Boston’s Hidden Musical Talents

Perry Eaton is a co-founder of Allston Pudding, a Boston music website that won Best Music Blog at the 2011 Boston Music Awards, has been nominated again for the same title for 2012 and Eaton has a standing relationship with The Bowery Presents, all at the age of 23. After growing up in Boston and attending local Boston shows all his life, it is a perfect job for him. Because who knows Boston music better than a kid who has been surrounded by it all his life?

But writing was never his first choice. “I always wanted to be in a really good band,” Eaton said, but it never happened due to a “lack of exerting myself and not finding the right people. So I decided to just write about music instead.” But he has certainly made a name for himself in Boston as a music writer. Besides his website, Allston Pudding, his pieces are featured in the popular Boston magazine, The Phoenix.

Allston Pudding is mainly a local Boston-based music website created by Perry and two of his friends from Boston University. Eaton, Daniel Schiffer and Jarrett Carr decided to move in together while they were undergraduates together at BU and “it was just a situation where we were halfway through school, I didn’t have a major and weren’t involved in anything,” Eaton said. “All we liked doing was going to shows on weekends.” Eaton calls himself the “journey man” when referring to his undergrad days at BU. He said, “I had like six different majors.” So, to combat their feelings of disorientation, they decided to start Allston Pudding.

With such a diverse and talented group of three men, they didn’t need any start up money. “It worked out well,” Perry said. “The three of us have different skills: I was the writer, Carr did the graphic design and he built website, Schiffer is the marketer and he takes a PR/ marketing angle to kind of get it to people.” They combined skills and only had to use a little money from their own pockets, Eaton said, and in the end they saved a ton of money from not having to pay to attend shows anymore because they are now considered press.

“I had a blog before,” Eaton recalled. “In high school not enough of my friends were into music,” so “when I was 15 I did a stupid blog called Perry’s Picks.” As a result, he said, his “friends started listening to the music and it was awesome.” The free shows and interviews were the biggest perks for Eaton, who added, “It was a lot easier than I had imagined.”

But it’s not only the free stuff they care about. It’s easy to tell Eaton is also really proud of helping out local bands. “It’s good,” he said, “because were giving a lot of bands publicity who wouldn’t get publicity otherwise.” One of the goals for Allston Pudding is to actually see how they can get Boston bands out of Boston, which they think they can help with by expanding their website to national coverage. “The three of us have always talked about expanding to other cities,” said Carr. “Two years ago that seemed quite farfetched, but with the end of school coming up for me, it doesn’t seem so unrealistic.”

Having connections with The Bowery Presents is also incredibly helpful for accomplishing this. Eaton was lucky enough to intern with the company that runs music venues their first year in Boston. “The Bowery is helping us out in various ways,” Eaton said. Among other things, the company helps eaton, Carr and Schiffer get into shows by cutting out the red tape, which means Allston Pudding contributors can go to more shows.

Eaton expressed a somewhat reciprocal relationship between Allston Pudding and The Bowery Presents saying Allston Pudding helps The Bowery with booking and promoting shows, while Allston Pudding receives some advertising money in return. Eaton admits it’s only a small amount but expresses nothing but gratitude for everything The Bowery Presents has done for them as a growing music website.

Carr also expresses how much they owe to social media. “I’ll be one of the first to admit that Allston Pudding probably wouldn’t exist without the online community that sites like Facebook and Twitter have helped garner,” said Carr. “It’s great because social media has developed businesses into communities in which the user is now able to contribute to.” Eaton, who controls the Facebook page, said they mostly just repost the things they post on the website, but the information is easier to share on Facebook where they have accumulated 2,123 likes.

Allston Pudding is also on Twitter, with 1,597 followers, Instagram and Tumblr, but Schiffer controls all of those according to Eaton. “Up until recently, social media marketing is the only outward marketing we’ve done,” said Schiffer, “now we’re doing outreach to student groups, throwing events, and working with other organizations but I suspect that social media will remain one of our main marketing focuses for a while.” Schiffer also contributes their online success to their demographic, which they happen to be part of as well.

While national expansion may be in Allston Pudding’s future, for right now they are going through a big redesign which Carr, “the design extraordinaire” as Eaton called him, is working on. “Since I developed the site from scratch there are always little things to change here and there,” said Carr. He also works on all of the website design for Allston Pudding, created their logo, and the design that’s featured on the Allston Pudding sweatshirts. Surprisingly, the sweatshirts they sell on Allstonpudding.com bring in a good percentage of the money they earn from the website, but it isn’t much Eaton said.

