For Eric White, a sad truth about being a musician is accepting that many musicians live in poverty their entire lives.
“We don’t do this for the money,” the junior journalism major said. “We do this because we love it, but the thing is, we don’t like to do it in front of nobody.”
As a program director at WHIP, Temple’s student radio station, and bass player of the band Furthermore., White understands the role that promotion plays in the success of local musicians.
“I think it is my duty [to promote local bands],” White said. “I know plenty of bands that work way too d–n hard and don’t get the credit that they deserve.”
WHIP works to recognize Philadelphia-based artists through many of its weekend shows, like “Under The Radar,” “Philly Rap Fix” and “Bell Tower Hour.” “Bell Tower Hour” is geared toward musicians working with Bell Tower Music, Temple’s student-run, nonprofit record label.
The band Magda Meringue is the current focus of Bell Tower Music, and its members will be interviewed by WHIP on Saturday as part of “Bell Tower Hour.” The band members will promote its upcoming show at Time Restaurant, where its latest EP will be released.
“Fuzzy Logic,” available for purchase April 14, is a product of Magda Meringue’s relationship with Bell Tower Music.
“This is the first opportunity that we have had to really get our music out there, and have anybody express interest in it,” Jules Keller, the band’s keyboardist and singer, said. “[Bell Tower Music] has been promoting [Magda Meringue’s music] really heavily, which is really my first experience with that really.”
Drummer Austen Travis said the promotional efforts of WHIP, Bell Tower Music and other organizations that recognize local musicians are especially useful to Philadelphia bands.
“There isn’t a large intermediary industry in Philadelphia,” Travis said. “There aren’t a lot of publicists, booking agents or managers, so bands either have to completely do it themselves or they have to seek out these agencies that are sending them across the country.”
The challenges that come with a lack of professional promoters, like not making enough money through ticket sales to cover the cost of the venue, has given rise to DIY shows in Philadelphia, White said.
“You basically do all of your promoting through word of mouth,” White said.
DIY shows, also known as house shows, are typically held in basements, are BYOB and charge around $5 per person.
“I think some of the best shows we’ve played have been at house shows, because everybody’s into it and we can go and be ourselves,” White said.
Though the presence of house shows has increased on Main Campus, White said he understands “many people would rather spend 50 bucks to see a well-known act, in the back row, than go spend $3 at a house show.”
But with the promotional efforts of groups like WHIP, White hopes Philadelphia’s music scene will continue to develop, and live up to meet the level of the musicians’ talent.
“We’re like the little brother, but we’re like the little brother that’s finally going to kick some a-s some day,” White said.
Jenny Stein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editors note: Eric White is a former freelance photographer for The Temple News. He did not contribute to the editing process of this article.