Hey, guys. Welcome to electronic dance money. You’re number one business resource for making money as electronic musicians and producers. All right, what’s up, everyone? Welcome back to a brand new episode of electronic dance money. This is Episode eight and today is gonna be an awesome episode. My guest is Adam Rife Steck. He is. Oh, I would say you’re probably a, um very much so. A ah group guru in artist development, which is Ah, I think that’s where it’s actually talking on the phone the other night. And it’s something that’s kind of dismissed by a lot of producers. And I would say a lot of record labels as well. Um, which is, I idea. That’s, I think, a big part of If you want to be a full time producer, especially touring artists, you gotta go through the artist development phase. You got again to branding, I think branding, branding. Actually, that’s the third. I think it was the third episode I did on this podcast, and that so far has been I mean, that one continuously gets more and more plays than anything else. So I think producers are interested, but I don’t know if they know where to go or what? Step to take your heavily involved with artist development in with techno phonic, which will get a little bit more into techno phonic on just a little bit. But let’s go back into your background a little bit and back up a few years because you’ve been involved in electron music. For how long? Now,
g is if you if you count college, I guess. Ah, well, even before that, I guess some had my first synthesizer when I was 16 years old. So I guess, um, yeah, over 20 years now. So
yeah. So you’ve seen it. You’ve seen it all. You’ve I mean, you’ve been then there from almost Were you there in the late nineties. That whole underground rave culture? Seems you
know, I actually didn’t rave. I did What didn’t get I wasn’t let out a house. I was kind of like a good ah, good kid. Or at least my parents sort of kept the reins on that. And in college, you know, it was funny because my undergrads in music technology So I was doing really getting to synthesizers and stuff when I was in high school. And so I kind of led me to go for a degree in music technology from Do Kean University in Pittsburgh. So when I was was there, I was getting really into sound recording and sound design and that sort of thing kind of finding a way to combine both my classical training as a pianist with electronic music. So is in, like, electro acoustic Aziz a call it bans. So we kind of combined like Elektronik music with classical instruments. So it wasn’t necessarily like dance music, but I was actually I was going to clubs and stuff, too, when I was in college. So that’s kind of where I really you know, that was kind of my my background and wanted to find a way into corporate’s dance music with classical music. And then that was kind of shunned upon in ah, at school. So So I was still kind of experimenting with reason the early days of Able Tin and with reason. So on my own side projects and stuff like that. And when I went, Teoh did my masters in and I went full on classical music and did composition. So then, after I graduated and I moved to New York City and I was determined to start my career in classical music and as a composer. It’s interesting, I think, as, ah, career in music. It’s kind of takes you all over the place really was actually still doing some recording. And I was actually kind of like a D I Y artist in a in a sense, like I was incorporating electron ICS with my classical music and I was recording as well. So then I started to get gigs with some ensembles and just doing more as the recording engineer so started to do that kind of stuff. And then I was still kind of figuring out a way how I can, like bridge the gap between the two and then, um, you know, it’s still going to the under underground club scene here in New York really had a passion for that and that type of music. So it was. It was, Ah, I was kind of determined. Then I kind of reopened able tune and said, I’m gonna like, kind of start doing more dance type music.
Did you find yourself going to like the trance seen coming from the orchestral Yep. I would have seen especially like, late nineties. Early two thousands, like those were That was the trance heydays. Lots of violins and orchestral instruments. Orchestral instruments. Yeah. I mean, I didn’t interrupt. I know that’s where you would just immediately be drawn to.
