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  Industry Profile

Industry Profile: Garrison Snell

— By Larry LeBlanc (CelebrityAccess)

This week In the Hot Seat with Larry LeBlanc: Garrison Snell, CEO, Gyrosity Projects.

Brash and blatant as a 30-time NASCAR race winner, Nashville-based Garrison Snell should be praised highly for his clear-eyed vision, and his realistic take-no-prisoner style to music marketing.

Launched in 2015 by the 23-year-old Snell, Gyrosity Projects focuses on using digital solutions to drive business goals for its clients in industries ranging from music to healthcare.

Gyrosity Projects offers digital advertising services, content creation, and access to a variety of web applications that make traditional music marketing services more affordable. Among the services are advising clients on Email automation, social media content, digital advertising, search engine optimization, and website development.

In January, 2017 Gyrosity Projects rolled out its Crosshair platform that offers a DIY approach to searching, and directly messaging streaming playlist owners. Crosshair uses playlist and user data from approximately 500 active playlists and tastemakers to analyze an influencer's existing content. It recommends music based on the demographics of users most likely to follow their channels. It does the same thing for artists based on their existing music and audiences.

Music has long been Snellís driving passion. At 16, while still in high school in Bentonville, Arkansas, he launched Red Dog Music Group in order to locally book bands he was working with as a drummer.

An unexpected U-turn in Snellís career came when he was passed over at Belmont Universityís School of Music but, with a quick switch to study business, he applied to Belmont-affiliated Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business, and graduated in May, 2016.

Do you have partners in Gyrosity Projects?

There are none. Gyrosity is what I started when I left [Nashville digital marketing agency] ThinkSwell. I literally left ThinkSwell the Monday after I graduated college (May 2015). I have been doing this every working day since I graduated.

I would imagine at college you had a marketing major.

No. It was a business degree from the Curb College like pretty much everybody. I didnít have a minor, but I was in the honors program. It was in the honors program that I learned a lot about organizational development, and leadership stuff, which is how now we have 14 people all under the age of 30 all working for me which is insane. Most of them are full-time. I remember vividly at the beginning of my sophomore year telling a friend that I was starting to manage artists. He told me, ďYouíd be a really good marketer.Ē I said, ďI will never do marketing. I want to do artist management.Ē Look four years later, holy cow, whatís going on?

Where are you based in Nashville?

We are in The Gulch. If you go down 11th Avenue thereís a building called Gulch Crossing (at 1033 Demonbreun St.). You know where (the strip club) Deja Vu is? We are across the street and down about 100 yards down on the right. Just before (the historic) Cummins Station.

Have most of Gyrosity Projectsí clients been from Nashville?

Most are from here but we have clients in California, a couple in New York, one in Jersey, and a couple in Atlanta.

Up to this point, Gyrosity Projects has been primarily dealing with overseeing Email automation, social media, digital advertising, and websites for its clients?

It is all focused on whatever is going to drive a business goal for the client. We dial up the contract based on what they are trying to accomplish. Itís usually content creation and ad heavy driving traffic back to a site to make a sale or to make a conversion of some sort.

We only now seem to be scratching the surface of whatís possible in digital marketing. In many cases, artists hire third party companies that still seem to deliver a limited ďone fit for allĒ template. Am I wrong about that?

You are not wrong at all. Before I graduated from Belmont University, I worked for a marketing agency here in town as I said, and I had hired a couple of firms previously to that for outside clients. It was kind of the same spiel over and over again. We call ourselves an agency, but our pitch is based on business development. So if thereís not a business goal attached to it (a project) we donít normally do the contract. Clients hire us because they know that these techniquesóthat everybody doesóbut there are techniques that we specialize in that do drive business. And they are just looking at us to drive new lines of business for them. Whether it be in music or healthcare or fashion or whatever. That is a dramatic change, honestly, in the narrative from the agencies that I used to work for.

Contracting a third party for digital marketing is done across the board in the music industry.

