Episode #074: Record Label or Independent Artist? An Interview With Jens Hilzensauer Pt. 2


In Part 2 of our interview with Jens Hilzensauer, we dive even deeper into the state of the music industry—specifically record labels and record deals. We also discuss the huge learning curve that labels have in order to get up to speed to what we’re doing at the Savvy Musician Academy. As a musician, it’s important that you understand where things are so that you can make the best decision possible for your career. This interview will help what decision!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • You as a person is just as important as your music
  • Thinking of your culture as a lifestyle brand
  • How the music industry resists change
  • What the record labels should do
  • Confusing marketing with advertising
  • Creating brand awareness
  • The current approach to social media by record labels
  • Why record labels will struggle with social media
  • The importance of creating a relationship with your fans
  • What Leah’s doing to secure her career and still without touring
  • When you should consider talking to a record label
  • The questions you should be asking yourself
  • Current rates by Spotify
  • What a typical record contract looks like


“I think the record business side of the music business was always reluctant to change.” — @jenshilzensauer [0:04:10]

“Basically the music industry made Apple rich because they let Apple, invent iTunes.” — @jenshilzensauer [0:04:57]

“There is no call to action. That’s advertising. Marketing is based on a call to action.” — @metalmotivation [0:09:00]

“You’ve never seen a Starbucks commercial. That’s pretty powerful brand awareness without any reliance upon traditional advertising.” — @metalmotivation [0:09:22]

“The algorithm is completely indifferent. It’s going to follow basic principles that are based on psychographics.” — @metalmotivation [0:13:02]

“You must treat your career as though no one will do anything for you. Just treat it as though it’s depending and relying on you alone.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:17:24]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Jens’ Band “Planet Trompeta” — https://www.facebook.com/planetatrompeta/

Schedule a Call with SMA — http://callsma.com

Click For Full Transcript

00:19 CJ: Welcome to The Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz and I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. As we said in the last episode, we’re going to have part two now of our extensive interview with Jens Hilzensauer. He is a consultant working alongside with Leah and helping her with greater distribution and licensing with her own music and he gave us so many insights into not only what’s going on in the current record industry and what he’s doing for Leah, but also he’s a digital marketing expert himself, and we dive deep into the topics that are going to help you navigate your music career.

So let’s go into part two with Yens. Thank you so much for joining us on The Savvy Musician Show. Please leave a review. If you listen to my Spotify or by Stitcher or by Google Play or iTunes, leave us stars and a great review. We read each one of them. We would love, love to hear from you again. If we can help you in any way, schedule a call with us today at callsma.com.

01:24 Jens: You can sum this up by saying it’s about culture and your music is just one part of it. It’s so much more. It’s you as a person. And once I realized that it’s like, of course, it’s so much bigger. It’s the attitude, the values this artists portrays. It’s so much more. I mean, it’s not putting the music down, it’s just, it’s so much bigger than only the music. And once you get this, it’s like, of course, it makes sense for Rihanna to not only do music. She definitely should sell fragrances because she’s a personal brand.

02:02 Leah: And that’s what I found. Like as soon as I thought, no, wait a second, my music is bigger than the music. This is bigger than the music. This is really about a culture and a lifestyle. So if I were to think about other products I could offer that fits and aligns with this culture and this lifestyle brand, what would I add? Well, I would probably have jewelry. I would love to do essential oils eventually. I would love to do fragrances eventually, and I’m opening my mind to those other things.

And maybe I end up specializing those and it becomes like kind of like a sister company or something, just like if you go to Rihanna’s cosmetic website, it’s probably different than her music website, but they’re connected. It’s the same person, it’s the same brand. So it just, it opens up a whole new world when you start thinking about that and how that aligns with just the culture, the brand, and then the people and they’re like you and I find that’s going to attract people that I would actually hang out with. That’s cool. And you should view your fans that way.

Can you tell us a little more about what you see happening in the labels in some of these companies in terms of like where are they at in their digital marketing? Like we talked about, some of them don’t even have pixels on their website. They’re still going the traditional route of radio only. I was just in Nashville and at a conference with my dear friend Brett Manning. Such a good friend of mine.

And I was there and I met and was on a panel with some of these traditional record label guys. And it was like, I felt like it was like oil and water. I was the oil and they were the water or vice versa, because they’re talking about radio, they’re talking about how you just need to have a hit song and we’re talking to a group of songwriters and I’m thinking, I don’t think anybody in this room is going to come up with a hit.