Yeah, I guess I’m I guess I would be a trance music producer. I mean, that’s kind of most. My stuff is kind of heavily influenced by trance. Um, you know, there’s still some more like that. I d m kind of, um, weird stuff in there to ah, with my own music. So I wanted to go all in and produce and stuff. So, you know, this was probably, like, 12 4013 where I really started to dive in back into a built in and started producing my own music. So I kind of I guess there was really the only option that you really had was is to get your music out there. Um, really. I mean, you know, I was kind of releasing it on some, you know, soundcloud and stuff and got a little bit attraction, but really not not much, you know, visibility. So, you know, my artist friends, that, um, you know, I was networking with and meeting and talking to other DJs and they’re saying, Well, you just have to have to d j You have to get out there and start performing. So I was like, Okay, um, s u s. So I I did that and I well, and I kind of did a few gigs and, you know, I could kind of pull it off for a little bit, but just it just wasn’t my thing. And, um, so, you know, I got together with some producer friends and said, You know, I’m kind of, you know, more of the have the audio engineering background in the mastering and stuff, So let me just master your tracks and stuff like that, and then Ah, so I did that, and then I was like, Well, well, how are we gonna get these out? We’re going to shop them to labels and stuff like that. And so we were shopping, you know, they were trying to get signed to two different dance labels, and I was trying to get signed a different dance labels, and I actually had a really big deal, which I can’t talk about because this is another thing that we kind of get into in kind of my trajectory of anti label is that, you know, I got picked up by a pretty well known label and we were doing this. They’re gonna do whole project. And then as most things happen, something else happens and you get dropped by the label. So I got dropped, my project got dropped and that will never see the light of day. And I signed one of those lovely contract things where it’s called an nd a or a non disclosure agreement. So, um so, yeah, I’m kind of being vague about it, but unfortunately, can’t really reveal too much on that. But but So I was like, you know, I was like saying so to my friends. You know, I had this this thing happened in like and they weren’t having trouble getting signs. I was like, Why don’t I just start a label? Can’t be that hard, Right? So in 2015 I started technophobic recordings, and Ah, Since then, we’ve had over 250 releases, many of which have charted in the B port top 100 you know, racking up thousands of plays across streaming services. So, yeah, it was pretty successful in that, in that sense as a record label can be these days, I mean, with everything going to streaming services, it’s certainly, um, you know, with being a small boutique label, you kind of have to do other different things. Eso I mean most. My income as a producer is now just with mastering and now with artists coaching. So that kind of it was interesting because now let let into the artist coaching and kind of this concept of artist development, I guess kind of be began, like 1/2 a century ago with, you know, departments of record labels would be dedicated, you know, to cultivating artists. And, you know, when branding and it would be in their in their contracts where they would, you know, you’d have an A and R rep kind of scout talent, and then they’d pick him up. Part of the contract was is that they had kind of developed their brand, and there I dent artistic identity, identity and how they’re going to sell their music and their product in that sort of thing. kind of became later known as the 3 60 Deal. So 3 60 deal is essentially what most the major labels offer. The artist is that they’ll take a percentage of everything, basically, hence 36 days. So it would be publishing, touring merchandise, the actual record sales and that sort of things. All your major artists are kind of in that 3 60 Deal model, which is terrible for artists. It’s bad deal for artists, so but now we’re kind of in this some D I y you know, do it yourself world with the Internet, and I think with streaming services and the cost of technology, and they’re like because I started my officially kind of started my professional career when iTunes hit the market, right? So OK, so that was when everything went to hell, right? So, um, and things just started changing dramatically. And hence why Labels don’t really make money these days, and they’re kind of doing more and more of these 3 60 deals, especially in electronic music when I got back into electronic music, really like labels like Monster Cat, some of these other other ones that are more artist friendly were starting to pop up around 11 4012 where, you know, they would do non exclusive agreements where they would sign individual tracks. Ah, in kind of help promote artists, record labels can’t can now long no longer invest in artist development. So when you’re approaching labels, they expect now that you have your shit together that you have ah, following that you have you know, you’re right brand identity. And, ah, you know, it’s not just your music. They’re not signing you just for your music. They want to know that you can, you know, sell that it’s gonna sell. So there’s more to it than just the music. And I think kind of starting techno phonic and realizing this when the artists were coming here to the label and they were sad at the at the results of the of the label, like we the artists that do better on the labour, other ones that are, you know, out there looking for other opportunities. I mean, um, techno phonic was getting, you know, um, you know, helping with promotion a little bit of promotion here and there. But it’s really Ah, now it has to be a collaborative effort because labels just don’t have the money to invest in artists anymore. So, um, it’s more of, Ah, collaborative process now. So the artists that, um, weren’t it releases that weren’t as successful The artists were coming to the label and expecting the label to do everything, and that’s just not how it works anymore. Um, so I was seeing this this gap where there was a lot of knowledge out there with, um with ah with production in There’s tons of online schools and stuff to actually learn production. But nobody’s really teaching like the career aspect or the artist development. And there’s still this myth that a label or a manager will do this for you. And that’s just not simply that true. A lot of the artist development is now either on the responsibility of the artists or to kind of learn themselves. If they sign with a manager, some depending on the manager, you sign with some some managers air now taking on that artist development, that career development thing now that the record labels used to dio, but not but not all managers will do that. So, um, it’s finding, you know If if you don’t want to do it, do it yourself. That that’s that’s the thing you have to. I mean, do it, do it yourself these days at least to get