For the past several weeks, I’ve written about projects that came to fruition because of cooperation.  Our grand exhibit at the SXSW Interactive, the now-underway Denton Convention Center, and Keep Denton Beautiful’s aggressive Denton Tree Initiative are all happening because people came together to accomplish something great for Denton.  Might these ventures have developed anyway?  Perhaps.  But, their magnitude is the result of working together for something awesome rather than working alone for something good.

Another such partnership has been evolving and is on the verge of rocketing to heights unimagined when it was just getting off the ground five years ago.

Jake Laughlin Summer 2015It was a chance meeting at a Chamber mixer when I met Jake Laughlin and learned about  Passionate about Denton music, Jake saw the need to connect Denton talent with audiences.  Denton loves live music, but in his estimation we were missing some amazing up-and-comers.  There was no mechanism in place to introduce new singers, songwriters and bands with audiences hungry for more.  His idea was an online radio station where people anywhere in the world could tune in to Denton music.  Working with musicians, he and they would employ the long arm of social media to direct audiences to  Then voila, discovery!

At the same time Jake and his two business partners, local musicians Brett Coleman (otherwise known as Bone Doggie) and Pat York were organizing artists and collecting original work to showcase on the station, the CVB was working to develop a similar product.  Our vision was to better utilize the local music industry to promote Denton as a destination.  We also imagined an Internet-based radio station as the perfect tool for delivering the music scene to the masses.  To accomplish this feat, however, we needed a conduit into the music scene and expertise in the radio world, a skill set not on our staff at the time.  That chance meeting changed everything.

The CVB approached Jake about partnering as way to build stronger relationships within the Denton music industry while utilizing the city’s music product to market in a more engaging, experiential way. Eager to broaden exposure for the local scene, Jake saw the CVB’s extensive audience as a fantastic opportunity.  The partnership immediately reaped rewards for both parties.

Since Jake created and launched Internet-based, his multi-platform savvy made his move to the CVB’s digital marketing team the natural next step.  Integration between the station and the CVB website created opportunities that encouraged seamless, intuitive discovery beyond site visitors’ initial reasons for visiting either website.  Over time, the two have become one-in-the-same under the original, independent Denton brand. screenshotEnter the Discover Denton Welcome Center (DDWC), opening in May.  As soon as Jake joined the CVB, has been front and center of the DDWC dream.  Think “Northern Exposure,” the 1990’s TV show where the local deejay spun records and greeted passersby from his sidewalk-fronting studio. It will soon be reality on Hickory Street.  An all-new app launched in January this year to be ready for it.

Think Pandora for Denton.  It’s all local talent, but discovered with connecting tools that even Pandora and Spotify do not offer.  For instance, while discovering new music, a click will connect listeners to a calendar of venues and shows where local artists are performing.  Another feature is that once fans find an artist they like, that artist’s profile page will suggest other local talent in the same style.  Plus, they can opt in to receive notifications of future shows, as well.  This is cutting edge, people!  Finally, similar to Pandora and Spotify, allows listeners to choose the music genre of their preference.

Joining with the CVB and becoming a true CVB program gave the resources it didn’t have during its first generation, like licensing.  Without performance rights licensing, the station was required to obtain releases from individual artists thus limiting the playlist.  This old way left too much Denton off the “airwaves.”  Now, listeners get to hear everything Denton, from the up-and-coming to bands topping the charts.

A couple of weeks ago, some 250 local music and art community representatives gathered at Audacity Brewhouse.  They, plus an additional 750 people watching via live video streaming, learned about the new and our CVB mission to strengthen local music through this organic medium.  In a way never possible before, we are connecting audiences and musicians while simultaneously delivering on our Original Independent brand in the marketplace.  Once again, the world is astounded that an entity like the CVB and a start-up venture like can meet, merge and move forward in sync, stronger as a united identity than separate initiatives.

Together, the CVB, and local musicians have bridged a gorge, and we are effectively telling Denton’s story through music.  #ilovethistown.