They each hold a side job on top of running Allston Pudding. Eaton works at the YMCA in Newtown helping underprivileged teens, Schiffer has a part-time marketing job and Carr is still in school at North Carolina State for one more year.

Despite their other responsibilities, it seems they will continue to dabble in many things in order to expand the website further. “We’ve recently been into throwing shows, which have been a lot of fun and seem to have a pretty immediate effect on the community,” said Carr. According to Eaton, they are also working on putting together a New Year’s show.

Berklee American Roots Music Program SlideshowCafe 939

Fans Disliked That MIA was…M.I.A.

The persuasive abilities of fans astounds me! After being bombarded on twitter, MIA, the artist who gave everyone the middle finger at the Super Bowl last year, sent out a new song via e-mail. Now here is an incentive to bother every musician out there for new music! This is also incentive to become a fan of every artist you want to hear new music from! Maybe you could be the next fan who receives an exclusive track by email.

But this spawns an entire new way for musicians to interact with their fans. If all fans need to do is harass their idols on twitter for new material, the people who are actually paid to do that by agencies could potentially be entirely cut out of the picture…maybe? Or maybe this will encourage artists to produce more work. In any case, its pretty revolutionary to have an artist emailing fans new music before it’s even leaked on the website. But then again, MIA isn’t the most conventional.

Storify

Using Storify was fascinating! I really like being able to pull information together from many different places. However, using it for Milan Fashion Week was interesting because I wasn’t sure exactly how to place the information. Since Fashion Weeks are kind of disorganized in the first place, I decided to organize my Storify by topic, rather than breaking news or the order of fashion shows. Considering this was not a news story, I figured it would be okay to put my own spin on it and so, I only featured my favorite designers and looks from Milan Fashion Week rather than have only one or two posts about each show.

My Storify!

Josh Stearns on Storify

I have to admit Storify is one of the really great tools to come out of social media, especially after listening to Josh Stearns, from Free Press, talk about his 2011 Storify of the Year. His Storify that won is called “Tracking Journalist Arrests at Occupy Protests Around the Country”, and he was capable of drawing information from various social media outlets to portray the disturbing treatment journalists were receiving. He explained to us, once something it posted to Storify it is archived there, and cannot be deleted, which was one of his difficulties while picking information to put on the Storify. He ran into multiple people who had deleted their posts from their own social media outlets, but they were still archived on his Storify.  Ultimately he decided he wouldn’t delete the posts because, as he said, people should learn to censor themselves, which I agree with. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!

I also agree with Stearns in that it is fantastic that stories can be arranged and then rearranged based on breaking news and/or incoming information. However, I think it does pose problems because stories can then become slightly skewed, which Stearns also touched on when he said its hard to balance the author’s voice versus the real social content. But then again, considering people can comment or share on Storifys I suppose this can be counteracted.

I completely agree that Storify will become a major media tool for journalists in the future, much more so than Twitter. Considering posts can be archived, which can be very useful in capturing someone saying something they shouldn’t be saying, and create a very clear picture of newsworthy stories in the order of events; Storify’s will probably end up on most newspaper websites for every major occurrence around the world.

Dream of Music…Literally.

Tablet put together a sort of well curated list of hotels for music lovers, so I had to share! Not that I agree with all of them, but here they are…

Nhow Berlin, in well…Berlin, Germany, boasts two recording studios on the premises. Personally, I think this is pretty cool! Berlin has turned into a pretty hip, artistic city from what I’ve gathered so it’s also a brilliant marketing strategy! Inside, it’s incredibly colorful and uniquely modern, thanks to design pro Karim Rashid. The only picture I found to be different than this design aesthetic is this one, and my personal favorite:

Image

Located in West Hollywood in Los Angeles, CA, the Sunset Marquis Hotel has been newly renovated and is apparently very private. Its bar, uniquely named Bar 1200, is reported so strict with admission it only accepts the rich and famous. The more I read about this hotel, the more I think pretentious, and so not rock & roll, but it’s on the list probably because it appeals to mainstream artists and music industry buffs.

