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by Brian Penick 09.16.2013
 
 
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Guest Blog: Musicians' Desk Reference Debuts at MPMF

Editor's Note: Brian Penick of local music promotions company The Counter Rhythm Group has been guest blogging for CityBeat monthly to provide a behind-the-scenes look at his journey to release his interactive industry eBook, Musicians’ Desk Reference. Click here for his previous blog entries.

Enough with the chitchat — let’s get down to business.

For those of you that have been reading/following/listening/talking about Musicians’ Desk Reference over the past several months, you might still have questions, and that is OK. At times throughout this process I have even found myself taking a step back to consider what exactly I am doing. 

In reality, that is what this entire project is about — questioning. Specifically, it's about the questions artists inevitably are faced with in the music industry. You should question it all, everything, all the time. That where this idea came from and, frankly, how I live my life. And I would say it is working out pretty well.

But the time for questions is over — so let’s see some answers.

What is Musicians’ Desk Reference? It’s a music industry progression eBook. What does that mean? It is an online platform (website) that helps artists work through common scenarios in the music industry, such as starting out, recording, promoting, touring and building a team. It is a time management system that conforms to your schedule and your level of interest. There is even a tool that builds documentation for you, in addition to the packaging, including several useful items, such as paper stock and labels for at-home printing. 

This platform is designed for everyone — from beginners to professionals, and all those in between. You don’t like reading? That’s fine; you can adjust it to recall very minimal information. You like reading thousands of lines worth of information? Well, friend, you’re in luck. Click away on our lists and just let us know you’re okay a few months after filling your head with useful and practical information. If you are a musician that is interested in furthering your career to any degree — from a local to a national level — this eBook is for you.

Where did this come from? Me, actually. I am a musician and have been for half my life. I have spent years in vans, trailers, buses, airplanes, trains and even on boats playing original music all over the world. I have always been fascinated with the music industry and how it works, always wondering why things happened the way that they do.

This fascination led me start The Counter Rhythm Group, an artist development/marketing/event promotion company — built by artists, for artists — offering assistance groups that are younger and newer than ones traditionally serviced. TCRG has worked to develop a range of artists, from those that are still just starting out to some that you can hear on commercial radio stations, all over the course of almost three years. When the requests outnumbered the amount of work we could handle, I decided to build a public platform based on our actual working models. Fast-forward to the present day and you have Musicians’ Desk Reference.

We have worked tirelessly for months (beyond the almost two years of development) building a robust product that is jam-packed with information for the user and I can honestly say that we are still impressed, even after staring at it for hours on end. We’ve even been testing the specifics on a young Cincinnati-based band called PUBLIC, and we are proud to say that things are going very well.

The best part is that the wait is almost over. I am very excited to announce that Musicians’ Desk Reference will be available exclusively to the Cincinnati market at CityBeat’s Midpoint Music Festival, three weeks ahead of the national launch in New York City at the CMJ Music Marathon. 

Hear that, Cincinnati? We love you so much that we are giving you the opportunity to have this in your hands well before anyone else does.

What’s that? You want more? All right! 

We are also partnering with the fine folks at Midpoint Music Festival as a sponsor, offering a complimentary full version of the eBook to all showcasing artists. That’s right, you play and it’s yours! But what if you did not get selected to the festival but still want a copy? We will be on-hand all three days at our sponsorship tent— located at the MidPoint Midway Stage at Twelfth and Vine streets (right next to the MPMF box office) — selling the eBook for 25% off its regular retail price. We will also be presenting live demos of the site with the development team available for questions.

I could not be more proud of the work that has gone into this project and I am forever in debt to the dedicated folks that have been behind me from the start (including CityBeat music guy Mike Breen — someone please give that man a gift basket full of money for all he does for the Cincinnati music scene). (Editor's note #2: Large, unmarked bills only, please.)

We really hope to level the playing field in the music industry with Musicians’ Desk Reference, educating artists and helping them to build a strong foundation to work from. We all have a similar goal for success in mind, however we define it, and I want this project to give every individual that chance.

