LaFamos recentlyhad the pleasure of interviewing Music Connection’s Publisher, E. Eric Bettelli. Check it out below and see what you as an independent artist can get out of Music Connection Magazine!
Eric, thanks so much for taking the time to sit down with us today. I’d like to start by hearing from you about those first days at Music Connection…
The magazine was started in 1977 and the initial focus was to provide local musicians, singers, and songwriters a forum to find other musicians, a place to have their music reviewed and a way to connect them with music industry professionals that could make a difference in their career.
Being an artist-to-industry publication, what kind of information can one expect to get from the magazine?
Opportunities for artists, songwriting news and tips, signing stories, recording studio news, live and CD reviews, and national music related guides.
What inspired you to create Music Connection?
There was a gap in the Los Angeles, CA, music scene in the late 70’s–there was no publication that was providing music business information and covering local unsigned bands. Hence, MC became the first local musicians forum (which we used as our sub logo).
It has definitely helped the independent music community these past few decades. How has the magazine evolved since its humble beginnings?
MC started out with just 16 pages. It did not incorporate a 4 color cover until 1983. Skunk Baxter of the Doobie Brothers was our first visual cover. MC stayed in its Bi-Weekly format (every two weeks) until it went fully national as a monthly publication in June 2008.
I understand the original founder, Michael Dolan, retired in 2010. Has his departure affected the core values of Music Connection?
No, the magazine did not shift focus after Michael departed in 2010
That being said, could you give me more info on how Music Connection became a national publication?
In the beginning of 2008 a decision was made to take MC to a national status by acquiring two national magazine distributors. Also at the time, MC went to a full color format on all the pages and a new frequency as a monthly publication.
With things like songwriting tips, live show/CD reviews, and career advice for the independent artist, do you guys at Music Connection gravitate around specific genre?
MC has always had a wide array of music genres which include Rock, Country, Hip Hop/Urban, Country and Pop.
Music has been changing throughout the decades. How has MC been able to stay successful with these changes?
MC has always provided insights into the constant changing of the industry. It has been the first publication to have the following artists grace its covers: Madonna, Gun’s N’ Roses, Alanis Morissette, Dwight Yoakam, No Doubt, Linkin Park, White Stripes, Adele among many others. When it was a local publication, MC reviewed the club performances of local bands such as Jane’s Addiction, when they were unsigned and up-and-coming. MC now reviews bands from not only LA, but several major cities across the US.
I noticed the magazine is now available online, too. When did you decide to take MC online, and how has it affected your relationship with readers?
In 2008 when MC went to its national monthly format, the MC digital edition was launched. The internet has given the opportunity to access all the info on a home computer or any smart phone instantly. It has been a huge success not only for its readers but also the advertisers.
File-sharing also became a huge trend starting in the early 2000s and immensely affected music companies and musicians. Did this affect the magazine in any way?
File sharing has not affected MC as MC chose to put up the digital magazine.
In addition to Music Connection Magazine, you also have the AMP Network. Can you give me the story behind it and its purpose?
The AMP Social Space was developed and launched as there was a need for a social network for artists and others who comprise the music industry. The AMP network is not about catering to the fan base, but having artists and music-makers (including songwriters, engineers, concert bookers, etc.) interact with one another.
Music Connection has been around for a long time. What can you say is the biggest difference and best thing about the magazine now compared to its earlier editions?
Prior to the launch of the MC digital edition in June 2008, there was not a way to access all the info within the pages of MC unless you had a hard copy edition.
One of my favorite things about the magazine is its national directories. Can you tell me more about the frequency and types of those directories?
Every month MC publishes a directory of music related info such as, Managers, Booking Agents, Producers, Engineers, Recording Studios, Rehearsal Studios, Music Publishers, Record Labels and much more. These exclusive lists are updated every year and can be accessed on the MC website after you sign up to be an AMP member, which is entirely free.
As publisher of Music Connection, where do you see the magazine in 5 years?
MC will continue to implement new ways, both digitally and in print, to serve the needs of music-makers who would otherwise lack the means to take their talent and career to the next level.