- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 18, 2015

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (AP) - Nine years ago, Sean Moeller set out to create his “dream job,” and Daytrotter was born.

Today, more than 5,000 recording sessions later, it seems there is no stopping the music powerhouse.

Mr. Moeller sees the music industry continuing to evolve, and Daytrotter will evolve along with it, he said.

Daytrotter started in a nondescript space above Huckleberry’s Pizza in Rock Island in 2006 and remains there today. It hit its stride when it became a subscription music website in 2011.

Unedited tracks are posted to daytrotter.com where they are available for download or streaming. Some are big name musicians, others are on the rise and many are as yet unknown. In addition to the Rock Island studio, Daytrotter records in London, Nashville, Austin, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York.

“I just keep asking how many more great bands can we get in over the next three months. I don’t see how it can fail at that point,” Mr. Moeller said.

If a band records with Daytrotter, the payoff is that perhaps thousands of people hear their music and many then attend their shows.

“Nine years ago, when we started Daytrotter, there was nothing like it,” Mr. Moeller said. “So much has changed. Now you can go to almost any city and record for some blog, radio or website.

“If people hear it and like it enough, they will buy the record. But that is a bonus. No one is counting on record sales to survive. The key is to make people care enough about you to want to see you live.”

Daytrotter and Mr. Moeller thrive in a low-key atmosphere that fits perfectly into Rock Island’s Downtown Arts and Entertainment District. There is no sign on the door, and he greets guests to the well-worn building as if he were at home.

Just plop down on the couch, adjust the coffee table and imagine the business that has happened there over the years. Worn and yellowed band posters on the walls tell only part of the story.

“Every day I find demos where I’d never heard of before. There are so many more needles in the haystack but getting plucked out of the haystack is much easier,” Mr. Moeller said,

“If it goes on the site, I think it’s good. It’s out of my hands after that. I love the idea that people can swim in it, go for a dip and see what you find.”

Daytrotter features bands from many genres as well as individual artists.

“I have a soft spot for great writers. I’m friends with a lot of great songwriters with great voices who just keep slugging away to little fanfare and no money. It’s heart-breaking to watch. Eventually many give up, and to have that voice silenced is criminal,” he said.

“There is something about that peeled back sound - one person and their song. Some of those session are most stunning.”

Mr. Moeller has been growing and maturing along with Daytrotter. He’s also using his music network to book shows outside of Daytrotter at places like the Village Theater in the Village of East Davenport and Codfish Hollow Barn in Maquoketa.

But the hottest ticket in town usually is Moeller Mondays at Rozz Tox, 2108 3rd Ave., Rock Island.

“Some of the best shows in the country that night are happening here,” Mr. Moeller said of the weekly shows that started last September. “We’ve had really good crowds. So far, about one in three is a sellout and the others are close.

He said Moeller Mondays offer a chance to hear some of the nation’s best bands on what is normally an off-night in the intimate atmosphere of the 100-seat Rozz Tox.

Sometime in 2016, Daytrotter will surpass 6,000 recording sessions - all still available in the site’s growing archives. Each day, about 10,000 people visit the site, he said.

“We say no to a lot of people, but if we can give somebody who’s good a chance, why not?” Mr. Moeller said.

“It’s the Midwest boy in me, I guess, that loves this thing we do. I do this every day, all day long. I’ve created my dream job, and I get to help people every day. I like to say I’m building up karma points.”

He and the Daytrotter staff are collecting local email addresses in a drive to become a household name in the Quad-Cities.

In February, he started “DT for QC,” a promotion to give away free Daytrotter access for a year.

“I want people to at least try our site,” said Mr. Moeller, adding that the site is better-known outside the area than in the Quad-Cities.

To sign up, email your name and email address to [email protected] Normal access costs just $2.99 a month, or $32 a year.

Mr. Moeller said his next vision is to make the Quad-Cities home to some of the nation’s top musical talent. “What if we tried to get famous people to live here? It’s centrally located for bands, nice area, low cost of living, we have a great airport.

“We could kick start it with a residency program and try to attract musicians, comedians and artists to live here for six months by providing housing and a food stipend. They could make appearances through the area, play shows, go to schools. Maybe they would end up staying,” Mr. Moeller said.

“What if you had someone like Beck who lived here?” he said as an example. “You would have Beck sightings all over the Quad-Cities and word would start to spread throughout the country. Maybe others would come.”

“Why couldn’t the Quad-Cities be recognized as a hotbed; an epicenter for the arts,” that would spill over into restaurants, housing and impact the quality of life here, he said.

“I’m going to be a lifelong resident of this place,” Mr. Moeller said. “We have an insane opportunity and a ready extensive network of people. If I can talk them into coming here for a session or a show, there is no end in how I can affect the quality of life in the Quad-Cities.”


Source: The Rock Island Argus, https://bit.ly/1RYZTCf


Information from: The Rock Island Argus, https://www.qconline.com/index.shtml

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