January 2022 - Happy New Years from LMS! I must say that November and December were quite a ride. There were a lot of ups and downs and a ton of work (of the 9-5 variety). The mid-January campaign launch goal has to be delayed. While I apologize for the delay, the final product is too important to cut corners. (Mark)
September 2021 to October 2021 - LMS has set a goal schedule of mid-January as the Indiegogo Campaign launch. We are closing in on go time! Stay tuned for any updates.
We have started sketching our ideas up into wireframes. This will speed up the programming and set the templates for future pages, screens, and how they interact. This is some pretty cool stuff.
To answer everyone's DYING question, NO, John and I are not brothers. We are not related at all, although I do sometimes call him Brother, and Dude, and Yo Drummer Boy! LOL! (Mark)
February 2021 thru August 2021 - Having a great idea is not enough. You need a plan. You need funds. The platform will need to go viral. I have lots of ideas, but they need to be formalized and started into motion.
I had already known that we would be using Crowdfunding to help launch the platform. There were several reasons for this: (1) For starters, we needed to mitigate as many potential ongoing monthly costs as we can (like debt payments), so that we can insure YOU that LMS is able to pay for it's own upkeep, while still keeping LMS FREE. The size and complexity of this platform along with all of the user accounts will require some significant Cloud Computing, Storage, and Robust Security. LMS will be Nationwide, heck maybe even Worldwide (no promises there yet), and will need to scale up quickly. To help pay for the ongoing maintenance of LMS, we will be offering some advanced services for a small subscription fee, but those items will only be utilized by a small portion of users, and it will take time to for the number of subscriptions to build up to the point of self-sufficiency. If there were a large investor debt service that needed to be paid monthly, LMS could potentially drown in those payments and fail to be able to stay online. (2) By getting the Nationwide Music Community involved with finalizing and launching LMS, they will have "skin in the game", each backer will have a personal interest in making LMS a success! This will help insure launch success. (3) The Crowdfunding will provide us with a list of who is interested to sign up on Launch Day. LMS works by getting ALL venues, and ALL musicians, in ALL areas to use the platform. It will only take a handful of committed folks: a few major venues, a few established bands, and a few dedicated fans in any given area to help LMS proliferate in that area. A venue that joins (for FREE remember) will require their bookings to be done through LMS to get the desired Venue benefits. That will push new musician sign-ups which are again FREE. Any band or musician that signs up will introduce LMS to all of their Venues to get the desired Musician benefits. That's what provides the ability for it to be Win-Win-Win. When all Venues are benefitting, and all Musicians are benefitting, the Fans can go to one spot to find out Who, When, and Where. (Mark)
Note to Self: We need to come up a cool designation or badge for those charter members who backed our Crowdfunding and signed up on Launch Day. (Mark)
Recently there has been added stress for us musicians to find a creative way to accept tips via the web, and other similar issues in these post-COVID times. We will add these the items to the "issues to address" list. The more this concept has turned into something tangible, I have started to get goosebumps. Come be a part of something big! (John)
February 2021 - We discussed the general platform idea and specific features and functions with a web programmer acquaintance of John named Brandon, who was familiar with social media/community type websites that offer some of the features we were talking about. He was extremely impressed with the level of detail we had at this stage. He liked that we wanted the service to be FREE, and helped verify that we could still keep the platform self supporting without selling our users information! He indicated that everything that we were proposing was do-able, some things easier than others, but everything was possible. He gave us a few pointers, and said he would definitely be interested when it was time.
Somewhere around this time John and I settled on Live Music Scene, or LMS for short, to call our project platform. It coordinated with my other Facebook Page names and made sense. I'm not against possibly changing the final name in the future, but for now it works. (Mark)
August 2020 thru February 2021 - Now to figure out how to make it all work... I knew for this idea to be a success that it had to be FREE, but it couldn't be cheap! It had to be so robust, so AWESOME that all Musicians and Venues would use it. That's what makes the idea truly work.
