During an AVNation Special, Tim Albright started listing some of the things I do to promote Diversity. I have been asked repeatedly, “Why [are you doing this]?” Allow me to answer that.

Let me be clear, I am sharing my actions to encourage others to follow suit. It is not “virtue signaling”. It is leading by example and sharing some of the actions people can do. Thank you to Alesia Hendley for clarifying the intent during AVWeek Episode 559. To use a quote attributed to Sally Ride, “If you don’t see it, you can’t be it.”Not everything I do to improve the world is public, nor should it be.

Changing employers in 2018 resulted in me being part of a much more diverse workplace. Many of my coworkers were not middle age white men.  I am surprised at how much of an impact that change has had. While getting to know people I was impressed by people’s backgrounds. People had multiple advanced degrees. People that are across the gender and sexuality spectrums. People of different races. People of different nationalities. Talking with people I became much more aware of the challenges and roadblocks nonwhite straight males have.

Becoming more aware of the challenges people face, I started to notice discrepancies more often. A few events and conversations were very impactful. It is impossible for me to list everyone and everything. I do want to mention two people, Clarisse (Vamos) Falls and Amy Shira Teitel. they shared experiences that illustrated the situations very well. I asked before I shared their names. The illustrations are amalgams of multiple people’s experiences.

Being a space and science aficionado, I read Amy’s book “Breaking the Chains of Gravity: The Story of Spaceflight before NASA” and enjoyed it. When her next book “Fighting for Space: Two Pilots and Their Historic Battle for Female Spaceflight” was released I added it to my queue. I was already aware of some of the problems. Seeing a more complete picture made me realize how much I did not know or did not notice. While reading Amy’s book, I was amazed at the number of barriers women faced. I learned how widespread and institutionalized the exclusion of women was. When Wally Funk went to space as part of Blue Origin’s first crewed flight news organizations were getting history wrong. They were saying she was part of a NASA program. The study that Wally Funk took part in was not a NASA initiative at all, it was not First Lady Astronaut Training (FLAT). It was a private study heavily subsidized by Jackie Cochrane, a main person in Amy’s book. Women were not part of the astronaut program until January 1978

Within the “diverse” workplaces there is still a lack of action. I understand that the terms guys and dude are widely considered non-gendered. When someone has said repeatedly that they do not appreciate the term and a manager continues to use it, it shows the attitude toward making a change. This hesitancy can also be seen in upper management typically. At many places the ratio of women to men is not even close to even. When women bring it up, they are dismissed as being aggressive or a “bitch”. That is an outright insult. Women are 50%, okay 49.6%, of the population but are not represented at that same level in many fields.

I worked with a man who was an admitted misogynist. He told people, but more importantly his actions in the workplace reflected it. When issues became widespread and noticed human resources had to get involved. The person was suspended for one week. As one of the people who reported incidents, I am still amazed but not surprised that nothing more substantive happened. I feel that if I had not reported the issues, the problems would have been dismissed by HR as “women being too sensitive and needing to get used to it.” Why should women need to accommodate people being mean to them? Why should anyone?

I have watched women told that they would be taken more seriously if their hair looked different. There are times during meetings, people have leaned over and made downright lewd comments about coworkers. I have seen women who have more experience and more knowledge been mansplained to. I almost choked when a man started explaining to a woman about her area of expertise.

At tradeshows I have seen too many women addressed as “Cupcake, Sweetheart, Honey … etc.” At too many shows I have seen women used as eye candy. I have seen women dismissed as not being knowledgeable about a product that they manage. I watched as a man told a woman, a polyglot, she was pronouncing a French word wrong; she is fluent in French.

I could continue with examples for much longer. Think what would happens if someone said to a man, I would take you more seriously if your hair wasn’t brown. Imagine having someone, unrequested, explain your area of expertise to you. I am highlighting problems I often did not notice. I will admit I have done some of these things.

Some would say I am “woke”. I prefer to say I am more aware and observant. I have always known things like this are wrong. I just did not always notice the problems as they are so common it has become normal. 

