Sound Business: “Not So Different” – Raising Autism Awareness Through Music

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Music and healing are inextricably linked.

People have known that since the dawn of time, but we still find new ways to converge these two powerful forces. “Not So Different,” a song and video launched to help defeat autism, is a good example.

“Not So Different” makes it easy to make a difference: Buy the single on iTunes, and 100% of sales of this song benefit Autism programs, services, and research. 1 in 68 children are currently on the Autism spectrum, and getting ahead of this development disorder – which can seriously impair communication/interaction in children and adults – is urgent.

Singer Cassandra Kubinski is part of the answer for autism.

Singer Cassandra Kubinski is part of the answer for autism.

Singer/songwriter Cassandra Kubinski launched the campaign after being asked to write a song by a mother of two autistic boys. But she can do a lot more than nail a hook – Kubinski has gained big insights on the power of music and social good. The concept behind “Not So Different” is elegantly simple, but making it go big takes determination, hard work, and an entrepreneurial attitude.

Are you ready to make something happen? Read on to benefit from Kubinski’s experience – it’s a training manual for musical agents of change.

Business Name: Not So Different Song/music video


Location: NYC and worldwide

Launch Date: January 2014

Revenue Streams: We exist to raise awareness and funds for Autism groups through the anthem for Autism, “Not So Different.” The song is currently available on iTunes, Google Play, and other download sites; and events using the song also donate money to various Autism charities.

Clients/Credits: There is an upcoming new version featuring John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls and Mary Ramsey of 10,000 Maniacs. Featured on ABC, NY1,, Autism Speaks, Autism Digest Daily

Key Personnel: Cassandra Kubinski, songwriter and artist.   Daniel Neiden, Producer. Vanessa Ticona, Inspiration. Nick Lopez, director. Joe Trentacosta, PR. Featured artists: John Rzeznik and Mary Ramsey

Unique Offering: “Not So Different” is an anthem meant to be shared within and outside the Autism community.   Its message resounds: We all want the same things, to be loved and accepted for who we are, regardless of our circumstances or our outward differences.

This is a unique platform for raising awareness and funds thanks to the various means of exposure in the media- the song could garner radio airplay, the video could be featured by philanthropic-minded media/video channels on TV and the Internet, the song could be used at major Autism fundraising and community events such as Jon Stewart’s “Night of Too Many Stars” or the Blue Jeans Ball.

Expansion Action: The official music video and audio of the song on YouTube have over 15,000 views, and opportunities continue to flow in to expose the song, including the offer to create the brand new recording for 2016 with John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls and Mary Ramsey of 10,000 Maniacs. This new version will benefit Autism organizations in upstate NY.

The Autism community has also embraced the song, sharing it, tweeting it, and featuring it at community events from NYC to LA, Canada to Italy.

Case In Point: Wildwood Academy in Schenectady, NY devised an entire day of music, movement, and visual arts programming inspired by and using the song. Singer/songwriter Cassandra Kubinski visited the school to lead the music and movement portions of the event.

Music continues to be an excellent means of opening up self expression and often new communication skills for people on the Autism spectrum.

Glowing Testimonials: Unsolicited Italian translation of the song:

Autism Daily Newscast- 4/8/14 feature:

Why Being a Sonic Entrepreneur Rules: Music has always had the power to entertain and inspire and cause real action that changes people’s lives.

“Not So Different” never would have existed without the inspiration of one woman and her two children on the Autism spectrum, and never could have grown if not for the incredible entrepreneurial efforts of the songwriter, producers, cast, and crew that donated their time to make the video a reality. Taking bold steps to create something new and unique in the music world inspires others to join in, especially when there’s such a present cause and case for action, as so many children on the Autism spectrum in the US.

As the songwriter, I get to meet amazing people from all walks of life, so far from LA to Florida to the UK to Canada…who are passionate about this cause and this song, and want to hear the whole world singing it together. It’s an incredibly wonderful and gratifying feeling.

Why Some Days You Want to Pack It In and Get Your Real Estate License: Of course, there are sometimes days where it’s just frustrating getting to people – simply reaching people who could benefit from the project, and/or be a benefit to it, can be tough.

When you’re unproven in the market place, there’s always a lot of resistance and people wanting to say “no” just for the sake of it, even when a lot of other people are encouraging and can clearly see how impactful and moving the song would be if it had greater, big media exposure. Especially when dealing with a philanthropic piece of art like this, it’s hard to imagine anyone blocking it or purposefully being un-helpful. But sometimes they are.

The Ultimate Business Partner: Someone I have long admired and who I think does an amazing job as a creative/business person is a music publishing exec named Evan Lamberg.

His vision for artists such as Rob Thomas and Jewel, and his ability to develop their talent and their businesses, and even create businesses with the artists he works with, is so inspiring. I think his combination of being able to “get” artists and at the same time “get” where they need to go in the market, and how to get them there, is rare and invaluable, and applied to this project, could make the difference in having this song truly become an anthem for the Autism cause.

One other person who we’d want to partner with on this “Not So Different” project specifically is Jon Stewart. He’s a class act, a masterful entertainer, and also an amazing advocate for the Autism cause and folks in the Autism world. To have his partnership and guidance in navigating the politics on both the entertainment and philanthropy sides of this venture would be amazing, and to have his humor and heart on the team would, I think, make it impossible for the song NOT to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars for Autism-related organizations through download sales!

Sage Advice: Start with passion. Most people don’t even start, because they’re too worried about how they’re going to get something to happen. You just start, right now, with whatever you have, and then ask a lot of questions, follow every lead, and keep creating things of quality, whether you are in a business selling goods or services or information, or whatever.

Second, find partners who are just as serious as you, and who have the time to commit, consistently, to bringing your business to a successful level. Someone with a previous track record would be great, but really, just someone who is willing to put in the work and be available consistently, as new businesses need daily nurturing or they’ll often wither before they have a chance to blossom.

Anything else?   Well, we have to say it! Check out “Not So Different”!

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