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Record Pools - Are You Swimming Yet?

by No. 1 Best Selling Author, Jaci Rae
http://www.jacirae.com

The winter months have hit us and unless you live in Southern California, most people aren't swimming in open-air pools any longer.

Until recent times, Indie Artists and the labels they set up for themselves had a hard time getting their music heard by anyone outside their own backyard pool of fans. With guerilla marketing finally becoming common practice and online music stores becoming a main stay for the music aficionado, record pools are now open for business to the general indie population.

What is a record pool? Basically, a record pool is a membership of DJ's that act as an intermediary between DJ's and the music makers. The power behind a record pool is that it can reach a mass, global market in lightening speed.

As of 2006, there are over 7000 DJ's and industry professionals who are part of this digital revolution. In order for a DJ to belong to a record pool, they must pay a monthly association fee to obtain the latest and most current music.

Frequently this music is available to them before it becomes available to mainstream radio, and because of that, record pools quite often have more of an initial impact than the popular mainstream outlets.

The power radio programmers have over radio, clubs and street music is now handed over to the DJ's who participate in the record pools, allowing them to have control over what they "break."

So how can you get an invitation to swim in their pool? No invitations necessary, but you must have a good professional product that is available in digital format (although I did find one that accepted vinyl).

Some of the record pools now require that you have your own label, meaning that you don't submit as your band name. That is easily done by setting up your own label (too much information to go into here, but you can find the information inside my book The Indie Guide to Music, Marketing and Money).

Once you have the business side taken care of, start searching the internet using the keywords, "record pool, " and then contact them to be certain that your style of music is part of their repertoire.

Don't randomly send out your online or hard copy press kit to every record pool you find, just as you wouldn't send your music to every station you discover. E.g., a country record pool isn't interested in acid rock and a classical record pool won't be interested in spinning a blue grass tune. Then begin to submit your CDs using the contact information you acquired. Do you homework and beware of companies that don't post charts or may be music collectors.

Here are a few record pools I found on the web:

http://www.americanrecordpool.com (they represent an assortment of music, including R&B, Hip-Hop and Dance.)
http://www.keystonespinners.com (they represent Hip Hop, Latin, World and Jazz)
http://www.vipchicago.com (they represent Dance, Hip Hop, and Latin)

Recently I had a chance to talk to one of the managers of V.I.P Chicago, DJ H.Vargas, about what they do and here is what he had to say, "One has to understand the reason why record pools truly exist, and it should not be just to pass out product to their members.

Some records pools are in the process of becoming more involved in the overall promotion of the new artist. Creating product awareness with merchandising, sponsoring special events at local nightclubs and record stores, and naturally keeping their ears to the ground on what's selling and what are the current trends within their market.

With their pool of DJ's the office managers are able to have overnight results, and more importantly, feedback. Feedback that is essential to the company's that service the pools as an option that some C.E.O.'s consider essential, and for that we thank them.

These factors, along with an undying love for music, allow the office director and their DJ members the opportunity to be involved in something which many of us consider a blessing from above. No fanfare, no glory, just great product and the excitement of the dance floor."

The time for indie artists is upon us, but you better take advantage of record pools now, before someone puts a "no swimming without a lifeguard" sign out.

Copyright Jaci Rae

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