Jen Brown started The Bomber Jacket as an outlet to give indie music acts a voice they didn’t have in larger publications, where she felt they weren’t taken seriously for their originality. Two years later, she’s branched into music promotion and lately album production with Emperor X.
“I knew exactly what I wanted to do and what I wanted to accomplish,” Brown said.
However, watching Bomber Jacket slowly grow among music fans and bands has been amazing, she said.
It started with the compilations. As Bomber Jacket wrote about more bands, Brown asked if they would contribute a song for download. The first compilation was downloaded more than 5,000 times. It might not seem like a lot compared to the millions of albums sold by large commercial acts, but it was a success by small, independent music source standards. Each compilation has received more until the latest was downloaded about 6,100 times, she said.
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“We’ve had thousands of downloads because bands shared the links,” Brown said. “It was important to me to see it grow.”
Bomber Jacket could release a compilation album of State College-based bands in the near future because there’s enough talent to keep music fans interested, she said.
Rob Egan has been writing for Bomber Jacket for two years and said he has a lot of faith in the idea and Brown. Because Bomber Jacket isn’t driven by what the big record labels want to promote, the magazine gets more communication from bands themselves, he said. That means a broad, diverse music selection for people to explore.
“That’s why I like this site, and I’ve been involved with it since the beginning,” Egan said.
Getting more into the promotion and production side of music is a natural growth of what Brown was trying to do with Bomber Jacket in the first place, he said. That’s simply to put new music into the ears of music fans.
“That’s the point of the site. We’re not into being the next Huffington Post,” Egan said. “It’s about the music and letting people hear bands that they’ve never heard before. Maybe they won’t like everything, but they will find something new they do like.”
Egan said Brown is one of the hardest workers in the business. She works at music distribution house Indigo in Hamburg, Germany, in addition to Bomber Jacket and all its facets.
Bomber Jacket is a labor of love, but Brown wants to turn it into a full-time job.
“It’s on the before-I’m-30 plan,” the 24-year-old Brown said. “It’s hard to have a life worth living if you don’t have goals you want to accomplish and do what you love.”