents, the knowledge base is a combination of overviews, templates, resources, examples, strategies and more that offer industry insight, secrets and advice, all based on practical music industry experience from artists and professionals. Being informed is being prepared.
#2: Project Management System
Easily breakdown and manage tasks necessary to navigate your career. From just starting out to recording an album, launching promotional campaigns, booking tours and even building a professional team, our project management system will guide you through your journey, with the ability to delegate tasks, set levels of access and review progress. Simply input your accomplishment date and the system will set you on your way. We put you in control.
#3: Servicing Tools + Resources
Our servicing materials make it easier than ever to fulfill your marketing + promotional needs. Booking a show? Build a tour poster and promotional cards to make an impact. Managing a PR campaign? Create beautiful servicing labels for radio and press that will make sure your release gets into the right hands. Going on tour? Create professional press releases and one sheets that will captivate everyone from venue staff to potential industry leads, all without hiring a graphic designer – potentially saving you hundreds in third-party fees.
Curious to see if Musicians' Desk Reference is right for you? Unless you're at celebrity status with a full-time team of professionals handling all of your business, then the answer is probably yes.
The platform offers aims to guide you through almost every stage of your career, regardless if you are just starting out or a full-time touring artist. Our goal is to help you to increase your efficiency, allowing you to successfully manage your business and schedule more time for what matters most: your music.
The platform provides a medium for you to gain the perspective of the modern artist, your potential clientele. With Musicians' Desk Reference, you can learn how to perform tasks in your given area of interest (manager, radio agent, publicist, booking agent, etc.), manage campaign examples to build experience and eventually work with artists to develop case studies, all while minimizing your/your client's calculated risks. There is practically no better way to prepare for a successful career in the music business.
The platform has already earned national attention, gaining praise from outlets like Billboard, Examiner, Indie on the Move and more, in addition to receiving rave reviews. Musicians' Desk Reference is also making an impact with several universities/higher education systems, so much that it is being incorporated into the teachings at nationally accredited institutions across America.
The models and practices offered in our platform are based on client work with The Counter Rhythm Group, an artist development, marketing and event promotion company founded by Brian Penick, creator of Musicians' Desk Reference. In addition to his 13+ years experience as an international touring artist, Brian has managed developmental campaigns ranging from artists' debut releases to those working with major labels. Musicians' Desk Reference is based on practical and successful results, not just theories.
We decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign for two reasons: to fund the web development to convert to a monthly model/free trial and raise awareness of the product. More crowdfunding = less investor costs/returns, allowing us to offer the product at as low of a monthly fee as possible. Raising awareness via crowdfunding helps reduce our marketing budget without (initially) hiring a marketing team. Crowdfunding = better terms for our users.
Monthly vs. Flat Fee = Your Benefit
The site was initially launched at CMJ 2013 with a flat fee model. While users' impressions were extremely positive, we quickly realized that more people were interested in a subscription-based model. With the restructuring from our web development team, a free trial was now a possibility – something we wanted from the start, but was difficult with our flat fee model. We feel that this new direction is a positive move for all, and that we will have the ability to help a greater number of artists/industry professionals.
NOTE: all previous logins purchased with "lifetime" access will be honored. The product is currently available at a flat fee with lifetime access (hence the image in the video), and will convert to a monthly fee model (along with the free trial) in March of 2014.
By donating to this campaign, you are committing to help us build a better music industry. Contrary to popular belief, this business is not a zero sum game, and we feel that everyone deserves a fair chance. Musicians' Desk Reference is here to help, empowering you to find success in the music industry.
Risks and challenges
While there are many obstacles to overcome throughout the process of creating this platform (declining sales in media, shorter attention spans of audiences and an unstable music industry in general), we as a team feel that this project will be successful at peaking interest. All of the turmoil the industry has faced calls for a new perspective; one that we feel is accomplished through standardization – essentially what the platform is attempting do with the music business.
Keeping individuals focused on working hard to build a strong foundation is the key. Making smaller more focused steps along their journey will allow for independent musicians/industry professionals to be more financially stable and organically grow without relying on third party assistance until it is necessary (along with the importance of why it is needed). Placing accountability on the individual from the beginning calls for a more streamlined process of progression that recognizes both talented and hard working individuals, leveling the playing field for everyone.
The platform is already operational on a flat fee basis. In the event this campaign is not funded, we will seek financial assistance from third parties, which would potentially increase the final costs for users.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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