126 episodes

Hear behind-the-scenes stories from hip-hop's top execs. Trapital founder Dan Runcie interviews hip-hop's leaders in music, media, tech, and more. You'll stay ahead of the latest trends and gain insights to take your career to the next level. Learn more at https://trapital.co

Trapital Dan Runcie

    • Music
    • 4.9 • 104 Ratings

Hear behind-the-scenes stories from hip-hop's top execs. Trapital founder Dan Runcie interviews hip-hop's leaders in music, media, tech, and more. You'll stay ahead of the latest trends and gain insights to take your career to the next level. Learn more at https://trapital.co

    The iPod’s Legacy in the Music Industry with Zack O’Malley Greenburg

    The iPod’s Legacy in the Music Industry with Zack O’Malley Greenburg

    On this episode, we switched things up! Instead of a standard interview, I talked about a few recent topics with the best-selling author, Zack O’Malley Greenburg. He has long had his pulse on the music industry. Between his past time covering the business at Forbes, writing acclaimed books on the likes of Jay-Z and Michael Jackson, or his current Substack blog, Zack has formed both a macro- and micro-view of the entire industry. He’s the perfect person to bring onto Trapital to discuss the stories reverberating across the music business today.

    One of those stories is Spotify’s floundering performance as of late. The streaming leader’s stock has cratered to all-time lows, partly due to so-so performance, but also as a byproduct of Netflix’s own struggles. But if you ask Zack, the commonalities between Netflix and Spotify aren’t as close as critics will have you believe. Specifically, Spotify’s “unlimited buffet” business model is a massive differentiator. 

    And then there’s Apple officially discounting the iPod after 21 years. Whether it gets the credit or not, the innovative product re-shaped the music business into what we see today. As a “legal Napster”, it laid the groundwork for today’s streaming-dominated industry — not just for music, but podcasts too. 

    Check out all the topics Zack and I covered in this episode of Trapital:

    [0:00] Zack’s First Experiences with The iPod
    [6:11] Steve Jobs First iPod Keynote
    [8:33] iPod As A Gateway Into Apple Ecosystem 
    [12:16] Will iPod Have A Resurgence Like Vinyl? 
    [14:48] U2’s Free Album On Apple Backfires 
    [18:55] Spotify’s Current Business Struggles
    [20:09] Why Spotify Shouldn’t Be Compared To Netflix
    [27:23] Do Spotify And Netflix Have Content Problems?
    [33:00] Examining Bad Bunny’s Meteoric Rise In Six Years
    [38:21] Latin Music Succeeding In US Despite Language Barrier 
    [40:12] Did Jay Z Ruin Robinson Cano’s Career?

    Listen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSS

    Host: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.co

    Guests: Zack O’Malley Greenburg, @zogblog
     
    This episode was brought to you by Highlight. Build the community of your dreams on the blockchain. The new company is backed by leading investors like Haun Ventures, Thirty Five Ventures (“35V”), and more. Learn more at highlight.xyz
     
     
    Enjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! ratethispodcast.com/trapital
     
    Trapital is home for the business of hip-hop. Gain the latest insights from hip-hop’s biggest players by reading Trapital’s free weekly memo. 

    TRANSCRIPTION
    [00:00:00] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: If you're a startup and you're looking for celebrity investors and, I know that the market is cooled down a bit, but still, you know, you're in a fairly mature startup. And you're trying to get your name out there a little more by getting, you know, music investors, celebrities, et cetera. The kind of reach that he has, especially if you're trying to get into the Spanish language market. It's untoppable and, you know, I just think there's a tremendous opportunity there and in a lot of other places for him too.
    [00:00:29] Dan Runcie: Hey, welcome to the Trapital podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from executives in music, media, entertainment, and more who are taking hip-hop culture to the next level.
    [00:00:49] Dan Runcie: On today's episode, we switched things up a little bit. This is normally an interview-style podcast, but I did a recent survey. And many of you say you wanted to hear more from me. You wanted to hear my insights, my perspective on this space and where things are heading. So it was a great time to invite back Zack O'Malley Greenburg.
    [00:01:08] Dan Runcie: You may know him from his work at Forbes, where he started a lot of the reporting on how much money hip hop artists were making and the potential for w

    • 48 min
    Comedian Bigg Jah Charters His Own Path Into Entertainment Industry

    Comedian Bigg Jah Charters His Own Path Into Entertainment Industry

    3.3 million followers on Facebook. Over 423 million views on YouTube. 4.2 million TikTok likes.

