Hey, guys. Welcome to electronic dance money. You’re number one business resource for making money as electronic musicians and producers. All right, sweet. Welcome back, you guys to another episode of electronic dance money. This episodes been in the works for a few weeks now may be close to a month. Super super excited for this episode, though, today we’ve got no face records. One of the co owners of no face records in today, Dennis Hiller, who is, um, he’s been involved in the industry for a while now. He helps run one of the I’d say, one of the biggest record labels in the industry, if not one of the biggest. It’s definitely one of the top rising ones for sure. He’s ran marketing for size records with Steve Angelo and is also a tech entrepreneur from Silicon Valley. Um, Dennis, do you want to kind of given introduction and talk about how you got involved with electronic music? I’d love to hear your story from the beginning. Um, go ahead and take the floor, man.
Well, Christian, it’s so good to be with you. And of course, your audience and I do appreciate what you’re doing because You know, we’re in such a interesting time where there’s so many ways to so many roads you can take with music. And so I just want to say, first of all that I appreciate you having me on and, you know, the opportunity to talk about what we’re doing at no faces, course, Of course, as faras as far as how I got into music and how that happened, it was like a beautiful accident. I never intended to be in music, so I, you know, grew up in ah, the Bay Area San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley. Ah, you know, ended up not going to college and and was involved with a tech company that my buddies started. And, ah, you know, I was their first employee and and learned marketing and PR uh, you know, back then, which you it was a bit unusual. Now it’s D i y, and learning as you go is a little more common. Back then, I was just making a blanche mistakes and gathering in pro web. But I could and always ended up working attack. Ah, as an early stage employees for tech start up and another one Ah started another start up. And then basically, what had happened is, um my my, uh, co founders and I we got into a little bit of a disagreement on the same day that happened. My ex girlfriend of 2.5 years broke up with me, and that relationship was a train wreck. It was already gonna It was done. But imagine to sort of catastrophic events all in the same day, and so to make it. And, you know, I ended up a few months later getting out of the situation, and I ended up leaving all of that with money to live for you. Okay, so I was like yourself. And I read an article you wrote about, you know, taking breaks and working. But also, you know, that was really interesting. And, you know, I was that kind of person to for many years where I just go, go, go over vote. And suddenly I stopped. Okay. And imagine you have enough money to live for a year. Not like a king, but also not like a peasant either. And so I didn’t you know, I’ve never gotten out. Really hadn’t done any of that. And Ah, you know, I was sitting at home feeling sorry for myself and finally a you know, a friend of mine. And I was living in the suburbs of San Francisco, maybe 30 40 minutes out and a friend of mine She was going out all the time and she said, Listen enough sitting at home, Come with me to this after hours party, I said, What’s that? She said, Look, it’s Ah, it’s an illegal rave. I said, Great, let’s go. So we go in San Francisco had a great scene at that. I mean, they stop a bit, and so So to make a long story short, we drive into this extremely shady alley. There’s like security guards with leather jackets who are just kind of like bringing wind checking. Make sure the cops aren’t there. All sorts of things were happening, and there’s, like, the pizza parlor downstairs and upstairs there. Just make sure club and there were three deejays playing at Imagine. I mean, this thing was huge. It must have been at least 400 people s. So this was a big illegal after hours party from 2 to 6 a.m. And so start anyway, So we get there. I don’t know what to 3 a.m. Something like that. More people and more people and more people are coming in. And there’s this really great, you know, sort of underground, big room, all sorts of stuff and swing way. So there’s these DJs playing and and there’s a couple local DJs and another local deejay who is now my ah, you know, co founder, business partner, Very good friend Max and Jelly Plant. I knew nothing about production, let alone degenerate me that I was just watching like a guy, you know, just just seeing what was unfolding. And this was in 2008. And so I saw these other guys who were good. They were good, but they were technically good. Okay? Max caught my eye because he was technically good. But he was also a showman. And so I looked at that like he was like, Imagine there was like, the made this makeshift D J booth on a cheap sort of Costco table on Max jumps on the table, nearly break cities, crowd diving something else. I’m watching from the very back holding a beer, and I’m like, Look I don’t know what that is, but I am all for that in believe in that, like, whatever that is is very authentic and very real and just connecting with everybody so fast forward him and I we ended up working together, and we both had a kind of a similar mission. So, you know, I wanted to get into music. He wanted Teoh become, ah, popular artist, tour the world, etcetera. And, you know, we kind of set her eyes on that and that, and we built a little bit of a local team. And then on top of that, um, the other thing is, you know, the time was right to because this was 2008 and we worked through 2008. We worked through 2009. We were doing everything that word now telling other artists to do. We did that with a lot less technology and opportunity, and but, you know, they’re also less people, I guess, in the space. But to make a long story short as we were doing that, you know, it was 2008. The market had just fallen apart. Everybody was going out. There was nothing to do. There was no work and so that it felt like the whole world was out and just wanted to forget reality and get into this whole Elektronik world in San Francisco was lucky enough. Have a scene before it became big all across the US And as things started to come up, we took that mo mentum and just sailed like a ship and ended up worldwide. And this is you know, Max is credit as a producer because he was remixing artists like Cascade. I was doing huge tracts for Warner and all over the place you’ve got, of course, got connected with the size guys. So on and so forth. Ah, and you know, that was the beginning of it. Then just toe, you don’t I’ll take a positive. That’s that’s the beginning.
Yellen, Max, he m I mean, you would say he’s probably most notable for his remix with Steve Angelo on the island. Would you say yes? Yeah, cause I mean anyone who hears that remix if they don’t know who Max is there like Oh, yeah, I’ve heard this Bublitz. It’s a remix that’s been played by everyone. I think it’s been played on serious multiple times. Um so it is like the timing thing is interesting because I think that is probably the most important part for a lot of producers. That they don’t they don’t realize is that that’s kind of one of the key ingredients to being a successful producer is just being in the right place at the right time, but also knowing when you should keep working at something and just kind of playing a waiting game like your time will eventually come. It’s just how long are you willing to grind it out and wait for that opportunity to come? And I think there is a huge difference, though, between just waiting and hoping and kind of sitting around and waiting while also grinding and working. I think the two need to kind of be one with each other, and if you can accept that, that it might take a little bit longer, but you can keep working at it. I think you you kind of you can you can build this mo mentum of success through those two things.
