by Brian Penick
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
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
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
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: