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Online Family

Special guest blog by Amanda Crann from “ImageAndFamily”

Online Family

AmandaIf anyone had told me that I’d develop online friends who could become more like family I would have laughed. But that is truly what I’ve found on StreetJelly. We’ve become a community of people who laugh together, cry together and share our lives with one another. Now if that isn’t family then I don’t know what is.

When we first started out on StreetJelly, we didn’t really think that anyone would listen to or even like the kind of music that we played, but the support we have found is mind blowing. We have quickly developed a steady group of people that offer their encouragement and applause to the shows that we put on. I have seen the growth in my own family that has occurred since we started performing for our wonderful fans. Many of you have watched my son, Robert, sing, play piano and tell jokes as well as interact with those who watch us. But what you may not know is that due to his autism, he is usually a withdrawn child around new people and struggles with communication. However, the encouragement he has found on StreetJelly has helped him to open up and not only enjoy but look forward to meeting new people. I have also noticed a new found confidence in myself that I never imagined I could have.

The feeling of family was demonstrated to me on Saturday, April 6, 2013. As many of you know that was the day that Merv asked me to marry him. Together Merv and Frankie rallied the whole community to be there and help to make that day one I will never forget. To see all the work that went into such a spectacular night and to know that so many people cared and wanted to be a part of our big night was overwhelmingly touching.

MervThat night started like any other, but when we began our show the number of viewers skyrocketed. Never before had I ever seen so many people all watching one show. I was blown away by the sheer number that amassed to watch us. Then the big moment happened as Merv asked the question that I have waited my entire life for and it may sound bizarre but I could hear the applause from our family that night. I have never felt as much love overflowing as I did that night. I thank everyone who came out to be a part of that amazing experience, especially our King, Frankie, you rock. You truly helped to make it a magical and unforgettable event.

As I write this I am reminded of the words of a song that my family and I close every show with and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that these words apply to each and every one of you in StreetJelly land.

“We’re running out of trees and we’re running out of space but we’ll never run out of good people,” from Great Big Sea’s Good People

How do you Thank a Community?

Thank you Cables

Hello, this is a personal note from me, Frank Podlaha, founder of StreetJelly.com.  I have the best seat in the house to witness the community that is forming around this little experiment of streaming live musicians for the world.  It’s March 2013 and StreetJelly is about six months old.  I am blown away by the support we have received by the members of StreetJelly.

We can all relate to having fans, whether we create music, art, or even websites.  But it’s something even more special when this thing you create takes on a life of its own.  And this thing takes on the life of the people, the super fans, who add their own passion to it.  StreetJelly is not about me, Frankie the computer programmer from Tennessee.
StreetJelly is the community of everyone that works so hard to make it special.

Here’s one recent example.  StreetJelly was a sponsor at the world’s first Virtual Music Conference.  StreetJelly was on an international stage in front of music industry execs, vendor experts, and a worldwide slew of musicians.  It was a lot of work.  And the Jellyfish stepped up to the plate to help man the virtual exhibitor booth, mingle with conference goers, perform three days straight of music on the site, and overall “spread the jelly.”  I hesitate to list names of all those that helped because I fear I may miss someone.  But here it goes.  Thank you Lana, Damian, Clifton, Aaron, Rick, Denise, Martina, Amanda, Robert, Jayro, Chris, Kevin, Jersey, Michael, Lindley, John, Diana, Maureen, and especially Merv for the many hours of tireless promotion of our community.  (Oh crud, I feel like I forgot someone already.)

I am humbled by all this help.  But just saying “thank you” doesn’t feel like enough.  I think the best way to show my gratitude is to continue to work as hard as I can to help create an even bigger and better community.  Below is a recent quote about StreetJelly from William Buckley of Fare Play on a Digital Music News article.  He sums up well where my heart is:

Nice guys finish first.  http://www.streetjelly.com/

Six months ago I had the pleasure of having StreetJelly founder, Frank Podlaha, as our first guest on FarePlay Radio.  It was one of those rare moments when you find yourself having a conversation with someone who genuinely cares about helping others.

In many ways Frank and his growing stable of musicians epitomizes everything that FarePlay stands for.  Passionate individuals going after a dream no matter how hard the climb. Musicians chasing a dream that perhaps someday will lead them to a career as full time musician.

If you’re a musician you should check out StreetJelly.  Frank is a tireless promoter of “his” acts.  If you just love music you might find someone you want to follow.  And if you’re walking past someone playing on the street you might just pause for a few minutes and check them out.  They’ll like that, even if you don’t tip them.

Music is like the air we breathe, we can never get too much.

Thanks Frank.

