If you’re an artist based in NYC and semi-fluent in the language of Instagram, you’re probably following NYCMusicians. Maybe you’ve even been featured on their page! Back in the day when the Tonemamas were just a couple of young gals looking for features for the newly-formed Tonemill, we scoured the page for fresh talent on the city’s music market.
Vlad Tipicidi, the founder of NYCmusicians answers our Zoom call from a car. Remarkably it’s not an Uber or cab, the reasonable expectation for any New Yorker but then again, Vlad is a pretty remarkable guy. Who is the big kahuna behind the successful Instagram platform? Vlad moved to the US six years ago after relinquishing a life as a lawyer in Moscow.
“In Russia the music industry felt limited, the big genres were pop-based, it felt like rock was dying there, so I knew that if I wanted to be a rock musician I had to go to the US”, he tells us. And so, like the beginning of every great American tale, he quit his job and moved to New York to become a rock star!
Let’s set the scene. You move to the city to be a successful musician…what do you do first? Look for other musicians, of course! Vlad tells us about how he became hyperactive in attending as many shows and visiting all the music venues he could in order to connect with musicians. While searching in-person, he also seeks out musicians digitally and soon discovers that no such online community exists for New York. While scrolling he notices the pervasiveness of the hashtag #nycmusicians used abundantly by all the lost NYC-based musicians all looking for a home on the internet. And a home, Vlad would give them.
“I randomly started this account to find band members, I would go on “locations” on Instagram, like rehearsal studios in New York and follow people. Sometimes I would see something I loved and I would repost it and well, here we are four years later. I never focused on growing the page, I only did it for fun and to find band members for myself.”
We smile, nod and pretend not to be provoked by his easygoing attitude as if not describing a robust and highly successful platform that boasts over 22,2K followers on Instagram, Spotify playlists and a newly started blog (…these are impressive stats, folks!).
What’s in the future for NYCMusicians and Vlad himself?
“I’m still in the process of thinking of different ways of expanding. I just created a new website, in this case I thought to myself, ‘What can I share with these musicians? What problems do I see for myself as a musician that others may have too?’ I want NYCmusicians to be a place to gather resources in one place and share information, because when I first came to New York I didn’t know where to go or how to start.”
If you’ve lived in the city for over a year and developed that unmistakable sheath of cynicism, you’re probably thinking: “But wait a minute…what’s in it for him?” (You asked not us, we are beautifully humble, non-cynical Tonemamas).
Vlad is a musician, but he is also a man of business. He tells us about hoping to own a record label in the future, and how NYCMusicians serve as a long term game in finding collaborators for these future projects.
“I’m honestly also just a super fan of music, when I see a video of someone great I think ‘Wow, this is so inspirational, I really want to work with this person or help them in any way or even just collaborate with them myself!”
The Tonemamas are always digging for spice and never finding any…it seems New York Musicians are pure of heart and intentions… #yawn. But we yawn too soon:
“Another line I just started before ‘rona was to host open mics for NYC musicians, we only did one before everything closed down, but this specific evening there was a tourist from Norway performing (shoutout to Norway), later I saw that she started a friendship with a guy that also played there, and now they are in a relationship!”
Okay, wait, that is some delicious spice for the Tonemamas! NYCMusicians a platform for finding musicians and…dating musicians??? We’re in!
“And,” Vlad continues passionately, “One day I posted a video of a girl dancing in the subway, an instrumentalist loved the video and sent her a message and now they’re like best friends and working together! People are finding each other through this account!”
Well that warms even our little cynical hearts.
Finally we ask Vlad if he has any concrete tips for New York based artists that are building their careers. He starts out by emphasizing that there is no rule that works for everyone and that tips are hard to give because everyone needs to go their own way.
“But, if there’s three tips I can share it would be the following:
- Invest money into your project: Nobody else is going to come along and pay and you need your project to look and sound as professional as possible.
- Know your weaknesses: You’re bad at recording? Hire someone else to do it for you or to help you out.
- Know your strengths: If you’re an excellent live musician, invest your main time and money there. You can’t invest in video, live, good photos, social media, recordings all at once. Especially because most likely you’re completely broke. So though you should invest a little time into everything, know your main focus.”
Vlad leaves us with one piece of advice we should all perhaps do a little bit more often; “If you don’t know what your strengths and weaknesses are, ask someone whose opinion you trust.”
There you have it Tonemillers, the mystery man behind @nycmusicians has finally been revealed! Make sure to give him your support!
Check out the new website here