207 – Building Relationships to Grow Your Music Career – with Ty Frankel of Shut Down Media

by | Sep 17, 2020 | Podcast

What if there were no limits on where you could take your music? What if you could work with some high-profile brands and build a six-figure business in the music industry in your early 20s?

That’s what we’re going to be looking at in this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast with Shut Down Media CEO Ty Frankel.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:32 – How did Ty discover his passion for music?
  • 02:29 – How did Ty get so good at project management?
  • 03:16 – Tips for hiring or building a team
  • 05:14 – What’s the main way Ty generates leads?
  • 07:27 – Outreach faux pas
  • 08:11 – What has Ty’s experience been with the music industry?
  • 09:06 – Believing in yourself
  • 09:41 – What is Ty looking to achieve next?
  • 11:47 – What is Ty’s top tip for someone looking to create the life they want through music
  • 16:54 – What’s the latest YouTube video Ty watched?
  • 17:14 – Ty’s daily routine
  • 18:03 – Checking your phone in the morning?
  • 21:12 – What’s the greatest challenge Ty has overcome?
  • 22:14 – What is Ty’s greatest victory?
  • 23:21 – Ty’s recommended reads
  • 25:02 – Final thoughts


David Andrew Wiebe: Today I’m chatting with founder and CEO of Shut Down PM, Ty Frankel. How are you today, Ty?

Ty Frankel: Hey, Andrew. I’m great. How are you? Thanks for having me on.

David Andrew Wiebe: I’m great. It’s great to have you on the show. So, Shut Down PM is an LA-based music agency. You’ve created music for the likes of The Alvin Show, Hulu, Fortnight, Red Bull, NBA, NFL and others. You’re only 22 years old. And you’ve already built a business that makes three quarters of a million annually. I’ve got lots of questions, my friend, but I’d love for you to share how did you discover your passion for music, and how did that lead to the work you do today?

Ty Frankel: Yeah, Andrew. So, when I was five, I got into hip-hop music. I remember my dad bought me a CD player. I bought all these albums like Outkast, Stankonia, Lil’ Bow Wow, Eminem: Curtain Call. I might have been five or six. And ever since then, I just loved hip-hop. When I was 14, I was on these underground hip-hop forums on Yahoo Answers. I was on there for about a year. I was obsessed with underground hip-hop when I was 14 that lasted about a year. But someone started producing on there. Maybe one or two people started producing. They said they downloaded FL Studio, uploaded some of their beats. So, I was very interested and intrigued. And then, I downloaded it myself. And then since then it’s just, you know, I discovered that it was my passion day one, right, when I opened the program up. Every day since then, up until when I started my company, I was just producing for most of the day.

David Andrew Wiebe: Well, I have a similar story in that when I was 14, I guess, I started making websites. And that’s what I ended up spending all day doing and all night, except for sitting in chat rooms, which I think I must have done for three hours a night and driven everyone crazy because we used modems back then not cable modems, dial up. Dial up internet. Those are fun days.

Ty Frankel: Oh, that’s cool.

David Andrew Wiebe: So, I see you got some glowing reviews from clients on LinkedIn. They say one of your strong suits is project management. I got to tell you right now, that wasn’t one of my strengths as a 22-year-old. And to this day, I’ve got a bit of an artistic brain so I can be somewhat scattered. Is this a natural ability of yours or something you’ve picked up along the way?

Ty Frankel: You know, I’ve always been good at it. The past three, four years, I think I’ve gotten really, really great at it. Just reading books and just gaining experience. I mean, last year, my company did 900 songs, which is around 80 albums. So, just going through those 80 albums, each one is something different, developing systems and processes as well as knowing how team members need to be managed, you know, what they need from my end, what I need from their end. Just gaining that experience is, of course, helped me as a project manager. Absolutely.

David Andrew Wiebe: I think hiring or building a team is one of those things that a lot of artists struggle with. It’s like, what are my first steps? What if I make a mistake? Do you have any mindset tips to get over that?

Ty Frankel: Oh, man, hiring is so awkward. It’s unbelievably hard.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah.

Ty Frankel: Mindset tips? Of course, get hiring tests. The best tip I actually learned is make them do the actual job they’re going to do as you are hiring. Like for example, if you’re hiring someone to do lead generation for you, give them a little 30–45-minute test. That is basically exactly what they’re going to do in the role and see how well they would do it. Just having that test. And then as well as like typing tests, you know, maybe critical thinking, personality. Making sure you have good intuition into like, okay, seeing how they communicate. If they have all these spelling and grammar errors, you don’t want to hire them.

