236 – How to Find Your Path to Success as a Solo Artist

236 – How to Find Your Path to Success as a Solo Artist

Are you a solo artist? Are you trying to figure out how to achieve success on your own terms in the music industry?

That’s what we’re going to be looking at in this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:25 – Finding your path to independent success as a solo artist
  • 01:24 – There are three steps to blazing your trail to independent success
  • 02:29 – Step #1: Hone your craft
  • 04:09 – Step #2: Lay the relational groundwork
  • 05:20 – Step #3: Grow and solidify you portfolio
  • 06:58 – Episode summary
  • 08:05 – The newly renovated Music Entrepreneur HQ

Transcription:

Hey, it’s David here.

So, you’re a solo artist. And you’re committed to finding your path to independent or even major label success.

But you’re not sure what you need to do to get there.

Not to mention, the task seems daunting, because instead of working together with committed band members with different skills, you end up having to take on the entire load yourself – be it social media, updating your website, promoting your gigs, or otherwise.

You’d love to be able to get to the point where you can focus on your creativity, make great music, and engage your fan base without having to worry about all the other stuff.

You don’t want to feel anxious before every gig because you’re not sure whether it will be well-attended, constantly be running errands to ensure you’re staying afloat financially or feeling burnt out all the time because of the demands on your time and schedule.

Creating independent success might seem akin to navigating a minefield.

Fortunately, I’ve been reflecting on my years as a solo artist, as well everything that has worked and hasn’t worked for me. Here are my best tips to help you find your path as a solo artist.

Achieve Independent Music Success in 3 Simple Steps

There are basically three steps to blazing your trail to independent success. I’ll be explaining each step in more detail in just a moment, but here’s a mile high overview.

The first step involves honing your craft. But this means more than just getting good at playing your instrument and singing. The reason this is important is because it increases your collaborative opportunities, which can lead to increased stage time, exposure, revenue, and more.

The second step is laying the relational groundwork. This is all about developing the right relationships and being intentional about the process. If you do this right, you will find that you don’t need to do much of your own booking work. Gigs and opportunities will come to you in the form of referrals and recommendations.

The third step is growing and solidifying your portfolio. The more credible you are, the more people will want to work with you, and this will open doors. The thing is you don’t necessarily know what indicators are going to matter to whom. This step is all about laying your spiderweb to capture opportunities from a variety of channels, and I’ll be sharing how.

Keep listening to find out more…

Step #1 – Hone Your Craft

It might seem obvious that you would need to keep improving as an artist and write great music.

But this goes well beyond that.

In singer-songwriter or solo artist culture, it’s been my experience that collaborative opportunities abound, and if you aren’t taking advantage, you’re missing out.

You can book tours with other solo artists, play on each other’s sets, appear on each other’s YouTube channels, and more. But only if you’re easy to work with and have the skills necessary to back it up.

If you can play guitar, maybe learn piano. If you can play piano, learn the guitar. If you consider yourself a rhythm guitarist, learn to play tasteful leads. If you sing lead, learn to sing backup. See if you can pick up some bass and djembe as well.

Through the years, I’ve been called upon as a rhythm guitarist, lead guitarist, bassist, backup vocalist, and more. And because I was locked and loaded, I was asked to join other artists on stage many, many times. This often led to gigs, opening slots, guest appearances, and more.

At a singer-songwriter open mic night, for instance, you can easily double, triple, and even quadruple your stage time simply by being available and being the kind of musician others like to work with.

If you complement others well, a performance at the local café can quickly turn into a tornado of opportunities.

This also tends to solve the problem of trying to make it on your own, doing everything by yourself, and relying on your own draw and skills to grow your career. You can work with others and leverage their draw and skills as well.

Growing as a solo artist is often a collaborative effort, and if you make it a point to look out for opportunities to work with others, you will go further faster.

#2 – Lay the Relational Groundwork

Like step #1, you might think this is all about collaboration, and while you might be presented with such opportunities, there’s more to this than meets the eye.

Eventually, I got to a point in my solo career where it was extremely ineffective for me to seek out and book my own gigs. I came to rely primarily on my contacts, who usually led bands of their own.

These contacts were either well-acquainted with the local scene or were constantly engaged in their own research and legwork, that if they came across opportunities that were better suited to solo performers, they would notify me.

And because of their endorsement, it was easy booking gigs with venues who already had a sense of who I was.

If you don’t put effort into building relationships locally, and even all over, you won’t ever be in the position where others are recommending you. So, some legwork is par for the course.

You may need to do favors for others. You may need to play in a few bands, even if it’s just to fill in for a member who couldn’t be present.

But long-term, you can get to the point where you rarely if ever need to book your own gigs because of the relationships you’ve built.

Other relationships that can be of immense help include the staff of guitar or music stores, universities and colleges, churches, and more.

#3 – Grow & Solidify Your Portfolio

This is about more than just writing and recording new songs. As you’re about to see, growing and solidifying your portfolio is all-encompassing ongoing work.

The truth of the matter is that you just never know what accomplishments or credentials might end up building your reputation.

Some of it is predictable, like quotes and testimonials from notable industry people, being played on mainstream radio, performing at notable festivals, and so on.

But for others, the fact that you performed with one of their favorite obscure singer-songwriters might end up being the hinge that swings doors open.

One summer, I was looking to book a gig during Stampede time in Calgary. I’d heard rumors of how lucrative gigs could be that time of year.

Once I set my sights on a specific venue, I dropped by and talked to the owner. I came prepared with an envelope in hand. That envelope contained my demos as well as my resume as a musician, which at the time, would have shown that I had played over 100 shows. It also included a list of cover songs that were in my repertoire.

It’s safe to say I got the gig, as no one was willing to go to those lengths to get the gig.

In this instance, my archivist tendencies paid off. I was rewarded for keeping a record of the work I’d done to that point.

The point is that everything you do could end up being the credibility indicator you need to land your next opportunity.

So, play shows, collect quotes and testimonials, record and release more music, do co-writes, get on the radio, get your music reviewed, give interviews, make videos, build out your website, write blog posts… you get the idea.

If you want to create more leverage for yourself, build out your portfolio.

Episode Summary

Everyone must start somewhere, but if you’re listening to this right now, chances are you’ve already made some progress in your career as a solo artist.

But you aren’t where you want to be yet because you haven’t honed your craft to the degree that you need to, you haven’t created a strong foundation of relationships, and your portfolio needs to be further developed.

This all takes time and effort. The good news is you can take it one step at a time.

Once you’ve done the work:

  • You’ll be presented with more opportunities
  • You’ll be able to maximize the results from your live performances
  • You’ll be exposed to a larger audience
  • Your reputation will precede you
  • You’ll get more gigs as result of word of mouth, referrals, and recommendations
  • Doors that previously didn’t open for you will begin to open
  • You won’t have to work as hard for gigs and opportunities
  • Your music income will increase
  • Your fan base will steadily grow
  • You’ll be able to enjoy your creativity and passion more
  • You’ll achieve a greater sense of fulfillment

But remember… If you don’t act, you won’t enjoy any of these benefits. Not to mention, you’ll need to live with the regret that you could have put in the work to make your dreams a reality.

Closing Segment

So, if you’re ready to get into action, I want to invite you to the newly renovated Music Entrepreneur HQ. It’s still a work in progress, but we’ve put a lot of work into simplifying the site, helping you find what you’re looking for, and adding a lot of incredible, exclusive, high value music business resources you’re just not going to find anywhere else. So, visit davidandrewwiebe.com and let us know your thoughts.

This has been episode 236 of The New Music Industry Podcast. I’m David Andrew Wiebe, and I look forward to seeing you on the stages of the world.

210 – Will Social Media Make a Difference for Your Music Career?

210 – Will Social Media Make a Difference for Your Music Career?

Does social media matter for your music career? Realistically, what can you expect to achieve from spending your time, energy, and resources on growing your social media following?