Laptop computer with video conference

People were asking how I have been doing countdown timers. After doing some testing, I realized that what I thought would be a simple video file became a large video file. What I have been doing, does not translate easily to a simpler system. My system is not typical of a video conferencing system or work from home system. It might be closer to a home video suite for a YouTube person or a production area for a game streamer.

I am currently rendering videos that may be able to be used for Zoom backgrounds. As they complete I am placing them on my website at <>The reason I say may is that the size of the files vary. The performance and power of your computer will greatly impact the ability to play these videos as backgrounds. I realized during the process how much of the video processing is being done in various pieces of external hardware. Basically I got so used to having all the tools I was using I didn’t realize how much I was using them. I will not hijack this thread into discussing those items completely.

To answer Arlen’s question, I am not using any APIs. There are actually easier tools build into the software I use. I am using QLab on my Mac, but I believe that many of the same things can be done using OBS (Open Broadcaster Studio https://obsproject.com/). The main feature I use to accomplish time keeping tricks is the ability to trigger cues via “wall clock” or time of day. The cue can turn on a timer as an overlay that it composites in real time. I then connect it through a Blackmagic ATEM Mini https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/atemmini switcher to process the video sources and have it appear as a USB webcam to Zoom or other software.











Recently during an AV in the AM discussion one of the topics that came up was employee burnout and how to prevent it. A matter of debate was electronic mail and how to manage it. That was when people started sharing the number of unread emails that they have. That is when I got scared.

Is this real?

A few of us saw that amount and got ornery about it. Here is what I had to say:

To me 75,729 unread/unacted emails is a problem. That is more than 20 unacted emails everyday for 10 years.

Also just poor information management. As a client seeing that it would concern me: would my email get lost? How is information managed.

Even after a week of mostly ignoring email, I have less than 50 work emails unread/acted, 10 for @AVNationTV, and 200 personal which includes twitter alerts and @SynAudCon mail list.

My brain is still boggled by the quantity of unread messages. Yes one can mark a read message unread. If one spends one minute per email to read & react that is still 150+ business days. Very unique organization system that has odd failure modes.


I started writing this piece and then set it aside to attend to other matters as well as try to find the rest of the article. I was unsure what the take away would be, to quote my friend George, “Why does the reader/listener care?” It then hit me this past week while at work. As someone who put in the time to write the email to see it go unread told me the time I spend after-hours is wasted.

Allow me to explain some things about my work environment; I am not going to tell you much of who I work for or what I projects or tasks I am involved with. I take my NDA’s very seriously. Besides, writing about work environments can be very tricky and wrought with unintended consequences.

I do understand the importance of walking down the hall to talk with people. That can be difficult when one of the parties is over one thousand miles away. Also with having multiple tasks going on, not everything happens during business hours, between 8:00 and 17:00.

I was not going to be able to talk with all of the stakeholders about a meeting scheduled for the next day. I stayed late to get the information to the stakeholders as quickly as possible. I was not sure what time people would be checking e-mail, but we had a meeting about the subject the next day. The meeting arrived the next day, and it became clear that the e-mail was unread, not by just one party but by all people. I know for a fact that it is not unique to my employer.

The standard answers, “Do you know how many e-mails I get a day?” or “I saw it but didn’t read it.” or my favorite as there are laptops, “It was too long to read on my phone.” These could be reasons; these could be excuses. The takeaway though was that because of unread or stagnant e-mails the extra hours I took to prepare for that meeting is effort and time wasted. Whether intentional or not, the people in that meeting had just said that information that had been gathered and the energy expended was lost or not necessary.

So that image of thousands of e-mails unread is sending a message that any effort they put forth into an e-mail to use most likely a waste. Is that the message you want to send to people? There are many approaches that can be used to “hide” or not display such a large number on a display. That however does not fix the underlying issue, just the symptom.

