Monday, July 21, 2008

Immediate Action Required: CyTunes.org

Dear friends of Cy,

I have an idea for fundraising for Cy. Both the scope and the time line are -- of necessity -- very aggressive. We can only do this if other people agree it's a good idea and volunteer to help. Please contact Janette Park if you would like to volunteer, offer advice or give feedback. Her e-mail address is jparkesq at the same domain as all of the other gmail users. I apologize for this obfuscation, but she only wants human beings to be able to read that. No spambots, please.

CyTunes.org


CyTunes.org will be a web store where people can purchase songs that have been donated by bands and artists who like Cy, or whom Cy likes or who are just awesome enough to participate. All songs must be original works and must be exclusive to CyTunes. As we have seen, Cy has very many friends, many of whom are talented musicians. Some of these have been or currently are in bands that have achieved national and even international notoriety. By selling exclusive works by bands that are not just of local interest -- but who are potentially also known regionally, nationally, or internationally -- we can draw a wider audience and bring Cy's story to the entire world, reaping greater rewards on behalf of our dear Cy.

In addition to the fundraising angle, the process of writing and recording these new works by people who know and love Cy, regardless of how well-known they are currently, gives the community an opportunity for unity and healing. We all know that Cy is a huge music fan, and most of us know Cy because of this shared love. What better way to show our love for Cy than through music?

I can get the ball rolling on this immediately by starting in on the programming for the website and online store. I will also offer up use of my studio and my services as a recording engineer for free to any band that wants to record a song for CyTunes. I have already bought the domain name 'cytunes.org' in anticipation of this effort.

Purpose of Fundraising

On Monday, Cy will embark on an extensive course of chemotherapy. If the chemotherapy goes well, Cy will be released from the hospital and continue treatment without having to be confined to a hospital bed. When this happens, Cy will not be in any position to work but will face a galaxy of expenses: the basics like rent, food, and utilities on top of doctor's visits and medications, which will be frequent and expensive. The aim of this fundraising is to allow Cy and his family to enjoy their time out of the hospital and take advantage of Cy's treatment options without having to worry about day-to-day expenses. Of course Cy has also incurred an enormous pile of medical bills from his hospitalization at Duke. These bills, however, will likely be dealt with later and are not the highest priority at the moment.

Immediate Action Required

I cannot overemphasize the extent to which time is of the essence. If aid is to reach Cy when he needs it most, we must act immediately. Just as the tumor in Cy's head is very aggressive, and his chemotherapy treatment will be aggressive, our efforts to get this site up and running and populated with great music must be equally aggressive. There is no time for contemplation. If you want to be a part of this, don't think about it; just do it. Obviously, one thing we need a whole hell of a lot of is music. The more songs we have the more songs we can sell. Have you ever wondered whether you could write a song on a deadline? Now's your chance to find out! My hope is to have an initial launch of the site within *two weeks*. That is ambitious, but -- with a show of enthusiasm from others -- I will be working on this as my full-time job for the immediate future. I happen to be uniquely positioned to do this right now.

Guidelines for Submissions

All songs must be original. We cannot use cover songs because they bring legal complications. Also, in order to attract people to our site we need to have songs that are exclusive to our site. Existing unreleased material is acceptable. We do not need to own or control your song in perpetuity. After a suitable period -- a year or so -- you'll be free to release your song elsewhere. We don't want to own your song -- just to be the exclusive distributor for a year. After that it's yours again.

Help Wanted

I cannot do everything. This will only be possible with a dedicated team of talented people. If you are currently underemployed, you might be a very good candidate for some this. These are the positions I see an immediate need to fill:

1) Legal Adviser -- preferably a bona fide lawyer. We will need someone who can negotiate the dark realm of entertainment law and make sure that we're doing what we need to do in terms of licensing music from bands to sell--dotting i's and crossing t's kind of stuff.

