Keyboardist and vocalist for the internationally popular heavy metal band, Cradle of Filth, Lindsay Schoolcraft joins C. J. to discuss how she’s using the principles taught in the Savvy Musician Academy to launch her own album without a record label.
Lindsay is an experienced recording and touring artist and speaks directly to the pain points that are wreaking havoc on the music industry. This is an inspiring episode!
Key Points From This Episode:
- The problems with rapid change in the record industry.
- The financial reality that’s hitting touring musicians.
- The confusion surrounding artists.
- Working with a Grammy-winning artist.
- How Lindsay decided to do it on her own.
- How SMA was life-changing for Lindsay.
- The toll that’s taken by touring.
- Great awakenings to music marketing.
- Lindsay’s spending and profits.
“You go on tour and you find out how much your crew and your bus driver makes and some people just come home breaking even and that’s not right.” — @lindzriot [0:06:09]
“There’s always been an injustice to the music industry.” — @metalmotivation [0:07:12]
“We know we have to be online but once we’re online, a lot of us just don’t know what to do.” — @lindzriot [0:07:22]
“I’m doing it all online. I’m going to do it digital, screw the record labels, they can’t tell me what to do. You’re not my real dad.” — @lindzriot [0:12:59]
“I refuse to allow some other thing that thinks it’s greater than me to take control of my music career.” — @lindzriot [0:15:10]
“I’m an artist and I just want to put out art and hope people enjoy it.” — @lindzriot [0:16:35]
“When it comes to building your own music empire, you want to minimize the mental and emotional challenges as much as you can.” — @metalmotivation [0:20:20]
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
Belzebubs (Lindsay’s cartoon character) — https://www.facebook.com/belzebubsofficial/
Lindsay Schoolcraft — https://www.facebook.com/schoolcraftofficial/
Book A Call — callsma.comClick For Full Transcript
00:21 CJ: Welcome once again to the Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz. I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. I also get to host this awesome podcast, the Music Marketing podcast on the interwebs. Now as I mentioned in the last episode, we’re doing a series of interviews with students of our Elite program to give you a behind the scenes look at how some new success stories are happening in the new music industry.
I’m really, really excited about this one today because it’s somebody whose story is really unique because she’s already in an existing popular touring band and she is starting now her own project. I’m going to tell you a whole lot more about that with her as I welcome Lindsay Schoolcraft to the podcast. Thank you, Lindsay, for being here.
01:12 Lindsay: Thank you for having me. I’m excited.
01:14 CJ: Isn’t this awesome? I was talking to Lindsay just offline before we started the recording and the electricity entered the room immediately with her. Because Lindsay this is such a crucial time, not just in your own personal musical journey, but in the music industry itself. I shared something, Lindsay, in the last episode of the podcast talking about a recent article that… It was in Guitar World Magazine. I talked to Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins who said if he was to give 60 seconds of advice to an up and coming musician, he would say, “Don’t worry about playing down the street. Focus 100% of your efforts on the internet.”
Of course at Savvy Musician Academy, that’s something we’ve been trying to put out there for a long time. You’ve been a student in the Elite program for some time now. Now, give everybody a little bit of background. What band is it that you play in and then let’s get into what I just mentioned.
02:13 Lindsay: Okay, so for the past seven years I have been the keyboardist and the backing vocalist for Cradle of Filth, which was very… It’s still very established, but very well established in the ’90s type band. Heavy metal, extreme Gothic, heavy metal.
02:27 CJ: Again, keyboardist for Cradle of Filth, for anybody like me who’s a metalhead, you know very well who Cradle of Filth is and that’s huge. Now you are about to venture off into your own music projects already underway. You’ve got this debut solo album that we’re going to talk about, but before we get to that, I want to go back to the discussion we were having offline because it was so good that we had to just say, let’s save this for the podcast itself.
I mentioned what Billy said. You’ve been pursuing the online space. You’re doing your solo project this way. But you’ve also got an insider’s look at what’s happening right now with record labels and bands. Tell us about that.
03:08 Lindsay: Okay, so being in the metal industry, there’s about four major labels that run the monopoly on the market. The problem is, is they’re changing right now, and they’re not changing fast enough. The biggest issue is a lot of the old-schoolers are ready to retire, they’re tired, they want to retire. The new people are coming into the labels, and they don’t know where they belong. They’re like, “Hey, we need to update and do all this digital marketing stuff.” And it’s not being met fast enough.