You know what? That’s a really interesting point because you know the way we approached it and I think this is still kind of the way we approach. It may be a toned down, more mature version of it, but we always had kind of the same outlook, which is we’re a really big deal. You just don’t know it. Yeah, okay. And that in our local scene, the rub Ah, lot of people in the establishment the wrong way. They didn’t didn’t appreciate that because, you know, they were doing this for X amount of years. And, you know, there, like, who are these people? And our attitude was I don’t know what you want from us, like all we’re trying to do is grind, and, you know, there’s different forms of grind. There’s very digital forms, right? Especially now. And there’s more, uh, on the street kind of thing. And we did a little bit of both, you know what I mean? So so you know, we we built our own promotions company, Um, literally for no other reason than the fact that nobody in San Francisco at the time wanted to book Max is a headliner. So he said, OK, well, let’s throw our own parties then and and you know, and and putting up flyers hiring, firing people, hiring promoters, uh, you know, going online, looking for remixes, digging in the forms. All that. In other words, for for whatever reason, we were convinced we were absolutely convinced that we were gonna make it. But at the same time, we were insanely impatient. I don’t mean to the point of life stressing out and not being able to sleep, but from from the point of no, we have to do this now. Here’s were doing bubba and all. You know, there’s just a lot of energy because you can you’re totally right. You can sit around and say, Well, look, it’s on like times. I’m just gonna not really do much or you can say, Listen, I’m gonna seize the day and do everything I possibly can tow. Just move forward.
Yeah, I think I think that’s like it’s one of the key things. A lot of in the impatience is you got. It’s a tight rope. You gotta really it’s a fine line. You have to walk on. Be careful with it because it’s it’s like you can either be too impatient to the point where you’re going to overwork yourself, and I think that is where part of that article I was writing about is, um that was kind of where I was at where I was super impatient. And so I just started to overwork myself way too much to the point where it just I I overworked it way too much. And I wasn’t doing this strategical things I should have been doing. Whereas I didn’t realize I don’t need to be in the studio every single day for eight hours a day. I could be in this studio three or four days a week and then the rest of the days or, you know, being the street of her a few hours, three or four days of the week. And then the rest of my time could be spent on networking and marketing, figuring out promotion, doing all these other tasks that are so essential to being successful. Ah, and I think that’s where a lot of producers are there in the same boat as well were there. They’re thinking that the production and being this studio is all of it, and it is a big part of it. But the other half of it is the business minded marketing aspect of being a producer that a lot of people kind of overlook, and it can create a lot tension and people feeling having imposter syndrome is what it comes down to them feeling like a failure because they’re not progressing. Um, and they are progressing with music production, but they’re not progressing in getting the record labels who they want to get signed to or getting the fans that they want. And they don’t realize that they’re completely missing this other part of the industry, which is what this entire podcast is about, what is getting you to go full time and, um, to get there, you have to implement a whole number of things. Um, and going off of that. The topic for today’s episode is really just focused on what artists could do to start a record label. Because I myself from the day I started producing was like, I want to start a record label at some point. I think there’s a ton of producers out there that feel the same way. Um, I mean, you and Max, for one. Max is the producer. You’re kind of the guide now, would you say you do a lot of the marketing aspect of things in kind of the more business related stuff.
Yeah, so? So we have a great team at no face. So we have Max who’s doing the A and R side of things, definitely. And mentoring a lot of artists, which, which is definitely appreciated. Um, you know, if you look at I mean, really, what undoing is labeled managing, which which basically means it’s like being a bus driver. And you’re just trying to make sure that all the pieces air working. Okay. Right. Um and then we have Christopher who you met, who is our in house PR person. Really great. And, you know, he really works those records and does does a lot of important things. And then we have, um you know, we have a couple of artists who joined us in house, which is great. They’re teaching one on one lessons and creating tutorials and some really important stuff. And then we have Bernard, um who is our ah artist relations E. I mean, he does a bit of a naras well, but a lot of what he does is artist relations, which is so appreciated because you know we really want the community. Whether it’s the label community or artists signed or folks signed or distribution arm. Whatever it is, we just want them to have a really good experience. So, um, you know, and and we just kind of passed the ball around. That makes sense. But it initially initially when s so let me give you a little bit of background. So in 2016 or so before I was in, Max was approached. Or so he got. I mean, women armada got together and they decided toe launch an imprint and typically, the way that works for anyone listening was interested in because there’s kind of three ways of starting a record label. Ah, one way is you just get out and do it and nobody asked you to. And you just unsolicited Lee open a record label. The other way is you are asked to open a record label and the third I need to go check opposed because I don’t remember the thirties.
