Press Release!!! Zzaj-Trax Musician’s Virtual Assistant (MVA) Services

Lacey, WA July 30, 2014 — If you’ve ever spent hours and hours setting up a website on REVERBNATION, SOUNDCLOUD or other music distribution sites, ripping files down to .MP3 format, loading them back up to the site, or tracking down legitimate sites to review your music – then you know why we’re here!

What Zzaj-Trax offers is a way to pass all that “tracking” work off to them… & since they’ve been doing it for so long, you can rest assured that the work WILL be DONE, accurately & on-time! What you need is a Musician’s Virtual Assistant (or MVA) – because, like it or not, these are tasks that MUST be DONE if you want to succeed!

Owner Dick Metcalf has received several kudos for these services already; here are just a couple of them:

” I am excited and grateful to see that Dr. Zzaj is launching “musician’s assistant.” For decades, Zzaj has been the solid rock of open ears, open mind, meaningful commentary and creative vision, pushing forward the concepts and evolution of the creative’s musical worlds. And now he offers his continuous selfless service to all musicians, whether the great masters of jazz, or the obscure innovators. I am inspired and encouraged! The old wisdom saying is, “When you pray, move your feet!” And Dr. Zzaj is offering a pathway. Thank you!”…. LaDonna Smith, performing artist, Transmuseq

“When Dick told me he was thinking about offering a services package, I wanted to be the first in line to take advantage of his expertise. I’ve known and keept tabs on him since 2010 and I knew that whatever he offered would be both value-added and effecient. I’m glad to have Dick as a part of my team because I know he will give it to me straight and that’s exactly how any self-respecting Jazz artist needs it, Straight-no chaser.”… Sweet Lu, jazz singer

“I’ve known Dick for a few years and he has done great reviews my CD’s and others. Also interviewing me for his blog. Now I’m using his services because his rates very reasonble, he’s easy to talk to, does what he says he’s going to do and most of all, he’s a honest very guy. I’ve worked many people that say that they’ll move mountains for you but ended up kicking sand. Dick is the real deal. I’m looking forward to all the help he will give me.”… Ron Jackson, jazz guitarist

Here are some of the services offered in the various price packages provided by the new company:

Establishment of your own (personal) DB/tracking tool that allows communication of ideas, asking questions, and modification of existing Projects/Sub-tasks, etc. (without needing to use email) No one has access to this except you and Zzaj-Trax – a complete track record of all the work done to get your CD out there!

Up to 3 SKYPE calls weekly (15 minutes) for progress reports

A quick site review, to provide you with suggestions on how to improve your music site

2 blog posts per month to your pre-established site on REVERBNATION (or other sites. like SOUNDCLOUD).

15 updates per month to your site(s); this includes conversion of your CD to .mp3 and upload; tracking and posting of reviews you’ve received; adding images, etc., to your site (or sites like AMAZON or CD Baby) for you; this also includes keeping your SHOW schedule up-to-date

Daily, weekly or more frequent, progress reports from your DB that show all actions taken for you, a copy of your current calendar, etc.

Other services are available too, for a modest hourly rate!

The bottom-line-up-front is that as a musicians, you need to spend your time doing things that will help you become a better performer/player. Zzaj-Trax helps you with that by doing all those chores that need to be done to get the word out about your work – we DO IT for YOU!

Dick Metcalf
360-870-1128 (text only)

Is “B-I-G music” dead yet?

Zzaj playjpg“Back in the day”, the keyword for many musicians was “D.I.Y.” – or, Do It Yourself.  A lot of rhetoric in those years was focused on “killing the music industry”… and with the advent of cassette tapes (which was the medium I started with, so that shows you how dated/old I am – lol!!), then easily accessible CD recording and other digital methods that let a musician go all the way from creation to release – we made a lot of progress with that D.I.Y. ethic in mind.

On the other hand, once we started releasing CD-R’s, and then ultimately (just) .mp3 files, the “B-I-G music” guys started lobbying (really HARD) to “outlaw” indie artists… kids today may not even remember the battles that ensured over NAPSTER, other file-sharing services & means for getting our music out there.

SO – are the monster producers (i.e., the “big music guys”) dead yet?  Ah, I don’t think so… but, to paraphrase a true leader in independent music (Frank Zappa) – they sure “smell funny”.  Of course, I’ve no doubt that they are sitting in their towers coming up with Machiavellian schemes for how to take it all back.