So right now, I see my friends feeling the pressure of not making enough money, bands breaking up, people wanting to quit. It’s really upsetting me. I’ve been reaching out to people and I say, “Your career isn’t over. Check out this podcast. Check out Savvy because I’ve done it. I’ve seen it. I know you’re sick of touring. It can be done just give it a chance.” Because there’s so many talented people out there who are great singers and songwriters and they’re just ready to quit. I’m like, “Well, that’s not fair.” For me, I’m being selfish but for your fans.
I know that they don’t want to quit music, but everyone’s just feeling the massive crunch of the labels not transforming fast enough right now, especially in heavy metal. The fans are concerned and confused too. They’re like, how can I help? It’s unbelievable what’s happening right now.
04:25 CJ: Yes, I remember Leah telling me one time about a year or so ago, how she was approached by one of the major labels. They were interested in her success and wanted to do an album with her and all she did was go to their website and see that they weren’t using a Facebook pixel on their website. She said, “There ain’t no way I’m giving you any of my music because if you don’t understand the importance, for example, of something so minor as a Facebook pixel, that tells us loads. That means you don’t understand anything about digital marketing right now.” Which is how she achieved her success, which is the approach you’re now taking in your life.
It’s so interesting because you’re highlighting this current phase of the history of the music industry since Napster. Napster came in, that did its work, then you had iTunes come in, and then that had its effect. Then you had streaming Pandora, Spotify and the like, then that had its effect. YouTube having its effect, copyright issues, all of that. As you said, during this whole time, all these guys and gals who started these metal record labels, for example, well they’re into their retirement years. They’re ready to… Enough of this.
05:44 Lindsay: Yeah, the ’80s were fantastic and now it’s over.
05:47 CJ: So now you got the new breed coming in, and they’re caught between because they learned the old way of doing things. Now the pressure is on because the results aren’t coming and so now, bands are touring to try and make a difference and try to sell merch but now the labels are taking huge percentages of that too.
06:05 Lindsay: Exactly, and that’s a problem.
06:08 CJ: Like you said, they’re not making more than the bus driver.
06:09 Lindsay: Yes, you go on tour and you find out how much your crew and your bus driver makes and some people just come home breaking even and that’s not right. Especially after all that fan money. The fans thought they were putting the money towards the artists only to find out it went into the whole hiring of the staff to get the artists out on tour. It’s just… It’s wrong. It feels so wrong. I feel that from time to time as well. I understand entirely.
06:37 CJ: In fact, I mentioned to you offline, in getting someone like yourself to talk about this here on the podcast, it’s… and talk about your own story and what you’re doing with your own music marketing. It’s not just for you and it’s not just because this is a great selling point for the Savvy Musician Academy. I can hear in you this sense of justice. That it is unjust for musicians who… Not just in this modern era, but since the outset. Motown artists and even Metallica just recently got their publishing rights back.
07:12 Lindsay: My God, that’s brutal.
07:12 CJ: There’s always been an injustice to the music industry. You seem to be… You’re feeling that for a lot of your fellow artists.
07:20 Lindsay: Yes, and that’s the thing. We know we have to be online but once we’re online, a lot of us just don’t know what to do and we’re like, “I don’t want to show my personal life to these people online.” Everyone’s just confused. It’s like herding cats right now. Nobody knows what they want or what to do. I’m like, “Guys, hello, over here.”
07:37 CJ: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Tell us a little bit… Going back now, of course, let me just update people on where you are right now. Your debut solo album, Martyr just recently came out, right?
07:50 Lindsay: Yes.
07:51 CJ: Ethereal gothic metal, and who did you write this record with? Somebody that everybody in the industry so to speak, should know?
07:58 Lindsay: Yes. I got really lucky. Rocky Grey who is Grammy Award-winning, the original drummer of Evanescence, he approached me back in the beginning of 2016. He’s like, “Hey, do you want to work on music together?” And I nearly fell out of my computer chair. I was just like, “This is ridiculous.” But I was open to collaboration because to be fair, I can do pretty much anything minus the band structure. He knows guitars, bass drums.