You are absolutely right. The pitches that I saw previously didnít seem to focus on why the client was hiring the marketing agency to begin with. There was a focus on the knowledge gap and not on if the third party agency was going to drive toward a business goal. The clients would say, ďHey, Iím independent. Iíve got some funding. Iím looking to grow my numbers so I can make an argument to a booking agent.Ē Instead of dialing up a recipe for that goal, weíd just say, ďWell, Facebook is the answer to all of your problems.Ē Theyíd say, ďWell, Iíve never tried a Facebook ad. Letís do that.Ē You try it for a couple of months, and we didnít do inherently good marketing.

At what stage of an artistís or a bandís career do they need social media in order to work toward some marketing goals?

I think, obviously, the very fricking beginning. But it depends on what you are asking. If you are asking a business question or a relationship question.

A band or artist today not only has to be able to utilize social media but be able to make it all work toward building fan-based relationships as well. A lot of acts donít have those tools in the early days of their career.

Yes. You are right. We just put out a video with one of my guys here who is an independent artist, Curtis McCabe. He works here as my client relations guy. The video talks about options that independents have in terms of resources that they can spend, and the tools that they can get for the resources. Thereís a whole bunch of digital tools available. You can either spend money to get somebody else to do it (the marketing) for you or you can spend a lot of time doing it yourself. I think when you contract with a company likes ours is when you reach a point where outsourcing is a business strategy, and not out of laziness or out of a desire not to understand it. I donít think personally that you, as an independent artist, have any room in the beginning to not be crushing it on social yourself.

Do It Yourself or DIY is a mantra term long praised to the sky by the indie music sector but, in truth, the strategy rarely is applied. So many artists remain uneducated about the marketplace

You have to ask why that is.

Maybe it should be called DI-Together in that artists could work in a collective with other similar artists.

That concept existed before social meeting, right? Youíd meet a band in a town or at trade shows. Yeah, I donít see why itís not the same concept.

Thereís so many things that can be done around existing social media and marketing-related platforms that are available.

I agree. I think that it comes to a point whether or not you are involved in a collective or you doing some of it yourself, spending time and money on a team that does it well that should be a business strategy. We outsource our PR (public relations). We donít do PR. I could hire a PR person but, at this point in time, it makes the most sense to outsource it to a good friend.

Public relations is highly specialized.

It is.

So many artists and managers still arenít educated enough about social media.

I have watched so many independent artists get so frustrated with social because they donít understand what the point is. They donít see the forest for the trees. They miss the fact that you are just connecting with people. You are literally just making friends. For us, we challenge all of our clients to really think about their personality. Who they are as people. If you werenít a musician person how would you be talking to people? Stop trying to promote yourself as a musician, and promote yourself as an individual with a personality that brings an emotional value to someone by way of music.

Too many artist websites still fall short of providing even basic information.

I recently spoke at Belmont University, and I had a lot of people ask, ďWhere would you even start (as an artist)?Ē Get your site up with all of the information, and the world is going to want to know about you. Start making content that is natural to you, and that represents your personality. Try to remove yourself from the fact that you make great music, and just think about being a great person who creates a space for people via music.

You recently wrote in a blog that you donít see that there will be many new fundamental tech concepts arriving in 2017 that we haven't already been exposed to.

I donít. I see it as a year of consolidation. Thereís more M & A (mergers and acquisitions) on the books at the recent Horowitz (Andreessen Horowitz) in the past decade I think is what they said. I keep an eye on the VC firms, and what they are putting out. The content. I just donít see any new earth-shaking technology. I just see a lot of maturation of how we use them.

Instead, firms in this sector will likely lean more toward account-based marketing. Marketing to each of their customers' accounts using the tech already available to the best of their ability. You saw the recent Forrester report that 37% of marketing leaders said improving customer experience is their second-highest priority, behind growing revenue?

Yes, I did. Actually, itís weird here because our floor here has Nashvilleís new Forrester office. So I got to meet those dudes and got to know them a little bit. I donít know. Thatís just what is coming to me. As an agency, we are just trying to make sure that we are still using technology in the best recipe that we can. Itís not so much that we can run an ad. We know how to do that. Itís what recipe are we dialing for you to mature that relationship with your fans?

