Interview with David Wimble, Author of The Independent Musician's Contact Bible
[MuzikMan] Big question to start things off David-Can you tell me where you come from and what experiences brought you to where you are today?
David Wimble Iím from Ottawa, Ontario Canada. Itís just above upstate New York. Itís a beautiful clean and very safe city that is actually the capital of our country. Iím still here, so whatever experience Iíve had in life, they havenít been profound enough to get me to move anywhere.
Actually, with the way the Internet is today, it doesnít matter a great deal where you work out of. Iím still very close to the northeastern U.S., where many music conferences take place, so I drive there, and any shows that I have to fly to (ie: SXSW) Iíd have to fly to if
I was in New York or Los Angeles anyway.
[MuzikMan] How long have you been a musician and what kinds of instruments do you feel you have command of?
David Wimble I certainly donít have command of any instrument. I use the guitar to write songs, but would be lost if I was asked to jam with anyone. I can play the basic chords, and then some, but donít even consider myself a musician.
Iíve been writing and playing guitar since I was a teenager.
[MuzikMan] Your Indie Bible has been a huge success. How did that all start and why?
David Wimble I fulfilled my lifeís dream by recording a CD a few years ago. Just as we were getting ready to finish building the band, and then tour around and sell some CDs, we imploded, and broke up in a manner that was irreparable. So, there I was, with a closet full of CDs, and no band to help me promote them. One thought was to build a new band and then promote the CD, but it occurred to me that the same thing could happen again, and Iíd be back to square one.
I decided to keep working at my job (high-tech) at the time, and find some places to promote the music (get reviews, and maybe some radio airplay). I went on the Internet to see if there were any local stations that might play Independent music, and found a few. Then I wondered if maybe other stations outside my city would do the same? I did some more research and found there were many. I continued on looking for reviewers, and then eventually vendors that would sell my CD for me. My database kept getting larger and larger.
I kept accumulating information for months, and contacted these people that I would find on the Internet. I started to get some reviews for my CD, and radio airplay here and there. During the whole time, I wished I could find a single resource Ė a directory that would have all these sorts of places Iím looking for listed. There were lots of different directories and books, but nothing really targeted to an Independent musician or songwriter that just wants to get exposure for their music. I actually bought a few of the resources I found advertised on the Internet and was very disappointed when they arrived.
After about a year of research, the idea came to me to publish a small resource that other musicians in my position could benefit from. I ran the idea by a few musicians, and they loved it. So, I went for it.
As I accumulated information for the Indie Bible, I realized that I could not succeed if I censored the book according to what I thought was tasteful or not, and certainly could not limit its scope by including only the styles of music that I liked. Every style had to be included if I was to succeed.
I continued to research throughout all genres for another 8 months or so, and finally in October of 1999, the 1st Edition of The Indie Bible was born.
[MuzikMan] Do you feel most artists need the guidance and resources that your contact bible provides to be successful marketing their music? Canít anyone do the research you have and get results? Or do you feel it is a matter of having the time and patience to actually look?
David Wimble Anyone that is serious about getting his or her music out there and heard cannot do without the Indie Bible. There are THOUSANDS of hours of research put into this book. Itís a real insult when someone looks at it and says something like "Itís just a bunch of Internet sites". Thatís like opening the phone book and saying, "Itís just a bunch of names and phone numbers", as if someone whipped it together in an afternoon. Anyone that has tried to find places to promote their music knows how painfully long a process it is.
For a very small investment, the Indie Bible can show you where the places are (the sections are broken down by genre of music and then by geographic location) that you can best expose your music. You can invest your limited hours into contacting these places, rather than spend those hours trying to find them. Iíve already found them for you. The bulk of the work is done!
[MuzikMan] How many copies of the guide did you sell your first year in publication and how many in the year 2000? Iíll bet there is a big difference!
David Wimble I think the first year I sold about 1000. Last year wasnít a lot more, but in the range of 4000. The 2nd Edition was the first edition to be sold throughout North American in book and music stores, but the distribution process took a long time to take hold. With the new 3rd Edition, the distribution process is in place and I now also have over 80 sites selling the book over the Internet. Iím hoping to sell in the neighborhood of 10,000 copies this year. It may be a lot more. As your readers can tell by the cover, itís a totally new look. Famous poster artist Bob Masse did the cover design, and the book is now like a large music book (9" by 12"). Most will recognize Bobís art. You may not be able to pinpoint where, but youíll know that you have seen his style before. Heís been doing poster art since the 60s.
