*Special Episode Alert*
In this episode, Of Record hosts, Matt and Joe are joined by J&R Adventures Director of Marketing and New Release Project Manager Rachael Iverson.
Tune in for this exclusive episode brought to you by an expert in the music industry. Hear it all in 52 minutes or less.
Connect with Rachael: https://bit.ly/3nytmIk
Find Joe Bonamassa @ https://jbonamassa.com
Listen to Joe's new album Time Clocks when it releases on Oct 29th.
With topics revolving around what we got wrong on our recent music-themed episode, how the industry actually works, growing as an independent artist, and the future of the music industry and sound atmosphere, tune in!
(AI-generated, *somtimes* human-reviewed)
Rachael Iverson, Matt Farrar, Joe Clements
Joe Clements 00:00
Hi listeners. Today we have a very special guest on our follow up music episode from somebody who actually knows about the music industry and actually knows a good bit. We did an entire music Episode two weeks ago, but I failed to realize that I have a longtime friend, someone I’ve known since high school, who is very experienced and music promotion. And her name is Rachael Iverson. Have J & R Adventures.
Matt Farrar 00:41
Of Record is a podcast focused on the marketing and advertising industry. From the perspective of two industry experts, hosts Matt Farrar and Joe Clements are co-founders of Strategic Digital Services, a digital marketing firm based in Tallahassee, Florida and founded in 2014. I’m Matt Farrar. I’m Joe Clements and I’m Rebecca Romero. And this is the podcast Of Record.
Joe Clements 01:20
Say hello, Rachael. Now, Rachael, your your act. Your big act is Joe Bonamassa. Who’s like the biggest thing in the in the blue scene? Right?
Rachael Iverson 01:34
Joe Clements 01:35
Okay. So tell me. You know, first thing I want to do before we go into the backstory of how you single handedly made Joe Bonamassa. The biggest thing in the blue scene is you listen to our episode from two weeks ago. Go ahead and tell us what we are wrong about. We are just like throwing things at the wall to see what we come up with.
Matt Farrar 01:56
And it’s not fair to just say the whole episode.
Rachael Iverson 01:59
No, it could be fair. Um, no, I’m just joking. No, it was it was a great episode. It was really interesting to listen to it from almost like an outsider’s marketing perspective not being in the industry, per se. Um, first, we got to talk about the John Mayer stuff. Because, you know, you of course, you’ve got your fans of john mayer, and you’re not fans of john mayer, but you guys were like,
Joe Clements 02:21
no, Matt. Matt is a john mayer fan. Okay, good.
Matt Farrar 02:24
Yeah, I mean, sort of, right. Like, I like I kind of was it for a while. And then I like this album, kind of like John Mayer, like, put some stuff out there that like I might be kind of interested in listening to again. So like, it made me reconsider John Mayer.
Rachael Iverson 02:43
Yeah, for sure. And by the way, I have to lay this out. John Mayer is one of the best guitarists that there are out there. And unfortunately, like in our industry, I mean, he is such a great guitarist, but he focuses on his amazing songwriting and his amazing voice. So you don’t necessarily always hear his guitar playing in his pop records.
Matt Farrar 03:03
And to be fair at that one I actually know. So I’ve listened to John Mayer trio and like some of his like guitar stuff, some of his blue stuff. So like that I like 100% agree on.
Rachael Iverson 03:15
But I mean, it’s just bread and butter, right? No one makes money, especially in the blues. So he’s got to make money with his pop records. I totally don’t fault him for that.
Joe Clements 03:22
So what went wrong? About John Mayer,
Rachael Iverson 03:25
So you were wrong about his albums, you said this was like his first album in 15 years that topped the charts. And I’m like, that doesn’t sound very right. So I actually went into my billboard pro account, and I looked, and the last 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 Records going back to 2003, he was either number one or number two on the top 200. Chart. So even though you might not have heard the marketing, and was influxed, with all this information on social media,
Joe Clements 03:58
but did he have any singles on those, like any talk radio singles?
Rachael Iverson 04:03
Well, so that’s different when you’re talking about Billboard charts that
Matt Farrar 04:06
So John we are sorry, we are sorry, john, our sincere apologies.
Rachael Iverson 04:10
Yeah, but I mean, that just goes to show you he probably doesn’t need a ton of crazy ass marketing to be able to sell his records because he was hitting number one or number two, whether you knew he released a record or not, which, these days, I have to say, obviously, the charts are a little wonky. You know, you used to have to sell millions of records hit number one. These days. It’s like 20,000 – 30,000 Records if you’re lucky. So we can even talk about the chart how it’s changed so much where
Joe Clements 04:41
well here’s what the next thing we are wrong about what else we’re wrong about.
Rachael Iverson 04:44
Okay, so let’s see you are also wrong about,
Joe Clements 04:48
You’ve got notes. I
Rachael Iverson 04:52
Check my notes. I took my notes. Actually, there were a few things you were correct about when you’re talking about vinyl, vinyl is Huge Right Now, I mean, it has increased 30%, just in the last year. And in 2020. It was the first time in 34 years that beat out CDs. Oh, wow. So vinyl is exploding right now. And it’s not just the audio files, I think there is, you know, people that are just interested in the whole culture of vinyl, the music, you know, from the 70s. And they love that type of playing music on a turntable.
