March 31, 2012
by Karyn Albano
Today is the last official day for DAMES of PA as we prepare to re-emerge as a new entity with a slightly altered mission called Keystone Rock Review. We thought having this open debate about local music and the nature of the music industry was an excellent way to send this site off into the museum.
I found the debate between Chris and Ric interesting and, now that we have this all out in the open, I’ll try to frame this argument as objectively as possible. DAMES of PA was founded on the thought that we could help local musicians widen their audiences. Basically, we try to do for local artists what national publications do for bands that have already cleared those hurdles lined up between obscurity and widespread recognition by providing some in depth, honest coverage of what they do, why they do it and why they are worth some time and attention.
The difficulty we have encountered during this process has at times been disheartening. There is apathy out there folks, not just on the part of the audience and prospective fans (see our past article Rooting for the Home Team) but also on the part of the artists themselves. We understand all too well how hard it is to not only maintain a positive outlook and keep doing what you are doing in the face of adversity but that apathy can be a lot harder to overcome. I think that is why it is so important to start with the most basic thing that should be obvious, but often isnâ€™t.
Artists â€“ believe in yourselves and what you are doing. It may sound trite, but you are your art and your art is you. If you try to force yourself into something you are not and pretend to be something you are not because you think it will make you â€œmarketableâ€, it wonâ€™t work in the long run.
All that said, the old DAMES of PA, the new Key Rock Review, and groups like us (Central PA Music Collective, Tri-State Indy, Billtown Live, etc.) canâ€™t do this alone. We all need to support each other and take each other seriously. Artists, If one of us comes to see you at a show, allow us to introduce ourselves. Donâ€™t assume that middle aged woman heading towards you is a cougar or that guy is going to make some kind of unwanted advance on you â€“ maybe they just want to write an article about you and your music! If we send you an e-mail or a message on a social media site, RESPOND! If the address listed on your contact info is not one you check frequently, change it! Just because we are not Rolling Stone does not mean we canâ€™t be helpful to you. Remember, you arenâ€™t Bruce Springsteen yet either.
Fans, your job is really quite simple. If you like what you hear, tell someone. Seriously, why keep it to yourself? Isnâ€™t good music even better when it is shared? If your favorite unknown musician isnâ€™t getting their due recognition, it is up to you to spread the word â€“ tell us about them so we can help too. What it comes down to is that there is not some great pot of â€œappreciationâ€ out there at the end of the rainbow. Recognition is earned one fan at a time and needs to spread through a river of information. Do you want to sit on the riverbank and watch what rolls by or do you want to jump in and be part of the flow?
All this being said, thanks to all of you who have supported DAMES of PA for the past 3+ years. We’re going to take a short break and move forward with the launching of Key Rock Review on May 2nd. We strive to be better involved, elicit better participation, and make our music scene a vibrant experience for everyone.
Karyn Albano is the founder and editor of DAMES of PA and Key Rock Review.
This article was written in response to the articles Now Is the Time For All Musicians to Come to the Aid Of Their Art Form by Chris Nelson and Musicians and Fans Must Take Responsibility by Ric Albano.