None of these people are going to end up on the radio. None of them fit into this paradigm that they’re talking about. And so it just made me realize how different these approaches really are. And why do they still believe in them so heartily? Is it just because it’s what they’ve always done? Like how come they’re not with the times?

04:10 Jens: I think the record business side of the music business was always reluctant to change. I mean, the world was going to end when the cassette was invented. People could suddenly record the radio and after that-

04:28 Leah: Right? It was like the streaming of the time.

04:29 Jens: Yeah. And then it was streaming. So I think innovation unfortunately never came from the inside. I mean, even today, all the big majors bought into Spotify. And I mean, in the early 2000s there were more interested in suing music fans for illegally downloading stuff than in finding a solution for them to buy the music they like. Basically the music industry made Apple rich because they let Apple, invent iTunes. So you can download a song you like and you don’t have to buy the album of 15 songs, you only like one of.

And it’s like, we rather sue music fans instead of finding a solution to actually market to the fan. I think it’s maybe a system, imminent problem. And one sentence I hear really a lot is, we always did it this way and it’s like, and it never really worked. So why aren’t you changing? And I think now at this point in time with budgets getting smaller and smaller and smaller, I mean, even production budgets, the labels will change definitely and a lot of them are on their way because, they only have two options now. It’s either die a slow, painful death or change and go with the times and find solutions.

06:06 Leah: So you’re saying they need to go through Savvy Musician Academy?

06:10 Jens: Actually that’s what I’m saying. I already told you that’s where I see Savvy Musician Academy going instead of like, it’s not musicians against labels, it’s, no, we all want the same thing. We want artists to be heard, great music to be heard and we want-

06:30 Leah: And profitable.

06:31 Jens: Yeah. And profitable for all people involved. So we basically want the same thing. And I’m always for some form of collaboration and figuring out a way to move things forward. And the musician industry mill is on a slow grind, but I think it’s accelerating at a time. I see a lot of new startups, a lot of new indie labels, having great successes with doing and running things differently. So after time I think majors will follow. Definitely.

07:08 CJ: I think that’s an important point because they have to. They have to adapt or die, right?

07:12 Jens: Yeah.

07:13 CJ: And obviously if their capital is driven, they’re going to do what they can to adapt. They’ll hire the people who know, they don’t know themselves. They’ll find the people who do. Which is going to be good for the Savvy Musician Academy because we’ve talked about plans we’re going to do down the road publishing. We’re getting into the written word and other things to be that brain trust for whoever.

Like I said, we want that to be, as you just described it, the preservation of the art of music and what it does for society. God forbid we ever lose that, just because of things that are business-related and what have you. I mean, you said something earlier when you were talking about the brand awareness and which is so imperative as a thrust and a primary tenant of the savvy musician approach to things.

And you brought up a Starbucks and then also the big name brands like ACDC Metallica, Taylor Swift, that they have much, much more brand equity than they ever reaped. Now we can all criticize the Taylor Swifts and the Metallica’s for being ultra-rich, but they could be four or five times that wealthy, but because the labels had exploded so much of their brand equity. And then, I’m glad you mentioned Starbucks because I said earlier that I had spoken in Detroit recently and I used the Starbucks as an example just to talk about the difference between marketing and advertising.

Because people think advertising instead of marketing where they confuse the terms. They think they’re just one, they’re synonymous terms and they’re not. They’re completely different. And you see an advertisement on television, you don’t get an exact price, you don’t get an action step. You’re not told where that Coca Cola is. You’re just showed some polar bears drinking Coca Cola and that’s it. It’s just a brand. They’re just putting that out there. But there’s no marketing involved.

There is no call to action. That’s advertising. Marketing is based on a call to action. And so I asked this crowd in Detroit, I said, “How many of you guys have been to Starbucks just on your trip out here to Detroit?” And half the hands went up. And I said, “How many Starbucks commercials have you seen?” They would say, “I haven’t seen any.” Exactly. You’ve never seen a Starbucks commercial. That’s pretty powerful brand awareness without any reliance upon traditional advertising.

And so we’re trying to get that at a micro level here at SMA, the Savvy Musician Academy with our students to get them to understand this idea of brand awareness that you can create this, again at a micro level, where would you guys just alluded to in terms of culture and what have you are such powerful aspects of creating this very close relationship between, two people. Now the question then becomes, how is a label going to replicate that? Which means, they’ve got to think very, very hard about how their artists are going to function.