In the job application. You could say, “Please title your job application this way.” or “Please reach out to me by name.” If applications come in, you know right away you’re not going to spend your time thinking, is this person a good fit or not? If they don’t follow the directions, you know, right away. Just having all these different barriers and testing criteria to actually finally hiring someone. But it’s very hard. It’s very lengthy. I sure learned a lot in the past couple years of hiring people. I had a lot of bad people.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, being detail oriented. That’s a big one, I think. If people can’t follow instructions right off the bat, that can be a sign. My coach always told me, “I do. We do. You do.” So, that’s kind of the training process. You show them how it’s done. You do it together. And then, you confirm that they can do it themselves. And then, almost on virtual autopilot, they can do it. But what’s the main way you’re generating leads for your business?

Ty Frankel: I would say it is 100% cold email.

David Andrew Wiebe: So, do you find yourself sending thousands of emails every single day? Is that how that works? Or are you actually kind of targeting people that you have an existing relationship with? Well, I mean, you said cold, so I guess not.

Ty Frankel: Well, cold email also means emailing our existing clients and trying to get more work done with them. That kind of goes in there. So, email. Email, I would say. Shut Down PM is actually one division of Shut Down Media. We actually expanded in the past like five or six months, really since corona. We do graphic design for the music industry. Right now, we’re opening a new label called Uncivilized Music. So, we at Shut Down PM, we sell the music to these production music libraries. They’re the ones that actually go place it with 2K and Fortnight and TV shows and all that. But with Uncivilized, for the first time, we’re going to go out and sell the music ourselves. With Shut Down PM, we might have an email list of a hundred people. Or we might have an email list of 400 or 500. But with Uncivilized, we’re going to get an email list of 20,000 people because we’re going to sell the music ourselves.

The type of emailing we do is very genuine. Now, obviously, people do that, but we don’t send email blasts out. We send emails out. We have templates. And for the first email, we do research on the prospect to make sure we know exactly who they are, and if our service would help them. If not, we don’t email them. But if it does, we make sure to make that known in the first sentence, compliment them whatever, okay, then we’re in with them. They know that we’re not playing around. We actually researched on them.

And then after that, all the emails after that are templates but we change their variables in there. So, like their name, company name, and all that. In that way, you’re being the most efficient you can be with as well on there, and they think it’s a genuine email that you’re just sending to them. So that’s how we do it. It’s worked really well to this point.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah, I have seen that you guys are up to some other things right now. Kind of in the digital marketing realm. Like you say, graphic design. What you said about reach, I think that’s spot on. I think that’s what a lot of people don’t do very well. Like, I get tons of emails. I can’t speak for anybody else, but they’re not addressed to me, they’re not clear on the benefit. They just want me to cover their story. And they’re not interested in in any kind of mutual win-win. So, it sounds like you’re doing it the right way.

Ty Frankel: Oh, thank you. I actually love seeing those emails because it just tells you how there’s like no competition out there for real well-crafted cold emails. So, I love getting those emails. I just delete them right away. I just smile. There’s always a smile on my face.

David Andrew Wiebe: It’s a really good point. Yeah, absolutely. So, many people say the music industry is a tough one to succeed in. What has your experience been like? What’s your mindset going in?

Ty Frankel: I think it’s tough to break in to any industry. I think if you do all the right things, you know, whether that’s working hard at first, working smart, of course. And then just creating relationships, being nice, easy to work with, providing value, and being able to market that value with a good ROI, making it worthwhile to actually go out there and market a service or product that you have, then I think you can succeed in any industry. So, I don’t think the music industry is particularly harder to succeed in than any other industry. But I don’t know. I’ve been in the music industry my whole life. So, I haven’t really experienced anything else.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah, I like your answer. I thought you might answer that way. Absolutely. But I think what you said about believing in yourself, that is huge. I think that’s a key piece that people are missing. It’s like if you have hard work and persistence, you’re kind of off to the races. But then you’re still missing a couple of ingredients and one of them is definitely belief. You could be a hard worker and you could persist but if you don’t believe in yourself, you’re not going to do as much, risk as much, invest as much, spend as much time, publish as much, whatever it is.

Ty Frankel: Yeah. I mean, you don’t see anyone that’s been successful, that doesn’t believe in themselves. That just doesn’t happen.

David Andrew Wiebe: So, my business is all about creating the life you want through music. This is kind of a never-ending pursuit, probably for anybody. But I’d love to know whether you have a sense of how far you’ve come and what you’re looking to achieve next.

Ty Frankel: How far I’ve come. Maybe 5% of what I want to do overall. You know, that’s good for right now. I’m not happy with it. I’m not content with it. I’m not going to do a lot more. But for example, I can pretty much go live anywhere in the world without really having to worry about money. Obviously, I can’t rent a penthouse and blah, blah, whatever. Buy a Lambo, things like that. But you know, I could pretty much go live anywhere and dine out every day and not really have to worry much about money. I could go travel. Not right now with corona but you know, before. So, I mean, that’s what music can give you. That’s what any remote-based work can give you really is that kind of life. I can manage my team from anywhere. I really don’t work crazy hours. I probably work 20 hours a week maybe.

David Andrew Wiebe: That’s awesome.

Ty Frankel: Yeah. I just focus on the super high-level things that no one else, I feel like, can do. Unless I had to pay them a couple thousand dollars an hour. So, that’s what I try to focus on. Yeah. I think so far, I’ve done well but, in the future, I definitely, you know, one of my goal is 10 million before 30. I think that’s a goal that I really want to hit.

David Andrew Wiebe: No, that’s great. I guess I’m in a similar position to you. I don’t have revenue figures you do, not even close, but I am able to travel, I am able to enjoy my life. If I want to, I could work just 20 hours a week. I’m choosing to do way more right now because of preparing for launches and doing some other things like that. But absolutely, it’s awesome.

Ty Frankel: That’s awesome.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah. What would you say is like your number one tip for somebody listening going, “Man, I really want to create the life I love through music”?

Ty Frankel: The number one tip, man, just spend like two hours a day building relationships. It’s really sad. If you have the goods and you don’t have the relationships, you’re just shooting yourself in the foot, big time. But if you have both and you’re relentlessly pursuing the relationship side of things, then you’re going to do really well. First, before you even attack that, you want to read books, get your mindset right in how to approach people and how people want to be approached. It’s not like, “Hey, check out my tracks.” It’s more like, “Hey.” Maybe you want to use their first name. That’s a very good thing. You want to do research on who you’re talking to. That’s very good. You want to do short messages. You don’t want to give them this long lengthy message. You don’t want to have a huge block of text that they’re not going to read. So, do line breaks. You know what I mean? It’s all these little things that are very easy to learn and don’t take really much time. But if you don’t do them, when you start attacking and trying to get into relationships, then you’re just wasting your time. So, definitely work on getting relationships but know how to approach people and make sure you’ve got the goods before you even start.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah, that’s a big one for sure. It’s something I’m prioritizing more and more. I have a dream 100 lists and connect with those people. I look at what they’re publishing. I comment it. I share on it. That’s a long-term strategy. I don’t expect anybody’s going to necessarily turn my way and go, “Oh, David, you’re amazing. We need to connect.” That may happen down the line but I know that that’s worked for some people, like you know, it’s gotten them to the point of connecting with people like Tony Robbins and even starting business with him. So, over the long haul, great strategy. I think in the media, you know, connecting with people who are maybe a step ahead or a step behind where you are and maybe even collaborating. It seems like there’s lots of opportunity for that.

Ty Frankel: Absolutely. Absolutely. So, you can play a short game and a long game. I mean, you know, people that are a step behind you maybe two or three steps ahead of you in five years. You don’t know.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah.

Ty Frankel: Certainly. I mean, when I was coming up as a producer, you know, one of my friends online, DJ Cass, you know, he was an incredible producer, he produced for Young Jeezy and Nipsey Hussle, Rest in Peace, and all these amazing rappers. I looked up to him when I was a producer. You know, growing up in 2012, 2013, 2014. And then, when I started my company in 2016, 2017, we ended up working together and I ended up hiring him for quite a few projects. We really did some great music together. He made a lot of money from it. So, you know, he was really, really nice to me. He offered feedback. We talked. We became friends. And you know, 2-3-4 years later, that paid off for him and for me down the line. So, I think it’s definitely a two-way street. You want to effect people above what you’re doing and below for sure.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah. Yeah. It makes perfect sense. And a lot of my best gigs came from people I knew. In fact, probably the last two, three, maybe even longer years of my life, I haven’t been the one booking any of the gigs. I’ve relied on other band leaders or contacts that I have. And that’s where the gigs came through. Or it was just like repeat performances because they loved me so much at this one venue. That was a cool position to be in but that’s not going to happen without knowing people for sure.

Ty Frankel: For sure. For sure.

David Andrew Wiebe: There’s no gigging right now so that’s sad. I mean, I’m kind of in travel mode, or I was. That’s another thing that’s not really possible right now. But I came to a city where I know, almost know, I’m just chipping away at my work and building new connections as they were.

