Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Post CD Release Party Wrap-Up

The party was a full month ago, but with the holidays, well, you know how it goes....

What happened at the party? Was it a success or a dud? Did my bad party karma come back to haunt me?

Mother Nature was not on my side. We had a huge snowstorm the night of the party here at Tahoe. But my brother from Southern California and my cousin Joanne, from the state of Washington flew in to support me. Even he was worried that no one would show up. However, sure enough, fifty of my most diehard friends and fans came to the party. They braved the weather and the roads and were there for me. Like Russ, who drove from Sacramento, 100 miles away, and holed himself up in a motel just to attend. And my present and past harp students, Fred, Wanda, and Jo were there. Fred said, “I was worried that no one would come, and I wanted to attend and show you that yes, someone would attend.” I am truly touched and grateful to have such wonderful friends, fans, and loved ones.

Bread and Broth,  the nonprofit organization teaming up with me on the fundraiser, was on hand. Gift baskets filled with all kinds of goodies, from wine to bath salts, to music, were raffled off, with the proceeds going to help Bread and Broth feed the hungry on Thanksgiving Day. With only fifty people on hand, we raised nearly $200!

ScreenBooth Lake Tahoe and JJ Entertainment provided the entertainment. Everyone had a blast putting on silly hats and having their photos taken. And then Suzanne kept people guessing with the following quiz. Do you know all the answers? E-mail me your answers, and if you are correct, I’ll send you a download of one of my Celtic albums. But you must respond by February 1, 2011 to get a chance to receive the album download).

Finally, the food that Harrah’s Tahoe provided, and their service, couldn’t be beat. And the best part of it all was that I enough CDs to pay for the party and line my pockets, too. I’d call the party a success, even though Old Man Winter tried to ruin it.

My quick list of do’s and don’ts for throwing a successful CD release party:

1. Don’t limit your guest list.
Do make it a public party, because you never know if something uncontrollable (like a winter snowstorm) will prevent people from showing up.

2. Don’t use only one means of getting the word out.
Do be vigilant and follow up on your invites. Use email, facebook, mail paper invites, phone calls. Do everything you can to get invited guests to respond, because you’ll have a better handle on how much food and drink to order.

3. Don’t be cheap.
Do provide food, drink and fun for your guests. A party isn’t a party if all you are doing is sitting in a room signing CDs or playing a bit of music for your guests. The entire idea of having a fun event is that your guests will tell their friends, and you’ll have even more people attending your concerts and your next CD release party (and you’ll sell more CDs).

4. Don’t do it all yourself. 
Do team up with a non-profit community organization. You’ll feel good about giving to your community and you’ll receive extra publicity for your good deeds.
Do team up with another company in town to help you make your party happen. I worked with a local DJ and ScreenBooth company. They wanted the publicity, and I needed the help with throwing my party. Or, you can do what my friend Deborah, is doing—She is throwing her CD release party in a guitar store.

5. Don’t make your party inaccessible.
Do hold your party in the closest proximity to most of your fans. And make sure the room is big enough and there is plenty of parking. Holding my party at Harrah’s Tahoe really worked out, because they had valet service and covered parking, so people knew they didn’t have to deal with knocking snow off their cars after the party. Also, Harrah’s Tahoe is centrally located to all my Lake Tahoe and Carson Valley fans. They plow the roads in front of the building, and it is easy to find (all lit up on a cold winter’s night).

So go for it! Let me know how your CD release parties go...

In the meantime, Happy Happy Holidays and a Wonderful New Year!


P.S.—Here’s that trivia list. Email me your answers, and if you get them all correct, I’ll send you a f*ree album download. (Expires Feb 1, 2011)

Trivia questions (Hint—The answers to these questions are all found in the liner notes of my newest CDs, Blue Jeans and Velvet:

1. The Eagles wrote and performed “Desperado”. What other artist is also known for their version of this song?

2. In what movie did Disney borrow a theme by Tchaikovsky?

3. What rock song causes listeners to raise their lighters and shout the name of this song?

4. The 1937 movie “Top Hat” featured songs by what famous songwriter?

5. The singer of “My Girl” was known by what nickname?

6. “As Time Goes By” has been recorded by many artists. Which movie did it originally appear in?

