The goal of the project is to celebrate women who play the banjo professionally by showcasing them in a beautiful and fun product that includes a lighthearted calendar and compilation album featuring each artist.
Who can participate?
Anyone who meets the criteria is welcome and encouraged to apply to participate (scroll down for application form) in this project! The only determining factors are the project criteria (see next question).
We hope our participants see that this project is a collaborative promotional promotional activity intended to share our joyful music. While we take the quality very seriously, the calendar portion is meant to be a just-plain-fun, tongue-in-cheek expression of feminine empowerment. We hope that all applicants will share in our passion for excellent music and sense of humor.
What are the criteria for participation?
The Banjo Babes Calendar & Album project is most ideally suited for women artists who are currently demonstrate artistic merit pursuing a part- or full-time career in music with the banjo as her primary instrument, and who share the vision and mission of this project.
Two criteria are most important - artists best suited for this project will share in the "collective" spirit and take an active role in the participatory aspects of the project, as well asappreciate and benefit greatly from being part of this collaborative and fun showcase and promotional opportunity.
Basically, all are welcome if you're a good fit! This is intended to be an inclusive and supportive project. Artists are encouraged to leverage the greatest benefits of this calendar and album – to network, and to sell product for a profit. It is fun, it is simple, but it is a participatory project. Artists are encouraged to communicate with other artists who are featured in this calendar, as well as past and/or future calendars, in order to collaborate on shows, projects, exchanges and/or other opportunities.
Finally, artists must be at least 18 years of age, read and understand the terms of participation outlined on the Participation Application, and honor that the producer of the project reserves the right to make the final decisions regarding participation.
Why might an artist be turned down?
The ultimate goal is to include any and all artists who are qualified and interested in some way at some point. We would like to emphasize that the overarching spirit of the project includes both quality of product AND inclusiveness, however, an artist may be turned down due to in-congruence with the: participation criteria, project deadlines, photo or audio criteria (VERY important!), artistic merit, or "project spirit."
Artists will be notified of their acceptance to the project on a rolling basis as applications are received, processed and reviewed. In the spirit of this project, the organizers will do their best to find a way to include as many artists as possible. Basically, don’t be shy to apply, if your music qualifies, we’ll figure out a way to include you sooner than later.
When are applications and materials (songs and photos) DUE?
The artists are not paid directly by the project, and the project does not charge any money for application or participation. However, participating artists are able to purchase as many calendar+album units AT COST (i.e., no profit made by the project, all proceeds go to the artist) as they would like, and then may sell them as merchandise keeping all proceeds.
Our motto is, "You pick my banjo, I’ll pick yours." This is the true spirit of the project! Twelve to fifteen artists are featured in each edition, and the agreement is that we work together to achieve widespread distribution of our compilation album. Each artist agrees to purchase (at-cost) for distribution and resale at least 50 albums (any combination of CD's and/or calendars+CD's).
The at-cost price to the artists is guaranteed to be less than $10 for the calendar+album (suggested retail price is $20 to $25) and $5 for the album (suggested retail price is $10 to $15). The artists keep all of their profits. The goal of the project is to work collectively as a group to share our music, and in turn, each artist is given the opportunity to make a financial profit through participation in distribution. While this is not a requirement, it certainly is in the spirit of the project. Artists typically make $200 to $2000 or more each through their own sales.
Where does the money go from the Pledge Campaign?
The purpose of the annual Pledge Campaign is stir up interest and to garner enough committed buyers to ensure that we will have a sufficiently large order to make the project viable.
Artists are promoted during this phase, and the funds raised go toward covering project costs for organizing and executing the project. The proceeds from these sales go to reimburse the project producers for the initial overhead costs of the project (product deposit, website, album mastering, graphic design, package assembly, shipping, publicity, advertising, campaign fees, etc.).
After the Pledge Campaign goal is reached, all proceeds go directly to the artist who sells the merchandise. At this point, the money goes to all artists who are participating in table merchandise sales at their shows. Artists can make hundreds or thousands of dollars, however much merchandise they would like to move. Ideally, it is a win-win-win for everyone involved in terms of publicity and revenue. You truly get what you put into a collective effort such as this one!
Who organizes the project?
This project is a collaborative effort among all artists involved. Currently, fellow banjoista from California Erin Inglish coordinates the logistical elements of the Banjo Babes Calendar & Album project, including artist relations, graphic design, mastering, production, promotion and distribution.
