182 – Spiderweb Marketing for Musicians [Mini Course]

182 – Spiderweb Marketing for Musicians [Mini Course]

Are you having trouble trying to navigate digital marketing? Does it seem like everywhere you turn people are teaching tactics rather than strategy?

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I expand on a strategy I call spiderweb marketing I briefly touched on in one of my books.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:34 – Effective digital marketing
  • 01:07 – Benefits of spiderweb marketing
  • 01:52 – What is spiderweb marketing?
  • 02:29 – Getting your website/home base set up
  • 03:14 – Building your email list
  • 04:15 – Creating content/content marketing
  • 05:22 – Set the trap on social media
  • 06:29 – Distribute your music
  • 07:52 – Get out there and share/network/collaborate
  • 08:52 – Final thoughts
  • 09:42 – Interview with yours truly

Transcription:

I think you’re going to love today’s episode, because essentially, it’s a mini course about effective digital marketing.

I’ve shared about the idea of spiderweb marketing in the past, and even talked about it in my book, The Essential Guide to Creative Entrepreneurship.

The Essential Guide to Creative Entrepreneurship: Making and Selling Your Neon Yellow Tiger

But as I’ve been finding out recently, it’s something that has been resonating with readers and listeners like you.

And, I couldn’t be more thrilled, because if you understand this one thing, you will generate better long-term results in your music career.

You may have heard of the concept before, and it’s essentially the same as “Octopus Marketing”, but here’s an overview of what to expect and how to implement it in your music career.

Benefits of Spiderweb Marketing

Before we get into the specifics, I’d like to share with you why you might want to take the spiderweb marketing approach:

  • It’s a strategy – not just a tactic. Much of what’s being taught out there in the music business right now is tactics, not a strategy. Spiderweb marketing, on the other hand, is a legitimate strategy.
  • You can benefit from it long-term. Social networks change rapidly, and so do other platforms, apps and websites you don’t own. With spiderweb marketing, you can rest easy at night knowing that you get to keep your content and followers.
  • You can protect yourself against risk. Nobody likes losing precious followers. If you take advantage of spiderweb marketing, you’ll never have this problem.

There are other benefits, but this is a good starting point.

Okay, so What is Spiderweb Marketing?

When a spider erects a web, it usually rests at the center. The web extends out in every direction and is set as a trap for its prey.

Now, we don’t need to – and probably shouldn’t be – thinking of our audience as our prey. But otherwise the metaphor works out quite nicely.

Think of the spider, at the center, as your home base. Think of the web as the groundwork you lay to capture the attention of people and turn them into engaged followers, subscribers and customers.

So, let’s get into the practical side of things. Here’s what you need to do to get your spiderweb set up.

#1 – It All Starts with Your Website

You need a website. This should be a dot com domain name. And, you should have a hosting plan.

We recommend the ultra-fast Cloudways (affiliate link), but there are other great hosts out there. We used to promote Bluehost, but no more. Once they got bought out by a bigger company, they started sucking. Hard.

Cloudways

I would also suggest setting up your website on WordPress and purchasing a premium theme such as the Divi Theme (affiliate link), created by Elegant Themes.

Elegant Themes

I personally have a lifetime membership to their site and use the Divi Theme for most website projects these days. It makes it super easy to customize your website.

Yes, some of this is technical, even uncomfortable. But it’s worth the effort. And, you will begin to understand the importance of it as you explore next steps.

#2 – Begin Building Your Email List Immediately

If you aren’t already using an Email Service Provider (ESP), sign up with Mailchimp immediately.

MailchimpAgain, there are other great alternatives out there, but since Mailchimp is free to start, and they’re constantly adding new marketing features, it’s easy to recommend. I still use Mailchimp myself.

Key point: This and the last step are truly the crux of the spiderweb strategy. You’ve got to set up your home base, and on your home base, you must have email signup forms.

You must encourage your audience to get on your list one way or another. The standard marketing term for this is an “opt-in bribe” or “lead magnet.” Not sure I’m crazy about either of those terms.

But the idea is to give something to your visitors to build your list. It could be a free video, song, T-shirt, or anything your audience might find valuable.

My favorite tool for building an email list is Leadpages (affiliate). It costs something, but if you have traffic coming to your website, it makes it super easy for you to begin building your list.

Leadpages

#3 – Create Content for Your Website

Publish something new at least once per week. This can help you grow your email list, which is critical.

I believe your email and social media strategies are going to suck if you don’t have content. Content gives you an excuse to reach out to your audience regularly. It engages your fans and even attracts new ones.

It’s time to embracing being a publisher and being a publisher requires a long-term commitment.

If you’re going to blog, don’t just publish one blog post. Publish 500.

If you’re going to podcast, don’t just make one episode. Make 200.

If you’re going to make videos, don’t just make one video. You get the idea.

There’s no ceiling on how high you should or could go.

The point is that you must build up your catalog of content. Experiment and test often. Once you’ve built up your archives, you’ll have a much better idea of what works and what doesn’t.

Then, you can adapt your strategy to suit what your fans are genuinely interested in.

Most people just give up after a few posts. Don’t let that be you. You can do this, and the result is worth the effort, even if your hard work is met with crickets in the first two to three years.

#4 – Extend Your Reach into Social Media

With your home base established, you’re ready to “set the trap” on social media.

Can you see how most people have it backwards? They start with social media and then attempt to send people elsewhere (and, usually not their home base).

Is there truly any value in sending a stranger on Instagram over to Spotify to follow you? Will they even follow through on what you ask them to do? How can you be sure?

But what if you sent them from social media to your website to download your latest track in exchange for their email address? I think the return on investment (ROI) is self-explanatory. Overall, you’re going to get a much better result.

What’s great is that you can control what your users see first on your website and that’s a huge advantage. You can’t do that on your Facebook page.

I get it, this is a counterintuitive strategy. But it’s how I’ve continually built up my traffic and email list over time, as seen in an image you’ll be able to view in the show notes:

The Music Entrepreneur HQ traffic

It takes time and effort, but it works. If you’re consistent, and you keep with it, the effort pays off. Honestly, the ROI is ridiculous if you have all the right pieces in place.

#5 – Distribute Your Singles, EPs & Albums

If you haven’t already gotten your music out to popular streaming sites and online platforms using a service like Ditto Music (affiliate), then do so now.

Ditto Music - Record Label in a BoxThese services will automatically get your music out to all the biggies, whether it’s Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, Google Play, Pandora, YouTube, TikTok, Deezer, Shazam, TIDAL, Napster, iHeartRADIO or otherwise.

This is where the users are, so you might as well get your music to them.

But don’t forget – the biggest money is still going to come from offers you make on your own website. You can sell individual merch items, bundles and even performance packages.

You aren’t limited to selling 99 cent songs or $15 T-shirts. You can make offers that go from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars!

Making $3,000 in one go, for example, is much easier if you have a $3,000 performance package that someone buys once, versus a 99-cent song you try to sell 3,000 times.

I wouldn’t get too carried away with getting your music into playlists, but you can certainly take advantage of services like SubmitHub. Throw some spare change at it and see what happens.

SubmitHubI’d say content is more important than playlists, but I will never deter anyone from putting a solid 15 to 30 minutes per day into playlisting.

#6 – Get Out There & Share

Don’t stop now! Now that you’ve laid all the groundwork, you’re ready to get yourself and your music out there. And, again, this is critical to building your music career.

Network, play gigs, go to conferences… do whatever it is you do to connect with people.

And, put your website address everywhere, on your business cards, on your posters, on your banners, on your merch.

Get people to go to your website and sign up for your email list. Better yet, ask people on the spot. Even better, give them something for free so they are 100% compelled to join your email list.

Now that you’ve got your home base, you can share it with the world.

And, the cumulative effect of “setting the trap” everywhere you go, with the intention of sending people to your home base, is that you will have built an audience that you can monetize and create a sustainable career on the back of.

And, you will have done it in a way that honors the customer, not in a way that leaves them feeling like a number in a system.

Final Thoughts

I sometimes take it for granted that musicians know this stuff, but I know that’s not the case. So, it’s always good to cover it.

Plus, I’m constantly testing and refreshing the strategy, but I can honestly say it hasn’t changed a whole lot in the last four years. The same things are still working.

I think getting too fixated on social media is the wrong move, as your ROI will suffer big time. Again, use it to showcase your home and welcome people in.

If you have any questions regarding the spiderweb marketing strategy, do let me know. I look forward to seeing your comments in the show notes at davidandrewwiebe.com/182. You will find all the links and a full transcription of the episode there too.

Of course, you’re welcome to send an email to musicentrepreneurhq@gmail.com with your comments as well.

Closing

So, you might recall that I interviewed Robonzo from The Unstarving Musician in episode 164 of the podcast. That was a great episode, wasn’t it?

But did you know that I also appeared on The Unstarving Musician podcast?

Robonzo came at me with some awesome questions, and I absolutely loved doing this interview.

So, you can check out this episode at UnstarvingMusician.com titled Do The Hard Thing First and of course, you can find the link in the show notes too.

