Indiana Daily Student

Company plays music promotion game

Local business encourages cultural understanding

In a brown warehouse-like building near the railroad tracks on Allen Street, one would hardly expect to find an eclectic mix of thousands of compact discs and diverse musical instruments from all over the world. But that is exactly what is found in suite 137.\nThat office houses Rock Paper Scissors, a company that publicizes and markets world music and reggae labels in the United States for clients around the world. \nDmitri Vietze owns the business and tries to overlap music and culture to help people understand different cultures through the world of music.\nRock Paper Scissors serves a niche market in the music industry. The company caters to journalists who are considering coverage of its clients, clients who are looking for publicity success and music fans looking for new and old sounds from around the globe, according to the company's Web site. It is not uncommon for Vietze and his three employees to talk to clients in France, Germany, Spain and India on any given day.\nRock Paper Scissors serves clients like Auktyon, a Russian band that strives to keep that country's Bohemian past alive while incorporating elements of rock, according to the Rock Paper Scissors Web site.\nVietze decided to call his company Rock Paper Scissors because his business resembles the game of rock paper scissors, a game that is played in all countries around the world. \nIn the game of rock paper scissors, players try to predict what their opponent will do. Vietze said he, similarly, tries to outguess the media. He can use marketing techniques to entice the media about his clients, but he is ultimately trying to guess what story pitches the media will accept.\n"There are strategies you can use dealing with the media," Vietze said. "But you really never know what they will go for."\nVietze's interest in social activism and music started when he was in high school. Vietze was accepted to the Fiorella H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts in New York City, the school portrayed in the 1980 movie "Fame." Vietze said he was the chair of the school's anti-racism organization.\nVietze said his high school did a lot to promote ethnic and racial diversity, such as promoting an exchange program with another local high school. \n"I also participated in anti-apartheid demonstrations," Vietze said. "I worked on creating alliances between whites and blacks."\nAs a result of his social activism and anti-racism, Vietze received a full scholarship to Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. \n"I came in contact with a lot of people who were interested in changing the world," Vietze said. "But they were more of the hippy type."\nVietze thought he could make a greater impact through business.\n"I received my bachelors in business management in 1993," Vietze said. "Others at the school were majoring in areas like photography."\nAfter he left Antioch College, he joined a company that trained volunteers for AmeriCorps, a network of local, state and national service programs that help Americans in the areas of education, public safety, health and the environment.\n"We used music from around the world to help them teach about diversity," Vietze said.\nLater he worked at a record distributor doing publicity in Portland, Ore. He said this was around the time his daughter was born.\n"I wanted to spend more time at home," he said. "My office was in my daughter's bedroom. I was right there with the crib and the changing station."\nBrian Kleber, director of the South Central Indiana Small Business Development Center, said Vietze is successful because he knows the industry, provides great customer service and works hard.\n"Dmitri is focused on growing the business and he has determined that he must put processes in place to do so," Kleber said.\nPublicist Jenifer Shepherd has worked at Rock Paper Scissors for a little more than a year and says she enjoys working with Vietze.\n"Dmitri has a great knowledge of the business," Shepherd said. "He has fantastic people skills and tries hard to satisfy the customer."\nShepherd said Vietze is very goal-oriented and puts a lot of work into his business.\n"He's very intelligent, driven and has an entrepreneurial spirit," Shepherd said. "He works hard to deliver the goods."\nAccording to Rock Paper Scissor's Web site, Vietze wants to, in time, make his Web site one of the most in-depth world music resources online.\n"I would like to replicate what we've done with world music in other niche markets over the next year or two," Vietze said. "I would also like to work on some other business ventures like a world music retreat center."\nRock Paper Scissors hopes to hire interns over the summer. Interested applicants can contact Vietze by visiting www.rockpaperscissors.biz.

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