How many artists are featured each year?
Each year, we commission 12 or more (up to 15) talented artists who primarily play the banjo as part of their professional stage act. Twelve artists will be featured in the calendar pages (one per month), and we will allow up to 3 additional bonus artists, for a total of 15, as “bonus babes” in the back of the calendar. While these additional artists may not have their photo featured in a month, they are featured in a nice location in the product, treated equally in regards to publicity, features online, in social media, album placement, etc., and given an equal opportunity to participate in all activities.
How many calendars+albums are sold each year?
Each year we print 1000 to 2000 calendars, and order 1500 to 2500 albums.
How many calendars+albums should each artist order?
As many as you like, there is no minimum or maximum. Artists typically order between 50 and 200 units each, plus received additional albums to sell separately. A “unit” is a calendar+album. The albums are also sold separately, the calendars are not (the point of the project is to joyfully distribute our music). When you apply, you are asked to give an estimate. This is not your final order number, but we kindly request that you be realistic, because the success of the project grossly depends on how many products the artists order. This is a small project, and the only way it works is if all the artists participate (and reap the benefits – some income, exposure to new audiences, and some air play!).
Can I order more calendars+albums later if I sell out of my original order?
Maybe. The quantity of extras each year (you know, in case you run out, and really wish you had ordered more!) depends on how the cookie crumbles with pre-sales and artist orders. The organizer will do her best to create a surplus, but cannot guarantee it. Some artists moved over 200 units – we suggest you order as many as you foresee wanting during the initial order.
What is the photo criteria for the project?
Photos submitted for the showcase calendar must be formatted 12.5” by 12.5” and 300 dpi (dots per inch) - NO EXCEPTIONS!! We encourage you to be CREATIVE, and put a lot of time and thought into your costume, scene, setting, intent, message, etc. At the end of the day, the photo and audio interpretations of this are for you to decide.
Some general guidelines to follow when planning and selecting your photo:
- you and your banjo should be in the main, middle area of the photo, - no important details should be closer than 1.5” from the edge of the 12.5" by 12.5" photo, - you and your banjo should be prominently featured, - NO portion of your body or the banjo may be cutoff from the photo, - have fun and be creative, but - please keep it PG...
....you know, appropriate for the diverse audience as wide and deep as that to which we are marketing our music to! We are NOT looking to sensor your self expression, but we do want to present a tasteful product. This is a calendar that features stunning photos of somewhat scantily clad artists and their instrument – you must be thrilled about this or maybe it isn’t for you!
We will not publish standard promo shots – you must have a photo that fits well with the concept, or was taken specifically for this calendar. However, we are absolutely going for “tasteful” and “creative” - not “crude” - so please do keep this in mind.
The photo must be of professional quality, and the producer of the calendar and album holds the right to deny participation due to this or any other issues.
What is the audio criteria for the project?
Audio submitted for the compilation album must be formatted as a 44.1 kHz 16-bit two-channel WAV file, NO EXCEPTIONS. IT MUST BE PROFESSIONALLY RECORDED, MIXED, AND MASTERED – AND READY FOR RADIO AIR PLAY.
As far as song choice, the song must be your own material that you wrote and have the rights to, or belongs to public domain. Ideally, please do not submit songs that are much longer than five-minutes.
The music must be of professional quality, and the producer of the calendar and album holds the right to deny participation due to this or any other issues.
In our first year (2014 Calendar), we went with straight-up “Pin-Up” as our theme. It was fun! But we’re not necessarily married to the idea of doing the same theme every year. So, while still keeping in the tongue-in-cheek spirit of a pin-up calendar, we encourage all participants to express themselves freely, tastefully, joyfully, humorously – but go with what feels right as far as costume, scene, vibe, etc. This just leaves different kind of space for self expression, and we want to encourage that throughout the project.
One thing that we ask artists to keep in mind that our goal is for the calendar to be accessible to a WIDE audience so that we may focus heavily on sharing and promoting our music. With this in mind, photos should be relatively PG…not to say that sexy isn’t a big part of this, but tasteful is definitely the emphasis. Let’s face it – the Disney Princesses are pretty scantily clad…sheeeeesh…but it really is all how one presents herself.
The photos should be empowering and portray you in a way that you want to be portrayed as a professional banjo artist! This project is meant to be a serious musical anthology packaged in a tongue-in-cheek calendar created by women artists. There are not any rules, but we appreciate if you can join in this spirit!