10:08 Jens: And I mean, I see labels running social media pages really poorly, I have to admit. It’s like, we’re doing Facebook. You’re doing it, but it works because the artist is already famous, but the engagement rate is really poor. And it’s just about vanity metrics. It’s like, “But we have so-and-so many page likes or so-and-so many views.” And I’m like, “But you barely have any likes or comments.” So the people watch it, but they don’t care. And the ads I see all the time, it’s like, “Hey, I’m blah blah. My new album is out. You can get it now. Swipe up.” I’m like, “I have no idea who you are. Why would I?” It’s like the equivalent in your-

11:02 Leah: No customer journey at all.

11:02 Jens: No. And of course, no retargeting ad. It’s like I always compared in coaching context to going out with a girl and asking what to name your first kid on the first date.

11:17 Leah: It’s a little premature.

11:19 Jens: It’s maybe a little early for that. It’s like, I don’t know you, I don’t want to buy something from you. I don’t even know if I like you.

11:28 Leah: I just met you, why are you asking me to get naked?

11:29 Jens: I never heard the music. I just saw a video from you on Instagram telling me to buy or stream or whatever, your new album. And I’m like, I have no idea what your music sounds like. Show me a song and then ask me if I want to stream it or buy it or whatever. That would make sense. And I think that’s why a lot of musicians are frustrated too with social media because they think, I read this blog from music magazine X or company X, Y, Z that offers a blog for musicians. And then it’s like, you should have a Facebook presence and maybe you run an ad and advertise your album and it’s like, the problem is in not doing. It’s the how and the sequence and progression of the relationship. It’s on the other end of this, whatever Facebook, social media ad, there’s a human being and they work. It’s a totally crazy concept like human beings.

12:31 CJ: That is the key. This is why I think labels are going to have a hard time trying to adapt to this model because you can’t do that third person. You can’t automate that aspect of it. You can utilize all these wonderful tools, but without that personal relationship between the artists and the fan, without that engagement, the algorithm doesn’t care who you are. The algorithm is not impressed that you’re Taylor Swift.

If you’re a far lesser name but you are getting engagement and you’re engaging with your fans, the algorithm thinks you’re the bigger one. You’re the one the algorithm’s going to put in the feed. The algorithm is completely indifferent. It’s going to follow basic principles that are based on psychographics. It’s based on other things than what, a marketing manager thinks. So they can try to adapt these principles as much as they can.

And I say all that to say, I don’t think they’re going to do it very well. The only way they can do it well is to give the artists more power and help your artist, give them the resources and the coaches and the consultants that they need to follow this sort of model. Otherwise, it is not going to work. They are going to be blinded by vanity metrics and they’re going to keep thinking they’re doing the right thing and they’re not.

So if you want an extensive shelf life, and you mentioned earlier what these other labels might think of someone like Leah. Well, if she’s not touring, what’s the longterm effect here? Well, she’s got nothing but options, because her primary goal is not ego-driven. She’s getting all the creative expression she needs. Her goal is her family and their livelihood and all of that. So she’s got a [inaudible 00:14:07]… In fact, your guys’ relationship in terms of what you’re doing and helping her with is not really directly based on this.

We’re getting into publishing and licensing and these sorts of things so that she’s not putting, as she said, all of her eggs in one basket. She’s continuing to diversify her portfolio so to speak, and there is stuff she’s doing that I know about, she hadn’t told anybody about. So she’s always working, always creating, always doing these things. But it’s because, but none of it. She wouldn’t be doing any of it if she didn’t understand these fundamentals of marketing, these fundamentals of branding, these fundamentals of culture, niche, social media, all of the stuff that is taught in the Savvy Musician Academy. I don’t know how labels are going to grasp that anytime soon. Chorus for a healthy price point, we’re more than happy to sit down and talk to them about it. A very, very, you could tell them that. You can tell him I said that, Jens.

15:04 Jens: Of course. And I can totally see that happen actually. Because I think musicians are more and more going one, let’s say on a like a meta-perspective, they’re going and they’re taking like a bird’s eye view on this whole system and I’m like, do I really need a label? And I know a lot of professional colleagues that separated after a time from a big label and make more money than ever with selling less records, because they earn all of it. They don’t have to share.

