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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wendy and Lisa: Leaders of the Revolution

Eddie Santiago wrote a terrific article called “Leaders of the Revolution” regarding the flawed music industry, how the big label record companies ‘did not know what to do with Wendy and Lisa’, and how their model of music distribution should be a model for record companies.

Below, Mr. Santiago describes what sets Wendy and Lisa apart from other artists and what contributed to the success of their album, White Flags of Winter Chimneys.

“However, it is Wendy and Lisa’s willingness to share that “skin” with fans that sets them apart from other artists who have used the Internet to distribute music in 2009. This year, Wendy and Lisa made themselves accessible to fans alike via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. They played shows and then hung out with fans. They drafted their fans to make a video for "Salt and Cherries." They made paid content and free unreleased music available on their website. They hosted radio podcasts that included new music from innovative artists and interesting conversations. They used these forums to answer questions about their music, their personal lives, and their time with Prince and the Revolution. And they did so with an appreciation and respect for their fans and at some risk to themselves… “

“That authenticity makes Wendy and Lisa’s efforts to promote White Flags of Winter Chimneys just as important as the album itself. Fans had already respected their musicianship and enjoyed their personalities. Their honesty, openness, and willingness to be accessible made experiencing their music even more alluring. It may not be possible to quantify the results on a Billboard chart or with a platinum record plaque. However, is clear that they (and their team) worked hard to get their music to their fans and their fans love them for it.

Of course, fans can’t wait to hear what Wendy and Lisa will have to say, musically and otherwise, in 2010. And if record companies are still around in the next decade, they would be wise to follow these leaders of the revolution.”

The article is short but very well written and informative. Give yourself a treat and read the rest of the article here: Leaders of the Revolution

However, Mr. Santiago failed to mention an integral part of the success of White Flags of Winter Chimneys; their manager Renata Kanclerz.

Lisa Coleman also realized the omission and left the following comment on the website:

I second Lisa’s sentiment! I have had the pleasure of following the evolution of White Flags of Winter Chimneys since Wendy and Lisa mentioned that they were working on the album during the writer’s strike. Since the release, I have also had the pleasure of watching some of the distribution process as an ‘outsider’. Without a doubt, Renata Kanclerz was a driving force in the success of the album.

In interviews, Wendy and Lisa have given Renata credit for creating the distribution template that was followed for the release of WFOWC: The album was released in several stages. The first stage involved selling digital copies of WFOWC through a distributor (in their case, Topspin Media). Then, in the second stage, the proceeds from the digital release went to fund the physical release of the CD and vinyl versions of the album which occurred several months later. The digital album itself was offered in several different formats; MP3, Apple Lossless, and FLAC. The physical album was offered as a CD or an amazingly beautiful colored vinyl. Renata, along with Wendy and Lisa themselves (as well as members of their team), was responsible for stuffing envelopes with CDs, albums, stickers, and other goodies that would eventually reach us fans. In the third stage of the process, Renata has ensured that “White Flags of Winter Chimneys” and a re-release of “Girl Bros.” are available for purchase through their website, iTunes, and Amazon (as well as for free via such sites as their, iLike,, etc.).

Creating the album is only half the battle, however. Without figuring out a way to reach fans and to spread the word about the album, White Flags of Winter Chimneys would have been a great album that was stored in a bunch of boxes in their studio.  Again, Wendy and Lisa’s manager proved invaluable in getting the word out. Through social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, 12 Second TV, YouTube, etc., Renata ensured that Wendy and Lisa would have direct access to their fans and vice versa.

Through these venues, fans such as myself, were able to speak directly with Wendy and Lisa; something that could not have been done 20 years ago without actually meeting them face-to-face or sending fan mail. Cutting edge technology was effectively utilized to ensure that fans were kept up to date with what was happening with the album, interviews that Wendy and Lisa were conducting, and just the (often very funny) day-to-day events surrounding Wendy and Lisa. In addition to providing information, social networking sites, such as Twitter, were used by journalists, bloggers, and podcasters to set up interviews for Wendy and Lisa. I have witnessed quite a few individuals Tweet Renata about setting up an interview and have watched those interviews come into fruition.

Not only has Renata been a professional liaison between us fans/writers/journalists and Wendy and Lisa, but she has also been a wealth of information about the ladies. There have been quite a few times when I or other fans have had questions and was able to get answers directly from Renata (no matter how crazy the question).

In addition to being a source of information over the past year, Renata has also improved The Official Website,, as well as given us a Wendy and Lisa iPhone App, given us free tracks (“OH WOW” and the “Sweet Suite King Britt Remix”), cool widgets such as the Facebook Widget and the Wendy and Lisa RSS News Feed found on this blog (middle column), and great t-shirts that we can purchase.  At one point, we could even purchase autographed posters from Wendy and Lisa with whatever personalized message that we wanted! How many other artists offered to do that? And last, but certainly not least, I can not forget to mention the amazing privilege it was to be a part of Wendy and Lisa’s “Salt and Cherries” video.  Again, Wendy, Lisa, and Renata went out of their way to ensure that us fans were made a part of the creative process. Allowing fans to be a part of the video was a unique idea and something that a lot of artists do not have the courage to do. Thanks for giving us fans the opportunity!

As I stated earlier, producing a successful album is really a two-part equation. The first equation entails (obviously) putting together a well-made album. Wendy and Lisa definitely did their part in ensuring that White Flags of Winter Chimneys was a beautifully crafted, moving, and inspiring work of art. However, the album would have just been a beautifully crafted, moving, and inspiring work of art that no one ever heard of if it was not for the second half of the equation: The business side. This is where Wendy and Lisa’s manager, Renata, worked amazingly hard and did an incredible job in ensuring the album’s success.

In Leaders of the Revolution, Mr. Santiago wrote that it is “clear that they (and their team) worked hard to get their music to their fans and their fans love them for it.” As a fan, I would like to say that I do love you guys for reaching out to us fans, for making us feel that we were a part of this amazing process, and for letting us get to know you a little better. Also, Thank You Renata for all of your hard work and spoiling us fans! It is clear to us fans that "their team" consists primarily of you and we truly do appreciate everything that you do for us!

I would also like to thank you for the highlight of my 2009: Meeting Wendy, Lisa, Renata, and Julie! Thank you for the opportunity! It was something that I will truly cherish forever!

Here’s to an amazing 2010 and your continued happiness, success, and music! CHEERS!!!


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