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  • Writer's pictureChristy Merry

Virtual here for you EP Release

Updated: Apr 16, 2021

Hi! I'm posting this for 2 reasons. #1 - For friends or family who had missed the release party for various reasons & were hoping to see it, and #2 - Ann Treacy from Mostly MN Music had mentioned this would be a good model for inclusion - so that other artists who might not have a band or who struggle with stage fright a bit (like myself) would have an alternative model which they could use to share their projects without necessarily having to do live release shows.

In relation to #1 above, probably just watching the video is what you're looking for, so please help yourself to it here! Since you won't have access to the chat whilst viewing the video, you will want to open the here for you video playlist and have it open and ready in another tab, before you begin the release party video. This is the link for that:

I did find that there were a couple factual errors in things I said, and here's the rundown on those: 1) it was Kellie Schneider's business Zoom account that she lent me for this release party (not her 'Facebook Zoom account' - not sure what that would mean!), 2) I mis-referenced my song 'Reach For Me' several times in a row (calling it 'Reach For You'), 3) the Melanie I was referring to with the "Done is better than perfect." quote was Melanie G. S. Walby - I believe I got her last name wrong in the video, and 4) Moog Cookbook, which Brian Kehew was in, appears to have been in the 90s not the 80s as I was guessing off the top of my head. If you catch anything else in there that you would like clarification on or believe to be incorrect, let me know and I'm happy to answer you or note an update here.

In relation to #2 above, I will do my best to let you know the technical set-up we used, and the problems/issues we encountered, below here.

We set it to be a 'Recurring Meeting' with the recurrence set to 'No Fixed Time' so that we could use the link in advance for tests. This meant that we did not share the meeting link and password to anyone very far in advance. We posted the link and password to the Zoom meeting about 20 minutes in advance of it on the day of the release (6:40 pm CST for a 7 pm CST meeting) and we logged in ourselves at 6:30 pm CST to set up before that. This was on a Friday and we did 2 short dry runs on Tuesday and Thursday. (In addition, so that folks not on Facebook could attend, I did send a quick email out 20 minutes in advance of the meeting also with the login details.)

We used an easy passcode 'hereforyou'. We did not utilize the waiting room or require authentication to join, as we did not want to make more work for ourselves during the call in order to ok people to enter. Video for hosts and participants was marked to 'on'. We set audio to both Telephone and Computer Audio. We allowed participants to join anytime, muted participants upon entry and automatically recorded the meeting in the cloud. Kellie had me as an admin on her account, and made me the host, and then I made her a co-host. She 'spotlighted' me so that participants would always see me - I've forgotten how we did that. She edited her name to add '(Technical Support)' to it. We set it so participants could only chat with the host so that when we posted links for individual videos, those links would be easily found and not be lost. After we had all watched the final video, we changed the setting so that folks could post public comments that everyone could read.

Up front, as part of my intro, I gave a quick summary of how things would go and then Kellie addressed some housekeeping items before we posted the first link. After we all watched the first video, she discussed how to ask a question - either by raising a hand (an option under 'Reactions'), and then she would unmute them, or by asking via chat.

One of the main problems we ran into is that setting participants to only be able to chat with the host did not automatically default them to email their questions to me, so questions/comments came both to Kellie and I, although we had meant for only technical issue questions to go to her. We could work around this for the most part, by her reading some questions aloud to me. Also, because with this setup, it was unclear whether those submitting questions or comments wanted their identity known, I tried not to mention names. And while I read and smiled at the comments that were not questions, it felt odd to read any of those aloud (as props to myself) - and we found, to our dismay, after the meeting, that the transcript we were able to access only included chat comments made after we changed the setting for everyone to post public comments, so very few comments were retained.

One person who was trying to login using the link via a phone had difficulty and requested the meeting ID also, so it might be good to include that somewhere as an option someone could use if the link is not working directly.

Also, due to everything going on, it was difficult for me to be able to look through and see everyone who was attending (spotlighting me for everyone else meant that was my main view also). I think I only saw a smaller portion of those attending (my husband later mentioned about 55 people were on the call at one time). Afterwards, due to my settings on Kellie's account, I was unable to see a list of those who had attended (although I imagine it would be pretty similar to the list of those who had RSVP'd as going on the Facebook invite). As Kellie had scheduled the meeting initially, it was saved into her history, which I did not have direct access to. We'll try to get it sometime soon!

It's possible if someone else does a similar setup in the future, you may want to have those with questions or comments indicate whether they are ok with their names being mentioned or not? And if not, and you are not responding IN the meeting, maybe you want to take a quick pic of the comment to get back to them later with a thank you? That seems awkward & disruptive to the flow, it's up to you. I guess the important thing here was that the friends and folks who attended got the content they were there to see, and for the most part, as far as we are aware, people were able to access the videos and felt that they were able to get a better understanding of the background behind the songs & the project. So, it was a success, with some minor awkwardnesses, which is probably to be expected with any new technology attempt. I send huge hugs & thank yous to everyone who came, especially for your patience with this unusual setup! If you have any other specific questions, I am more than happy to answer as much as I am able.

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