Thank you, Will.  And thank you, StreetJelly Nation!  Onward!

StreetJelly Poem by Damian Trujillo

A StreetJelly poem by Damian Trujillo

Handwritten PoemGot StreetJelly?

The day is long on the StreetJelly
Pupils start to dialate as you pick up that tele
Pick up that stratocaster, gibson acoustic delight
did you hear a stray cat strut by tonight

At 8 am you may hear a crooner
Sometimes the music  will come along sooner
24 hours a day what can go wrong
lost connections, oh my in the middle of the song

From the west coast sunshine
To the Canadian lines
From the New York subways
To the mountains of the west and high

From England and Ireland, Netherlands too
Oh  StreetJelly  Oh StreetJelly the things you do
Some sing like the angels, others unique and true
Free, free, free the music for you

Got StreetJelly?

–Damian Trujillo, Sheridan, WY, March 2013

Who is going to set this to music?

The Jelly Dictionary

Special guest blog by Aaron Samuels a.k.a. “Maestro”

The Jelly DictionaryJellytalk, or “Jellese”

For those of you not entirely hip to the StreetJelly lingo, or even if you just need a refresher, below is the rapidly developing StreetJelly lexicon. This will be updated as the new terms come in.

  • Jellyfish – a frequent swimmer of the StreetJelly ocean. If you peruse the broadcasts often enough, you’ll find out quickly who we are.
  • Jellyfly – any one watching the broadcast but not participating in the real-time chat conversation. It’s all good. We got love for our Jellyflies, and sometimes the fish are in fly-mode. We just like to tease them because it’s much more fun to be a fish than a fly.
  • Jellybird – a performer on StreetJelly, our bread and (peanut) butter.
  • Jellyhead – see “Jellybird”.
  • Jellytainer – see “Jellybird”.
  • JellykingFrank Podlaha, naturally. All hail. The world will sing when he is king…and he is king. So we sing.
  • Jellyfire – a descriptive term for when a Jellybird is performing with passion.
  • Jellyswarm – any significant viewership for any given broadcast.
  • Jellyrat – see “drive-by”.
  • Drive-by – the act of briefly jumping on to another performer’s performance just to let their viewers know via chat that you are performing. Not cool. Performance over-lapping is going to happen and that’s totally fine, just let viewers make up their own mind about who they want to watch.
  • Greenwall – When enough individual token donations are delivered to a performer, the chat wall turns a delightful green (with gold accents). It takes a minimum of nine tokens to greenwall a jellybird.screenshot_clifty_20130127_greenwall
  • Whitewall – When enough blank chat entries fill the room, we call that a whitewall. Use this technique sparingly if at all.
  • Foot scroll – see “Lana scroll”.
  • Lana scroll – the act of using one’s foot on a laptop touch pad or track pad to scroll through lyrics or chord charts, so-named for the inventer and master of the technique, Jellybird LanaEve.
  • Spreading the Jelly – getting the word out about the awesomeness that is StreetJelly.
  • Bluewall – a Greenwall of Rocker Pins. You want this to happen to you.
  • Jellymood – I’m in the mood for love…simply because you’re jelly…
  • Purple Rain – A song by the Artist Formerly Known As The Artist Formerly Known As Prince. Jellyfish request this song on a regular basis, so you might wanna work it into your repertoire, if you’re a Jellybird.
  • AFJ – Away From Jelly. Not exactly fly status, just temporary absence.

What’s your favorite term? Have another to add? Continue the dictionary below…

Let Flies be Flies

Jelly FliesFlies are our friends.  Of course, I’m talking about Jellyflies!  A Jellyfly is a term created by the StreetJelly community to indicate viewers watching a musician but not participating in the conversation.  They are just “flying” around a performance.

There is a great discussion on the Do’s and Don’ts blog post how to increase your tips while performing on StreetJelly.  This topic of flies is really a continuation of that post, but I think it’s worth to talk a little deeper about Jellyflies.

So here is my tip to musicians: Let the Flies be Flies.  Odd advice, you’re thinking?  Some musicians are great at engaging their StreetJelly fans and prying the flies out of anonymity.  But others try too hard to get the flies to talk.  There is definitely a fine line between being inviting and being too aggressive.

I speak from experience because I am a fly on the site sometimes.  I know, “how dare you Frank?”  Yes, it’s true.  There are two reasons why I end up being a fly.

  1. I only have about 5 or 10 minutes before I have to go do something (I have a crazy schedule).  I choose not to become part of the conversation because otherwise I’ll enjoy myself too much and never leave.
  2. I like to listen to the music while I work.  Again, I may be very busy and really have to get some work done – even at 2am.  I have to force myself not to look at the chat.  After all, StreetJelly is a music site, and sometimes I just want to listen.