As artists, let’s take pride in our actions and help our peers. Let’s step away from the competitive mentality and work together instead of against each other. Let’s form a music community and celebrate the opportunities that are available to us. This is our industry and this is our time. Musicians’ Desk Reference: Empowering Artists to Progress Through the Modern Music Industry.

Here is an introductory video for MDR's release:


 
 
by Mike Breen 11.08.2013
 
 
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WATCH: The MidPoint Sessions featuring The Ridges

Queen City Project release first video from MidPoint Music Festival day party

Besides the official music showcases at September’s MidPoint Music Festival, the 12th annual fest featured the most (and best) “satellite events” in MPMF history. These “unofficial” happenings — ranging from “day parties” to various musical presentations, like the free performances at Findlay Market — greatly added to the electricity MPMF brought to Downtown and Over-the-Rhine. It showed what can happen when creative people get into the MPMF spirit and try to come up with clever ways to add to it. 


Some of the best examples of this were found just off the MidPoint Midway area at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, where programmers of the school’s gallery (with presenters Fotofocus) decided to run an exhibit of live music photography by area photographers called Reverberation: Capturing the Live Music Experience during the fest, to capitalize on all of the music lovers flooding the streets of OTR. (Click here to read CityBeat's feature about the exhibit.)


Adding another layer of collaborative coolness to the proceedings was “The MidPoint Sessions,” intimate performances by four Ohio musical acts held at the photography exhibit on the Saturday afternoon of the festival. The great Athens, Ohio, Indie/Orchestral Folk ensemble The Ridges performed and curated the rest of the Ohio-centric lineup, which also included Cincinnati’s Molly Sullivan and The Happy Maladies, plus Columbus’ Indigo Wild. 


The MidPoint Sessions were filmed by The Queen City Project, a local organization that has set out to creatively document some of the interesting and unique things going on in contemporary Cincinnati. Here’s an entertaining, quick-cut look at MidPoint through QCP’s lens:

Queen City Project :: Midpoint Music Festival 2013 from the Queen City Project on Vimeo.

And we are thrilled to be able to share QCP’s first video from The MidPoint Sessions, featuring The Ridges. 

Queen City Project :: Midpoint Music Festival 2013 :: The Art Academy Sessions :: The Ridges from the Queen City Project on Vimeo.

Be sure to check CityBeat’s music blog every Friday over the three weeks as we unveil the rest of the Sessions series videos.


 
 
by Mike Breen 07.17.2013
 
 
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MidPoint Music Fest Meets Spotify (Playlist Update)

Third round of additions to this September's MPMF Spotify playlist now live

With last week's third round of announcements of artists confirmed for this September's MidPoint Music Festival, the official MPMF Spotify playlist has been updated. Check out newly-added tunes from just-announced artists Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Nicholas David, Snowmine, Vandaveer, Pure X, Young Empires, Helado Negr, Bear's Den, Gauntlet Hair and more below.

Stay tuned to MPMF's social media outlets and official website (and this here blog) for the latest fest news. Tickets are available now through CincyTicket.com here. MidPoint is also featured in Consequence of Sound's "Festival Outlook" here.

As has been the case with MPMF for the past few years, the closer we get to the fest, the more attention MPMF artists seem to get. This week, for example, the great music blog The Wild Honey Pie released its "Top 15 Albums of 2013 (So Far)" list, an entire THIRD of which consists of MidPoint 2013 performers (Kurt Vile, On an On, Foxygen, Daughter and Caveman). Smart peeps, those Wild Honey Pie folks!


 
 
by Mike Breen 08.31.2012
 
 
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Post-Fireworks Party Sunday at MOTR

Two stellar Ohio Indie bands perform free Labor Day eve show

If you still have the energy after ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the fireworks on the river Sunday night — or if you're avoiding them altogether because you hate crowds (I'll be live tweeting the TV broadcast of the fireworks for all you homebodies) — two great Ohio bands are performing for free at Over-the-Rhine club MOTR Pub immediately following the big booms.

