|Industry Profile - Seanrox Of Rocksocial.Com|
by Mark E. Waterbury
"It's all about the rock show!" That is the main impetus for Sean Michael Schoff - A.K.A. Sean Rox's involvement with the music industry. Traveling the world in his youth as a "military brat," Sean learned to rely on music as a sort of steadying force in his life. "The only consistency I had was music," Sean recalls. "Music was my best friend, and even though I was in bands I was not really the hard core kid playing in bands in high school. I was the hard core kid that listened to music." Not long after graduating from high school, Sean started developing his own unique deejay business in San Angelo, Texas. He would go to weddings, schools, parties and other functions, not merely playing recorded music, but trying to get the audience more involved with what was happening. "I was able to create an experience where I was interacting with the audience. Imagine a concert coming to your event...and I felt like a rockstar. It goes back to those experiences I had in high school, going to concerts where I enjoyed that whole rock experience, with the power of the music that person on stage has with their interaction with the audience. It was knowing what a good show can be whether it is live music or if it is being played on a CD." Sean continued his deejay business while serving in the Air Force, and the Air Force itself had him deejay and emcee several events. After his hitch was over, Sean returned to Texas where he worked as a video engineer and wrote album reviews for the school newspaper at Angelo State University while attending college. He also became a radio deejay at a local AM rock station KGKO. "I said that I would never work in radio because you could not make any money at it, but I ended up doing it because I absolutely loved doing it. It was kind of like a renegade rock station, and there were almost no rock stations in that part of Texas. I used to break all the rules there and play local bands and indie music."
In 1996, Sean left San Angelo University when they switched his major. He surfed the web because he wanted to find a town to move to that had a thriving music scene, and he decided on Atlanta where he started a business doing web design. His uncle Richard Schoff was one of the top sound engineers in the Southeast, having worked with Capricorn Records and bands including Molly Hatchet and Marshall Tucker Band. "Because my uncle is who he is the first people I met when I moved here were musicians," Sean notes. "They were mostly well known in the Atlanta area. At that time to everything I decide to do is an experiment to see how hard something gets, because I can't make my money that way, I have make it creating media clients. At that time I wanted to find out what the difficulties were in doing internet radio." Sean launched his internet station Radio Wired in 1997, where he played indie music and interviewed musicians. Radio Wired helped him to get to know more people in the Atlanta music community, and would also help create Song Scope.com which is an on-line independent songwriter catalog that is a tool for mostly Nashville producers to find indie songwriters.
In 2003 Sean closed Radio Wired due to time constraints because he was too busy with his business Sean Rox Media. Around that time he was thinking of ways to create more awareness about bands that put on great live performances. He worked in various capacities mostly on the promotion side with several bands and musicians over the years and met many people through his work with Sound Scope.com. "Mostly on a career level, I want to continue to do creative consulting for the music industry. I can bring over everything I have learned in the past in finance and hospitality and bring it all in." Sean has always been a rabid attendee of rock concerts. He would go to concerts even if no one else was going and soon he had people following him to shows because they realized he only went to see bands that put on great performances. He would also let people know what the bands sounded like and who they could be compared with. In a sort of accidental way, Rock Social was born as an entity to help create awareness of bands that have great live shows and to get them together with fans that will appreciate their particular styles. "Rock Social is a philosophy and a social club that is all about increasing the fans' experience. On the most basic level talking to the artist if you don't do something a bit different with your show then why ask anyone to come out to see you? You'll be competing with television, and television's budget is much bigger than yours. Most artists do not have the creativity to create a different show each time because they are players and not performers. What we are trying to do is where we build our own show or co-sponsor a show that I think has the right stuff and meets expectations with fans." Rock Social has a web site with the Rock Social shows listed, and has the ideal to get people to go to shows because there are photos taken at every show and then posted right after the show on the site. They also send out an e-mail letter and Sean will go to emcee the various shows. Sean is not using Rock Social to make money, but he is trying to find ways to get to sponsors involved who could possibly help the shows financially. "It's quite difficult but what I'm trying to do now is to work together with stronger area organizations that have worked for years to build their names up to try to funnel some sponsorships down so we can buy media time. Without media time, it doesn't matter how many friends you have. If you don't get media time on the radio, than you lose every time. I'm trying to align myself with these people and get people to know my name." Sean also is working to have free MP3 downloads of bands they support on the web site as well as having a message board.
Sean has recently launched an indie label called Rock Sex Party Records which is a co-venture to release an album by a band called the Insidious Rays. He is also a musician himself, having found a natural affinity for the guitar and is currently writing his own music for an eventual album when he gets a little extra time. His time is limited as his consulting and web designing business keeps him busy but he still finds time to stay focused on what he wants Rock Social to become. "Rock Social is much more of a philosophy than it is a business model. It is a co-promoter and a social club. I would like to cover Rock Social's expenses but Rock Social does not make money off of artists. I'm here for a better rock show and a better rock record, and hopefully, to get more fans out because I'm a fan myself. I can't change the world, but if I can change what goes on in Atlanta, that's cool."
Sean's advice for musicians: " You have to play great music and then find an audience for it. Don't find an audience and create music for it. The art has to be created or you can't get to the next piece of art. Create the art first and then learn how to market it. You have to step through a marketing matrix, from your girlfriend to your mom and then to your friends, you have to step through all of those to find your market. Then when you get fans, you have to find out what they like you for; is it your type of music, or because they know you? Most people I know get people tocome to their shows because they have friends. Don't piss off your friends; give them a good show and they will most likely tell their other friends about it. Put on a good show!"