point. Uh, but here’s the bottom line is, um oh, I see. Okay. Yeah. You know, you become on artists of a certain label and the third It’s not even that you just get a job at a label. Max Max was was approached, and you know those kind of deals air very specific targets set a certain because whether you’re an armada, whether you’re Warner, whether you’re Interscope, whoever you are when you’re in a certain level, you’re approaching artists not to start a record label from scratch because you have a certain formula. You have money, you’re investing. You’re looking for them as sort of high level and are folks who have contacts. That may be your label doesn’t have a relationships that the label doesn’t happen because the label could approach an artist for remix, and the artist will quote one price. An artist artist. It could be pre or or whatever the case may be. And that’s kind of how they did it. And they did that for a couple of years and it was great. And then at a certain point, um, you know, ah, naturally wanted toe take it a different and independent direction. And, you know, this is keeping with, you know, really positive relationships with their motto, frankly, with Misha Daniels and on on some of those other people there, Michael and, um, arm And of course, and ah, you know, and and that’s what happened. And then roughly a year ago, Max and I got together and re imagined what a record label is, and and we said, Listen, what is a record label that we wish existed when we were getting into this? And and then we literally built it one day at a time with the mission of elevating the next generation of electronics artist because we thought, You know what? Look, we’ve had laid back Luke on the label. We’ve had others. That’s great, obviously will welcome them back. That’s a given. But those people have the red carpet rolled in front of them already, right? What? What about everybody who’s in that in between between a part time and a full time person? Or maybe they’re full time. But there, you know, playing one show month, etcetera. In other words, what if we stop paying attention to certain factors? What if What if we don’t care about your social numbers? What if we don’t care about you know how many streams you’re gonna get? What if we simply go back to good old fashioned and eye and say which music speaks to us? What can we do with it? Ah, what if especially is an early stage artist? What if we don’t sign you into any options? Meaning you, you know, you give us a track and then suddenly you owe us. We have. We have first right of refusal for, let’s say, seven more records or we sign you for an album deal, etcetera. What if we don’t do that? What if we sign you by the track and then you’re done? What if we celebrate the fact that we broke you as an artist and then D J. Chucky picked you up, which has happened or spinning or armada etcetera? What if we look at ourselves as part of an ecosystem, which it is because musical This is what I think a lot of folks need to understand With labels. OK, most labels, especially now trying music, are part of an ecosystem whether they acknowledge it or not, because we’re all looking at each other, just like artists don’t look at each other. So listen if ah stampede or musical freedom or Warner or whoever are not picking up your music, Uh, and you think your music is there. Okay, go down the ladder, get on the ladder a little further down the ladder a little further. Create a you know, a precedent.
Yeah, this is Ah, this is actually kind of this is a brief topic that well, actually was a pretty thorough topic that I talked about. And I think it was Episode three when I have my buddy on, we’re talking about branding, and this is kind of how how you can figure out what your brand is or what it might be is to find the top level artists that you relate your artistry the most with. And then you work your way down the ladder of the artist that’s under that person under that person under that one, until you find someone that’s relatively around the same position as you are a little bit bigger than you. And then you have a road map road map of how you should be following like your social media. You should be running your social media what you should be posting. So it’s the same thing with record labels as well. If you’re wanting to get let’s say you want to sign to spending. But you know they’re not going to sign you because I’d say spending is probably one of those companies who you need to know. Someone that knows someone plus your social. You need to be brand herbal. They need to be able to sell you. So if you can’t sign to spending the best way to go, that is, find one of their their child labels or just find labels are similar to them, but smaller than them. And keep working under that until you find a label that you can actually get signed two. And then from there you can kind of work with that label and then just work your way up the ladder until you hit that point when you guys are putting. So yeah, let’s kind of go to the beginning When you guys are putting the label together, I think the the number one question you should probably be asking, um, or the answers you should be looking for. If you’re starting a record labels, what are the meat and potatoes to the entire thing? What are contracts looking like getting artists signed, Um, and kind of just starting it now I know you said so. You guys went from ah, Armada asking Max to start a label. And then did you guys separate from that and make something mawr independent? Did you guys already have the meat and potatoes in place?
So, with armada, we were a sub label of our body. Yeah. So in other words, they handled the distribution. There were a lot of things that that we were under the umbrella for much. And, ah, when we took this thing independent, we were completely cut off from the mother ship. So we literally had toe even though we had that. And there were certain advantages, of course to that. And just seeing how things work at, ah, being being a part of a larger organization. When we when we took this thing independently, we had to dio recreate everything from scratch is like somebody who decides today to create their own label. Okay, We didn’t have to pick a name. That’s step one, right? You picking it? Okay. Artist deals and recording contracts. Armada had one type of contract. We decided to have a completely different type of contract. So we had, you know, goto attorneys and etcetera. And okay, we had our contract. Then we had to figure out Well, which types of music do we want to sign? Distribution and logistics, Right. So are we doing digital? Are we doing any physical distribution? Are you know, vinyl? Uh, CDs. I mean, that is still 10% of distribution. A lot of merch, etcetera. And then, you know, we had to make her own business structure. Ah. And then And then, of course, promote. Promote the music and those air. You know, we can get into a lot more detail, but those air the basic steps, no matter who you are in this world, it’s What are you putting out? What do the deals look like? How are you getting? Ah, you know, how are you getting the music? Like, for example, right now, you know, we’re getting anywhere, if you can believe it between 50 to 100 demos a day. You know, there’s some labels, like spinning who I’m sure getting a lot more than that. On the flip side, I know some really great labels, and and their biggest problem is they don’t They don’t have enough, uh, sort of music flow. So they don’t, you know, they get maybe 5 to 10 demos a week, and so they’re proud there, not putting out too much music. And literally their whole battle is not. Hey, howdo we get you placed on this playlist? Etcetera? It’s How can we get artists? Teoh believe in the vision of this label,
right? Producers, if you’re wanting to be, if you’re wanting to start a record label is a producer. I think some of these things might come naturally. If you if you could manage to make yourself successful. I said quote unquote successful because success is very, um, what’s the word? Um, subjective, you know. But from this podcast, everything I teach in this podcast can relatively be transferred over and to starting a record label. I just did Ah, two part series on email marketing and promotion for E G M producers. If you managed to get that right, and I also actually, I just separate episode completely focused on promo plans and doing promotion. If you can get the email marketing right as a producer, get the promotion right as a producer that transfers over into what you’re gonna be doing with a record label. If you have a partner that’s even better at promotion, you guys can combine ideas, promotions, pretty much set, Um, getting the whole contract stuff. Would you say that’s pretty much in the realm of just finding a music lawyer who you can tell what you’re wanting to be included in the contracts, and they kind of handle that stuff. All the rest of it
100%. You just need what? Unless you’re going to get really fancy, we don’t get fancy. You know? The thing is, and this is something for people to understand is ah well, I would say two things. First of all, talk about contracts. Don’t overcomplicate it over like simplify whatever. Your vision is divided by 10 and you’ll be better off. Just listen. Contracts is one thing, and then the other thing is just don’t treat it like a label. When you treat you like a label, it gets really confused. Yeah, it’s my business. The look. No, just Here’s how you treat it, okay, It’s when you’re an artist, you’re putting out music because it’s a form of expression. When you’re a label, your entity is on. Artist essentially work it like an artist, but with one big difference. We’re not promoting you. Okay, so you will notice. Go on the no face Instagram. You will see Max mentioned maybe, or going you to go wherever you want. Max in Delhi, who is a prominent artist, is probably mentioned one out of every 20 pieces of content he’s involved. But we’re not making this the Max ship, And that is very purposeful because we are ultimately a platform toe elevate and and help other artists. Okay, so if you look at your entity and you say, Listen, we’re going to work this thing like an artist, build its reputation, build its profiles, branding all that email marketing, like you said. And then on the flip side, we’re not gonna be inward Focus. We’re gonna be focused on being in the service of other people. I think you’ll be successful as long as you have maybe 2 to 5 years to dedicate toe.
