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    An Interview with Mary "Mary4Music" Roby
    by Cindy McLeod (Jazz Elements) © January, 2008


    Mary4Music
    10th Anniversary


    mary4music.com Celebrates 10 Years of Profiling Blues, Indie Music

    Ten years ago Mary Roby broke ground with a novel concept and even more unique means of bringing blues and indie music news and resources to the people, creating the highly successful website www.mary4music.com.

    Based in Baltimore, Maryland, Mary launched her website after retiring from the record industry, where she worked several years with World Talent Records out of Atlanta.

    Ten years later www.mary4music.com is thriving and considered one of the most comprehensive music websites on the internet. Seeing more than two million hits a year, the website sits at the top of the internet rankings for up-to-date music resources and information.

    Mary’s website sprung from her desire to help independent artists get a step up in the music industry, with an eye to providing an invaluable online library of resources, contacts, venues and more. It’s working. Not only have thousands of musicians sourced vital information from www.mary4music.com but so have many others within the industry such as her friend Peter, a blues reviewer Mary met through the internet who has since become Blues Editor at mary4music.com.

    It’s been said by many that the big labels and music industry giants run the business, but from my view the contributions of the “little fish” are some of the most significant, treasured, and in many cases, are those with the longest tenure and future. Perhaps the greatest reason for this is the passion and dedication in the hearts of people such as Mary Roby, who take their expertise and knowledge and create something that makes a difference.

    Jazz Elements salutes you, Mary Roby, for your efforts and your gift of www.mary4music.com. Congratulations on reaching this milestone and may you celebrate many more years of success!

    Excerpt from a Jazz Elements interview with Mary Roby

    Where did you get the idea to start a website?

    I was working for an independent blues record label out of Atlanta, Georgia called World Talent Records, I did PR and promotion for the label, part of my job was maintaining the links portion of the label’s webpage. When I stopped working for the label I decided to start my own website of Blues and Indie resources that would help Independent musicians find the resources they needed to get their careers going.

    Being ten years old this year, you must have been a groundbreaker… can you tell me a little about this?

    I had never seen another website devoted completely to providing an expanded collection of Independent and Blues music resources, so in that respect maybe the website was one of the first of it’s kind.

    Why did you choose the format you have?

    Because of my love of Blues and wanting to help struggling musicians find a break without depending on a huge label to back them. In this age of the Internet many bands do self promotion. I wanted to create one place where they could go for the resources they need. A “starting point” so to speak.

    Do you have any staff?

    It’s just the two of us (Mary and Peter), although occasionally someone will send in something we’ll use. Just recently we posted an interview with Elvin Bishop that Carl from SongFacts.com submitted to me. As for how Pete became involved in the site… I read some of Pete’s reviews on an AOL message board, his writing was really good, different from other reviews I’d read. His reviews had personality to them.. We struck up a friendship and I asked him if he’d like to write cd reviews for my website. I maintain the website and do the research that goes into it, Pete is the Blues Editor for the site.

    Are you a business and partners in life?

    Pete and I are married, but to different people : ) I live in Baltimore, Maryland with my family, Pete and his wife live in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. We all meet up whenever possible and attend blues festivals up and down the east coast.

    You told me last year (I might have this recollection a little mixed up) Peter has family here… do you visit Canada often?

    I don’t believe Pete has any family in Canada. I used to visit Canada every year. My brother’s wife was born in Calgary and we’d spend summers there visiting her family. I haven’t been back in about 20 years though.

    Did you get any special support from specific artists, industry persons, clubs, festivals or otherwise?

    I get emails daily from musicians, festival promoters, dj’s, and music fans who tell me they use the site a lot and thanking me for all the information we provide. People actually use my website to plan their vacations by! They look for festivals and clubs to attend on their journeys.

    How do you let people know about your website?

    Any and every way possible. We have t-shirts with the site on them, we have an email list that has thousands of email addresses, we also have a group called the Blues Brigade who sends us updates on the blues happenings in their areas. Pete hands out flyers when he goes to a club or festival and we have musicians that also hand out flyers for us. I do a lot of internet promotion also. I’m online literally all day, this is my job and I love it.

    Were you warmly received by artists?

    Very much so. I post some of the comments that artists send me regarding the website on the “Kudos” page. www.mary4music.com/Awards1.html

    Can you give me an overview of the growth in traffic over the years?

    Our traffic grows every month, it’s amazing really. Our hits have doubled in two years. In 2005 we averaged about 100,000 hits per month. In 2007 we averaged about 200,000+ hits per month.

    Did the site change or does it represent your initial vision?

    It’s expanded from what it originally was. People will give me suggestions and I listen to them. I had one musician friend of mine a few years ago ask me if I had a list of clubs for a few states he wanted to tour.. and that’s where I got the idea to start a section that lists blues clubs in every state of the US, and Canada, as well as other countries around the world. That section is now one of the most visited sections of the website.

    Do you have logs telling you where your traffic is coming from (I’m thinking of countries here - I’m assuming most are US readers?)

    Yes, the majority of visitors come from the US, also many from Canada, and we get a lot of people from Europe visiting. We’ve had visitors from every corner of the world.

    For more info visit www.mary4music.com

    Reprinted with Permission from Jazz Elements Copyright ©2008

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