Tag Archives: Sullivan Hall

The CollegeDJ Music Festival is coming. Artists are you ready?

For those of you who know me, you know that I was one of the founders of Digiwaxx, perhaps the largest digital music promotion service ever.

Alongside Corey Llewellyn and Andrew Edgar (the REAL founders of Digiwaxx), I helped develop a fledgling brand into a household name.

At the time, Digiwaxx’s core was DJs from all walks of life: radio DJs, college DJs, club DJs, satellite DJs, pirate radio DJs, hobbiest – anyone who spun vinyl, digital vinyl or CDs.

And our base was huge.

But as the labels were increasingly focused on mainstream airplay – essentially the stuff they could track – DJs that weren’t on radio became less important.

So as Digiwaxx grew, labels became wholly focused on the mainstream DJs (radio, satellite, mix show), and less on the others.

As technology started to change, so did the appetite for DJs, who became less enamored by Digiwaxx’s methodology of sending daily email blasts (sometimes up to ten in a day).

Where our open rate used to be well over 90%, we’d be lucky to get 50% and by the time I left Digiwaxx, our open percentage was below 10%.

Mind you, by that time, we had well over 25,000 registered DJs, so 10% still represented a fair number of DJs, and our reach was worldwide.

Fast forward six years, and I’m now working with another brand, that’s catering to DJs.

This time, the focus is exclusively college DJs, and the name of this brand is, appropriately enough, CollegeDJ.

Now, you must know, that CollegeDJ was started by my younger brother, Celestine, who never understood the allure of Digiwaxx.

Through my eight years with Digiwaxx, he was constantly pointing out areas where we could improve or risk obsolescence.

As is typical of older brothers, I ignored his entreaties, opting instead to tow the party line, and follow the initiatives we had set, with blind allegiance.

Even as our stats started to decline, labels balked at the price for our service, and the grumblings (about the frequency of blasts or the failure of labels to respond to requests from smaller DJs) from our membership became louder, I stayed the course.

When I finally did leave, it was just as my brother was launching CollegeDJ, at Penn State, as the antidote to Digiwaxx.

CollegeDJ has quietly become the standard bearer for college djs across the nation.

Every day, CDJ publishes articles about label signings, new artists, and the latest music releases, keeping its membership and readers up to speed on the goings-on of the music industry.

Four or five times a year, CDJ puts out a mixtape, CDJ Sound Check (now on it’s 7th volume) featuring the music of underground, up-and-coming, and established artists alike.

And now, in it’s second year, CDJ hosts an annual music festival, which brings together all the brightest talent in music and DJ culture for a full day of panels, music performances, DJ battles and partying.

This year, the CollegeDJ Music Festival takes place Sunday, November 11, 2012, from 7:00 pm to 4:00 am, at the storied Sullivan Hall.

I’ve been working quietly behind the scenes, doing a little here and there to help ensure the success of the event.

Two years ago, CDJ brought out the likes of Najee, Zuzuka Poderosa, DJ Valissa Yoe, The White House Band, and others.

But this year’s line-up is sure to raise the bar.

I can’t talk about it until the confirmations are in, but rest assured, it’s going to be off the chain!

With over 16,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook and over 18,000 followers on Twitter, CollegeDJ has certainly struck a nerve with a significant niche audience.

It probably doesn’t hurt that the founder of CDJ is an SEO/SEM/social media ninja – with a Ph.D. to boot!

Make sure you mark your calendar!

And if you’re an artist, and would like to perform, make sure you reach out to CollegeDJ right away!

You can find CollegeDJ on their site, on Facebook or Twitter.

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Restless Media Presents: A Study in Promotion

My partners and I host a regular Sunday event at Sullivan Hall in Manhattan called Restless Media Presents.

Last night was the third in a series of live musical events under our Restless Media Presents banner.

The first event, Restless Media Presents: A Musical Showcase, was the inaugural showcase, featuring Meta & The Cornerstones, Malik Work, Radical Revolution and Zing Experience.

Thanks to Raquel from Alphabet City Design for this hot flyer!

This was our most successful event, with loads of people. Each of the bands brought a nice crowd with them, and complimented our promotional efforts with their own.

The next event featured Boukman Eksperyans, along with Zing Experience and the Brown Rice Family. Dubbed, Restless Media Presents: A Dual Experience (due to the fact that Boukman and Zing are father and son), it was a night of Haitian reggae.

