VOL. 111 | NO. 49 | Wednesday, March 12, 1997
I was going to Rhodes at the time and was thinking that I wanted to be a writer, and the Web seemed like the ideal medium and Memphis seemed like the ideal place to write about music
Internet place for people worldwide
to learn about Mid-South music scene
By CAMILLE H. GAMBLE
The Daily News
Information about one of Memphisí best known commodities is featured on several Web sites for the world to view. Itís not cotton or the Mississippi River, but something much harder to define Memphis music.
Now, Internet users can go online to find out about the music, old and new, that makes Memphis so different from any other place in the world.
Several sites have been created which feature information about the Bluff Cityís tunes and its musicians, but there are a few that seem to stand out.
Memphis Mojo (www.memphismojo.com), a site for the music savvy who want to learn more about the local music scene, was created in 1995 to educate people worldwide about Memphis music. But its creator admits that it has now become a site for locals, too.
ìI was going to Rhodes at the time and was thinking that I wanted to be a writer, and the Web seemed like the ideal medium, and Memphis seemed like the ideal place to write about music,î said Ross Gohlke, Internet marketing coordinator.
ìIt was more of an outlet than anything. People had been complaining for years about how musicians canít make a living in Memphis, and in Memphis thatís true, but everywhere else people think that Memphis music is still the best thing. And so the idea was to basically to give people what they wanted. It was supposed to be a site about Memphis for the world, as opposed to a site for Memphis.î
Now, more and more Memphians are looking to Memphis Mojo for information about the local music scene.
ìWe just woke up one day not too long ago and realized that there is an interest here, and I think a lot of the reason is because there isnít anyone covering the local scene. There are a whole bunch of different local music scenes, and most of them exist without any real medium backing at all.î
At first glance, the site may not even look like a music site. Although it features a music calendar, a list of clubs and restaurants, and links to other music sites, it may be hard for the user to determine what the icons stand for. But the site is not easily navigable for a reason, according to Gohlke.
ìIt is hard to navigate, but it is fun at the same time,î he said. ìItís something you donít get on the Web, because you donít exactly know where youíre going next. We want to preserve that aspect of it. It is sort of an adventure to find your way through it. A lot of people really enjoy having to invest something into it to get something out.î
Memphis Mojo is mainly supported by Conoway Brown and is used by the firm to market its talent to other people looking to put up a Web site. There is space available for advertising, and Gohlke said in the future other sites will be able to link to Memphis Mojo for a fee.
ìRight now, itís more of a labor of love than anything,î Gohlke said. ìAs a Conoway Brown project, itís supported by the agency and is seen as an online, unconventional capabilities brochure for what we can do on the Web. So we can make our mistakes on Mojo.î
Memphis Mojo also has become a site for musicians, which is not what it was originally intended to be, Gohlke said.
ìWe are noticing that a lot of the local musicians are interested in the site. Itís a great way for people to keep in touch and sort of network,î he said.
Users can send E-mail to the site to request information or to voice their opinions about Memphis music or the site.
ìIf we are late getting the calendar up, we hear about it. People want to know about Memphis In May, everyone wants to know about Memphis In May,î Gohlke said.
Gohlke said instead of linking to the new Memphis In May Web site (www.memphisinmay.org), Memphis Mojo will do one of its own.
ìWe are going to actually beat them at their own game. We are going to put up our own Memphis In May site. We talked to those people and let them know we get at least five E-mails a day from people wanting to know about Memphis In May. They just donít get it frankly.î
Although MIM has not announced the lineup for the Beale Street Music Festival, Memphis Mojo already has posted a partial list of this yearís talent. The incomplete list includes bands and artists such as Blues Traveler, James Cotton and Gatemouth Brown.
Gohlke said the site also is intended to educate people on the out-of-the-way places to hear Memphis music.
ìThe city is pushing three things Graceland, Sun Studio and Beale Street,î he said. ìPeople love to see those things, but there is only so much you can see at Sun Studio. If you are going to be in Memphis for three days, you can see Sun Studio in 30 minutes. A lot of folks who come here want to know about the less glitzy side of Memphis, or the things that are harder to find. A lot of people want to go to Greenís, but the city is never going to send them there.î
In addition to Memphis Mojo, there are several other Memphis music-related sites on the Web worth checking out.
Ardent Studios on Madison Avenue has its own site, which features information about the studio and its facilities and information on new recording artists. The site, at www.ardentrecords.com, also allows users to order Ardent recordings online.
ìWe get more response for the label and people checking out artists weíve worked with than we do actual inquiries for studio time,î said Ardent Studio manager Susan Hesson. ìPeople who are interested in our artists and their touring schedules do frequently contact us via the site.î
World Spice Technology has a music-related site called The ìOtherî Memphis Music at www.wspice.com/sig/scox/music/m-music.htm. The site allows users to listen to music recorded by regional artists such as the Blue Beats, Jimi Jamison and Carl Perkins.
World Spice also links to other Memphis music sites including 96X, Rock 103, Ardent, Sun Studio and Midsouth Concerts.
The Sun Studio site, at www.sunstudio.com, now features basic information about the studio, but in the future will allow users to order online, said Pete Thomas, director of marketing.
ìItís going to be really extravagant and really cool,î Thomas said. ìWe will have better sound bytes and maybe full-motion video.î
Right now, the Sun Studio site has a music bulletin board for musicians worldwide who wish to contact each other.
Memphis Online has designed and maintains a site for Beale Street. The site, at www.bealestreet.com, lists a calendar of events, which only lists Beale Street events, not who is playing in each club. The site does list information on each club and links to club Web sites. But, as of Tuesday, only two clubs on Beale had their own Web sites Rum Boogie CafÈ and Kingís Palace.