David Andrew Wiebe interview on Unstarving Musician

And, while you’re there, why not leave a comment thanking Robonzo for his time? In this age of smartphones and social media, we don’t connect much, so let’s get back to the basics of communicating.

If you want to improve your music career, improve your communication. This is a big picture skill that will make a huge difference for every area of your life.

So, again, check out UnstarvingMusician.com and leave a comment while you’re there.

I’m David Andrew Wiebe, and I look forward to seeing you on the stages of the world.

181 – Following Your Heart as an Artist – with Videographer & Musician João Filipe

181 – Following Your Heart as an Artist – with Videographer & Musician João Filipe

Are you listening to the voice within? Are you doing what you’re meant to do as an artist?

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I chat with my friend João Filipe. We touch on a variety of topics, including what João got out of the podcast, strategy vs. tactics, the current state of music entrepreneurship and more.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:34 – Who is João Filipe?
  • 02:16 – How did you end up in video?
  • 05:41 – Knocking on the door of a record label
  • 11:14 – What did you get out of the podcast?
  • 17:28 – Strategy vs. tactics
  • 18:59 – The music + entrepreneur connection
  • 20:54 – Revenue streams for artists
  • 21:42 – The value of coaching
  • 26:17 – When the student is ready, the teacher appears
  • 28:19 – Being grateful for teachers
  • 28:51 – What is going on with the music industry?
  • 34:48 – Being easy to work with
  • 35:44 – One of David’s most streamed tracks
  • 37:49 – Episode wrap up

Transcription:

David Andrew Wiebe: Today, I’m chatting with videographer, and musician, and a dear friend of mine, João Filipe. How are you today, João?

João Filipe: I’m doing fine, man.

DA: Thanks for joining me.

João: Thank you. Thank you for inviting me. Finally, man. After two years I was every day thinking when is it going to happen?

DA: I bet you were, yeah. Like you say it’s been a while since we last talked and this conversation is really long overdue. But as they say, better late than never, right?

This isn’t the only open loop I’ve created with the podcast rest assured. I’ve started talking about growth hacking and other things that I haven’t even started to put the bow on yet, but this is one of those things that needed to happen.

So, just to get this out of the way, why don’t you share with the listeners what you’re working on these days?

João: Well, it’s really good that you’re asking me “these days” because damn it would be really long story.

So, right now, I’m a creative producer in the fields of video, music and events. So, basically, what I’m doing right now, I work as a freelancer in Europe.

I’m a videographer in the music industry. I either work with artists, labels, tours. I also do a lot of production things in Portugal. Not as a one videographer, but I assemble teams and I direct teams accordingly to the projects to answer video needs from festivals to anything related video.

DA: I know that wasn’t your original focus. So, how did you end up in video?

João: Well, when I was a teenager, I grew up with computers, so I had this time in my life that I was just experiencing as much as possible from the internet and from software. So, when I was 15 years old, I already messed around with Photoshop, Sony Vegas, Cinema 4D, all kinds of creative software.

So, I had that spirit already in me. But then, I got into video more seriously when I started my music project. I put it out. I put EP out, social media, website. Like everything.

And, after the release, I realized that I wanted to keep up with content. I realized that video was like the best thing that I could do to keep up with content.

So, I started to document what I was doing in a vlog for months. What I was doing to promote my project and what I was doing around the projects.

Really quickly, people started to ask me for a video. And that’s when kind of a light turned on in my brain and I realized that I was doing something interesting that people wanted from me. That was the first thing that never happened.

And then the most important thing is that I could use video to bring value to the others in the way that I video in a way to put myself in touch with the people I wanted in the industry I wanted with artists and labels that I wanted. Video was the way, basically.

So, I was offering the first year as a videographer I was just up doing all this free work all around Europe with several different people/projects, like completely different stuff.

But I was just planting seeds, basically. And I was making sure that every work I did, no matter it was free or not, I was just putting all of myself into that.

And I was just, you know, doing the very, very best and a little bit beyond that to every project.

Eventually, it grew. People came to me again. It was just a rollercoaster of getting better and doing more and more and more as well as it gets.

DA: I remember being very tech focused as a kid as well. I built my first website when I was 14 and then evolved pretty quickly from there into graphics and other types of content in other fields.

So, I like your story. I love that you chose video as the medium. I honestly think that probably is still one of the best ways for musicians to go these days. If you’re great at writing, blogging is good. If you’re great at speaking and communicating via audio, then podcasting might be an opportunity too.

But yeah, there’s something to video. And we know all know that. Video is just huge right now on virtually any platform.

João: Definitely.

DA: So, I like that. And you had an early vlog too that went right into the record label. You just knocked on them and, “Here’s my CD” right?

João: That’s crazy.

DA: Talk about that.

João: That’s one of the many crazy stories but it seems like a really cliché story and it kind of is.

So, basically, I had this music project, it was progressive rock, which is not very mainstream. There was this label called Kscope that I was always a fan of. I love the artists and they had all my favorite artists at the time.

For me, it was always like the dream label, the label that one day if I sign myself to that it will be like a dream.

So, what happened was I was in London attending a masterclass at Warner Music. I had a couple days off, and I decided to… I was recording everything I was doing in London through video. I decided to check Ksope. So, I went to their website and I realized they had the address there.

So yeah, all right. So let’s go there, right. What’s the worst thing that can happen? I went there. I literally knocked on the door. Well actually I rang the bell, not knocked on the door. I talked with the guy that first came downstairs and when you see the vlog it will seem like I was just there to promote my EP but what really happened it was really not about that.

I was listening to a lot of podcasts with Gary Vee in particular and I had this thing on my mind of free work. Offer something to the people that you want to get involved with. That’s exactly what I did. I went there with a focus of making it clear that first, I love the label. I know all about the label, the artists, the podcast, the newsletter. I know the label.

And second, I want to get myself involved with it. So, I want to give you something for free. I will not ask for money. I just want to do something that is valuable for you. I will not distrub. While I did this, I recorded it in video and that’s the funny part.

So, it’s online. It’s on YouTube. And then I posted the video. It was like, probably the really important video I took like two months with. It was crazy. It was when I was starting with video, but they watched the video, they liked it. And eventually it made me connect with a very important person there, which is now my friend.

And one year later, they got in touch with me out of nowhere. Basically, it was 10 years anniversary of the label at Union Chapel with Anathema, Godsticks, iamthemorning, and… I’m so sorry, I’m not remembering all the artists but…

They wanted me to make like a behind the scenes of the anniversary. It was crazy, man. Like one year later, I had no contact with them and they called me out of the blue to do this and they wanted me to make a vlog out of it.

So, it was just a dream come true completely. I was giving my face for the label I love and I’m finally doing a work video for them. It was crazy man.

DA: And you’ve basically been working with them ever since, right?

João: Yeah. So, I made that free video for them as I promised. It’s called Behind 10 years of Kscope.

What I wanted and what I was expecting, I just wanted them to see me working. And to see that, you know, I know I can work good and I can really bring value to you. So, I managed to show them that.

Since then, like I’ve been… Yeah, it’s quite crazy. I do different kinds of projects with them. I go to London regularly. It’s mostly like I have some crazy idea that I’d like to do with some of the artists in Kscope and eventually I send a message to them and they trust me and they support the work, which is like a dream come true. It’s amazing. Yeah, I’m really happy with that.

DA: It just goes to show too like, there’s huge opportunity in video right now. I have a friend who got into it. He was making a pretty good living at it for a while. I think he’s changed his focus again. I have friends that, you know, shift focuses every few months. But that’s the world we live in right now anyway.

João: Who doesn’t?

DA: Exactly. I’ve changed my focus many times.

So, I mean you are one of the early supporters of the podcast, which I loved. And to this day, your testimonial is one of the main ones featured on the website.

So, I would love for you to talk about what sort of results you got from applying the ideas I’ve been sharing on the show.

João: I can’t remember exactly what was the… I remember this comment. I remember having this time in my life that I felt I need to write a huge comment to him, because I was getting a lot of value. I don’t remember the exact like, intense like this thing. But I know that I was hearing a lot to the podcast. I started to listen to your podcast when I was promoting my music project.

In that time, I was just searching for all kinds of content. Everyone who’s talking about how do you get into the industry. I was just, you know, subscribing and downloading episodes and hearing. Your podcast was the one that clicked on me the most. Like completely.

Many different reasons like, you give tremendous amount of value to people that are promoting their music and are growing as a musician. In practicality, you give a lot of advices, ideas that are definitely really useful.

But the thing that really clicked to me about you was actually the name of your podcast, Music Entrepreneur.

It was making perfect sense to me the combination of these two words. You were the only one that I discovered that really brought it up, you know? I found that amazing because as a musician right now, as independent artist, you have to be entrepreneur. There’s no way around it, you know?

As an independent artist, you must be an entrepreneur. There’s no way around it. Share on X

So, I was really happy that you address that, and all your content was following that idea of do it yourself. You have all these promotional things.

DA: Especially the internet.

João: Yeah. Yeah. I was trying to remember something more specific because I know there was some specific things if you give me a second.