As customers become more educated and more engaged no longer will knowing just how to run a Facebook ad campaign be enough to attract new music clients.

The problem is that everybody thinksóand this will be the year that it changesóbut everybody thinks that with technology because of the cool tools that we get, that is the answer to everything. Itís not. The fact that you can run a Facebook ad is supercool, and itís amazing, but itís the drip by drip and the step by step process that you have to go through to mature a relationship with someone. The Facebook ads just make it easier to start that and to continue that.

Being an independent musician is hard in todayís music business environment. They have to be a musician, a manager, a label head, a social media expert, and a digital marketer. Thatís a lot of hats to wear.

It is. Yes, itís funny but my dad (bassist/singer David Snell) was in Nashville in the early 2000s with a band called the Chase Buchanan Band doing the independent thing. He had some funding, and he ended up blowing a bunch of money with an agency called Echo Music that doesnít exist anymore. So I grew up with a picture of those guys with my dad in his early Ď20s. At the bottom of this promo photo, it said, ďCopyright Echo MusicĒ in 2001 or, maybe, earlier.

What then happened?

He ended up going back to Arkansas and getting a real job, kind of giving up on music as a career because of how much money that he blew. He was really thinking as a musician and not as---I donít want to use the word entrepreneur because itís overused---but not as a small business owner.

There are companies in Nashville that seemingly find potential clients at the bus station as artists and songwriters come to town.

One hundred percent. I love that Nashville is so open. The problem is that you do have people who come here because the pickings are easy.

So many industry figures in Nashville will invite emerging artists, songwriters and managers to breakfast, hang out and party with them, but they arenít either likely to sign the artists or songwriters or offer the artists competitively great songs.

I donít disagree with you. I am good friends with a lot of the publishers and people here. Yeah, my dad experienced all of that in the Ď90s. I have just got a soft spot for the independents. When I started this company we had independent budgets to work with so we had to get good at making something out of nothing.

What led to the development of the Crosshair platform? Are you still in a beta stage with it?

Good question. Starts out of Gyrosity Projects being a marketing agency, right? We have this kid Mitchell Rose, a pop artist who I had been managing for quite awhile. Heís a vocalist from the School of Music at Belmont, and he has produced some stuff. He brought me an independent budget for his first song (ďCandyĒ) to be on the internet, and said, ďI want to put together a release plan for my song for the end of 2015.Ē

I really liked the song, and he had a budget to work with. Great. So letís take a swing at some different promotional tactics here.

Playlisting was going to be important, right? That was something that he was adamant on. So we decided weíd shoot for the moon. We spent a bunch of money going up to New York to meet with the Spotify team there. We hired a PR company and did the whole song and dance. We met everybody. The Spotify team is awesome. They are great people. They listened to the music. I thought that they liked it, but we didnít see any play with that. I assuming that it was because they didnít see where it would go. I donĎt know why they didnít add it. They were good with us, but they chose not to playlist it.

What happened next?

I had to look around and go, ďOkay, we have a little bit of a budget left. Playlisting is still important. What can I do with this money, and with the time that we have left?Ē We looked at hiring local agencies to do independent playlist promotion. The prices were just too high. It just didnít make any sense. So I decided that I was going to build a web app that would do this, and that we would manually go out and recruit these (internet music) influencers and get them onto a web app that would allow Mitchell and anybody else we service to do this.

From that point, it has developed. It initially started as a tool that companies could license and their staff would use. Then we demoed it with a bunch of people, and they said, ďThis isnít what we want. What we want is a tool that does this for us.Ē

Developing the Crosshair platform took several trials over a year. How did you fund its development?

I had never previously raised money for operations. Everything that this company has done has been built on revenue. But I did raise some money for developing Crosshair.

How much?

