By: Charles Bowen

Digital Club Network Offers Schedules, Band Bios

Picture it. Some Friday night, the telephone on the city desk begins to ring and every other call comes from an irate teenager ready to bust your chops about some big story you seem to be missing. What’s happening? You come to understand that a band called Gargantua Soul is playing at a little club on the outskirts of town.

Surely you’ve heard of Gargantua Soul? After all, they were featured in an original movie about the music industry called “At Any Cost” that aired on VH-1 a couple of summers ago. Where have you been, man? Well, probably you were working that night.

Anyway, how do you get yourself quickly up to speed on this, or any of hundreds of other touring bands that might one day pop up at one of your local clubs and be worth a story in the entertainment section? My first stop would be the Digital Club Network. For starters, you can use this hip young site to find out who’s playing where, whether it’s the Casbah in San Diego or Brownies in Manhattan.

In addition, the DCN provides some Webcasts of live music from all around the globe, both as streaming audio and as archived performances. A new show is added each night. You might not be able to listen to it in the newsroom (Oh? earphones, you say? Well, that’s between you and your supervisor, you understand), but your music-loving readers will probably want to know about that part. RealAudio and a large bandwidth makes this a mighty music venue.

Of even more value to harried journalists is the fact that the site also has biographies, background, and Web links to scores of bands and individual singer/songwriters and performers. Many of the artists are not exactly hot copy in Billboard yet, but some already are making waves out there in America. Want to turn a few heads in the under-20 set in your town (or at least in your household)? Use this site to lead them to believe that you already have heard of The Nixons, Blackalicious, The Zen Tricksters, and Dan Bern, to name a few.

To use the resource, visit the site at http://www.dcn.com, where links along the top of the introductory screen connect you to sections devoted to:

o Now Playing. Here are connections to the DCN’s latest additions to its Webcasts archives.
o Featured, connecting to the hottest bands and performers on the site.
o Schedule, telling you who is playing at the network’s clubs, searchable by date.
o Clubs. Click for details and photos of more than 50 venues across the country that are linked on the network, from the Metro in Chicago to the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., Fifth Ave in Minneapolis to the Ogden Theater in Denver.
o Bands. Here you can search through hundreds of bands and individual players using an alphabetical list and/or a genre specification (choosing from afro-beat, alternative rock, blues rock, comedy, country, electronic/dj, experimental/exotica, folk, funk, hard rock/metal, hiphop/rap, indie rock/pop, jam/improv, jazz/swing, latin, pop punk, punk/hardcore, rock, rockabilly, ska/raggae, singer/songwriter, soul/r&b, spoken word, or zydeco).

Other considerations for using this site in your writing and editing:

o Digital Club Network is a privately held company headquartered in New York City.
o If the name sounds familiar, it might be because the firm also produces the Digital Club Festival, the Internet’s largest annual live music event. Originally launched in 1995 as the Macintosh New York Music Festival, the four-day event brought 300 bands to 20 different New York clubs, all linked through the DCN Web site. These days, the festival has outgrown New York City, streaming performances by hundreds of artists from 30 different venues across the country.
o The site’s Webcasts make for an intense use of RealPlayer. To hear the music, you must first register with the site, a free process. You also can optimize your playback quality by clicking the Help button on any of the DCN screens. Then scroll the resulting display of common frequently asked questions to the bottom, where RealPlayer specifics are addressed.

Bowen writes columns, articles and books from West Virginia, and is host of the daily Internet News syndicated radio show (http://www.netnewstoday.com).

Copyright 2001, Editor & Publisher

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