Making the Big Climb to Cure Blood Cancer

BigClimb-Hi-ResBrown Paper Tickets’ special ops event genius Erika Harder led a team of brave and well-hydrated Brown Paper Ticketeers to climb the tallest building in Seattle (no, it’s NOT the Space Needle) at the Leukemia Lymphoma Society’s Big Climb on Sunday.

At 788 feet of vertical elevation, the Columbia Center in downtown Seattle stands as the second tallest building west of the Mississippi. We joined 6,000 people in climbing 69 flights of stairs, or 1,311 steps, in an effort to collectively raise $2.6 million to fund the fight to find a cure for blood cancer.

Our fundraising efforts will continue through April 3, and our humble group is already in the Top 100 fundraising teams, having found generous contributors to donate more than $4,000 for blood cancer research. Our own Erika Harder is one of the top 100 most-successful fund-wranglers, having rustled up $2000.22 in donations.

This wasn’t our first rodeo. Brown Paper Tickets’ employees have done the Big Climb as a group every year since 2010, and collectively raised more than $10,000 toward research for a blood cancer cure. For some, Big Climb day is more than a fundraiser. Erika has a very personal reason for making the climb.

Erika says, “My brother developed HSTC Lymphoma in 2009 and passed away in 2010. Participating in the Climb to raise money for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society’s efforts feels like the least I can do to meditate on his struggle, and hope that other families won’t have to experience this. I think about him every day, but I try not to think about him with cancer every day. His talent and energy and unique way of seeing the world are what I try to carry forward. Big Climb day is an exception to that. It also gives our friends and family an opportunity to remember him and ‘help in some way.’

I hope the research that the Leukemia Lymphoma Society does include learning how to prevent cancers and also non-conventional treatments for them. Either way, research needs to happen and to be funded, so I appreciate being able to contribute. Cancer sucks.”

At the end of the Big Climb, we all gained a sense of accomplishment as well as spectacular views of Seattle from the top of Columbia Tower.

skyview

As we work for a Not-Just-For-Profit company, we all receive “paid time on” – 40 hours of paid time annually to volunteer for the cause of our choice. We often get together during work hours to volunteer and/or raise funds or support good causes. We love helping people use Brown Paper Tickets’ one-of-a-kind tools to accept funds online with no service fees and to help organize fundraising events for all kinds of causes. Brown Paper Tickets matched employee donations and contributed $625.

Big-Climb-ErikaGet Cheers from Brown Paper Tickets

Donate here by April 3 to help stop blood cancer. If you donate now, the Brown Paper Ticketeers Big Climb team will stop all work and do a cheer in your honor. We’re serious.

Here’s a preview: your cheer will probably look a lot like this one, courtesy of Seattle Cheer, a nonprofit group that lends out their professional cheer squad services to nonprofit events like they did for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society Big Climb.

Good Causes >

Burlesque PR: Attract Media in 5 Easy Steps

Burlesque-Media-TipsFirst-time burlesque event coordinator? Or maybe you already sell out shows and want to nab the attention of a few media outlets. Media builds fans and boosts revenue. Here are five steps to attracting it:

1. Identify 5 Target Media Outlets

Ask your fans what media outlet they read or watch regularly. The answer is more and more likely to be a blog, a newsletter, a social media outlet, or other non-traditional media. This is good news, as it may be easier to get your story included in non-traditional media.

Tally responses. Then take out media outlets that do not influence your local market because it’s unlikely anyone but locals will buy tickets to your event. The top 5 on this list are your targets.

2. Identify Your Objective Value Propositions

To find your unique value proposition, ask yourself two questions:

What is it about your show that makes new ticket buyers want to spend their hard-earned dollars?

What makes your event worth the price? Ticket at any price, but the higher the price, the more you will need to justify value.

The answers to these questions are what will attract press to cover your event and ticket buyers to your show. Add your unique value propositions to the event title, description and headline of your press release.

Now it’s time to brainstorm, research and highlight your event’s objective (not subjective) superlatives. Journalists rely on facts, not opinions, so your event superlatives must be provable.