    Bigg Jah (real name Jahdai Pickett) has put up those gaudy social media numbers with no studio or agency backing and a relatively small team. The do-everything entertainer — who can write, act, direct, produce, and everything in between — has been posting content online almost nonstop for the past five years, doing what he calls “hood good comedy.” It’s all paying dividends now.  

    He’s built a synergy map that extends past his wildly popular social media franchises like “Inner Thoughts” and “The Lesbian Homie.” There’s also merch (with a new piece dropping almost every month) and with the world re-opening, perhaps comedy shows again.  

    Next, Bigg Jah is trying to parlay his massive social media success into feature films. He originally studied film in college and planned to take the traditional route into the industry — shooting a short film, winning movie festivals, and signing with an agent. But the rise of social media gave Bigg Jah an alternative AND independent route into the business.

    You’ll want to listen to my interview with Bigg Jah to get more insight into his creative process and meteoric rise on social media. Here’s everything we covered in this Trapital episode:

    [3:14] What Does “Hood Good Comedy” Mean?
    [5:36] Lasting Impact Of 90s Comedy Movies 
    [7:36] Navigating Different Entertainment Mediums (Social Media, Film, Comedy)
    [11:49] Being Forced To Go The Independent Creator Route
    [14:59] Acting Vs. Directing Vs. Writing
    [18:18] How Bigg Jah Chooses What Type Of Content To Make
    [21:06] What’s Behind Bigg Jah’s Success On Facebook?
    [23:19] How Bigg Jah Has Leveraged Other Social Networks
    [26:25] Bigg Jah’s Revenue Breakdown
    [29:05] The Struggles Of Creator Burnout 
    [33:56] The Key To Bigg Jah’s Success 
    [43:55] Upcoming Projects For Bigg Jah
    [45:44] How To Follow Bigg Jah


    Listen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSS

    Host: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.co

    Guests: Bigg Jahh, @biggjah
     
    Enjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! ratethispodcast.com/trapital
     
    Trapital is home for the business of hip-hop. Gain the latest insights from hip-hop’s biggest players by reading Trapital’s free weekly memo. 

    TRANSCRIPTION

    [00:00:00] Bigg Jah: I'm not pressured to keep the series going, because I know that it works. I'm in it to create new stuff and see how it goes. I'm not a slave to the, "Well, this is what works. So let me just keep doing this only." No, I'm gonna push the envelope and push the line and I'm gonna see if they like this too. And what about this?
    [00:00:15] I'm going to grab this and what if I do this? You know, so I don't have a problem with that. Plus I've done so much. I've done the series thing to a degree now I wanna move on to something else. I want to challenge myself to do another character or another storyline that see if people like that.
    [00:00:36] Dan Runcie: Hey, welcome to the Trapital podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from executives in music, media, entertainment, and more who are taking hip-hop culture to the next level.
    [00:00:56] Today's guest is Bigg Jah. He's an actor creator, filmmaker, comedian, and one of the funniest people on the internet, I was first put onto Bigg Jah's work because I got to know Damien Ritter, shout out to Dame. He used to run Funk Volume, and he's now chief operating officer at BeatStars, but he also manages Jah.
    [00:01:16] And Jah is someone who I think has definitely been one of the more successful, independent creators that I've seen being able to leverage social media, to grow his platform. And now accrue millions of followers on Facebook. And on YouTube. And we talk a lot about how he's built his career. He's someone that first went to school to

    • 44 min
    How indify’s Co-Founder prettyboyshav Is Flipping The Economics Of The Record Business

    How indify’s Co-Founder prettyboyshav Is Flipping The Economics Of The Record Business

    The traditional record label model isn’t artist-friendly. That’s not a secret to anyone by now. Deals are notoriously long and feature a revenue split heavily tilted toward the label — not the artist. But an ambitious alternative has arisen in the last few years. Meet indify, a start-up co-founded by musician prettyboyshav and his two childhood best friends, Matthew Pavia and Connor Lawrence.

    indify is a platform that connects investors with up-and-coming artists. Investors can not only financially back artists, but also mentor them in matters like legal or marketing. But unlike a record deal, investments can be as short as a song-per-song basis. As prettyboyshav told me, it’s like “going on dates instead of marrying.” 

    As an artist himself with millions of streams to his name, Prettyboyshav is specially equipped to carry out indify’s vision — to create a more equitable, prosperous music industry. indify was originally a music discovery tool when it launched in 2015. Using an algorithm, it identified emerging artists on the cusp of “blowing up” like Khalid, who the tool flagged way back in 2015. That technology still underpins its new business pivot as the “AngeList for the music industry.” 