7. People are often surprised to hear Anne play what song by Led Zeppelin?

8. Popular pianist “Fats” Waller is represented on Anne’s Velvet album by what two songs?

9. What popular British group wrote and performed “I Will” and “Black Bird”?

10. What vocalist, known as the “First Lady of Song”, recorded at least four of the tunes that are on Anne’s Velvet album?

11. Which early Jackson 5 song appears on Anne’s “Blue Jeans” album?

12. The tune “You Belong to Me” goes way back to vocalists Jo Stafford and Dean Martin. What recent animated movie was it featured in?

13. How well do you know Anne: Which of the following statements is not true?

A. Anne taught Algebra for the Los Angeles Unified School District.
B. Anne also plays the guitar.
C. Anne once sold burglar alarm systems.
D. Anne is a martial artist.
E. Anne can analyze your handwriting.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Celtic harp, Modern Pop and Anne Roos

So what do Celtic harp, airlines, and modern pop music have in common? Anne Roos!

Anne’s career spans nearly three decades with a repertoire covering traditional Celtic, English, folk, Broadway, rock, jazz and contemporary music. She’s performed and appeared all over the world from the Tahoe Tonight show to the Lord Mayors mansion in Dublin, Ireland, while still finding time to serve as a teacher, mentor and consultant to other burgeoning artists. Anne is literally everywhere — in fact, if you’ve flown on United Airlines lately, you probably heard her on their in-flight music service. Here’s a bit more about our favorite Celtic harpist:

Spotlight on Anne Roos

  • Website: http://www.celticharpmusic.com
  • Hometown: Presently residing in South Lake Tahoe, CA, but grew up in Southern California in Studio City
  • Influences: “My biggest influence is Alan Stivell. He is a Celtic harpist from Brittany, and I first saw him perform at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica in the ’80s, just after I had begun taking harp lessons. I remember sitting in the second row trying to make sense of his hand technique. His performance was simply magical, and he is credited as one of the first musicians to help popularize the Celtic harp in the U.S. He continues to perform, and his most recent CDs contain cutting edge world music.”
  • Cover song licensed: Led Zeppelin “Stairway to Heaven”
  • Story behind the cover: “There’s always someone who requests me to play “Stairway to Heaven” and then retract their request saying, “I’m just kidding. I know you can’t play that.” So, I decided to call their bluff. Now when they ask, I say, “Yes, really, I can play that,” they look at me with a big smile of disbelief. After I finish playing it, they usually say, “Wow, do you have that on a CD?” The answer has been a disappointing, “No,” but after working with RightsFlow and getting this tune and other covers licensed, I can now turn a request into a sale. When I began landing gigs playing at restaurants, wedding receptions, corporate events, and even private clubs, such as the high rollers’ lounges at local Tahoe casinos, the audience wanted more than the traditional Celtic music tailor-made for the Celtic harp. I wanted to play music that they recognized and loved, so I worked at taking their requests. It was a stretch to play modern-day songs on the Celtic harp, but I succeeded, and my repertoire expanded exponentially.”

“Stairway to Heaven” is just one of 22 cover tunes on her new CD “Blue Jeans: Modern Pop on the Solo Harp”, available on iTunes, CD Baby, and Amazon. Signed copies are available for purchase from Anne’s website at www.celticharpmusic.com or call or email Anne at 800-255-6318.

Original post on Limelight Artist Spotlight as written by Alex Holtz

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tips on how to get RSVPs for a party

It Worked!

Last week, I mentioned in this blog that I couldn’t figure out how to get people to reply to my CD Cocktail Party & Fundraiser invitation. I think I cracked the code, because now I’ve received a flurry of responses, and they keep coming in. Invited guests are getting back to me, whether they can make it or not!

Here’s what worked for me:

1. Send a party reminder, but don’t call it a “party reminder”—What you put into your subject line of your email counts. The subject line to my email read, “Are You Coming to My Party? Please Respond.” And they did.

2. Explain to invited guests why they need to respond—In the party reminder, I said, “If you plan to attend and haven't yet responded, please reply to this email and also indicate the number of guests you are bringing along. This way, I'll know how much food to order.” In other words, I told them that I couldn’t properly prepare for the party without hearing from them.