to the point where you can get a manager that is going that it’s gonna be worth it, because you’re gonna have to give give up at least 20% of of everything that you make with a manager. So that’s kind of where the trajectory of techno phonic over the last year is kind of, you know, seeing this this knowledge gap between okay, you know how to produce great music. But then how do you get to the next step in? How do you turn it into, ah, career? And you know, there’s a lot of bad advice out there on the Net. So you’re kind of left to trying reading blog’s or, you know, there’s there’s, ah, good podcasts out there like this one that but they’re now just starting to crop up. I mean, this is kind of like a new thing where I think we’re getting to the point where we’re oversaturated in. Ah, well, you know, there’s 40,000 tracks that are released every single day on the streaming services. Yeah. So how do you stand out? And that was kind of the precipitous of with techno. Phonic is kind of I was doing this on a one on one coaching level with artists, and then So I kind of opened up the platform and kind of wanted to build this artist development community where artists can come and share ideas as well as professionals. So I invite professionals into, you know, do interviews and stuff into sort of map live master classes. I mean, the tech technology that we have now available, you know, um, podcasts are great, but, um, you know, I think webinars to is super helpful. Toe have like, these video format is huge. So he his was interesting. I was talking to somebody the other day like I’ve been in New York now. I just hit past 10 years, so I guess I’m now. I’m a New Yorker, and I’m I’m
gonna You have the stamp of real? Yeah. If you can make it here, you
can make it anywhere, right? But you know, I when I first moved Teoh after I graduated, I was like everybody else. It’s like, where do you go? You either go to L. A or New York and l A wasn’t my thing. And, um, at least at the time, I had a safety net. Where if I failed, my parents were living in New Jersey at the time. Now, now they actually moved to North Carolina. I’m self sufficient at this point, so I don’t really
need them, but yeah, yeah, but
ah, yeah. I mean, like, at that time. So I did decide. Well, you know, l a wasn’t really, you know, an option. So New York is the next hub, right? So, um, but now we’re live in the Internet age where you don’t really need to be in New York, But I don’t discredit um, you know, moving to New York. This was, like, kind of the best decision, in a way, because I had opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Um, but not everybody is cut out for big city life. And, um, that doesn’t mean then you won’t have a career. So But also, you need to figure out where you confined resource is that will help you develop, do that kind of, You know, there’s do the artist development because now you know it’s up to you as artists to kind of figure that out. And, um, you need help from somebody. So that was kind of the precipitous for techno phonic and kind of opening it up as more of an artist development community beyond just just a label. The
mission statement behind Techno Phonic is so great, and I think that’s really evolves and develops from the Creator yourself. You’ve gone through all these different stages through music. I think everyone kind of follows thes. Same life stages through their career. Some of them It happens a lot quicker, and they have a lot live success very shortly. It’s where you’ll see artists go from nobody to someone in five years and they’re very young. They just blow up. And I feel like a lot of that does have to do with the kind of network that they have in place, or they they meet just the right people, and they are able to kind of build a team from the ground up. Would you say that has a lot to do with artists development? As far as like, producers kind of taking this role on for themselves. Do you think diversifying their team in all these different aspects where? Okay, I’ve got a good team for promotion. I’ve got someone who can do all my maybe I even do all my branding but can make all of my cover photos take photos of me. Take those of being shows. Like, do you think that building this sort of team really enhances a producer and makes them stand out from the rest and can really up their artist development?
Absolutely. I mean, um, I think a lot of producers don’t have the finances or the ability to to do that. And I think more and more you’re going to see just because of the nature of streaming. Um, you’re going to see if people do it. Artist development. With you there, they’re more. They’re gonna be asking for more like, ah, you know, percentage like an artist manager, for example, would do 20%. So then, you know, it’s like, how many people do you get involved until the point where maybe you don’t get anything right? So there’s a danger in that, too. So I think it’s just yet is finding the right team. It does take a village. And if you wanna be a producer, artists and be a performer as well. Um, yeah, definitely does take a village to make that happen in having a bunch different team behind you. But that’s not necessarily, you know, ah. Requirement to If you do have, like, kind of the entrepreneurial spirit, then it becomes more of a question of a time management thing than than anything Yes, else. And so So yeah, I guess. Ah, and and I guess that would be my advice to you is like, I definitely see that, you know, for my career trajectory, I didn’t want to be a performer, so and I was more of an entrepreneur wanting to do my own thing and and do it my way. But, you know, I still have helped from coaches and mentors along it, but, um, the thing is, is that is that if you know, with getting it’s the right team kind of have to build it over time. It’s not like he has kind of go out and say, OK, I’m gonna find a manager. I’m gonna find ah, social media expert. I’m going to do you know the Do all that And I’m going to, um you hire an agent and then do that. Like, I think you kind of need to do that over time. And sort of
I think a lot of those people find you to exact happens naturally, if you force it and go out looking for someone that doesn’t like the time, you’re going to get someone that you really don’t want to be involved with, their either shady or they just don’t do what they say they’re going to do,
right? Yeah. And then you have hear stories. You know, with, um, all the time about artists getting screwed over by their managers and or even the labels like, um, I don’t know what you can edit this out. But, Martin, I don’t know if it’s something we can talk about, but it’s only clerics was spinning a few years ago, and I think there’s still this kind of myth that, especially in Elektronik music, I think is that you get signed to a label, and then suddenly your career takes off, and that’s just not how it works. Your music isn’t enough. Um, and I think what you’re seeing what? Um a lot of aspiring producers see only like the 1% like the Martin Garics in the, you know, the marshmallow and the big, big time. But they’ve had, like, a long time leading up to that point.