DA: I’m looking at Episode 40 of the podcast. Episode 40 was about bundling and packaging your music products to maximize earnings.

Now you commented on it. What’s interesting is what seemed to resonate with you was content, and in your case, creating video content. So, out of that episode, you got that you needed to create content to get your music and your brand out there.

João: Right. I remember. Yeah, exactly.

DA: That probably gives a bit of context.

João: Yeah, exactly. I know what I mean now. I totally remember even the title of the podcast. I heard it a couple times, actually.

DA: You still listen to it.

João: Yeah. I think it’s a great time, man. It’s really great time, man.

What clicked about me about the podcast in particular was you were talking about creating more content than just music. Thinking more about everything else that goes around the music. It was just making a lot of sense to me at that time.

Like I feel most musicians are just thinking about their music. They don’t realize that everything else around their music is almost as important as the music itself. All the social media stuff, all the you know, packaging, all the contents that comes with the music that’s tremendously important.

Everything else around the music is just as important as the music itself. Share on X

What I realized in that time, and when I listen to you, it was like a confirmation of everything that I’m feeling. Like it was the first time I was hearing it addressed, you know, was that I don’t know if this idea comes directly from your podcast or not, but that’s the thing I came up with at the moment.

Anyway. The most important thing for an artist is to build a relationship with the audience and to connect with your audience, you know.

Videographer in music business

The most important thing for an artist is to build a relationship with their audience. Share on X

If you think, well, like all the artists that you like to listen to, all the artists that you call your favorite artists, you have this special connection inside of you. This special relation, a certain feeling that you have towards this artist that was built over time, but it was not only about the music. If you think well, usually it’s related to everything else that you’re going to see around these artists.

First, normally, like you like the music, something goes well but then you’re going to dive in. When you dive, it’s when you’re going to consume everything else. And that’s usually when you connect.

That’s why I thought it was so important to have the music in place, but then just have everything else also in place like all the social media, YouTube, video content, photography, texts, the websites.

Everything else is I feel it’s very important because once you connect to your audience to one person, then that person will follow you and is really connected to your work and will support you.

What I found important in that was it’s not so important that people will buy your music, it’s important that you connect with people. And people get connected with you and try to lay down the trap. I don’t want to say trap. It’s not negative. But to lay down, like, you know, just create a lot of things that people can just raise their curiosity about you. And that’s just the starting point.

DA: You convered it very well. I think that’s what strategy looks like in the music industry today. Right? It’s having a website, having different types of content, and then extending your arms out to the various social networks. And that’s not what’s being taught out there right now. There’s just some really trendy stuff that people want to fixate on the little tactics that don’t lend themselves to strategy.

You can use the tactics as part of the strategy. You know what I mean? Like a strategy is a container for all of your tactics. So, if you want to use sales funnels, use them. If you want to use Instagram, use them, but don’t think of those strategies because they’re not. They’re just tactics. And you can use those tactics to engage, build that relationship with your audience, who are then interested in you. You’re not just coming across as a salesperson constantly launching something.

A strategy is a container for all your tactics. Share on X

João: Yeah, it can’t be about tactics. I mean you have to feel the tactics. It has to make sense, like true sense to you. It’s not just about, “Oh, I found this tactic. Let’s use it to get…” “No, man. This doesn’t work.” I mean you have to feel it’s right. That’s the main thing. You have to feel it’s right for you before your path.

You must feel it’s right for your path. Share on X

Because I truly believe that your instinct knows way more than your brain. And in the long-term, things might make sense in another way that you weren’t thinking before. So, I truly believe in this and instinct.

DA: I like what you said about the music entrepreneur connection as well because I’m pretty sure I felt the same way when I kind of stumbled upon this idea. And since then, I won’t even say since then. There are other players in this space that are musicpreneur or music entrepreneur kind of focus.

I just kind of, again, I worry that some of them are maybe missing the point or not really getting what this really represents for people.

I don’t think it’s stuffy. I don’t think it’s boring. I don’t think it’s about putting together a resume. I don’t think it’s about becoming a great manager of a theater. I don’t think it’s about wearing a suit and a tie.

It really is just about taking ownership of yourself first and foremost. It’s not even about like saying “no” to labels. I’m not anti-establishment, which is another… I feel like another common misconception in music entrepreneurship that you should be anti-establishment.

Music entrepreneurship is about taking ownership of yourself first and foremost. Share on X

Not at all. You can build an awesome career on your own and then choose whether you want to be independent or labelled, whichever makes the more sense to you. So, that’s where I see things going.

João: Yeah. That’s the whole point too. It’s what makes sense to you. That’s the whole point. You have to find it out. And only you can find that out. It can be anything, man. It can be going to a label or not. It can be getting the music video or not. It can be anything. There is no right way. There’s no wrong way. You just have to find it out for yourself.

The only way to find out what’s your way is to try things. Just try things. Just put out stuff. Just try out new things. Just get involved. Just be confident with yourself. Just don’t be afraid to put yourself out there to knock on doors like, you know. And things will happen. I think things kind of magically happen when you are on your way.

The only way to know what’s right for you is to try things. Share on X

DA: Yes.

João: On your right way.

DA: Absolutely. And another thing, my comment was just that around that time that I released that episode, Episode 40, I had some pretty rapid-fire ideas that I was kind of going like, “Why has nobody covered these monetization streams in the music industry?” Or if they have, they haven’t really expressed it very well. And I could say it really quickly in a five-minute episode of a podcast and be first to market, maybe not quite first to market but could be one of the first people to really address the topic in a way that people could just go, “Oh, I can do that.” “Yeah, you’re right. I may have started this already.”

Exactly. The tools are all out there now. So, whether it was affiliate marketing or bundling your products or setting up your membership site, you know.

João: Everything is out there, man. Everything you need to know. All the practical things. Everything is out there.

DA: Yeah. So, over the years, you’ve provided me with some great feedback on my content and products. And you’ve shared your thoughts with me on this before and you were earlier before we started recording as well.

You know, books are not really your style. Coaching is more of your style. But say more about that. What is it about coaching that you find beneficial? And what sort of coaching would you personally be looking for?

João: So, you know, I had many different coaches in my life, which were generally my professors like my guitar teacher, and other teachers that I was… And eventually they become coaches, also my music producer that I worked with couple of years ago.

So, you know, I wasn’t looking for them. It just happened. And I realized that they were not just teachers, but they were kind of mentors in this way. They were helping me out like in the broader term, not just that particular thing, but in life in general.

I grew a lot during those times. It was different times for sure. But anyway, I feel that when you have a coach you kind of feel more secure. In a way you feel that you have a constant person to reflect what’s going on with your life, what you feel, what you want to do. You have constant feedback. And if it’s the right person for you, then it will be a really positive thing too. And it’s not easy to find the right coaches.

So, right now, I don’t have any coach. It’s not always. Most of the time, I feel that I know what I’m doing. By instinct, I know that I’m going somewhere. But a lot of times, I also think that I’d like to get even more advantage.

I feel that with a coach, maybe I could get more advantage of what I’m doing. Be even more productive, be even more tactical, and just get even more out of my life as a freelancer, as a professional, as a human being. Although I feel I know what I’m doing, at the same time I feel maybe I could be doing even better, you know.

So that’s why sometimes I feel you know, having a coach, someone that I could talk with and have different feedback, maybe it could be cool. Yeah. And books and classes and stuff.

So, books for me is… I have a very complicated relationship with books because I didn’t grow this reading habit when I was young. It was something that I had to do later. And all the books I consume, it’s like it has to be something truly meaningful to me but in the creative and artistic way. So, I never read you know, what’s it called? Like this genre of books that…

DA: Personal development.

João: Exactly. I never read personal development books or something like that. It’s always something that I have to feel connected with artistically because then that’s the drive I need to keep reading it, you know. And classes and so on, like I never felt… I felt the best class I could get for myself was to experience it myself. Every time I had to learn something specific, I would go on YouTube. But that was just my path, you know.

I think courses, books, everything, it can be extremely useful as it is for a lot of people. I think you just have to find out what’s the best thing that’s made sense to you. It can be books, it can be classes, it can be anything. It can be looking at the plants outside. Anything.

DA: Yeah. Yeah. The funny part is that you could totally delve into those resources yourself or you could access somebody who’s already read 200 books, who’s already consumed thousands of podcasts, who’s already been to dozens of conferences and courses. I’m kind of describing myself there but I’m not pitching myself.

But I like what you just said, you know, when the student is ready, the teacher appears. Coaches and mentors come in many forms. I’ve paid for coaching myself and intend to pay coaching again in the future. It just doesn’t make sense for where I am right now and what I’m doing.

When the student is ready, the teacher appears. Share on X

But absolutely, as I continue to grow, I would absolutely get a coach. More often than not, it’s a thing of what are you going to do this week? I guess I’m committed to doing this. And your coach will say, “I guess? No, you’re going to have that done by next week.” Then you go and do it you know.