I do not chase inbox zero. I strive for inbox read each day. Now if you will excuse me, I am off to act upon about 300 messages that built up this week.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Recently Tim Albright, of AVNation, and I were debating about the grammar of a sentence. Yes, that is what we do when looking at the website and looking for challenges that can be improved. While I might be cranky quite often, I do not want to berate and attack people with incomplete data. I took the sentence in question and ran it through the Grammarly service. It is one of the highest rated online grammar checking sites. Sure enough, Grammarly indicated that the phrasing of the sentence was correct. The sentence in question is, “Fall of 2015 Josh Srago, Kirsten Nelson, and I was attending the national sales meeting for AVI Systems, an integrator headquartered in Minneapolis.” Grammarly indicated the word ‘was is correct, both of us thought it should be ‘were’. Changing the sentence to, “During the fall of 2015 Josh Srago, Kirsten Nelson, and I were attending the national sales meeting of AVI Systems, an integrator headquartered in Minneapolis.” changed the results. The word ‘were’ is now correct.

How does this story relate to audio, video, lighting, or control? The point of this parable is that software is very fallible. To trust software without checking the validity or sensibility of a result can often be a problem. Many of us have heard tales of GPS based computer directions gone wrong, the same thing can happen in almost any piece of software.

Many AV technicians use software packages designed for making room measurements. These are great tools to help with compensating for room acoustics and speaker performance. I have seen and heard people watch the screen of the software while measuring the room response. They then adjust the digital signal processor to compensate, using all the filter points to get the line looking like they want. It looks like it sounds great.
Then comes the listening.

The results are not very pleasing. But the software says it is right, so it must be. All of the available 256 filters were used. Does it sound good? That can be subjective but we all know that things can sound good or bad. There is the answer that one must consider the variable of where the measurements are being taken. To overly simplify, the phrasing of the overall sentence is the same as the location of a test microphone.

To me it comes down to something Steve Greenblatt and Brock McGinnis have been discussing on Twitter, experience. The software will not always give the desired result. Every so often one should step away from behind the software and listen in the run. Do not be afraid to trust your ears, eyes, and brain to verify what the software is indicating. Now if you will excuse me, my time measuring software says it is time for playoff hockey. Based on the position of the sun, I find that it is showing a reasonable time value.

On Sunday, May 7, 2017 John Oliver told his audience about Net Neutrality. During his 20 minute segment he indicated that gofccyourself.com will redirect people to the FCC page to leave comments. You can viewthe video clip, approximately 20 minutes long and definitely R rated and NSFW, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92vuuZt7wak Continue reading “FCC Declares DDoS, I declare Shenanigans”

Previously I wrote about the protection I am adding to my mail by using PGP or GPG. You can find the article by clicking here. My involvement with the EFF and AVNation have also included comments about privacy: AVNation Privacy & EFF Mail Links.

Something I realized while thinking about this subject is that if one sends very few encrypted e-mails, the ones that are encrypted will stand out in the mail being sent. Now you might wonder what I am doing that requires encrypting. The previous blog post explains why I am encrypting my mail.

I have an additional reason now, confuse the government and anyone else monitoring traffic. This idea is discussed in Cory Doctorow’s book Little Brother http://craphound.com/littlebrother.The section below is used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 license. This quote below came from line 1826 in the HTML version available on Mr. Doctorow’s website.

“So how come you weren’t on Xnet last night?”
I was grateful for the distraction. I explained it all to him, the Bayesian stuff and my fear that we couldn’t go on using Xnet the way we had been without getting nabbed. He listened thoughtfully.
“I see what you’re saying. The problem is that if there’s too much crypto in someone’s Internet connection, they’ll stand out as unusual. But if you don’t encrypt, you’ll make it easy for the bad guys to wiretap you.”
“Yeah,” I said. “I’ve been trying to figure it out all day. Maybe we could slow the connection down, spread it out over more peoples’ accounts –“
“Won’t work,” he said. “To get it slow enough to vanish into the noise, you’d have to basically shut down the network, which isn’t an option.”
“You’re right,” I said. “But what else can we do?”
“What if we changed the definition of normal?”
And that was why Jolu got hired to work at Pigspleen when he was 12. Give him a problem with two bad solutions and he’d figure out a third totally different solution based on throwing away all your assumptions. I nodded vigorously. “Go on, tell me.”
“What if the average San Francisco Internet user had a lot more crypto in his average day on the Internet? If we could change the split so it’s more like fifty-fifty cleartext to ciphertext, then the users that supply the Xnet would just look like normal.”
“But how do we do that? People just don’t care enough about their privacy to surf the net through an encrypted link. They don’t see why it matters if eavesdroppers know what they’re googling for.”
“Yeah, but web-pages are small amounts of traffic. If we got people to routinely download a few giant encrypted files every day, that would create as much ciphertext as thousands of web-pages.”