Find Your Superlatives

Award-winning performers (specify award and date received)

Largest or only event by any measure? Any metric can be used to make the superlative accurate, but you have to be able to back up your claim in one sentence. (Biggest burlesque festival in _____.)

The event had either more performers, more performances, or more square footage than any other burlesque event in ____.

First burlesque festival in ___ .  Because no one had ever done ____ before.

The press won’t be able to use the following superlatives because they aren’t provable by objective measures:

Wildest
Most fun
Greatest
_____ -est of its kind

3. Localize to the Largest Community Possible

Localize your event to create an attractive angle for the press to cover. Readers and viewers have more interest in what happens to people and places they know.

Add a location name to the title of your event and choose the largest community possible (i.e., the Florida Burlesque Festival would attract more news value than the Ft. Lauderdale Burlesque Festival).

However, if the smaller place of localization generates greater interest, use that. For instance, a Hollywood burlesque festival could sell more than a Los Angeles burlesque festival because of Hollywood’s caché.

How to do it

Get the hometown, neighborhood and professional high-resolution headshot for every performer in the event, and write an email to the appropriate reporter at his/her neighborhood blog (if it’s in your possible attendee coverage area) to alert them about the “hometown girl/boy done good story” with your event as the hook.

BPT_Icons_Bull_Horn4. Make Your Pitch Picture Perfect

Media outlets need good visuals to get clicks, likes and shares. Burlesque has an advantage: sequins, feathers and starlets make stunning visuals. Keep in mind that media outlets won’t normally publish a photo or video unless it’s G-rated.

How to do it

Amp the glamour, tone down the flesh. Invest in professional headshots and at least one full body and one performance photo, with high resolution.

If you are producing a show with other performers, ask them for headshots as soon as you book them for your show. You don’t want to lose a story because you don’t have photography ready.

Make sure your videos are G-rated. Also, television stations aren’t likely to use promotional videos with music, graphics, credits or logos embedded over the video. Hire a videographer to get natural sound, close-up footage and then edit out the more risqué parts to maximize your media coverage.

5. Submit Free Calendar Listings

You have a great localized value proposition. You have an enticing event description and pitch subject line. You included at least one dazzling visual. Time to get the word out.

Calendar listings are the low-hanging fruit of the publicity world. They are easy to get and almost always generate ticket sales (as long as you have successfully done steps 1-4).

Submitting a free calendar listing for your event is simple. Newsletter, blog or The New York Times, every one has an event listing. And you can be part of it if you complete the first four steps and closely follow event submission instructions.

How to do it

Take your new top 5 list. Go to the online events section for every special interest group, blog or media outlet. Search for “how to submit an event” and follow the directions. If you can’t find it, send the press contact a short email that describes your event. Ask the publication if they would write about it or include it in the topics they share with their community.

Poof. You just got press attention in every single one of your top 5 media targets.

Yes, it is that simple. And guess what? Editorial teams look at calendar listings when assigning stories. Therefore, this effort increases the likelihood of an additional story. There are many ways to amp the press for your event. But these basics ensure that the press you get goes further to help you achieve your goals and reach new levels of success.

Photo credit: “The Secret Taboo” Elena Gatti

Arts >

New Neighborhood Radio Stations Popping Up in Puget Sound

Raising the 35'  mast with FM antenna attached

Raising the 35′ mast with FM antenna attached

Neighborhoods in Seattle and the Puget Sound have strong individual identities, defined and protected by their denizens. Now some neighborhoods will even have their own radio stations. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently approved 5 new Puget Sound neighborhood radio stations, and one of them, Voice of Vashon, may be on the air as early as October. In addition, 10 more moved toward obtaining FCC approval earlier this month, with the announcement of a 90-day “settlement period” for finalizing their application.

Neighborhood radio stations serving Seattle’s First Hill, Capitol Hill, Central District, International District and Downtown, as well as the communities of Vashon Island, Bothell, SeaTac and Bellingham were approved for construction. FCC permits are in process for stations serving Northwest Seattle, the University District, the Central District, Magnuson Park, Rainier Valley, Bainbridge Island, Skyway, Mercer Island, Duvall and Tacoma.

