2/11/2018: Introduction

Before delving into this ongoing analysis of online rhetoric (regarding Do-It-Yourself cassette labels), I will provide a (hopefully) brief summary of what spawned this project:

Almost two months ago, I decided to start my own DIY cassette label (http://badcakerecords.bandcamp.com ) because I had grown tired of my music being rejected/completely ignored by countless other online cassette labels. Being that I had spent a near-inordinate amount of time studying their methods and practices, I felt I could both utilize the aspects that seemed to be working for them and cut out what I felt was hindering their success:

3 basic practices that seem to work for most DIY labels:

1. Constant online presence on as many platforms as possible (the most useful being: Bandcamp, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram)
2. Releasing albums in batches of 3-5 (as opposed to releasing one album at a time)
3. Getting reviewed by DIY music blogs ( http://tabsout.com or http://cassettegods.blogspot.com being two sites that underground musicians strive to be mentioned on)

3 basic practices that seem to work against most DIY labels

1. Automated email messages that advertise new releases (I'm not sure how this effects other people, but I delete these as soon as they appear in my mailbox--being that I check in on the labels I purchase albums from on a pretty regular basis)
2. Stringent aesthetics (meaning the label only releases a very specific sub-genre of music)
3. Incorporating personal opinions and other unnecessary information into their online presence (mainly via Twitter)

So, based on these observations, I founded Bad Cake Records--which I describe as "a misfit, non-elitist cassette label with no set aesthetic." I release albums in batches of 3 (as often as I am financially able to), maintain a constant presence on Bandcamp/Twitter/Instagram, and I reach out to DIY music blogs. Things have gotten off to pretty decent start--all things considered. I sold $144 worth of cassettes in the first month--which ended up being enough to order another round of cassettes for the next 3 releases I have planned. I have nearly 400 followers on Instagram, and well over 200 on Twitter (which for a fledgling label isn't that bad--considering it's only existed for less than two months). On average, I get about 30-40 "likes" whenever I post a picture or a link to the Bandcamp page. Once in a while, someone retweets a link. This is all fine for now, but obviously I desire a higher level of DIY success for Bad Cake Records.

In order to accomplish this, I will be devoting a good portion of my time this semester intensely studying the online rhetoric of various cassette labels that I admire or at least am aware of (there are plenty that I despise greatly and am completely baffled by how they continue to sell the amount of albums that they do). Also, I will obviously be analyzing my own rhetorical methods.

Some (but not all--being that I'm sure I will think of plenty more as time goes on) aspects of online rhetoric that I will be focusing on:

1. The ethos behind each Twitter/Instagram/Facebook post (self-congratulating/self-mocking/matter-of-fact/indifferent/etc)
2. Obvious/hidden rhetorical fallacies and other rhetorical devices (not just identifying them--but rather delving into their functionality and what responses they conjure [and how those responses ultimately become part of the rhetorical device itself])
3. The marriage of image and text
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