That’s what we’re going to be looking at in this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:30 – Does social media matter for artists?
  • 01:14 – Gaining a better understanding of your audience
  • 02:34 – Sharing your music with fan groups
  • 03:24 – Targeting your audience with advertising
  • 04:16 – Building worthwhile connections
  • 05:08 – Will social media make a difference for you?
  • 06:35 – Episode summary

Transcription:

Hey, it’s David Andrew Wiebe.

So, does social media matter?

I talked about this a little bit in episode 183 of the podcast, and that basically turned into a bit of a rant, but I think it’s an important question to ask and one worth revisiting.

After all, the first thing many artists do when they begin marketing their music online is rely on platforms that have millions and billions of users to spread their posts to for free.

And all that looks good and sounds good, but unless you know who your target audience is, where they hang out online, and what they’re interested in, I can tell you almost categorically that it’s going to be a waste of time. It just is.

But let’s focus on a few areas where social media can make a difference for you if you’re willing to do the work.

#1 – You Can Spy on Your Audience and Better Understand Them

There’s a lot of talk about data in the music industry, and I even had a great one with Beatchain founder Ben Mendoza in episode 197 of the podcast.

But staring at your Facebook Insights is only going to tell you so much about your fans. Demographic data is great, but most of the time, you’ll find that your audience is you plus or minus 15 years in age.

What we need to understand to be able to connect, engage, and attract prospective fans is psychographic data. It sounds complex, but it basically just means what your audience is interested in.

What we need to understand to be able to connect, engage, and attract prospective fans is psychographic data. Share on X

And there’s a remarkably easy way to figure this out. Instagram happens to be a great place to gather a bit of intel.

You can look up an artist you sound like or have been influenced by, see who has commented on their posts, and then look at their profiles.

And on their profiles, you’ll find pictures of things they’re interested in. Basically, you’d want to make note of everything you find, and pay careful attention to recurring themes. Once you know what those themes are, you’ve effectively got a list of things you should be posting about every single day.

If you don’t know who you sound like, who you’ve been influenced by, or who in the world your audience is, then this is a pointless exercise. But if you do know, you can begin to flesh out your ideal customer profile.

#2 – You Can Share Your Music in Fan Groups

This is a great tactic overall, as it allows you to get your music in front of prospective fans organically.

Basically, the idea is to go and find Facebook fan groups of a specific artist you sound like or have been influenced by. Then, as you begin participating in the group, you would share your music with members.

It takes some work to be able to do this well. You may need to build relationships with group owners. You may need to figure out how to get your posts engaged. And there can be other strategic considerations when sharing in Facebook groups.

But I can see the value in this tactic, and it’s something I will be experimenting with as well. At the very least, if it’s done the right way, I know it’s a relatively fast way to get a lot of attention for your music, because fan groups tend to be big and the members tend to be engaged.

#3 – You Can Advertise to a Specific Audience

Like I said earlier, this is kind of a moot point if you haven’t fleshed out a profile for your audience already. But if you have, then you’ve got a lot actionable data to work with.

Advertising is incredible. It takes a little while to figure out, and to that extent, I recommend taking a course on the topic. You don’t need to pay an arm and a leg for a course. Just find one that’s up to date, has a high ranking, and was created by a reputable entity.

I recently took a free course on Amazon Advertising. I’ve got five books up there, so I figured, why not?

And once I was finished with the course, I basically had all the information I needed to be able to handle Amazon ads like a pro.

When it comes to advertising, the more you know about your audience, the better. Because you’ll be able to home in on the right targeting and create the right type of post to appeal to your fans and prospects.

When it comes to advertising, the more you know about your audience, the better. Share on X

#4 – You Can Create Connections

I get quite a few messages across social media platforms, and while I was slow to embrace it, I’m starting to see way more value in it than ever.

I’m getting all kinds of interesting questions from people my keyword research may never reveal. And while it’s all well and good to rank for certain keywords in Google, the people who are already engaged with my content generally represent better prospects overall.

So, knowing what they’re interested in learning helps me in a big way.

Connecting with people on social media has led to podcast interviews, guest post opportunities, and even coaching prospects.

When we get out of our own way and begin interacting with others in an authentic manner, we can connect with just about anybody in the world, and the value of that is often lost on us, because we get too fixated on our personal comfort and interests.

As I’ve shared before, the only proposition worth making is one that’s win-win.

The only proposition worth making is one that’s win-win. Share on X

Will Social Media Make a Difference?

So, will social media make a difference?

Although I could keep talking about the benefits of social media, of which there are more, I think it’s time to get to the crux of the show.

So, the answer to this question is… it depends.

It will make a difference if you’re clear on your strategy – most importantly, your brand and your audience.

Every decision you make in your music career should stem from those two things, because let’s face it – it makes life so much easier.

Once you’re clear on your brand and audience, you can begin to develop your Dream 100, and that’s going to get you focused on connecting with the right people.

Rather than getting overwhelmed by the thousands of people you surely could connect with; you can limit it to those who have access to your target audience. And that makes this whole matter of networking and collaboration so much more focused.

And, as I’ve already shared, social media represents a massive opportunity when it comes to learning about your audience.

There are certain things social media can’t do, and that’s what we want to watch out for.

You can’t own social media. Meanwhile, you can build a website where the sole focus is on you and your music.

You can’t own your followers on social media. But you can encourage them to sign up for your email list, which you should!

And, if you don’t have a hot clue what your brand is, or who your audience is, then social media is ultimately going to be a waste of time.

Social media can also end up being a massive distraction, and I would argue that for most musicians, this is what it typically ends up being.

Episode Summary

Okay, it’s time to summarize this episode, so here’s what you need to know.

  • Social media is good for some things. You can spy on your audience, share your music in fan groups, get your ads in front of your target audience, build great connections, and more.
  • Social media isn’t that great for other things. Organic reach sucks. And social media is basically just a time suck if you don’t know what your brand is, or who your audience is supposed to be. Social media is also a massive distraction for most artists.

There’s so much more I could get into here, but the key is to understand how powerful social media can be if used strategically.

So, what if you need more guidance around social media? What if you need some structure to ensure you’re doing the right things at the right time?

I suggest picking up a copy of my latest book, The Music Entrepreneur Code at davidandrewwiebe.com/Code to learn exactly how to get more done in less time.

This has been episode 210 of The New Music Industry Podcast and I look forward to seeing you on the stages of the world.

How to Grow a Band

How to Grow a Band

It’s time to talk about how to grow a band.

This process can basically be broken down into seven simple steps.

Here’s what you need to do to take your band wherever you want to take it!

Step #1 – Clarify Your Goals

If you don’t know where you’re going, then it’s not even worth taking the first step.

So, it’s important to recognize that growing a band means different things to different people.

Maybe you want to play more and better shows.

Maybe you’d like to grow your fan base.

Perhaps you’d like to be able to make a living as a musician.

And it could even be you’re after the holy grail – a record deal!

I’m not smart enough to tell you what your goals should be, and frankly, I don’t think any expert is qualified to decide for you.

Every artist has their own desires. Guaranteed yours are different from mine.

So, get crystal clear on your goals, chart a course for their achievement, and begin working towards them daily.

Step # 2 – Develop Your Strategy

Every expert out there is telling you to make money, promote your music on Instagram, build a business…

I’m not here to tell you there’s no value in that.

But there’s one thing they continually miss. Namely that you’re in music because you love music.

Given half a chance, you would willingly spend all your time and energy on your passion.

So, let’s develop a strategy around creating more, not on trying to become an internet marketer, hustling machine, entrepreneurial genius or otherwise.

Let’s develop a strategy around creating more, not on trying to become an internet marketer, hustling machine, entrepreneurial genius or otherwise. Share on X

Your strategy should revolve around your music. And your music should be driven by your brand.

Your brand is the difference you want to make in the world, and it need not be anything complicated.

The difference you want to make in the world could literally be to “help people party.”

But once you know your brand you can align every decision with it. And that makes every decision easy!

From the type of music you make, to the merch you create, you can align tactical choices to your brand with ease.

If any part of this confuses you, then I invite you to have a read through The Essential Guide to Creative Entrepreneurship, which covers ALL the essentials of branding for musicians.

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

Either way, be sure to join the email list for more tips on how to grow a band.

Step #3 – Divvy Up Responsibilities

I have always felt one of the best things about being in a band is that each member is skilled and talented in their own ways.

When talking about how to grow a band, this is critical.

One person might be skilled and experienced in outreach. Another might be great at social media.

By identifying each of your strengths and divvying up responsibilities, you can be immeasurably more effective than any of you would ever be on your own.

Many years ago, I was in a band called Angels Breaking Silence.

Angels Breaking Silence

The singer was young and well-connected. He was great at outreach, promotion, and helping us find leads for gigs.

In addition to writing songs, I was great at building websites, blogging, and growing an online presence.

The bass player was good at thinking about matters from a financial perspective, writing the occasional song, and finding the occasional gig.

The drummer managed the finances, wrote songs, and generally helped us keep goofing off to a minimum.

Later, we sort of had an honorary “manager” who believed in us and helped us sell merch, organize the cashbox, and be a source of encouragement in general.

You’re going to get more out of each member by letting them shine in their strengths. So, instead of allowing those differences to become the source of conflict, make it crystal clear who is responsible for what in your group. And when it doubt, refer to your written plan!

Step #4 – Make Music; Lots of Music

This is where most of your time should be spent. Remember – you’re a musician, not a digital marketer!

“Alright, I want to be HUGE in music, so I’m going to spend all day reading about digital marketing” said no successful musician ever.

You’re to write, and demo, and record, and rehearse, and release as much music as you can. Because fundamentally, the scene is just that competitive.

But if you’re the one publishing new music while your peers are busy interacting in Facebook groups, who wins?

Assuming you’ve got the other pieces in place (see steps #5 and #6 below), you’re the one that’s going to come out on top.

Have a read through this post featuring Jack Conte. He talks about how he had to learn how to publish things he didn’t think were “perfect.”

If you aren’t a little uncomfortable at the speed and rapidity at which you’re publishing music, you’re probably doing it wrong.

We need to build assets, and every new song represents an opportunity.

A song can turn into a music video, which is a great promotional tool.

A song gives you a reason to reach out to bloggers and publications for reviews. The right PR can be leveraged for months and years to come.

A song can be licensed in a commercial, TV show, or film. And that can give you huge exposure and a lucrative payday to boot.

You need more music. More. Always more.

Step #5 – Grow Your Email List

Although I harp on it endlessly, the main thing musicians should be focused on is NOT Spotify or Instagram.

Again, I’m not saying there’s no value in either. What I’m saying is that there is something of disproportionate importance compared to anything else you could name.

And that’s your email list. Because your email list is your ticket to whatever destination you’ve chosen.

Whatever it is you’re looking to do in growing your band, your email list will get you there.

People do get a lot of emails these days. And that can make it tough on you.

But if your emails are opened by 20% of your subscribers, you’ll be able to do immeasurably more with than that any other marketing channel or social media platform, where 20% engagement would be a unicorn of an outcome!

Selling tickets? Use your email list. Got a new release? Send an email. Generating interest in a new T-shirt design? Hook up your subscribers.

Again, no matter how you’re planning to grow your band, your email list will prove an invaluable asset.

Step #6 – Establish Industry Connections

Networking and collaboration are the superhighway to your dreams.

And I’m not saying you’ve got to build a Dream 100 or cold-call Jay-Z this very moment.

On Google, you can dig for new music review blogs that would be happy to talk about your latest release.

On YouTube, you can look up your subscribers and personally reach out to them to see if they’d be interested in collaborating on a video.

And on Facebook, you can begin interacting in fan groups that follow a specific artist or band you sound like!

It’s easy to forget that most of what we want is on the other side of a conversation or resource.

Said another way, you’re just one conversation or one tool away from a breakthrough.

You’re just one conversation or one tool away from a breakthrough. Share on X

But there’s one thing we must keep in mind as we look to network and collaborate.

We want to create win-win propositions. Most people focus on “me, me, me” and end up with win-lose situations. That gives the losing person no incentive to help you or promote you.

And the worst is lose-lose situations, which some of my prospects have attempted to rope me into. Helping them would be a loss for them, and a loss for me, even though they fundamentally see it as a win for themselves. They’re not even seeing both sides!

Please, for the love of god, pursue and create win-win propositions only.

Pursue and create win-win propositions only. Share on X

Step #7 – Keep Going!

The process is so simple, it might just make your head spin!

But that’s because we tend to overcomplicate what is fundamentally a simple thing.

Growing your band is about making great music and sharing it with people.

And out of all the words in the last sentence, the most important one is “people.”

You can sit at a computer all day sending emails or sharing things on social media. It might give you a vague sense of satisfaction, but it’s probably not going to amount to much in terms of growing a band.

Your time is much better spent on your creativity and in building real connections with people. Because let’s face it – most people are too focused on themselves to care about anyone else or what they might be doing!

Dare to be different.

And once you’ve got steps #1 through #3 figured out, keep repeating steps #4 through #6. That’s all you’ve got to do.

How to Grow a Band, Final Thoughts

It’s easy to get impatient with the process of growing a band, but if at any point you find yourself overthinking the situation, just get back to the creative side of things.

Your inner world makes a BIG difference to your progress. And if you aren’t solid internally, the ride that ensues will feel like a massive, unending rollercoaster.

Even amid the storms of life, you can maintain a sound and calm mind. And this will take you further faster than stopping, noticing, and complaining about the “tragedy” that’s unfolding.

What did you get out of this? What steps will you be implementing now?

Let us know in the comments below!

149 – A Conversation on Networking & Collaboration – with Musician Brian Bob Young

149 – A Conversation on Networking & Collaboration – with Musician Brian Bob Young

How effective are you in meeting people and creating meaningful and strategic connections? Do you have contacts that can help you take your music career beyond?

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I chat with musician Brian Bob Young, who gave this podcast’s music a makeover.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 01:11 – Who is Brian Bob Young?
  • 04:16 – Being specific about your goals
  • 04:45 – Reading and writing books
  • 08:38 – Being focused in networking and music production
  • 09:34 – How to cold call or approach strangers
  • 11:37 – The evils of non-sequitur networking and marketing
  • 12:47 – Creating context in conversation and generating opportunities
  • 16:55 – Avoid burning bridges
  • 19:37 – Drama is always created
  • 24:03 – Open mics are a great place to network
  • 27:20 – How Brian wrote the music for The New Music Industry Podcast
  • 33:29 – Music on the podcast
  • 34:14 – Finding a need and filling it
  • 37:03 – Getting your first clients
  • 37:45 – Meeting people (or how David got over his fear of talking to people)
  • 39:35 – Booking gigs
  • 43:22 – How many projects does David have?
  • 48:27 – Begin creatively free
  • 52:16 – It’s not just what you know but who you know

Transcription:

David Andrew Wiebe: Today I’m chatting with musician Brian Bob Young. How are you today? Brian?

Brian Bob Young: Great, David Andrew Wiebe. Thank you so much for having me on, man. It is actually a really cool experience to have a working relationship with you and hear my music be a part of a show that I genuinely enjoy, and then be able to talk about it with you too is pretty cool. So, thanks man.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah, thanks for joining me. I guess my listeners have now been hearing your music for probably a few months at this point, right? I’ve been using it for many episodes. And of course, your name is mentioned at the end of every episode. We should maybe get a sense of who you are and then recount how it is that you came to do some of this music?

Brian Bob Young: Yeah, I guess so. Just like most of the people that have been on the show, I love music and I’m engaged with it my whole life. That’s kind of the given for most of us in this field, right. But I guess, I don’t want to be too tangential and like a life story of how I ended up on the production side of things. So, I’ll just be specific with how I was able to work with you was that I made goals about a year and a half ago of what kind of work would I want on the production side and what projects could I do that would help me to get there that would also be meaningful projects.