These FCC approvals constitute the creation of a new kind of “neighborhood radio” station —  broadcasting for the first time in geographically-defined communities in the nation’s largest cities. Although low-power FM radio stations (LPFM) reaching 2 to 10 miles have been around for more than a decade, licenses were awarded almost exclusively in sparsely-populated rural areas. This exponential growth in audience size and influence with a particular neighborhood, island, small town or suburb redefines the potential for these tiny-but-powerful media outlets.

In addition to a terrestrial broadcast, neighborhood stations can expand their reach by live streaming and hosting on-demand content. They will incubate local talent and have the potential to re-imagine public media. Many will be participatory and volunteer-powered, addressing the widening digital divide with low barriers to access tools and training. Ultimately, they will form a neighborhood layer of infrastructure for the public media ecosystem and emergency response.

Meet Sabrina Roach, our public media “Doer”

LPFMMap_v2_web-01_puget-sound-radio-stationsCreating and replicating this kind of community service juggernaut in large cities across the nation is what  Not-Just-For-Profit ticketing company Brown Paper Tickets had in mind when hiring public media professional Sabrina Roach as a Doer (a community change-maker) with a goal of filling every available low-power radio frequency with a qualified applicant, getting their stations built and sustainably on-air. Roach directed National Make Radio Challenge and created a Puget Sound Neighborhood Radio Cohort (PSNRC), the nation’s first support network for regional LPFM radio applicants to pool resources and foster a learning community to support these tiny-but-fierce stations.

“This group is ahead of the curve,” said Sally Kane, CEO of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. “Although we see collaborations between community broadcasters, they often happen after those stations have already formed a culture of being very independent, and by that time they can find it much harder to share resources. Puget Sound Neighborhood Radio Cohort is setting a tone from the very beginning that will make every radio station in their group stronger and more sustainable.”

Roach supports the PSNRC with free counsel and guidance to public and private resources, panels on fundraising and education on best practices in the industry. She develops relationships and shares resources offered by public agencies, private corporations and leaders in public media, community media and commercial media that could provide assistance or support to the applicants, and shares industry news, best practices and connections with PSNRC applicants.

“We’ve created a virtual neighborhood radio station incubator for cooperation, in addition to operation,” Roach said. “My work is part of where the rubber hits the road in the implementation of Brown Paper Tickets’ social mission to build stronger, healthier communities,” said Roach.

KVSH 101.9 on Vashon Island has moved quickly since getting an FCC construction permit and hopes to go on the air as early as October.  Their format will be, “All Vashon all the time,” and their motto is “Island-powered media.” With 93% of their $50,000 funding goal met, volunteers have been building as the funds came in and they are already “Raising the Tower” for their new community FM radio station. Just last week a team of volunteers climbed to the top of a giant water tank to erect the station’s mast and antenna. You can view the video on the Voice of Vashon donation page:  VoiceOfVashon.org/RaiseTheTower.

If you’d like to volunteer to help a new radio station coming to your neighborhood, email Sabrina, or access the links below to learn more.

New radio stations

Seattle University Radio / KSUB / 102.1 FM (First Hill/Capitol Hill/Central District)

 

Voice of Vashon / KVSH / 101.9 FM (Vashon Island)

 

UWave Radio at UW Bothell / no call letters yet / 104.9 FM (Bothell)

 

OneAmerica / no call letters yet / 106.5 FM (SeaTac)

 

Make.Shift / no call letters yet / 94.9 FM (Bellingham)

 

Earth On-the-Air Independent Media (University District)

 

Fulcrum Community Communications (NW Seattle)

Hollow Earth Radio (Central District)

 

Sand Point Arts & Cultural Exchange (Magnuson Park)

 

SouthEast E­ffective Development’s Rainier Valley Radio (Rainier Valley)

 

Sustainable Bainbridge (Bainbridge Island)

 

South Seattle Emerald (Skyway)

 

KMIH Booster Club (Mercer Island)

 

Fab-5 (Tacoma)

 

Radio Duvall (Duvall)

 

 

Radio >

Father’s Day Gift Idea: Give Dad an Experience

BPT_FathersDay_picLooking for a Father’s Day gift for your hard-to-buy-for dad (or father-in-law)?  What could be better than the gift of quality time spent together? For the first time, Father’s Day gift-buyers can send event tickets directly to Dad, enclosed in a Father’s Day card tailor made to match the theme of the event ticket. A couple of clicks or a toll fee phone call allows you to send a Father’s Day card that will get him to watch the New York Yankees play from a private Yankee Stadium suite (food, drink, once-in-a-lifetime memory included), tickets for a 4-course brunch and comedy event in Los Angeles, or a farm-to-table al fresco dinner at a Seattle-area farm, among other event gift ideas.