João: That’s the thing. Yeah, that’s really good. It’s not only about you, but you know, you have this person in your head that you know that you have to show something or work on something. I think it’s good. It can be really good. Yeah, definitely. Especially when it’s something regular.

That’s another really good thing. You know that every week at this time, on Friday or whatever, you’ll talk to this person and it’s good, you know this routine thing is just great to build a skill or do anything.

When I was learning guitar, if I didn’t have a professor that I would go like every week, I would never have learned guitar. Routine is good. Having someone associated with a routine that you have to kind of explain yourself to, I think it can be really good. Definitely, yeah.

DA: Yeah. I’m going to keep developing my coaching program. It is available and people can find it on my website at any time and there’s some content that prepares them for potentially coaching and a collaborative relationship.

As you know, not every student is the right fit. Not every teacher is the right fit. That’s always the thing to suss out before getting into that relationship.

And the other thing that you said about guitar teachers, I was just kind of going like, “Whoa!” I’m now super present to the three or four, maybe even five guitar teachers that I had over the years, and how grateful and thankful I am to them. Like in this moment, I’m very present to that.

So, I don’t know if any of them are listening but here on the podcast I’ll say thank you, Jason. Thank you, Sean.

João: Thank you in general to teachers. That’s great.

DA: Yeah. Yeah. It’s not an easy work at all.

So, you know, this is an opportunity to talk about the industry more generally, which I know you’ve gained a much broader perspective on now. We see things are changing fast. And the big three’s gambit with streaming services seems to have paid off, you know. I’m now hearing reports about popular artists who are thriving in today’s ecosystem and even executives who are saying, you know, money’s just rolling in, so they’re like signing artists and spending on artists and so on and so forth.

It doesn’t seem like things have changed a whole lot for independent artists. The status quo is holding, you know, artists are making about the same. But what are your thoughts on this?

João: Oh, man. Things are just wild. It’s like I think you know, with internet, it’s like, you know. There’s a lot of people saying this already but it’s just the truth you know. Like 15 years ago, the only way you could access music was through LPs. It was very, very difficult to get certain LPs, certain artists. It was really difficult. It was very limited, the access you had.

And now it’s exactly the opposite. And now it’s like that’s an avalanche. It’s like a snowball of everything, of contents, of people trying to get attention.

At the same time, anyone can put content out and it can be visible to anyone in the world. It’s a complete game changer. I think it creates a lot of opportunities. It creates a lot of difficulties.

Things just changed, but I’m pretty positive about this time because I feel it’s just an amazing time. If you find your focus in the middle of the chaos, and if you shut up all the exterior voices telling you what you should do or not, if you find your thing. Yeah. When you find your thing, then you thrive.

And then if you use internet in your favor, can be YouTube, can be Instagram, can be anything, if you use that in your favor and if you find your right way to use it in your favor, you’re going to thrive because it’s just accessible.

When you find your thing, then you thrive. Share on X

It’s just about if you’re good or not, I think. If you put on the work and if you are a good person, which is something that is not really talked much, but it’s really important in the industry.

Even if you are a musician, or a videographer, a freelancer in any creative fields, being a good person… People are not talking about it enough, man. It’s like that’s really important. Yeah, man, it’s really important.

I can give you a couple past examples about this. When I’m working in big structures. For example, when I was working in music festivals and brands that I was hiring people, or I was trying to look for people to get hired for teams and stuff, like the first people you remember about are the people that you have a good experience with. It’s not necessarily, it’s really not necessarily the people that made the greatest video, it’s way more about the relationship you have with that person.

And, sometimes it’s not the person that made the best video, it’s the person that was the most kind, the most easy to talk with, the most understandable, the most flexible.

And another example is when you go on tours, on music tours, and so on. It’s like you have to be a good person to keep healthy in the tour. It’s like when you are in the tour, you are in a very specific capsule. You’re in the bus or whatever, constantly changing locations. Every night there’s a show. It’s a very specific capsule. You’re traveling a lot, but at the same time, you’re not really anywhere. And you are always with the same people. The same engineers, the same lighting guy, the same musicians, the same people. It becomes kind of your family. The personalities of people really get huge importance.

While on tour, being a good person, it’s like 50%, man. Of course, you have to be good. Definitely, that’s the basis. Either it’s music, either it’s being light designer, videographer anything. But the other 50% is you have to be a good person. It can easily become a nightmare, especially on tour.

It’s like a relationship, man. When you have a girlfriend, everything’s perfect. And then you move together to the same place and that everything you know, sometimes it can go really wrong. Things raise because you are living with that person, you know, experiencing a lot of things during the day that you weren’t before.

And then you know, the personalities really come to the top and gets another kind of importance. So yeah, man, be a good person. Please share more of this. It’s important.

DA: Mark Tremonti from Alter Bridge and Creed was on Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction?, he was talking about this very thing that the band Creed just couldn’t get along, which is why they don’t tour quite as much.

They’ve made an attempt to sort of come back doing tours and reunions and so forth. But yeah, every time it’s just back to the same old problems and issues with the band members, which says a lot you know. I talked about this as early as Episode 17 on the podcast, you know, don’t be a jerk.

João: Yeah, definitely.

DA: I’ve since expanded on that too, because I had questions about how do I restore a broken reputation and like, that can be tough, but it’s not. It is doable, for sure.

Because of my reputation, and you know, I’ve helped out with different events locally. I mean I’m not in Calgary anymore. I’m in Abbotsford now, closer to Vancouver these days, but when I was in Calgary, I would help out with local creative events a lot and I even co-founded one community of communities there as well.

I sometimes get referrals, you know, because my c- founder would then just refer me to another friend of his who’s doing regular summer events. Pretty soon I would find myself helping out there too as well and performing on the stage just because I could play guitar and sing.

The craziest part was all I did in those engagements usually was just show up, be myself, help out in whatever way I can. And somehow, they would still come away going, “Wow, David’s just amazing.” And I felt like I didn’t do anything. I didn’t even feel like I contributed. But they would be like, “Wow, David. It’s just so good to work with him.” Cool!

João: Your presence, yeah.

DA: I wasn’t a jerk. And I guess was supportive.

João: Yeah. Definitely.

DA: And the other thing that you said about you can certainly find your fan base out there. Like, whenever I release solo music, it’s for fun. I do other professional engagements for money for supporting other artists or whatever it might be but when I when I do solo work usually it’s for a lot of fun. I did a synthwave track a few years ago. It’s called “City Lights”.

João: I heard it yesterday actually.

DA: Oh, you did? Interesting.

João: Yeah, I heard it. I was talking to you then I searched David Andrew Wiebe and I came to that song. I was listening. I had this beautiful flashback, you know, these 80s kind of Stranger Things kind of vibe.

DA: It’s supposed to have that vibe.

João: Yeah, it’s really cool man.

DA: And I think to this day, it’s one of my most streamed tracks, you know. It may not be like massive amounts of streams, but it’s by far one of my biggest contributions out there. And it’s got played a lot in Europe. I think it even charted in Europe somehow. But on the iTunes Store.

João: That’s great.

DA: So, it’s been a great conversation, João, is there anything else I should have asked or touched on?

João: We could talk about everything and nothing because in the end, it’s like, man, just do it. Just do whatever you feel like doing right now. Especially the thing that comes from within, and not the thing that you saw on Facebook, or your mom told you, or you’ve heard somewhere that it would be good if you do that, man. It’s all just… It’s really dangerous. There’s a lot of voices right now, especially with social media. You feel depressed really easily because you’re constantly comparing yourself, you’re constantly judging yourself through what you see. And it’s total poison, I feel. It’s really good. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media, but you have to be conscious while using it.

Do the thing that comes from within. Share on X

I just think hearing yourself and doing the thing that you feel like doing right now, it’s the right thing in long-term because it will just build up. And as I said before, I deeply believe your instinct knows more than your brain. So, yeah. I think that’s really it.

DA: That is powerful, man. Yeah, you got to follow your heart and your instincts. Like you say, there are so many voices out there saying, “Do it this way. Try this. Try that.” And you’re like, “Look, I’ve heard you, I got your ideas. I got to stay focused on this idea that I’m working on right now, though, if I’m ever going to get anything done.”

You can’t be spread, you know, so many different ways. If you want to get anything done, you’ve got to exercise focus. We can be excited about a million different things but I’m sure there’s a difference between somebody who’s been excited about a million different things and someone who finished a million different things in their lifetime.

If you want to get anything done, you’ve got to exercise focus. Share on X

João: Yeah, definitely man. So easy to get excited. It’s like every time you feel excited, and then you talk about that. And it’s this idea thing.

Honestly, usually, I get really turned off when people are talking too much about ideas. Like I easily feel, you know, five minutes talking about something, an idea or something that could work, I easily start feeling really bored and feeling like I would prefer to be home doing my thing because you know, you get things to happen.

Talking is important in some stages but things happen and the great things in this world happen through someone in a little cave somewhere in the world, just doing the thing for 10 years straight believing in it. That’s how great things happen.