Ty Frankel: Where do you live now?

David Andrew Wiebe: Abbotsford? So, kind of close to Vancouver, BC.

Ty Frankel: Oh, cool. Okay.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah.

Ty Frankel: You mean, it’s pretty close to LA then. Right? I mean, it’s just, you know, North. A couple thousand miles or so.

David Andrew Wiebe: Absolutely. I mean, I’ve flown into San Fran a few times recently. Well, I wasn’t going to San Fran, I stopped there. And yeah, it’s not a long flight from there at all. It’s probably a quick two and a half, three-hour flight most days. As far as jumping on a plane goes. Yeah. It’s considered Hollywood north in some circles. And, you know, certainly there is a population and a bit of a presence with Netflix and other entertainment here. So, a lot of cool stuff going on.

Ty Frankel: Oh, wow.

David Andrew Wiebe: There’s a few things I like to ask most people who come on the show to get a sense of their personality as well as some of the things they’ve gone through to get to this point. My first question says a lot about people. What’s the last YouTube video you watched?

Ty Frankel: The last YouTube video I watched. I mean, the last YouTube video I watched. Probably a Japanese grammar video.

David Andrew Wiebe: Nice. It does say something about you. What is your daily routine like?

Ty Frankel: My daily routine? Get up, brush my teeth. I don’t eat breakfast. Take some supplements. I check my phone first thing, which is not a good habit. What else? And then you know, I start to work. I work throughout the day. I don’t take days off but I, of course, don’t work like every second throughout the day. I definitely have a to-do list. So, every day I have a to-do list of like “Okay. I need to do this, this, this and this.” I have a calendar so I just duplicate that every week. And then, all the things that are specific to that week or a specific day, I always put that in. And then, as the day goes on, I try to get as many things as I can done basically.

David Andrew Wiebe: I definitely relate to what you say about social media. But these days, when I wake up and go to do it, I’m like, “Okay, first of all, I’m going to be wasting time. And second of all, I’m going to be cleaning my feed such that I only ever see updates for my dream 100 so I can connect with those people. And maybe my inner circle as well.”

Ty Frankel: Smart.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah. That’s the plan now. It’s not like I don’t like my friends. It’s not that at all. It’s just more like, if I’m going to look there, I want it to be part of my growth.

Ty Frankel: You don’t care. I mean, frankly, like, I don’t care what the hell my friend is having for breakfast. I don’t even really care. I know people don’t like to be really honest. But okay, you went to this place to travel cool. Like, you can tell me about it on the phone or text me like I don’t need to see all these pictures from you or whatever. Especially if they’re not like a really good friend. You know what I mean? If they’re a really good friend or something else, but most people you follow or you are friends with online, you don’t care about what they do in their daily life really. So, there’s really no point. Especially politics and sports and things like that. It can be a waste of time if you’re trying to chase your dreams.

David Andrew Wiebe: No, totally. I couldn’t agree more. I mean, my mentality is totally the same around social media. I really don’t care how people are feeling. I feel like my social media is the wrong place to express that. Go to a therapist, go to a friend, go to your spouse or significant other. Talk it through if you need to. Social media? Well, you know, the only reason to post there is to kind of get sympathy from people on social media. So, the wrong outlet,

Ty Frankel: Right. And the thing is like when I see people post, like rip this person, rip that person. Like if I die, I don’t want my family posting about me on social media. Just grieve in private. I don’t think grieving should be… Do whatever you want. I’m not mocking. But when I see it, I kind of see… Especially if you didn’t know the person personally or whatever. I feel like some people are maybe just putting that online so they can score points. Get sympathy points or, you know, I knew this person blah, blah, blah. It’s definitely partially like that. With some people, probably partially not. They have really good intentions and all that. I think that goes pretty deep.

David Andrew Wiebe: You’re right. Yeah. I think some people are totally genuine in posting. And then, other ones are just trying to tweak the algorithm so they can beat it. Yeah.

Ty Frankel: Why not be genuine and not post? What is posting give you?

David Andrew Wiebe: Dopamine, right. And that’s how it’s been designed. It’s just the dopamine release.

Ty Frankel: So, in that case, you’re posting rip someone and then you’re getting dope. So, you’re not posting it for them. Because they’re dead. Like, you’re not posting it for them. You’re posting it for you.

David Andrew Wiebe: Exactly.

Ty Frankel: For dopamine, which that’s what makes me cringe. That’s what makes me cringe. It doesn’t make me feel good when I see that.

David Andrew Wiebe: Totally. I hear what you’re saying. Yeah. I think we’re totally on the same page there.

