Switched from Revue to Mailchimp

When I started the Metal Bandcamp Gift Club email newsletter, I wanted to try something different, and I picked Revue. It turned out to be simple to use, and easy to manage, but as the list and my process has grown, I sort of outgrew it pretty quick.

Previously I was using a Google Form to collect people’s birthdays and other info for the Birthday Club. This is important stuff, as whenever there’s a birthday, an email gets sent out.

Even more important is people being on the email list! What good are these emails if half the people who sign up aren’t on the email list?

So I moved everything into Mailchimp, and set up the sign up form like the Google Form.

I just couldn’t add all that in Revue, which is okay, since they’re built more for growing a list and then monetizing it, or selling ads – and it’s great for that. I just needed something different.

Exporting my user date from Revue and uploading to Mailchimp was simple enough. I just needed to set up the extra fields in Mailchimp (Birthday, First Name, Last Name, etc.), and everything lined up just fine.

Now when people sign up to be in the Birthday Club, they’re on the email list as well. This removed an extra step from the process for the person signing up, and honestly not everyone who joined the club went and subscribed to the newsletter. Extra steps matter! So now it’s streamlined, which means I get to grow the newsletter at a better clip.

Another reason for moving back to Mailchimp is that the emails will look a little better now, too. Revue only had a few different templates, and didn’t let you add to much to the design, so it’s nice to have some of that control back.

Again, not a knock on Revue – their service is great for what they do! I’ve just been using Mailchimp since forever, so it was nice to “come back home.”

P.S. If you want to sign up for the Metal Bandcamp Gift Club Birthday Club, just click here to subscribe!

Running 11 Miles in the Snow

I knew a storm was coming, but that didn’t get me out of bed in time to beat the snowfall. Just as a left the house, it started snowing, and did not stop.

This ended up being two out and backs, with some spontatnous side streets and loops along the way. It wasn’t pretty, but it kept me close to home, so I didn’t need to drive anywhere.

The challenge with keeping it close to home is that you can quit any time. A warm house and coffee and dry clothes are literally just around the corner. But I knew I had to get these 11 miles done.

At one point I saw a fox run across the road. At mile eight a random dog started running with me, and stayed with me for a bit until his owners drove up with their mini van and he jumped in and bailed on me.

My feet were wet, my hands were on fire (new mitten gloves did their job), I was slightly chilled from my sweaty long sleeve, my glasses were fogged up most of the time, and there was about 2-3 inches of snow on the road – but I knew this run would make the next run that much more tolerable.

If I could beat this weather, these conditions, then the next run – or race – wouldn’t be such a nightmare, since I did it already.

A total of 26 miles for the week. A little over 60 days until my first marathon. There’s a part of me that thinks I’m not ready, I’m biting off more than I can chew, but I need to take the leap. Push some of my limits, get out of my comfort zone, and see what happens.

Write It Down

My to-do list app (Todoist) is worthless if it’s not the first thing I look at when I sit down to work.

This Christmas I got a nice Panobook (thanks, Bill), and it’s helped me finally take the plunge into a productivity concept that I’ve read about countless time but never put into practice; write down the most important things you gotta do tomorrow.

Now, when I finish up my work each night, I write down the 3-4 BIG THINGS I need to start in the morning.

Then, when I sit down at my computer, even before I wake my laptop, the most important things are right there in front of me.

Growing Things

Last year I rebooted Metal Bandcamp Gift Club. Started in 2016, it fizzled quite a bit, and by 2019, it was running on fumes.

In October, I shook the dust off, kicked the tires, and got things rolling again. While the initial idea was formed and grew quite well on Twitter, I chose to move things to an email list.

Sure, the Metal Bandcamp Gift Club Twitter account has over 500 followers, but I know every time I send out a Tweet, not everyone sees it.

My last birthday Tweet had 712 impressions and 7 link clicks. That’s a 0.9% click rate.
My last email went out to 67 subscribers and got 6 clicks. That’s a 8.9% click rate.

Think of the work I have to put into growing my audience on Twitter. If I have 1,000 followers then what? Maybe 14 clicks?

But I’ve grown the Metal Bandcamp Gift Club email list from nothing to 71 subscribers in just three months.

It’s the Seth Godin idea; people like us sign up for newsletters like this.

Not everyone wants to get an email with a link to an absolute stranger’s wishlist when it’s their birthday, and that’s okay. This isn’t for “everyone,” this is for a handful of people who understand the power of surprising and delighting people they don’t know with music on their birthday.

And right now, and into 2020 and beyond, I believe that the audience who gets what you do, who knows what you’re about, they’re going to subscribe to your thing because not subscribing is missing out, so yes, you are that special, and you absolutely matter.

