Categorized | Social Entrepreneur

Pop and Rock Songs Arranged For Orchestra

Name of Social Enterprise and URL?
For Orchestra

Who is the person? What is there background?
Walt Ribeiro, Composer and Founder Studied Jazz Guitar Performance in 2002, and got carpal tunnel syndrome, so had to take a year off. At this time, I began to write music and fell in love with writing more than performance. As a result, I graduated from The University of the Arts with a degree in Music Composition in 2006.

What is your product or service?
We arrange rock, blues, country, pop, techno, metal songs and pop songs for orchestra. A new piece is arranged each week – which is great because it keeps the community interested, and at the same time it keeps us current with todays music and a fast turn around rate

Date officially launched?
May 18, 2009

What came about that made them help in social change? Why was this social venture created?
It’s about identity. If you arrange a piece of music people love, then they’ll want to share it, tell their friends, and help out in any way possible. The orchestra may be in a difficult period (funding, support, attendance, etc) but that’s because there needs to be new music and new ideas. This social venture was created in order to full that void, create change, and create music that people love. They vote on new pieces every week, and are slowly building a huge community of people who love the orchestra, but want something new. This shows that people aren’t tired of the orchestra, they’re tired of the reportoire.

How many years and how many people has this person helped? How many people need help?
I’ve been doing this for more than 2 years. Using the power of social media, I’ve been able to reach out to audiences, supporters, and orchestras. It’s helped tons of people along the way – everyone from children looking for new music to practice, to orchestras looking for new works to perform.

What is the cost per person that is being helped? Are you working on decreasing that cost by being more efficient?
Each mp3 recording sells for $1 and is available on iTunes, Amazon, and more. As for efficiency, we are incredibly efficient. There is no marketing, distribution, or manufacturing costs for the company because it’s all online, using online tools and social media.

Could others help you and how?
People help us every day. Building up our community has been amazing, because our customers are evangelists of what we do. They help by spreading the word to others – which shows the importance of community, and the power of a great product that people love.

What free online or offline tools do you use?
The obvious ones like Twitter and Facebook are great. Twitter search is incredibly powerful. Email lists are also very effective, because you have a one-on-one dialog with your community. It’s more personal and intimate than a blog. I don’t use any other sites because these work for me, and are great to market music and connect with customers.

How many people are currently working, including employees (freelancers or independent contractors for specific projects)?
3 people. I owner (ne) and 2 freelancers (designer, and administrator).

Do you tweet, facebook fan page, myspace friend or use any other social media to get the word out? (Please provide links)
iTunes Ping is starting to be a good RSS type of notification system for us. That great because people can ‘re-ping’ and share it across their friendslist. So the viral outcome is great. It also keep it all in the Apple Eco-system, which I love because we make most of my money through iTunes sales. We also use our website blog, twitter, and Facebook to find audiences, connect with them, listen to their suggestions for song ideas, and keep them informed of ‘For Orchestra news’

YouTube – Do you have a YouTube video URL that you can share with us, and allow us to publish with your story?

What is the best advice you never got?
“If it scares you, do it.”

What is the one thing that you did right?
I released my CD in 2006 the day after graduation- but it failed miserably and cost me my entire college income I had been saving up. After a series of jobs, I started For Orchestra in 2009 and applied all the lessons I learned from my failed idea in 2006. As a result, I now do For Orchestra full time and have arranged songs by Lady Gaga, Pearl Jam, MGMT, The Beatles, and more for orchestra.

What was the biggest transition you had to make (i.e. new skill set, habits, abilities, focus)?
Upgrading my hardware. The transition from PC to MAC, then from OSX 10.4 to 10.6, and then from Desktop to Laptop – all of those transitions were a huge pain because as you change your setup, then the software and workflow has to change or be adjusted. It’s incredibly time consuming and costly. But the short term costs are minimal when weighed against improved efficiency, workflow, and better products overall.

Are you doing any type of Search Engine Optimization?
Just blogging alot. Each post I write is more information for Google to find me. So if you search for ‘Billy Idol Orchestra’ ‘Lady Gaga Orchestra’ or ‘Black Sabbath Orchestra’ you’ll find me with no problem. It also helps that my website is called which Google indexes very high because ‘[band name] for orchestra’ is obviously the first thing people type when looking for a particular orchestral version of a band they love.

What can you tell other potential social entrepreneurs who are deciding to make a difference?
Stop overthinking and over-editing. Just release the product and revise it as the community wants. I use to spend forever to write blog posts and fine-tune things ad nauseum, but you’re worrying about the wrong things and delaying your product at the same time. Obviously, don’t ship a faulty product, but don’t postpone it and overthink every step along the way.

What book(s) have you read that others should read?
Dale Carnegie ‘How To Win Friends And Influence People’
Levitt and Dubner ‘Freakonomics’
Sun Tzu ‘The Art of War’

The reason why I recommend these books is because as a musician, learning music can only get you so far. To understand sociology, and how some of the smartest thinkers in the world apply their strategy, has helped me with both business decisions and music composition. What I got form these though is easily applied to any body in any situation in any career.

Walt Ribeiro
Composer, Pop Songs Arranged For Orchestra

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