Yeah, Yeah. Have you read? Do you do much reading for with, like, any self help or business related bucks?
Ah, little bit over the years,
Have you read the go giver? No. Is a great book. That’s actually a book I recommended to Chris when I was talking, because I mean our business models for your record label. In my business there, I mean, identical. All I’m trying to do is help out other artists. It’s all that’s all they care about, that’s all of my content is focused on helping other producers, and it’s all free content. And this is it’s the go giver mentality. You’re just willing to help to help, not with no expectations. You’re just reaching a hand out on helping people. That’s what the entire book is about. And it is fantastic. It’s like 120 130 pages. I mention it on this podcast, probably every two or three episodes. Um, it is one of the best books you can read, especially if you’re wanting to be in the entrepreneur space. Because once you can adopt the go giver mentality in business model, it’s insane how it creates like a caramel like effect. Where is your just helping people in that gets returned to you in dividends? It’s insane. How much, um, success you can have with just trying to reach out and help people. And with that business model, I think a lot of artist own record labels miss that. I think a lot of artists own record. I think a lot of producers open up record labels solely toe release themselves, and they will not will not release anywhere else. And I don’t think that’s necessarily the best idea. I don’t think that’s the best business model. But then I think a lot of artists egos also get in the way of their own record labels in the sense that they don’t want any artists to be bigger than themselves on that record label. Ah, and that can cause you know, it xlat ego getting in the way. And when ego gets in the way, things tend to fall apart pretty quickly.
So with the go giver did it was that something that really changed your business? Like, How did that come into your life?
Yeah, eso I There’s there’s a couple podcast that I listen to religiously one being the six figure home studio, Um, which is all about basically starting your own studio from your home. And then the other podcast I listen to is the Graham Cochran show, and I don’t know if you know who Graham Cochran is, but he runs a recording revolution, which is basically a course set on teaching. Studio owners had a record properly, and he’s made. I mean, like, seven figures off of his business model, and he’s just a genius when it comes to music business. But he I mean, just like the other podcast I listened to Hammer in the go giver and, um, after I they mentioned it like 20 times on their podcast. I was like, OK, I need to get the book So I got the book. I started reading it and I couldn’t put it down, and it’s just it takes you through. I think it’s like five different stages of what the go giver mentality is and what it represents and how it can help you. And after reading it, it was just it made so much sense. It makes it makes you want to do more and do better and be better. And through that your business just arrives. Once you’re of the mentality of just trying to help someone out, and if they come to you asking for feedback or they’re a potential client, whatever they are, if you can immediately provide them with value with no expectations. They can see that. Oh, this person’s actually trying to help me. And I find that, like, a lot of mixing mastering studios, they don’t adopt this. And they don’t realize that this is That’s kind of the business model for studios is a lot of mixing. Mastering. Studios will get a quote. They’ll go. Okay, here’s the price. The artist will go. OK, I’ll take that. And then they will Just makes the track or master it, send it to him, and that’s it. And they don’t do anything else. They’re not like, Oh, well, what are your goals for this? Okay, you want to get you want a self release? Okay, I can help you out with self distribution. In the sense that I know how to run this You’ve never self distributed. This is what you should do. Do you have a promo plan in place? No. You don’t know what that is. Let me take you through the steps of what it looked like. Just trying to help them out. An extension to whatever services your try it, your ari providing. And they look at that and go this person basically went to the end of the world and back. It seems so. It’s all very easy things that they helped him out with. But they they took their time to help them an extension to the service that they are already paid for at no additional fee. And that’s how you create a returning client in a referral source, a really good referral source and someone who’s going like, give you really great reviews. Um, my girlfriend’s not super into reading like business books, but she read This one causes in the story of a fable, a business fable. So it’s easy to read. She couldn’t put that she read it in like, I think, a total four hours or something. If that she couldn’t put it down. She’s actually just about to re read it again, because it’s it’s just that good. But I think record labels This is another industry that could adopt this on this business model, and it can do wonders for them in the sense that you’re talking about, like you guys might get 50 to 100 demos a day. Um, and I’m sure that 90% of those don’t if not more. Don’t work for no face. But if you see another record label who might be a little bit smaller or who releases the same kind music as you but doesn’t have this, the amount of like they’re not getting the demo flow that you’re getting, It’s an easy way to provide value to the artist and the record labels by saying, Hey, this isn’t gonna work for us But you should go reach out to this label. I think it would be good fit here. No, that’s providing additional value instead of just saying I’m not I’m not telling you how to run your business. You know, I’m just saying, like I think this
is gone. Definitely gonna read your book, anybody listening to read this book? But I think we take a similar philosophy because you’re totally right, which is all of us are are on Ah, Pat and and along that path there’s just all sorts of things and needs, and, you know, there’s more going on than whatever it is that you are selling. And we’re all selling something, right, right, But but to your point about labels, that’s that’s just something that we adopted because And I do hope other labels adopt that because and mixing mastering folks frankly, because the thing is that, um, when you receive a demo is a label to you, that’s the beginning of the process. It’s not. It’s the end of a creative process for someone.