2) Graphic Designer -- I'm a computer programmer and recording engineer. I only do graphic design under duress and I am very slow. We need someone super talented who can create a beautiful site concept and generate HTML templates for every page on the site. You must also be able to work with an aggressive deadline to get the site launched.

3) Band Wrangler -- We need someone who can find bands, contact them, and persuade them to record songs for us. This person will also need to follow up with bands who have agreed to record and make sure they follow through on time. This person must be willing to nag as needed.

4) Publicist -- This could possibly be the same person as the band wrangler, who could start doing mostly band wrangling and gradually transition into publicity. This person will need to spread the word about all of the kick-ass music on CyTunes, far and wide. This will include calling and e-mailing newspapers, magazines, online publications, blogs--anything that can get the word out. Someone with some marketing or PR experience, especially in the music industry, would be ideal.

5) Project Manager -- I can probably do this, but we might all be better off if I can concentrate on the technical challenges of getting the site going. The project manager would be in charge of communicating with everyone else who's working on this, keeping track of what's going on, helping to set priorities, identifying roadblocks and helping to overcome them. This person should be driven and focused but have good social skills. He or she must be highly organized and have a good understanding of what everyone is trying to do.

Finally, everyone involved must keep the nature of the project in the forefront of their minds. This project will go forward if we can get enough people power to make it happen. Please contact me immediately if you can help. This isn't about personal glory. It's about Cy. So ... let's rock!

ADDENDUM 3:43 pm:

We could also use some general purpose volunteers. People who don't mind being asked to perform some random task every now and then. If you don't think you can do one of the jobs above or just can't commit that much time, but would like to help out, let me know and I can put you on a list of general volunteers.

ADDENDUM 5:52 pm:

I have no idea if that two week figure is at all realistic. Either way, it seems to have caused some confusion with bands, for which I apologize. My goal is to have the web store up and running as soon as possible, two weeks if we can swing it, with some music already ready to go. I figure we need at least 30 songs to launch. It is not my expectation that all bands will have their songs completed and submitted in two weeks. I figure once we get going we'll be adding songs as we go. Obviously, though, the sooner the better. We do need great content, fast. Thanks to everyone who has volunteered so far!

-- Chris Rossi

Contact Janette Park. Her e-mail address is jparkesq at the same domain as all of the other gmail users.

15 comments:

Ross Grady said...

I think this is a great idea, but let me play devil's advocate for a minute. By building a separate standalone site, you're potentially duplicating a lot of effort that has gone into building other, more well-known music download sites. And what you will wind up with is a site that will face a large marketing hurdle to get the word out (assuming you wish to scale to an audience beyond the scope of the readers of this blog).

Perhaps the basic idea could be modified such that bands could post new/unreleased material to existing well-known download sites, and pledge the revenue from those tracks to Cy for a period of time? For example, if some Merge artists were Cy fans, Merge could pledge the income from some unreleased tracks to be sold via Merge's existing online store.

Since these downloads might be scattered across multiple download sites (iTunes, label sites, etc), the domain you registered could be a clearinghouse with info about what's available . . .

In my experience, the best way to get projects like this off the ground on super-short timelines is to outsource as much of the work as possible to already-existing sites & services, especially when that work lies outside yr core competencies.

What do you think?

rossi said...

I think that is a good idea, but ultimately I'd be concerned that such a diffuse effort would be harder to market. Ultimately, it's a pain in the ass for users to come to the CyTunes site and then have to go track down songs on other services. The accounting would also be more complicated, as bands or their labels would have to figure out how much revenue they'd made for a particular song and then write a check, which, if nothing else, is likely to cause long delays in terms of actually getting cash. If we sell songs directly from the CyTunes site people would be paying money directly into the PayPal account set up for Cy, so funds would be available immediately.

Michele Cochrane said...