While you can continue to build on social media, make sure you’re building your email list along the way. When (not if) those sites shut down, you won’t be able to export any of those fans, followers, or subscribers.

Very Noise

What? How? Is this even real?

Really enjoyed IGORRR’s 2017 album ‘Savage Sinusoid,’ but haven’t been keeping up, but really stoked I stumbled upon this clip. This song is from a new album, ‘Spirituality and Distortion,’ due out in March.

It’s video likes this that push me forward. With all the ills of this world, the strife and turmoil and impending supernova of Betelgeuse (maybe?), music is as important as ever. Getting a bunch of people into a practice space, or sending MP3 files back and forth over the internet to make music like… this?

Yes, why not?

Don’t Look Back

Start today and tell a friend about a band you like.
Go to a show and get there early to watch the opener.
Click around YouTube and Vimeo for some good music videos, and share them with your friends.

A decade ago you made a blog and hoped people read it.

Now we’re all our own media outlets, so choose your programming as such.

Purpose

Week three of marathon training in the books, and today was my long run, a nice 10 miles on an unseasonably warm January day.

Lots of time to think on a 10 mile run, especially when alone (the friends I met up with were doing other routes and workouts). I somehow got thinking of why? The meaning of life, what’s the purpose? All these strands of DNA, this long abandoned railroad. What the heck are we doing here?

Then I remember that nothing needs to make sense. That everything doesn’t need to be figured out, or had apparent meaning. Just being in the woods with some good people is meaning enough.

Finally Bought a Monitor

After staring at a 13″ laptop screen since about 2003, I finally invested in a monitor; the $450 LG 27UK850-W 27″ 4K UHD IPS Monitor with HDR10 with USB Type-C Connectivity and FreeSync.

What the heck does any of that mean? Eh, I have no idea. The biggest feature is the USB Type-C Connectivity, which is kinda handy, as it’s one less single-purpose cable I needed to buy. Oh, and it charges the computer, which is nice.

The biggest feature? It looks enough like a retina screen, and at 27″ that’s pretty damn good. I admit I bought a cheap $250 big monitor from BestBuy before but the resolution was garbage, so it was just a bigger image, but with actually not that much real estate on the screen. I returned it.

With this new set up I can have two full size browser windows side by side, with room to spare. This has helped me be more efficient with my work, as I’m not cycling through tabs all the time. Time saving is a good thing.

Funny story: I went to the Apple Store ready to buy the LG UltraFine 4K 23.7″ Display, which is $700. See, I didn’t want to buy another monitor, set it up, plug it in, and then see that it’s garbage. I went to the Apple Store, played with the monitor they had on display, and was like, sure, let’s do this.

The person who helped me out asked me some standard questions, like what I’d be using it for, the work I do, and then basically said I should do some research online and find something that’s bigger and probably cheaper. Woah! And they were 1000% correct. I compared the resolution and other specs of the LG UltraFine to this one, and they seemed about the same. Sure, I bet side by side there’s some diference, but I spent a lot less and got a bigger screen (27″ vs 23.7″).

Free Williamsburg Closing Up Shop

Founded in the late 90s on Geocities, Free Williamsburg has been through a lot. The internet, and this whole “BLOG THING” held lots of promise, but it’s hard to compete when so many eyeballs are diverted to the slot-machine allure of social media.

 A good chunk of this happened before a little old thing called social media even existed. Before Instagram, you’d go to photo sites like The Cobrasnake or Last Night’s Party, or to countless blogs like ours, to see what the cool kids were up to. Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok just weren’t a thing. Today, they’re definitely a thing. And as FREE Williamsburg has turned fifteen… eighteen… twenty… we persisted (we’re stubborn) while the cultural currency that used to be defined by websites like this one shifted to social media and corporate-backed publications.

We Had a Good Run…

I wouldn’t say my music blog of the 2000s (Buzzgrinder) had a tenth of the pull and cool vibes that Free Williamsburg held, but we were sort of in the same zip code for awhile. Literally. I lived in Brooklyn from 2005-2010, and got to my share of shows in the area, and met up with people in Williamsburg because of my music blog thing.

A shame, too. Most all of content we talk about, link to, and share on social media is from a website. The interviews, the music videos, the big articles – they all sit on a .com somewhere, which you access via a URL.

The problem is sites like Free Williamsburg compete with a zillion other sites who are publishing 80 articles a day, and have cash on hand (or rather, funding…) to promote their posts.

Hard to cut through the noise when the noise of promoted posts and harrowing click bait articles rule the social-world, but Free Williamsburg had a spectacular run.