question is, how can you get even further back? And I jolly before and even after that process, So I’ll give you an example. Ah, you know, if you go to our link tree, if you will, which you can find on the instagram or anywhere pretty much all of our sell trees and you click it, you will find a list of 50 record labels. OK, their contact information. We are one of those 50. The other 49 armada. I don’t know a bunch of them, and they’re divided for you in neat little categories like UDM trance, hard style, Sandra etcetera. The purpose of that is very simple. It’s to say people, of course we want your music. But on the other hand, you know, as you pointed out, as a label, we’re picking roughly three records Out of the 300 to 700 records were receiving every week, right? Doesn’t mean these other ones are bad. So afraid. Work. Some don’t work, but someone were great. Records were either full or we can’t or didn’t quick with us for whatever reason. So if that’s the case, here are a bunch of resource is for you and that’s the attitude with everything give. We even created post on how to create your own record. Lee blackened in this world of the Internet and everything that’s going on, there’s so much room for collaboration. But if you if you think it’s the world against you or will be, but it doesn’t need to be no.
Yeah, I I agree. 100%. I think this is. This also meant had the the selfish mentality of not wanting to give because you’re afraid of someone else taking anything from you, one that’s completely false. That’s not happening. There’s enough for everyone, Um, but I think that’s a mentality. The selfish mentality is one that’s adopted by producers fairly young, and I think it’s because they don’t have any success. And so when they see someone that’s on the same levels, them get a little bit success to get jealous and they don’t want to work with that person. They want to stay as far away from them as possible instead of a rising tide. Raises all ships instead of them saying That’s awesome, keep working on it and them wanting to work with them and help them however they can. They don’t realize that that’s what’s gonna end up making them successful, someone else, possibly being successful. I think record labels tend to do this a lot as well. But the fact that I mean you guys, you’re on this show right now. You own a record label and you’re here talking about how to start a record label. And it’s because you know that someone’s not going to comment and take anything away for you. Get plenty and you’re going to continue to get plenty. And the best way to expand and grow is to give and help out other people that, yes,
and let me tell you something else. It’s even translated into unexpected business opportunities. Give me example, so we have the these this duo, these really great artists, low spot, today’s who are from Orlando and ah, those guys, they you know, they’ve been releasing with us and other labels they’re touring. I mean, there, there really successful up coming back and ah, you know, they approached us and said, Guys, we know you have a distribution arm because we do. We have ah, you know, we have our own answer to a CD baby or Destro Kid called No face distribution. Ah, and they said, Listen, we don’t want to distribute our music there, but we do want to start a record label and we don’t necessarily want to deal with distribution and certain other things. Do you think we could, um, you know, be a sub label of you guys are so well, you know, we don’t necessarily want a sub label because I don’t want to put anyone below us, but you can definitely be a part of this ecosystem. We basically made a deal with them where you know they’re literally in the process of launching their imprint, our teams helping them out. You know, there’s some fees being exchanged and everybody’s really happy. And that was so unexpected. And it literally came from a place of like you said, Just listen. Here’s there’s no secrets. Here’s all the information do what you will.
Yeah, and the I think that’s the one of the biggest philosophies. But behind the go giver mentality is the opportunities that come with it when you’re willing to help and give and someone becomes successful, maybe not directly because of your helping or giving. But it might be relatively a part of it. If that person becomes more successful than you, they’re going to remember what you did for them, and that’s gonna help you out. In turn, um, so let’s kind of let’s bridge over to another topic. I think that’s very important with a record labels, kind of part of like the base of it is the whole marketing and promotion side of a record label. Uh, what does that look like for no face? What tips can you get? Can you give to people who might want to start their own record level? But I think would also help out with producers just promoting their own music. Um, go if you want to kind of take the floor on that
so so couple things. So you need to see if a record is connecting or not. Okay, you can promote any record you can. You can put money into a record. You can put effort into a record, Um, but there’s a difference between let’s say, a ship with sails, that sailing where the wind is kind of blowing it and there’s momentum and where there’s not momento and you can push both of those. But those were different things, and that’s important for people to understand. Ah, like, for example, we have a record coming out in, ah, less than 10 days by a guy named No later. And you know Kreider has been supporting it. Other artists have been supporting it. Um, and you know, there’s just a lot of moment you can just see it. You can just see it. It’s not that we treated it differently. It’s not that anything happened. It’s just that record is clicking for whatever. People are liking that record a lot, which is awesome. And when you have a situation like that, that’s a really special situation because you know there’s already momentum, and then you start thinking and the thing is, we’re really careful about marketing, because often times with labels including US marketing, is recoup herbal. Okay, so meaning if if we’re going to spend 500 bucks, for example, on a record or X amount on a music video or whatever the case may be, that’s gonna be recoup herbal from the royalties. And we’re very careful about that because we don’t want to put you in a position. And as an artist, when you’re not making any money off your music for years to come, is so that’s something for people to really understand. Um and ah, But anyways, ah, going back to the marketing. I think there’s so many different types of marketing for artists, whether or not you’re on the label irrelevant. And the way to look at it is this, uh, who is your audience? Okay, so what I mean is Okay, let’s take the example of a producer who literally has no budget. They’re putting out tracks on soundcloud or destro kid or whatever the case may be or, ah, some sort of label. And they don’t have a budget here enough. Uh, there’s no problem. So if you have no budget, I would hope you have time. And if you have time, then you can do a few things. First of all, you can 23 weeks in advance, you can start working certain shows. Go on 1001 trackless dot com Start sending out your record additionally. Okay, give people a story within the story. So, for example, a very simple thing. We tell every artist. Make a tutorial video of how you made your record. That’s popular content. Get more people involved, create content around it, create ah little you know, video on tic tac, her instagram where you take the track. Do something funny around it, etcetera. When you really break down everything you can do to push a record. Even with no budget, you can create 235 10 times as much traction. And then, of course, if you have budgets, I mean the world’s your oyster. The thing is, you got to be careful again, because is that is a track connecting. But for example, if you don’t care and you have I don’t know of $500,000 I mean, I’m sure you and I could come up with all sorts of things. Okay, here’s a legit company that can push your Spotify. Here’s you to promotion, folks. Your submit hub. Here’s this year’s that and it’s all about. But I think the main thing is just don’t get lost. And what’s the budget? It’s is their budget or not? If there isn’t a budget, here’s what you do. If there is a budget, do all the free stuff and the paid stuff
right. I think testing is super important to, um even if you if whether you have a budget or not, let’s say you don’t have a budget, then you have so much free rein in what you contest in what you I mean, really just test anything at that point, especially if you’re a fairly young artist. If you’re self distributing, test everything, make tic Tac videos. How did those go? Do they do they do well know? If they did do a little bit? Well, how can you improve them? And then same would like. Maybe let’s see what a music video would do if you have someone. If you know someone who’s a videographer, who you can either trade services with or lend a helping hand or something like that. If you don’t have a budget, you know, come to some conclusion with them, but test out all sorts of different marketing tactics until you find what works and then same with a budget. If you have a budget, you want to be a little bit more careful with what you’re testing. But don’t be too constrained. Otherwise you might not see any results at all. And you won’t get any sort of test factors out of that. And you won’t know what. Actually,
that’s a really good point, which is, uh, you need you need a test. In other words, if you have, for example, 1000 bucks don’t put all of it and one thing testing tiny little increments. That’s a really good point. And, frankly, email marketing, which you mentioned earlier. Of course, if you have an email list and you’re one of those one of those folks Ah, I mean work on work on building it. It’s renewable.