Great things happen through someone in a little cave somewhere in the world, doing the thing for 10 years straight believing in it. Share on X

I feel people waste too much time on ideas and talking about it and talking about the thing they thought last night, and they are thinking about. Man, just either save it to yourself or just start doing it. Because once you start talking about it, you’ll start to lose energy and it will lose momentum. So, yeah, this is relevant too.

DA: Yeah, I’m going to go woo-woo on this. But you know, our body is in perfect alignment. It starts up here at the head with the vision. We get the vision for what this idea and this project is going to be. And then our eyes, we begin to see it, right. We start to see how this idea could become a reality. And then we speak it out. So, the speaking part is important, but like you said, you can’t get stuck on speaking it because now it’s got to go down to your heart and become a powerful impact that you want to make in the world. Then it goes down to your gut. And then finally, well, you give birth.

So yeah, your body is in alignment, but you got to follow that trajectory. You can’t stop at talking about it. Now you got to feel it. They got to feel the difference it’s going to make.

João: That’s cool, man. I never thought it that way. Yeah, basically you should keep your mouth shut so that it goes from your eyes to your throat.

DA: You got it.

João: Yeah, that’s great. That’s great. That’s good.

DA: All right, perfect note to end this on. Wow, what a conversation. I’m just so present to being grateful. Grateful for you. Grateful for the many teachers I’ve had. Awesome! I love that!

João: Thanks, man. Yeah, I’m grateful for everything. For your podcast, for you know. Just keep doing what you’re doing. It’s amazing, man. I’m sure you’re going to bring a lot of value to people as you are already.

We could be talking for hours I feel but at the end of the day, in the end it’s just you know, just quit this podcast right now and just go and do that thing that is in your head right now. Just do it right now. Don’t think any. Just you have a message and read message. Just turn it off. Just go into the thing. You know, we are so distracted. This world is so distracted. It’s crazy. It’s crazy.

DA: We’ll catch up again, João. This has been awesome.

João: Yeah, for part two. I hope so, yeah. It’s amazing.

DA: I hope so too. We’ll do it.

João: Thank you very much for having me.

DA: Thank you.

Killing Marketing by Joe Pulizzi & Robert Rose Book Notes

Killing Marketing by Joe Pulizzi & Robert Rose Book Notes

Killing Marketing bookContent Inc., written by Joe Pulizzi, is one of my favorite books of all time. So, I wanted to see what his newer book, Killing Marketing was all about.

I am clearly not the target audience for this book, as indicated by the opening chapters, which I found to be a snooze fest. But I got exactly what I was looking for in the middle chapters, which made the book worthwhile.

Here are my book notes – what I found most compelling and applicable to me in Killing Marketing.

Focus on Your Audience & Their Problem, Not on Yourself

The book tells the story of #FlipMyFunnel, which I was not familiar with. The key point that I was reminded of is to focus on your audience and not on yourself. This will likely be reflected in the Music Entrepreneur HQ initiatives moving forward.

Conferences can be Profitable

It seems obvious, I suppose, but the people I’ve talked to in the music industry were basically using conferences as a loss leader. But Content Marketing World is an incredibly profitable arm of Content Marketing Institute. I guess, in many ways, it comes down to your target audience, the product and what they’re willing to pay for it.

Revenue Streams for Publishing Companies

I do think of Music Entrepreneur HQ as a publishing company of sorts, as most of my work revolves around scripting and writing.

Authors Pulizzi and Rose indicate that the main direct revenue streams for publishing companies are:

  • Advertising and sponsorships
  • Conferences and events
  • Premium content offerings
  • Donations
  • Subscriptions

The book gets into a detailed explanation of each, most of which was obvious.

What I found interesting was that there are basically three types of premium content offerings – direct-for-sale products, funded content purchased on demand and syndicated content opportunities.

Direct-for-sale products are the most obvious – eBooks, audio programs, courses and other info products would all fall under this category.

Funded content purchases are content you create that’s bought by others. I didn’t realize that this was an opportunity and one I’m going to be paying more attention to moving forward.

Syndicated content is when your content is syndicated to other sites for a fee. Generally, I’ve been syndicating content for free, and didn’t know you could tap into this as a revenue stream.

I can certainly think of other revenue streams one could take advantage of but since CMI is a multimillion-dollar company, I better take their word for it.

The Audience is the Asset

Content blindness comes from focusing on the content rather than the audience. The content isn’t the asset. The audience is! Content is the means to get to your audience.

This would suggest that the most efficient model is creating the minimum amount of content with the maximum amount of resources. I couldn’t agree more.

Businesses should have one mission and one audience. Again, I believe this wholeheartedly.

The book talks about James Altucher, who makes it his goal to identify massive pain points his audience can relate to and then talk about how he attempted to recover from them. I love that. I’m going to be stealing that from you, James!

Qualities That Make an E-Newsletter Successful

Successful e-newsletters are consistent (published at the promised time every single time), valuable and exclusive (they feature unique content). Great model.

The Three-Legged Stool

It’s an old concept but it still works, no matter how pervasive our digital lives become. If you aren’t getting the results you want with digital, incorporate print and events too. That’s your three-legged stool – digital, print and events.

The book also touches on the idea of “experience business”, something I’ve been talking about for years (maybe I got it from another Pulizzi book). The idea is that you can create more value for your audience by creating experiences for them.

Pilot Programs

I discovered that pilot programs within a business should last at least 12 months. You must have a goal or vision of how the business will be different after the fact. You must also have agreed-upon metrics that help you determine when to keep it or cut it. I’m doing this from now on.

Commitment

Commitment level determines content marketing success.

Get busy living or get busy dying – The Shawshank Redemption

Rose states that commitment and flexibility can both be a virtue in business. Sometimes you need to stay committed to generate results. Sometimes you need to stay flexible to pivot when opportunities present themselves.

The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do. – Michael Porter

Get you own copy of Killing Marketing

180 – The IMDb of the Music Industry – with Vasja Veber of Viberate

180 – The IMDb of the Music Industry – with Vasja Veber of Viberate

Do you wish there was a comprehensive online database of artists, venues, events and festivals? Are you looking for a forward-looking, technologically driven platform to help you grow your career as an artist?

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, Vasja Veber of Viberate shares what the platform is all about, how it was developed and what they plan to achieve with it.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:34 – What is Viberate?
  • 05:17 – What’s new with Viberate?
  • 06:55 – How can an independent artist take advantage of the platform?
  • 10:44 – Is blockchain the answer to the music industry?
  • 14:39 – The music industry – an endless field of business opportunities?
  • 18:22 – Copywriting and creative processes
  • 19:44 – What are the greatest challenges you’ve overcome?
  • 25:22 – What are the greatest victories you’ve experienced?
  • 28:23 – Are there any books that have helped you on your journey?
  • 29:59 – Is there anything else I should have asked?

Transcription:

David Andrew Wiebe: Today I’m chatting with co-founder and business development director at Viberate, Vasja Veber. How are you today Vasja?

Vasja Veber: Good. How are you?

D.A.: I’m great. Thanks so much for joining me.

Vasja: Awesome.

D.A.: I think we’re going to have a good conversation today about the IMDb for the music industry. You know, it seems like people are only just beginning to understand the value of data in the industry. It’s a foregone conclusion in some of the other sectors out there, but I think its value isn’t properly understood in music. So, tell us about Viberate and why it was created.

Vasja: So, it was first created as a band project because our background is in music management. So, myself and my other co founder, we’ve been managing a world-famous techno DJ, UMEK, for years.

It’s when it was still in the times of Myspace and Google+ so it was quite a long time ago. We were advertising a lot. We’re investing a lot of money into his presence.

Back then, Facebook was still a very effective place to be and to invest money in. But we couldn’t figure out how those investments are actually reflecting in the DJ’s career.

Was he more popular because we invested money into advertising? That’s why we started a simple social media managing website. It was called topdjs.com back then.

We were measuring just simple social media metrics – how many followers a certain DJ is getting in a day, or a week, or a month. We did this for a thousand DJs that we entered manually into the data.

So, we’re measuring Facebook, Twitter. Like I said, back then it was still MySpace and Google+ and Instagram. And, it just took off. So, we opened up the database.

In a matter of over a year, we got 30,000 user-generated profiles. So, people were adding new DJs into the database because they wanted to see how they’re performing in terms of popularity. And then, we saw an opportunity. We followed the market and we raised some money.

At the beginning, our angel round was $1 million. We went away from just measuring popularity of DJs. We said, “Okay. Let’s go to all genres.” That’s why we created Viberate. The name is actually derived from rating the vibe. That’s why the extra “e” in the middle.

Yeah. And the years go by, we again raised some more money. Today, Viberate employs 65 people full time. And our office is in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Plus, around 60 more all across the world.

Those are mostly contributors around the world, because the database is crowdsourcing curated. And today we have nearly half a million profiles of musicians, about 160,000 venues, and we have around half a million events at any given moment in the database.

So, the easiest way to describe it is we’re doing what IMDb is doing for the music industry. So like IMDb is for the movies and Viberate is for the music industry. We’re creating profiles and collecting profiles of musicians.

Right now, when I say we have half a million musicians in the database, some will say, “Yeah, but I know services that have more than that.” That’s true but we have unique artists.