I wonít tell because we didnít announce it. Last summer, there was a bit of seed money. It was in the five figures, and in October (2016) we raised six figures from two different companies. Basically, we spent that first bit of money in July last year, and we just didnít spend it well. Then in October we got the product back and felt that it wasnít good. So I had to go out and get some more money. I found a company in New Zealand that was willing to partner with us.

What company?

Iím not going to give that out. Itís a family organization. We raised six figures from them and gave away only a very small share, which is nice. We worked from October of last year to January to release this current version. So you can consider all last year an attempt at a beta. Then we did a bit of a beta in the last of the year. Saw a lot of positive results. Went live with it at the top of January (2017). Ran into some problems, and fixed most of them, and now we are just trucking along. We have done a couple of hundred songs since which is great.

Influencers and curators are not that easy to attract.

You are absolutely right. The majority of the money was spent sourcing those people. The development was 25% of the investmentóthe actual coding of it, which is not a bad thing. A long story short we launched this first version and ran ďCandyĒ through it last February and got 13 playlist ads. Five weeks later, it threw him onto 756,000 Discovery Weekly playlists.

Nashville alternative bluegrass-styled band Judah and the Lion utilized Crosshair to promote the track "Take It All Back," securing placement on independent playlists that helped propel the song to 9 million Spotify streams. The track eventually became the band's first #1 hit, topping Billboard magazine's Alternative songs chart the first week of January (2017), its 19th week on the tally

Yeah. We worked that song three different times. They had an earlier version they put out, and they used Crosshair. Then they put out ďTake It all Back 2.0Ē and we worked that twice. We did two campaigns for them. Part of the reason (behind the length of time) was that they stuck through the entire process. All through the three different platform iterations. Just really stuck it out with us. We were not the only ones working that song, of course, but we got it secured on a few independent playlists.

Currently, qualifying Crosshair influencers must have follower counts that reach 500 for a Spotify playlist; 1,000 for a Twitter or YouTube account; or 2,500 for an Instagram feed?

Yes, those are true except for Spotify. We are removing that limit now and focusing on playlists that have active listeners. Right now, depending on the platform, itís follower-based. Every influencer has to apply. We are quantitatively assessing their engagement rate. For Spotify, itís hard to do that. but we do look at songs that they have added to their playlists, and look at an artist profile that is, perhaps, little known, and does that playlist show up as a Top 5 that drives listeners? We will check it out. If you get added enough Spotify gives an alert, ďThis is a popping song, right now.Ē You take a look at it, and at some of their playlists like Viral 50 which are updated on user action.

Itís not unlike following secondary market radio airplay decades ago.

No. I have heard that from a couple of different promoters that this is a very familiar model for them which is why I think itís so interesting to independent radio promo. This is a place where they are developing acts to go when they canít afford radio.

Does Crosshair take in account playlists from Apple, Amazon or Google?

We have a couple of Google playlists and a couple of Amazon lists. We donĎt have any Apple lists yet. But we have other influencers too. Like popular YouTube channels. Popular Instagram accounts. We have music supervisors on there who are looking for undiscovered music, and placing stuff.

Crosshair is trying to figure out what music impresses influencers and curators that shape streaming lists as well as those film and TV music supervisors seeking to pick up independent music for projects.

Yes, 100%. For me, the logic was that an independent artist can get my suggestions just as easily as signed artists so why shouldnít we approach music supervisors to view undiscovered music on our platform? And they took to it.

Crosshair isn't just about increasing streams and breaking new music: It's also about developing relationships and building foundations that can sustain careers.


So that leads to the use of chatbots, and utilizing Mixpanel which tracks user interactions with web and mobile applications and provides tools for targeted communication with them?

Mixpanel, we use for Crosshair. Itís an analytics (service) platform, right? We built chatbots. Chatbots arenít super hard to use these days.

Chatbots are great for giving support to super fans.

