music morsels fiorenza August 2006 

INDUSTRY PROFILE - President Dan Nguyen

by Mark E. Waterbury

Many people cultivate their interest in music from their parents or siblings, influenced by how music is involved with their everyday life during their upbringing. Dan Nguyen’s musical upbringing was pretty typical. Born in St. Louis before his family moved to Alabama when he was thirteen, Dan had some exposure to music from his parents. His father was Indonesian and mother Arabic, so ethnic music was prevalent along with occasional forays into more popular styles. “I always listened to music. It was always around me, “ Dan remembers. “I learned to play guitar and piano, but mainly I loved to listen to music live. Seeing people performing music and being so passionate with what they were doing made me feel that I wanted to get involved with it in some way.”

Perhaps more important than his parents influences was that Dan’s uncle was a  musician. He had a music degree and was performing and recording, but was not self-sufficient with his craft. Dan was looking for a way to help his uncle and other musicians he had met over the years. One night after watching a show on MTV about how Virgin Records began, an idea started formulating in Dan’s head. “My uncle is a really good musician and has always been trying to get his music out there. He hasn’t been discovered yet and I think there should be more ways for musicians to get their music out to people without paying much to do it, because most of them are already paying money to record their music or to tour.” Dan has always had a passion for business, mirrored in the fact that he is attending Auburn University in pursuit of a music degree. Also being very internet savvy and a web designer, he looked for a way to use his talents and passions to help musicians. Working with a friend who is also a web designer, Dan created - a free web site designed to help musicians and bands promote their music. "We designed iMoveMusic to be completely free to help musicians get their music out there. We only take a small commission from CD sales so we can survive and keep the service free, because our main focus is to help get the music out there.”

With  music web resources like MySpace and PureVolume exploding in popularity, Dan knew he had to do something a bit different with iMoveMusic. He accomplished this by including a multitude of networking and business possibilities on the site. Along with selling their CDs, promoting gigs and CD releases, iMoveMusic also has avenues for bands to sell their music as ringtones, podcasting, creating web pages, getting on a compilation CD, and submitting for contests and festivals. With this and several other promotional opportunities, iMoveMusic at first elicited a typical response from often cautious musicians. “At the beginning, a lot of them asked, "what’s the catch?” Dan muses. “There is no catch. There is a lot of competition to us and a lot of people doing the same thing but charging a lot for it. Because there are labels and other people out there who don’t pay musicians their proper royalties, they can be skeptical about who they want to work with. But the word is getting out that we are not like that. We switched the site around a bit and made it more simple so you can see ads about the artists right there, and we have had a better response. Everyone knows now that it is about music and it is easy to use.” Since launching the site in January of 2006, Dan has seen a steady growth, with more bands signing up for the service each week.  He has been utilizing a grass roots promotional effort to get the word out about iMoveMusic, messaging in MySpace and PureVolume as well as talking to bands one on one at their gigs. “Right now we are still working on gaining more credibility, and as we get more bands on the site and more styles of music, that should help as well. When we get more music there, we are going to push the music and invite more listeners to search for the music, giving them an alternative to listening to mainstream radio or MTV and VH1 that are constantly overplaying the same music. We want to show that these are really passionate people who want to get their music out there that need to be discovered, and we are here to help with that.”

Dan feels that iMoveMusic’s future could be a bright one. They are adding features such as online gig ticketing, live showcases, and street team management. They are thinking of eventually doing a concert tour comparable to VANs Warped Tour featuring iMoveMusic bands. Dan knows this is a valuable  resource as long as bands utilize all the resources available to open as many doors as possible. “I’m a workaholic, but I don’t consider this work. I love doing this and this is what I do with my time. I want to be successful at what I do and help others while doing it. I am really captured by being able to work work with new bands and hear new music and see their shows and feel their passion with their music. I love the fact that I am helping to get their music out there. If it took me dropping out of Auburn if things started to really take off with iMove, then I would do it. I think once people realize that this is really a one stop spot for them to promote their music, it will continue to grow.”


Dan Nguyen’s advice for musicians: I think bands need to condense their on-line promotions to one site or page, and then promote that page as their main resource, whether it is their Myspace page or own web page or whatever. Too many bands try to manage too many sites and that can be confusing. You need a way to sell your albums so other people can hear your music. Also, when playing live gigs you need to do more than stand there and play music - you need to give people a show! When you are done with the show, shake hands with them and thank them for coming. You need to connect with the fans.”

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