Our rule is one artist, one profile. That’s why we rely on crowdsourcing and curating because we have by far the cleanest data set in the world. Other services usually scrape all the data sources they could get a hand on.

If you look, let’s say for Tiësto who is a world-famous DJ, you will get like five, six, even 15 profiles for the same DJ because everything is done with machines.

And, that’s why we said, “Okay. We need human touch.” We curate everything. It takes a lot of effort. It costs a lot of money, but at the end, it makes the service relevant and cool.

D.A.: Yeah, I love that explanation. So, is it fair to say that you’re building it into a fairly comprehensive database in time?

Vasja: Yeah. Yeah. That’s exactly. That’s our first focus is that we want to be as relevant as possible.

D.A.: So, is there anything new with Viberate that we should know about? Any new features or something that’s changed?

Vasja: Well, we just launched our map view for venues. Let’s say you travel to London for business and you take an additional weekend to go check the scene there, you can just open the map of London and venues are going to pop up, plus events that are taking place in London that we can do there.

And you can just browse through the map. You can click through the venue. You can check what’s going on there. You can even buy tickets. It’s a really cool feature.

Plus, we just recently launched a festival app platform. Right now, we have around 4,000 festival profiles in the database. Festivals can claim their profiles. And then, they can create their own mobile app without any coding knowledge. They just need a few clicks, and we do the rest. They can offer iOS and Android app to their festival goers. It’s a really cool feature. It’s a subscription-based service. So, there’s no starting cost for festivals.

People love it. We did a pilot launch with five festivals, and 80% of all festival goers downloaded the app and were using it like crazy. All of a sudden it becomes the festival’s main communication channel with their clients. It’s a really cool feature.

D.A.: Yeah, sounds like there’s a lot of practical ways to use it. Whether you’re a fan or a venue owner or event organizer or what have you. I’m sure something that my listeners are going to be curious to know is how does an independent artist take advantage of the platform?

Vasja: So independent artists are actually our main target group here, aside from promoters, because they probably already have their profile on Viberate, but they don’t know it yet. They can go to the server. They can search their name. I’m pretty sure that 90% of them are going to find their profile already in the database. And then they can claim it. Once they claim it, they take complete control over it, and they can use it instead of their website because it contains all the information that actually would be necessary on their official website.

We collect gig dates that we get from tapping into APIs of ticket providers. We highlight the hottest content that they put on their official channels. We have a recommendation engine so we will let people know who are similar artists.

And then, we analyze how artists are following each other on social media. So, if you go to, let’s say Metallica’s profile, you’ll be surprised to see that they’re following Lady Gaga on Instagram. And this is the feature that only we have.

It’s an interesting thing to see how bands and musicians are following each other. It’s a huge recognition if you’re a small garage band, and you just all of a sudden get followed by huge superstar. That means something. And people usually brag about it.

It's a huge recognition if you're a small garage band, and you just all of a sudden get followed by huge superstar. Share on X

But yeah, independent artists can use their profiles instead of their official websites. They can send the link to their profile to promoters and say, “Hey, this is me. This is my stuff here. Check me out. Why don’t you book me?”

One of our co-founders, the DJ I manage. He’s really a high-profile techno DJ. We deleted his official website. And now, if you type in UMEK.si, which is his name, it’s going to redirect you directly to his profile.

Right now, that’s the biggest advantage. You can have your website, it’s already done. So, you don’t have to do it yourself. You just have to register a domain and redirect it to your Viberate profile and you’re done.

And you don’t have to update it. You just keep doing what you’re doing. Keep uploading stuff to your YouTube channel. Keep updating your Twitter or your Instagram. We’re going to filter out the hottest content. So, the content that your fans are most engaged with is going to pop up on your Vibrate profile.

D.A.: Maybe I’m reading into this a little bit but certainly seems reminiscent of Myspace, right? Like one thing I remember talking to venue owners and event organizers, they liked that artists were able to kind of have everything on one page, which made it easy for them to decide whether or not to book this artist.

Yeah, this kind of seems a little bit like a throwback to that. Except much cleaner and nicer.

Vasja: Yeah, Myspace had a horrible user experience.

D.A.: It really did, yeah. But it had its advantages in terms of like growing your fan base and so forth, right, which is why artists kind of tended towards it.

So, I think, you know, it’s high time that we should have some kind of platform that replaces it because Facebook is a powerful marketing platform, but it’s just not doing the job that Myspace used to do for artists.

Vasja: Yeah. Yeah, I agree.

D.A.: So, before we got into recording today’s conversation, we talked a little bit about blockchain technology. As you mentioned, Viberate platform is not fully blockchain yet, but you are taking advantage of cryptocurrency.

You know, this is a discussion that is certainly growing in the music industry now. Some are even kind of holding up blockchain as the answer within the music industry, but what are your thoughts on that?

Vasja: So yeah, blockchain can solve a lot of problems on both sides of the music industry. There have been a lot of takes of solving the whole royalty distribution problem using cryptocurrencies, but a lot of projects kind of just died out along with the arrival of bare markets in early 2018.

We’re still alive and kicking, so we did raise a significant amount of money at the end of 2017, through the release of our token, it’s called VIB, VIB token.

The first role of the token was that if you were adding profiles into our database or curating the information, existing ones, you could earn our tokens. And a lot of people took advantage of it so a lot of people just… Some quit their day jobs to become full time curators and contributors for Viberate. There still are.

We have a lot of contributors from Venezuela, because they have a horrible economic situation there and they saw the opportunity to earn money by helping us grow and grow the database and listen at the whole global live music ecosystem. So, we have a lot of people that know a lot about music in Venezuela.

And this is how we started using cryptocurrencies, but now, we have really interesting plans for the future in terms of privacy and taking control of your own data as an artist.

We’re testing out a feature that will allow musicians to claim their Viberate profiles and to move them on the blockchain so they will control what kind of information they want to share with whom they want to share it and for how long.

For example, if you’re a rock bank, you have your Viberate profile, you upload your official photo, you have your content on a profile, and then you want to share it with a streaming service or with a ticket provider that sells tickets for a gig.

So, you say, “Okay. I will allow Ticketmaster to use my profile photo and my gig history and some of my videos that I put online for until next Saturday when my gig takes place. And after that, I don’t want to share this with them anymore.”

So, this is something that we’re going to start testing late this year. It’s going to be quite a nice feature that will give full control of their data back to artists. Because in our experience with music management, we know how hard it is to keep control of what kind of stuff people and websites and services are publishing to present about you as an artist.

D.A.: Yeah, I think it’s great that there are people going through tough economic situations that are able to take advantage of something like this. And it’s actually a lot of fun, I would imagine, being able to contribute to a project like this.

Now, you mentioned, you talked a little bit about the trajectory that you followed. You started kind of promoting a DJ and then that kind of turned into an opportunity that you saw to leverage data in the music industry.

But in your bio on LinkedIn, you talk about the fact that the music industry turned out to be an endless field of business opportunities, which I’m sure like some people looking in don’t necessarily feel that way. But what do you think you were seeing that that others weren’t?

The music industry turned out to be an endless field of business opportunities. Share on X

Vasja: Well, the music industry is probably one of the hardest fields to be in as a startup. Mark Cuban said in one of the episodes of Shark Tank that he invests into a lot of fields, but he avoids music as the plague. That really caught my attention.

The music industry is probably one of the hardest fields to be in as a startup. Share on X

I completely get where he’s coming from. It’s a really tough industry to make money in. It’s tough making an exit as a startup in the music industry.

We all know Spotify is by far the biggest music company right now. I read somewhere that they get 20% of all of the recorded music revenue. So, 20% of everything in the world goes to Spotify. And they still failed to make profit.

Yeah, this is losing money. This is a good example of how tough it is here. But we see ourselves not necessarily as a music startup, but as a data start-up, so our main business is data. We analyze about a billion data points per month for all our entities.

If you’re a data company, you can be a data company in medicine and healthcare, or in education and automotive industry. It doesn’t matter. It’s data.

So, this is where we found our opportunity because we see that especially the live, the excitement, and the professional part of the music industry – it kind of got stuck in the 90s. So, it’s really low tech, and it’s a lot of wasted space here to improve services to give data to promoters to improve their decision making.

Most of the promoters are just going to book artists based on gut feeling. They’re going to book artists that they like. And, if you want to make money as a promoter, you have to book artists that are popular for people. Even if you don’t like the music that they do. If you’re a professional, then you’re out there about the money.

Of course, you’re going to give priority to artists that you like, but you have to spread your horizons and just ask people what they like. And this is something that we’re actually offering, the popularity metrics.

Promoters can use Viberate to find out who’s popular, who’s getting traction on social media and streaming sites, and then contact them and negotiate a booking.

D.A.: Yeah. I love that, you know. Here I am, toughing it out in the music industry, right? Coaching and helping musicians and sharing new insights into what’s going on and helping them keep up to date and all that.

