Jeff Betten at the Beauty Shoppe. Photo by Brian Cohen.
Jeff Betten is the general manager and part owner of Misra Records, as well as president and part owner of Wild Kindness Records. A Carnegie resident, Jeff volunteers for the Deutschtown Music Festival, Rock All Night Tour and South Pittsburgh Development Corporation, and is treasurer of The Mr. Roboto Project. Previously, Jeff was vocalist and rhythm guitarist for the experimental acoustic act Western Pennsylvania (best show: 5/3/13). His favorite Pittsburgh show? “The Unconventional Dog release party at Belvederes, with Grand Piano and Andre Costello and the Cool Minors supporting Chet Vincent & The Big Bend. It’s a testament to the Pittsburgh music scene that there was a line wrapped around the block for four hours during the polar vortex of January 2014 while people waited to enter the max-capacity show.”

Monday, January 4

Jeff at RAW: Pittsburgh at Mr. Small’s.
Jeff at RAW: Pittsburgh at Mr. Small’s.

I’ll get to my desk on the second floor of The Beauty Shoppe in East Liberty around 7:30 which will probably make me the first person in the building. I’m going to grab a cup or two of Zeke’s Coffee (taken black) while I await the onslaught of emails this morning . . . a lot of businesses have been closed for the past two weeks, but I’ve been plugging away all this time, even working up until the last minute on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. These are all ongoing projects that won’t be difficult to handle, but it’s still intense when the dam breaks and everyone finally gets back to you all at once.

At night, it’s time to unwind by taking in the AcoustiCafe open mic at Club Café (it helps that the bartenders know my drink order, Captain and Coke). I’ve long since retired as a musician and a performer, but it’s always nice to catch up with the usual group of talent that coalesces here every week, as well as scout potential new acts.

Tuesday, January 5

I’m having a sit-down meeting with Derik Cruz, Misra’s director of creative sales and my “second-in-command” here in town. A lot of the management team is elsewhere throughout the country so it’s nice that he and I are able to often strategize in person. We’ll be planning a pair of album release parties coming this spring for local bands Chet Vincent & The Big Bend and Daily Grind, as well as following up on some leads for potential corporate partnerships.

Wednesday, January 6

I recently got hooked on Postmates, which opens up a ton of lunch options since I don’t have to drive anywhere. Lately I’ve been ordering from the William Penn Tavern in Shadyside, but also Mad Mex and Square Café, depending on my mood. My office is a short walking distance from Whole Foods if I’m trying to be nutritious, but it’s also nice to take lunch meetings at BRGR—both of these are better to do when the weather is amenable, though. Delivery wins more now that the weather is getting cold and my workload is piling up.

In the afternoon, I have a Skype call with a publicist in the UK and one of our artists, Anthonie Tonnon (the Jens Lekman of New Zealand), to discuss promoting his new album in Europe.

And of course, it’s Bluegrass Night at The Park House! You can’t miss that.

Thursday, January 7

I have a phone call scheduled for around noon with an agent in New York to get an update on the film & TV campaign we’re currently running for one of our artists, Mississippi shoegaze rocker Knowlton Bourne. Potential licensing opportunities include titles at Paramount, Warner Bros. and Netflix, which makes it a lot of fun to speculate while waiting on a “yes” or “no” for each of them.

Later on, I’ll be at the benefit concert for the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society at Hard Rock Café to catch Wild Kindness band The Armadillos in addition to supporting a good cause.

Friday, January 8

Today is the due date for the promotional one-sheet to be delivered to our distributor concerning our 3/4/16 release (Los Angeles folk singer Melaena Cadiz), and I also need to submit digital files and artwork by this date for iTunes, Spotify, etc. Since we’re eight weeks away, I’ll need to touch base with the CD manufacturer to ensure that they’ll be shipping to our warehouse by the end of the month.

Jeff with Daily Grind at Misra Records.

At night, I’ll stop by the Roboto to check out the night’s lineup: Detain, Breaking Wheel, Resistance Wire, Vein and A Life of Torment. I’m glad the venue is still going strong; I spent a lot of formative years at both the former and current locations.

Saturday, January 9

This will be a busy evening. In the fashion of my friend and colleague Hugh Twyman, I’ve found myself trying to hit as many shows as possible when faced with multiple options. Tonight will be a doozy: there’s the Brewer’s Row album release party at Howlers, City Steps is playing at Club Café and Spirit has a triple-threat bill: Robin Vote, Host Skull and Blod Maud!

Sunday, January 10

Sunday is perhaps the one day each week when I allow myself to sleep in a little bit. After a night like Saturday, I’ll likely need it. I’ll also need some coffee and some brunch, so it’s either off to Franktuary to hear James Hart spin some soul/R&B records on vinyl, Hambone’s for whoever Jeremy Caywood has booked this week, or the James Street Gastropub & Speakeasy for their drag show. After that, I’m heading back to the office in ‘Sliberty to get some more work done!

Jennifer Baron

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator...