Interview with Vinny Ribas, CEO of Indie Connect – Part I

Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective. As I told ‘The Tennessean’ in 2008, “since moving to Nashville twenty-five years ago, I have met people whose lives do not remotely reflect the caricature of what many outside our city presume to be a ‘Nashvillian’ or the Nashville experience.” “Underground Nashville” thus explores the soul of the city, not its surface—offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

 Dave Carew

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To make sure homeless human beings receive the food, love, and friendship they need, please donate to the Nashville Rescue Mission by calling (615) 255-2475 or by visiting NashvilleRescueMission.org.  Thank you.

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Interview with Vinny Ribas, CEO of Indie Connect – – Part I

By Dave Carew

Vinny Ribas is the founder and head of Indie Connect, the most innovative and empowering indie music networking organization in Nashville. (The organization also has offices in New York and Dayton.) From the 1970s through the early 90s, Vinny was a full-time musician, producer, band leader, booking agent, artist manager, and state fair entertainment director. He later became an author and served as an entrepreneurial consultant.

Underground Nashville recently interviewed Vinny about Indie Connect and how it is benefiting our local indie music community.  Following is Part I or our two-part interview.

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE: What exactly is Indie Connect?  What type of person does it serve?

VINNY RIBAS:  Indie Connect could be compared to a “Chamber of Commerce for the Independent Music Industry.” We are a membership organization consisting of people from all segments of the industry, including singers, songwriters, musicians, bands, record labels, service providers (vocal coaches, marketing experts, etc.), artist managers, booking agents, and other music professionals. They join us to learn about what is working in the industry right now for indie artists, as well as to make vital connections.

UN: What are the primary ways people benefit by becoming members?

VR: Our chapters conduct music-industry networking events and workshops. Each features a guest speaker discussing some aspect of the industry. Our meetings begin with a brainstorming session in which everyone introduces themselves and asks for whatever it is that they need next to move their careers forward. Some people ask for contacts, some for advice. Artists might be looking for a producer or a gig. Managers might need a referral to an attorney. Songwriters might be trying to find a co-writer or an introduction to a publisher. As each person speaks, everyone in the room tries to help him (or her) find what he asked for. The contacts, advice, ideas, and encouragement that come from these sessions are sometimes quite amazing.

UN:  What other benefits do members receive?

VR:  Our members benefit in many ways. Making vital connections is one of the major benefits. Our members also have access to our complete online training library, receive discounts to our meetings and events and receive product and service discounts from our partners (Broadjam, MyWerx, Airplay Direct, MusicPro Insurance, recording studios, duplication, distribution and much more.). Pro-level members get a feature story in our magazine. When we move into our new location, we will be holding member-only events as well.

UN: What other resources to you have available?

VR: We also have an online training library of over 300 videos, articles, podcasts etc. We publish our newest ones in Indie Connect Magazine, our free bi-monthly e-magazine (www.indieconnectmagazine.com).  We also host a free industry-only social network at http://www.indieconnect.org.

UN: What’s on the horizon?

VR: Here in Nashville we are about to open a full-time meeting space where we will hold meetings, workshops, private showcases, video presentations, meet-and-greets, book signings, and much more, 7 days a week.

Editor’s Note: Until its new Nashville-area facility opens, Indie Connect meets each Monday at 11:30 AM at Corky’s, located at 100 Franklin Road in Brentwood. The cost is $10 for non-members, plus attendees pay for their own meals and beverages. The organization also holds a monthly ‘Welcome To Nashville’ workshop hosted by Marc-Alan Barnette, and a monthly Christian musicians meeting.

For more information, visit IndieConnect.org. Watch for Part II of the Underground Nashville interview, coming later this week. 

David M. (Dave) Carew is editor/writer of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter.” He also is a freelance book editor, publicist, and copywriter.

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