When a local band puts out an album -- even with nice write-ups in the local papers, spins on area radio stations and brisk release-show sales -- it's all too often a tree-falls-in-the-forest scenario. It's like playing to the same 50 friends every month: You may have created something that a small number of people enjoy, but it's not (for lack of a better word) particularly scalable.
So it's encouraging to hear that Pittsburgh indie-rock band Meeting of Important People has made headway in the larger world, without changing its game that much. The band's debut album, self-released in March, was re-released Aug. 11 by the Los Angeles-based Authentik Artists label.
"I just decided to bang on every door and call every contact that I'd ever made, and really give it a try," says frontman Josh Verbanets. It's not the first time he's been picked up by a label: Several years back, he "bluffed our way into a record deal" with his old band The You, but describes that as "pure luck."
With Verbanets, bassist Aaron Bubenheim and drummer Matt Miller dedicated to finding a home for their music, they eventually fell in with Authentik. Unlike a traditional label, Authentik (www.authentikartists.com) touts itself as "a content company that helps independent talent realize the full revenue potential from their recorded music and music publishing assets," mainly through digital distribution, marketing and film/TV licensing. Instead of physical copies, Authentik hawks its artists to digital-download platforms exclusively.
It seems to be working: Meeting of Important People is currently featured as "new and notable" on the iTunes Store's singer-songwriter category. "I had no expectations, I was almost embarrassed about it," says Verbanets. "That's maybe the first time we've received any outside recognition in this thing."
The band's also finishing up a new music video, due out by early September.
"They put together a budget for us and gave us free rein with it," says Verbanets. Young Pittsburgh filmmaker Tom Glunt was recruited in part through local messageboard board.nevertellmetheodds.org, as were the numerous volunteers who helped build the set -- a city of 35 freestanding cardboard buildings.
"It was amazing that so many people in the community got involved with it," says Verbanets. "This one guy came for eight-hour days, for 10 days straight!"
Join the band in celebrating its hard work and good fortune Fri., Aug. 21 at Thundebird Café, headlining a show that also includes Jupiter One and Ben Hardt & His Symphony. For more info, visit www.meetingofimportantpeople.com.