Absolutely. The reason that we use chatbots for Crosshair is because we are being asked a lot of the same questions, and I wanted to save peopleís time so they (fans) can just talk to this bot. If they have any other questions my team can see the messages and can them jump in, and talk to them. Mixpanel has just been a great tool about how people are interacting with the web app. It tells us week over week what people are gravitating towards. If we test features or if we introduce new features, it shows how quickly they (users) see them. It also tells about how active people are. Are they logging on every day? What are they doing? And thatís a very good question. We wonít know the answer to that until we install the Mixpanel.

Weíve had decades of drilling down deep on research for radio and TV consumer habits but Iím not sure the same level scrutiny is being utilized to drill down to consumer use of streaming or social media.

No. It absolutely isnít. You can draw assumptions, but thereís nothing straight up. I do wish that there was. I was talking to a mathematician recently to see if we could calculate internship of a playlist based on the public data that we get from Spotifyís artist insights. We can draw some conclusions, but itís not quite relevant conclusions. You would be generalizing at best.

Spotify likely doesnít want to attract that level of scrutiny either.

No. For sure. For us, it would provide a better product. I just want to have that out in the world.

Country music marketing in the digital world has lagged behind EDM or hip-hop nichť marketing.

Yes. I try to keep my eyes on them as much as much as I can. I was just in New York, and I went to L.A. for four days. I have a lot of friends in both of those cities that I went to college with, or who I met through college and that are now working in electronic and dance and hip-hop and mainstream pop. I have a good friend, Markus Hwang, who is the only hip hop guy at a management company. Heís the senior manager for M-Theory. He and I spent four hours recently going over what they doing. I am trying to learn from people like him, and bring it back to here.

Is there a body of people your age in the industry comparing notes?

There sure is. It has gotten more widespread this year for me. A lot of the relationships that I built at Belmont have started to blossom because these people are now two years out of college, and they have gotten decent jobs, and they are starting to make a few decisions. For instance, Markus has tried to throw us some business. Jeremy Gold, who just moved from Warner Music Nashville to Starstruck Entertainment to work as their director of digital, heís a real good friend of mine. We were in the honors program together. Heís now blossoming into his own, and we are going to work on some projects together which is great.

You are also deeply involved with YEP Nashville (Young Entertainment Professionals).

YEP has been really great with me. They put me on the board of directors when I was a sophomore at Belmont. I was the only college kid to be on the board up until Katie Roth (Creative Nation) who joined awhile back. Iím currently the co-chair of their board of directors and have been for two years at this point.

[YEP Nashville is a social group for the next generation of up and comers in the entertainment industry. It is designed to allow young professionals to get to know one another and meet new people to help expand their network through social gatherings.]

With it showcase parties and other social events, YEP Nashville provides substantial networking opportunities.

It sure does. YEP has helped a lot of people. Itís one of the primary reasons I got to meet people. But YEP did not help me mature those relationships. It teed me up for them, but everything after that point came down to me maintaining and working those relationships.

Iím going to your hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas for the Power of Music Festival in April.

Thatís awesome. Enjoy the town. I love Bentonville. It was a great to place to grow up.

The headquarters of Walmart, the worldís largest retailer, is located there. The retailer is very visible throughout Bentonville

Honestly, people say we did, but I didnít notice the 2008 (economic) crash living there. It happened, but I donít feel like we noticed much of it there. There were housing problems and some minor issues there, but I didnít see gas prices change. It just didnít feel like we suffered that much.

You werenít born in Bentonville though.

No. I was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas. I then lived in McRae, Arkansas, a town of about 300 people between kindergarten and 7th grade. Then in the 7th grade, we moved to Bentonville.

Was your dad a professional musician or was music a part-time thing for him?

No. He was a musician. He and my mom married just out of high school, had me, and he came to Nashville to play. They got a divorce over him coming to Nashville. He came to Nashville and blew a bunch of money with his band. The fact that he blew a lot of money was the thing that caused my parents to divorce. So I lived with my mom while he moved back to Fayetteville. He continued to play locally and be part of the Arkansas music scene. But now that me and a bunch of my brothers are out of the house, heís back to playing now almost every week. He probably earns an extra $50,000 a year just playing music, which is great.