Ty Frankel: Mm hmm.

David Andrew Wiebe: What’s the greatest challenge you’ve overcome?

Ty Frankel: The greatest challenge I’ve overcome is death in the family. I mean, that’s, you know, not easy. Yeah, that’s definitely the greatest challenge I’ve overcome. I haven’t fully overcome it. I never will.

David Andrew Wiebe: Hey, we’re on the same page there too. My dad passed away in a motorcycle crash in Japan when I was 13.

Ty Frankel: Oh, my God.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah.

Ty Frankel: Oh, sorry, man. Geez.

David Andrew Wiebe: And then the years that followed, my cousin took his life. My grandpa died too. So yeah, I hear you.

Ty Frankel: I’m sorry. I’m sorry about that. And you just really can’t say anything. I hope you feel… You can’t even say anything about that really.

David Andrew Wiebe: No. There’s literally nothing you can say, right? That’s why I like avoid all the cliches too. I’m like, you can’t say that to someone. But I feel for you. Right. That’s about all I can say.

Ty Frankel: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

David Andrew Wiebe: What’s the greatest victory you’ve experienced?

Ty Frankel: Greatest victory is… I think it’s just a macro thing. Being able to control my life. You know, obviously, no one’s in 100% control so you could get a disease or things like that, or get struck by lightning. But exerting as much control as you can over your own life, and I think I’m exerting… I can do more, absolutely. But I’ve gotten to a point where it’s more than a good amount of people, like including my parents and everything to where I’m really driving my own ship. I know that’s a macro thing. It’s not like, okay, you work with this person, or got this amount of money, whatever. But I’ve never really had a huge victory towards like, here’s a million dollars or whatever. It’s a lot of small stuff that just adds up. So, I would say that’s my biggest victory.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah, same here. Lots of little victories that maybe add up to a slightly bigger sum. But I’m looking forward to doing much more as well. Are there any books or other resources that have helped you in your journey?

Ty Frankel: Oh, my God. I got books. Without books, man, I don’t know where I would be right now. But books, absolutely. I started reading Rich Dad Poor Dad, How to Win Friends and Influence People. The most basic books. I think you have to start with those and then you kind of get into the more complex nuanced books. Man, I took a course in behavioral psychology. That really helped me out. Something like that. Behavioral economics, something like that. Basically, how people act. Human rationality, irrationality, things like that. That really helped me out. Just always learning. Specific books those you know How to Win Friends and Rich Dad Poor Dad. I mean, terms of other resources, just forums have really helped me out. Like, if I want to gain a specific piece of knowledge, then there are literally forums for every single profession in the world, I bet. You just go on there and talk to people who have like 40 years of experience. It’s incredible.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah, amazing tips there. I totally relate on those too. I probably started with you know, definitely thinking grow rich but magic of thinking big and believe in yourself, I think was by Claude Bristol. Definitely early on those were pretty significant. Some works by Robert Anthony as well. It’s crazy. This this pretty much, I don’t want to say degraded, but it kind of turned into a chat like a literal chat over coffee, which is the idea of the podcast.

Ty Frankel: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. That’s what it should be, you know.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah, I think so too. Well, thanks for your time and generosity, Ty. Is there anything else I should ask?

Ty Frankel: Oh, thank you so much, man. Thanks for having me, Andrew. Anything else? No, I mean, just stay safe, wear masks, wash your hands. And, you know, we’ll be out of this soon. There had been some horrible things that have been going on. Hopefully we can get back to some semblance of normalcy soon. So, that’s all I’m hoping for.

David Andrew Wiebe: I hope so too, man. Yeah. Whether it’s a pandemic or bad decision by politicians, I don’t know. But what I do know is just, yeah, be careful, stay safe. And, you know, in some cases, I hear rumors, 2023. I don’t know. I would love to see things improve sooner.

Ty Frankel: I think they will. I think the tests are going to be what’s going to improve it, because I think eventually, way before 2023, everyone’s going to have like an at home test that’s very, very cheap. So then before you go out just test yourself if you have corona or not. You’ll know in like 5-10 minutes. And then of course, always put on a mask and all that. And if that’s the case, corona is going to almost grind to a halt. Unless people are just being reckless and everything, but in which they will be but I think it’ll put a big damper on how fast it’s spreading with those mitigation efforts.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah. Well, sure looking forward to any development that helps with this. Cool.

Ty Frankel: Absolutely.

David Andrew Wiebe: Well, thank you.

Ty Frankel: All right. Andrew, thank you so much for having me, man. Appreciate it.