Flyer courtesy of Ellory King

Despite the huge popularity of the main act (at least among Haitians), the turnout was…how do you say…ABYSMAL! and the bands played to a really sparse crowd. Despite our promotional efforts, the bands themselves engaged in little (to no) promotion, and it showed.

Our most recent event, Restless Media Presents: Derrick Barnett & The Statement Band, with special guests, Marcia Davis & Outro, and featuring Stephen Souza, Devon Jorge, Ed Robinson, Scepta, Jr Dread and Alrica, was a veritable reggae concert, with artists doing collaborations all night long.

Shout out to Jeffrey Garibaldi for the artwork and flyer.

With the line-up, I just knew we’d pack the house. We set up a Facebook event page, and the artists generally promoted the night. But, once again, the crowd was particularly thin, considering the line-up and venue.

What I’ve learned is that you can’t take promotion for granted. Despite the appeal of the band or venue hosting the event, you’ve got to go hard or go home when it comes to making your event a success.

The difference in the three events we’ve hosted is that the bands on the first night were generally young cats. They were all trying to make a name for themselves, and bought into the whole concept of self-promotion.

Even though we were promoting the events, they knew that no one had more pull with their audiences, than they did. And they promoted the show accordingly.

Our second and third event featured older bands, who (I’m assuming) believed that their reputations alone would put bodies in the spot (NOT!)

Unlike the acts from our first show, their promotional efforts were tepid at best, and they simply didn’t seem to exude the same energy and excitement of the younger bands.

There were also other events going on both nights (Israel Vibration at BB Kings on the night of the Dual Experience and a slew of reggae events in Brooklyn on Derrick Barnett’s night). So it’s possible the small crowds were attributable to other sources – but not likely.

Anyway, we’re going back to the drawing board with our event. We’ve got a date on Halloween, Restless Media Presents: Halloween Havoc, featuring The Real Live Show.

We’re bringing on a proper promoter for the night, and starting our promotions dumb early (I’m tired of listening to bands play for crickets).

Stay tuned!

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Reggae comes of Age: Meta and The Cornerstones

A few weeks ago, my partners and I hosted a showcase at Sullivan Hall.

I wrote about it in one of my posts.

Anywho, it was a smashing success.

We had a large boisterous crowd who had come to see any one of the various acts that hit the stage, including the Haitian act Zing Experience, the international crew Radical Revolution, New York’s own Malik Work and The Real Live Show, or the headliner, Meta and The Cornerstones.

To be honest, with the exception of Meta, I had never heard any of the bands play live before.

So I wasn’t sure what the night had in store.

When the first act, Zing Experience, hit the stage, I knew we were on to something.

As this was my event, I played host, receiving guests as they arrived, and generally manning the entrance to the floor.

I hadn’t planned on watching the show (if you’ve seen one reggae act, you’ve seen them all).

As such, when Zing Experience started to play, I was completely overwhelmed by the banging set that they threw down.

Radical Revolution came behind them, and nearly had me abandoning my post (I’m lying. I left the door and had to get my groove on one time).

Malik Work changed up the flow and dropped some classic hip hop on the crowd and set the stage for Meta.

For those of you unfamiliar with Meta Dia, get familiar.

This young cat from Senegal is the absolute truth.

First of all, he’s one of the most humble cats you’re ever going to meet.

Next, he’s surrounded by some really exceptionally talented musicians, that gel together onstage.

And, he’s got competent management, who have taken their time to develop his brand (shout out to Kalab Berhane!)

But the coup de grace is his music.

This cat makes some really dope music.

But don’t take my word for it.

Check out video from the show, and judge for yourself. Click the image to watch the video.

Meta rocks onstage at Sullivan Hall.

Meta clearly has what it takes to be a superstar, and we’re betting that this kid goes far.

The goal of the Restless Media Presents series, is to showcase talent like Meta, but also to pay homage to the artists that paved the way.

For example, on Sunday, September 26, Restless Media Presents: Derrick Barnett and The Statement Band, with special guests, Marcia Davis and Outro, featuring Ed Robinson, Stephen Souza, Devon Jorge, Scepta, Jr Drean & Alrica.

Derrick Barnett is a remarkable reggae bassist that has thrilled audiences all over the world. We were able to pull some strings and get him to perform for our series, so it’s a night not to be missed.