And it’s really about learning how to run your artist’s career like a business in a good way. So really applying the principles of a healthy relationship and then becoming so big that it really makes sense for you to approach a label and say, let’s license my album, and I really want to use your distribution infrastructure and you can have a piece of the pie and we’re negotiating eye to eye. Then I think you are at the right point in your career to really make that next step.

And of course, it’s all about ownership. And we talked about ownership of your music. That’s what it’s about. Keeping ownership of your music and you deciding what deal to take or leave. I think then it’s time. Once you’re there then it’s time to talk to a label or a publishing company for sync or whatever. And of course, it always depends on your genre. If your music is really a good fit for sync and licensing.

Of course, not all music makes sense in a TV or movie environment. I think what Savvy Musician Academy for me is about is empowering artists to view it as a business in a good way and taking ownership of their career and not waiting on anybody. I mean, how many times have I heard the sentence, I just need a manager. I just need a blah, blah, blah. You’re sitting there putting yourself and waiting for somebody to rescue you.

17:19 Leah: I just said this in Nashville when I was there speaking to these songwriters. I said, “You must treat your career as though no one will do anything for you. Just treat it as though it’s depending and relying on you alone.” And in fact, we teach each of our employees that even at Savvy Musician Academy like act as if the whole business is relying on you in your role, that your corner, your little corner, your role, your job is holding up the whole thing. What would you do differently there?

And so you ask yourself the same thing, what would you do if absolutely nobody was going to help you in your career? It was all on you to make or break it. What would you do? What would you learn? What were the skills you would need to acquire to make that work? That’s how I live my life and I’ve so much to learn. Now I’m not saying don’t delegate and don’t outsource things like that, but I’m taking ownership of it first and then assessing the situation. I’m not waiting for a manager to tell me what to do. I’m not waiting for anybody else to tell me what to do. I educate myself and then decide. So that’s such a key thing I think.

18:22 CJ: You can either wait for the life to happen, or you can make that life happen.

18:28 Leah: Jens, you shared with me a statistic recently about… and I want you to share this with our audience because I think they will be astounded about what a typical deal looks like with Spotify with these majors. Can you share that and how you were taken aback by it as well, in regards to split what the major artists typically get. Are we allowed to talk about that?

18:57 Jens: Let’s maybe make it a little more general.

19:00 Leah: Completely general. Like what is normal?

19:03 Jens: A lot of artists, especially in the olds of the old generation, from that started like 20, 30 years ago when streaming wasn’t even on people’s creative minds. Back then they signed contracts that already said, “If something like streaming is going to happen, you’ll only get let’s say 10 to 15%.” And today a lot of people still agree to those terms or even sign away their complete streaming income, which is crazy.

19:40 Leah: So is this why we’re hearing so many artists say such bad things? I mean, I know they don’t like the actual streaming rates, like the rates they’re getting paid, they don’t like that. But then it makes it obviously a lot worse if they’re only seeing a tiny percentage of it.

19:55 Jens: I think most of the mainstream artists are only seeing a tiny percentage. So, they could make a lot more and people always forget that you have two kinds of royalties involved. You have the publishing and mechanical royalties and a lot of, distributors only collect one of those two. So they’re leaving money on the table there and then people sign bad deals and give away a lot of their streaming income, which is totally stupid because, if you think about it, if let’s say if 10 years in the future the streaming platforms have really penetrated all markets and let’s say a typical household pays a yearly streaming fee.

All artists would be incredibly rich, just from streaming. And over the course of a lifetime, once the market penetration is bigger and the distribution models between artists and streaming platforms evolve, I think in the future, artists will love streaming actually. And it has the most potential. So why sign away money on that part of your record business that is actually your future? That doesn’t make sense at all. And of course in old contracts, more than 80% of mainstream artists, most of the bands that don’t make the top 20 never make $1 off their record sales or streams. Not one, and all goes back to production.

21:47 Leah: Oh my goodness.

21:48 Jens: Which is just insane.

21:49 CJ: Record labels alone, right?

21:53 Jens: Yeah. The idea typically is we give you a front up and you have to pay it back with sales and we’ll do a split. And if you don’t have leverage because you’re not that far along in your career, we get a big part of the split and you have to make the front or back with your little part of the split. So it needs a lot of sales and a lot of streams to make even the front up back. And then you have to go on tour for the next 10 years and never make a dime because you’re only paying your front or back.