This action is a relatively small action and is rather simple to do. However, the fact that it will change the traffic view could be helpful for others. It will prevent other PGP/GPG encrypted traffic from being such an outlier as to be noticed. As EFF posted on Data Privacy Day, privacy is a team sport. There are additional directions for how to do this task at https://ssd.eff.org/, hover over the tutorials section. If you want to test if it worked, My public key identifier is C93A52C6. You can download my public key from https://www.bradfordbenn.com/BradfordBenn-C93A52C6.asc

I also will freely admit, I am not sure if it will make a difference, but it could not hurt.

Bradford Benn
January 31, 2017

With apologies to Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Let me put in the disclaimer first, this blog post as well as everything on this site are my opinions and do not reflect the opinions of my employer or anyone else.

One of the interesting things that has been occurring recently has been people around me talking about CTS certifications from InfoComm. It has ranged from ribbing from people who have certifications to people questioning my knowledge base in Audio & Video. I appeared on a Tech Chaos Podcast to discuss this topic during March 2016. During the InfoComm trade-show in June of 2016, I had heard enough. The breaking point was one of my colleagues when I did not know something off the top of my head, said well if you had a CTS maybe you would know.

With me being the sarcastic and acerbic person I am, responded by saying there is only so much RAM to hold information and that question at hand can be looked up as I pulled out my handheld device. The question was how does one calculate the viewing distance from a display. I then asked a question that is just as relevant in today’s AV world, were two IP addresses on the same subnet mask? Yes, I was being petulant, as I said I am sarcastic and acerbic. Basically someone questioning my knowledge base because they had a CTS certification and I didn’t rubbed me the wrong way. As the ribbing continued, I brought out the fact that I teach classes that qualify for Renewal Units (RU). (To maintain a certification, one must acquire 30 Renewal Units every three years.) The volley want back and forth, until I finally pulled out the sledgehammer and asked how many projects that they had designed, fabricated, installed, configured, and commissioned that were the lead story on the national news. It got very quiet.

I was able to formalize my thought after that discussion, many certifications simply indicate that someone can take a standardized test effectively or has sat through a class with not testing. I will give credit to InfoComm for pointing out that certification doesn’t guarantee competency. From the webpage Certified Professionals Directory:

Certification is not a guarantee for performance by certified individuals. Certified Technology Specialist™ (CTS®) holders at all levels of certification have demonstrated audiovisual knowledge and/or skills. Certified individuals adhere to the CTS Code of Ethics and Conduct and maintain their status through continued education. Certification demonstrates commitment to professional growth in the audiovisual industry and is strongly supported by InfoComm.

Chuck Espinoza and I had a discussion about the certification and the process during InfoComm 2016. He made some interesting points, so I decided I was going to sit for the certification.  It would not be equitable for me to have an opinion without having a better sense of the process. Perhaps the other way to look at it, if you want to defeat your enemy learn to sing their songs.

I showed up at the appointed time and was shown to my test computer. The multiple choice test is administered via computer interface at an independent testing center. That makes good sense allowing the test to be taken easily by many people throughout the world. Any test is a combination of testing an applicant’s knowledge as well as their acumen at test taking. During my career I have taught classes for certifications and have also been the creator of the content and testing process. One of the things that I always stress to my students is select the most correct answer if they are not sure. I will follow the non-disclosure agreement I accepted as part of the testing process (yes, I am one of the people that reads the agreements before clicking accept) and be somewhat vague in my discussions.