    To get a glimpse into indify’s innovative technology and mission, listen to my full interview with prettyboyshav. We covered a lot of topics, including the ones below:
     
    [3:39] indify’s Mission In The Music Industry 
    [5:28] Why Artists Are Taken Advantage Of So Often
    [7:03] What Does indify Look For In Investors Wanting To Join The Platform? 
    [10:16] The Potential For Culture-Setters To Financially Back An Emerging Artist
    [14:38] indify Vs. Record Labels 
    [19:07] Is There A Glass Ceiling On Artists Who Don’t Sign With A Record Label? 
    [23:35] Does indify Do Upfront Money Deals? 
    [26:10] Principles That Guard indify’s Technology
    [29:27] indify Having Web 3.0 Values Despite Being Off-Chain 
    [33:11] How prettyboyshav Juggles His Music Career And Being Start-Up Founder


    Listen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSS

    Host: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.co

    Guests: prettyboyshav, @prettyboyshav
     
    Enjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! ratethispodcast.com/trapital
     
    Trapital is home for the business of hip-hop. Gain the latest insights from hip-hop’s biggest players by reading Trapital’s free weekly memo.

    TRANSCRIPTION

    prettyboyshav 00:00
    I truly, truly, deeply believe in it and feel it and empathize with the work that's being done because I believe in these values, which really comes down to community, right? And community ownership, community governance, I think these things are very powerful concepts. And I think these are very powerful ways for an artist to run their business.

    Dan Runcie 00:26
    Hey, welcome to the Trapital podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from executives in music, media, entertainment, and more, who are taking hip hop culture to the next level. Today's guest is prettyboyshav. He's the co-founder and CEO of Indify, a platform that is helping people invest in the future of music. Indify connects merchant artists with the funding they need to build the biggest careers. On Indify, it brings together artists who want to grow and control their career on their terms. It also brings together investors who want to support and back these artists and have the know how to help bring them to the next level. It also brings together business partners who can help artists with marketing, legal, accounting, and many of the other things involved to help run the business. One of the things that Shav and I have always talked about and we agree on is that artists are founders. If you follow me anywhere, you've seen me talk about this, you see me reiterate this. And I think Shav himself is a great example of this. He very much ap

    • 37 min
    Young M.A and the $20 NFT

    Young M.A and the $20 NFT

    Music NFTs are all the rage as of late. Entering the mix is Young M.A, who dropped a capsule on April 19. But in true Young M.A fashion, she took a different approach to her first-ever NFT project.

    For one, each NFT is only $20, making it widely accessible to her diehard fanbase. That’s a departure from most artists-focused NFTs that are on the pricier side due to their limitedness. In total, Young M.A dropped five NFT collections with 250 editions in each — for a total of 1,250. Each of the five collections represents key moments in Young M.A’s career. From first going viral with her Brooklyn Chiraq freestyle to the smashing success of “OOOUUU” and other highlights. 

    Moreover, the capsule is exclusive to new NFT marketplace Serenade. The platform prides itself on being eco-friendly in an industry widely criticized for its energy consumption. 

    The NFT collection is just one way Young M.A is staying connected to her fans these days. She’s also on tour and has continued to invest in non-music products like her adult toy line. Here’s everything we covered in this episode:

    [0:00] Seeing where things go
    [2:45] Purpose Behind Young M.A’s NFT Drop
    [9:29] Surprising Price Point For Young M.A’s NFT Capsule
    [10:14] Young M.A Has Hesitations About The Drop (Honest Talk) 
    [12:32] Prioritizing Long-Term Impact With Business Ventures
    [12:55] Young M.A’s Relationship With Fame
    [15:37] How Young M.A Approaches Non-Music Business Ventures
    [20:10] Partnering With Serenade For The NFT Drop
    [23:22] Keeping Up With Web 3.0 & Music Industry 
    [28:00] Young M.A Understands Her Place In The Industry


    Listen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSS

    Host: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.co

    Guests: Young M.A, @youngma, serenade.co/@youngma
     
    Trapital is home for the business of hip-hop. Gain the latest insights from hip-hop’s biggest players by reading Trapital’s free weekly memo.

    Transcript
    ________________
    Young M.A  00:00
    When it comes to business, you might not always know. You can't always say you know people. Even if you research them, no matter what the situation is, sometimes things might not work for you. You know what I mean? So you just look more to it. And you see how it goes as it goes. I mean, seeing business situations I handled in the past, some things didn't go right. Some things went right, you know, and it's just like with them. I feel good, you know? And it was like, let's go, let's see where it goes. Let's take these events and take risks. 