With the Shotgun Billys?

The Shotgun Billys probably do 10 to 15 dates a month around the southeast. It is with dudes he played with in high school and early college.

Meanwhile, your mom is saying, ďThankfully, my son is not a musician.Ē

Well, itís funny. I came to Nashville originally to play drums. At Belmont, I did not get into the School of Music. My dadís a bass player so he and I played a lot together when I was in high school.

Were you in bands other than playing with your dad?

Yes, I was. There were a couple. There was one called the Catfish Playboys and another one called Lifeline, which was a ska band. It was a high school band that my dad helped me out with. A bunch of high school buddies.

When did you become involved with music?

Probably the 6th grade. When we lived in McRae, my dad played in the high school marching band, and my mom played in a marching band. I wanted to be in a marching band. They put me in percussion. From 6th grade on, I played percussion and then joined the drum line in high school, and marched with the football team and all that good stuff.

Early music education has been a pivotal experience for so many people in our industry

Yeah. My high school career was so much different than my college career. In high school, I didnít know what I wanted to do. I had no interest in doing anything other than playing music. I never thought I would be doing anything different than playing music. And I wasnít that good at it. I didnĎt realize that I wasnít that good at it. My band directors, a husband, and wife, they were not easy on us at all. I really pushed back on them. I just did not straight out put the time into being a good musician. I enjoyed the social aspect, and I enjoyed the emotional release of it. When I got pissed off, I enjoyed playing piano or drums. I enjoyed playing with my dad. I didnít realize until I got to Belmont how bad I was. I realized that my strengths were never in performance. They were in coordinating and finding business angles for the people that I was with. Creating opportunities for them.

Were you then a country music fan?

Yeah. I grew up listening to early 2000 country. Thereís a band that was kind of rejected by Nashville that is one of my favorite bands of all time. Cross Canadian Ragweed. They are also one of my dadís favorite bands. Their old stuff from early 2000 is still some of my favorite music of all time.

Cross Canadian Ragweed was from Oklahoma but was like a Southern country rock band.

Yeah, they were Southern rock. Kinda angry. The band could kind of be considered like Ian Moore from Austin. But my dad and his band mates were always into Southern rock; just a little bit under the table blues-influenced Allman Brothers kind of stuff. My dad fricking loved Cross Canadian Ragweed. They have a song called ďAnywhere But Here.Ē The second verse is about them getting rejected in Nashville.

At the age of 16 you founded Red Dog Music Group to book one of your bands into clubs. That sounded more legit than saying, ďIím 16, and I have a band.Ē

Yeah, the people I was calling at these bars and Mexican restaurants we would be playing, they didnít really have the time to talk to me. So it was, ďCool. Send me a website, and send me a video.Ē All you had to do from there was give them the contact information, and it was all good. It was about trying to justify myself in the first couple of sentences. I needed a way to just to deflect any scrutiny. We would show up (at the venue), and we were a bunch of high school kids, and they would be like, ďOkay, cool.Ē

Did Red Dog Music Group have a website?

It did. It was when I was in high school. I guess at that time it was either a WIX site or WordPress. It was something that we had some videos that our guitar playerís dad took. They werenít good but they were what I had to work with at the time. I didnít know what good was. I just knew what these people needed to see from us in order to get the opportunities for the band. I was just trying super hard to figure out what quality was needed for the band. For the people that I was representing. What did they need, and what could I create to get them there?

Were the bands any good?

The ones in high school, they werenít very good, but there were some kids that I managed in college that were freaking awesome. Matt Enik (who attended Belmont Universality as a music business major), he was the first one that I cut my teeth with. I booked him a tour that was like 32 dates, 6 states, May to August our sophomore year, and made something like $35K.

Thatís pretty wild.

It was. It was all fairs and festivals, mostly from contacts that I had back in Arkansas and Western Virginia. We got the tour. That entire summer.

Were you playing drums in that band?

