Kerchoonz' Hardest Working Bands: Donna Marie, Helicopter Girl & The Fortunate Sons
Four top bands were invited to perform at the House of Rock Studios in Glasgow, UK after participating in the Kerchoonz Live Sessions contest

By MusicDish [03-20-2009]

This month, four top bands - Donna Marie, Helicopter Girl, Darnell and The Fortunate Sons - were invited to perform at the House of Rock Studios in Glasgow, UK after participating in the Kerchoonz Live Sessions December download/streams contest "to find the hardest working unsigned acts on the circuit." In addition to earning a "substantial amount of money" for their plays and downloads on Kerchoonz throughout the month of December, the bands were invited to perform at the 'House Of Rock' studios in Glasgow for an 'invite only' audience.

We took the opportunity to chat with winning bands about the secret to their online success and attitudes to artist compensation. You can read the full interview with Darnell here.

What was the secrets to your success on Kerchoonz?

The Fortunate Sons
[The Fortunate Sons] Kerchoonz sort of found us randomly in the hills of northern Italy (not really the sort of place you would think!). We were doing a few dates out there and our Italian host started talking about this revolutionary music website which financially supported bands. Upon our return home, we quickly signed up and the rest as they say is history.

How was it playing the 'House Of Rock' studios? Any good back or on-stage anecdotes/stories?

[The Fortunate Sons] The 'House Of Rock' setting was really intimate with dim lighting and candles all around. We were in the middle of performing of a new song called 'Walk on Fire' and I was bashing a tambourine with my foot, when my foot slipped and smashed the candle holder leaving a sprawling flame rolling out toward the camera's and igniting the floor. I'm surprised I was allowed to stay! It was certainly the right song choice!

[Donna Marie] Everyone involved did a great job, lots of hard work had gone into the first Kerchoonz live event! I feel very humbled to have won the competition. Ian Morrow has a great studio. It was cool to see all the platinum records on the wall! He has produced so many albums that I listened to when I was younger. Quite surreal at times.

Obviously, you've build an active fanbase before joining Kerchoonz. What is your general approach to online marketing? Have you had similar successes in generating traffic and/or getting paid on other sites?

Donna Marie

[Donna Marie] A few months ago, I recorded a new EP and uploaded it exclusively to Kerchoonz. This meant that the people who wanted my latest EP needed had to sign up to Kerchoonz, after which they get my music for free as a kind of 'Thank You' for their support.

[The Fortunate Sons] We find that without lots of money, large scale promotion and marketing is very difficult. We do make contact with friends on our network sites like MySpace and now Kerchoonz to inform them that we're playing in their area.

[Helicopter Girl] On my MySpace page, which has grown to nearly 18,000 friends, I answer all messages personally. It's an ever growing phenomenon which can unravel as you participate in it. I don't know whether I have A general approach. I would just say that being polite and staying organised is the way forward.

The Internet has changed the way we market and distribute music. But has it changed the way you approach creating music?

[The Fortunate Sons] When you have a large group of fans with which you can interact, you realise how diverse your own fans are. I guess this allows a free artistic licence to work with your own influences and not conform to a generic sound that a larger label might demand from you. We also get an idea of what songs people prefer and use that information to decide where we want to go next.

[Donna Marie] Fans of my music have been really supportive from the beginning and I feel that I have really progressed and grown into my own style.

How exactly do you interact with your fans on a site like Kerchoonz? What tools have been most effective in communicating with your fans? Does it sometimes become a little overwhelming?

[Donna Marie] Kerchoonz is pretty easy when it comes to keeping in touch with people. Emails, comments, blogs and bulletins are great little tools. I also upload new songs and demos from time to time. I think that this helps keep peoples' interest in my music so they come back often to my page and check for the latest news.

[Helicopter Girl] Based on Helicopter Girl's online interaction with people over the years, I would say that the vast majority are most likely to log on just to listen or download, whilst a smaller minority will contact you regularly with feedback, questions or even just a 'hi! how are you?' It is very varied. I keep my interactions to emails and comments so as not prevent me from also writing.

In the U.S., recording artists are lobbying Congress to get paid for the use of their music by conglomerates like Clear Channel. Most social networking sites like MySpace or YouTube grew on the back of musicians and other creators without compensating them. Do you think that artists should demand compensation or be content with the exposure they receive? How did it feel to actually get paid by Kerchoonz?

Helicopter Girl

[Helicopter Girl] I believe that if anyone is putting in work, they should receive compensation. At the same time, we must also be aware of things they offer that are a real plus for artists, such as the exposure. Having said that, it was lovely to receive a payment from Kerchoonz.

[Donna Marie] I think if companies are making money from artists, then it is only fair for the artists to get paid. Personally speaking, it costs me a small fortune playing so many gigs, traveling, promoting music, pressing CDs and paying for session musicians,... It isn't cheap. It's an expensive business and a lot of work goes into everything that I do. Getting paid by Kerchoonz was a lovely bonus. I bought myself a nice new valve microphone with my prize money - the bottle of champagne Kerchoonz gave each winner was a lovely touch.

[The Fortunate Sons] I don't think we can demand compensation from these sites. These sites have been a great way to get exposure all over the world and had they not existed, we may not be touring countries such as Italy, Germany and Spain. However, now that a site has been created which pays the artist, hopefully the industry will catch up and artists will be rewarded for the traffic they generate.


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