As one can probably ascertain, I passed the test on the first attempt. However I learned quite a few things that I did not know. I did not know the standard symbols used in a Gannt Chart, despite having read them for over 20 years. I was not sure of the proper time to deliver a bid document package, but most of the projects I have been involved with had documented bid dates and processes. I could deduce what connector was a video connector, despite the fact I would not be able to identify it in the field. I also realized that the test is not solely about certification in technology  but includes other items that are deemed good practices by the committee. To me that is where the certification started to diverge and I saw how this testing process might not be the best evaluative tool. I also realized at that point having the CTS certification be a prerequisite to attaining a CTS-I (Installation) or CTS-D (Design) is not appropriate.

A great installer might know nothing about the sales process, she knows that when there is a question about new additions or pricing to bring in the sales person or project manager. She could be capable of determining how much to derated an wire rope based on the angle of pull in her head. She might pass the CTS-I test with flying colors on the first try, but stumble during the CTS certification process. A Designer might not know how to read a Gantt Chart, but if the project manager keeps the team informed of the deadlines, it is not an issue. The Designer might not be aware of the procedure for service calls, but that is not his skill set. As a specialist, one should not have to take the generalist test first.

My opinion though is a little mixed now about the CTS process itself. I took the test without studying. I did not even open a book, I simply took a practice exam, paid my money, and took the test. I passed. That is reassuring as I have had a career in the AV industry for over 20 years. I was also surprised about the content itself and how much in my opinion it has to do with the full industry. The fact that the testing agency I took the test at said that they have about a 66% failure rate, also told me that I need to reevaluate the measure of the test. I am not hiding the fact that I hold a CTS certification.

I do however standby the point as InfoComm has pointed out, just because one passed the certification test it does not mean that they are qualified. I also know that there are challenges in the continuing education or renewal units (RU) process. Many of the RU classes are simply attend and get the units, it does not prove that anything is being retained. However that is for another blog post.

Here is my certificate, since I don’t have a digital badge yet. Listen to AVWeek, Episode 258: Throwin’ Shade for clarification about that reference.

Bradford Benn's CTS Certification from InfoComm

Some of you may already be aware that the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is one of the groups I support. Privacy, security, and freedom for the individual is one of my touchstones. I have written about these topics previously, both here and at AVNation.tv. (Yes, there will be overlap between this post and the one over there. My opinion hasn’t changed.)

There are proposed rule changes within the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure that the EFF has made me aware of. I do not claim to be an expert on all the legalities and intricacies, however from the comments that the EFF have provided I immediately felt it was important to comment on. The proposed amendment to procedural Rule 41 would allow a judge to issue a warrant allowing law enforcement to remotely enter (hack) a computer when “the district where the media or information is located has been concealed through technological means,” or when the media are on protected computers that have been “damaged without authorization and are located in five or more districts.”

The first portion of this means that if one uses a means to hide their location, for any reason, a search warrant would be allowed. At AVNation I spoke about how this applies to business environments where Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are used to provide a secure connection between remote users and the office. A byproduct of that process is that one’s location is incorrect quite often, sometimes on purpose. When I travel to China I use VPN for personal use. I purposely set my VPN to connect me to a point of presence located in the US. This decision allows me to access my e-mail as well as other sites, such as news sites like New York Times or Los Angeles Times. I can continue on about the Great Firewall of China, but these couple of links should help provide background https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Firewall or https://www.eff.org/search/site/china%20firewall.)

I also use a VPN connection, as well as other tools, when I am using a public hotspot. In fact I am using one right now as I sit in Starbucks using their WiFi. This approach prevents eavesdroppers to my communication. I will say that Google and Starbucks do a good job keeping things safe, however not everyplace is as secure. I want to keep my data encrypted as long as I can. Yes, there is Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) that is secure and I use it as much as possible, but not every site supports it or for all traffic.