And then, happen by actually a kind of like a lightning bolt moment where I was working a bunch of jobs, and I came across a buddy of mine that I didn’t even know he was a film producer. He knew that I was starting to reel on the production side and more of the creativity side of the music stuff, which will put a pin in that that I worked on the business side for a long time before doing this. He had a film script and was like, “Hey, do you think you could try your hand on scoring this independent film?” And in the human mode, I was so excited because I love this guy. He’s worked on some of my favorite movies actually. He worked on the movie… He was a part of Whiplash. That kind of fell through a little bit for him but I just know that he had worked on projects that I would be really excited about. But at the time, I was not equipped at all to execute doing a film score. I had no idea what would go into that. Neither the resources nor the skill to execute.

So, I learned that pretty quickly and talked to him about it. He said, “Dude, that’s fine.” But it really got the wheels in motion of like, okay, if another script or something ends up in my lap, I want to be prepared because you’ve heard the quote, “Luck is where preparation and opportunity meet.” right? Yeah. So, that’s kind of what got the wheels in motion.

One of the first ideas I had was like, why not try to help out podcasts that I like and see if they want their music updated or a little bit more catered to the show and all that. And your show, of course, is one of the shows that I enjoy and reached out to see if you want some updated music that kind of had its own little different sounds. So, that is a little bit of the story of how I specifically ended up on doing the production for your show.

David Andrew Wiebe: That’s great. I like what you said about specificity, which is something that Matt Star was very adamant on when he came on the show and talked about that too. So, being really intentional and clear about your goals.

Brian Bob Young: And that’s so hard for me man. It is drudgery for me to be specific and not be idealistic in my head in the clouds. It is hard for me but when I do it, obviously, it’s fruitful. There’s something there.

David Andrew Wiebe: I’m at the same boat for sure. And the thing that I kept talking about this year and continue to talk about this year is publishing 10 to 12 books. I think I’m set up fairly well to do that. And even if I don’t reach that goal, if I end up with five or eight books, I think I can still say, “Okay. If I want to do 10 the following year, I can at least make that adjustment.”

Brian Bob Young: Two things there. Not to go on tangents with it but I know listening to your show that you’re like a voracious reader. You read a book a week last year. Is that true?

David Andrew Wiebe:  I did that in 2015 and 2016. Yeah.

Brian Bob Young: That’s insane. I love to read too but I just got done this book called Educated by Tara Westover. Have you heard of that?

David Andrew Wiebe:  I haven’t.

Brian Bob Young: It’s a memoir of her gnarly story of growing up in an oppressive Mormon household off the grid and how she ended up studying at Cambridge and educating herself and becoming this wonderful speaker and author.

So, I tore through that book in like a week but I’m reading the Subtle Art of Not Giving an F right now and I’ve been on a month, which is like half the size. So, you know, if I’m passionate about it I can get through it but if not, I’m going to take my time. But I know that you were doing that because it’s kind of like the CEO thing, right, of like CEOs read a book a week and now they’re like awesome.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah, no, it’s exactly right. I was inspired by that for sure. But another thing that happened was, I think, I want to say its Triple A accountants, it actually might be Double A Accountants. I’m going to look that up real quick but it’s it was Shas Nawaz. Shahzad Nawaz is the managing director. It’s Double A Accountants. I interviewed him once. It was for a different podcast. I was doing pre-interviews to kind of get the guests answers and coax out cool tidbits from them before they actually went on the show and did the real interview.

Brian Bob Young: Gotcha.

David Andrew Wiebe: But he sat there. Some people you create a relationship with. He sat there and talked with me for I don’t know, 10, 20, 30 minutes after the show. I was asking him because he just seemed like really competent with marketing.

Brian Bob Young: Oh, cool.

David Andrew Wiebe: And then he told me, “Oh, well, the reason I know how to do this is because I read a book a week.”

Brian Bob Young: Good. I am always reading. I never stopped reading.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah. He recommended me some Dan Kennedy material, which at the time I was not into but I am actually really into it now, which is funny.

Brian Bob Young: Right. I assume you’ve read like the Seth Godin stuff and all that. Yeah.

David Andrew Wiebe: Oh, yeah.

Brian Bob Young: Yes. That’s like, if you haven’t, it’s like get out of entrepreneurship. It’s like the Bible of entrepreneurs. But anyways, yeah, that’s it. That’s enough. I’m reading everything I could go off on. I love reading but that’s really cool that you’re able to do that.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah. And getting back to what she said too, yeah, I think for a long time I was not terribly specific. It still can be a bad habit of mine at times. But what happened through much experience and reading and learning and growing was there were some people that were just not worth working with. You begin to learn that through experience, you know, kind of the warning signs, “Is this going to work out?” Or is this really going to be just a total disaster that they’re going to be constantly calling me, which I don’t accept calls from clients to begin with. Except on a completely scheduled basis. Are they going to be a huge bother? That’s just going to suck up my time and I’m not going to make any money on that.

Brian Bob Young: Yeah. Well, I hear you on the specificity can be kind of like… or probably like an umbrella to our entire conversation because you talked about one. We talked about networking and some of the music production creativity side. All of it has been slowly learning how to be focused for me, because I am naturally just not a focused individual. And whenever I would read or experience any sort of opportunity, I realized that it’s because people were able to focus and achieve what they wanted to achieve and just sit down, put their head down, work hard, but also be really passionate about it. So, maybe that can kind of transition a little bit into the networking side. Because I feel like that’s been my experience with networking is because I’ve achieved at least some level of being focused there and not just like, walking around Nashville trying you’re trying to run into a bigwig.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah, I think one of the biggest things that I noticed is when you talk to me, it wasn’t like you were talking to a complete stranger. Like you didn’t know anything about me. You were actually asking very specific questions. I find that something that people don’t do well. I’ll probably go off on a rant about non-sequiturs in a moment but that was one of the things you did very, very well.

Brian Bob Young: Very cool. I think that the only reason that happened, I’ll get some consistent work on the production side. And definitely, I’ve been really focusing hard on my original music too. Playing shows and doing all that is because of doing some just some fairly simple research. I listened to your show. I was like, “Man, this guy has a wealth of information.” And then I realized like, “Oh, he’s talking about the new music industry and maybe I could make some really cool creative music for it to make the show even that much better. So, that’s where it’s a mutually beneficial working relationship.

So, when I’m reaching out, when I reached out to you, it wasn’t just like, “Hey, man. Let me do your music because that’d be cool and I’d get money.” It’s very specific. You have a very specific vision. And if I don’t mind saying so like it’s a noble one, you know, giving so much information to people that are trying to work in a field that is so complex, and so heavy and draining or discouraging at times. You just need to have the right information to navigate it. And you do that. So, I’m very proud to be able to be a part of such a show, man. Not be too aggrandizement or anything?

David Andrew Wiebe: No, thank you. I think you’re right. I am pretty transparent. You wouldn’t have to spend hours researching me, who I am, or what I do to kind of come up with that. At the same time, you took the time to do it, which I know many people don’t. It’s a really good teaching point there.

Brian Bob Young: Cool. Cool.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah. So, I kind of hinted at the whole non-sequitur nature of some of the networking that happens these days. The reason that I have trouble with it, I think, is because there’s no established context. So, in other words, people will come to me and suddenly go, “Hey, you’re doing this wrong with your business?” You know, sort of like they were Tai Lopez or somebody like that, who is the perfect example of the non-sequitur? You know, you’ll watch his videos on YouTube and it’s just like, “I just made $10 million last week.” He just doesn’t talk about that. He talks, “Oh, I just read 52 books in a day.” That was kind of his thing for a while.