Tickets and cards are sent directly to dads anywhere in the continental US.

Father’s Day ticket gifts are available across the country right now for events in these cities:

Chicago: Cook Pizza or Go to a Baseball Game

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Cooking Class designed specifically for fathers and their kids to indulge together.

Chicago White Sox vs. California Angels Baseball Game in luxurious sky box overlooking home plate, including all you can eat and drink. Bonus: This event is also a fundraising benefit. Proceeds go to a no-kill animal shelter called Famous Fido.

Los Angeles: Laugh, Eat, Repeat

Brunch and Comedy Show in a Las Vegas-style format with 4 brunch courses.

New York City: Take Dad to a Luxurious Suite at Yankee Stadium

Yankees Baseball Game in Private Suite at New York City’s Yankee Stadium, with all food and drinks included. Bonus: Also a fundraising event. Proceeds go to Bronx Museum of the Arts.

Seattle: Dine Al Fresco at Local Farm

Farm-to-Table Summer Dinner on a Farm outside of Seattle, where chefs from notable local restaurants and wineries prepare the meal, and most of the food is grown 3 feet from your table (the dining room is in the fields).

Brown Paper Tickets now allows any event organizer to offer tickets to any event mailed to dads across the US in a Father’s Day card, as one of the only ticketing companies that has the experience and resources in place to easily mail physical tickets. Our experience in selling and shipping millions of tickets a year makes us nimble for these kinds of promotions that help to sell out events. Live events create memorable moments, a perfect gift for any occasion. Events don’t have to be on Father’s Day – the card with the tickets enclosed just has to get to dad in time, so call (800) 838-3006 or order tickets before the end of the day, Wednesday, June 11, 2014, to ensure delivery in time for Father’s Day, anywhere in the continental US.

News >

Brown Paper Tickets Wins Best Customer Service Award for Performing Arts

Best Customer Service AwardBrown Paper Tickets was awarded an “Oscar” for Best Customer Service for the Performing Arts. It was awarded to us at Live Blessay 2013, an Oscar-style show for local dance, produced by Bay Area Dance Watch, a website that shares essay portraits of local San Francisco dancers and performances, and SAFEhouse (Save Art From Extinction), a nonprofit incubator for new performing artists.

Brown Paper Tickets has set the gold standard and set it first, for all ticket sales companies to follow their lead,” said Jim Tobin, founder of Bay Area Dance Watch. “Dance companies and local theaters need to pay attention to which ticketing service is preferred by their patrons, because ticket buyers are their biggest supporters.”

We are humbled and honored.

The Best Customer Service award was based on 5 criteria:

1. Easy-to-use website architecture with robust features, such as a personal page for ticket buyers to review all tickets bought; mobile, print-at-home or US mail delivery all for the same price; and more.
2. Round-the-clock, 24/7 hotline for customer support.
3. Transparency in pricing.
4. Donating 5 percent of Brown Paper Tickets’ profits to nonprofits in categories of each ticket buyer’s choice.
5. Lowest ticketing fee in the industry.

Brown Paper Tickets was the first to provide ticketing and event registration tools and 24-hour live customer service completely free of charge to event organizers 14 years ago.

While we’d like to thank the academy, it’s more important to thank you—event planners, venues, independent artists, musicians, community organizers and small businesses. We know you choose for your ticket buyers what experience they (and you) will have. We pay close attention to creating a premium experience for all involved, leaving more cash in your and your ticket buyers’ wallets.