Matt Farrar 05:29
I would imagine that’s probably a big merch item for you guys at shows too, right? Like that’s a great piece for autographs. And just like a really cool item to take home with you after you’ve had that live show experience.
Rachael Iverson 05:40
Yeah, vinyl is great. Honestly, vinyl is expensive, though. So if you don’t have a lot of money, like for example, our tickets at Joe’s show go anywhere from like $60 to $250 a ticket. So if you spent $250 a ticket, do you want to spend you know another $40? On a vinyl or $35 on a vinyl? Or do you want to spend it on a $15 CD, you know, it’s up to the people, it’s their own preferences. But vinyl is king right now. And one thing you guys will find interesting, the supply and the demand and what’s going on with the COVID structure and everything else. It’s affecting vinyl in such a negative way. If you wanted to manufacture vinyl right now, you would have to wait between six and like eight months to get your vinyls done. So it’s people are buying vinyl even more now,
Matt Farrar 06:28
So what you’re telling us is that we should be opening like a vinyl pressing facility.
Rachael Iverson 06:33
If you did, you would make lots of money. But it’s also a very antiquated system, right? So it’s the machines that they use back in the you know, 70s and 60s. And it’s it’s a very hard process to make vinyl. And that’s why it costs so much money. But anyway, so the vinyl stuff you talked about was awesome. I really liked when you talked about Dolby Atmos, we can talk about that more in this episode, because that’s really important for the future.
Joe Clements 06:59
So let’s start. Let’s go real fast. Tell us how Joe Bonamassa went from selling tickets to 100 people in small clubs, to selling out venues like Red Rocks. And tell us that specifically about the business model that you’ve helped create around him that allowed that to happen and is allowed you to really become a case study in the music industry.
Rachael Iverson 07:25
Absolutely. Okay. First, I have to dig on you a little bit, Joey, because I’ve known you for so long. In your last episode. You said “merc,” and not merch,
Matt Farrar 07:34
You 100% did dude.
Joe Clements 07:36
No no, every time I say that. I know it’s wrong. But we had that argument like literally 20 years ago. And you were right. But in order to be spiteful, I keep saying the same thing over and over again.
Rachael Iverson 07:47
It’s so wrong and it’s it just cringed me I had to dig you on that
Matt Farrar 07:52
If you notice I said it correct.
Joe Clements 07:53
Everybody says currently I say it.
Rachael Iverson 07:54
Yes you did. Yep. And it did sound very spiteful. So anyways, well let you let’s talk about, um, basically Joe Bonamassa. You know, we’re a very homegrown roots type of act. And how he started out is he originally did have a major record deal. 20 years ago, what happens when when an artist gets a record deal, you basically you’re owned by them, you have to do everything that they want, you don’t get paid a lot. And they can drop you at any moment. And that’s what happened with Joe. He was dropped like it was hot. And it put a damper on his whole view of the world. He’s been playing guitar since he was four. And when he was 12, he opened up for BB King. So he was already in the industry since he was 12. And so he was around 20 years old in his early 20s. When he got dropped by his record label him and his manager who’s my boss and CEO, Roy Wiseman, they decided to create our company, J & R Adventures and said we’re gonna try to do everything ourselves. Because no one cares about us. They all care about themselves and if we don’t care for ourselves, then no one else will. So that’s when this thing grew and started. So Joe started out playing and just woodshedding and touring and doing the hard work you need to do to gain fans right? Back then there wasn’t social media yet. There. He was just going out and touring. When social media started popping up, that actually was a huge factor in Joe’s career. When people started recording, his tours, his live playing because he’s an incredible guitar player, one of the best in the world, when they were recording it and they played it on YouTube. People were shocked. Like they had no idea this guy even existed, they couldn’t believe they didn’t know who he was. And that’s when Joe started to grow. I would say that was about 10 years ago, seven years ago, somewhere around there. Um, so from there, what we did as a company we decided because we’re vertically integrated, again, we promote all of Joe’s tours we What that means is We go and rent the venues ourselves, we set up the box offices, we pay for all the production, we pay for all the marketing ourselves, we have to have a lot of capital to cover that stuff. But it works out in the end for us. And then that also means we release all of his own records. And we do all the marketing ourselves and all the branding ourselves, and we sell all of our own merchandise. So all of that together has been able to grow year after year, because we’re in charge of every piece of it. And there’s not other people involved, like management or agents or promoters that can take that 10%, 15%, 20% of what you’re making just for literally being there and saying that they’re experts in what they do, but they’re just treating you like a cookie cutter artists, they just want you in and out and kind of take their money and go. So we didn’t like that we took everything over ourselves. And that’s when this really started to grow, is when we took over everything ourselves and started promoting our own tours.
Matt Farrar 11:00
And I don’t think the average fan of Joe or any other artists for that matter understands the the level of intensity that goes into planning something like that, or how easy it is to just let somebody else take over all of the management of it and give up like you said that 10% or that 15% and just, you know, pay up and let somebody else do it for you. Right. So it’s very tempting to just to just give it away. So to to take on the the mammoth task of doing it all in house. I think a lot of you know, kind of casual fans maybe either make the assumption that, you know, all artists just have this like back office operation that just like comes together and forms for them naturally and easily. Or that like of course it makes sense that like artists, there’s just going to give up, you know, 30 to 40% of all the money they make to a fleet of people and like that, that’s just fine.
