(Nashville, TN – Nov. 30, 2009) Industry executives for online Country music lifestyle site and social network Digital Rodeo recently attended a special Charlie Daniels media day in support of the legendary musician’s latest project, Joy to the World: A Bluegrass Christmas.
Digital Rodeo was on hand to shoot content for its ongoing DRTV series, which offers viewers exclusive interviews, behind-the-scenes content from award shows and concert performances, industry event access, coverage of release parties, fan club events and more. Pictured l to r: Digital Rodeo Director of Industry Relations Robert Reynolds, Daniels and Digital Rodeo Director of Marketing and Promotions John Pyne.
Photo Credit: Bev Moser.
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Posted on 29 September 2009
Social Network Site Taps Into Country Lifestyle Market, New Artist Discovery
When DigitalRodeo.com launched in March 2007, the idea was simple: create an online social network that catered specifically to Country music fans. Fortunately, initial response to the fledgling site confirmed what DR Nashville reps John Pyne and Robert Reynolds had already suspected: that Country music fans were just as eager to mingle with their like-minded peers as the rest of the Myspace-enamored world. The problem was that, until Digital Rodeo, there just wasn’t a place to do it that Country fans could call their own.
“When Digital Rodeo first started, the writing was already on the wall in terms of how popular social network sites were becoming,” says Digital Rodeo Director of Industry Relations Robert Reynolds. “In a sense, it was a little bit of a no-brainer to create a place where Country music fans could meet and network with each other, with the common thread simply being a love for Country music. It was a bit of a ‘If you build it, they will come’ philosophy.”
Since that time, the company has continued its growth, thanks to the creative chemistry of Reynolds and Pyne, the face of the company in Digital Rodeo’s Nashville office (there are also offices in Pittsburgh and Seattle). The duo has been a driving force in the expansion of the company’s interests into live events, as well as the production of exclusive DR video content, merchandise, interviews, contests and more. In other words, anything Country music related is an opportunity waiting to be seized, notes Director of Marketing and Promotions, John Pyne.
“Today you really have to be aggressive when it comes to branding your service or product,” he says. “We had a vision of Digital Rodeo becoming more than just a social network, but a place where Country music fans could get their news, watch exclusive videos, listen to music, visit with friends, shop, you name it. So what we’ve been working towards is a site that encompasses anything and everything that appeals to the Country music consumer, whether that’s as an artist, label, venue or simply as a fan of the music.”
Earlier this year, Digital Rodeo held a “CRS 40th Anniversary Jam” at popular downtown nightclub Cadillac Ranch to close out Country Radio Seminar 40, the country’s biggest annual Country radio industry convention. The show featured dozens of stars performing their favorite cover songs, including Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Julianne Hough, James Otto, Chuck Wicks, Jimmy Wayne and Daryl Worley, among others. The standing-room only show was a huge success and a pivotal step in solidifying Digital Rodeo’s reputation within the industry.
In addition to being a sponsor at CRS, Digital Rodeo also signed on this year to sponsor the first Andy Griggs Celebrity Poker Tournament, a charity event held in June that raised money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“Putting on these live events or coming on as a sponsor is one of the things that we want to stress at Digital Rodeo,” says Reynolds, who also happens to be the former bassist for Grammy Award-winning Country act The Mavericks. “After all, it’s the live music that drives a lot of these fans to meet and interact. When we have our DR booth each year at CMA Music Fest, it’s amazing how many people come up to us from all corners of the country – of the world, actually,” he says.
The international aspect of Country music is yet another front that Digital Rodeo is excited about. For the past two years, they have sponsored the AristoMedia Global Artist Party, one of the two international showcases that unofficially kick off the CMA Music Festival each year in Nashville. The site currently has members signed up in more than 50 different countries.
“I can’t stress enough how important the global Country music community is to the future of our genre,” says AristoMedia President Jeff Walker. “Digital Rodeo understands that and is in a really unique position to open a lot of eyes through their site. It’s a great way for artists to gain exposure and fans to learn more about the thousands of acts out there that aren’t lucky enough to get played on the radio.”
Another important role that Digital Rodeo serves is new artist discovery, Pyne says.
“Digital Rodeo is a great tool for all artists,” he points out. “In fact, many of the artists with profiles on DR are indie acts looking to network and meet people that will help their career. Occasionally we come across an artist that really sticks out in the crowd and, if they are willing, we try to partner up with them and put together a cool promotion of some kind.”
One recent example was a contest for Pop-Country artist and Internet phenom Veronica Ballestrini. The rising star’s profile views and sign-ups spiked when the site offered an opportunity to win tickets to this year’s CMA Music Fest, airfare and hotel accommodations and a special VIP package that included a performance from Ballestrini and access to her private fan club party.
“Digital Rodeo was one of the first sites that really believed in me and gave me a chance,” says Ballestrini. “I’ll always remember that, and I’m so grateful that someone had the idea to develop a site like theirs that’s dedicated to giving people like myself a chance to make their dreams come true. Hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to work with them again in the future.”
It’s important to strike a balance between the up-and-comers and the established acts, Pyne says. Chuck Wicks, Trisha Yearwood and Taylor Swift are just a few of the major label artists that Digital Rodeo has worked with, while indie artists like Ballestrini, PovertyNeck Hillbillies and Trailer Choir have also benefited from the site’s contests and promotional opportunities.
So what’s next for the growing Country music lifestyle and social network site?
“We definitely have a few big things up our sleeve, but we aren’t quite ready to announce them yet,” says Reynolds with a grin. “But trust me, you’ll know about it when it happens.”
For more information about Digital Rodeo, visit their website at www.DigitalRodeo.com.