I just thought like, a, I don’t know who you are, b, you establish no contacts before jumping into this conversation, which I understand why. In the advertising world, you don’t want to spend too much time like introducing who you are and stuff like that. I’ve had investors and people like that come to me, same thing right, without any context, without establishing a rapport. Not even saying, “Hello, David.” Right?

Brian Bob Young: Yeah. And I think some people we know these kinds of people that are the domineering dominant types that just their steamrolling, and they’re in it to win it. I guess it works for them but I don’t know if there’s a lot of like joy and substance with it too. I assume there’s like a trail of tears behind it. You know what mean? That’s just my assumption. But it’s also because I’m biased and that’s not how I naturally operate. In fact, it’s worked for me to create that context, right. And I do have I think myself a pretty good story to share with how I got my first job in a studio in Nashville due to creating context, I guess, if you will.

Maybe in Nashville for six months. I’m originally from Philadelphia. My first career path actually out of college was become a music therapist. That didn’t work. I burned out. We just did a fresh start in Nashville. My wife got a job as a nurse and I was job hunting. About six months in, I was in a steam room at a YMCA. And there’s one older gentleman there. In the steam room, I’m usually head down but I wanted to talk to somebody. I was like, “Hey, I’m Brian. How’s it going today, sir?” We get to talk for like 20 minutes. Long story short, he has been the CEO of a company called Red Ridge Entertainment here in Nashville since the early 90s. He gave me an internship at the studio just to kind of shadow and see if there’s anything I could do that fit which, being a session musician was definitely out as a sidebar, so humbling to be around these musicians. So humbling.

I realized that there was very quickly a need for rebranding. The company’s website had been around since like the early 2000s. So, it was just like a total hodgepodge, total mess. It just needed to be updated for the 21st century. They were getting a steady flow of clients but my kind of pitch was like, “If we can rebrand this company, you might be able to really expand the network.” That turned into a two-year job with that company in rebranding and bringing in people to do that. And then, I also functioned as pretty much an ANR guy. And by ANR, I mean, like, not the classic sense of like Tom Petty’s ANR that’s like, you know, very much of a part of choosing what single they put out, right? I’m talking about kind of half assed ANR of more of like a talent scout. [unclear 15:35] I was just finding people online to see if they want to do professional recordings of their music and do music videos.

All that to say, though, that whole experience, which was an adrenaline shot of knowledge about the music industry, came from talking to a dude in the steam room. I wasn’t sitting there trying to say like, “Oh, maybe this guy is like a bigwig around here and I can get an in.” I just wanted to have a conversation. And although ended up leaving that company, we still have a great relationship. The head guy still calls me just to see how I’m doing. And that is so important, right? I’m sure you’ve experienced that where you don’t burn bridges and you’re able to continue to have healthy working relationships because it was built on the foundation, the context of a relationship. As opposed to just trying to work up some ladder and capitalize off people. Right? So yeah, that was I guess my best networking anecdote, and a few others of just my philosophy of it, for sure, but that’s probably a pretty good story for it.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah. Oh, yeah, that’s great. I think what came to mind for me was playing in this one band. It was a Def Leppard tribute band. I’ve done that before. I’m still with him. There was just a period when I had kind of a sense of graduation goggles. In other words, not like, “I’m too good for this.”, just like, “I’m kind of done with this. I think I’m ready to move on.” I did for a couple years. I didn’t burn any relationships. It was just kind of like, “Hey, this will be my last gig for a while. When I came back, it was just the perfect timing based on the need for another player, as well as the economy for us to start getting out there and playing in bars.

Now, I don’t totally believe in this whole concept of economy. It’s mostly based on the confidence of the people involved in that side of things, but yeah, it was great.

Brian Bob Young: I love that that’s so not dramatic. All the things that are portrayed on like rock and roll stories and videos are like, the band is literally kicking the crap out of each other on stage and just total the Bockarie and then it ends and it’s just so much drama. And for you it was like, “Yeah, we’re moving on. And we’re all very professional.” Like, that’s actually the normal story.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah, for the most part. What did end in not so good… No, my band was Breaking Silence, which went on for about a year and a half, which is in retrospect, predictable. There was no project with those specific people that went on any longer than that. There was a band before that was Lightly Toasted Touché which was the same…

Brian Bob Young: What was the name of that?

David Andrew Wiebe: Lightly Toasted Touché. There’s some music on my YouTube channel. Yeah, it’s the weirdest name ever.

Brian Bob Young: I love it.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah.

Brian Bob Young: And to that travel point to like, put my foot my own mouth. In high school, I played in a lot of different bands. There is so much drama. Just like looking back to the high school and the college days. I mean, I’m an emotional guy to begin with but especially in high school, everybody’s so touchy and emotional and going into college even still the same. And pretty much like all my band stories, there’s some sort of like extreme drama looking back. So, I might take it back a little bit but once you become like an adult, that stuff subsides a little bit, I think. I hope.

David Andrew Wiebe: Oh yeah. That’s a part of it. I’ve been going through a series of seminars where we learn that drama is always a creation of our own and trying that on but when you do accept it as being your reality, you begin to see. “Oh, yeah. I guess there’s no need for it.

Brian Bob Young: No, no, absolutely. And you know, to bring it back to like, if you are working with people that have a specific vision, you’re going to be focused, right? I think something, for me that is kind of an anecdote to speak to that was how I got this live gig on Friday in Atlanta. The show’s not a big deal itself but I’m really excited for the location and the artists that I’m opening up for. This can speak to kind of the networking side of I didn’t even really look at how I went about this as networking but it was.

I think I genuinely believe networking is the outcome of what you want to achieve. So, for me, I’m reverse engineering right now from my goals with what I want to do with music production projects and my original music over the next five years. The people I reach out to and people I interact with, if I’m talking about a collaborating thing, then it’s under that umbrella of the goals that I have.

So, if I’m just like walking around Nashville hoping to bump into somebody and say, “Look how awesome I am.” That’s just naive for lack of a better word but it’s probably not going to produce any work. But if I’m intentionally going to gigs that I love and respect and learning from other artists that I love and respect. And then, I have what I have to offer. Who knows what can come in to that and I’ve definitely had some really in experiences?

Back to the Atlanta gig, what I did was I researched some small venues that really support independent artists. And then, I researched who was performing there, who has performed there over the last year. And then I listened to dozens of artists music, and I found a few that I really liked. I reached out to those artists and asked them if they’d like an opener or how they booked at that said venue. That’s how I’m opening for this wonderful artist I can’t wait to meet on Friday named James at the Mosaics. He’s based out of Atlanta and he’s like a folksy jazzy Avant Garde artist. That’s a genre, right? Folksy jazzy Avant Garde.

I think my musical sitting quite nice to open up the night. But again, if I were just to network to try to find someone who’s cool and has some sort of in, that definitely wouldn’t have happened. I literally have no idea how this dude is doing other than his music is friggin’ awesome and he plays out regularly. And he seems weird so that means he’s probably human and I’ll probably enjoy his company.

That is a maybe my most recent example. I guess that is really essentially networking but I really wasn’t looking at it like that. I was just looking at consistent gigs and play with good people.

David Andrew Wiebe: That’s always a good starting point. It’s just to go after what you think is interesting. I recall that I met a local musician years ago when I was just getting started as kind of a solo artist, so probably somewhere in 2003 to 2005 timeframe. It just happened to be at one of the venues that I regularly played at. The singer from there called me up because he worked at the cafe and said, “Hey, you should come check out this guy on Friday night or Saturday night or whatever it was.” And so, one time I finally did see him. He was coming through that venue regularly. I met him then in there but he doesn’t remember. Fast forward a few years, he owned another different cafe in Calgary. He was running a weekly open mic that everybody kind of swore by. And so, I went to check that out. I hung out there. And of course, he looked familiar to me. I think he still thinks that’s where we first met. The first was many years before that.

Brian Bob Young: Right. I mean, for the networking thing, I definitely believe open mics are still really great.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah. Right.

