Looking back on our first year

Wait, a whole year has passed??

It’s hard to believe it’s been a full 12 months since SubJam, SPC’s incorporation. Of course, some of you know that it’s been much longer since SubJam’s original inception – how about a nice little story about our journey so far? 🙂

Story Time!

Way back In 2008 I had been playing music in different bands and generally immersing myself in my local rock scene of Sonoma County, California. I was also sole proprietor of an I.T. company that helped small businesses.

One night after band practice I had the idea of starting a website that provided 2 basic things: a music player and a chat box. The premise was that people would go there to listen to local music from their area together and talk with each other in real time. You know, like listening to the radio, but interactively and from a computer.

Fast forward to 2011 and my town’s only modern rock radio station switched formats to Top 40 without notice. All of the independent bands that relied on 101.7FM (The Fox) for exposure through shows like “North Bay Underground” suddenly lost a promotional partner with extremely wide reach. People were so upset that they literally picketed the streets in front of the studio.

I decided to take my 3 year old idea and put it into action (and quickly). SoCoRock (for “Sonoma County Rock”) was born that day and what was once just an idea now had its place in reality. The site is still active in fact, serving up rock music and live performances from that era. My main takeaway from the success of this project was that local music communities love support; and not just my community.

That same year I became a father and found myself with much less time to go to shows in person. I loved that I was still able to consider myself an active part of the scene while I was at home in what I lovingly recall as “zombie mode” (the first years of parenting where sleep deprivation sometimes happens). Even after moving out of county in 2012 I was able to keep SoCoRock going, though without me personally going to shows with my streaming equipment it was very hard to run effectively.

In 2013 I took the experiences I had gotten with SoCoRock and decided to bring it to the mobile space. By this time, almost everybody had the computing power and Internet connectivity to livestream in their pockets (though “livestreaming” was hardly a household term at that point).

I later launched a Kickstarter campaign to finish “Cool Mic”, an audio livestreaming app I self funded for a couple of years while I continued to work full time with my I.T. business. So many of you came to support this project and I am eternally grateful.

Cool Mic was originally intended to do what SubJam does. To our surprise, people started using it for many other things when we dropped it in the Google Play Store. One notable example was as a street/mobile radio broadcasting link to terrestrial (AM/FM) stations.

I didn’t want to pigeonhole Cool Mic’s users so we forked the codebase and started working on “Echonet”, an Internet based audio network specifically for musicians. Note that this was right around the time the Amazon “Echo” was released, though I hadn’t heard of it yet. When I did hear of it, I didn’t want to confuse people or potentially be forced to change the name later on. This time I decided on “SubJam” – I took ‘sub’ as a mix of ‘subs’ (Internet message forums, or in this context music scenes..but maybe sandwiches too?) and ‘subterranean’ (underground). I still recall talking with a friend about incorporating the ‘.am’ TLD as an homage to the golden days of radio.

Development was slow but steady for the next years. I’ve worked with incredibly talented people to a get a demo/prototype of SubJam on Android. Even though they live across the world and we’ve never met in person, I consider them very close friends because of the time we’ve spent accomplishing these types of projects.

On July 14, 2021 I incorporated SubJam, SPC in the state of Washington (US). SPC stands for “Social Purpose Corporation”, which is a special type of for-profit corporation which includes specific social purposes in its charter (You can view ours here). I originally wanted to incorporate as a 501c3 non-profit but found that an SPC allowed much more creative ways of interfacing with music related, for-profit businesses.

In April 2022, my family and I sold our home and moved from Northern California to Washington state. I closed my I.T. business in CA and am now, at SubJam’s 1-year anniversary, working full time toward progressing its development and securing funding for the next 2 years. The first version of our Apple / iOS app is almost done and many other pieces are starting to fall into place. I have never been a gambling man, but in business, taking big chances can yield big results when you are confident in what you’re trying to achieve.

Thank you very much, and here’s to the next year!

Cheers, Jordan Erickson (Founder)

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