This interview was conducted by an Iowa-based friend of Baeble, Lauren Wood. Baeble is increasingly interested in new media and music dissemination, and on the local scale, the web has provided some really interesting opportunities for communities to rally around their music scene. Support local music!
Where would the world of emerging bands and independent music be without the Internet? For the first time in recorded history, fans are discovering new music and learning of the latest release from their favorite artist, often times before major media outlets. Bands now have an additional platform to share their music, and have the potential to reach a global audience while they build that all-too-important local fan base. Interactions between bands and their fans have never been greater, and with hyper-local music sites like Des Moines, Iowa-based Quarter After Five
, getting the word out to fans about upcoming gigs and getting bodies in the door at local shows has never been "easier." I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Tony White, the man behind Quarter After Five, to learn a little more about his unique concept and why Quarter After Five is helping change the buzzing music scene in Central Iowa.
Tony, what exactly is Quarter After Five?
Quarter After Five is the first step in an attempt to take what has traditionally been a more national focus on music down to a series of local snapshots. It is an immense project, but QA5's most basic goal is to empower local artists and contributors by allowing them to grow first locally, then branch out by utilizing the platform and tools we provide. We connect bands, their fans, and local venues in an extremely simple way that allows for more interaction, and generates additional buzz about upcoming shows. Many people have mistaken us for bloggers, but the content we have pushed so far has only been to create interest. We aren't aiming at publishing content; we are looking for communities to get behind the concept of the site. Were also using social media to our advantage. Were working on an integration app with Facebook that will make it even easier for our users to interact. The idea of the site is to make everything about integrating yourself into a music community very easy and very accessible.
How did you get started?
The project initiated by making contact with as many individuals within the Des Moines music community and surrounding areas as possible. I wanted to see what needs in the area were, and how we could fulfill them. I was able to build a number of personal connections, and start a real grass roots following that is playing an extremely integral role in the building of this project. Other projects I have seen in the area are trying to sell themselves through competitions to expose their brand and marketing, when they have little more than a concept to market. By letting our product speak for itself, and making changes and additions to what we are doing based on feedback from those we found were interested, we've really made a name for ourselves. Honestly, all the following we have received so far has been through word of mouth and user response. I think that is the best part of this project. It has become my own testing ground for what works and what doesn't, and it just builds on the feasibility of the whole idea of the site.
Why Des Moines, Iowa?
I'm a hometown boy, I grew up here and have so many ties to this area. There was no better starting point than DSM. I know the people and I am comfortable here, so I can easily see what things work here, and what doesn't work. Des Moines is a bigger city with a small town feel and I've found that this city can be very predictable, but every now and then you get a flash of the unexpected and those moments get me truly excited about what Des Moines can be. Hopefully QA5 can be that spark. The Music Scene in Des Moines is nationally known, making this area is the perfect springboard for a project like this. I am excited to see where things go from here.
Who, besides yourself, is behind QA5?
Right now we are very trimmed down. It is myself at the helm of the project, and I have Skyler Nesheim doing our programming and Des Moines photographer Jessica Kaemmer in charge of all media. I have had many people interested in contributing to the site but they have come and gone. I have always been interested and involved with music and I have many friends in the community who have really helped me realize the potential for this project. I have always wanted to create and build things and at the same time I have wanted to help people. I saw this as the perfect opportunity to do both.
In what ways are you different from other local music sites?
Our concept is completely unique. We have selected the most pertinent categories within the music populace and compiled them into one site. To be a hub within the music community you have to be better than just one aspect of music, yet retain a focus that actually gives something useful back to both bands and fans alike. Most sites are focused on the national scene, grabbing at every band possible, compiling everything together. Sites get cluttered and unusable when this happens. The concept for QA5 clears the clutter and pulls the focus away from a giant, national scene by focusing on locales. However, through unique connective tools we will end up creating an extremely dynamic national scene while keeping the importance of local backing at the top of our list.
Learn more about Quarter After Five by visiting their website
. You can also fan them on Facebook
or follow them on Twitter at @Quarterafter5