Brian Bob Young: It’s a little different here in Nashville. There is a bit of… and I don’t mean to say this in any sort of cynical way per se, but there’s a bit of a machine here, right. So, the way that operates is a little different. Have you ever been to Nashville? I know you’re in Canada but.

David Andrew Wiebe: I haven’t been I’ve heard a little bit about the open mics that first of all, they can be a little bit hard.

Brian Bob Young: All right. So, when I was working with this studio and young people would come in with kind of stars in their eyes, I guess, right. One thing I would say is like it’s great to be passionate about this but don’t go to an open mic and expect a record deal because you played your song. Go there and enjoy and work up your chops playing live and meet a few people but try not to think of it any more than one this.

I don’t say this story on my end to boast. It’s just weird the way it happened. So, I’d lived in Santa Barbara California for the past year. I played my first open mic in a really long time playing my original music. After a booking agent came up to me and said, “Dude, can you play in two nights for a set at this venue?” And I was so shocked because I spent two years telling people not to expect that, right. But I was like, “Let me look at my schedule next. I got to wrap my head around this.” So I think the way that these open mics or things like an open mic song writing rounds, they can function so differently in different places in the country or the world. Again, it gets back to that focus and specificity of what you want to achieve. I really wanted to get my live champs going and play as much as possible. And so, my radar was up for that. And I was really… I was prepared, you know. So yeah, I guess that’s another networking thing, I would say, right.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah. I think open mics too are just kind of a great way to keep the momentum going sometimes. If you’re in a busy city with no gigs, guess what, go play a few open mics and you can kind of keep your grassroots tour going, so to speak. With a smaller town with a few gigs, it’s kind of the same thing because there’s only so many venues you can go around to so an open my can kind of fill that space too.

Brian Bob Young: No, for sure. And you know what, I probably was a bit prideful going into these first few of them like, “It’s just an open mic and blah, blah, blah.” I feel bad about that because I’ve met some of the greatest friends and some people that I ended up playing live with weekly at venues because I was just consistently going to open mics. And so, there’s like these great communities there and everything. I’m thankful for that. My perspective has totally changed on that for sure.

So, one thing I did want to talk about though is the… I know we talked about before recording here was the actual production of the music on the show.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah, of course because it is an important topic. The music that you did, I know the intro theme was inspired by the original intro theme, which was almost like a GarageBand funk kind of thing.

Brian Bob Young: Yeah. So, I remember so vividly working on this project. It’s really, really fun. I think, you know, as a sidebar, so this is the whole point of all that time and energy of cold emailing you, I guess, and researching you. It’s because the end goal is the ideal situation where I’m producing music for a meaningful content, right.

So, if that is not enjoyable to a person, don’t do this job. Because there’s so much work on the front end that goes into it. But doing that music was so much fun. Maybe this is a good opportunity to talk about kind of my perspective of work and art, right? Because in that setting, I’m sitting down and I need to treat it like work and a certain amount of time where no matter what I’m getting this amount of stuff done in order to meet deadline. On the other side, I need to treat it like art. So, I can’t approach it like I’m going to be sitting in a proverbial cubicle.

When I first sat down to work on the theme song, I was really, my head, like everything I’m putting down sounds so dumb and like, “I hate this.” So, I went for a walk. Fortunately, at the time, I was living in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, where it’s just like perpetually beautiful. I went on a walk just to at least come up with a little melody line. That’s when I was like, you know, just walking down the street and I was going to <music>. And I was like, “Okay, let me try that on a little synthesizer and mess around with it.” And also, it was like, “Oh, I could expound upon what he already had because his listeners will be familiar to that <music>. But that all kind of explode into this new sound, right.

David Andrew Wiebe: Which I liked. Yeah.

Brian Bob Young: Thank you. And you know what, I knew I was taking a risk too because I think the sound of it is like jovial and over the top.

David Andrew Wiebe: It is over the top.

Brian Bob Young:  And I was like, you know, for theme songs that I love and I think there are those people like me out there that they’re pretty over the top. They might be like tongue in cheek almost, you know. Like I grew up with like Ren and Stimpy, their theme song is like <music>. So, that’s what I like but I knew it was a risk. I think you said on the email, you’re like, “It’s pretty over the top but you know, I like it.” And I was prepared to give you other ideas and everything if you really hated it and stuff but I’m glad that that nailed it. But then from there, the other stuff I just love working on because we’re emailing with our shared love for like prints and all that. I’m like, “This dude’s got great taste in music.” I’m just a white guy with a guitar but I at least can do like a little bit of funk stuff so the outro that you use…

David Andrew Wiebe: Yes.

Brian Bob Young: Man, when I hear that I’m like, “I’m really happy with that.” It was so fun to make. And actually, it came from ice… Do you remember the first one I sent that was literally twice the tempo?

David Andrew Wiebe: Yes. And it was also pretty cool.

Brian Bob Young: Yeah, thank you. Yeah, I want like <music>. So, the idea was, “Okay. If he wants to use this for like transitions into advertisements or for the outro, that would be cool but maybe the outro could be halftime of that riff.” That’s pretty frantic and fast. So, then it just kind of created this really cool vibe of <music>. A lot of room to do those kinds of bluesy riffs, and some little jazz and corporations, you know. So, I just had a ball doing it. It was so fun. I’m not being overstated. It’s so true. I’ve had a week of producing really fun music.

David Andrew Wiebe: I’m so glad to hear that. It definitely turned out great. The intro theme kind of has that news show vibe or let’s say independent news show vibe. Because there are theme songs that are always a little bit over the top, which is why I said, “Okay. Let’s go.”

Brian Bob Young: Yeah, I wasn’t offended at all. I knew what I was getting myself into. I grew up with, yeah, like local news stations and stuff that are so ridiculous with their theme songs.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah, exactly. They are.

Brian Bob Young: I will never forget channel six ABC News theme song. That’s the thing.

David Andrew Wiebe: It’ll stick in your head. Yeah.

Brian Bob Young: Yeah. <Music> Yep, that’s still it, man. It is still there. Ridiculous but it works.

David Andrew Wiebe: And you had originally come to me saying, “For podcasts that’s in the music industry, there’s so little music in it.

Brian Bob Young: I was like, I feel this is a good pitch but I’m also like, I do not hope he’s offended. I didn’t want it to be like condescending or anything because on the email that could sound like, “Where’s the music, bro?”

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah, totally. I said that’s a fair point. You know what, you just have blind spots. You do. And you know, we were talking about music entrepreneurship. This is a tough sell from the very start in a way, right? For those who are like, “Oh, yeah. I want to do this.” I have no hustle and grind, which I don’t advise. But like, those kinds of people are gone come going, “Oh, yeah, I can do this more efficiently. I can do this more systematically to make it work for me.” But that was a blind spot in the sense that, yeah, not only have I not included a lot of music, I haven’t actually talked about the music that I enjoy.

Brian Bob Young: Well, you do have your specific content on the show and all that. So sometimes, it’s just not going to be a part of it. I totally get that. But, you know, part of this too is that came from a typical sales perspective, where you find a need and fill the need.

David Andrew Wiebe: That’s right.

Brian Bob Young: So, that was just kind of a simple, “All right. There might be a need here. I might be able to fill it. Let’s see what we can do.” But you’re doing this project though to kind of expound on and really put the wheels in motion for me to have getting some more production jobs. I’m working on a show right now called Vitality Radio. That’s like a wellness show. So, that music is a ton of fun, but actually back in November and December, so not too long after I finished your project, I worked on what has been one of the most profound experiences for me, a show that’s essentially about Holocaust survivors. I got the gig through a friend of mine. She’s a producer in LA. Mainly producer of podcast shows and everything. It was really heavy but it was definitely such a profound learning experience, both on a life side and on a work side. And that’s why this business, I guess, can be so rewarding. So, for a month and a half I was reading like Holocaust survivor stories. I was reading all the research that they did for the show and really had my head in the emotion and the philosophies that came out of this unimaginable time in human history, right. And they wanted music that was kind of like explosions in the sky stuff. So, that really kind of droning but beautiful and heavy music. And I thought that was very smart of them that that kind of sound could be perfectly matched up with the content of the show so heavy.