Arts >

Meet the BPT Team: Rachel Wong Releases Album on iTunes and Spotify

mk2We’d like to introduce our Campaign Leader and Community Wrangler, Rachel Wong.

In case you couldn’t tell from what she’s holding in her hand, in addition to being the voice of Brown Paper Tickets on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and Foursquare, as well as holding the keys to Brown Paper Tickets’ social media and digital marketing strategy, Rachel’s heart is also on display through her music. Take a listen to her latest single, “Center Stage,” here.

Rachel is a self-taught musician, with a natural ear for music, and a passionate drive for expression that resonates and connects her to her fans. Wong was selected from more than 3,000 artists across the US as a Top-12 finalist in Ford’s “Gimme the Gig II” contest in Los Angeles in August 2012. Influenced by Michael Jackson, John Mayer and Lauryn Hill, Wong’s acoustic, soulful pop sound has been compared to “Sara Bareilles, but on the guitar.”

BKaBffGCMAIXqY2WhiteShirtTracks from Rachel’s first album and single, Curtain Fall, can now be heard on radio stations in Canada and the Phillipines. Letters to You, her second album to be released on iTunes and Spotify May 28, is a 10-track musical journey from the pop anthem production of “Center Stage” to the island-flavored “Beach Bum Living.” Album tracks feature her soothing, powerful vocals and catchy songs, accentuated by the sincere warmth of her lyrics. A music video to for “Center Stage” will be released on You Tube shortly after the “Letters to You” album release show in Portland on June 29, and you are invited to attend!

Rachel wants to let you know that one of her good friends, Tess Henley, will be having her album release party just three days later, at Seattle’s Columbia City Theater. Pick up tickets for that show right over here.

As the world’s first home for independent musicians like Rachel and Tess, Brown Paper Tickets hosts album release parties and performances by some of the world’s best artists before they are “discovered” by the rest of the world, and sometimes after they are discovered, simply because they love the warmth, the 5% donations of profits from every ticket sold, and the down-to-earth, local vibe of Brown Paper Tickets. Why not take a look at the events in your city and see which local live events appeal to you?

We sat down with Rachel to ask her a couple of questions so that you could get to know her a little bit better. Enjoy!
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Music >

Commercialism or Community? New Film Suggests an Answer.

Films typically have goals that can be measured in earned revenue and audience size, with only the most artistic endeavours throwing economic concerns to the wind in favor of critical acclaim. But very rare are the films that put at the top of the priority list “starting a movement.”

A new independent film called “Money and Life” will make its world premiere this Wednesday, March 20 in Seattle’s Independent Film Festival theater, the Cinema Uptown. “Money and Life” wants to change the world, like a viral idea or a religion; converting one mind, one life, one community at a time.

Economics is rarely thought of as sexy or entertaining — thus, a new world economy theory is rarely the subject of a film. The thing that will move people to see this movie is not exciting explosions or high drama, vicariously experienced through the actors onscreen. The driving force will be the instinctive urge to share the mental pyrotechnics created by a concept so familiar, yet exciting, that it must be discussed, shared and measured! This movie will have a shelf life of a lifetime, fuelled by word of mouth — people talking about the concept to their friends, sponsoring viewing parties, and, finally, referencing it as the turning point when they changed how they lived their life.

The message of the film? Simply that the pursuit of money should not be prioritized above creating a more fulfilling life. The film uses the economic crisis as a bridge to understanding that a lack of money is not the end of the world, it may in fact be a beautiful beginning to a new economy. One based on a gift economy, wherein if just one thousand people saw the film and committed to new courses of action and mutual support, that could start a cascade of change towards a just, resilient economy.
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Film >

What Would You Do Without Access To the Internet?

logo_burst_broken-line.new_Most Americans consider having Internet access as necessary as having heat, water or food in the house, but the surprising truth is that thousands in Washington State do not have regular, high speed access, or have no ability to interact on the World Wide Web.