So yeah. Ah, the iceberg lettuce iceberg. Exactly. Just see that peak. But her is There’s so much more that was involved before because it seemed like Martin Garics blew up overnight. You just really didn’t see what he was for the four years leading up to that five years leading
up to that. And that was the other thing, too. Is like getting the right team cause been and really did take him for a ride and not having that education. Ah, and that’s kind of where techno phonic comes in now, where we’re kind of positioning ourselves as like, um, you know, I I’ve gotten screwed over in my career over the past 15 years, many times, and I don’t want artists to repeat the same mistakes. So, um, you know, cause it it is, you know, it is tough. This industry is can be really cutthroat, But if you kind of educate yourself on the business side. Um, you know, it’s it’s super important, and you can actually get to where you wanna go faster. If you kind of, you know, open yourself up to learning opportunities and listen to podcasts like this
or right, Um, yeah, I think I I think there’s this shift in the industry that I’ve seen just within the past two years where a lot of producers are moving into this educational realm. Um, and a lot of a lot of big producers in the scene are actually creating courses to help develop with that sort of thing. Um, now I want to just kind of give a nice Ruff definition of what artist development is. It’s four producers because, you know, they’re hearing us talk about this thing called artist development. It can be a blanket statement, you know, Obviously, I think a lot of it has to do with branding social media presence, so it’s kind of everything outside of the actual production in releasing a musical, I mean, you could even consider releasing music as part of the Els artist development phase, especially with promotion.
Yeah, so I guess it’s it. It basically is like, um, it’s sort of like I guess artist development is is the equivalent of a business plan, right? Yeah. Here. If you’re running ah, business and all businesses kind of have to have a business plan like Mark mark out your goals and you’re kind of your objectives and stuff like that. And then if you’re doing it yourself, it’s kind of like daily practice, for example, like practicing in your dog, creating and recording the music, you know, growing your fan base and developing your image online and handling all the business and the paperwork and stuff because face it, your your content creators. So you’re a business. Um, so you’re in the business of of creating content, entertainment and entertainment. So you kind of have to think of yourself as a business and, ah, you know, and it’s a weird concept. It kind of took me a while to kind of wrap my head around that it’s like, but I’m a person, you know? How does
that an entrance is at work?
Not an end, But you really kind of have to step, if especially if you’re doing it yourself. And you don’t have like, um, um manager or a mentor or you’re just starting out your best friend or something or your girlfriend or boyfriend. You know, although I don’t recommend dating other musicians, I’m that made that decision early on. Um,
so I’ve seen it get rough. I have to be very successful. And then I’ve also seen end in divorce.
Exactly. So so, Yeah. I mean, it can work, but ah, but needless to say, like you either have two options doing yourself. Forget help from and start finding people that you connect with. And that’s why we’re seeing a lot of these artists collectives popping up a lot. Um, because I think, Ah, you know, I love the saying it’s so cliche, but a rising tide lifts all boats. Um, but if you’re if you I think the important thing even being an entrepreneur and doing a lot of the stuff yourself, you’re still networking and collaborating with people. But, you know, you’re kind of handling the business aspect, like the finances and like, I mean, at the end of the day, you were responsible for yourself, right? So, yeah, it takes a lot of discipline. And I think if you’re really passionate about this, you have to kind of sit down and, like, be very disciplined. And, um yeah, I guess that’s kind of for me. Um, I don’t really need somebody to be to kind of tell me when I need to work. Sometimes I need, like, my partner to tell me when I need to stop working.
But yes, Yeah, I I think that is. That’s it. For producers, a lot of time to is like they don’t need to be told window, work it more when you need to stop working on it. Also kind of the time management. A lot of time producers have absolutely no thought into time management how they need to manage their time. And so they end up working on things that don’t really help them in the end, um, or just end up wasting time thinking that they’re actually doing something beneficial.