So, I spent a lot of time just talking to Musicians, Venue Managers, and other Fans to find out what their needs were. What they currently used, what they liked, and what they wished they had. I asked not only in my local area, but in multiple areas. It started slow, but picked up speed over the year. Eventually, I made online surveys for musicians and venues to see if there was consensus in what I was learning.
During this time, one of the many people I spoke with about my curious little project was John Jones, the drummer for a well established local band, Julia Gulia. John became very interested in my "why". Why was I so interested in asking these specific questions? Why did I want to help musicians? Why did I want to help venues? Why was the plan to make it FREE? He was very very skeptical at first, but the more he asked, and the more I explained, He was HOOKED!
Ever since, John has been the sounding board that I needed. As plans started to coalesce, it was John was the one that was always there to give critical feedback while still keeping me motivated to continue during those times when life got hectic. Don't get me wrong, there has been a lot of friends and family that listened to my thought streams and provided feedback, but none with the consistency of John. Without him, I would have lost steam a long time ago. (Mark)
Hi, my name is Jonathan Jones, the operations manager for LMS, and a dear friend to Mark Kraft. I’m also the drummer and back up vocalist of Julia Gulia in Jacksonville Florida. Musicians have a great deal of responsibility when it comes to the performance, let alone everything else. Perfecting their craft, learning what moves the crowd, all while maintaining composure on a stage is quite a load to carry. Balance that with constantly trying to update the band schedule, negotiations with venues, last minute schedule changes, and so many other things. Me and Mark Kraft met through my band Julia Gulia sometime ago and have become very good friends. Over the years he's supported my band with his excitement for the music and provided some fan perspective tips along the way. Mark has a true passion for music and for helping people. Honestly, this platform idea is right up his alley!
Coming from a musician’s point of view, I also could appreciate the ideas that Mark would enthusiastically talk about anytime I would listen. Mark would often times listen to me complain about how stressful things can get with a band, and how if things could be less stressful it would enrich the performance for sure! This was often the start of a long discussion where we would go back and forth with ideas and what we could do for the whole music community to make things a little less stressful for everyone. We still have a ways to go to reach our final plans, but I feel like were very close to taking our next biggest step in getting this thing rolling! (John)
August 2020 - I have my "Eureka!" moment. That moment when all the pieces started coming together in head on how to make an app..... no, a website..... no, a full service platform to bring Local Musicians (Talent: Bands, Acoustics, Duos, Trios, all genres, etc.), and Small Venues (indoor venues, outdoor venues, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, fish camps, patios, etc), and the fans & patrons together in one place for the mutual benefit of all. (Mark)
Pre-August 2020 - My wife and I have been going out to see Live Local Bands on a very regular basis since 2013. We quickly learned several things: (1) that not all bands were our cup of tea, (2) that not all venues were either, and (3) that just showing up at a venue we liked that regularly hosted live music did always result in an overall fun night. So started the search... Who?, Where?, When? Who is playing Where, and When? Sometimes to add to the questions, do they serve food?, do they have an online menu?, do they serve liquor?, will the dance floor be filled with 3 year olds? (LOL on that last one. My wife is a 1st grade teach and LOVES kids, but sometimes she just wants to let loose and not be concerned.) So we started checking Venue and Band Facebook pages, webpages, you name it. Many Bands don't post until the day-of or day before a show if at all. Many Venues don't post at all, not an easy task. So I created my own Facebook Page JaxLiveMusicScene hoping that Jacksonville area music scene would post their shows... not so much... So I started posting there for them. I would get notifications from bands, musicians, venues, and other superfans, are repost them on my page. Then I spent 2 years in Savannah... SavannahLiveMusicScene... Then Brevard County... BrevardLiveMusicScene... I still get notifications and I still post for bands and venues. "But I'm tired boss... so tired..." (Mark)