When I talk with my son here in Washington  about music, he says that he (and his friends) are more inclined to “make their own”… & with their MAC’s, a mike & a few wires – they are all over it!  I’ve listened to music recorded and performed by both my boys – & there’s no doubt they ARE able to make their own now.  If they need feedback to tweak something, they just shoot a crunched file out to a friend on their I-Phone, or I-Pad… hear what they have to say, make the tweaks & 30 minutes later, they’ve got a WRAP – and I can tell you – some of what they are putting together digitally is FAR better than the “big guys” ever thought about producing!

By the same token, sites like YOUTUBE allow that same type of peer evaluation on a WORLD scale… it’s actually pretty cool when you think about it… a kid that was making trax in his bedroom gets enough “hits” that he goes viral, and – A STAR IS BORN!  If all they were producing was “squeak & squak” (like some of US were doing on those 4-track recorders), I’d say you could write my thoughts off about this… but, like it or not, it IS a “whole new world” out there, folks!

Ultimate Indie Bundle Banner

I believe, pretty firmly, that those “old days” of total control by record labels are indeed over… what exactly they will be replaced by, I can’t say for sure (& doubt you can either).  On the other hand, I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas on this, so please feel free to use the COMMENT box at the bottom of this post (or, if you’d rather just express your opinion privately to me, use the CONTACT form on the right side).  Have a good ‘un… & come back for more soon!


Getting your CD ready for release!


Zzaj netOK, you’ve finalized your CD master, and you’re ready to get it out to the world (WATCH OUT, world)!

What are the things you need to do before you shoot your Press Release out?

1. The very FIRST thing you should do is look at the dates and time-frames for your release.  Ask yourself when you will have hard-copies of your CD in-hand.  Announcing a release without hard-copies in hand would NOT be a good thing!  You also want to time your release so that most of the steps shown below have been done about 90 days (3 months) prior to your announced release date – so you can get copies out and REVIEWED prior to the actual release date!

2.  The second thing you should do is to WRITE a good Press Release; that means an announcement that is free of grammatical errors, and focuses in on YOU, the artist – it should NOT be (just) a “sales pitch”, it should be written to acquaint the listener with you, your music and what you hope to achieve with your release.

3.  You will also need a list of good reviewers before you start… be sure you have a letter (or email) that’s well formatted and thought out that can be sent to reviewers in a PRE-release mode (either digitally, or hard-copy, depending on how the reviewers accept submissions).  (a good virtual assistant – like us – probably has a pretty good list for you to start off with, as well as a letter that already serve as a good example of what you need to include in your package)Ultimate Indie Bundle Banner4.  Are you going to use a PROMOTER?  Their services will cost you, but if you have a big enough budget – they CAN help you, with both press and radio promotion!  NOTE:  Musician’s Virtual Assistant is not promoter… we just assist you, but do not run full-scale promotion services – but, because I’ve been a music reviewer for over 25 years – I can give you a list of promoters to contact!!!

5.  You need to DECIDE what sites/tools you’re going to use to get your music out there!  Sites like REVERBNATION are really good, but over the past couple of years, SOUNDCLOUD has improved their services, too.  Are you going to create a new website, or improve on your existing one? (in my case, I already have a LABEL account at REVERBNATION, so it’s very easy for me to “wrap you in” under my label – whether you create the RN site or have me do it for you).

6.  Are you going to post samples on AMAZON or CD BABY?  If so, you need to make sure you’ve got your artwork and .mp3 files ready to post up there.  Before you shoot out your Press Release, you need to make sure that every location you’re going to post samples has been posted already, so you can include all the appropriate links in your Press Release.

7.  Begin looking – NOW – at venues that might be good for you & your style of music for a CD Release Party!  Make sure your gig schedule and release party events are well-advertised (again, REVERBNATION can help you with that).

8.  As you can see, there are a LOT of tasks that have to be done during pre-release, actual release, events to get your new work out to fans… one of the things that musicians often forget is that they need to be able to track all these tasks – here at Musician’s Virtual Assistant, we offer that tool as a part of your package… an easy-to-use web-based database that tracks each and every action that happens!

Of course, you can always do these things yourself (I know, I did them for many years, too, as a player); but, wouldn’t it be better to have someone you knew you could depend on do many of these jobs – so you can FOCUS on what you need to be doing – Creating, Composing, Playing and Performing!!!  Check out our low, LOW rates, then make your final decision.  If you have any questions or comment, please use the contact form on the right side of any page to push them to us (you will get a response)!!!!