So yeah, I got to complete that project right before the new year. I’m excited for it to come out. Because I produced five songs for it. I think they’re going to use at least three or four. So yeah, they kind of arranged from having explosions in the sky type sound to being just very light instrumentation in the background to fill in space. But yeah, that was just another story of kind of building on these projects. Right? You learn what we learned. I learned a lot from working for this to apply to the next one. So yeah, that’s another experience there.

David Andrew Wiebe: Well, yeah. And imagine like in this kind of business, really getting your first couple of clients is a big deal because that gives you a bit of a confidence boost and potentially a momentum boost. There might be referrals that come through that. So, yeah, that’s really important to just get those first couple of clients then you know it’s something that’s workable.

Brian Bob Young: Right. Yeah, you’re going to learn so much. In any capacity, taking risks is just part of it. You’re going to be humbled but you could experience things that are really rewarding, of course. I know when we talked, I was really inspired to hear about a little bit of your story of like, I remember you said that for a long time you found it difficult to meet people, correct? And you made it a goal to just go out and talk to people regularly. Is that kind of how that story went?

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah. I was going to work my way out of my shell and I got into network marketing in 2011. I kind of used that as a catalyst to start getting into conversations every day.

Brian Bob Young: That’s brilliant. Now you’re a really great interviewer. That’s crazy.

David Andrew Wiebe: Thank you for saying that.

Brian Bob Young: That’s so crazy.

David Andrew Wiebe: I think I am too.

Brian Bob Young: But no, that is the human spirit, right? That is perseverance and like seeing, you know, a bit of a flaw, right? Or not a flaw but just a weakness and saying like, “I got to work at this.” It was probably so hard for you, man. That crosses over into everything, right? Life, music, and the business. That’s so cool.

David Andrew Wiebe: Oh, yeah. I don’t necessarily think about it now but I’m sure if I look back, I could see that it was a challenge. Part of the challenge too was just going into environments that are unfamiliar to me. Maybe I was comfortable stepping into a subway but not comfortable stepping into an Applebee’s. Whatever it was. I just went in anyway.

Brian Bob Young: Yeah, I don’t know if you can cuss on your show so I’m not going to cuss but I really love meeting people. I’m pretty extremely extroverted. But with that said, it’s still nerve-wracking, especially when you’re putting your art out there to bring it back to the music side. In my experience over the last year of trying to play out as much as possible of playing my original music out was that I had a wakeup call on how incredibly difficult it was going to be to get booked.

You know this better than I do but I would say in my experience, it has been like a 30:1 ratio of getting clients. And because I don’t have like a professional electronic booking tape, I have fairly reasonable iPhone videos of me playing and then I have to go by word of mouth. So, what I did was there was this spot in Santa Barbara that I really wanted to play. Really cool Loki brewery that compensated but also was very intentional on getting up and coming independent artists playing there. I was like, “This is the place I got to get into.” So, I worked hard playing on these little venues in the area and getting some footage and emailed the booking agent there. Of course, they didn’t get back to me. I followed up. They didn’t get back to me. I was like, “You know what, I’m just going to go there and just yell wildly. Show me the gatekeeper.” No, I didn’t. I wasn’t crazy about it. But I did just go to the brewery and say like, “Who’s in charge of booking here? Can I speak with them? I wanted to follow up.” And the person was just really busy, right. I was really nervous because I didn’t want to be overbearing. And then be like, “This kind of awkward. We don’t want you here. We don’t like your music.” But they were so sweet. And you know, I was booked out like a month after that. And I played that spot twice. And each time was the most fun best gigs that I’ve played to this point. I got to play with some great artists that really wanted to play there too. The reason this is specific too is because although it’s just a brewery, they’re very focused on the arts. They have an art gallery that’s literally right next to the tap room area in the bar. And the music is very specific and where it’s set up so the bar can either kind of just like having the background or be right there in the foreground. So anyways, that was definitely my story of being like, I really got to… I guess I have to seriously put myself out there in new ways that are actually quite difficult.

David Andrew Wiebe: We’ve got breweries like that too that are pretty arts focused and open minded as far as what sort of entertainment they bring in. The Indie YYC is one of my new projects that I started or co-founded basically. We had an opportunity to take one of our events because we sponsor two events right now. One is the new beat and what is storytellers. The new beat is basically sort of beat poetry inspired but a fresh take on it, a non-depressing take on it. We were able to bring that to the to the brewery.

Brian Bob Young: I think I overlooked for so long that craft breweries, they are artists. They are so passionate about their product. And a lot of them are passionate about music and the arts and they want very intentional artists to play there to match the vibe they’re trying to create. And I love beer so it just totally works out. That’s cool, though. I mean, how many projects do you do? I feel like you have… when I listen to your shows like, “Wait. He was just talking about like five other projects he’s done. That’s crazy.” You’re pretty busy. Yeah.

David Andrew Wiebe: That’s one way of framing it for sure. Well, the Music Entrepreneur HQ has got the blog and the podcast. I am the one creating most of that content, although I do have a transcriptionist. There’s the Indie YYC. I am a staff writer at Music Industry How-To and I’m working hard on helping build that into a bigger thing right now. I also have Your Music Matters.

Brian Bob Young: I actually heard about that. I listen to… I think it was a podcast episode where you explained about it. That sounds really cool.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah, thank you. Yeah, that’s been an ongoing project because a series of seminars that I’ve been taking. In a way, it supports what I’m already doing with Music Entrepreneur HQ and at the same time it’s a complimentary project because it’s a way to give back something to artists.

Brian Bob Young: That’s so cool. I love that because something I’ve tried to really have a part of my philosophy, I guess if you will, as of over the last year we’ve worked really hard at this stuff is that arts purpose is its ability to connect. Right? And this is something that… Have you listened to the Creative Pep Talk podcast?

David Andrew Wiebe: I did a little bit, yeah.

Brian Bob Young: With Andy J. Pizza.

David Andrew Wiebe: Right.

Brian Bob Young: So, this is like his ongoing theme. The art’s purpose is its ability to connect. Remember that. He has this incredible podcast with a huge listener base. He’s in the visual arts. He’s just pretty wildly successful. So, for him to share such a humble and kind of beautiful philosophy has been really inspiring to me to keep an integral rudder, if you will, to all this. Because like, when it comes to it, we can get so egotistical and in our heads that we forget. In life and art, it’s about connecting with people and doing meaningful projects like you are. So yeah, that is definitely making me all jazzed.

David Andrew Wiebe: Maybe we’ll have to talk about your involvement.

Brian Bob Young: Who knows? To maybe go off on a little tangent with it, I am applying that philosophy to business though it’s really hard. Because for me and I’ll just speak from my experience because I’m the authority of my own experience. If art and music is something for somebody to just vent, like, they come home from work and the jam a little bit and that’s it, that can seriously affect their livelihood in such a beautiful way. But if they’re trying to share it with people or God forbid, make a living with it, then they have to both hold intention this artistic integrity mindset, while also saying, “If its purpose is to connect, I need to think about what people want, and what people want to hear.” And that’s the reason I don’t play certain spots because they’re going to be pissed if I don’t do a cover of wagon wheel and I play my quirky stuff for an hour, right.

David Andrew Wiebe: Oh my God.

Brian Bob Young: But it’s because of my respect for the people there. Like, I could probably get a little bit more gigs but I know that I won’t deliver that well and that would crash and burn, as opposed to this brewery that I was talking about where they were like, “That was really cool. What you provided us was really cool.” And so, I’ve been trying to think about that a lot. And now, I paint and draw a lot actually. But the beautiful thing with that is I give zero Fs. Can I say that?

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah.