    Dan Runcie  00:31
    Hey, welcome to the Trapital podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from executives in music, media, entertainment, and more, who are taking hip hop culture to the next level.  Today's guest is Young M.A. You may know her for her hits like BROOKLYN (Chiraq), OOOUUU, and plenty others that helped her go six times platinum. I knew this was going to be a good interview because, the moment that I logged on to the chat, Young M.A was already in there. And her first words were "took you long enough." And that's what I knew that we're in for a good one. Young M.A came on the Trapital podcast because she just had an NF T drop for her latest single Aye Day Pay Day. And she did it as a series of stories throughout her career. And she launched her NFTs different than most artists do. As I've written and talked about on this podcast, people have looked at NFTs as a way to monetize and make a lot of money from being able to sell high-end products as collectibles. But Young M.A is going about in a different way. She only has 250 drops for each of the five NFTs in this collection. And she's only selling them for $20. That's it. So we talked about the decision, how she's approached this, and why she made the decision that she has. And I think a lot of this ties into her mentality. As an artist, Young M.A is one of

    • 31 min
    How Fanbase Raised $6 Million Without VC with Isaac Hayes III

    How Fanbase Raised $6 Million Without VC with Isaac Hayes III

    In less than three years, the Fanbase social content app has raised six million dollars (without traditional venture capital) and is inching toward the one-million user mark. How did co-founder Issac Hayes III take the app from nothing all the way to this? If you ask him, his life spent in the cut-throat music industry gave him the inspiration AND business chops to thrive within the tech space. 

    As the son of legendary R&B artist Isaac Hayes, he was made well aware from the get-go of the exploitative practices by record labels toward musicians. Isaac would go on to notice similar exploitation with social media giants and their users, who were creating content and driving attention, but reaping little of the billions of dollars in revenues being reported by the same corporations.

    Fanbase is changing those optics. On the app, users can post content — written, photo, video, audio chat, and live stream — for a subscription fee. As Isaac sees it, “monetization for every user is the wave of the future.” For a full glimpse of how Isaac is building Fanbase into a disruptive social media force, you’ll want to tune into our interview. Here’s what we covered in the episode:


    [4:10] Fanbase Raised $6 Million From Crowdfunding — Not Venture Capital
    [6:34] The Most Important Investors Of Fanbase 
    [8:10] Making Investing More Accessible
    [10:30] How Fanbase Is Acquiring New Customers
    [11:59] Fanbase’s Biggest Business Advantage (Not What You Think)
    [14:13] “Monetization For Every User Is The Wave Of The Future”
    [16:18] Why Artists Shouldn’t Sell Their Catalogs
    [22:23] What Isaac Loves About Technology
    [23:40] What Does Fanbase’s Future Fundraising Timeline Look Like?
    [26:38] Size Of Fanbase’s Team Now & In Near-Future
    [27:51] Atlanta’s Underrated Scene Outside Hip-Hp
    [30:39] Isaac’s Influence For Creating Fanbase
    [32:34] Getting The Music Rights Back For His Dad
    [33:48] Keeping Black Icons Relevant Post-Death
    [36:14] Will There Ever Be An Isaac Hayes Movie?
    [41:45] Fanbase’s New Features

    Listen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSS

    Host: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.co

    Guests: Isaac Hayes III, @isaachayes3 
     
    Trapital is home for the business of hip-hop. Gain the latest insights from hip-hop’s biggest players by reading Trapital’s free weekly memo. 
    _______________
    Transcription
    Isaac Hayes III 00:00
    I think monetization for every user is the wave of the future. I keep saying it, I think that there isn't a person right now that isn't subscribed to at least one thing. And one subscription becomes more and more the common vernacular of how we engage with content. Social media is the last, you know, frontier that's left. You know, when you think about TV and film with Hulu, and Netflix, and Disney+, and music with Spotify and Apple Music, and print media with Forbes, and The New York Times, and Billboard, and then productivity software like Adobe Premiere Pro, Microsoft Word. Like, you don't... You're subscribed to something. You're probably subscribed to an app on your phone that allows you to edit your photos. And so subscriptions are just the language. And so I think that's going to be the language of the future moving forward.