Rachael Iverson 11:55
And that’s how it’s always been done too though, you have to realize that we’re rebels in this industry.
Matt Farrar 12:01
Yeah. And that’s the part a lot of people don’t understand.
Rachael Iverson 12:04
Yeah, no, I think I think Joe’s fans, because they again, they’re the crazy super fans, they know his his career, they know everything. They understand why Yeah, they understand, you know, how much work does go into it, and that he has his own company. And they, they, they actually love Joe for that, because it’s like Joe against the man, you know, like, it’s that Underdog Story. People love that. But definitely, you’re right. It’s very hard for your standard independent artists to say I’m gonna do this all myself, where do I start? And it’s very difficult. And it takes time, it takes time, and it takes resources and it takes people learning how to do it and knowing how to do it, and then just doing it, and most people don’t have the capital to be able to do it. And that’s why it’s such a big risk. But it usually has a huge reward on the end. If you stick in it you may not make I could say my boss might you know, Joe and Roy, they have they didn’t make money for a good five years, at least any money. Oh, yeah. All the money that came in went to the company.
Matt Farrar 13:05
Yeah, let’s talk about that. How do you get the capital? Right? Because it’s not like Joe had it when he started, right? I mean, he was a struggling artist, I assume just like most other artists at the very beginning. So I mean, how do you how do you get the capital? How do you you know, resist the temptation to go buy cars or buy properties or whatever artists do when they they get that first big check, and instead put it into building your your infrastructure
Rachael Iverson 13:30
Very true. So it is a lot of self control, it has you have to bet what Joe always likes to say is you have to bet on yourself. So what you’re doing is you’re taking all that time, all that money, or anything that does come in. So if you’re playing a tour, you take that money and you save it and you put it into the company, you don’t pay yourself, you take just enough to pay for very, you know, just living expenses and those type of things. And you take the rest of the money and you put it into the company. So other ways to get money. I know in the early days, we had to get bank loans. Simply put, when we were working on one of Joe’s biggest
Matt Farrar 14:08
but when you treat it like a business that’s probably a lot easier than if you’re just an artist out there that’s like hey, I’d like a loan, right? Like when you’ve actually treated your operation like a business, that’s probably a much easier thing to do.
Rachael Iverson 14:20
And that’s what a lot of musicians don’t realize is that it is the music business. The second word in that term is more important sometimes than the creative music part that the artists focus on. And if they’re going to grow, they have to realize it is a business. Don’t take it personally. There’s certain things you have to do. Sometimes you can’t make money to be able to let the business grow and those that stick it out. Again, the usually the reward outweighs the risk.
Matt Farrar 14:49
Yeah, and you can’t make shitty music and have a good business and be successful at the end of the day. But you can’t make great music and have a shitty business and be successful at the end of the day either. Like we’ve seen plenty of behind the music that have correct story out for everybody.
Rachael Iverson 15:03
Exactly. Yeah, it definitely helps. I will say, to have a really good product that people love. And you you, again, you’re betting on yourself, if you know your product is good, and you are not just putting it out there to make money, you’re doing it for the love of the music as well as getting it to the fans. The people are going to see that they always see through your intention. So when Joe plays on stage, and he gives it everything he has, even though it might have been a terrible live night, it doesn’t matter. The fans saw the passion. They saw the live struggle that he had on stage. They love it, they eat it up.
Matt Farrar 15:39
My guess is there’s not a lot of terrible live nights that that are happening these days on his tours.
Rachael Iverson 15:46
I mean, that’s the funny thing you asked Joe and he’ll be like, Oh, we sucked last night. And everyone’s like, What are you talking about? It sounded great. Yeah, so it, you know, it just it’s different. But honestly, the fans right now, I mean, we can even go into the how COVID affected the music industry and destroyed us for two years. But really, people are starving for that live interaction, the live music, the whole live stream era, we can call it that was a means to an end. Like it literally was there because that is all that was available for fans to consume, and enjoy their favorite bands. But it almost doesn’t have a place in the world. Now in a normal stance, it could be a once in a while type thing. But no one wants to do live streams. I know a lot of artists that are like, Okay, I’m done with that. We just need to get out on the road and play for people live because that is what people are just dying for.
Matt Farrar 16:44
Yeah. Is there any Is there anything that was that was useful from a, you know, technical or marketing perspective from COVID. Like going forward? I mean, is there, I would say I don’t want to call it positive, but was like, anything useful from it.
Rachael Iverson 17:00
There definitely was some useful stuff, I will say that it made us as a company, kind of upgrade everything. So we had to upgrade our audio visual department and we had to upgrade our music videos. And we had to upgrade. Everything that we did that we presented to the fans had to get upgraded, like better video, better audio, better everything. And just you know, during that time period, when Joe didn’t quit and tour for almost a year and a half it was, um, we literally started other things like we Joe has his own podcast, and he interviews other musicians, and we do all these other things now, because in that time we needed to fill that time,
Matt Farrar 17:43
you still have to create content. yeah,
Joe Clements 17:44
Well I mean, What’s interesting about that is you went from being a probably a, having a relatively modest content shop to probably a very intense content shop. So post COVID, what you end up with is the ability to produce high end stuff. Correct? And how do you have a big audience right? Like, what did you tell me your your email and Facebook list sizes? Were there?