22:23 Leah: It’s just so sad. It’s such a sad scenario and that’s why I keep referring to this national thing because it was very eye-opening to me to like actually sit beside these executives on their panel. None of them know who… they don’t have no clue who I am. And I’m saying to them, to this room full of songwriters, “Hey, I respect all you guys and what you do. You worked really hard at your careers. I’m coming at this from a completely different perspective. There’s no chance on the face of the earth that a homeschool mom of five playing a weird niche Celtic metal would ever have their music heard if it wasn’t for this new music industry. And I’m coming at this from somebody who’s self-funding the music through my fans and recouping all the money by the time the album launches. So that on launch day I’m now in profit zone.”

And I was trying to be as respectful as possible, but basically I made it clear that there’s no deal here that could possibly tempt to me. That’s even better than what I could do right here for myself. Even though it’s on a small scale. I’m not making millions of dollars doing what I’m doing and that’s fine by me. I’m not trying to be a household name. I don’t want to go to a restaurant and be interrupted for autographs. That’s just not the lifestyle I want.

I just want to be able to make art be, make whatever music I want and have it funded from my fans and we have this great relationship and I just have a sustainable career. That’s my goal. And so I’ve made sure it’s like, hey, to communicate this, what kind of career do you want? Because there’s only a couple of options here. Like, do you want to make a comfortable living with your music or is your goal to be worldwide famous and not really own anything.

And are you going to try to make it into the top 0.0005% that these guys are, that’s what they do, or do you want to have a sustainable music career? It’s like, hey, I can pay my bills with my music. Like there’s a couple of options. There’s maybe more than one way to do it. But to me the contrast was so stark and it was so black and white. So that was very, it was an eye-opening experience for me to even just sit and hear it from the horse’s mouth.

24:28 Jens: And two really big points in what you just said, you can create a career you want. I personally, I know a lot of, at least in Germany, mainstream artists that say, “I actually hate that fans are camping on my stairs in front of my house or in my yard. I don’t have a private life anymore. I hate that part of it.” And I’m like, “It doesn’t have to be that way. You could do it differently.”

And people have this crazy idea only in the music business, you’re only a business or you’re only successful if you reach the ACDC Taylor Swift status. But that’s not the case. You wouldn’t go to your local successful bakery that’s paying 20 people for 50 years and you wouldn’t go there and say something like, you’re not Walmart. Why even bother? You’re not successful. It doesn’t make sense. And people think like this in the music industry.

So I think that’s another thing I find really empowering about, your journey and Savvy Musician Academy to see, you can make your own decisions and go your own way and you can make a decent living without being crazy famous. It’s perfect because there are only maybe a handful of exceptions, but most musicians just want to do music. They don’t want to be famous. They just want to do music and they want people to enjoy their music and they want to make a living off of it. That’s about it. And they want their creative freedom. And that’s basically what SMA enables. So I really liked that idea.

26:18 CJ: I think the process can apply broader because I know there’s going to be those people who are just like as you described, Jens, and they don’t want to be the ACDC, they don’t want to live like that. But at the same time they would like to play in front of a crowd and we’re not saying you have to all do it Leah’s way in the sense that you don’t have to tour. It’s just that she did it without touring, so that makes the argument even stronger that you can do this without touring.

Again, at the event that I spoke at, I was talking to people about, because I was talking to other coaches and motivational speakers, which is what I do when I’m not here, and we were talking about, because they all have to chase these other events and always trying to get on someone else’s stage. So they got to be booked on someone else’s stage, someone else’s events. So they’re always chasing that next paycheck in order to be, featured on somebody’s thing.

And I said, “You don’t have to do that.” So I told him, I said, “With the metal motivation model that I’m going to do is, Facebook will tell you for example, where your fans are throughout the world. And you can see the cities where you have the highest concentration of fans.” And so if they are several cities, for example, throughout the US that I have like Chicago, Orlando, Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, then I can target ads just to those cities. I can build up likes and followers just in those cities along with everything else I’m doing.

But I can just run special ads just to them, spend the next year or two, just building up these communities, hundreds and hundreds and thousands of fans in these given metroplexes, these major cities. And then I can have all the events I want to have and they’re my events, they’re your shows. Because a venue, a local venue bar, what have you is, they’re very, very interested in artists who have a big following in that local community. The more you can build up a following, the easier it is.