AND he’s coming with a busload of his friends, to make the night extra special.

Restless Media Presents: Derrick Barnett & The Statement Band

So don’t miss it!

Note: The Restless Media Presents series, is my return to working with musicians. The series represents an opportunity for up-and-coming artists to play in a major NYC venue, and make a name for themselves. Artists with promise will receive residencies and fixed dates to play at Sullivan Hall through 2011.

If you’re an artist with a following and you think you’ve got what it takes to pack and rock the house, please send an email with your contact details to info@restlessmedia.net. We’re booking dates for 2011. All genres considered. Serious artists only.

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I’ve been on hiatus (not really)

I haven’t made an entry to my blog in over a month.

Its not that I haven’t thought about it, or that I didn’t want to.

My issue was that I had so much to talk about, I didn’t know where to start.

And you know what they say about inertia…

But today I’ve resolved to just sit down and type, until I got it all out of me.

I’m thinking the best way to do it is to start with the most recent stuff, and work backwards.

All you’re getting are sound bites, and hopefully, at some point, I’ll get around to elaborating.

So, without further ado…

Midnite

Last night I attended the Midnite show at S.O.B.’s. If you’re not familiar with Midnite, you should be. They are one of the hottest Caribbean reggae artists out today.

They played some classic tunes and well as new music, and as they went through their set, I felt as if I were communing with the music, swaying back and forth (or side to side) as part of one large rhythmic body.

I totally forgot I was supposed to be checking out their performance (my first) and assessing how their brand could be further leveraged. But DAMN! their music was good!

Check out some video from their last S.O.B.’s visit.

Third World

For the past few months, I’ve been working with Third World band’s management to produce a number of different on and offline projects.

It started with the Third World simulcast of their rehearsal at Circle Studios in Miami. Over 7,700 people tuned into the live stream on iNation.tv, which featured special guests, such as the incomparable Tessanne Chin.

Currently, we’re working hard to get their digital store, the Third World Digistore, up and running in anticipation of the August 10th release of their 22nd studio album, Patriots.

We’re also working on the video for the remake of their classic, 96 Degrees in the Shade, featuring Stephen and Damian Marley.

Check out a live version of 96 Degrees in the Shade.

Global Boxing

My good friend, Michael Havaien, is the president of Global Boxing Gym, a state of the art facility for professional boxers and MMA fighters, located in North Bergen, New Jersey.

He recently invited me to two press conferences, preceding the Zab Judah (vs Jose Armando Santa Cruz) and Tomasz Adamek (vs Michael Grant) fights.

We’re working on enhancing the overall digital signature of the Global Boxing brand, focusing on their young up-and-coming fighters, which include 21 year old Brooklyn native Adam Kownacki (5-0, 5 KOs) and (potentially) Bronx native and newly crowned NABF champion Maureen Shea (15-2).

Check out a clip from the Adam Kownacki vs. Yohan Banks bout. Spoiler alert – someone gets knocked out!

Morgan4Congress

As many of you already know, we’ve been working tirelessly on the United States Congressional campaign of Vincent Morgan, who is in a historic race against the embattled Charles Rangel.

We’ve redefined Vincent’s online presence, and provided ongoing support to all of his digital efforts, including the development of branded video pods, the production of offline events and the creation, management and support of various social media and mobile initiatives.

With the primaries rapidly approaching September 14, I anticipate getting a tad busier.

Check out one of the RapidFire series pods:

A Restless Media Musical Showcase

We’re planning a musical showcase featuring Meta & The Cornerstones, Malik Work, Zing Experience and Radical Revolution, at one of the meccas of music in NYC, Sullivan Hall.

We’ve got DJ Twilite Tone on the ones-and-twos, and all kinds of special treats in store for our guests.

If you’re in town on August 15th, please stop in.

Oh yeah, its also summer, and the kids are home. So things have been hectic on the home front too.

I don’t want to blame my hiatus wholly on work. I’ve had a little bit of fun too.

My sister-in-law and her husband invited us to Martha’s Vineyard to stay with them in a lovely five bedroom, four bathroom house in Oak Bluffs, two blocks from the beach.

It was really nice to get away (even though I jumped on my laptop a time or two).

But I’m back to the grind!

So hopefully, you’re all caught up and I’ll be able to get back to writing on a schedule.

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