Yeah, email list are I mean, a lot of people, though I was one of them a year ago. I was like email, marketing, email, markings, emails, debt Were you talking about? And then it and that had broken down for me. I realized Oh, yeah, people have had the same email for the last 10 years, and they’re gonna have the same email for the next 10 years, when Facebook’s dead. Instagram is dead, your followers are gone. But if you have that email of 20,000 people, that’s there. That’s not leaving unless they unsubscribe. And people don’t unsubscribe as often as people think. Um, and it’s a way to get directly in front of your audience that wants your content. So that’s something that a lot of producers should be investing. More timing. And if you’re needing, if you’re a producer needing to invest in your email marketing list, one that easiest ways to grow your email marketing lis, which is pretty much for how I do is offer a free sound pack. I have a free sound if you go to envious audio dot com slash sound pack. Yeah, you can go there and you can get a free sound pack from me. That’s 30 sounds for free just for signing up on my email list. And that’s I mean, I’m I’m sure all the producers listening here use serum, which is what my sound Pakistan, and I’m sure they all design their own sounds. If you spend a month designing a 30 sound sound pack you can offer that for free. Get people on your M O marking list. Throw $2 a day at social media ads. It goes quick. People want that kind of content. So, um, it’s easy to grow that stuff. If you take the time, you don’t take the time and test things out. When you’re testing adds to, I think what’s important is have a duplicate of the same ad. But then just change one thing at a time to see what works. Best change the headline. Whichever Headline works best, go to the next one. Test the text itself, test in image and kind of break it down till eventually. After a month or two, you’ll have a really solid ad that’s converting really, really well on that super easy to do with, like with tracks. You know, if you’re I think I think Spotify ads are really underrated for some artists. I don’t see a lot of producers implementing Spotify ads, and I think that could be a really, um, influential source for promoting a track. If you have yourself talking over your track leading into the drop. Hey, this is my new track coming out on September 10th and that’s two weeks away. Click the link below to go save the link and it goes into the drop. And you played 10 seconds of the drop zones already listening that music, they’re gonna be like, Oh, shit. Let me just click this, save this and then go back to the other playlist.
Have you ever tried running as Spotify ads for, uh, what you’re doing? Like, for example saying, Hey. Ah, here’s 30 sounds go grab them etcetera, etcetera like Does that work or No,
I haven’t tried that yet. I am about to. I’m actually about to shoot. I’ve got a I’ve got a good buddy of mine who’s just a fucking incredible video videographer who is gonna help me shoot a commercial. I’m gonna do like, a three minute commercial, but they’re going to be broken in tow one minute segments, But it’s gonna basically be all all one of my mixing mastering studio and kind of that stuff. And then part of the the other minute is going to be my sound pack. And I’ve got my buddy who’s actually making a track out of all the sounds right now and so he’s going to be featured in the ad and then I’m gonna do one for the podcast. So I’m planning on doing that. I’m gonna be running like the whole commercial on YouTube, the full three minute long commercial on YouTube. Because that’s where you know the video ads do really well there. And then I’m gonna break up like the sound pack. I think I’m just gonna take the audio, throw that on Spotify and test that out as well as the podcast. I’m hoping to do that in June, but I think there’s I think there’s opportunity there. I think there’s stuff that could, um I think it’s just cause people are already on the platform. So it’s so much easier for them to just click something on their phone or on their desktop and go directly to the same platform, just save something and then that, or like the podcast going in, subscribing and then going back to wherever they’re listening. Teoh, you
know what is speaking of what we’re talking about? The thing I think to understand as well is there are so many marketing channels. Yes, yes. Okay, there’s Facebook and instagram. But you just pointed out Spotify you can find in each site that’s specific to Brazil. You can use ad networks. There’s there’s influencer marketing. There’s tic Tac influencers. It’s just what’s important understand about this stuff is that when you really dive into it there so many opportunities and, yeah, you have to find those, you know, needles in the haystack. But there’s so much going on on the Internet, it’s discussed.
Yeah, it’s It’s really just about finding what works for you, because it not not one thing is gonna work exactly the same for the person next to you. And so you just gotta test it and work it. And it’s This is where a lot of people kind of go. They work at it for a month, and then they go and nothing’s working. Well, you didn’t invest enough time. You gotta really work at it for a solid six months, if not a year until you you break down into something that works. It’s just a lot of testing that you have to do. And yeah, like you said, there’s so many different marketing things that you could possibly do. It’s just a fact of finding where your target market is, and that’s where you might want to spend more time in doing that. Do you guys create any sort of customer avatars at all?