So you’re going to have managers that want to talk to you, you’re going to have booking agents that want to talk to you. You’re going to have promoters that want to talk to you, you’re going to have bar and venue owners that will talk to you all day long. They won’t need that middleman because you have already targeted, you saw you have a big following there and you build that community up. So the same principles go.

So if somebody wants to play music and just doesn’t want to be isolated, doesn’t want, again, doesn’t want to play the super stadium or whatever, then you can go on the road. But you can all do it all to your choosing. It’s like you’ve been saying throughout, Jens, you are in control and that in and of itself is an incredibly empowering thing. So there really is no limit. We’re not saying, we’re not suggesting anything here that has limitations. As much as you want to dream, man, the principles still apply.

29:11 Jens: And I mean, that’s the crazy thing. I’m waiting on the day Leah goes on tour.

29:17 Leah: It’ll be a castle tour by the way.

29:21 Jens: Got it. Sounds awesome.

29:24 Leah: I want to plan this out and Jens, you’re going to help me with this. We’ll orchestrate it, it’ll be like an experience, where we have a feast first.

29:31 Jens: Definitely. And I mean, there are so many castles in Germany, so you have to do one leg in central Europe.

29:37 Leah: Exactly.

29:38 Jens: Of course. And that’s what I really like. It’s like, I would like to go on tour, make a tour happen in castles. And the traditional business, it would be like, but how do we get people inside castles? And, typically we don’t do concerts there. Don’t you want to-

30:00 Leah: Exactly.

30:01 Jens: You could have an opening slot on a festival. And it’s like, no, we don’t want an opening slot. We already have a following. We’re just going to sell tickets and people will come. That’s it.

30:13 Leah: So people would spend a ton of money to go on these cruises, these music festival cruises. I’ll just make mine a big, like a renaissance fair kind of experience. Only it’ll be like a feast at a concert and we hang out and drink Mead or something. I don’t know.

30:32 Jens: That sounds great. I really like this idea and I see it more and more. I know a surf rock band, they do like ’60s instrumental surf guitar music and they host small events. Like they have a barber, who travels with them, who cuts people’s hair and beards, and they have this little flea market for vintage vinyl and stuff from old surf bands. So it’s basically a whole event about that culture of surf music.

31:09 Leah: That’s so it, the culture. And that even reminds me one of our elite students, Daniel Coats that we’ve done a podcast with him. He recently did really well, talking about selling tickets and stuff, using the principles that we teach at SMA just with ads only. He applied it to Eventbrite tickets and he said, “During these shows,” and they did like 20,000 Australian dollars or something in I think it was five shows over eight days, something like that.

And they’ve created their own jewelry. They’ve created like I don’t know if they’re handcrafted or something like that. They create their own like necklaces and stuff that has a special pendant, that’s their new logo, their band logo. And they said, it actually outsold all their music at these events. So I’m just like, that’s it, guys. It’s about diversifying. It’s about like adding, it is bigger than just the music. This is a culture, this is a lifestyle like you’ve got to think that way.

And so he’s having great success with that, doing very well. So I just think that there’s, it seems to me like the majority of musicians right now are not even awake to this reality yet. They’re not even awake. They’re still sleeping, they don’t understand it and that’s why we do what we do here. And that’s why I’m having guests like you here because you’re seeing it, you get it, but so many don’t. And so this is the whole mission and the more people we can kind of gather around to try and wake people up to this fact, I think the better and quicker musicians will find so much more satisfaction and become profitable.

32:39 Jens: And I mean, doesn’t it sound exciting to quit your shitty day job and do music full-time even if you are a mom of five?

32:48 Leah: Yeah.

32:49 Jens: And if you decide to go on tour, go on tour, it’s possible on your own terms. I mean, I can’t imagine something better.

32:58 Leah: There isn’t. Crowdfund your album, like build up the audience, crowdfund it. So whether you do it, you get the money beforehand, before recording or you make the album then recoup your costs. That’s what I’ve been doing. It’s more work and yes, it’s a learning curve and I think this is the part we have to get people over this barrier. I think this is an obstacle for them to go, but I got to learn all this stuff. I have to learn digital marketing, I have to learn all this techie. Like I’m not techie. I’m not techie. I hear that a lot. I’m not either. I’m not either but you, it’s like you learned how to use your smartphone, don’t you? Like did you learn everything about your smartphone in one day? Probably not. It took a while. There’s always a learning curve.

33:43 Jens: You’re not techie, but you have like 50 guitar pedals on your board. Those kinds of people. But I’m not into this tech stuff.