Yeah. And that’s why I think it’s so important to find a community, um, of like minded artists. And ah, I think there’s kind of this. Ah ah, there’s this might as a kind of It’s a little I think people need to kind of get over themselves, to be honest, because I think we’re not really competitors, cause if you think about it and this kind of goes back Teoh, your branding and all that kind of stuff, like like, really, we’re not in competition because your music doesn’t sound is not exactly this unless year, Like trying to copy somebody in, like ripping, ripping off loops and star, you know, Ah, and not adding your own creative twist to it. What you’re doing is completely different from someone else. Your story is totally different, and that’s what I talk about. The three components of a successful brand is obviously the music, and then it’s, ah, your story and then who you’re trying to reach. So when you have all those three things working and you can’t have one without the other, that’s when the magic happens. And, yeah, and that’s kind of what you have tow strive for. And it is. It is a balancing act, and, uh, especially in this d I y culture that we live in. So
I really like that. That’s, um, that’s a perfect way to sum up how artists should be looking at. Branding is to What’s your story? Who are you trying to reach and what was the 3rd 1? And obviously the music. Yeah, the music. Okay, I guess that’s probably one of the main ones. That one’s easy. I mean, right? Yes, you. You
already have the music. Now you have to kind of tell your story. And I think I think a lot of people kind of confused. What a brand is is like a brand is not your logo. It’s not your website. Those air your assets or like, things that make up your brand. The brand is another way of thinking like who you are. I think in many ways it’s almost easier for musicians and artists to, you know, they I think they over think the concept of a brand. It’s like You just need to tell your story and tell it in an engaging way. And it’s not just your music. I’m sorry to say, Like, I think people realize what, if any, anybody has put a track out there on Soundcloud and they get maybe five or six plays? No, that just throwing it up on soundcloud doesn’t mean anything. Um, maybe you like your mother and maybe three of your friends. Um, yeah, and it really comes down to being able to tell the story, especially in the age of social media. I mean, people are addicted to their phones and, you know, in social media can be really negative. And we’ve seen the effects of that. But it’s also can be a great way for artists tell their story did. And I think I talk about a lot about this with my artists. There’s this, ah, mindset that artists have Is that why they don’t kind of document their journey? And I think creators need it document their journey. I mean, we’re all
like, Have you seen? Do you fall? Gary V. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean that he is recording everything he’s doing and because that he has so much content their his story not and what he now everything he’s doing, obviously you can go overboard, but yeah, yeah,
um, but it’s finding that happy balance. But I think why, um, s o I guess I kind of thought about this the other day. Like, why don’t most creators actually document their creative journey and and there’s I kind of boiled down to, like, four different things. One is they don’t have time to. They don’t have the means to do so. Three their private people and don’t want to share things publicly or four. Ah, they don’t know why they should be doing it. And I think the 1st 3 are actually excuses. Um, so you can kind of get over that. But the fourth thing is why? I don’t know why they’re doing it like, why is how could this be useful to their careers? And I think when you create a content, whether it’s like doing a live stream in your dog or something like that for other producers, you have to think about who you’re creating this content for. And that’s where you can be mindful of the content that you’re creating and I like, And I think the big thing is that it has to be authentic. Um, you can’t just go out there and say like, you know, I’m gonna do a cooking show like Marshmallow has a cooking show. Now, um, it so a like. But that it, like, is not That’s him. That’s him. So you have to if you if you suck at cooking, don’t do a cooking show, you know, I know it sounds like we’re getting away from the music, but let’s be honest. I mean, like, really like it’s it’s the longevity ends up being the meat. I mean, obviously your music has to be top notch in Awesome. Otherwise, you know, you can have Ah, very interesting brand. But if you’re music sucks, it’s not gonna work and then vice versa. You know, if your music’s awesome, if your brand sucks and you know
it’s not gonna last Yes, Not gonna or you’re just not gonna ever pick up. That’s on you, dude. I’ve seen countless producers who are just the writing. Unbelievable music. Their production is unreal. They’re mixing is amazing And sometimes a remastering is even great. And you wonder, why do you only have 500 followers? Or if that why don’t Why do you only have ah 100 listeners a month? And a lot of it has to do because that there there aren’t telling a story there in telling me this is one thing why I love albums and I wish albums weren’t a dying breed. Ah, and I think with streaming it’s just a lot of a lot more people are putting out singles But the thing about streaming is if you can make a shorter song, you’re more likely to get a full play through with that. Um and I mean, you songs are getting shorter. Actually, just read an article on this. Songs have consistently getting are consistently getting shorter and shorter. That’s obviously a lot because of radio play, but a lot because of streaming. Now, if you can get all the sections in in a shorter time frame, you’re going to keep people more engaged because our our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. If you can write an album, that’s only shit 30 40 minutes long. That’s got 10 15 tracks in it. They’re all about 2.5 minutes each. You can tell a good story in that, and that’s it’s reason why, like Cosmic Gate, one of my favorite artists. Same with, um, the glitch Mob. These are artists who don’t put out a lot of singles there, mostly album based artists and their fucking huge and I mean, you look at the glitch mob. They don’t have hundreds of releases. They I think they might be under 50. If that they might have a little bit more than that, but a majority of their stuffer from albums and extended E. P s. There’s a reason why they have such big following, and people are so engaged and entertained by them. And like if you find a glitch mob fan, they’ve listened all their albums 10 times, and it’s because there their albums, they just go through this amazing story and you could just you could hear that story within the music and that is so important that you can’t really convey that through a single track. You can convey that through, Ah, like a deejay set. I think deejay sets convey be pretty beneficial to artists, but not as much as albums can. And a lot of albums can be mixed in so they can be 45 minutes and you know the tracks air going in but in and out of each other. But you can. I mean, you can convey an entire story through an album, especially one with original vocals as well.
Yeah, in a glad you brought up that ah concept of songs getting shorter and how streaming services are kind of dictating the evolution of music in a way I mean, I read an article on that. I can’t remember which one. I mean, we may have even read the same one, but I was I was thinking to myself, It’s like, yes and no, because I feel like, um so, Like So I think what would produce if you’re listening this as as a producer, that’s just starting out. And and you hear conflicting things where people are like, be true to yourself, you know, create content that you want to and don’t worry about what other people think and stuff. Yeah, that’s part of it. But you have to kind of There’s
a fine line. You gotta walk. It’s it’s eh need such a fine line.