Rachael Iverson 18:05
Oh, yeah, we’ve got 1.2 million email database of our our direct marketing. And we’ve also got 3.2 million fans on Facebook, that is our bread and butter. Because our fans are older a little on the older side, I would say like 40+, um, so they’re on Facebook, we also have like a half a million fans on Instagram, or 750k on Instagram, and half a million on Twitter. So Joe is doing those things. In, I would say social media is very important, especially during COVID was very important. So we need to focus more on that more interaction of Joe, talking with the plans playing for the fans on social media that helped us grow. But you guys have to realize, now that things are going back to normal and there are tours coming back in. It’s like we added all these new elements. But now we have all the old stuff coming back. So we’re like, we’re strapped for resources. And we’re an independent company. We have about 15 people that work here. But during COVID, there was only like two of us in the office. So it was it was just, you know, we all had to survive, and do as much as we could we actually focus you guys would think this is interesting. We focus more on our merchandise during that time as well. And we pounded out brand new merchandise every week for the fans because again,
Matt Farrar 19:25
they had no other girls sitting at home online shopping. I mean, that makes a huge amount of sense.
Rachael Iverson 19:31
Yeah. And that helped us through that through the really tough time of not having any tours.
Matt Farrar 19:38
So I mean, I’ve noticed even some of the you know, some of the biggest acts in the country touring wise right now. So like Dave Matthews Band who’s back on the road, I think they played I saw one of our friends was at the gorge last weekend. But they you know, still have a very substantial live streaming product for their fans that you know aren’t comfortable coming to a live show. But are still, you know, very much engaged in, in their touring schedule. And, you know, I don’t know what they, they sell individual shows or a subscription to that streaming product at but, you know, it’s a pretty substantial investment that they’ve got going into a multi camera, you know, live streaming experiment experience for their fans, different stops on the tour now.
Rachael Iverson 20:20
Yeah, we did that we did a very high quality, 4k, live stream shoot that was actually live stream with a TV truck and everything to do simultaneous simultaneous switching and everything. And that I will say is not cheap. It is very expensive. And as cool it is it as it is. It’s, it is something like I said, it will always live, it’ll always be here, now that we’ve done live streams that will always exist, and it is there for something but it won’t replace live shows, which is good to hear for musicians. Because as you guys know, people make that’s where musicians make their money is on tours, not by selling records, that that is a bygone era. So people need to tour they need to sell tickets, that is how they make money. So it is a good thing that people still want to see live shows, because that helps the musicians pay for stuff.
Matt Farrar 21:17
I mean, one thing that it did bring out, I mean, whether the pandemic or however you want to categorize it that I think is nice is now that, you know, you guys had to make some investments, from an equipment standpoint, you know, we back in the spring built out an entirely new video facility that’s on the other side of this wall that has live streaming capabilities, a lot of the stuff that you talked about 4k streaming, you know, we put some permanent fixtures into our studio, green screens, all that kind of stuff, specifically for a lot of those same purposes. But I think one of the interesting things about your case is, even when life returns to normal, whatever normal might be, it still gives you the ability to not be dependent on media networks as much right. So when when you guys want to stream a show, now at least you don’t need ABC or NBC or Fox or somebody to you know, to have to partner with you to live stream a show on television or broadcast or whatever. It’s much easier to to get that live stream product directly out to fans, right, you’ve had to figure that out on the scramble in a much more uncomfortable process. So when you want to do it your way you want to do it now it’s it’s going to be a much better product, you’re not as dependent on legacy corporations, the way that you would have been, you know, two or three years ago,
Rachael Iverson 22:42
for sure. And that’s actually the indie way of thinking too. We’ve always thought we cannot rely on radio airplay, because that doesn’t exist for blues or blues, rock music. And we cannot rely on TV stations to play us because again, it Joe is not a mainstream pop or rap artists. So we always relied on what was available to us. And in the early days, it was YouTube, that was our TV. YouTube was our TV and we spent a lot of money on getting Joe’s music videos and live videos out on YouTube. Now the other social media platforms like Facebook just started a premium video type of service, let’s call it for artists that can submit their their actual real official music videos. And those now videos that you submit to Facebook and can get millions of views on those actually count toward billboard charting these days. So a lot has changed in the industry. But I would say relying on what’s available to the artists without having to rely on the big corporations, like you said, you’re not going to get that unless you’re with a major label and who has major label deals these days, most of people are independent artists.