I know that on a few occasions, I’ve heard musicians lay on the guilt trip pretty thick to get the flies to talk.  That’s probably not going to help get them to talk nor tip more tokens.  They may even leave the performance.  Performing art is a lot like marketing.  If a potential customer (i.e. token tipper) is driven away, they may never come back.

There are probably many other reasons why someone may be a fly.  As a matter of fact, StreetJelly was built around the fact to allow anyone to listen in, find great musicians, and jump in only if they like.  Think of a street musician, they could never possibly stop everyone that walks by and ask to see their identification.

You never know who is watching on StreetJelly.  If someone needs to be a fly for whatever reason – that’s fine.  Say, “hello.”  Remind them they can login to chat (maybe they don’t realize that).  And thank them for stopping by.  They will be happier if you did.

Thoughts from the artists?  How do you engage the flies?  Continue the discussion below…

Ideas to Increase Your Profits On StreetJelly

Special guest blog by Amanda Crann from “ImageAndFamily”

Online Busking Tip MoneyI think that every artist who joins StreetJelly has one thing in common, the love of music. We all love playing and performing the tunes that move or inspire us and we all want an audience to watch and enjoy our music. Luckily we have all found a wonderfully encouraging community of artists and music lovers here.

My family and I have been fortunate enough to find a measure of success on this site and we wanted to share some of the tips and tricks that have worked for us. There are a lot of do’s to be successful here and just a few don’ts:

Do’s

Be Creative – You don’t have to be the most talented musician/singer around to make money, but you have to let the passion you feel for your music show in everything you do – every time you’re on.

Be Entertaining And Engaging – Talk to your audience, get them involved in conversation and remember that you are performing for their entertainment.

Practice, Practice, Practice – If you want to be good, you’ve got to invest your time in your craft.

Promote Yourself – Use Facebook (your personal page and StreetJelly’s page), Twitter, free printable StreetJelly flyers (available here) and word of mouth to let people know when you’re performing.

Promote Other Artists – If you would like other people to talk about your shows, make sure you talk about theirs.

Have A Good Audio/Video Setup – Fuzzy images and poor sound detracts from the performance and will make attracting and keeping an audience harder. (You can find StreetJelly how to blog posts and videos to improve your sound and video) If you’re not sure how your broadcast is coming across, don’t be afraid to ask your audience.

Be Courteous To Performers – If you don’t like what someone’s playing or saying, just leave the room.  If you think someone is being inappropriate, let StreetJelly know so they can handle it (contact page).

Be Family Friendly – Remember, there are viewers and artists of all ages, so try to keep your language clean.  F-bombs and other such language will definitely lose you viewers.

Be Supportive – Tip the artists that you enjoy watching, and if you are unable to tip support them with applause and positive comments.

Get To Know The Other Artists – There are some awesome people on StreetJelly.  Get to know them, watch their shows and join in the conversations while they’re playing. Artists love to know who’s watching them.  If viewers are enjoying the music, and the more active you are on the site, the more people will want to check out what you are doing.

Read The Blogs – The StreetJelly blog offers great information for new and experienced performers and is a great way to keep up to date on the craziness that is StreetJelly.

Don’ts

Play Just a Few Riffs – Learn whole songs, the audience will get bored of hearing only bits and pieces.

Miss Scheduled Performance – If you schedule a show, try to stick to it.  If for some reason you can’t make the scheduled time, post a message on StreetJelly’s Facebook page to let people know that you aren’t going to be able to go on.

Drive-by (Steal other Performer’s Audience) – Popping into another performer’s show just to say you’re going on is rude and disrespectful. If you want to mention that you’re going on, wait until the performer is wrapping up their show.

Steal Another Performer’s Thunder – Use your discretion when scheduling your shows, you will find that you can attract more viewers by following another act or opening for another performer (just be courteous to the other artists).

Have more Do’s and Don’ts?  Add them below in the comments.  ~frankie

Haggis and Hypocrisy

Special guest blog by Clifton Printy, front man for Don’t Know Jac.

Haggis

The news today was a horrid mix of ghastly and brutish things that set a fearful cynicism in my heart. I could I turn off the news, and sometimes honestly I do, but I try to do something else; something important. Life is not a sitcom where the main character is forgiven any thing they promised because it is too hard and wasn’t necessarily hurting anybody. This is a world where absolutes matter, a world where men of John Wayne morals and Clark Kent Integrity are the solid role model for those behind us. It is time for each of us to be the man or woman who will stand fast for the small conviction.