But I guess my attitude is, hey, if it is the toughest industry, if I can make it here, I can make it anywhere. But I’m a smart guy. I’m sure I could, you know, be in some other niche if I wanted to be.

Another thing your bio mentions is that you’re a copywriting and creative processes guy. I would love for you to touch on that side of things as well so we can get a better sense of you.

Vasja: So yeah, my background is actually… I have a master’s in marketing. But I kind of found myself in the music industry right after I finished my studies. I joined an event management company that later morphed into a music management company because one of the co-founders of the agency is a world-famous DJ, UMEK.

He played ultra mainstage EDC, Las Vegas. He was a resident in Ibiza for a couple of years. So, he’s all over the world. He has up to 120 gigs per year. And so, we went from being marketing guys to be music managers, and we had to learn everything from scratch.

It was fun. It was a fun ride. We learned especially a lot about the pains of the industry. Viberate actually was brought to life because we try to solve the pains that no other services were solving. We said, “Okay. If no one’s going to do it, let’s try and do it ourselves.” This is how we came here.

D.A.: We’re always looking for insights into how a musician or music entrepreneur listening to this show can take their business, move forward with it, and create better results.

And so, I’m always curious to find any insights we can find. So, next few questions will kind of pertain to that. But what are the greatest challenges you’ve overcome as an entrepreneur?

Vasja: If you’re an Eastern European company, if you’re a European start-up, we don’t have a really live startup scene here. Not a lot of startups coming from Slovenia.

The first major obstacle we had to overcome was raising money because unlike in Silicon Valley, there’s not a lot of capital going around here. So, we had to hustle a lot to first get our seed round. We still do. I mean we’re currently in the middle of raising our Series A round. Of course, we have to go outside of our country to get capital, but it’s a big challenge.

And second of all, coming from a small country, if you have to build a relatively large team, 65 people that are working in our offices, it is a large team. And if you come from a small country, it’s hard to find people that are going to work for you.

So, you have to hire engineers. And there’s not a lot of engineers in the country that only has two million people. So, what we did is we invest a lot of money in our offices. So, we have really cool startup, like offices. We have foosball. We have pool tables. We have a 3D driving simulator. We even have a shooting range for a couple of months, and now we had to throw it out because we need room for a new conference room.

So, yeah, we do all kinds of startup stuff that’s usually Silicon Valley companies do to attract people to come and work for us.

And yeah, raising money was always tough. My wife and I moved to Silicon Valley for four months. And when we came there, we realized that we don’t have any contacts. So, no one was going to pick up our calls or return our emails. We didn’t know what to do.

So, what we did then is we rented a car. We went on Crunchbase. We printed out a list of all the VCs that ever invested in the music company and we just knocked on the door. We just paid them a visit. Unannounced!

In the beginning it was scary, but then we noticed that each and everyone was really positively surprised that there are still people that are going to hustle the old school way without an intro, who’s just going to break into their office to say, “Hi! This is our pitch.” It was nice. It was an interesting story.

We actually got quite a few leads. People accepted us. They did intros for us. It was a nice thing, but it’s a really hard business, the music industry. VCs aren’t really happy to just throw money at you if you’re in the startup.

D.A.: No. And even just getting people to understand something so high tech, at least, you know, that’s the point on which I relate or sympathize a little bit is because in Calgary, really the oil and gas industries is the biggest. If you want to be in Calgary, most people are all about the oil and gas jobs and what they can accomplish there.

So, there’s not a whole lot happening in tech and entertainment and music. I mean, there’s some incredibly talented musicians out there just like there are anywhere else but that was such a challenge to try to explain to people what it is that I even do. I’d be like, “Well, I work completely from home.” And they’re like, “What does that look like?” You have these online businesses and websites and they’re like, “I don’t get it.” Yeah, okay.

Vasja: It’s not that tough here.

D.A.: Yeah, but there’s just not a startup culture like you’re saying.

Vasja: Yeah. The startup culture started developing in Slovenia. Especially in 2017 during the ICO hype and the crypto hype. Everybody was talking about it. We even got the whole government of Slovenia along with the Prime Minister to visit our offices, because they asked this workshop for the whole cabinet of the Prime Minister about blockchain, about startup culture, what we need from the government to boost the whole culture. It was really nice.

I mean, Prime Minister in Slovenia is like the president of US. So, he’s the head of the country. It’s not the president who leads the country. So, it was a huge honor for us. And it was quite an unusual thing to have the head of the state in our office.

D.A.: No doubt.

Vasja: But it was a nice thing. We educated the government of how we think they should help us get the attention of the world. Because if you come from such a small country, you have to struggle so much more than if you’re just a Silicon Valley company.

D.A.: Well, I love the hustle. I love the fact that you recognized those challenges and sought ways to navigate through them. Such a great story. And maybe you already aired this, but what are the greatest victories you’ve experienced as an entrepreneur?

Vasja: Well, I think that it was when big acts started claiming their profile. So, the first superstar act was Linkin Park. They claimed their profile in Viberate. It was a huge recognition for the whole team. So, the whole team was really fueled by that. And then, others started coming. So, Robbie Williams, the Chainsmokers, a bunch of big DJs.

Every time we get a high-profile claim, the whole office is really psyched about it. It’s just that that started rolling. So right now, we’re getting up to 100 claims per day. That means a lot for us. That means that we’re getting traction, we’re getting recognition.

Sooner or later we will become a standard for the music industry. So, yeah. High profile recognitions definitely mean a lot to us right now.

D.A.: Yeah, that’s awesome. There are certain artists who are embracing tech instead of trying to knock it down. Kind of like the Metallica-Napster days, right, which some people might remember.

Vasja: Yeah, but still. I mean we kind of got what they were trying to do because they were investing a lot of effort into recording albums, and they just didn’t want to have people just downloading them for free.

Funny thing is that actually Napster was one of the first streaming services that approached us because they’re really interested in the data that we have. So, we’re talking with them right now of integrating couple of our services because a lot of people don’t know Napster still exists. The brand Napster still exists. It’s a streaming service.

We have the whole team here in Ljubljana. I picked him up from the airport and I intentionally was playing “Master of Puppets” from Metallica when we’re driving for the airport, so we’re all laughing and it was a nice one.

I mean they don’t have anything in common with the old Napster. So, the whole management is changed.

D.A.: Yeah, no, you’re absolutely right. You know, Metallica at the time was just trying to save what was quickly becoming an outdated and no longer sustainable industry.

Vasja: It takes a lot of guts to do that.  It takes a lot of guts to do that because they didn’t know if they are going to lose a lot of fans, but someone had to do it.

D.A.: You can’t blame them for trying based on how the industry is right now, but we’re looking forward to a much better overall industry and maybe tech may hold the answers to that. So, are there any books that have helped you on your journey?

Vasja: Yeah, we have a small library in the office. We’re mostly focusing on selling tactics. I’m subscribed to MasterClass. So, I have an annual pass for, I don’t know if you know the MasterClass series.

D.A.: Yes.

Vasja: It’s a service that have big names lecturing about all kinds of management or selling or copywrite. So yeah, we try to educate ourselves as much as possible.

When we were raising money, we’re part of the local accelerator that taught us how to pitch your project, how to create an interesting deck, how to approach investors. So, we have to learn all the time.

D.A.: I read my share of sales books as well whether it was SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham, or The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy. At one point, I just tried to learn everything I possibly could about it. I’m not necessarily directly in sales. I guess, you know, as a CEO of a company, you’re always marketing and sales, and that’s your focus.

But you know, we do such soft sells in the music industry, just because, you know, the less direct is almost better in a way for musicians that are looking for something specific.

Even though you know, you apply all the same stuff psychologically, whether it’s urgency or, you know, polarizing them one way or the other, but the message itself is often less direct than you probably would place it in other industries.

Well, thanks for your time and generosity Vasja. Is there anything else I should have asked?

Vasja: I don’t know. You tell me. You’re the one asking.

D.A.: I mean I feel like we covered everything that I wanted to in this episode. We got a good idea of who you are and your expertise as well as a sense of what Viberate is and how it benefits artists. So, to me that rounds things out pretty well.

Vasja: Yeah, I think we have it fully covered.

D.A.: Awesome. Well, thanks so much.

Vasja: Thank you.

179 – Top 10 Music Entrepreneur HQ Posts of 2019

179 – Top 10 Music Entrepreneur HQ Posts of 2019

Each year, we publish loads of content on Music Entrepreneur HQ and we like to reflect on what resonated with our readers, listeners and viewers most.

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, we get into the top 10 most viewed posts of 2019.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:34 – Top 10 Music Entrepreneur HQ posts of 2019
  • 01:11 – 5 Ways to Sign More Powerfully
  • 01:40 – 7 Ways Music Benefits to Your Health
  • 02:32 – 4 Challenges Music Entrepreneurs Face & How to Overcome Them
  • 03:12 – The Effects of Listening to Music at Work: Pros and Cons
  • 03:58 – How to Create Your Music Career Strategy for 2019
  • 04:44 – Passive Income Streams for Musicians and Music Instructors
  • 05:28 – What Your Song Titles & Email Subject Lines Have in Common
  • 06:11 – How to Succeed as a Songwriter – with Award-Winning Songwriter & Producer Troy Kokol
  • 06:48 – 7 Essential Tactics for Better Live Stage Performance
  • 07:34 – How to Choose Great Recording, Mixing & Mastering Engineers for Your Album
  • 08:14 – Thanks to contributors
  • 08:40 – Thanks to listeners

Transcription:

It’s time for us to look back on the top 10 Music Entrepreneur HQ posts of 2019.

