Today I get to interview my good friend, Michael Marchand. Michael’s one of the most creative and energetic Catholics I know. Besides authoring The E Word, a go-to booklet on evangelization, he helps parishes create beautiful, functional websites for his dayjob. He’s always coming up with great ideas like the Catholic Student Ministry blog and podcast, the Project Catholic weekly email, and the recent Fantasy Conclave project.
He’s back with another cool effort, this time designed to promote new and upcoming Catholic music. The website is called CatholicBands.com and it’s what we’re discussing about today.
Brandon: Let’s start with a basic question: what is CatholicBands.com?
Michael: It’s a simple, subscription service that introduces you to new Catholic bands. Once you sign up, we’ll send you an in depth profile of a Catholic band each week. You’ll get know bands and musicians from all different styles: learn what drives their passion for music, hear about their Catholic faith, and (best of all) get to download free MP3s of their music!
Brandon: What types of bands will be included?
Michael: One of the goals of this project is to broaden people’s view of what Catholic music is—to that aim, we’ll be featuring a broad spectrum of artists. From rock to hip hop, country to contemporary. You’ll get music from artists you’ve never heard of and new music from some of your favorites. To find out exactly who we’re including, you’ll have to subscribe.
Brandon: The Catholic music market hasn’t taken off the way Protestant music has. Why is that, and what can we do to change it?
Michael: I think the biggest reason is awareness. For most Protestant musicians there’s a large radio network to share their music through and attract new listeners. That same sort of network doesn’t exist in Catholic radio – in fact, across the country there are very few Catholic music radio stations. This lack of awareness leads many Catholics to believe that all Catholic music sounds like the hymns we sing at Mass – there’s nothing wrong with the hymns we use during the Liturgy, but there’s not a lot of people interested in jamming out to “One Bread, One Body” on their car ride home. Through CatholicBands.com we’re able to introduce people to a new flavor of Catholic music – music created for their iPod not the pews.
Brandon: Many people are jumping on the subscription-club model, using the Internet to provide products cheaply each month. I’m thinking specifically of the Dollar Shave Club. Why do you think this model has become so popular?
Michael: I love the subscription-club model—I’ve been a Dollar Shave Club member for over a year! This model is popular because people are busy. We forget to do things like buy razors. We don’t have the time to search out new bands. Subscription based services deliver what you need right to your door (or inbox). It’s easy, and people like easy.
Brandon: You can’t beat the price of CatholicBands.com. Most CD’s and album downloads cost over $15 today yet you’re delivering new music for a small fraction of that price. Each month subscribers get around 8 new MP3 downloads for just $3. How are you able to keep the price so low?
Michael: We’re able to do it because CatholicBands.com isn’t just good for our subscribers, it’s good for our bands too! We’re constantly hearing from musicians that they are just looking for ways to get their music heard by more people. When our subscribers read about the band and get to sample their music, they are far more likely to buy that band’s new album when it comes out – so our bands are actually supporting their ministry by giving away their music!
Brandon: Who are some of your favorite Catholic musicians and bands?
Michael: That’s kind of a loaded question because working on this project means I’m constantly adding bands to my favorites list, but right now a few of the people on that list are: Ben Walther, One Love Revolution, Ike Ndolo, Out of Darkness, and David Casper.
Brandon: Can people get their parish or their ministry involved in this project?
Michael: Absolutely. One of the exciting things we just launched is a fundraising component of CatholicBands.com. Any ministry at your parish (youth ministry, Knights of Columbus, young adult ministry, etc.) can sign up to launch a CatholicBands.com fundraiser. You’ll be introducing people to new Catholic music and raising money for your ministry at the same time! Check out CatholicBands.com/fundraising for all the details.
Brandon: How do Catholic musicians get their band featured on CatholicBands.com?
Michael: We are always looking for more artists! To apply to be featured on CatholicBands.com all you have to do is fill out our band profile form: CatholicBands.com/shareyourmusic.
Be sure to check out CatholicBands.com and follow them on Twitter at @CatholicBands.
Throughout this week, CatholicBands.com is donating half of every subscription to the work of The Imagine Sisters Movement! So sign up, get new music, and support the sisters! Because #NunsRock!