Special guest blog by IAAM Radio DJ Taz. I keep in touch with our friends at It’s All About Music – IAAM Radio and the tireless work they do promoting Indie artists. I asked fellow U.S. Army trooper, Johnathan Hurwitz, a.k.a. DJ Taz, to share with us how IAAM came to be. Enjoy! ~Frankie
DJ Taz – Johnathan Hurwitz
In early 2009 I served as a moderator on a drum forum and thought, why not start a forum about music with an emphasis on Indie artists. I really enjoyed it and then I met DJ Anubis from Hordes of Chaos via Metal Tavern Radio. He got me into internet broadcasting and so in 2010, Its All about Music – IAAM Radio was born. Now keep in mind, this is not my day job. It’s always been a hobby. My real job is no secret, I’m an Officer in the US Army. I have deployed several times and when I do, others have kept IAAM Radio running like my good friend DJ Anubis.
In 2010 we went full bull, Shoutcast Servers with unlimited storage and bandwidth, 24×7 streaming with programed play and it was fun, at first. Costs for what we had then to operate annually was just about $700. I paid for most of this out pocket. We tried various advertisement gimmicks but we wanted the ads to show on a noninterference basis, so the user experience on the web site was not hampered. The demand for our service was very high with bands sending us tracks to feature and listenership was up, but the dollars for support just did not come in. Sadly I was ready to call it a day. Then in 2013 DJ Anubis told me he switched to Podcasting and seemed to enjoy it more. After doing some homework, I drew up a new plan for IAAM.
In 2014 IAAM changed from a 24×7 stream to a Podcast and we had something a bit different. We decided to record the shows in Video. There are lots of internet radio stations out there but very few offer a live video feed of what they are doing. We revamped the web site, kept the name and put out a funding campaign to cover the cost of the site, its servers, and our url: www.iaamradio.rocks. Low and behold we raised the $350 required in about a month. Being upfront with our fans, when we hit that amount we told everyone, now some would say why, you could have raised more… True, but at that point all we required was the $350 and we wanted to establish ourselves as trustworthy. Though buying a new sports car and private island did come to mind, we decided nah. We also love to plug business and services that we find outstanding like www.StreetJelly.com The Jelly is awesome, a great place for any artist to perform. I love your site all kinds of talent with live bands streaming their shows to bedroom guitarists. The entire concept at StreetJelly is amazing. Folks have a great time there. I even performed a few times and enjoyed the experience.
You asked me what type of shows does IAAM have? We have three segments, Cool Breeze – Jazz, R&B, Soul and more. Indie Atonal – Pure Raw Indie Bands and The Blender – everything under the kitchen sink. What is neat about Cool Breeze and The Blender is we Feature Indie Bands with mainstream. We have had many listeners ask, who is that band? More than when we do Indie Atonal alone. We took a risk on this and it works well for the bands. We also list every band with a link to their sites so fans can support them directly. Many listeners of our podcast have purchased music directly from the bands we feature and I know the artists appreciate it. When we are live, we social shotgun blast across Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter that we are airing. Not just a band name and track but we actually cross link the artists on our social feeds with hashtags, and such so people see a snippet from their pages.
You asked me how do we choose what Indie Bands to feature? Simple, on our site we have an About Section. In short we are not Pay to Play, there are some Podcasters and 24×7 streams that do that, we don’t. All we ask is the band send us a shout out. We listen to their music and let them know we like it and if they send us tagged tracks with a shout out they are in, regardless of genre. The shout outs are used when we are live right before we feature a track. They are also used when we do Auto DJ. On our site we have a video and chat area where we re-broadcast our shows or simply run every Indie track we have at random. This is not a Shoutcast stream, the server simply hosts what we put in the player. Many get us confused with a 24×7 Internet Stream but we remind them we are a podcast.
Having fun with DJ Taz – Live!
Big Up to the Artists/Bands who sent us posters, items to give away etc. We know it’s tough for bands to break even and when we receive such items we are truly appreciative. Forgot to mention, we even have video shout outs and those are cool. We post those on the site with a full bio of the band, links to their material and social feeds etc. Fans have sent us shout outs as well, who can’t love those. Some have asked if we would add back the Shoutcast 24×7 stream? Tough question, and it seems for now no due to cost and time.
We also share other Podcaster’s shows like DJ Anubis’. If you love pure raw metal, Indie and mainstream, you must check his show out at http://djanubisreviews.blogspot.com/
You asked what is in store for the future? So far we are still having fun. Jan 1 2016 is our sixth year, hard to believe. As we get older, time and interests may change but for now so long as I have the time I will keep doing the shows. I’m not a prolific DJ. I don’t have that voice you can’t get enough of. I do have a passion for music, love to have a beer during the show and chatting with folks in the chat room while we are live. Taking requests is always fun and once in a while we even do live interviews or let people call in to say hello and be part of the show. My wife is super, she supports me and knows I enjoy it so much. My kids like it as well, I have had them on a few times, DJ Mini Taz and DJ Mini Mini Taz, lol.
Any advice for Indie Bands? Yes, always Tag Your Tracks (Band Name, Title, Artist, Album Name if EP put EP in there…), update your social feeds, even drop an update on feeds that support you so you get seen. Never ever attack mainstream. Why? Most if not all mainstream started out at one time or another as an Indie artist, so don’t be a hater. Hate the corporate machine if you like but in the end if your goal is to strike a deal and sign, then you too have just become mainstream. We have a few Indie bands that are Grammy nominees, signed and doing very well. What is neat about them is they still visit us and we really appreciate that. Lastly don’t be a hopper, pick a few good podcasts and/or Internet Stations and be loyal to them and they will do so in return. Just because you send out your tracks to 100s of places does not mean you are getting featured. There are online casters who have 1000s of Indie tracks sent to them and that means you are 1 in 1000s. We have 124 bands so far, that is just under 2,000 tracks of Indie we feature and yea we rotate them or play them if by request. We have a system that helps keep track of when we last featured a band. With 1000s that can get real hard to manage. If we ever got that big, we would have to re-look how we run the place. In the end, send away but at least pick a few and keep in touch with them.
What’s up with your mantra? Ah Keep it Real and Stay Crazy! Well that is me and my real job can be tense at times so it’s always good to step back and just take things in when you can. Be who you are, keep things real and let your hair down, have some fun i.e. stay crazy. On that note, thanks for having me, catch you on the playground.