The fireworks after-party kicks off with Columbus Indie Rock crew Indigo Wild, a crafty, eclectic band that has built a nice following in Cincy thanks to frequent performances in the area (band members live in both Cincinnati and Ohio's capital). Here's a fun music video for Indigo Wild's song "Rowboats," featured on the band's debut release, the If By Sea EP (which came out last year around this time; click here to listen or purchase).



Headlining the show are The Ridges, an Athens, Ohio-based Orchestral Indie Folk troupe that has also amassed a solid following in Cincinnati. The MidPoint Music Festival vets — who perform in different configurations, depending on which members are available (including string and horn players) — return to play MPMF.12 in a few weeks. The Ridges are currently prepping a full-length album (recorded here in Cincinnati), so fans may even get a few new songs at the MOTR show.

The group performed at this summer's MidPoint Indie Summer concert series on Fountain Square, where they did an interview with CityBeat's John Byrne for a cool video feature. Learn more about the band and hear a few snippets of music in the piece below. (You can view more videos from Byrne's Indie Summer video series here.)

 
 
by Mike Breen 09.24.2011
 
 
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Squeeze the Day: MPMF.11 Saturday!

Have fun at MidPoint on Friday? Did you temper your drinking habits and take care of your eardrums well enough to get back out there tonight? Below check out some audio/visual previews of a few of Saturday's best MidPoint Music Festival bets (read our previews off all of these acts and more at mpmf.com). And, again, feel free to pimp anyone we failed to mention in the comments below.

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by Mike Breen 06.14.2013
 
 
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MidPoint Music Festival 2013 Playlist Update

The unofficially official Spotify playlist featuring the artists booked so far for Cincinnati's 2013 MidPoint Music Festival has been updated with all of the artists announced for this September's festival so far. Dig around and explore, find your favorite new artists (you may even find an artist or two not mentioned in the first two lineup announcements) and start planning for what is looking to be the best MidPoint Music Fest yet, Sept.. 26-28 in the venues of beautiful Over-the-Rhine and Downtown Cincinnati.

Click here to grab your MPMF.13 tickets now.


 
 
by Mike Breen 05.10.2012
 
 
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MidPoint 2012 Submissions Deadline Tomorrow

Bands/performers interested in showcasing — y'all better hurry!

If you are a musician who has an act they'd like to showcase at this year's MidPoint Music Festival and you haven't submitted for consideration, you better get on it. Tomorrow is the final day submissions will be accepted.

Click here for details on how to submit an EPK for consideration.

In related news, the MidPoint Indie Summer concert series (which has it's own Wikipedia page!) returns every Friday on Fountain Square starting June 1. Expect lineup announcements soon. A certain amazing local Power Pop/Rock band has "hinted" they will be a part of the series this year. But you didn't hear it from me.

MidPoint has also posted some fresh artwork that you are encouraged to use to create your own "posters, clothes, or otherwise interesting and useful things." Get your base materials here and check out the design below.

 
 
by Mike Breen 09.15.2012
 
 
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Daily MPMFer: Grizzly Bear, Eclipse and More

The countdown to the 11th annual MidPoint Music Festival reaches 12 days

MPMF news and musings: The official MidPoint Music Festival guide (on the streets of Greater Cincinnati until Wednesday, then resurfacing when it's MPMF-time) included a few feature stories this year about some of the festival's bonus features and additions. Read Leyla Shokoohe's interview with MPMF main-man, CityBeat's own Dan McCabe, about the fest's dedication to Over-the-Rhine and new MPMF venues Washington Park and the Emery Theatre here.

And now, with the countdown down to just 12 days, here are our daily MidPoint Music Festival 2012 picks …

BIG SHOT
Grizzly Bear (Brooklyn, NY)
Indie Art Pop

When this year’s initial MPMF performers were announced, eclectic Brooklyn crew Grizzly Bear was by far the name that seemed to most excite fest-goers. The group’s eccentric mix of artsy arrangements, organic psychedelia and boundless experimentalism has been earning the fans an ever-increasing and loyal fanbase since their lysergic debut release in 2004. Though continually adventurous, the band’s sound has grown and matured with the size of its following — 2009’s Veckatimest debuted at No. 8 on Billboard’s album chart and seemingly made every single music critic in the world’s “Top 10 Best” list that year. Expect an even bigger response from critics and fans when Grizzly Bear finally unleashes the much-anticipated new release, Shields, released just prior to the band’s MPMF stop. There’s a very good chance one of MPMF.12’s biggest acts will be sporting a Top 10 album by the time they get to Washington Park (an MPMF first).
You'll Dig It If You Dig: Brian Wilson at his “off-the-meds” creative peak, listening to an “AM Gold” Soft Rock compilation and a Kraut Rock comp after drinking gallons of psychedelic mushroom tea.