Matt Farrar 23:55
Well, this I mean, the same way that building out a studio allows you to kind of break off the TV station, it allows you as an artist to break away from the label or to break away from you know, you separate agents or managers or whatever that you know costly like infrastructure is that kind of swarms you as an artist once you start to get attention or become successful in the industry. And I’m not saying that that infrastructure is always bad, right? Sometimes it helps people get discovered that never would have been discovered, right? It doesn’t always have to be negative but right yeah, you know, in the case of you guys you’ve found a way to do it a much better way that has created a really long lasting and what seems to be really intimate relationship with your fans as a result,
Joe Clements 24:41
Rachael where things going? We talked a little bit pre show about the new spatial sound stuff with Adobe like like what’s gonna happen with, you know, what’s coming in the near future for, you know, song and album distribution, sound and how does that impact your marketing
Rachael Iverson 25:00
Yeah, so I would say right now the future of music is shifting into what they call spatial audio and think of spatial audio. It’s the one of the brands is Dolby Atmos, and you’ve heard of this for movies. And it’s like movies have Dolby Atmos and you get the spatial sound that’s all around you that you can experience being inside of the sound of the movies. Well, they are creating that for music now. And it’s a, it’s a process that the producer in the studio has to do while they’re making the record. So it’s not, it’s not necessarily easy process, but it’s something not now there’s like a filter they throw on after a rash. No, it literally is like, think of it having speakers like around you and above you, and they’re like all over the place. And so what they do what what’s going on is Apple is putting all of their money into this basket. I mean, they are going full force into the Dolby Atmos, what this is going to do is it’s going to replace their HD format that they currently have now called m fit. And it is literally just going there. That’s what they’re going to offer as their HD platform is Dolby Atmos. So now they’re hoping that more and more people get their subscription, because this will be part of people’s Apple subscriptions, the Dolby Atmos sound and, and, and files will be a part of like your normal subscription, they’re not going to charge anymore for it. That’s not the plan. I think they want to, you know, like, it’s because so many people are buying vinyl, and they’re getting the high fidelity type of music, how can digital services, you know, fight against that or try to get some of that market share back? This is how they’re going toward a higher quality digital sound. So
Joe Clements 26:47
that’s interesting. The the tech companies are having to fight against an analog trend.
Rachael Iverson 26:53
Yes, it’s, it’s so true. But you you ask any audio file, what they’d rather listen to, and they will hands down say I would rather listen to vinyl, because you’re going to get the best sound out of the music versus a compressed mp3 or even a WAV file. It doesn’t matter if it says it’s lossless, it’s always compressed in some way and you’re not getting the full sound. So that’s what Dolby Atmos will be it will be this spatial sound where it makes you feel like even if you have like headphones on your air pods in your going to be able to feel the sound around you. And I think it’s a new experience for people to listen to music.
Matt Farrar 27:35
Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you. So I think to part of I think it’s 80% sound quality for vinyl, but I think at least 20% of it is the the experience for people and I think depending on your age, it’s it’s sometimes the style Joe or it’s if you’re younger, maybe it’s kind of a, you know, a lust for nostalgia. And in a case where maybe you didn’t even like experience that time period what we’ve talked about that in some previous episodes where you kind of long for days, even though you didn’t grow up and then but with with vinyl, I think that people just enjoy the experience that goes with it. And that’s what they’ve done with with Dolby Atmos and with with spatial audio is create an experience that goes with the sound, much like there’s an experience that goes with, you know, listening to a piece of vinyl. And I think even if you look at something like the air pods Mac’s right, like they don’t look like a lot of the other more modern headphones on the market, they’re still Apple sleek and modern, but they have a very kind of retro style to them that looks like something you could be listening to a piece of vinyl in, you know, a 70s living room on and maybe they looked like, you know, something in the 70s that was futuristic, but they could still you know, fit in a 70s living room if they needed to.
Rachael Iverson 28:53
Yeah. Now I think that that’s the future of music. Now, again, you know, it’s what I say it was a money grab that they’re just trying to figure out how to reach more people to get them to get subscriptions to their platform. And I think people will really enjoy will there be people that don’t care? Yes, there’s going to definitely be people that don’t care about the high quality, digital music. But at the same time, you’re going to get a group, a group of people that absolutely have to have it. And they have to have this type of audio or else they don’t. It’s almost like I would say maybe it’s like it’s going to be like this. Remember, have you guys like watched an actual DVD in the last five years? No, because it may be
Matt Farrar 29:41
but not a DVD.
Rachael Iverson 29:42
Well, that’s why I’m saying if you go to blu ray and you watch the blu ray, which you know, with the you know, the surround sound and the 4k type of blu ray, and then you go back to a DVD and you watch that and you’re like wow, how did I ever look at that? I’m telling you that’s how the discrepancy The quality is and I think audio will be like this to you, you’re gonna hear this Dolby Atmos this spatial audio and you’re gonna say I can’t go back to listening to music the way I did before because it’s so immersive. And it’s like swallows you whole,
Matt Farrar 30:14
I already noticed that I started listening to songs from three or four years ago that some artists haven’t bothered to like go back and you know, upconvert to, you know, lossless or even Apple digital masters or whatever. And, you know, maybe there’s a little bit of placebo effect, but like I can hear I can hear a difference, right? It’s it’s lower fidelity, like, especially when, you know, you go to something like a BTS song where like they’ve they’ve spent time to convert it into every possible Apple format that exists. And it just, you know, pops in your ear, like there is a noticeable difference. If you go listen to something from three or four years ago, that is just kind of sad.
Joe Clements 30:56
Well, here’s my question on that, does it actually does it increase the cost of production one? And just the increased cost of production? actually result in more stuff being sold?
Matt Farrar 31:08
I don’t know. Yeah, I definitely don’t know the answer to the second one.
Rachael Iverson 31:12
I think in the beginning, it will, will not. I think that it’s going to take people a long time to jump into this. But like I said, Apple is putting all of their marketing dollars and all of their efforts into promoting this new platform, I think that it will get to a place where it becomes more normal, just like with all new technology. But in the beginning, I don’t think it’s going to make a difference in the amount of money especially the artist makes, I think it’s going to take a long time for that. But it’s a step in a direction that will change music going forward. You know what I mean?
Joe Clements 31:49
How much does it increase the cost of production? Like what percentage?
