Interview with Chris Bracco
First and foremost, who is Chris Bracco?
-I'm a man that loves music, running, snowboarding, guitar, marketing, and web design.
Describe your career as a musician.
It wasn't much of one, to be quite honest. I was a trumpet player from elementary school through high school, and switched over to guitar my junior year to start a band with a few of my lifelong friends. We played tons of shows in the tri-state area, amassed a (very small) following, and landed some decent gigs at places like The Stone Pony, Six Flags, and Starland Ballroom. Once college came around, the high school band slowly dissolved, and I jammed with a couple cover bands while I was up at Penn State. Now, I just play guitar in my free time and jam whenever I can get a bunch of people in the same room together.
You are in charge of a flourishing blog called Tight Mix Blog. Describe the joy that you get from putting together informative posts? The creation of Tight Mix Blog occurred because...
I started Tight Mix back in 2007 while I was still in college. I had become fascinated with all of the confusion and uncertainty in the music industry at the time, and studied blogs like Music Think Tank pretty religiously. The posts were way more insightful and though-provoking back then. And since I was reading up on all of this stuff, I wanted to use my blog to rant and post about topics that I found to be most important or interesting.
In May 2010, I decided to break off from the WordPress.com servers and snag my own .com, and things took off after a few short months! Now I have a pretty steady group of followers reading my blog, and I'm just happy that indie musicians find my posts to be helpful.
Describe working for Intrigue Music...
I started working with Intrigue in June 2010, it was my first job after graduation and I'm still here! They hired me as their digital marketing manager, and that title has been stretched and morphed several times since I was brought on board. I began by developing digital strategies for our artists, and executed these plans as best I could (just out of college, so I still had a very small network in the music industry). I also took it upon myself to re-learn web design and create all of our artists new websites, which is always step one in any digital strategy as far as I'm concerned. This took up a huge chunk of my time, and I ended up just creating artist websites for a long while.
Then, the company moved its offices up to Portland, Maine, and started a niche music & film magazine called Dispatch Magazine. I designed the website, and have become heavily involved in the web stuff surrounding the magazine. Portland is an incredibly musical town (its sometimes referred to as "Baby Brooklyn"), and we all just dived into the scene headfirst. We've made some great connections and friends, and are pumped to release our third issue in January 2012.
My co-workers are all really awesome, hyper-creative people so there's rarely a dull moment in the office. The lime green walls help keep things lively, too. :)
Recently I read an eBook from you called How to REALLY Get Your Music on Blogs and I must say I was impressed at the wealth of knowledge that is presented. What was the purpose of writing the eBook and what did you want to present?
When I was interning during college with Ariel Publicity & Cyber PR, this became my world. I really just figured it would be a nice way to get my blog some recognition, while sharing my experiences while promoting artists for a professional PR company. I offered the e-book as a free download for the first year, and now anyone can purchase an updated copy directly from my blog, for the stupidly low price of $2.99.
In the book you talk about the power of Email Subject Lines. Should artists/musicians have an agency or professionals handle their PR efforts?
It definitely depends. Every artist is different, and they all have different goals, priorities, and interests. Some like to control everything, and others just care about the music. Some want international stardom, and others are psyched to play in front of 50 people. If the former, then it's probably best to hire professionals who have the network available to make that happen.
All it really takes to get started is great (and I mean fantastic) music, and motivated bunch of people interested in pushing that music forward. An artist could handle it all him/herself, but that would require an extremely hard-working individual. Also, the music can suffer if an artist spends too much time on the business, so the artist has to be careful about how he/she balances creativity and business. But it is totally possible. Look at Jonathan Coulton, for instance.
List 5 common misconceptions regarding Email Marketing.
1) It's easy.
2) Recipients will open my e-mail and read it all the way through.
3) Bloggers aren't busy, and will therefore respond without me having to follow up.
4) Sending a vanilla, generic mass e-mail will do just fine.
5) Using BCC is not important, right?
What are three social media sites that all musicians should have?
In order of importance...
I have noticed that a lot of musicians have websites yet they are not updated on a regular basis. What are the disadvantages of having old content on a website?
If you're an artist with a website and you aren't keeping it fresh and interesting, then you are wasting your hard-earned money. Your website is home base, the end of the funnel that you should be sending your fans through from all the different social media profiles and press coverage you receive. If a fan visits your website and cannot figure out how to listen to music, purchase it, join your e-mail list, or scan news/blog updates in less than 7 seconds, then your website is pretty much useless. They will turn right around and leave.
How can the masses get in contact with you?
I am active on Twitter (@cbracco), so sending me a reply is probably the quickest way to get a response out of me.
Any final thoughts?
If you're in the Nova Scotia area, I'll be doing my first public speaking event at Nova Scotia Music Week on November 4, 2011 about blog promotion. Come down and say hello. If not, that's cool too. Either way, if you're an artist who has an anti-social media, anti-Internet attitude, please know that you are doing your career a great disservice by not getting involved. Embrace new technology, because without it there would be no music in the first place.