Welcome to the Indie Playbook presented by Focused Noise, where we highlight independent music bosses, hustlers, and entrepreneurs, and break down their successes, failures, and life lessons. No gimmicks, just hopefully some beneficial tips and reminders that will help you along your way.
A3C Music Business Discussion: Getting on Tours, Festivals, and Shows
This is a special episode from the A3C Festival and Conference in Atlanta, where I was invited to speak on a panel about touring, festivals, and shows. We also gave some helpful tips on how to grow a fanbase organically and how to build an artist's overall brand.
Our moderator was MICxSIC (@MICXSIC). He can also be found at savagefam.com or youtube.com/savagefamproductions.
Our panelists were Clarissa Reformina from Paradigm Talent Agency (@clrisaxplnsitall), Juels Pierrot from Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival (@juelspierrot), and Brent Tactic from Rogue Agency (@Brent_tactic).
Media Personality Justin Hunte- Create Your Own Path
Justin Hunte is the Head of Video Production & Development for Ambrosia For Heads, and Director of Content and Strategic Marketing at Empire Distribution. Formerly Editor-in-Chief of HipHopDX, Hunte is the architect behind DX's video platform and creator of popular series, #DXBreakdown. Hunte's also a weekly contributor to Shade45's All Out Show on SiriusXM.
In 2017, he participated in a debate at the prestigious Oxford Union on whether Kanye West is more relevant than William Shakespeare. A graduate of Wofford College, Hunte spent 5 years working at Bank Of America/Merrill Lynch. He sacrificed a profitable investment banking career in order to follow his passion, with the goal of becoming the greatest Hip-Hop writer on the planet. Hunte has since covered music, politics, and culture for numerous publications, and is a great example for anyone who has a dream and a vision, but is hesitant to take the necessary leap of faith. Hopefully this episode inspires you to take the next step.
Follow @TheCompanyMan on all socials.
3:16 Justin was inspired to give up a profitable career in investment banking
8:54 The goal of being the greatest Hip-Hop writer of all time
11:21 Justin talks about the start of his on air experience
16:05 How Justin manifested his career as a writer
28:18 Living at the edge of your capabilities and growing
29:58 Why Master P is the most successful person Justin knows
33:49 The importance of failure
39:11 The impact of Martin Shkreli’s interview with Justin Hunte
47:51 Creating deeper long form content
54:27 People gravitate towards extremes
58:21 Justin took a job with Empire to learn more about the Industry inner workings
1:07:28 Do artists need to live in a metropolitan music hub?
1:12:09 How Justin responded to being fired from his volunteer job at Brooklyn Bodega
1:20:15 The importance of maintaining your faith during the hard times
1:22:48 Everything is achievable
1:36:54 How Justin would spend a $10,000 album release budget
1:45:43 Justin doesn’t allow money to dictate his decisions
1:46:36 The perfection of Kendrick Lamar’s Damn album
KXNG Crooked (Crooked I)- Winning Through Hard Work and Creativity
KXNG Crooked (AKA Crooked I) is one of Hip-Hop's all-time most respected lyricists. Suge Knight once hailed him as the next Tupac Shakur, and years later Eminem signed his group Slaughterhouse (with Joe Budden, Royce da 5'9", Joell Ortiz) to Shady Records. But that doesn't even begin to explain Crooked's foresight and brilliance. Crooked built one of Hip-Hop's first online followings with the release of his Hip-Hop Weekly Series in 2007, releasing a new track every week for a year, and creating a trend that was later implemented by a number of successful artists. He has also continued to stay relevant by remaining innovative and taking frequent chances.
This is definitely one of the best episodes yet, as Crooked shares invaluable knowledge, and he even provides a blueprint for up and coming artists to follow when releasing an album. In addition to being an incredible MC, Crooked is a born leader, social activist, TV producer, and an overall great person. I guarantee you will get some real value from this interview or I'll give you a full refund. Check it out!
