D-D-Praz . . . the band "not in a box"

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D-D-Praz Christmas . . . our adventures with promoting a concept album

After three years researching, compiling obscure scores, and arranging unique medleys and fusing genres; D-D-Praz releases its debut album, November 2010.  The concept being the historical origins of many popular Christmas tunes.  The motivation was simply a request by Moriah (daughter) if D-D-Praz could “do Christmas music, too.”  Michael took his daughter’s request quite seriously.  With a calculated approach, combining the interpretations of his research with Moriah’s choice of sounds and beats, they produced a full-length album.  (More about the historical aspect of what goes into this album, track-by-track, can be found in their article Christmas CD (Notes).  By Christmas 2011, a year later, this album had received phenomenal accolades across numerous websites, and we (D-D-Praz) want to share our experiences with promoting this music.

The very first musician’s website that we joined and submitted our music was SoundCloud.  While bonding with many artists at SoundCloud, the encouraging comments and support we received were largely responsible for our decision to market a Christmas album.  As independent artists, however, we had to aggressively promote and market it.  The typical sharing posts across the gamut of social networking sites – like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter – was combined with joining numerous other sites to “spread the music.”  Upon joining IndieCharts, two tracks from our debut CD were submitted (with one other) for this site’s “panel review” – “Club House Carol” and “Medieval Carol in Baraque.”  Much to our surprise, this “panel review” launched D-D-Praz to #6 for Electronica artists on the IndieCharts site.  Our review scored #21 over all genres.  Since our introduction to this site, there have been no peer (“member”) reviews to sustain that standing; or give a realistic perspective, per IndieCharts’ criteria, just how credible are their reviews.  Nonetheless, such a high review was very exciting for both of us.

SoundClick, similar in some ways to SoundCloud, is another vast site for musicians and listeners.  Several of our tracks climbed their charts by genre, most notably “Nouveau Livre de Noels,” “Club House Carol,” “El Nino del Tambor,” and “Bambino Gesu on a Holy Night” all made it above the “top 50” (per genre/subgenre).  “Nouveau Livre de Noels,” even reached the #2 position on the Classical, Chamber music charts and was placed on the overall top 50 charts, among over 4 million submissions.  Wow – WOW !!  Something unique to SoundClick vs. SoundCloud, however, is that artists can sell their tracks directly from this website, rather than link to others.

Broadjam is a site where we submitted our tracks, and received “peer reviews” that were more criteria-based.  Criteria included marketability, quality of production, originality, and etc.  Being peer reviews, the professionalism of reviewers varies greatly; however, the reviews were above average scores, overall.  Our Christmas tracks receiving notable scores were “Kyrie de Noel” (99/105, combined) and “El Nino del Tambor” (29/30).  WOW.

At Broadjam, musicians/bands can submit to numerous opportunities for licensing (placement) for radio, TV, film, and other multi-media usage.  While Broadjam represents a large volume of these opportunities, we found that manageability and user-friendliness of their website was pathetic.  Numerous server crashes, out-dated notifications, misrepresentation of opportunity provider’s criteria, and excessive bragging caused Broadjam to appear “too big for it’s britches.”  We did submit to many opportunities there; and while not all selections have been finalized, none of the tracks from D-D-Praz Christmas were selected.

A site that DID make song placement for tracks from our CD was MusicXray.  Similar to Broadjam, this website is purposed to aid independent artists make song placements, but MusicXray has no realistic peer reviews.  Tracks from our CD that did receive placement through MusicXray were “Kyrie de Noel” (filmscore, undetermined) and “Club House Carol” (radio).

If an Independent Artist really wanted a “professional review” by an experienced music industry professional, both MusicXray and Broadjam offer those services; but at exuberant – if not absurd – costs to the artist.  We would recommend for any Independent artist seeking “professional review,” to shop around for cost and experience.  It would be a waste for an emerging Rap or Hip-Hop artist to pay for a Country musician’s “professional” review!!  In fact what we have experienced per “peer review,” the overwhelming representations of peers as independent artists are either “wannabe” DJ’s or “Rapstars.”  Our productions are fusion, trans-genres, and represent a diversity of styles from Classical to Techno, so receiving unbiased reviews for our Christmas CD as a whole, has been challenging – frustrating and comical.  Other sites like ReverbNation, concentrate more on the musician/band’s following rather than quality – but this is understandable.  Many opportunities that such follower-based websites represent are ALSO trying to make a name for themselves by promoting the next “Blind Melon” or “Billy Joel.”

Probably our greatest challenge, however, was attempting to promote sales of the physical CD to the local public.  We designed CD jewel case inserts – with cover art, track lists, and liner notes.  We used LightScribe burners to etch the CD’s we manufactured from our studio.  We printed business cards, tracks, posters, and “hit the streets.”  Three local merchants agreed to stock the CD’s, while Moriah and I distributed these tracks to schools, churches, convenience stores, music stores, novelty shops, … anywhere that graciously allowed us to leave information that directed folks to where they could purchase our CD’s.  We made three public appearances in a bookstore or on a street corner and played our Christmas music to passers-by.  BUT . . . all the exhaustion, stress, and costs of these efforts to promote ourselves locally will not likely be recovered soon enough !!

Despite repeatedly soliciting our local radio station – even attempting to PAY for advertising — they never returned our calls or responded to written requests.   They were no help.  One weekend while braving the cold, we blew out our speakers, trying to overcome the loud diesel trucks passing by our street corner.  (To this day I still chuckle, who would imagine you could blow out speakers with Classical music?)  At the cafes, there was hardly any business; so turning heads and engaging interest just didn’t happen!!  OMgosh.

What we learned was this is hard work promoting ourselves as Independent artists!!  Even still, we gained incredible encouragement from the hundreds of compliments and genuine praise for the Christmas music we were successful in sharing.  SO … we stepped it up another notch and bravely submitted the album to be considered for nomination for the Independent Music Awards “Concept album of the Year.”  So if THAT gets us good reviews, then maybe we can lay-off spamming all you guys and insisting that you share all these links to our music! LOL … but this announcement is pending the end of “winter.”  In the “worst case scenario,” I’ll keep my day job and Moriah stays in school.  But we won’t stop producing music and prodding you to share with all your friends that HERE (click link) you can download the MP3 album, D-D-Praz Christmas, or individual tracks.  Thanks 😉

From our sincerest Compassion and Joy, we Hope that you share amazement how we celebrate the virgin birth of an infant God, who became a man and willingly gave up His earthly existence.  This forever changed our relationship to Him – from absolute depravity and separation from our Creator, to an indwelling relationship with Peace, Comfort, Power, Love, and Wisdom for all who choose to Love Him.  Yes we celebrate:  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with THE angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”  When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

Luke 2:13-15

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