Customer avatars? We don’t We don’t do any customer avatars yet, but tomorrow’s in today’s.
Yeah, so that’s what um, I do. I do a new customer avatar about every six months or so kind of basing off of where I’m currently at and that anyone listening what that looks like is I. Basically, I make up a fake customer. I put a name on their their age what their income is, what their job is, what their goals are, what their dreams are and then, like places they’re hanging out at, and it gives you a good image and representation of who it is. You’re wanting to be involved, Let’s say, with a record label who you’re wanting to get signed onto the record label and then you figure out where these people are at. And that’s where you can kind of invest some more of your marketing, whether you’re wanting to get demos or if your target market audience you know people listening to this specific genre that you are putting out
we do do that. At least I do. And I You know, I’ve heard the term Ah, buyer.
yeah. No, especially You know what’s interesting? We did this exercise, Max and I maybe six months ago, and we did exactly what you’re talking about, which is when we were I guess we’re still in the early stages of this. But we you know, we looked at different people like, Hey, this person’s this age. This is maybe this kind of job that they have etcetera, etcetera. But I’ll tell you something really interesting. I find back then we were right about certain things. We were wrong about certain things. I find it interesting to do it first. Theoretically, when you don’t know. But the other thing that I would encourage a lot of people to dio whether you’re a producer and you have a fan base or your record label person or you’re mixing mastering, engineer, whatever pieces of the puzzle you are operating it Get on the phone with your audience, Okay? As much as humanly possible. Like, don’t don’t be afraid. There doesn’t need to be some wall in between you. You know, I’m literally on calls almost every day with with our people, whether they’re paying customers, whether their audience members, community members in the discourse, whatever the case may be, you’ve got to get to know those people because I can promise you you have all sorts of ideas about them. And the more you confront reality, the more they will challenge your ideas. And really and like
I agree 100%. I have people who, because we have, Ah, Facebook community for the podcast and I’ve got people in there who will disagree with some of the things I say and they’ll, they’ll actually will. They’ll make me challenge my thinking, and it’s, Ah, great exercises and it makes you realize, makes you think OK, maybe I am doing something wrong. Not wrong, I guess is the term. But maybe there’s something I could be doing to improving whatever it is, whether it’s your business model, whether it’s your personal influences or, you know, your it might even be based off of your own personal life. You know, I think why the though the one thing that comes to mind for producers is attitude towards things. I think a lot of producers can improve their attitudes towards situation specifically with posting on social media a lot that can kind of. I have got a lot of producers that I’m friends with on Facebook, but I’m not. Technically, I’m not personally friends with them, and I see them promoting tracks and they release really good stuff. But then they start going off about other people in the industry or how terrible their situation is, or their life or whatever in its it puts a bad stain on their image as a producer, and I know they’ve got a 5000 other people that they’re friends with that they’re not really friends with. They’re just people in the industry, and that could turn a lot of people off. And so I think it’s important to kind of check yourself when you’re when you aren’t doing that thing. When you’re not getting in front of people and getting your voice out there, Ah, in a positive way, you know. And a lot of that does have to do with interacting with your audience. If you’re not interacting with your audience and you create this wall, which I think a lot of producers tend to Dio, and then you start getting a fan base. But then they find out you’re making all these very personal. Maybe attacks isn’t the right world word, but you put bad taste in their mouth based off of what? The things you’re posting on. Social media. It can turn on you really, really quickly. And it it’s not fun when that happens at all. But it’s it’s important to challenge yourself, and you’re thinking there’s no better way to do that than to be talking to your audience about those kinds of things, you know?
Yes. And you know, I’ll give you two quick examples. So the audience, in a very direct way, change something that we did, which really, which is really awesome. So So we used to not reply to demos like a lot of labels. So we get a demo who was signed? Great welcome. It’s not then, you know, that’s that. We just figured, you know, we don’t have time when you keep going as quickly as possible, and then a number of people said, Yeah, but you know, we want to get an answer, blah blah, and we literally change it. So now, if you send an email? The devil is in no face records dot com. We’ll reply within two weeks and tell you yes, no, or even if there’s time a Maybe. Which means, look this good booty to change this bubble. What? And then the other thing I would say to your point about, you know, producers and, um, or artists in general and kind of their their attitude about social media. You know, the person who I really want to address in this conversation is these folks who say, Look, I got into this to be a musician, to be an artist, and I don’t want a post. I don’t want to do this social media stuff. I just want to be in the studio, blah, blah, blah. And here’s where I would challenge. If you really believe that 100% that you only want to be in the studio and you want to put it out music and you don’t want to be out in public, you might as well be a ghost producers, because your art will be out there. Your form of expression will be out there or, for example, do scoring there many roles for behind the scenes person where you don’t need social media in that way. Okay, But I don’t believe that because you’re taking these press shots and your deejaying here and there. You clearly love that Attention. Give me a break. Yep. And and all I would say is listen, just embrace that. I’m not saying you have to be Freddie Mercury, or you have to be Fisher, or you have to be some sort of larger than life persona if that’s not who you are. But, you know, like, like, listen, I’m on your podcast right now because I want to be out in public, okay? For a number of reasons. And you’re making this podcast because you want to be out in public The number of reasons If you are making music for the masses, you are obvious. The music industry is all about that. If if that’s not you, make music for your friends. Plan to guitar around a fire. I’m just saying, Guys, let’s be Let’s be real about this first.