6:25 Traveling expands your mind
10:50 Being inspired by the success of Snoop Dogg and Warren G in his younger years
13:01 Crooked took advantage of his first big opportunity
16:29 Being too smart for his own good
19:50 Why Crooked chose Death Row over Aftermath
21:44 Crooked ponders whether his friend who sells incense or Dr. Dre is the most successful person he knows
24:05 Suge Knight always led by example and was accessible at any time
27:16 Crooked has always tried to match 2Pac’s work ethic
28:49 Being an early adopter of technology and building an online fan base
32:05 Why so many artists stole Crooked’s formula
36:37 On aging well
39:06 The making of Slaughterhouse
43:10 The positioning used to get Slaughterhouse on Shady Records
50:00 Eminem’s work ethic is infectious
52:38 Why being creative will always have value
54:27 How a rock bottom moment solidified Crooked’s sobriety
58:51 Surround yourself with positive people
1:04:21 Never let ideas escape
1:05:13 Crooked details a great plan on how to spend $10K on your album release
1:14:17 Learn from your mistakes
Film Producer Gary Ousdahl- The Making of Warren G's "G-Funk" Documentary
Gary Ousdahl is the Owner and Manager of Advanced Management. He recently produced the upcoming Warren G documentary “G-Funk”, which premiered at SXSW this past March and will be released in early 2018. Previously, Gary worked as an agent at William Morris. He also worked side by side with the prolific Tyler Perry almost every day from 2008-2010.
Gary is a master networker and dot connector, and he shares some of the methods that have helped him succeed as a film producer, manager, and business owner. He also walks us through the process of meeting Warren G and making the “G-Funk” documentary in just a matter of months.
7:50 How Warren G brought Snoop Dogg to Dr. Dre
11:07 Finding the right investors for the “G-Funk” documentary
21:46 How to involve the right people who will be excited about your project
27:24 How to become a person of value and connect good people with each other
28:34 How to raise money from investors
30:20 A few lessons Gary learned while working with Tyler Perry
32:45 Why Craig Robinson is Gary’s favorite person to work with
35:45 The importance of surrounding yourself with friends who inspire you
39:00 Always be in the outgoing call business
40:10 Struggling makes you stronger
42:53 Setting and accomplishing goals
46:38 Life is pointless if you’re not following your passion
A&R Michael Chehadé- Realizing the Value in Yourself
Michael Chehadé is currently the Director of A&R and Creative Director with the Adler Music Group. Previously, he managed radio/ TV personality DJ Skee as well as Dash Radio. Chehadé was also a producer at Skee TV, which aired on Access and Fuse TV.
Additionally, Michael is a known tastemaker, championing and promoting many of your favorite artists before the general public becomes aware of their music. Life has brought him a number of ups and downs, but his faith has been his driving force is navigating the bumpy roads. Mike's an extremely passionate person, and it shines through in every conversation, including this interview.
Musician Adam Hamilton- From LA Guns to Vanilla Ice to William Shatner
Adam Hamilton is an accomplished, well-rounded musician who was discovered by C.C. Deville from Poison, and was the former bass guitarist for L.A. Guns. He's worked with everyone from Angie Stone to Vanilla Ice to William Shatner, who he continues to work with on a regular basis. Hamilton also owns and operates Palm Ranch Studios in LA.
Additionally, Adam has an endless list of film and TV credits, as his music has appeared everywhere from The Bourne Identity to Saturday Night Live to The Simpsons. We delve deep into publishing and Adam breaks down the pay structure and benefits of placing your music in film, TV, commercials, and more. This is a great episode for any aspiring musicians or artists, and especially anyone interested in publishing (which should be all musicians and artists).
1:53 Having to fight for your credits
8:36 The only musician to work with William Shatner and Vanilla Ice
9:26 The importance of moving to LA
12:53 C.C. DeVille from Poison gave Adam his first big shot
13:34 Taking advantage of opportunities immediately
19:49 The positive effects of getting sober
22:48 Breaking down the business of publishing and TV/ Film placements
32:53 Don’t ever sign a contract without having a lawyer reviewing it
35:02 Being kind pays
36:58 William Shatner’s motto is “say yes to everything"
42:53 You are the company you keep
43:29 Adam never had a backup plan
45:00 You can turn a number of tools into multiple income streams
48:00 Putting stressful situations into perspective and solving them one step at a time
Great host, relevant topics, I always tune in.
Excellent Industry Insights
The Indie Playbook is guaranteed to give you insights into how things work on the back end of the music and entertainment industry. The range of guests thus far has been awesome. If you are in the game, this is a must listen.
Great informative content
So many great stories. To hear these from folk that have had success in the industry for years is truly a great thing. A must listen for aspiring and established artists. Erik and the folk at Focused Noise have put together a good one.