Rachael Iverson 31:54
I don’t know exactly. But I do know, like, just from my own experience with our producer, he had to literally retrofit his studio with like two or four more speakers in the walls and the ceilings in order to mix music properly, to match that spatial kind of sound effect. Yep. So he had to upgrade, which I don’t even know how much it cost him. But I would definitely say in the 10s of 1000s. if not more than that, to even upgrade your system. And then when you’re doing the work on it, it takes longer because you have so many more channels to have to mix between so many more spatial points, do you not? I mean, yes, it’s a labor intensive thing. But it’s also a technology thing. So not everyone is doing this right now, I would say like you said, like BTS, and a lot of the big names are going to be doing this because they’re on top of it. We’re doing it because our producer believes in it. And he has his studio set up for it. So even though Joe bonamassa is not the biggest name, we’re going to have one out mess. Yeah, it
Matt Farrar 32:59
makes a huge amount of sense that your audience would be super into that with you know, him being as talented a guitar player as he is. I mean, it makes sense to me that you you guys probably have a producer that is super into finding that solution.
Rachael Iverson 33:12
Yes, for sure. For sure. Hey, guys, if you want to talk about something else that you kind of went on a tangent, rabbit, hold on. Yeah. Last time on your marketing podcast about music. I was laughing so hard when you guys started going into this is what you need to do when you need to market your let’s say you have a new record coming out in February we’re gonna do yeah. And I was just planning. Because what got me first is yes, when you’re thinking from a marketing straight, like when you’re in a marketing company, there’s very, you know, there’s a lot of rules. And there’s a lot of different ways you can go about things. But usually there’s a template. And one of those things you said was focus groups, you got to do focus groups, you got to ask the fans, and I was just laughing so hard, because I’m like, we wouldn’t you know, we do listen to what the fans say. And we look at their comments and stuff. But it’s, the artist won’t necessarily say okay, we need to go ask our fans what they’re thinking of like the talent never operates. Correct. And but but remember, in our case, the talent is also the he’s he owns the company. So he directs how his creative vision is. And it’s almost like I hate to say this, you know, Joe does have a Midas touch, where between him, his manager and his producer, we’re able to create new content every single year or two, we release more product than like anyone in the industry, but we release so much product and people just eat it up and it’s because we do something different, but it’s still core to the fans when we don’t have to ask the fans what they want because we already know who they are. And
Joe Clements 34:54
it goes to a thing we were discussing on the last podcast which is this like two year album release cycle. It makes zero sense. In internet world, like the probably the smarter thing to do is be putting out like a song, you know, every few weeks or track every few weeks, and then compile that into an album every year, every six months.
Rachael Iverson 35:15
So that is what a lot of artists are doing, especially in the major label side, they, they do release singles before. And I will say, what we’ve done to kind of when streaming came into the world, it changed music forever, obviously. So what we’ve had to do is pivot and say, okay, instead of streaming, taking away the money we’re making on physical CDs, we’re going to kind of join them, not beat them. So we started marketing people and promoting streaming and getting our fans to join over to like Spotify, and start listening to Joe’s music on Spotify. So if you look at Joe, he’s got millions and millions of listens on his songs. And that’s because we’re really trying to groom our audiences to listen to Joe all the time to his back catalogue, but more importantly, to new music. And so when you were laying out your your structure of how you’d market a new record, actually, what we do is we we’ve been because of the way Spotify works and streaming all streaming platforms works, it’s algorithm based, right. So what you have to do is you have to almost play a game with the algorithm. And that’s why you release singles before an album comes out. So you want to release a single and have at least four weeks, three to four weeks to let that single ruminate and get the algorithms to start pushing people to it, then you release another single, and you it, it kind of compounds with the algorithm sending people so it’ll keep on growing and growing and growing. And then another four weeks passes. And it’s a decision
Matt Farrar 36:45
process for what order the singles coming out in.
Rachael Iverson 36:51
So I mean, it is personal preference. But what we do is we we basically you know, want to release the most exciting best songs on the record first to get people’s attention. And maybe what is also indicative of the rest of the album, you don’t want to put out some random robe song that doesn’t sound like anything else. So we’ll choose a song, it’s gonna be exciting, it’s got to be a beat. And for the first single just to grab their attention, like for our Joe’s new album coming out in October, his first single was like a very strict, strict rock track, and it had some blues elements, but it was way more rock. And it’s very exciting. So we released that first. And then the second track we released was more of a blues fun, rock shuffle type of thing. So we released that Windex, and then honestly, we’re just trying to get, it’s all about the game of the algorithms. You know, you got to get the algorithms to pick you up. And there’s no other way to do it. You can’t go pay Spotify, or sleep with someone to get your music played out there more. You’ve got to just do the hard work and
Joe Clements 37:55
rely on that’s how the entertainment industry works.
Matt Farrar 37:57
It’s not the 80s
Rachael Iverson 38:00
it used to I’m like, man, who do I have to pay to get this plate? So work like that.
Joe Clements 38:05
I have to I’m gonna have to bail little early on us. But Matt, Matt’s gonna keep going a few more minutes with you. But I have one last question sugar about which component of of your marketing plan right now over the last, say six months? Have you seen be the most effective in terms of driving traffic and driving interest?
