In early 1997, in the midst of a Platinum-level career in booking, artist management, and concert promotion, MusicBizAdvice.com Founder / Publisher Randi Reed started an online magazine for unsigned and independent musicians while confined to bed battling the autoimmune disease CFIDS. That online magazine would later grow into what is now MusicBizAdvice.com.
Says Reed, “During my illness, musicians started tracking me down via IM to ask questions. So I started a website as a way to answer them more effectively. In the early days of dot coms, URLs were limited to a certain number of characters, and MusicBizAdvice.com had too many letters, so we went through a couple of different titles and a whacky spelling or two–MusicBizAdvc was one of them. Our first site was just two or three pages and had a page of tips, plus an interview with a crew member for a major artist. It was hosted on those pages you used to get for free with an AOL account. To have enough space as we grew, I linked the pages from all of my AOL usernames together.
“When musicians and crew members saw what I was trying to do, they were really into it, and the crew members told the artists they worked for. Some of those bands and crew members still read our stuff to this day. God bless those crew members! Managers thought it was a crazy idea, and they didn’t want us to interview their clients because they thought it would give them a ‘computer geek’ image. They were also afraid we were giving away what their clients were paying a lot of money for. But mostly they said, ‘nobody’s going to look at a web site for music business advice.’”
What may have sounded at the time like out of the box thinking was a natural evolution. As Reed explains, “I’d been active on music forums and musicians’ boards on AOL, Prodigy, and Compuserve since 1992 and could see the online music community was growing and that they had lots of questions and wanted to be heard. As I went along in the industry, I answered whichever questions I could. When I was an intern, I answered questions about how to get an internship.”
Fast-forward to today, MusicBizadvice.com is read in more than 78 countries worldwide and is utilized as a resource by online and offline newspapers, magazines, and websites, as well as by E! News, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, and Song U. MusicBizAdvice.com was also featured on the News page on Bon Jovi’s official website, and its This Month in Music History calendar was displayed at the Hard Rock Café Surfers Paradise.
Reed attributes this trust to high journalistic standards, along with well-informed writers and staff: “I’m proud of the fact that our current writers and staff have all worked at the Platinum level of the music business. I drive our writers crazy with fact-checking. Before I got into music, I was a journalism major and had instructors who taught thoroughly-sourced, objective journalism: Present both sides of an issue. Understand the difference between fact and opinion. Stick to facts whenever possible. And I’m a big fan of the FTC Blog Disclosure Act.” (Reed is a former college journalism award winner, but admits to “breaking nearly every grammatical rule” to give MusicBizAdvice.com and the MusicBizAdvice Blog their conversational tone.)
In addition to the MusicBizAdvice.com website, Reed has the MusicBizAdvice Blog for opinion and commentary on music industry topics, and is active on Twitter @MusicBizAdvice (Reed writes the Tweets personally) and Google+. MusicBizAdvice.com has also experimented with other social media over the years, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Tumblr, and earlier sites Blip.fm, MySpace, Ryze, and Friendster.
In May 2014, MusicBizAdvice.com Founder/Publisher Randi Reed announced via the MusicBizAdvice Blog that as of June 2014 MusicBizAdvice.com will accept Bitcoin virtual currency for its paid consultant services. This makes MusicBizAdvice.com one of the first (if not the first) music business consultancy firms to accept Bitcoin. The move also makes MusicBizAdvice.com one of the first music business service providers to accept virtual currency.
Also in May 2014, Randi Reed joined Clarity.fm On-Demand Business Advice to give emerging musicians an easy way to obtain Platinum-level telephone consultations from the road at a discounted per-minute rate.