And I go back to this this concept of a content creator, cause that’s what you are is, you know, and with the way the streaming is is like if you you condone, would actually think a lot of artists successful artists are doing now is creating songs just for streaming right. Eso eso. That kind of is kind of like your entry point with building your fan base like getting noticed on some some big playlists with a shorter song people start, uh, you know, seeing you know, listening your music and then start checking you out and start following you and then kind of developing, you know, into fans. Because because I think that’s kind of like your entry point to developing fans. So then you can save the more interesting stuff for your fans and then people that are actually supportive of you and who you are in your story and and then you can do, like longer albums and more longer tracks and release just for your fans. So if you have, if you have like I like to say, like you don’t this There’s this mindset with the music industry where you have to reach everybody, but you really don’t. I mean, if you have a core group of, let’s say, um, if you get 500 people to spend $100 on you per year, you know that’s $50,000 if you can get it’s like the There’s like a famous blogger article about the 1000 true fans or something like that a couple of years ago, where you know, if you get 1000 people to spend 100 bucks on you a year. I mean, that’s a you know, six figures now, so yeah, it really everybody take. Yeah. Doesn’t take a lot. You don’t have to be famous, actually.
Make you just need dedicated fans. Yeah, there’s Do, you know, have you? I think his name’s Chris Greenwood. Have you ever heard of him? Ah, yeah. Is
that I’ve seen? I think I’ve seen as ads floating around.
He he does. Um hey. Works with a lot of producers and musicians. Kind of. I’m not sure if he focuses on, like, singer songwriter people. He has an e book, though, that I got that was about how to chart in billboard and how he started out as an artist. He figured he unlocked the secret, which I’m dying to get on my podcast. I’d get it. I’m going to slowly start reaching out to him and try to get him on the show, because he I mean, I’m a part of his ah, email marketing. This is newsletter, and he’s shares so much content on their for artists. He figured out how to do kind of what you’re talking about, but through crowdfunding. So he crowd funds all of his albums, and ever since he started, he started crowd funding, his first album charted in the Top 100 on Billboard. And so this whole e book is about how to chart on Billboard, and it’s all about you know, if you create these products for fans to purchase, and you can use that to fund your album there already, Mawr engage with your content. They put money on you. They’ve invested in you. So when the album comes time to release their way more willing to stream it, share it and buy it. And that’s how you can get if you could get 1000 people there dedicated to do that, they have all spent 20 bucks 25 bucks. All six of his albums have charted on Billboard from doing this process.
Yeah, in the key, though, to that is making sure your music is registered with sound Scan. Because if you do a crowdfunding campaign and people are in your prodigious press like a bunch of this, a bunch of CDs, um, you have to get that you have to register that with sound scan. A lot of distributors don’t you know, actually, don’t do that So I think CD Baby actually, does they in district kid? I don’t think does, um, But you can actually register yourself. You just go to Nielsen’s website and ah, that runs the sounds gabber. I forget what the website is after my head, which is
also ill put in the in the show notes for people.
Yeah, just Google Sound Scan, because if you’re red and you can, it’s free to register your music on sound scan. But that’s how you get charted on Billboard cause they’re they’re using that. So So, yeah. I mean, it really isn’t that hard, I think, especially in classical music, I think,
yeah, it’s even even easier to get charted. Yeah, because it
doesn’t really take much. Teoh Get on Billboard as a classical musician these days, so but that’s enough. Another story for a different podcast.
Have you know having your core fan base is huge. You see a lot of these producers who have hundreds of thousands of likes and follows and, you know, large majority. Those I guarantee are purchased, likes and follows from 10 years ago when every promoter record label thought we need to buy all of your like. So it looks like you have a large following to get you on these festivals And what not, which is that? I mean, buying likes and follows is a bad idea. Now, in my opinion, it just doesn’t get you anywhere. You have. People have expectations for you as soon as they see a big number. Um, and it almost never follows through.
