The company name is multi purposed: partly a nod to a concert venue, partly a reference to ‘your section of the web.’ The “101” lets visitors know that this web solution would be easy and intuitive, not cumbersome and confusing. In addition, they both liked the word “section” because it isn’t in isolation – there are always other people in your section, or, in other words, support. The theory of OWNING YOUR OWN BRAND ONLINE was the key. This is the basic concept behind Section 101: Brands need to own their Section of the web.
Jim Hoffman and Liz Leahy bring years of technology foresight, successful interactive marketing and entrepreneurial experience to the launch of Section 101, a concept to bring affordable websites to an up and coming user base. Years ago, a beautiful, intuitive and easy to operate site was cost prohibitive. The duo wanted to bring a solution to a large user base at a fraction of the cost.
Jim and Liz were already vested in tech and online marketing with their company, Growth Strategy Group, LLC. A pre-cursor to social networking as we know it, GSG provided new revenue streams for major artists and brands by leveraging their existing fan base, providing a community and offering “member only” content. The duo took their previous successes in entertainment and focused solely on music, where their natural creativity and originality would shine through. Among the strategies executed for artists were websites and online brand development, pre-sale opportunities and VIP ticketing, tour promotion, album/digital promotion, fan contesting, community migration and digital marketing to global fan-bases. Notable initiatives included the production of a concert at Roseland Ballroom in New York City and International promotions with BSkyB, Time Out London and Live Nation.
Jim was preternaturally ahead of the curve with cloud computing, and knew a window would soon open that would make their idea that artists could create amazing websites that are effective, intuitive and affordable a reality. Liz, a recognized expert in the field of online marketing, had always been passionate about giving people the tools they need to succeed. Together, they knew that Section 101 would fill a huge need in digital entertainment.
Liz and Jim began incubating the idea for Section 101.
Some clients from GSG migrated over to Section 101, with WDST Radio (Woodstock)/Mountain Jam becoming the first client launched on the Section 101 platform. Seminal pop act Duran Duran and singer/songwriter Diane Birch quickly followed.
Integrating their expertise with their learned strategies, the pair launches a Platform that provides Artists with the tools to manage their site as well as the ability to support other technologies (ArtistDirect, Topspin, Nimbit, Facebook, Twitter, for example). Allowing artists to post News, Music, Photos, Tour Dates and Videos, and navigate all their social networks from this main hub, Section 101 began creating memorable and unique artist branded websites. Section 101 helped their clients come to the realization that identifying, and owning, their brand is so important.
Section 101 began populating their own website, www.Section101.com, with press releases about client happenings and new website launches, as well as a Blog section written by CEO Liz Leahy.
The company started to expand; S101 welcomed Phil Schuster in marketing, Bruce Keeling in finance and Rebecca Calejo in client services. The team had a presence at many music conferences, including SXSW, CMJ, NMS and NXNE, where they either had a booth in the Exhibit Area, spoke on panels, or both. Premium clients included Marc Cohn, Carina Round, Junip, Early Winters, Todd Alsup and more.
A year of tremendous growth, Section 101 acquired certain aspects of Band Metrics, a TechCrunch50 2008 semi-finalist that gives musicians the ability to measure the success of their music online, aggregating metrics to show who's listening to, sharing and talking about their music across various social networking and blog sites. Paul Yaschuk joined the company as web developer, and Katie Decker and Katy Krassner began working as consultants in Art Direction and Media. Liz and Jim also joined forces with Ken Umezaki, who became COO of Section 101 after a prosperous career on Wall Street. Having built three successful financial service businesses from the ground up, Ken brings an incredible knowledge of business strategy expansion to growing Section 101’s various interests in the digital entertainment sector.
The company made repeat appearances at many conferences, and connected with songwriters, publishers, mixers and producers at the New York and Los Angeles ASCAP EXPO events.
The company’s ethos has established them as a trusted partner for brands, bands, artists and entertainment properties. By investing thoroughly in their client base, the word of mouth on Section 101’s allegiance and reliability took hold among creative people who wanted to own and develop their brand online. Section 101 premiere clients now (still) include clients include Pentatonix, BUSH, Duran Duran, Marc Cohn, Jonatha Brooke, Aimee Mann, Kina Grannis, Corey Taylor (Slipknot), Rachael Yamagata, Kicking Daisies, Reggie Bennett and My Glorious Mess. Music industry companies such as B-W-R Public Relations, Robot Of The Century Music Publishing and Readymade Records launch sites on the platform and info-tainment brands including YogaGives, Jami Floyd, L.A. Christine, 287 Spring Gallery and The Rube Goldberg Estate also launch in 2012.
At the beginning of the year, the band Eagles of Death Metal re-launches their site on the Section 101 platform. They are one of many Section 101 artists who perform in Austin in March as part of the SXSW music conference. The company has a triumphant return to Austin, with CEO Liz Leahy moderating the “The Brand Called YOU: A New Take on an Old Theme” panel and Section 101 hosting a two day musical extravaganza on the Whole Foods rooftop in downtown Austin. Called “The Southwest Invasion,” artists such as Kenny Loggins band Blue Sky Riders, Rick Springfield, Sallie Ford & The Outside Sound, KONGOS, Civil Twilight, A House for Lions, The Dear Hunter, Kerli, ZZ Ward, OK Sweetheart, My Goodness and more. Amazon MP3 came on board as the title sponsor and the entire event streamed live.
Section 101 also begins to launch their next feature set for emerging artists in 2013. This new solution offers a highly personalized online presence with all the functionality needed to create a terrific website on budget. Section 101’s new offering solves the online challenges artists at all levels face, while providing a high degree of creative customization and flexibility. Artist Greg Holden maintains a terrific website using the Do-It-Yourself model, which provides him with the utilities required to create his own unique website - which happens to be getting a lot of hits right now. Greg co-wrote the smash “Home” with American Idol winner Phillip Phillips, and the single has reached 4x platinum status in the United States. Other DYI artists on the platform are classical musician Eric Jacobsen, Kiam Records, singer Tavonna Miller and funky brass band Musuko.