Alt-Weeklies Hosted Regional Listening Parties for RPM Challenge

For Immediate Release
March 31, 2009

The RPM Challenge was founded in 2006 by The Wire, an alternative newsweekly in Portsmouth, N.H. Its aim was to build community and foster excitement in the region’s already fertile music scene by connecting local musicians and encouraging independent music production. The concept is simple. Ask musicians to create a new album (10 tracks or 35 minutes of music) during the month of February and then celebrate by playing one track from every finished project on March 28. In just four years, more than 7000 bands have participated from all seven continents, forming an enthusiastic and dedicated online community at

This year, AAN papers East Bay Express, Philadelphia Weekly, Flagpole, and Jackson Free Press, took up the Challenge and issued it to their music communities. When East Bay Express publisher, Jody Colley, first learned of the RPM Challenge, she was impressed with the concept. Says Colley, “I appreciated how dedicated the RPM creators were to helping musicians stay inspired, make meaningful connections, and create new music. When they suggested the Express could participate by extending the challenge to Bay Area bands and hosting a regional listening party to debut the finished tracks, I didn’t hesitate to join their efforts. This project not only inspired eighty-eight Bay Area bands, but it also had a meaningful impact on the music community to remain active in supporting them.”

Todd Stauffer, publisher of the Jackson Free Press in Mississippi, received widespread response from musicians in his region of the country. “We were extremely proud to represent the Deep South in this year’s RPM, with submissions from all over Mississippi as well as from Birmingham and Austin. We’re looking forward to next year!”

In Oakland, California, Colley hosted two hundred musicians and music industry professionals on March 28 at a listening party at the historic Fox Theater. “Next year I expect that number to grow. Meaningful connections were made that night between the musicians and the people there to support them. The RPM Challenge was a community effort that received support from the East Bay’s small business community, local club owners and promoters, and fans that work hard to support our musicians.”

Dave Karlotski, RPM Challenge co-founder and publisher of The Wire in New Hampshire commented, “The RPM Challenge began as a community event in our town, and although anyone, anywhere can participate now, it still really shines when a community comes together and makes music together and celebrates together. They come out of it knowing more about themselves and each other, and the whole local scene benefits.”

In support of the RPM Challenge

“Hosting the RPM Challenge here in the Bay Area proved something that many people have known for a long time: We live in an unrivaled haven for creative expression. There is a huge amount of innovative music-making going on behind the scenes in a region already devoted to independent and underground art, and it’s wonderful for an event like this to excavate some of that music and offer its creators some recognition.”

– Nate Seltenrich, Clubs Editor, East Bay Express

“There were 14 simultaneous RPM listening parties around the world this year, and in places like St. John’s, NF, who enjoyed their second year as an RPM hub, they had to have several venues at once to accommodate all the music, and all the people who turned out; in Portsmouth, NH we needed five listening rooms this year. It’s incredible to see all these musicians from all walks of life gathered together, and it shines a bright light on how many musicians it really takes to make a music scene.”

– Dave Karlotski, Publisher, The Wire and RPM Challenge Co-Founder

“We like to think of the RPM Challenge as a ‘global’ phenomenon, and of course it is, but each one of the thousands of musicians around the world participating in the challenge is part of a local music community — the RPM universe is a constellation of local scenes, each with its own shape and energy. The communities that shine most brightly are those which are fueled by their local alternative weeklies. More than any other media, alt weeklies have the power and credibility to bring makers of arts and culture together, to speak both to, and for, that community.”

– Chris Greiner, RPM Challenge Co-Founder

“I loved getting to meet these musicians. They were all fresh in the glow of having sprinted to complete an album in such a short time span, and that’s an infectious feeling. The forced-creation aspect of RPM is good for inspiration, too. A lot of musicians tend to over think the writing process, and that shortened window forces them to rely on instinct and to focus on the initial creative spark. There’s a ‘living in the moment’ feel to the project that is really invigorating.”

– Kevin Seal, Exec Producer, “Pandora Presents…”,

“The RPM Challenge is an incredible event that provides artist with a platform to create an album in 28 days for love of music. The spirit of the recording arts is alive and well when you hear the remarkable musicianship of the artists who participant in the event.”

– Lathan Hodge, Executive Producer, Millennium Entertainment

“When the East Bay Express put their stamp on the RPM Challenge, I was in. Isomedia jumped to be part of the RPM listening party at the Den. Seeing a mix of familiar faces accompanied with new ones made for a networking dream, all while getting to soak in a soundtrack of music made by many of the creative musicians that attended.”

– Rob Trisler, Isomedia, LLC.,, RPM event sponsor

“Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the RPM challenge. Encouraging local musicians to work together to write, produce, record and sell their albums independently is a worthwhile contribution to both our local artists AND our local economy.”

– Rosemary Rodd, Leo’s Pro Audio, RPM event sponsor

Press Contact:
Sarah Hammill
Marketing Director
East Bay Express
Sarah.Hammill (at)

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