The enduring popularity of the Clef Hangers and Loreleis, the crowds that encircle any bands that brave the school’s public venues and the regular impromptu performances by guitar-wielding students on the Quad bear witness to the University’s strong musical culture.
A casual walk along Franklin Street, where scores of posters advertising upcoming concerts and performances wallpaper each building, demonstrates that this culture extends well into the surrounding community. The Triangle, it is clear, is a musical haven.
Unfortunately, a music culture this varied and extensive has a tendency to overwhelm its greatest potential beneficiaries. Fans frequently have no idea that any particular musician is playing, while musicians are often unable to gain enough attention to draw in those fans. Poor coordination has thus forestalled the full development of local music.
Into this confusion steps Resound, an online magazine that offers a possible solution.
Co-founded by UNC-Chapel Hill students Chrissy Mickler and Catie King, Resound aims to coordinate all musical events in the community. By establishing a single medium for music promotion, King and Mickler believe they can significantly lower the opportunity cost of seeking out new vibrations.
“Music is integral around here,” King says. “The Triangle is one of the fastest-growing music scenes in the country. There are so many new venues popping up, so many new bands coming out of the area, so much vibrancy that just isn’t captured by any one UNC-CH organization.”
King, a Raleigh native, has been playing guitar since she was 13. At age 16, she recorded in a studio for the first time. At the recording, she met Dick Hodgin, the famous Raleigh-area producer who has worked with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Clay Aiken and Corrosion of Conformity. She has since published two albums and performed at countless concerts and promotional events.
King, a junior, is a public relations major with an entrepreneurship minor. She says she became interested in publicity while promoting her own music. She sees the two fields as symbiotic.
“I’ve had years of experience with public relations because I’ve been doing it with my own music,” King says. “I don’t have a whole lot of experience with journalistic writing other than taking the (News Writing JOMC) 153 class, but I’ve written blogs, used social media and found countless other ways to promote my opinions.”
Mickler, a senior, also boasts a passion for music and publicity. A public relations major and a music and entrepreneurship double minor, Mickler focuses more heavily than King on publicity, hoping to promote what others can perform.
“I don’t produce music myself, but I’ve still always had a passion for it,” she says. “My dad had a big influence on me with classic rock and all that. Even if I can’t play it, it’s really important that I be involved with it. (Being a Public Relations major) lets me be around music as much as possible and engage with artists. I’m pretty much hoping to make a career out of it, if that can happen.”
The magazine began as an extension of one of King’s class projects. Assigned to depict an example of effective entrepreneurship for her class in that subject, she envisioned a music-based periodical that would help her community incubate its talents. The rest developed from there.
“One fine Tuesday, I was asked to develop a business plan; I had to come up with something to write a business plan on,” King says. “I wanted to think of something that nobody had done yet. It occurred to me that as a musician, I have no way to connect with the greater UNC-CH community efficiently, and that’s a shame. I also noticed that there were a lot of people in my class who were really involved in music, yet I had never met any of them before.”“(King) contacted me about this last semester,” Mickler says. “We met a couple times and talked about it. At first I said that I couldn’t do it because I’m a senior and always really busy, but she made such a great pitch that I couldn’t pass it up. So now I’m co-founder and co-president, and I’m hoping to get this off the ground any way I can.”
Resound will be modeled after Her Campus, an online magazine that rapidly rose to prominence from its humble advent in 2009. It started at Harvard and has since spread across the nation, including to UNC-CH.
“We’ll cover only local music, as we want to keep ourselves within a small vicinity,” King says. “We’re committed to being a UNC-CH organization, just covering things on campus, in Chapel Hill or in Carrboro. We can cover all genres of music, but eventually my plan includes using Resound as an umbrella name, just like Her Campus, and starting campus music culture magazines at schools throughout North Carolina.”
Brittany Bass, campus correspondent for the UNC-CH chapter of Her Campus, has pledged her organization’s full support. Resound has also received support from The Daily Tar Heel’s Diversions section, Vinyl Records, Devil Down Records and Carolina Creates Music. Many see the magazine as a godsend for the area’s music scene.
“It’s really important that something like this gets going,” August says. “As it is, you have to go out of your way to find music, and I don’t think that’s right. The student body needs one source to go to if they want to find a concert or keep track of local bands. That’s why this is such a great idea.”
“We wouldn’t be here without all this support,” Mickler says. “The only reason this idea has gotten even this far is outside support. Hopefully we can return the favor. We want to complement these other organizations. We want to work with them, give them ad space and provide them with another outlet to publish their work.”
While Mickler and King have an enormous amount of respect for the University’s other newspapers and periodicals, they are not emulating them. Resound will be structured far differently, namely in that it will not have a print component. The magazine will be entirely web-based, integrated with Facebook and Twitter.
“I would never want a print component, ever,” King says. “It wouldn’t increase the number of readers at all, and it would require a lot of money and time. We can do so much more just working on the Internet. We can promote shows directly through Facebook, Twitter and so on. It’s also so much easier to update if it’s online. We just couldn’t achieve all this if the magazine were in print.”
Having built up a strong base of support, and having thought through the nuances of their organization, King and Mickler now seek a means to establish their new medium in the public mind. They are in the process of planning a launch concert to be held at Local 506 on April 21, the same day the website goes live. It will establish Resound’s legitimacy in two ways: by helping musicians and fans alike realize that the magazine exists and by directly integrating it into the local music scene. The online magazine will not merely cover concerts; it will organize them and will experience firsthand the music promotion it intends to cover.
“Our mission is to unify the community,” King says. “To put it visually, you’ve got all of these islands of musical culture. We want to be the bridge.”