Yeah, And with that I don’t I mean, eso there’s ah, you know, there’s ah other I’m seen recently. Don’t get sucked up, um, into like, some of these courses, that for musicians, where it says, you know, get Penny likes, you know, And you know, you can you can Actually, it’s pretty easy to run through up a Facebook ad and what they basically teach in some of these courses for musicians. Is that you? You do you basically target, um, countries that you know have the very low cost for Facebook ads. So So, like, if you target India, for example, you can get a tunnel likes for like under a penny or something like that, which is a complete waste of money at the in the long run, because those people aren’t engaging with you, I think promoters especially. And I I know a lot of promoters. They’re not looking at how many likes you have. Um, they’re looking at engagement. So if they see an artist with 100,000 likes on their Facebook page, But there’s like, no engages to comment in a couple laughs. Yeah, then and then. But then there’s a producer that has, like, maybe 1000 or even 5000 but it’s ton of engagement. They’re gonna book that artists over the other artist any it hands down because they know they can have. They have engagement, and people are following them. So not just following. You know, actually, engagement is where where it’s at now, so Well, um, yeah. What
now? Sorry, I Let’s transition. I want transition really quick over to, um, more on the record label side of things. I know. I think you and I are both in agreement, cause this is something I tell clients all the time. Like, you know, I think self distribution might be good route if you can build the right team for promotion. If you can get enough people to share your music, um, and get people to add your tracks to playlists. You’re in the right direction with self distribution because you’re getting all of the all the money for that, plus all that it benefits of having fans. However, I think some record labels still play a vital role. The right ones, I should say, like Monster Cat, I think, is a phenomenal record label. I think they’re doing all the right things. They’re innovating. But, um, you know, with that record labels air shying away from artists development deals. But I do think there are still some that do sign like I’m sure there are big ones. Like if if Warner Bro’s Season Artists where they’re like we can do a lot with this person, Um, let’s take him under our wing and do art all ours and with artist development deals, producers if you don’t know what those are, basically, you sign all the rights to your music away. You have to create a certain amount of music for them. The record label gets all of the payment for it, but they set up an artist development Dear deal, where they’re basically going to make you famous for all of the rights to your music so you can have toe way whether or not you want that. What do you think of those? Do you think they’re hard benefits to it? Especially if you can get out when you’re at your peak. What do you I mean, what are your thoughts on that?
Well, I mean, because I got, you know, got dropped by one. I kind of maybe have a different perspective on it, but, um, I guess it really depends on what your goal is. Right. Um, if you want to be famous, um, yeah, it’s gonna take. You’re gonna have to give up a lot. Um, but if you want to make a comfortable living and have a core group of fans and you know, you keep the rights to your music If fame is an important to you, you can, you know, keep the rights. I wouldn’t, um, sign away your rights if you’re want to give up the creative control. I mean, um, you don’t have to with the way it Internet is, um, it is. Does take a lot of you. Kind of have to be a certain person. You have to have that Munch. Um, I like the I like the term music pin your which is ah, entrepreneur. But you have to think like an entrepreneur Where you, um you know, see these these opportunities and ah, go for them. But at the end of the day, you have to make sure that you’re not getting screwed. Um, So if if if you you know you can build like friends, I think marshmallows kind of like an awesome example of, like, the way to you do it most of his music, you know, you can you if you regardless of whether or not you like his music is beside the point. What is amazing with dot com and then transitioning in the marshmallow is that, um he actually owns most of the rights to his music. And, yeah, he is getting released by big labels. But he’s at the position, like him and his artist manager like they kind of it was a different relationship. Forget who is artist manager is Tom my head. But, um, both of them kind of our kind of collaborating in the sense where you know, they really built, um, you know, build a fan base and did it right
branding is I’ve never seen branding like his. It’s unbelievable.
So So the point is you don’t have to have a big label to do what somebody like marshmallow did. He just had the right. There are 18 right team behind him. Same with chance. The rapper, um and you have you just have the right team and you meet the right people at the right time. And I like the saying there’s ah saying that I can remember it came from but where preparedness meets opportunity, as with his success. So when you’re prepared for those opportunities Ah, and then just sort of go for it. So, yeah, I mean, there there is kind of, you know, if your wanna go kind of the route of hopefully getting signed by a big label to kind of take you the next step, just kind of keep that in your back in the mind. Is it the especially these day and made the in the in the Internet? You really don’t need a big label to do that, Like I mean, you know, taking marshmallow again as the example. Um, you know, he does have some stuff sign, but that with other with with the major labels now, but he’s not. He’s signing like individual tracks, which is unheard off. Like this is complete new concept for the majors. Um, because they realized, like, you know, we’re going at the shift where where record labels air, scrounging to stay relevant. And they’re really not that relevant. They have to reinvent themselves. And, ah, um, you know, kind of eso I think you’re seeing less and less of that artist development being done by the label just because of the fact that you really don’t need them. So, um so I think, Yeah, I think it’s it really depends. And and, ah, on your situation in finding the right, I think it just comes down on the right team label can be very beneficial. Like obviously some of marshmallows signings kind of now set him over the top and landed him the big residency in Las Vegas. Um, but But that’s, you know, he didn’t start there, So yeah, I think that’s the big, big take away. Is that just because getting signed by label doesn’t mean you’re gonna have a successful career because you’re right, get dropped by one has to be here by so many, and then you kind of have toe pick up the pieces and figure out how to make it work.