Rachael Iverson 38:30
Hmm, I will say what is most important when you’re trying to promote an album and this sounds kind of cliche, but it is Believe it or not, it is the music videos, you have to have a very compelling exciting music video that then you can use that and put money behind it and get to your fans on social media and on YouTube and everywhere else. And they will see it it’s a visual thing right? But it’s also you’re getting the music. So it I know with us if we do not have a good music video. It’s not going to get viral it is not going to get the streams we want it music videos are so important. And again, it sounds like well that’s how they used to do it. Yes, it’s true. You know, people spend millions of dollars on music videos, you don’t need to do that. But you do need to have some content that is visually an auto audio based that you can get out to the fans that you can promote the album and then that goes into promoting pre sales of the album. And then that will lead to on sales and everything else and charting positions and all it all is a snowball effect from there. So it is important to have the right content to get to your audience
Joe Clements 39:41
and that’s something that Matt pointed out about that move with Santana and Rob Thomas can launch without a video yeah,
Matt Farrar 39:49
they had a lyric video but not an actual video I mean not music video no they just had a you know scrolling lyric video.
Rachael Iverson 39:55
So the lyric videos are the music industry or the record labels way of kind of testing the waters to see how the song without spending a ton of money, you know, and then if it gets some kind of jumper interest, then they’ll go ahead and spend the million dollars or, you know, a couple $100,000 on a music video. But that’s kind of like the trick is, hey, let’s see if there, that’s if anything, that’s your focus groups, like you put your music out there with music videos, or lyric videos, if it if it pops, then you know, to spend more money or promote those certain tracks. And that
Matt Farrar 40:27
makes sense as a concept. This one just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, specifically, because of what it was what they were trying to do. Like, I just don’t understand how they didn’t have the music video that looked pretty similar to smooth from 20 years ago, like, ready to go. And
Rachael Iverson 40:47
you know, it’s funny, it’s sometimes the answer is as simple as, hey, we couldn’t get them to shoot it. Like we didn’t have the time where COVID COVID affected and we couldn’t get to it sounds so boring, but like, everyone thinks
Matt Farrar 41:02
around here all the time, too. So I mean, it makes perfect sense that that’s what the answer can be. It’s like, you know, Carlos Santana, like had to be somewhere else because he was doing something else. So like, he couldn’t go to a music video, it just seems like such a wasted opportunity.
Rachael Iverson 41:16
Yeah, I agree with you. I think if you’re gonna go out, why waste that opportunity and the the fans that you’re going to reach if you don’t have the right content to get that, that that kind of push again, it’s about the algorithm. So if you don’t have the right content, those algorithms won’t pick it up. They won’t pass it to the fans, and it won’t become viral. So yeah, no, I agree. I think you’ve got to work on that. But again, life happens, stuff happens. And sure, as as glamorous as the music industry sounds, it really is kind of boring. And like you said, statistical and but it’s fun. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a great, great industry, and it never is the same. That’s it’s always growing, it’s always changing, rules are changing. pivots have to happen. And that’s what we’ve been doing the last two years because of COVID.
Matt Farrar 42:02
Anything else we were completely wrong about that the listeners need to know about
Rachael Iverson 42:08
what we talked about, we talked about the artist not being liked to be micromanaged with the whole team taking over that definitely is a is a thing I would say.
Matt Farrar 42:19
You wouldn’t just take my recommendation straight out of the box and be like hell yeah, that sounds like a good idea. Let’s do that.
Rachael Iverson 42:26
Well, sometimes those who have major record deals, they have no choice in the matter. Sure, they have to follow those rules and follow the marketing suits and everything but full of it, I’m assuming a lot of artists can be correct. And it is a very doggy dog world. You know, it’s very cutthroat in the music industry. But there’s also a room for everyone because of the internet. And because even artists that don’t have any label, they can put up their own music on Spotify these days, you don’t need a distributor, so you can get your music out there on YouTube or on you know, Spotify and still sell 1000s or, or even just have millions of streams because of how the internet works, which is a beautiful thing. But it also creates so much content that fans don’t it’s almost too much content, you know, to overload it’s music overload it’s like so much to look at and there’s so many incredible artists you’ve never heard of. But they’re out there and they’re trying to put their music out there. Yeah, I would say that you guys when you’re talking about the CD stores and Joey was just joking about Sam Goody I’m like one of the few by the way retailer physical retailers are few and far between but there are still a few out there that sell CDs or even vinyls. FYI he are still in malls today that you can go but I would say a majority you know even Barnes and Noble still sell CDs and vinyls okay Best Buy does not anymore they took out all their music products. Um, but Amazon is king when it when he sells vinyl Yes, you’re right. Yep. So so the because they’re selling books are selling physical products, it makes sense to sell the physical CD or DVDs to have those in there, the vinyls um, but honestly, like I said, Amazon is king when it comes to selling physical product digitally. So you go online there, you’re going to get amazon prime, they’ll guarantee you to get the brand new album on street date or a day before. Why not order it? Yeah, you know what, what we do is again, we because we’re an independent label, we sell our own merchandise. We have a pre order up for Joe bonamassa now and we sell Joe’s pre order on our store as a CD. And we undercut Amazon just a slight bit by price. Yeah. Because we have to make up for the free shipping right so we do sell on our store. But we also let Amazon sell as many records as they want. And, and we kind of live in harmony, as you can say, and try to just still make the money where we can on physical product. Because for our demographic, again, it’s a little bit of an older demographic, they still want that, like you said that nostalgia of holding the CD booklet in the hand and turning the pages or even holding the vital feeling the grooves, it’s a very, almost like a spiritual experience. You know, those people that love music,
Matt Farrar 45:30
like settling down into their favorite chair, right, like getting their favorite drink and like settling down? Like that’s a that’s a whole experience for people when they listen to music,
Rachael Iverson 45:41
correct? Yes. And and that still exists today. It’s not all about streaming. There are people that do want that experience, correct? Yeah.