3. Send the reminder the old-fashioned way—I don’t mean by snail mail—Do send the reminder via e-mail. But don’t bother using lots of photos and pretty stuff in the email invite reminder. Don’t send the reminder through an online invitation service, either. Don’t do anything that will cause your invite reminder to get stuck in someone’s junk mail folder, never to be seen by human eyes. Use plain text (include a link to the original invitation), and bcc to no more than a dozen guests at a time, and your reminder has a much bigger chance of landing in the invited guest’s inbox.

That’s it. So now it’s the countdown to my big CD Release Party! And you’re invited, too!

Anne :-)

P.S.—Do tell...What worked for you when you were trying to get a large number of people to RSVP to a party invitation?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How Do You Know How Many to Expect for Your CD Release Party?

My new CDs have arrived! I’ve sent them off to the U.S. Copyright office, to the CD Baby folks for digital distribution, and to my webmaster and virtual assistant. Next, the tracks get signed up at soundexchange  to receive statutory royalties from airplay. That’s all done, and now. I'm turning my attention back to the CD release party.

I sent the invite out via email to my family and local area fans on my email list, and I posted a facebook event page for it. I’ve downloaded and printed it, posting it around town. I’ve sent press releases about the party to the local paper and posted it on www.artistdata.com, a website dedicated to blasting musicians’ events to the world. To date, I received very few responses, despite the fact that I’ve asked people to respond so that I don’t run out of food at the party.

Why do so many people ignore RSVP requests (requests to know if they are attending or not)? I went on a mission to find out and see how to get people to respond. Here is what I found:

• A deadline to respond may cause people to hop to it (according to v.1073.

My take: My CD release party is a public event, paired with a fundraiser, and I still want people to believe they can show up, even if they decided to attend at the last minute.

• Some people don’t know what “RSVP” means (according to v.1073 and Helena Echlin.

My take: Really? Okay. I’ll word it differently, asking people to “respond with their intentions” instead of to “RSVP”.

• Tell people to respond and then they’ll get a ticket to the event. This implies that they won’t be able to attend the event without a ticket that they can download and print (according to Charlotte at About.com at  and v1073.

My take: Again, I don’t want to imply that people can’t come if they don’t RSVP.

• Pick up the phone and follow-up email invites with a phone call. Not everyone reads their email, and not everyone’s Internet server accepts emails from invitation sites like evite.com and constantcontact.com. Just about everyone online suggests this technique.

My take: Yes, email is imperfect. So is snail mail. But since mine is a public CD release party and I’ve emailed hundreds of friends, family, and fans, phoning is out of the question. I did phone a few VIPs (like my brother, for instance), but otherwise, I’d need to hire a robocall service to do this kind of follow-up. If this were a small, private party, then a phone call reminder would work wonders.

Here’s what I plan to do: I’ll send an email reminder, gently requesting people to respond by replying to my email if they intend to come to the party. And instead of re-sending a party invite, which may have been blocked by their web servers, I’ll send a link to the invitation . I’ll ask that they respond by the 15th (the party is on the 20th) so that I can have a good sense of how many people to feed.

What do you think? Do you have any suggestions for me? What would you do to get people to respond? And how do you get people to come to your release parties? Or do you just send out invites and hope for the best?

Anne :-)

P.S.—By the way, the facebook event invite does not work, at least not for me. There are people who say that they are attending who obviously are not, and there are a large percentage of people who do not respond at all. And there is no way to re-send the invite to people who have decided to ignore it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

How to Put Together a Successful Release Party

I am the first to admit that I’m not sure I know the answer to this. And what is “successful”? Having a good turn out, selling lots of CDs, and having fun. But it’s more than that—creating buzz is the most important key, at least to me. I want folks to talk about my recordings days, weeks, and months after the party.

My past CD release parties seemed a bit dull, even to me. So, here are my simple rules for my upcoming CD release party that may turn it around. I’d love your feedback, too. Maybe you have some ideas that I can incorporate, even with just a few weeks away from the big event:

1. Partner with a charity and celebrate an upcoming holiday—I’m combining my upcoming CD release party with fundraising efforts, because people will come out to support a cause. Also, the venue I’ve selected to host the party, Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, is helping me throw the fundraiser, as well as a coming out party for my new albums. (Plus, I can write off the party as a charitable contribution or a business expense.)

I chose to work with Bread and Broth, which helps feed the hungry here at South Lake Tahoe. And since my party is on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, people can help fund holiday meals by attending my party. I chose a non-political charity, a cause that has broad general appeal.