I also have a new section, which contains 33 articles from industry professionals that are sure to help any career. The articles cover all sorts of topics from marketing & promoting to stage fright. Many articles are by well-known authors such as Daylle Schwartz, Diane Rapaport, Tim Sweeney, Janet Fisher, Harriet Schock and Jeri Goldstein.
Iím VERY excited about where the book is now. Thereís also a new section for WOMEN in MUSIC and another new section for CHRISTIAN MUSIC that are sure to attract a lot of attention.
[MuzikMan] Has the response from fellow artists been positive and encouraging?
David Wimble The feedback right from the beginning has been absolutely amazing! Not only from artists that have bought the book, but also from many of those in the industry that have taken a look at a copy. Many of these well known companies are among those now selling the book from their site: garagebands.com, CD Baby, CD Street, Indie-Music, DISK MAKERS, mi2n, Zebra Music etc.
[MuzikMan] Have you given any thought to offering the book on CD-ROM with other extras such as ads or sound clips?
David Wimble Thanks to a partnership with DISC MAKERS, the 3rd Edition is available on CD-ROM. I only sell these from the various music conferences I go to. For those that purchase an electronic version from my site, itís sent immediately by e-mail. Itís essentially the same format Ė a .pdf file.
[MuzikMan] What is your ultimate goal with the publication? For instance, did you have a five-year plan before you got started, or have you taken one day at a time?
David Wimble The ultimate goal with the publication is to get the resource well known enough that itís considered an industry standard Ė a book that any songwriter or musician setting out with their music MUST have in order to be realistic about achieving their dreams.
Iím certainly not there yet, but I think Edition Three is going to put me closer to that goal than ever before. Countless people drop by when Iím at music conferences telling me that they see the book EVERYWHERE on the Internet. Itís just a matter of having the book out there so that people can browse through it and immediately see the benefits. This will be accomplished to a greater degree by my attending more music conferences and the better distributionÖ. along with the new size and cover.
[MuzikMan] Was it difficult to market yourself and your product and first? I would be willing to bet it was easier for you because you already had a network in place because of your experience in the music industry.
David Wimble It was painfully slow. At first I didnít have anyone that was even remotely considered a contact. The book itself actually drew people my way. I started out absolutely flat-footed, with no direction at all. Thatís why Iím especially proud of the progress Iíve made over the last few years. I now have a network of hundreds of people that I communicate with to varying degrees. Early supporters that helped me immensely to gain exposure were author Daylle Schwartz, Holly Figueroa of Indiegrrl, Derek Sivers of CD Baby, Carolyn Ballen of the Indie Music Forum and Suzanne Glass of Indie-Music. Without the support of these people, I would not have survived the first year.
[MuzikMan] What are your thoughts on the Internet and all the controversy regarding copyright issues?
David Wimble I know first hand what it feels like to have someone outright steal your web pages and use them on their site. That happened to me a year or so ago. Itís a very eerie feeling when that happens.
As far as the music goes, I think itís all going to work its way out in the wash. Napster, or any of the technology that it has spawned is never going away. There are several Napster clones now, so itís foolish to think that "piracy" is going to stop, whether it be because of regulations that are set in place, or anti-piracy file formats.
I guess Iím just watching like everyone else. The majors are getting their digital downloading technologies in gear, so thatís immanent. I find it kind of sad when they buy up places like MP3.com. Itís like a bastardization of the whole Independent movement. They wait for someone to succeed to a safe level, and then move in with a big handful of money. Itís pretty childish, but I guess itís good business.
[MuzikMan] What kind of music do you prefer to listen to at your leisure? Is there any particular genre that you feel has made major strides in development recently?
David Wimble I often listen to classical music just to mellow out. New Age stuff too. I find it easier on the nerves when Iím spending hours and hours on the Internet researching for the next edition. As far as major strides go, itís hard to say. I deal with musicians and music people across the board. Hip Hop is certainly still exploding. Many sites that were once mainstream or some other format have become a Hip Hop site. Itís huge all over the world Ė not just the US.
[MuzikMan] Is there anything that you would like to add to our conversation that I did not cover before we close?
David Wimble You covered most of the important bases. Iíll just mention again that the Indie Bible is available in many book and music stores across the US and Canada. I donít know the names of a lot of the chains or particular stores, but I do know that it is carried in Sam Ash, Mars Music and the Guitar Center.
I also have a FREE monthly newsletter that I send out (Keith is aware of it because he does a monthly CD review in each edition). There are new listings each month where artists can get exposure for their music. This will give you an idea of what the Indie Bible is about. You can also visit www.indiebible.com and check out the Sample Page, which displays what some of the listings look like. To sign up for the newsletter, just send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and write "newsletter" in the subject area.
Thanks again Keith for your support!