I can continue on as to why I use VPN, the important thing to take away is that there are legitimate legal reasons to use VPN. The fact that I use it should not change the way my data/privacy is viewed by the courts. To overly simplify it would be like saying, you locked the door to your car so you have given us a reason to issue a search warrant.

The second portion of the new procedure is also damaging in that it allows for innocent computers to be searched if they have been remotely hacked. If a computer is an unwitting member of a botnet that would meet a qualification for a search warrant. The infected or innocent computer could be searched even if the owner is not involved or suspected of wrong doing. Basically if someone has already broken into your computer, the government can break into it again as your computer might be doing bad things.

To me there is a third reason that this issue is important – this process is being done under the guise of procedural rules. There is no debate, no review by elected officials, just a procedural change to allow more access. Yes, Congress has to vote to approve the rules, but there was very little notice of the process. Luckily groups such as EFF and others are around to alert people to the changes. There is the comment of, “Well if you aren’t doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.” I agree and understand that sentiment, but I also believe that once the first domino has fallen the erosion of privacy will continue. To quote James Madison, “There are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” This procedural step is a gradual and silent move to most people.

Also if there is nothing to worry about, please send me your laptop or phone without clearing the history first. I will be more than happy to inspect it for you.

Much of this information was gathered from the webpage https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/06/help-us-stop-updates-rule-41.
The lock pick image is public domain from Wikimedia. More information about it at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ALockpicking_Pickset.jpg.

My loyal reader and twitter follower is aware, I just attended the InfoComm2014 convention. I found myself struggling what to do with all these business cards I had acquired. Not only the question of how long should I hang on to them, but how to get all the details into my electronic system. After looking at a few solutions, I have a request for all my readers – make the lock screen on your electronic device your QR business card.

As someone who has some nice Moo.com business cards, with 10 different pictures on the cards, I appreciate and enjoy the statement and symbolism of exchanging business cards. What I do not enjoy is trying to get all the data into my various electronic organization tools. It is time consuming. First was the problem of finding a good tool to scan and then read all the data. Then comes the problem of verifying all the data that just got imported and loaded into the computer. There are pieces of software that can do this for you, but even those are not perfect and require some tweaking.  I have tried CamCard for iPhone but am not totally happy with it. The interface is pretty good, but there are short comings. I do like that one can review and edit them on the web. However one cannot easily export it from the corrected version on the web. One has to give CamCard access to your contacts to load it into your contact information. I probably sound paranoid and stereotypical but giving a Chinese company access to my contacts is not something I feel comfortable with. I do like the batch scanning option though.

I can continue talking about the various options I have used and tried. I am using Evernote Hello for my personal contact management. It does not do as good a job dealing with unique layouts on cards. It also does not include a way to include the address.

The thing I would like for more people to start using is a QR vCard. There is a protocol that allows for embedding contact information directly into a QR code. The protocol does not require actually being connected to the Internet to retrieve the information. It simply requires the receiver to have a QR code reader, many of which are free. The process is fairly simple and painless.

  1. Load a QR Code Reader onto your phone.
  2. Using the camera on your phone ingest the QR code you are interested in
  3. View the results

I have created a QR vCard that is the lock image on my iDevice. (A QR card size of 450 pixels by 450 pixels about 305 pixels from the top of the image for an iPhone 4S works.) I do not even have to unlock the phone to provide the QR code to someone. I also have a QR application (Qrafter Pro) that allows for reading QR codes from pictures. I can take a picture without unlocking my iDevice as well. If you really want to be sneaky smart, take a picture of the person also so you can remember what they look like.

To get you started, here is a sample QR code that I created online. There are also sorts of other tools available, Qrafter Pro also allows for creating the grids.

Trial QR code

Go ahead try out your reader.

Relatively easy? Simple?

Now if you will excuse me, I have to go back to reviewing scanned business cards. I think I will even update my personal cards to have a QR code.

Shout out to Linda Seid-Frembes who gave me this idea years ago – You can read more about it at her blog.

Yes, I now that this topic has been talked about before but I really think it is worth considering.

