Wolff creates digital stage
By Bella Ross
Being a small, independent musician was already a tough gig before the pandemic wiped out in-person concerts, but a Scripps Ranch resident has big ideas for how to soften the cultural blow.
Jam the Wire, an independent music broadcasting website started by local musician Steve Wolff, is small but certainly progressive. The site depends on crowdsourcing to cover the financials, giving independent musicians a place to publish videos of their work while bringing in some cash. Money earned through the site will also be distributed to charities.
While the music industry today is ruled by powerhouses such as Spotify and YouTube, Wolff said these outlets have never served the needs of smaller indie artists.
“I think I’ve made a total of $30 bucks in four years of having my stuff on Spotify,” Wolff said, noting these platforms are overwhelmed with big-name artists. “So, you realize this isn’t really a good business model for small, independent musicians who just want to record and write and release songs.”
Wolff said allowing these artists to post content on Jam the Wire puts the power back in their hands.
This is a contrast from big-name streaming services, where “you’re leaving your own destiny up to these companies and their algorithms,” he said.
The website has hosted about 10 musicians since it launched in September, and Wolff said bringing on new talent is his top priority.
Among the artists currently on the site is Scripps Ranch resident Gregory Haddow, a local musician who described his vocals-free style as “soft guitar music.”
“The whole process of creating a song … it’s a lot of work and it’s very time consuming,” Haddow said. “And when you have completed it, it’s nice to just have one other avenue where you can publish your material and get feedback on the quality.”
Before coronavirus struck, Haddow’s weekends often included playing backyard gigs and performances for private parties. He said having the opportunity to post on Jam the Wire means more time to grow and develop his musical abilities.
“Right now, during the pandemic, this is a great opportunity for musicians to keep developing their core skills and publishing their material,” Haddow said.
Wolff said he hopes the site can continue to expand in the following months, providing a niche outlet for smaller artists with original content.
“Obviously, for all of us, it’s been a super weird year, but not without its opportunities as well as its challenges so far,” Wolff said.