33:52 Leah: You’re a liar.

33:53 Jens: It’s just an excuse. It’s just an excuse. And I mean, marketing is so creative.

33:58 Leah: Totally.

33:59 Jens: It’s another fun thing too. And once you realize that there’s a good way to do it and a bad way to do it and you do it the right way, it’s really fun and not pushy, non-intrusive. You’re just doing the right thing in the right order. And then it really is fun because you can reach people that are like-minded to you. And I know, not so many is an exaggeration, but I know more and more bands and I see that really, more and more India are running their own label on their own terms like you are and they love it.

There’s a friend of mine, he’s a son of a famous, German polka brass bands music playing father, which is really a traditional and [inaudible 00:34:53] and then he’s playing in a hip-hop band. And he’s an incredible player, but people give him a lot of shit for the hip hop guys are like, “Why are you doing this [inaudible 00:35:05] stuff?” And the other guys are like, “Why are you doing hip hop?” And now it’s like, “I’m doing it on my own terms. And actually there are a lot of fans who like it and they see the connection.”

And so I think those little boxes and draws we put ourselves in are only limiting. And once you decide to become an entrepreneur instead of a onetrepreneur, I really like that idiom. You are free to really not only do it yourself but let’s say to decide yourself. But I know of course I had this thought too, how will I ever be able to do this? And I mean, you’re not doing it alone. You built a team, but the DIY stands for decided it yourself and keep it authentic and direct and then it’s really great fun.

I mean, you told me so many stories of interactions with fans you already love because it’s like-minded people and that’s, I mean, isn’t that the coolest thing? Sharing your music with people you maybe even become friends with. One bend I’m playing in, the front singer, he invited a few fans to his birthday because they became friends over the years, which is so cool. And that’s I really want to encourage musicians to come out of their little pitiful holes that are filled with self-doubt and I need somebody to rescue me or the ACDC way of things is the way to do it. No, it’s not. It never was. And do it yourself and make it happen yourself and take ownership and keep ownership.

37:04 CJ: That’s great.

37:04 Jens: And get the right help. Join SMA.

37:09 Leah: Well, thank you for the plug.

37:11 CJ: I mean, I think the keyword for this whole discussion we’ve had with you Jens is empowerment. Somebody can really, it’s yes, it’s intimidating. We know they’re going to be scared. We know, like you just said, there’s so much for them to learn, but that’s why the Savvy Musician Academy is here. That’s why we have a qualified, capable team of coaches and all of that to help. So, listener, you’re not alone. You don’t have to learn this all by yourself. There’s plenty of help. It will take time, will take effort, but this is your dream we’re talking about. Nobody’s going to bring it to you. And if that’s the mentality, then it’s just not for you.

37:48 Jens: Of course.

37:48 CJ: The music is not for you. You need to get the day job. Keep it as a hobby. But if you want that dream of doing it all yourself, there’s a way, it’s easier than you think. You’ll get acclimated to it. Just like again Jens says, just like you got acclimated to using your iPhone. It really is. It just takes some time.

38:09 Jens: And of course you’re right. SMA can show you the door, but you have to go through it yourself.

38:16 CJ: Well, thank you, guys. Jens, great to meet you. Of course.

38:20 Jens: Me too. My pleasure.

38:22 CJ: And I think we’re going to have to bring you back on again when you can spill more beans about not stuff.

38:29 Leah: And not only that, but he’s got other things to share about other areas of expertise. Like, you’ve a practice technique for live shows and you do a lot of coaching with bands on their live shows and presentation, that kind of thing. And there’s other areas. That’s what I’m saying, he’s a multifaceted guy, which makes every time we talk it turns into hours at a time. So, which is great. So I consider you a friend and a colleague and so it was wonderful having you on.

I hope everybody was totally fascinated and I’m sure they were. I find all these conversations you and I have fascinating. Sometimes I think, if we had just recorded this, that would’ve been cool because we always have so many personal insights. So it was great having you on. We will have you back and thanks so much.

39:20 Jens: Thank you, guys. Thank you for having me.

39:22 CJ: And guys, thank you for listening to The Savvy Musician Show. Be sure to leave a review like we said and we will see you next time. Take care.

Leah McHenry

It's become my absolute obsession to find out what will make musicians successful today. In the face of many obstacles, and in the vast sea of the internet, we have an opportunity that has NEVER been available to us in the history of the music business.