Mark Marshall - Four four 4Most artists find completing one album a daunting task, so when we heard that the independent musician Mark Marshall was not only going to release four albums over the course of the next year, but also a documentary film, as well as launch a subscription-based social media experience around the creation of said albums, we had to discover if there was a method to his apparent madness.  Mark graciously accepted our email interview request and has given MusicIsMyDayJob a behind-the-scenes look at how and why he is doing this, as well as the challenges it presents to him as an independent artist.

This is the second in our three-part interview series with Mark, focusing on how he is making it all happen, both in terms of technology and in terms of funding.  Friday we will examine the ways that he is using social media to both promote and shape the final outcome, and you can visit yesterday’s post on the genesis of this idea by clicking here.

Q: Without sharing all of your secrets/financial details, how did you determine the $4/month pricing structure?
A: Totally seat-of-my pants.  The idea of the fours just came to me, and I followed it.  When I did the math, it seemed like such a reasonable number for the end user, and doable for me as well.


Q: Are you still working your “day job” while doing all of this?
A: Yes – at a subsistence level.  I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t a struggle – especially seeing as I’m self-employed.  But there is something authentic about it all being one flow – all part of one existence.  So yes… and if you’re looking for a website out there…


Q: When you finally determined what the package would be, who did you turn to on the technical side to make it a reality? Did you design a lot of it from scratch, or are you integrating other services to make it all happen?
A: No one.  I’ve built every bit of it myself, using open source webstuff.  The only outside resource I’m using at this point is ReverbNation, who just plain rock.  I have yet to find a single place with such a variety of tools and attention to what an artist needs to spread themselves across the web, complete with mail tools and widgets. They kick butt, and I rave about them on the project site, too.  But other than them, I built it all using publicly available open source tools.


Q: Along those lines, how much are you keeping in house in terms of selling website advertising, design and artwork, shipping product, etc…?
A.
All of it.  With the exception of the final distribution to the general public, which at this point I’m assuming will be done through CD Baby, everything else is done in-house.  I do the photography, the videography, the artwork, designs, etc.  With the exception of using Google Adsense for some ad placement, all abject sponsorship of the project is hand-picked by yours truly.  I will not accept sponsorship from an organization who I don’t truly believe in.  In fact, I’m in negotiation for endorsements with several companies at present… and I hand picked them, because I love what they make or do.
…to be continued…

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You can learn more about Mark Marshall and his Four for 4 Project here.  You can also find him on Twitter.

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Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for details on how social media is being used to both promote and shape the  final project.

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