As for The Clarence in Dublin, Ireland, well, it happens to be owned by Bono and the Edge of U2. If that doesn’t make it pretty awesome, I don’t know what else does. But again, this seems to appeal more to the music industry people and actors rather than the common folk, with a grand piano located in the penthouse suite. However, as Tablet points out, “The owners have never been much for hedonistic rock star excess…” [this is] more of the sort of place you’d chat with your writer friends than dance on tabletops.”

The Setai in Miami, Florida is an eight-story art deco building located on the beach and surrounded by palm trees. Inside, the only word I can think of using is zen, with its muted, dark colors. Apparently the rooms are so over the top, they top most of the other Miami Beach hotels. Again, I find myself wondering why this hotel is on this list, but it is!

The Alexis Hotel Seattle in Seattle, Washington is a boutique hotel, which is surprisingly not boutique-y! But, it’s apparently the specialty suites that are the most incredible, probably because each is inspired by Seattle’s art community. My personal favorite would most likely be the Experience Music Project suite, which features blown-up black and white concert photos and album covers all over the walls. Pretty sweet!!

Can you see Jamaica without Reggae? Exactly. No. So, the Geejam in Port Antonio, Jamaica is a beautiful fit. Beginning as a recording studio, it hasn’t grown too much since with only seven units. It’s location is incredibly low-key: it’s closer to the beaches than the nightlife of Port Antonio.

Located in one of the epicenters of indie-rock, Hotel Saint Cecilia in Austin, Texas, also boasts a vinyl library. (Instantly making this another place I must stay.) The place seems to be nothing but hip on the inside. And I think this can express its awesomeness more so than my words:

Image

The Ellington Hotel also in Berlin, Germany, is named after Duke Ellington the Jazz great. ‘nough said. It’s “golden-age elegance” spans 285 rooms, and the local Jazz station sets up shop by the bar each night for guests listening pleasure.

The Hotel Opera in Madrid, Spain is conveniently located right across the street from the Royal Opera, but besides that and the singing waiters, its not much of a musically inclined hotel.

And finally, the Ace Hotel New York in, yours truly’s beloved city, New York, NY. I’m sold on this one with the vintage turntables and the library adorned with vinyl alone. But this is THE hotel to go to if you’re simply “rock & roll”. It features vintage, refurbished furniture and you can’t go wrong with the lobby bar, which has definitely made a name for itself amongst the hipsters.

Pictures and referenced article courtesy of Tablet Hotels

BostInno

I think BostInno is definitely part of the new wave of journalism! I know a few of the other websites I regularly check started in one city and then ventured out into others. It’s a great way to accumulate money, rather than just starting big. I also found Mr. Garbarino’s presentation on his other projects intriguing! The fact he basically came up with Pinterest is quite incredible! I also liked how he kept drilling it into us that if ever want to get anything done we need to be persistent and not give up. His idea on mentioning companies/ people in articles in order to get some funding or just a meeting from them is great advice as well. I really dislike that he named the section called channels, “channels”. Personally, I have no idea what else it would be called, but I definitely think someone should figure out a new name for it! Also, I’m not crazy about their layout. I find it very tabloid-y! There is just so much going on on the page. Despite this, I think the website will do well with expansion because it covers many audiences and interests in one place, which is what people want.

A Branded Oktoberfest, Called Octoberfest!

For my event I covered Sam Adams Octoberfest on Friday evening. It was interesting to tweet from because while they didn’t have much an itinerary for the night, but instead had stations guests could float freely between.  Walking in, the staff put a sticker on everyone’s shirt and handed everyone 3 drink tickets, a list of beers on tap, a beer tasting journal, and a stein already filled with beer. I was then let out into a giant hall with long tables in the middle to sit at. I didn’t realize the sicker they put on my shirt had a beer on it, and suddenly someone ran up to me and shouted, “you’re my match!” After I was dragged to a table in the back, I realized we had to find our beer match in order to get a Oktoberfest hat. I still find this awesome because it forced people to talk to other people and make friends. They then had a pretzel tossing game, make your own pretzel necklace station, and a beer tasting station. So while I was able to tweet about the things occurring at the stations, and just generally around the event, there wasn’t really any “news” to report. However, they did have a huge screen in the room screening tweets that “hash-tagged” samOfest, which I found interesting!

If this was a newsworthy event, I can’t imagine being able to say everything I would want to in a tweet. I feel as though it would undermine the situation, unless it was just referencing the news story. After this, I think it is more of a PR tool than a news tool. I think it’s good for posting pictures and getting out event information, but not about important things that may be occurring.

https://twitter.com/TessaFain