Whatever you figure out ( I am the wife of a musician and hardly understand all that you are talking about with the legal stuff ) if you need to be in touch with an atty...Mike Connell might be a good one to call on. He is a musician (The Connells) and currently practicing law. He might be super passionate about this situation since his mother and sis-in-law lost their lives to cancer. The sister-in-law had a brain tumor, and I think his mom did as well.
I hope this works out.
High hopes!

Thanks so much for your dedication to Cy and us!
Michele Cochrane

michelecochrane@gmail.com said...

David Menconi mentioned this:

hey -- Mike would be a great idea. two more people I'd advise getting in the loop asap:

Alex Maiolo stablenet@nc.rr.com -- plays in Violet Vector & the Lovely Lovelies. also an insurance agent *and* a big wheel in Future of Music Coalition, which deals w/lots of insurance-related issues.

Steve Balcom steve@thesplintergroup.net -- used to run Mammoth Records; has done some charitable music projects in recent years (look up John Plymale's "Songs for 65 Roses"), so he's got a network of lawyers, etc., in place for things like this.

I'm happy to approach them on behalf of Cy; or if there's someone else more appropriate, that is perfectly fine. lemme know either way.

Molly said...

Some people, like myself, lack any musical talent or knowledge of how stuff like this works.

However, I can copy and paste like a mofo.

Permission to copy some of your wording, Rossi, and start bulletinizing (I also make up words!) the heck out of MySpace and Facebook and other blogs of the region with calls for submission?

rossi said...

Molly,

Yes, ma'am. Copy and paste away.

Mr. Menconi, via Michele,

If you wanted to alert these individuals to our presence and have them contact me that would be awesome.

Thanks everyone!
Chris

Nick & said...

I am currently in two projects: The Men and Rocket Cottage. Both projects would be willing to donate a song. You can contact me for a recording date for RC, but The Men have one ready to go for donation.
Nick Speaks

rossi said...

Awesome! Nick, can you email me and give me your email address? I've started a spreadsheet where I'm trying to keep track of everyone who's offered songs and their contact info.

Thanks!
Chris

Martin said...

HI Chris,

I can definitely help out on the publicity side of things. Count me in.

-martin

Karen A. Mann said...

I'm happy to help out with publicity/band wrangling too. I'm at mannsworld (at) gmail (dot) com

Eric said...

chris, there's a geezer lake track that was vinyl-only for our first release, way back in the day. it was limited to probably 500 copies. we own all rights to the master and retain all rights to the composition. would this be something that could be used? i know you were hoping for unreleased tracks, or tracks specially recorded for this purpose, but this would probably be the only thing we could provide and all the guys are interested in helping any way we could. i wracked my brain and this is the most unreleased thing we have left. it's called 'burning scab', and i think cy would get a kick out of it.

and of course we would be happy to spread the word via myspace, ilike, last.fm, facebook, and anywhere else g.l. has a web presence. not that we're breaking any traffic records or anything.

eric shepherd (eric dot shepherd at gmail)

rossi said...

Hi Eric,

I think your small run, vinyl only release will probably be ok. We'll be hashing over what exactly counts as "unreleased", but the fact that it's not currently available electronically certainly helps.

And please, if you have friends in bands and they love Cy, get them on board!

Thanks for everything!

Chris

rossi said...

Folks, you can save me some time if you email me directly instead of commenting here. Thanks!

Chris

the bfs said...

i have to say.. a lot of bands have some unreleased stuff out there floating around. the only problem is to find it. (this of course for the defunct bands) i for one have no idea where i would find any old raymond brake actually good recording are. but they are out there.. someone has them.. the tapes i mean...

this would go for many bands now defunct. as for bands that are in existence now.. you could always use that one good song that was just never released.

this a fucking great idea by the way.

chad pry said...

It'd be easy to use a service like Tunecore www.tunecore.com to get a few albums worth of tracks for sale on Itunes, Emusic & Others. Plastic is a drag.

I've got some Piedmont Charisma tunes we could donate, and a bunch of other random Asheville stuff if you want. Lemme know.