Brown Paper Tickets is proud to announce its involvement with the State of Washington 2013 Digital Inclusion Summit. One of our Doers, Sabrina Roach, is on the steering committee for The Summit on Thursday, March 14 in Seattle, which will will provide a forum to share policy, curriculum research, and other resources, as well as promote digital inclusion efforts and needs in Washington State. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased right over here.  Those without internet access, or who just prefer a live person to online registration, can call Brown Paper Tickets’ 24-hour live customer service hotline at 1-800-838-3006. Just another way Brown Paper Tickets builds community as a matter of doing business, guided by our Not-Just-For-Profit business model.

Digital Inclusion has focused on access, literacy, and providing meaningful content and services to the communities currently not using the Internet.  The Digital Inclusion Summit is an opportunity to highlight solutions that will continue to drive broadband access and adoption and provide training and access to Internet facilities that help to make internet access a part of the human experience, not just for those in urban areas with enough financial privilege and education, but for all.  The Summit will unveil some of Washington State’s achievements and setbacks in broadband adoption, a critical goal in an era when broadband is central to education, job search and training, economic development, and the information needs of communities.
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Mid-Week Beat: Is Radio Still Relevant in the Digital Age?

large_war-of-the-worldsThis week on the Mid-Week Beat we stray away from our usual format of featuring bands and shows to focus on radio, and more specifically Low Power FM. Radio is an important medium that is just as relevant and useful to independent musicians as it is to community groups and non-profits, even in the age of the Internet. Today, on World Radio Day, we feel it’s important to talk about some exciting developments for independent, community-based radio and to encourage all of you to support the independent radio stations in your own community. Happy World Radio Day everyone!

Every musician wants to connect with their audiences and, in the past, radio airplay has been the key to achieving that. I know some of you can remember the excitement of when you heard your favorite song come on the radio or, if your a musician, the first time you heard your own music on the radio. Younger musicians like Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, have made it clear that the walls of the old school music industry are crumbling in favor of D.I.Y. online solutions, but does that mean that the power of radio has diminished?

No one who listened to Orson Welles’ famous radio play, “War of the Worlds” would have questioned the importance of radio. The realistic “theatre of the mind” made people of that day pack their bags, call the police and go into basic panic mode, because what you create in your mind can be even more powerful than anything that you see or read. Surely, radio as a medium would remain important to artists who’s work can primarily be appreciated and shared through the sense of sound… at least, as long as audiences were still tuning in.

But in the digital age, has radio outlived its relevance?

According to the United Nations, radio remains the medium that reaches the widest audience worldwide, and radio is able to connect better with communities regardless of economics or education levels. Radio can reach listeners who are engaged in other activities and tell stories in a way that resonates in a different way than other forms of media are able to. This is just as true in the world’s largest cities as it is in places without a digital communications infrastructure.
Read More…

Music >

Mid-Week Beat: 2013 – The Year of the D.I.Y. Musician?

2013 is starting to look like a very good year for D.I.Y. musicians.

There was once a day when most musicians longed to be “discovered,” which really meant “marketed and paid very, very well” simply for performing, creating and sharing their art. Those musicians had no interest in becoming entrepreneurs, and gratefully allowed others to take the reins of the business side of their career, in exchange for a cut of the profits. Using that model, both the artist and the fans were paying quite a bit for the privilege of finding each other. Most times, it also meant compromising your artistic vision in order to become more accessible to a mainstream audience.

Today, it has become easier for a gifted artist to keep control of the reins of his or her career: booking gigs and tours, selling recordings, interacting with fans and avoiding the “middlemen” of the industry. Artists can do this armed with nothing more than a solid work ethic, a laptop and a sufficiently large core of faithful supporters and fans.

A recent example of this is Seattle rapper Ben “Macklemore” Haggerty and producer Ryan Lewis. The duo have taken a D.I.Y. approach to gradually building a fan base. They shot and edited their own video for “Thrift Shop” which now boasts more than 50 million YouTube views. Macklemore and Lewis avoided signing with a major record label, turning down potentially large advances to put out “The Heist,” their second album, which debuted at #1 on iTunes and #2 on the Billboard charts. In the past, it would have been literally unheard of for a self-released album to achieve this level of success. Also, Macklemore and Ryan decide for themselves which shows they will play and which services they will buy/use to promote themselves. By doing this, they stay true to their art, and the messages they are sending through their music.
Read More…

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