Yeah, I think the I think, uh, another thing that a lot of artists will disregard to the I get it. Teoh. I’ve been an artist, I’ve signed tracks and it’s exciting. It’s a lot of fun on. And you do feel like, Oh, this is this is a big leap forward like this is me going on to the next step. Um, and I think a lot of artists disregard contracts. They understand the purpose of them and how serious they can be. But I don’t think I don’t think a lot of them look into them the way they should. Ah, and and you can get into really shady spots, especially when you start getting hooked up with these bigger record labels. It is a lot of these bigger record labels. They do want to take a majority of things. Um, and there might be some sketchy clauses in there. I’ve got a buddy who I had no idea, but he is signed to a record label, but has to he has to provide them with, like, six or seven tracks before he’s basically cut from this contract. Now it doesn’t mean he needs toe sign them. But the record label has first rights to every single track he writes that he wants to put out when he, in my opinion, is not a good position to be in. It’s not terrible because he could just send it to him. They say no, and then he consign it with whoever he wants. But the fact of the matter is, if there’s a hue, if there’s an even bigger record label that wants it or you want to start self distributing while too bad you have to wait until this record label kind of releases you from that contract so you can start putting out the tracks that you want at the same at whatever time you on eso. I think a lot of a lot of artists need to start either investigating themselves on are investigating some of these contracts themselves or find a lawyer of a music lawyer or something, or if you have a friend who’s a music lawyer or YSL, or just someone who can help you out to review some of these contracts, um, and negotiate. Do not be afraid to negotiate. I think that’s a huge, huge, huge deal is. Ah, lot of people are afraid to negotiate, especially when there are newer artist getting attract their first track signed or their first track with a big label signed. Don’t be afraid to negotiate because you have the power they If they’re wanting to sign you, they want you for a reason. They see something in you and your providing them with content. So don’t be afraid to negotiate, because, ah, I think a lot of artists lose out on a lot of big opportunities just cause they’re afraid to ask for something more. Absolutely. Let’s get into how to stand out to fans and differentiating yourself because I think this is the I said, This is the number one thing that are to struggle with today is they kind of they don’t know what to do. They feel like it’s all been done. I’m sure you work with plenty of artists, though, who either you’ve helped figure out how to innovate themselves, or they just have come up with a great idea where it’s like, Oh yes, that’s you now, and that’s perfect run with that. Um, what do you What do you think is a good way of Arctic for artists to figure out how to differentiate themselves and stand out from the crowd from the rest of the thousands of producers out there all trying to claim their stake.
So I think, um, trying to figure out a word this But I think standing out from the crowd and differentiate yourself is kind of Ah, I think artists fall in the trap of overthinking this, Um and I think going back to what I was saying earlier about, like being authentic to who you are in telling your story. Like Like, for example, let’s say you like, really love, um, like surfing or you really love like, um, knitting. I don’t know more o r. Something damning. Like whatever saying, Oh, are, um yeah, or whatever your hobbies are that are beyond just music, um, I think people are kind of looking, and I think this kind of like is going back to like, if you think about your favorite artists in producers that are that are influencing your music. Um, if you think about those people. Why Why do you let? Yes, obviously it’s their music. But why do you connect with them? I think a lot of a lot of people that are you know, you you get hurt like you feel a little sad. Like when David Bowie died or something like that. You know why it’s like because they have a personality and it’s like they’re a person, you know? You’re connecting with the person. So I think we forget about that. Whereas with, you know, I think what artists think bowl If I have to develop my brand, that means I have to be like a Coke. Coca Cola are some You’re not. You’re not a product. I mean you are. It’s kind of weird to think about it. You are a product, but at the end of the day, you’re not. I think, um, you have to be, ah, authentic of who you are. And like your yourself kind of propels that music, so I don’t know. I mean, you know, there you can you can look at other other producers in kind of, you know, find three or five producers that you admire and like, kind of figure out what their brands are and then define what’s unique and about you. And then, um, you know your values and, like, kind of your toe, your tone If you’re gonna be a, uh, an asshole like dead mouse or, you know, are you gonna be like a super sweet guy or something? Or
a comedian like Dylan free I bring up Don’t create a comedian. Yes. I mean, he’s a perfect example of sharing his story through all his comedy videos on CNN, which are fucking hilarious, and he dips into it like an outside brand to causes all comedy. A lot of people can relate to the comedy, so he gains. Fans aren’t might not necessarily have been a fan of his music, but they eventually get Trans. They eventually translate into his music and really enjoy it. So that’s going
So I think, yeah, so I think that’s how you stand out is just just be who you are. I mean, I mean you can. I mean, that’s a thing like you can have a gimmick like put ah mouse head on or put a marshmallow on your head, but it’s not going to necessarily work for
you. you know, if if I just you know who you are and I don’t think that I don’t I wouldn’t consider sort of that branding, either. Because, like you said, that there was more like an asset. And that is a gimmick. It’s fun. It’s cool. Um, sometimes it can be unique, but it’s not a brand. And I really like what you’re talking about about telling a story. Two. I think that I think that is the answer for ah, lot of these producers and artists out there who they do. The and I got sucked into the trap two of like, overthinking of What’s my brand? What’s my sound? What Who am I? What am I trying to do and trying to come up with these intricate things and reinventing the wheel when it’s really just all about like, Who are you? What’s your story? Where do you come from? Ah, and I think a lot of this has to do with documenting stuff. One of the someone who I see is being of who is going to be a huge producer, I think, and definitely gonna be full time with this is my buddy Ritchie, who’s six street music. He was on Ah six ST