Grizzly Bear headlines the Washington Park stage on Friday, Sept. 28 at 8:30 p.m. The band performed the lead-off track from its new Shields album, "Sleeping Ute," on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last night. Take a look/listen:



SLEEPER PICK
Rich Aucoin (Halifax, CAN)
Electro Pop

On his enthralling 2011 full-length, We’re All Dying to Live, Canadian musician Rich Aucoin decided he’d invite Canada to record with him. As a result, the album features over 500 musicians, whose teaming on Aucoin’s dynamic, funky and craftily constructed tracks makes Dying to Live sound like the Electro Disco party of the century. But it’s not just a mindless exercise in dancefloor stereotypes — there’s depth and nuance to Aucoin’s songwriting and layering that might not be noticeable initially. Unlike a lot of Dance acts, Aucoin’s music isn’t disposable fun — it’s essential and commands repeated listens.
Dig: ’80s Synth Pop, ’70s Disco, of Montreal, 4AD artists, Chic and Duran Duran in art school together.

Rich Aucoin performs at Below Zero Lounge on Thursday, Sept. 27, at 11 p.m. Here is the hour-long film created to sync up with We're All Dying to Live (plus, of course, the full album for a free preview listen).

Rich Aucoin - We're All Dying To Live :: Public Publication EP / Over The Top! LP from Sonic Entertainment Group on Vimeo.

LOCAL LOCK PICK
Eclipse (Cincinnati, OH)
Hip Hop/Jazz/Funk/Fusion

What happens when a bunch of studied Jazz musicians get funky with a couple of top-notch Hip Hop MCs? Eclipse happens. The Cincinnati septet has one of the best live shows in town, turning unsuspecting crowds into a sweaty mass of humanity thanks to their persistent groove and old-school Hip Hop party-starting. The band’s Around the World album was at the top of CityBeat’s list of the best local albums of 2011. With peerless MCs Jibri and Daddie Rich laying down rich verses and gripping hooks, the band roams around in the tight arrangements, touching on classic Funk, modern Alternative Rock, Progressive Rock, Latin rhythms and Jazz like some sort of dance-friendly aural collage.
Dig: An epic Jurassic 5, The Roots, Miles Davis, James Brown and King Crimson mash-up.

Eclipse performs Friday, Sept. 28, at 11 p.m. at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club. Here's a great video featurette put together by Chuck Land and Landman Productions, with audio recorded by Alex Lusht of Mind Ignition.



Click here for full MPMF details via the official MidPoint site.

 
 
by Staff 03.02.2010
 
 

MPMF Registration Now Open

Is it really that time again? It seems like just yesterday that we were jumping from one packed MPMF venue to another, checking out everyone from local favorites to national and international gems to local favorites turned (inter)national gems.

Yes, bands and artists the world over can now register to take part in the 2010 MidPoint Music Festival, a three-day (Sept. 23-25) downtown Cincinnati party that is rapidly becoming a highlight of the region’s musical landscape.

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by mbreen 07.19.2011
 
 
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MPMF Participants Bear Hands Unveil New Video

One of this year's MidPoint Music Festival participants, Brooklyn Indie rockers Bear Hands, have released a new music video for the song "High Society." The group (in town for MidPoint Sept. 24, with the venue TBA) is still out promoting its debut album, Burning Bush Supper Club, which came out last fall. Check the clip (and more info on the video) below. And don't forget — MPMF three-day tickets are available now at mpmf.com and, while they last, on Fountain Square every Friday during the MidPoint Indie Summer concerts.

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