No, they wouldnít let me. Itís funny but the band and I didnít get along very well. They fired me half way through the tour and the next week is when I got hired by Ronnie Dunn (of the Brooks & Dunn duo) at Little Will-E Records.

Why did you settle on trying to attend Belmont University? Due to its closeness to Nashville?

I actually wanted to go to Vanderbilt University (in Nashville) but I just didnít have the money. I am always trying to hedge my bets, and my thought was that ďI can go to Vandy, and I play music in Nashville. I can have a Vanderbilt degree in something. Hedge my bets if I donít want to do music anymore.Ē Vandy just didnít make any sense financially. Belmont is where I got fellowship money. So it made sense to go there. I never wanted to go anywhere other than Nashville. I just didnít have any interest in any other city. I didnít visit any other city.

While attending Belmont you bounced around working at different companies in Nashville. Working six months here and six months there. Were you doing an apprenticeship at any of these companies?

No. I am just a really bad employee. Quite honestly that was literally it. The Ronnie Dunn gig was the longest I had. Yeah. I never found an organization in music in Nashville that I interned for or worked at that I liked enough to want to stay. That appreciated me enough...

But you also had your sights set on being an entrepreneur.

Yes, but I just felt that the key was to work for a long time in these places as part of the business to some time in my 40s or something. It just did not work out that way. I literally walked into work on Monday at ThinkSwell, and the boss sat me down and said, ďI know you arenít happy. Do you want to let this go?Ē I said, ďYeah. I think thatís what Iím going to do.Ē And then four clients came with me.

Many older music industry people have it together, but you also likely met music industry veterans who donít have a clue what they are talking about when discussing marketing today. Do you sometimes roll your eyes when you hear some of the marketing philosophies or strategies that you figure arenít right?

Yeah, I do. Thereís a respect thing. You want to respect their tenure, and you want to respect the position, but the fact of the matter is that if it doesnít work, it doesnít work.

Obviously, some of the people you worked for didnít want to listen to you.

The only person who ever did was Ronnie, and I really appreciated him treating me the way that he did. For the most part, everybody else that I worked for it was driven by their desire to be heard and to be important. When they heard this 23-year-old who was making too much noise, they wanted to shut him up. The only way that I could find a way to be heard was to do it myself. I donít know if I will be in business, I hope that I will be in business in yearóI imagine that I will beóbut even if I am not this is the most that I have been able to practice these philosophies that I believe, and they actually work.

You are working within a music industry still trying to figure out marketing in todayís volatile retail environment.

You know what I think one of the biggest issues is? Everybody is too scared to make a mistake. That seems to be inherent to music. I realized a year and a half ago, ďHoly crap, if I just stop caring, and just start doing what I believe in, Iíll be okay. I may make a mistake; I may not. But people canít fault me for doing what I believe in.Ē

Even if you make a mistake, you arenít likely to repeat the mistake.

Yeah, and people forgive mistakes. For some reason. Maybe, thatís why people in Nashville donít sign stuff. The will take you for Sunday dinner, but they wonít sign you. They are scared to make a mistake. I donít know, man. I just firmly believe that if you are willing to jump in and make a bunch of mistakes, and if you donít give a crap about what people are saying about you, then you will come across some really awesome stuff. And if itís working, people will say, ďMaybe I should listen to him.Ē I donít know. Itís just weird to me that the reason that many of these people canít innovate is that they are too scared to make a damn mistake.

Larry LeBlanc is widely recognized as one of the leading music industry journalists in the world. Before joining CelebrityAccess in 2008 as senior editor, he was the Canadian bureau chief of Billboard from 1991-2007 and Canadian editor of Record World from 1970-89. He was also a co-founder of the late Canadian music trade, The Record. He has been quoted on music industry issues in hundreds of publications including Time, Forbes, and the London Times. He is co-author of the book ďMusic From Far And Wide.Ē

Larry is the recipient of the 2013 Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award, recognizing individuals who have made an impact on the Canadian music industry. He is a board member of the Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia, Ontario.

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