    Dan Runcie 00:53
    Hey, welcome to the Trapital podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from executives in music, media, entertainment, and more, who are taking hip hop culture to the next level. Today's guest is Isaac Hayes III. He's the founder and CEO of Fanbase. Fanbase is a company that helps creators better monetize the content they put out. And on Fanbase's platform, followers can subscribe for $3.99 a month to get all of the exclusive content from their favorite creators, or they can follow creators and they can spread love. Love is the primary form of engagement on Fanbase, and it's how creators monetize. The more like

    • 42 min
    The Future Of Music Business With Economist Will Page

    The Future Of Music Business With Economist Will Page

    One of the most unique insights into the state of the music business today doesn’t come from a record label exec. Not from an agent. Not from an artist. No, it comes from Scottish economist Will Page, who served that role for Spotify from 2012 to 2019 — a period of explosive growth for the streaming giant. But if you ask Page about streaming’s future, he’s not nearly as optimistic as the rest of the industry. “The party has to come to an end,” as he told me on this episode of Trapital.

    Page believes the music industry is transitioning from a “herbivore market” to a “carnivore” one. In other words, future growth will not come from brand-new customers — it’ll come from the streaming services eating into each other’s market share. Not only has subscriber counts possibly tapped out in Page’s opinion, but streaming services have also put a ceiling on revenues by charging only $9.99, a price that hasn’t budged in 20 years despite giant leaps in technology and music catalog size.  

    That against-the-grain prediction was one of many Will shared with me during our in-depth interview. But he has plenty more research- and experience-backed thoughts on touring, vinyl records, Web 3.0, and everything in between. Believe me, this is an interview you don’t want to miss. Here’s everything we covered: 

    [0:00] The 3 R’s in the business of music
    [3:15] Will’s experience being a DJ
    [7:10] Lopsided Growth Of Music Streaming In Global Markets
    [8:59] Vinyl Records $1.5 Billion Recovery 
    [13:18] Will’s Bearish View About The Future Of Streaming
    [15:22] Ongoing Price War Between Streaming Services
    [22:59] The Changing Economics Of Music Touring 
    [26:16] Performing At Festivals Vs. Tours 
    [30:50] The Evolution Of Music Publishing
    [34:32] How Music Revenue Gets Distributed To Publishers
    [37:35] What Does A “Post-Spotify Economy” Look Like? 
    [40:00] Will’s Biggest Issues With Web3 
    [47:01] The Current Business Landscape Of Hip-Hop 

    Listen to Will’s mix right here: https://www.mixcloud.com/willpagesnc/we-aint-done-with-2021/

    Check out Will’s Podcast, Bubble Trouble, where he breaks down how financial markets really work.

    Read Will’s book, Tarzan Economics: Eight Principles for Pivoting Through Disruption.

    Listen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSS

    Host: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.co

    Guests: Will Page, @willpageauthor 
     
    Trapital is home for the business of hip-hop. Gain the latest insights from hip-hop’s biggest players by reading Trapital’s free weekly memo.
    _____
    TRANSCRIPT

    Will Page  00:00
    The best way I could do this is, I just talk about ratios. There are three R's in this business, there's share of revenue, there's ratio, and as rates pool, they mean different things. Most experts get confused with the three R's.

    I'm gonna stick to ratios that is, if I give the label $1, how much do I give the publisher, the software, there's collective management organization? So we stick to the conventional streaming model today, I would say that you get the record label $1, you're giving the publishing side of the fence 24 cents, you know, a decent chunk of change, but still the poorer cousin of the record label. On YouTube, I think it could be as high as 35 cents, 40 cents even because there's a sink right involved in those deals.

    Dan Runcie  00:46
    Hey, welcome to the Trapital Podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from executives in music, media, entertainment, and more, who are taking hip hop culture to the next level. 

    Today's guest is Will Page. He is the author of a book I cannot recommend enough. It's called Tarzan Economics. It's a guide to pivoting through disruption. This is a must-read if you're working in music, media, or entertainment. He is also a Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics. He is the former Chie

    • 56 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
104 Ratings

104 Ratings

Hing256 ,

Focused and interesting

I love hip hop and grew up on it and love business too, love seeing the intersection and a great compliment to the newsletter all around great content

Pgsfinest301 ,

Insightful podcast!

Great podcast with the people that run point in the entertainment and music industry. Also his articles and infographics are amazing!

IndieBrokers ,

“The Champion in Direct, Hip-Hop Corp Talk”

I’ve been following Dan from medium to periodical, to journal, to social platform as I have been honored to delve into his contextual insight of the Hip-Hop Music Business, as it is an industry and economy all onto itself.

As a professional-underground-commercially -versatile rap artist myself, I submerge into the angles in which he pitches questions to his guests, and allows the experts to explain the nuisances in a science most consumers are too nose blind and tone deaf to comprehend.

But more than that? He’s a representative of Black Talent repping in a space that few can, and probably will, occupy from now and for years to come.

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