Yeah, it’s Ah, Social media is an interesting one because you do have those people who are there on Oxy. They’re walking oxymoron where they say they don’t want it. I’m in it for the music. And I just want to make good music and release if I want a post involved Bob. But then they are doing like yours that make doing press shots, playing shows, doing all these things to be out in front of a crowd like we gotta figure out what you want, then because I don’t know if you know exactly what you want. Um, and that might cause some friction and some issues, uh, and that I just did a ghost production episode where that was Part of the thing that we’re talking about is if you want to be full time as a producer, but you don’t want to be out in front people ghost productions that you can make great money. You could make a great living off of ghost production so long as you’re good writer, you know how to produce a track. You can make a good living off of just writing music, sitting in your home, sitting in your studio doing that. But if you want to be out in front of people, you can hire a PR team like you can hire people who will post for you. But you have to accept that you have to pay the money for that. You can’t sit there and complain about it. So you got to really kind of figure out what you want to dio um, and take some soul searching. That’s but that and that just takes up more time. So if you’re not willing to wait and put in the time to figure that stuff out and you’re in too impatient, you’re gonna kind of be stuck in this loop in this hole that’s just going to drag you down the more and more either in it
it’s important to reflect from time to time, you know, And I’m a person who does take at least one day a week off. I tried you to usually ends up being one. But regardless, I think it’s important to reflect its important out family times. According Toa have friend time girlfriend all that stuff. But on the other hand, and I’m speaking from personal experience or somebody who was lost for using from quotes my life okay, intellectualizing makes you a very bitter person. Uh, who is busy analyzing things and so on versus if you just do, do do even if you’re in the fog and you don’t really know what’s going on. I mean, I feel like when you’re when you’re pursuing anything, it’s just a combination of being lost. And then you sort of power through it. And then you found again and it’s all about doing and you learn by doing rather than intellectualizing too much,
right? Right, right. Yeah, I totally agree. So real quick to I, the the other top. I mentioned something before we lost connection I was getting into, I think what I was talking about the customer avatar stuff. Let’s say you’re looking at your listener, creating customer avatar for your listener and based off of what genre they listen to no face. You guys seem to be releasing a lot of base house electro style stuff. But you guys haven’t always released that. It seems like you guys kind of released somewhat of a plethora of different genres. If someone starting their own record label now, obviously they’re gonna be a sub label under a different, you know, a larger record label. I’m sure that label has some saying what you’re gonna be releasing, but um, let’s say you’re just starting an independent record label. Do you recommend that someone releases one John or they niche down for a while until they get bigger and they can kind of spread out? Or should they just release whatever is good,
huh? That’s a good question. Um ah. Probably for most people, I would say, definitely pick some sort of niche just because it will make it easier for you to build connections there. Get to know that world that’s like every culture and subculture has certain influencers or another people. There’s a lot going on, and that is a wayto really focus you, and that is good advice. On the flip side, I would say it. It depends on your situation and where you’re coming from a swell. So, for example, if you just have access to tons and tons of music or I don’t know you have, there’s a reason. Sure, Then do it like I’ll give an example. So we started as a house label. We were very much a house like very much progressive house like, you know, which is Max’s background, big room and all of that. And then one day there was there was no ah, logic.
No meeting. There was nothing. We just
one day we said, wait a minute. But we’ve been doing this for 10/10 years, okay? The same. And we we feel like we know the players. Okay, so so you you name me somebody in the house and through one or two degrees, we probably know each other. And so and then we thought, Well, in the in the case of this label, and it’s a very long term play, I have to tell you, Um ah, we just felt like, Look, there’s no there’s no nobody has a monopoly on what we call fight. Right? So there could be fired tracks which were trance, which you’re trapped with. Your rhythm, which your house, which are hard style, which are a lot of things. Techno. And so we started signing, of course. Still in the house direction, but also a lot of that other stuff, like we’re just we’re getting ready to put out a first hard stop track, which I’m really kind about. Okay. And, um, s O but, you know, that was a conscious effort. And here’s the other thing. Max and I So everyone listening understands we were business partners in in other things, uh, after sort of getting to a certain level in music, like we started investing in real estate and other things. So we just came into this label thing in in a position where it’s it’s not that we’re we have yachts and Ferraris or anything, but we’re not working to make a patriot, okay? And that allows us to take a really, really long term view. And and so part of the reason why we’re signing hard style is because we’ve decided we want to give up coming hard style folks a chance. And we really want to build bridges and get to know the hard style world. Okay? And it may take years to do that. And and and the other thing is so So I guess what I’m saying is, I’m coming to this as a person who has committed at least 10 years of his life on Jan. 2030 I will be doing this. Yes, you know, and and if But on the other hand, if you’re trying to grow something where you’re trying to make, you know ends, meet right now, or grow something in the very short term. There’s a huge difference between Look, I’m trying to do something in the next year versus I’m trying to do something in the next decade.
I think that is a huge distinction that a lot of people need to make and understand. Same with me. I started my studio in 2018 and I I knew going into it. I was like, OK, this is something I’m gonna have to work at. This is, like, for a while, and I might have to accept that it’s gonna be tough taking a paycheck. Um, we’re taking any money just out of the business. Most of my almost every penny I make just immediately gets invested in the business, and it’s been going like that for two years now. And I understand it’s probably going to be five if not closer to 10 years before I’m actually making a livable wage just off of everything I’m doing. But that’s just what it takes, if you again. If you can accept that, it’s gonna take a while for you while you’re working hard at something. Um, then you’re born likely going to be successful at it. It’s just the time aspect. So many people are impatient and they want in a year or two. They want something so short term. But they don’t realize that. Dude, I think a lot of producers don’t realize a lot of their idols who kind of just start making it big. They’re pushing 30 if not their mid thirties, and they don’t realize that they’ve been working at it since they were 15 16 20 years old. So if you’re 20 years old listening to this and you’ve been producing for two years and you think you’re going to get something when you’re 24 understand, you’re probably not going to get something till you’re 28 or close to 30. But if you’re working at it as hard as you’re working on it by time you’re 30. You might have something. It’s just a matter of accepting that you had it. You got to take the time and invest the time and, um, it just fucking work hard again. Part of this podcast is just teaching. Producers had to go full time and the ways that they can do it the way that they can make money. Other than being a touring artists because it’s it’s so rare and so