Gary Johnson, from JJ Entertainment, gave me this idea, because we’ve both volunteered for Meals on Wheels home food delivery for seniors in our community and we wanted to do something to help the hungry.

2. Sell raffle tickets for gift baskets containing the new CDs and other goodies—The proceeds from the sale of the raffle tickets go to the charity. It’s a great way to allow a few lucky partygoers to come away with several of my CDs for very little money, almost as a gift.

I’m inviting the charity to bring their own volunteers to handle this and collect the money from the sale of the tickets. I’m also inviting the charity to speak at the party and gather up more volunteers for their cause.

3. Give out the raffle prizes at the end of the party—Winners need to be present. I’m not into shipping baskets of goodies to winners, but more importantly, people will stay until the end of the party.

4. Allow time to schmooze—I made one grand mistake at my previous CD release parties: I brought my harp and performed for a few minutes. People want to party and not attend a concert. They want a personal connection with me. I can’t mingle at the party and perform at the same time. The two don’t mix

So, the harp stays at home, and I’ve hired JJ Entertainment to spin my CDs and make announcements, and Screenbooth Lake Tahoe to keep people happily entertained. I’ll party with guests and sign CDs, and my husband will be handling the CD sales.

5. Have specially-priced CDs available, only to guests of my party—I want my guests to feel that they are getting a deal just by attending, and I’ll give them just that. And I’ll sign the CDs, too, if they like.

6. Create buzz—I’m sending press releases everywhere, posting the party online, announcing it to the local media. It’s a fundraiser, so it is a community event as well as an event that belongs in the entertainment section of the local papers.

My previous release parties were private parties, because I wanted to limit the amount of food served. I was scared of the $$$ involved to feed everyone. But this party is a fundraiser, and the more the merrier. All that I’m asking is that if folks plan to attend that they RSVP so that I don’t run out of food :-)

7. Create anticipation—Very few folks know exactly what tracks are on these CDs. They don’t know their titles. If they want to know more, they’ll need to show up to the party. After all, the CDs aren’t “released” until the party.

Have I forgotten anything? If you’ve thrown a successful CD release party, what did you do to make it a fabulous event? Even if you aren’t a musician with CDs, perhaps you’ve hosted a great product launch party and have some ideas to contribute....

My party is November 20th, and I’ll post here again afterwards to let you know how it went...Or if you are in the area, come and celebrate with me!

Anne :-)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How to Survive a Bridal Show in a Down Economy

Musicians: It's fall bridal show season, and here's the big question: What 2 items cause brides to make decisions about hiring musicians at the bridal show?

1. Performing in your booth. Brides will fall in love with your music when they see and hear you live. Plus, other wedding vendors will fall in love with you, too, and recommend you to their clients.

2. Offering a discount available only at the bridal show. This means that the bride must hire you at the the show, sign your performance agreement at the show, and give you a deposit at the show. In this economy, they will make a decision, use a cell phone to confirm with their fiancés, and then do what it takes to receive a discount.

There's more info about exhibiting at bridal fairs in my book, "The Musician's Guide to Brides" published by Hal Leonard and through online retailers including sheetmusicplus.com, Sylvia Woods Harp Center catalog, and of course, at my website at http://www.celticharpmusic.com/.

Brides: How do you get in on discounts at an upcoming bridal show? Take your cell phone, check book, cash, and credit cards to the bridal show. More and more vendors offer discounts that are only good at bridal shows, so be prepared to make up your mind quickly if you want to save money on your wedding services.

My upcoming book, "The Bride's Guide to Musicians: Live Wedding Music Made Easy and Affordable" (also published by Hal Leonard) has tons of money-saving music ideas. You can pre-order it at amazon.com (available for shipping after December 15th).

Do you have more bridal show ideas? I'd love to hear them. Please share them here....

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Gig Must Go On

My friend and virtual assistant Christine Buffaloe went on a motorcycle ride last weekend and a bee went up her helmet and stung her. As she relayed her story to me, I was reminded of; not one, but two weddings where wasps flew up my dress as I played harp during the ceremony. I won’t tell you where I was stung (!), but it sure hurt. I continued to play as if nothing was amiss, even though I was in pain. The show must go on.

Have you encountered bugs and vermin trying to interrupt your performance, and how did you handle it?

(Note, my friend Chris finished her ride before seeking medical attention. So, maybe the “ride must go on” too)