Matt Farrar 45:51
best artists out there from a content perspective, like who’s putting the best kind of content that isn’t Joe, obviously,
Rachael Iverson 45:58
that’s a tough one. I mean, when you have unlimited resources, and you can do whatever you want, I mean, think of like a Taylor Swift, or she’s putting out, you know, documentaries on netflix, and she’s got music videos, out galore. And she can rerelease a record that came out 10 years ago, however the hell she wants,
Matt Farrar 46:20
but give me one that everybody’s not gonna know, right? Give me one that like, is putting cool content out there. But like, everybody hasn’t found because it’s the Taylor Swift documentary on Netflix, give me one that you know, cuz you’re in the music industry.
Rachael Iverson 46:32
Sure. So in my realm, again, this is like the blues rock the roots realm. Um, I would look at this as a little shameless plug for them, but I do love them. It’s a band called Larkin, Poe, they, they took to heart kind of our advice about, hey, if you there, I would say they’re more of like a think of like a female black keys, they they’ve got that roots rock with a blues influence. And it’s very catchy. And they play guitar, and they sing, and they’re incredible. They’re a sister duo. look them up. But they have specifically worked really hard on doing social media videos, live stream videos, creating brand new content, doing podcasts, I mean, those girls are working their asses off to get new content out to their fans. And that’s how they’re growing their fan base. And I don’t think they have as big of a fan base as Joe, but they’re still in the beginning stages of growing. And that’s how independent independent artists need to do it in order to grow in this in this vertical direction. So they’re, they’re great. They’re, they’re some incredible, talented musicians that are just doing everything they can for their fans. And the great thing with them is they’ve got young people and they’ve got the old people, because they that’s that type of music that transcends
Matt Farrar 47:50
perfect bass, exactly what we’re looking for.
Rachael Iverson 47:53
Yes, I mean, there’s so again, there are so many talented musicians out there, it is so hard to just pick out names. But go on YouTube, go on Spotify, look at your music, release radar, see what type of stuff is being shoved in your face, because sometimes you’ll discover new music and the discovery itself is even more awesome than like, it’s that different experience when you discover new music and you’re like, I’ve never heard this person I can’t believe it. That’s a different experience. And that’s almost addictive.
Matt Farrar 48:26
Couldn’t have it summed up any better way. Any final thoughts on the music industry that we missed or that all the record fans should know? Before we close?
Rachael Iverson 48:37
I would say that it takes a lot of work. There’s a lot of resources involved. There’s a lot of you know, people working on these things. So as a let’s music fan, when you guys listen to music or buy music, just realize that there’s definitely a lot of work put into it and a lot of passionate a lot of love not only from the musician themselves, but also from everyone behind the scenes. So go spend money on music and buy tickets and support the artists because again, artists are not making real money on streaming. They’re making it on their physical product and on their touring things. Yeah, on yeah on experiences and a few loving artists go support them because they need it more than ever these days because again, most people haven’t been touring for over a year and a half.
Matt Farrar 49:21
Yeah, absolutely. Does Jnr have a tour schedule or an album release or anything exciting coming up that you want to plug to our audience where we go?
Rachael Iverson 49:30
Yeah, sure. If you want to learn about Joe bonamassa again, he’s an incredible blues rock guitarist. We’ve got a brand new album coming out October 29 called time clocks and we are currently pre ordering it everywhere every retailer and on our store at Jay bonamassa.com and take a take a peek at it. You know that’s we’re always trying to get new Joe fans and again, Joe is not an old timer. He’s only in his 40s but he he transcends that age gap. as well because he’s such an incredible guitar player.
Matt Farrar 50:03
Awesome. Well, this was an awesome episode. I really appreciate you taking the time to follow up with us and coming prepared with notes.
Rachael Iverson 50:10
Sure. Thanks, Matt. Appreciate it. I love digging on Joey again, I’ve known him for half my life.
Matt Farrar 50:16
Yeah, we all do know this was great. It was it was super helpful. I think the audience is really going to enjoy the follow up on the topics. music industry is really fascinating to me personally. So this was this was really enjoyable. But as always, listeners, viewers, if you enjoyed today’s episode, jumping in favorite podcast app of choice or in YouTube below and leave us a rating review helps more people discover the show and that makes us happy and we like to be happy. We’ll be back next week with the latest. Thanks for joining us. record is hosted and produced by me, Matt Farrar, Joe Clements and Rebecca Romero with producer Alex Reinhard of record is recorded at gray Ridge studios in Tallahassee, Florida. This episode was edited by Alex Reinhardt. Our theme music is composed and performed by Rocco Special thanks to our entire team at SBS. Here’s how you can see more information about the show at our website podcast of record.com. As always, we’d appreciate your reviews and ratings in your podcast app of choice. Those ratings and reviews help more people discover the show which helps us keep delivering quality content each week. Thanks for listening