As some of you might know in my previous life, I was an audio technician touring with various groups – some known and unknown. I also happen to have eclectic musical tastes. In the past few years I have stumbled upon some musicians through the Interwebs. I have supported some through Kickstarter, Bandcamp, buying direct, and most recently Patreon. I also have had some interesting conversations with artists on Twitter.

The most recent interaction I had got me thinking and created this post. But first the recap of the conversation with Marian Call (@mariancall http://mariancall.com) and Kim Boekbinder [Impossible Girl] (@KimBoekbiner http://theimpossiblegirl.com). There were branches in the conversation so I tried to make it as understandable as a Twitter stream from an iPhone can be.

Me: @KimBoekbinder @mariancall i am curious why go to cities where sales are strong and not go to uncharted areas to increase audience base?

Marian: @BradfordBenn @KimBoekbinder I try to alternate. You can’t eat if you play too many uncharted areas. Strong strong weak, strong strong weak.

@BradfordBenn @mariancall Oh yeah – that’s what labels pay for. Those of us without labels can only afford to go where we are wanted.

@BradfordBenn @KimBoekbinder Touring is incredibly expensive, on the order of hundreds per day. If you don’t recover that you sink.

@KimBoekbinder @BradfordBenn My exception was the 50 states tour. I carefully planned strong and weak cities for months.

@KimBoekbinder @BradfordBenn It was a great experience and made lots of new fans, but after 9 months I wound up with $0 in the bank.

@BradfordBenn What @mariancall said. Only I have so few strong cities I can’t get far enough to increase my presence.

@mariancall @BradfordBenn Not only is tour expensive – it is exhausting. So you can’t just work another job to make ends meet.

Me: @mariancall @KimBoekbinder understand the costs of touring. Thanks for clarifications, new world since i was touring as an audio tech. Marian:
@BradfordBenn @KimBoekbinder Audio techs rule. Me:

@KimBoekbinder @mariancall still support both of you & your work and would like to see you both play live. How can i help?

@BradfordBenn @mariancall So cool. I love touring, wish I could just go and go and go.

@BradfordBenn @mariancall Where is Wonderment?

@BradfordBenn @KimBoekbinder Where are you, first of all?

Me: Wonderment is a state of mind, learning and seeing things that are interesting. I travel quite a lot for work, my home is South Bend, IN but have spent time in So Cal the past 3 months. Yes, i listen to you on planes

Marian: Sometimes it takes a couple years but we get there!
@BradfordBenn Folks who get really excited about planning a concert near them, and who can bring 30-50 people, mostly get their way.

@bradfordbenn Not to pile on you! It’s a good question. It’s a funny business, far less profit and far more risk than most folks think.

Me: @mariancall didn’t think piling on. Thanks for concern. Think having good conversation. Might even become a blog post.

Marian: @BradfordBenn Being on my email list is the first best step: http://mariancall.fanbridge.com  this year I won’t tour much, but I will a little.

 @mariancall yup am on the list and have already bought Sketchbook. Will get CD also cause i prefer WAV to FLAC and MP3

I know much of the things that they were talking about from my past experiences, but the scale was very different. Understanding this different economy and music sales process in this century is interesting and different from other businesses. When I travel for work and make sales calls, I often ask to go see the potential customers that are not familiar with my company. When I travel on sales calls, I can interweave existing customers with new customers because there are multiples of each in one city. For a musician that is not always possible, as there are only so many customers (fans) in each city. However the costs remain high for each city, hotel, transport, equipment rental, venue costs… etc.

You may ask, why am I sharing this post and conversation. There are a couple of reasons.

The first was that I found it interesting so I thought my reader would also. As someone involved in the professional audio industry it is very good to hear from other people involved in the process.

It reminds me why it is important to purchase music and not just stream it or download. Pay or support someone for their effort. I am not saying you have to support everyone, but support the artists that you like.

Go out and try new music, search the interwebs, branch out, you might find something you like. Go to concerts that friends have recommended. I think you get the idea.

There are more music outlets than iTunes, Amazon, and Google.

A few suggestions of some of the artists I have been supporting: