Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Independent Musicians Fund

For a long time, I've been having conversations with musicians and promoters around mid-Michigan about nurturing and incubating talent.  As we've watched many local venues struggle (and in some cases, shutter) and seen our friends pour their hearts into recordings, live gigs, and tours only to find that their expenses are outrunning their gains; as we've been supported by a dedicated core of friends but weathered general community indifference; and as we've worked to build awareness, provide opportunities for new musical voices, and just create something fun, exciting, and creative to do for anyone who cares to show up -- well, a void has gradually become more evident.

It's hard to see things that are not there.  It often takes a while to delineate their edges and truly identify where need exists.  What's right in front of us often claims our attention; things like broken mic cables, postage expenses to mail out tour fliers, or finding the time to remind our friends (again) that we have a show on Friday and that we'd really love it if they could... hey, wait a minute!  That's it!  That's the void!

It's the little nickle-and-dime expenses like mailing out fliers and demos and repairing cords that have been stepped on one too many times that hold us back.  The bigger the obstacle, the easier it is to avoid -- but the little things, the irritants and inconveniences -- are what often hold us back from finishing that album, booking that gig, or planning that tour.  They can come too fast and too furious for anything as graceful as side-stepping.  Instead, we meet them head on, which often means a stoppage of the creative workflow.

The Independent Musicians Fund (I.M.F.) is ITAV's answer to that scenario of minor interferences slowing the flow of creativity -- our way of removing minor obstacles from the lives of working musicians.  Because many of us play music despite our low position on the economic totem pole.  It enriches an otherwise simple, often blue collar existence.  We often elect to live "bohemian" so that our art can take the front burner, but the generally low wage service-sector jobs we land to keep our free time available for musical pursuits don't allow a lot of budgetary wiggle-room when something breaks or a drum seat comes up missing in the middle of tour.

The I.M.F. is a repository for 100% of the proceeds from the 3-Way Singles Club: it's a way that musicians taking part in the series can support the greater musical community in a visible way.  By contributing exclusive songs in clusters of 3 at an approachable 3 bucks, the series is available to all -- and there are occasional freebies and promotions to further sweeten the deal.

Like us on facebook at:  We'd be much obliged.

Starting today, the 3-Way Singles Club is available for a one-time, $30 subscription fee.  (See the PayPal button at the top right of the page) You can have it all!  At the same time, you can feel good about your support of the greater creative community.  As the fund grows, I.M.F. will begin taking applications for 0% loans and outright grants.  As of writing, I.M.F. is not a non-profit, because the application fee to become a 501(c)3 is about $500, but that is an eventual goal.  Funds collected so far from the 3-Way Singles Club (an impressive $26.10) are set safely aside as the humble beginnings of our big vision.  We'd like to have a comfy $100 in the fund by next May and begin the applicant process. 

In addition to raising funds by putting out exclusive digital triple singles, I.M.F. is building a lending library of books about music production, live sound, music business, publishing, and other aids to help leverage the energy of writing and playing music into something bigger and more sustainable.  We also offer consultation on artwork, graphic design, and printing.  I.M.F. wants to help your band rise above the clamor of the internet, get seen and heard at the street level, get songs placed in movies and television, and make inroads into independent radio -- and we don't want anything in return!

Also, this is not restricted to the Midwest, though that's where we hang our own particular hat -- we're casting our net wider, and applications from all over the world will be considered by an independent board of reviewers.  ITAV and I.M.F. would love to consider your band's musical input for future inclusion in the 3-Way Singles Club.  Contact us at the e-mail address listed in our "Submissions" tab at the top of this page!  All styles may apply.

Our next single (Volume 8) is due out in about a week!  It features The Jackpine Snag, Nocturnal Aviators In Action, and The Peoples Temple!

In the coming months, we'll have brand new tracks from Small Houses, Teag & PK, Brooks Mosher, Sunil Sawani, Tin Window, CrookedSound, Steve Leaf, Drum Kit, Seth Bernard, and more! 

I'd like to take this opportunity to extend warm holiday wishes to all, especially those of you plucking strings and bashing drums.  You've been more motivating than many of you know, and it's been a great year!  We're going out with a BANG! and I can't wait for more.  2012 has some great things already scheduled, including ITAV's first (and possibly second) vinyl release(s) and some great follow-up noise from the Nanobots (finally).  Have a great time with friends and/or family, and stay tuned in RIGHT HERE for the link to that hot single.


Peter and the ITAV crew

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