“What does that have to do with haggis?” you might be asking yourself. Absolutely nothing, it has to do with a promise. Merv Crann and I had a conversation where I agreed I would try some Scottish haggis live on the internet. Haggis is a terrible sounding concoction made from the innards of lamb or beef, oats, onions, pepper, and spices and then cooked inside of the animal’s stomach that has been soaked in salt water. Did I in fact intend to eat haggis? Is there fame here for me? It would seem reasonable to assume the answer is no. So why then do I go through with the thing? Further; why is my confederate Christopher Page going to eat haggis? The answer is because I asked him to, and being a loyal friend he quickly decided and joined. Chris eats haggis because he told me he would.

John WayneVeterans have laid their lives on the line for this country. People have built on their blood, sweat, and tears the foundation of family and freedom. I eat haggis because I promised and when my four year old son, my six year old daughter, my thirteen year old friend Robert or even my new friend Joel look at me I would like to them to see John Wayne morals.

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. – Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Eating haggis is but a small price to pay for an altruistic ideal. There are in fact people who will stand for integrity, honesty, loyalty friendship, and truth. Let me some day be remembered, at least in the eyes of some, as a haggis eater.

Lungs? Really? – Christopher Page
Bleep! – Frankie Podlaha
****** – Clifton Printy

There is an absolute psychology that belongs to musicians

Special guest blog by Clifton Printy, front man for Don’t Know Jac.

There is an absolute psychology that belongs to musicians.  A specific need or desire that has caused them to spend years and hours learning to play. Yes, “I am going to be a rock star,” is part of it. That is not the reason for most musicians. The idea after gigging out for twenty years of hitting the big pay off seems like a lottery ticket for most of them. So why would they practice into the night, and play for their friends every chance they get? They do it because they want you to listen.

That’s where Street Jelly comes in; an author wants you to read their book, a painter wants you to get their art, and a musician wants an audience. It does not matter if it is three in the morning or nine o’clock in the evening they want a crowd.

Clifton Parade

Street Jelly helps to fill that niche by allowing musicians and music lovers to enjoy the intimate setting of a private gig, without violating your privacy. It provides the listener a way to interact with the musician you could only get by standing next to a stage and allows the artist to play live. Musicians love to listen and critique other musicians usually by encouragement, and likewise like to better their skills accordingly with the input of unbiased peers.  However, they mostly want to play for you.

You cannot always have a stage unless you have a…

“Peanut butter and Street Jelly jam samich” – Clifton Printy.

“It’s musically delicious.” – Image and Family.

Clifton Jam Band

The World Didn’t End, It Just Started

Celebrate a great year with StreetJelly.comI know the world didn’t end last month from the Mayan doomsday calendar.  You and I are still here.  I’m pretty smart, huh?  Or I’m just a smarty-pants stating the obvious.  Don’t answer that.  I do know that great things are happening for StreetJelly.

Last month on StreetJelly I witnessed a growing community of musicians meet each other, start friendships, share the holidays, and even build a team to raise money for charity.  Here’s a recap of some notable days in December 2012.

End of the World Shows  On 12/21, the Mayan Doomsday, a few musicians scheduled “End of the World” concerts on StreetJelly.  That must have sparked everyone’s urge to perform one last time before the calamity of global destruction.  Starting around 10:30am, musicians performed one after another all day in one big long concert.  It lasted well into the night.  Fun was had by all.

Christmas Eve  12/24 was a special night.  Yes, it was holiday fun and most musicians were singing Christmas carols.  But a wonderful thing happened during one performance.  A group of musicians were all chatting together watching Maestro when the conversation turned to benefit concerts and performing for charities.  Long story short, this group has teamed up to start performing monthly concerts on StreetJelly for charities.  All tokens collected by these musicians on such days will be donated to a specific charity.  The team is currently working hard behind the scenes to put this all together – stay tuned for more details and a chance to contribute.

New Year’s Eve  Drinking songs, distortion, and …well …more drinking songs capped off the night.  Musicians were performing all night long, and a crew of us were able to celebrate the New Year in most of the US time zones (sorry Hawaii).  Our master jam band extraordinaire Clifton played for hours with his band at a local Shriner’s basement.  The sound took a few to get right, but everyone still enjoyed themselves.  Even when the laptop went flying, nothing was broken!

These were just a few of the great times in December on StreetJelly.  But what stands out to me is that all these events were made special by the people who took part.  It had nothing to do with marketing, or advertising, or social media shenanigans.  It all happened spontaneously from the nice folks that found StreetJelly in 2012.  That makes me very happy, as I know this can only lead to bigger and better things for the site.  It’s just getting started!