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 being at a concert, but from a computer.

Since that night, the idea of mixing local music and Internet technology has never let go of me.

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.

Although I had a very strong urge that day to leave my office and picket with my fellow rockers, I had a much stronger motivation 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 mine.

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 and you aren’t sure whether you’re asleep or awake). Even after moving out of county in 2012 I was able to keep SoCoRock going, though without me personally going to shows with my computer 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 wanted to thank you once again for that!

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 on the street radio broadcasting.

I did not 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 be forced to change the name. This time (and hopefully the last time!) I decided on “SubJam” – an underground music platform. I still recall talking with a friend about incorporating the ‘.am’ TLD somehow as a domain hack.

Development was slow but steady for the next years. I’ve worked with incredibly talented and generous 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 a shared goal.

I’ve never been well off financially speaking but I always put every spare penny into SubJam’s progress because I knew it was a huge idea that would gain traction eventually. There was proof everywhere in the past years!

On July 14, 2021 I was able to incorporate 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 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!

I know that SubJam is destined for success. How do I know this? Because over the past 11 years I have been met with overwhelming support from just about everyone I’ve worked with that can relate to SubJam’s mission.

Musicians, fans, live venues, instrument and retail stores, recording and practice studios, independent labels, schools and instructors… they all want (and need) support. Now more than ever, in fact! Covid is finally waning but the estimated 60% of venues and countless other local businesses that have shuttered since early 2020 are still gone. Musicians have fewer places to play in front of others and real music fans have fewer places to call home. Global music culture itself is hurting. It’s up to us to recognize how important local music communities are to the larger picture. I hope you’ll continue to cheer us on as we strive to make the world a better place through community and music. Thank you very much, and here’s to the next year!

Cheers, Jordan Erickson (Founder)

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