Monique Ortiz hits top 10, seeking audiences over fans
Monique Ortiz, the alt-blues singer for bands such as Bourbon Princess and A.K.A.C.O.D., is in the No. 10 on ReverbNation’s alternative charts for the city. That’s from among all 760 alternative artists within a 50-mile radius of the city, including national acts such as The Dresden Dolls, said Will Snider, a ReverbNation customer service and digital distribution representative.
It’s a measure of her fan base that she’s been in the top 10 for a couple of months, once having hit No. 8, Ortiz said Wednesday.
But just as Facebook is a poor measure of true friendship, an online fan base doesn’t guarantee a good audience.
“I’m not sure there’s a connection, because I have thousands of fans around the world and I’m still lucky if I draw 30 people to a show,” Ortiz said. “I appreciate all the online support, but it’s not worth a damn to me if people aren’t coming out. I’d rather play to a bunch of people.”
Her spot on the charts doesn’t reflect merely plays of songs uploaded to ReverbNation, but a complicated metric the site employs measuring “band equity,” Snider said Wednesday from the site’s Manhattan offices. “It’s a little different than many charts … the score includes how an artist is relating to their fans — song plays, visits to the site, how many people are coming to her site to get promotional tools or widgets for their MySpace pages, how many hits those are getting,” he said. “It’s all plugged into our formula.”
The site’s official explanation boils it down to recent measures of the reach of a musician’s music, how people respond to it and the familiarity an artist has with a fan base. In Ortiz’ case, she is a frequent and tireless performer, which suggests she’ll be climbing ReverbNation’s very specific chart. And probably some others.
Ortiz is appreciative of her official, online fans. She just wants to get them off the computer.
“There are a lot of artists in my situation, who work very hard in music but can’t reach audiences because some would rather sit in front of the computer to get music and play with Facebook and Twitter. People think the Web is the greatest thing, but for artists it’s one of the worst things. In some ways, it’s made things too easy [for fans].”
Ortiz is hardly alone in her complaints, especially among performers like herself who started their careers mailing fliers and folding road maps. Now they e-mail PDFs to clubs and use GPS to get to them. “I don’t mean to rag all over the Internet,” she said, “but people need to be aware it’s a double-edged sword.”
Fortunately for fans who do go to shows, Ortiz isn’t giving up.
“I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing,” she said.
The next chance to see Ortiz live is from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Oct. 24 at Toad, 1920 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square, Cambridge. She will be backed by Steve Bremen and Larry Dersch. She’s at The All Asia, 332 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, Cambridge, with Dersch at 11 p.m. Nov. 1.