Brian Bob Young: I give zero F if people are affected by my paintings and drawings. It is really I’m just throwing paint. I have no technical skill with it. I think they’ll look cool. And that’s it. But with my music, I can’t stand behind the concept of subjectivity and say, well, this little venue or if you didn’t like my music, he just subjectively sees it differently. If there is a bit of objectivity, then I need to provide something that is fitting, right. So yeah, that’s just a complex tangent on the artistic perspective, right?

David Andrew Wiebe: I totally get that. I think it is great to have something in your life where you’re creatively free. If it’s not your music, hopefully it’s something else you do just like you do with your art. For me, I get to write and that’s a little more where the cash is made. But the music side is where I’ve chosen and I always get to be free. I tend to write from a relatively pop mindset to begin with because I really love the melody but I also like intricacies in forming that too. So, it’s not just like put it put a bead on and think through it. But even some of the track, I have nothing against covers at all. Some of the tracks that I’ve been working on in my spare time lately are covers of some of my favorite songs.

Brian Bob Young: Oh, man. I mean, the gigs I’ve played recently, they’re 50/50 for the most part, original and covers. So, I’ll do a Hendrix song all day. I’m all about it but that’s very intentional, you know. And I was going to say too, on the original music side. So, this year I plan on releasing original music. I totally agree with you that I really try to approach it with a lot of freedom. I get my inspiration from independent artists that when I hear them, I’m like that sounds absolutely vulnerably who they are. Have you heard of Courtney Barnett or Mack DeMarco or even guys like Father John Misty, when they hear these independent artists of today, I’m like, I don’t hear any fluff but I also hear music that they are thinking about their audience? They’re thinking about people that enjoy, like you said, a simple melody. But at the same time, they’re achieving creating art that sounds really quite almost revolutionary, I don’t know revolutionary. But pretty amazing, you know?

David Andrew Wiebe: I think it just speaks to the fact that you can sort of do it without compromise because everybody is worried about selling out, right. And the reality is you can still be very expressive in how you want to be expressive while still being commercial. It’s possible.

Brian Bob Young: Yes. Yes. Have you ever been around people that really don’t care about selling out though? It’s incredible.

David Andrew Wiebe: Well, yeah, because you’re free. You’re free to create more in the ways that you want to create.

Brian Bob Young: Actually, I’m using his example for somebody that holds this bounce really well. I’ve been working with this pop artists for the last year, a good friend of mine, Jamal Anthony. We grew up actually in the same hometown. He ended up in LA. I think he achieves this balance so well. He is totally functioning in the pop world. He writes songs for guys like, and this isn’t to name drop it’s just what he’s doing, like Grace and Chance and everything, just read one of his singles. But it’s totally who he is. He is having a ball. And it’s been so fun to like play gigs with him or for him and just be around this guy that’s totally doing pop stuff. And is like, this is genuinely who he is. Like, there’s no element of selling out. He is just being Jamaal Anthony, which is cool to be around. I like a lot of his music too, man. It’s kind of R&B, pop, and all that. I can get into it. So yeah, there’s always a balance with it but it’s achievable.

David Andrew Wiebe: Absolutely, yeah. For some people it’s just how they write and who they are. Well, this has been a really great conversation. I guess to kind of offer a final thought. It’s not just what you know but who you know that counts. It doesn’t mean you have to know everybody on this planet to succeed at the level that you want to succeed. And I don’t either. I just happen to know enough people that they book shows for the band that I play in or they give me references for solo shows that I could potentially play to where I never have to book my own gigs. And in fact, when I try to book my own gigs, usually it goes very badly.

Brian Bob Young: Yeah, it’s so hard.

David Andrew Wiebe: Yeah, exactly. I used to do the booking but yeah, that’s been years. I got enough gigs from other people’s recommendations.

Brian Bob Young: Good for you, man. Oh, my gosh. Well, thank you so much, man, too. It’s going to be pulled in to the queue in Brian Young outro.

David Andrew Wiebe: Exactly. Absolutely. So yeah, we’ll talk again soon.

Brian Bob Young: All right, David Andrew Wiebe, I appreciate it.

David Andrew Wiebe: All right. Thanks, Brian.

Brian Bob Young: Bye.

David Andrew Wiebe: Bye.

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The Benefits of Collaborating with Fellow Artists

Are you an aspiring musical artist looking to increase your bandwidth with listening audiences? Whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you need to do all the work yourself to be an “authentic” solo artist. Even Shakespeare regularly collaborated with others!

Thinking like an entrepreneur means realizing that when you combine your talents with those of an artist or musical act who are perhaps more established, you’ll expedite your own songwriting, music production, and promotional success.

So, what are you waiting for? We’ve listed seven key advantages of collaborating with your fellow musicians below.

Increased Digital Reach

When you work together in the promotion process, you double the social media profile of the song or album that you’re working on. That means double the follower reach, and hopefully double the commercial success of your tracks.

This will work for both online and traditional media. While you monitor the likes and shares of your social media posts, why not go old-fashioned too? Put up posters with your artist names clearly printed and distribute flyers on the street – people love double-act gigs!

Better Venues = More Punters

It’s a simple equation: the more headliners for any given musical event, the more audiences are brought in, and the bigger venues you’ll be able to play in. Basically, if you’ve managed to secure a collaboration with a big artist, then you’re primed to tap into their fan base.

When you pool your funds with other artists, you’ll be able to gain access to larger venues that can be better outfitted with performance gear such as amps, sound systems, stage lighting and graphics. This means your audience will get to hear your music in the best possible sound quality, as opposed to sitting in a claustrophobic bar with bad acoustics.

An Expanded Industry Network

You can gain lifelong friends and incredible memories by collaborating with your fellow artists, as well as the chance to meet their friends, mentors, and influencers. If your collaborator is further along in their musical journey, you will be able to gain priceless advice from them, as well as new connections to producers, agents, gig promoters, and music bloggers – exactly the people you want to be casually introduced to after a gig.

Collaborating can be an unbeatable way to widen your industry network, express your willingness to learn from people with more experience than you, and in turn help and befriend other artists. One successful gig and its subsequent introductions may open the door for invitations to future gigs with even more experienced artists to co-create with.

Two Minds are Better Than One

You love creating music – that’s the reason you wanted to become a musician in the first place! The great news is that collaborating with other artists can do wonders for your own creativity.

If you’ve been struggling with writer’s block or need a great harmony from another instrument, an exhilarating conversation with another musically-oriented mind with a different point of view may set up a great jam session and get your best lyrics flowing again.

You’ll Strike New Chords

Artists sometimes don’t notice when they’re in a rut. The most important lesson a musician can learn is to keep learning and evolving, because if you’re not constantly honing your craft and expanding your reach, you can’t expect your music to improve.

That’s where your colleagues in the industry come in. Know of an artist who’s mastered those tricky drum patterns you just can’t get the hang of yourself? Always wondered what software a particular DJ uses to make their mixes? Ask them if they’d be keen to collaborate with you.

The best thing about these types of collaborations is that when you both bring something entirely new and different to the table, you can create some truly idiosyncratic beats.

It’s Rewarding

Collaborations lead to tangible rewards – big-break opportunities, such as headlining on a global tour or being credited in a chart-topping tune.

However, collaborating with other artists is also invaluable for the human connections you’ll make. As a musician, you’ll find your soulmates and friends in other people who are pursuing the same goals.

No matter where they happen to be on their artistic trajectory, there’s guaranteed to be massive common ground between you. You may just find a lifelong friend as well as a close collaborator.

Collaborating Teaches You Artistic Generosity

By collaborating with fellow artists at the beginning of your own career, you’ll realize just how important the value of artistic generosity is to the survival of the industry at large. Better-known artists will pair up with lesser-known musicians to boost the latter’s chances in a cut-throat industry and also to nurture the new talent and sounds, which are vital to the industry’s future.

And plus, information about newcomers can spread incredibly quickly within the industry, so it’s best to build up your reputation as a generous and professional collaborator now instead of waiting for later to put in the legwork.