An interview with Abi Robins, musician and indie music label producer at Morning Bird Records
For most of this year, indie musician Abi Robins has been using Popplet as a fan poll to encourage audience participation around the development of her next album. In our first Popplet People Profile, we interviewed her about how she uses Popplet…Musician Abi Robins has been producing and sharing her original music since 2006 and has been cultivating fellow artists through her indie music label Morning Bird Records for the past four and a half years. She has been described as “electrifying on stage with an immediacy that stops listeners in their tracks”, while her label is “community oriented with DIY sensibilities, but deeply grounded in self-reliance.”
For anyone who has heard her music, it should come as no surprise that Abi uses Popplet as part of her creative process. Her music blends folk, rock and jazz sensibilities to create a wholly original sound in the same way that Popplet allows users to make the types of connections between disparate ideas that lead to new insights and perspectives.
This year, Abi has been using Popplet to encourage audience participation feedback around the development of her new album – a technique in the music industry known as fan polling. With a collection of tracks from the summer of 2010 onwards and still more in development, Abi had a hard time deciding which ones should make it onto her new album. She created a popplet with all the possible songs that could go on the album and asked her fans and followers which ones should be included, and in what order. We talked with Abi about how Popplet helped her consult with her fan base during the record production process.
Q: Why use Popplet for this type of audience participation?
I love using mind map stuff for my creative process and when I saw you could share popplets with others I thought it was an awesome way to share my ideas with my fans.
Q: How did you create the fan poll popplet?
A: I made it a point to make videos for all the songs, some were recordings with my band from shows and some were drafts I made on my iPhone: nothing too fancy, just rough outlines of the tracks I was working on. This album has been the longest in the works: if I get it out in September it will have taken two and a half years, and with so many songs, it was hard for me to be objective about which tracks fit together and which ones my fans would like best. I shared the Popplet with all the possible songs on my social networks and started to get quite a bit of feedback through audience participation.
Q: What was the reaction amongst your fans and followers?
A: A lot of people thought the idea of using Popplet as a fan poll technique was really cool. It got a lot of comments, people thought it was a really neat idea. As an indie musician, fan polling is a really good way to keep in touch with the fan base and keep them active and involved in the music.
Q: How have you used the feedback in the album production process?
A: I’m really thankful for the feedback and now have a great idea of how to fit the songs into the record. As an artist, I tend to like the newest songs I am working on the most, whereas from the feedback, a few of the older songs were really well liked. A few songs in particular were surprises: songs that I wanted to throw away now I think ‘I should work on this’. One song in particular, “Silver”, by the time I got into the recording studio, it didn’t have the ‘oomph’ it needed and I was ready to set it aside but the feedback from fans was ‘no, it really has to be on there’. That song will be included particularly because of the feedback from popplet!
Above: In addition to the fan poll, Abi Robins created this popplet to describe the process she used to create handmade CD cases for her forthcoming release.
To learn more about Abi Robins’ music, you can visit her youtube channel, her bandcamp, or her Facebook page. Don’t forget to follow Abi on Twitter! We invite all Popplet users to check out Morning Bird Records for more about Abi and her indie music label stablemates. Thanks to Abi and Morning Bird Records for sharing the process of using Popplet as a fan poll technique for audience participation.