If you’re primarily a podcast listener, then you might not be familiar with the website, located at davidandrewwiebe.com but it has fast turned into a massive online resource for musicians just like you. If you don’t believe me, just go to the website and click on the Blog button in the menu and you’ll see all the content we’ve published.

Music Entrepreneur HQ is a massive online resource for musicians. Share on X

And, in 2019, since we were still accepting guest posts, many of the posts I’m about to share with you were written and contributed by others.

So, let’s review the most viewed and listened to pieces of the past year.

1 – 5 Ways to Sing More Powerfully

5 Ways to Sing More PowerfullyAt the number one position, we have 5 Ways to Sing More Powerfully.

This guest post was contributed by my friend Matt Ramsey, who I got to meet while I was in Austin last August. I’ll have to have him on the podcast as well.

In this detailed guide, Ramsey shares how we can all add some power to our voices for those times when a song needs that extra push.

I think he offers some great tips here, and this is an evergreen piece that’s going to help singers for years to come.

2 – 7 Ways Music Benefits Your Health

7 Ways Music Benefits Your HealthAt number two, we have 7 Ways Music Benefits Your Health.

At Music Entrepreneur HQ, we don’t often cover topics related to how music can benefit one’s health. With a huge growth in guest posters, however, we saw all kinds of people contribute content on a myriad of topics throughout the year.

And, as writer Alexandra Reay (it might be pronounced Re-ay, I’m not too sure) shares in this post, music can help you improve your communication skills, improve your emotional life, strengthen your heart, help you sleep better, reduce anxiety and depression, decrease pain and boost the immune system.

If you’d like to learn more, you’re going to have to check out the post for yourself. All the posts in this episode are linked up in the show notes at davidandrewwiebe.com/179 along with a full transcription of the episode.

3 – 4 Challenges Music Entrepreneurs Face & How to Overcome Them

4 Challenges Musician Entrepreneurs Face & How to Overcome ThemIn third place, we have 4 Challenges Music Entrepreneurs Face & How to Overcome Them, a topic I feel is both relevant and worth delving into.

I think guest contributor Rana Tarakji (I’m so sorry if I’m pronouncing that wrong) did a great job of covering the key struggles music entrepreneurs often face – having to wear many hats, lack of energy or motivation and competition. If you have mental blocks in any of these areas, this post is for you.

For better or for worse, I’ve often been hands on with guest posts, and in this instance, I did a little bit of work to tighten up and peak interest with the headings. It looks like it may have paid off.

4 – The Effects of Listening to Music at Work: Pros and Cons

The Effects of Listening to Music at Work: Pros and ConsNumber four, The Effects of Listening to Music at Work: Pros and Cons.

Again, this is a topic I would not have thought to cover in any capacity. I guess that’s why we had guest posters. They brought some fresh ideas to the table and covered what they felt were relevant topics.

In this post, contributor Natalia Anderson seeks to offer some constructive thoughts on whether one should or shouldn’t be listening to music at work, and the type of music you should be listening to if you choose to listen while working.

If you’ve ever wondered whether I listen to music at work, the answer is “often.” And, if you’d like to know what I’m listening to, you can look up a playlist on Spotify called Addicted by David Andrew Wiebe. You’ll find the link to this playlist in the show notes as well.

5 – 136 – How to Create Your Music Career Strategy for 2019

136 – How to Create Your Music Career Strategy for 2019At number five, episode 136 of the podcast, How to Create Your Music Career Strategy for 2019.

Should I feel funny about the fact that I just barely made it into the top five with one of my own content pieces? I’m just kidding – I think it’s great that so many others had the opportunity to contribute something to the Music Entrepreneur HQ site.

As tactics become increasingly popular and strategy falls by the wayside in the music industry, I think posts like this are only going to increase in importance.

While this post should not be considered comprehensive by any means, I talked about strategy from a high level, how to fit tactics around your strategy and some steps to determine what tactics you can use to reach your goals.

6 – 127 – Passive Income Streams for Musicians and Music Instructors – with Brent Vaartstra of Passive Income Musician

127 – Passive Income Streams for Musicians and Music Instructors – with Brent Vaartstra of Passive Income MusicianAt number six, we have the second part of my two-part interview with Brent Vaartstra of Learn Jazz Standards and Passive Income Musician. That’s episode 127 of the podcast, titled Passive Income Streams for Musicians and Music Instructors.

It makes sense that people would be interested in passive income streams. This is a sexy sounding term, but as Brent suggests, everything takes work. The only way to develop your passive income streams is by putting in a concerted effort upfront. And, ongoing upkeep might be part of the equation too.

But if there’s anyone that understands this topic well, it’s Brent, and if you’re interested in finding out how you can tap into the power of passive income, have a listen to this episode.

7 – What Your Song Titles & Email Subject Lines Have in Common

What Your Song Titles & Email Subject Lines Have in CommonAt seventh place, there’s What Your Song Titles & Email Subject Lines Have in Common.

This idea via guest poster Kayleigh Alexandra had to be workshopped a bit before it made any sense. I think I’m starting to see a bit of a pattern here in the sense that, most of the top guest posts were first written by a contributor and then developed into a cohesive whole by an editor, which in this case was me.

So, what do song titles and email subject lines have in common? I think a better question might be – what lessons can we take from each to improve the other? This question should lead to some powerful insights.

At core, I feel this is a good topic. The writing around the idea, however, has space to be something more than it is. Anyone care to tackle it?

8 – 142 – How to Succeed as a Songwriter – with Award-Winning Singer-Songwriter & Producer Troy Kokol

142 – How to Succeed as a Songwriter – with Award-Winning Singer-Songwriter & Producer Troy KokolAt number eight, we have episode 142 of the podcast, How to Succeed as a Songwriter – with Award-Winning Singer-Songwriter & Producer Troy Kokol.

I’ve now been podcasting for over 10 years. So, for me, this episode felt like a bit of a blast from the past, because I interviewed a lot of local artists for my original podcast.

I think this conversation with Troy was awesome and his story is incredibly inspiring. It’s a great reminder that when we’re looking for opportunity, we must be ready for it. We should be putting our head down to do the work instead of constantly trying to make something happen and wondering where the next gig is going to come from.

When we're looking for opportunity, we must be ready for it. Share on X

9 – 7 Essential Tactics for Better Live Stage Performance

7 Essential Tactics for Better Live Stage PerformanceAt ninth place, there’s 7 Essential Tactics for Better Live Stage Performance as written by guest poster Scott Matthews.

This is a topic I’ve personally covered in detail in my own writing, and I’m relatively complete with what I’ve had to share about it. There’s nothing I wish to add right now. So, it’s providence that someone else decided they wanted to cover the topic.

Now, I do feel Scott’s tips are relatively commonsense, but as they say, there’s nothing common about commonsense. As music entrepreneurs, it’s best that we don’t make any assumptions about what strangers do or do not know.

There's nothing common about commonsense. Share on X

Plus, his post has the term “essential” in the title, suggesting that no extras were covered. If you’re just getting started as a performer, then you’re certainly going to get something out of this post.

10 – How to Choose Great Recording, Mixing & Mastering Engineers for Your Album

How to Choose Great Recording, Mixing & Mastering Engineers for Your AlbumAt 10th place, we have How to Choose Great Recording, Mixing & Mastering Engineers for Your Album by Nick Rubright (it might be pronounced Roob-right, I’m not sure).

For better or for worse, a lot of musicians have had bad experiences with engineers. Some have been over-charged. Others have had trouble achieving their sonic vision.

These days, I mostly work with friends and contacts from my extended network and that has been a trouble-free experience, but in the past, I’ve had some less than ideal experiences as well, which is one of the reasons one of my solo albums still hasn’t been released.

Anyway, if finding an engineer is a bit of a mystery to you, I have no doubt you’ll find this post valuable.

Thank You to All Contributors

In closing, most of this content simply wouldn’t be possible without the help I had from the various guests and contributors we had last year, so from the bottom of my heart I want to say, “thank you.”

Even though we’ve closed guest posting and advertising opportunities and we’re focusing on other projects right now, we know that it takes time and effort to come up with an idea and put it into existence, so, again, thank you all for your hard work.

Thank You for Engaging

Finally, we couldn’t even create lists like this without listeners like you to engage in our content, so thank you so much for reading, listening and watching in 2019. We hope your career or business has benefited greatly from our efforts, and we’re always here to help you when you need it.

We’re looking forward to an amazing 2020, and we have some amazing interviews and content in the works for you this year too, so stay tuned.

I’m David Andrew Wiebe and I look forward to seeing you on the stages of the world.