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Spotlight Iowa City: A new way of regarding music

BY MATT SCHOMMER | APRIL 01, 2010 7:30 AM

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Watch out “MTV Cribs,” a new video sensation is captivating the attention of teenage viewers worldwide.

No, not another raunchy tape of Paris Hilton or the newest Miley Cyrus song — it’s UI sophomore Joshua Weidling’s groundbreaking website, www.digitaltourbus.com, featuring, well, tours of buses and ot her band transports.

The Bartlett, Ill., native has taken the music industry to a new, innovative level — one that appears to be on the path for greatness.

“The site has only been up for about two weeks,” Weidling said. “And it’s already had around 55,000 hits from 78 different countries. The countries are a huge shock to me.”

Garnering tens of thousands of hits didn’t come easily. The 19-year-old has been working on this project for more than a year before he developed the website.

When his growing audience visits his website, they are treated to updated news, blogs, and an exclusive look at a band’s mode of transportation — whether it be by bus, trailer, SUV, or van.

Weidling mainly deals with “underground” alternative bands, but he has worked with bigger names such as Boys Like Girls, Cartel, and All Time Low.

“It’s essentially giving you the all-access pass that you can’t usually get,” Weidling said.

One of those bands, a local trio called BackDrop, is one of the 200-plus groups Weidling has done a video on. Landen Boyer, who performs guitar and vocals for BackDrop, believes that Weidling and his project are a great outlet for bands like his to get promoted.

“He’s one of the hardest workers I know,” he said. “He’s really dedicated, and it’s obsessive in an awesome way. I love it. When it comes to social networking and marketing, that’s what he’s all about.”

But that’s not how Weidling used to be.

He had always been an intense sports enthusiast, focusing mainly on baseball — playing it, watching it, collecting memorabilia, doing whatever he could to engage in the game. Then, one day Weidling was reading an Alternative Press magazine feature called “Next Exit,” an article highlighting a band member who takes the reader through her or his hometown. It sparked his digital dream.

“I don’t think I’ve turned on a football game in over a year,” Weidling said. “It’s just because I’m so addicted to what I do.”

Weidling friend Mikey Kay, a video editor and photographer, can attest to the passion, but he also spoke about the laid-back times.

“He’s pretty cool to work with, and he’s really on top of things, doing like 900 things at once,” he said. “But, there are definitely relaxed times. We know how to let go and have fun.”

While Weidling certainly isn’t always focused on work, his ambitious fervor has set him up for success in his craft — and that resolute and determined attitude probably won’t change anytime soon.

“I’ve always been the person where if I do something, I put everything I have into it.”


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