It’s like, yes, let’s do this. I went from a cover to a few songs to a full-blown album in a year. I did get really lucky and I’m very grateful for that. He’s onboard for the second album. He’s just so wonderful to work with. It’s weird working with one of your idols who you totally idolized in high school. Strange stuff.
08:40 CJ: Yes, Rocky has done so much. Other bands as well. He’s a… like you said a versatile all-around musician and arranger and songwriter and all of the above. I was thrilled to hear when you first told me when you and I had a one-on-one coaching call at one point. You told me… One of the first things you told me that blew me away that you and Rocky were working together. Because I’m looking at you, and of course you do kind of… You get that Evanescence vibe so to speak. Gothic element, obviously much different but I just thought wow, what a great… Because Evanescence is doing their thing.
09:16 Lindsay: Yes, they’ve moved on. They’re more in a pop element now, which is cool, people still dig it. I love that. That’s great.
09:23 CJ: Yes, so Lindsay, here you are now. You’re also a comic book character, aren’t you?
09:30 Lindsay: Yes, I still have to pinch myself about that. That was JP Ahonen. He has this comic book series called Belzebubs. It’s the struggles… Anyone in Savvy would love it. It’s the struggles of being in a band, but having a family and trying to get things off the ground and recording the album. It’s really cute and I think everyone can relate to if not the teen romance between the daughter and the drummer in the band. Just the struggles of being in a band.
My character came in and she does exactly what I do. She’s guest vocaling and she’s just being part of the band. It’s really cool. I’ve made a few appearances in the comic book. I’m in the animated music video, which actually just won an award over in Scandinavia, which I think is just so fantastic. That was just a huge opportunity I jumped on. I was totally honored to be a part of it. I think that just comes with building a relationship with the comic book character because I am technically in a black metal band, and it’s about a black metal band. It really makes fun of it too and I love it.
10:31 CJ: Well, that’s a great segue. You are in a very… One of the most popular black metal bands in the world, Cradle of Filth. There’s not a festival that goes on that you don’t see Cradle of Filth listed and of course, obviously, you’re on tours. You just got off a tour and so you’ve got a very busy life but you’re launching this solo project, which you’ve done this month. The Martyr album release and you’ve got more coming and so you’ve been now with Savvy Musician Academy for some time. Let’s go back there. When did Leah first appear on your radar?
11:05 Lindsay: Leah has been in my life for almost a decade. When she released her first album Of Earth and Angels, I was actually writing. That was my in to the industry. I used to review music and interview people. That’s how I built my network. It’s a great way to get in. The press world does need people that care. I think that’s important. It was all-consuming and I wasn’t getting paid for it so eventually, I moved out of it. But during that time, I met Leah and someone at the zine I was working with.
He’s like, “You would love this. You have to listen to this. Listen to this album.” And I’m like, “Okay.” And I did and I was like, “Who is this person? They’re incredible.” I loved her first album. I really did. I still do. I have the old copy of it before she revamped it. We stayed in touch. We have a lot in common, even though she’s folk and I’m goth, it’s very fantasy based in both worlds. I play the harp, she plays the harp. We never run out of things to talk about, especially in the business industry.
What happened was, my story is crazy. I’m a very Joan Jett story where she just kept getting rejected and she’s like, “I’m going to be persistent.” Now Joan Jett’s a rock icon. I was banging on the doors of labels for four months, and the labels are going through their awful growing pains right now and no one was getting back to me. I was working this counter job at a drug store in the makeup department. If you can tell by my face, I do makeup too.
I was like, “Why am I so unhappy with my life?” There was that aha moment when I’m like, I don’t have a release date for my album. That’s why I’m so miserable. Granted, it was in January and it’s minus 28 outside. Reason to be miserable in Canada that time of year. I just went… I went home that night, I stayed up till 3:00 AM, I did a brain dump into a Word document about how I wanted this release to look. I’m doing it all online. I’m going to do it digital, screw the record labels, they can’t tell me what to do. You’re not my real dad.
I got really defiant in that case. Then I’m like, “Leah is really good at this stuff. Maybe I should just shoot her an email and a text and be like, hey, do you have 10 minutes to talk on the phone?” So I got a hold of her and I said… I was like, “Hey, do you got 10 minutes? Can I send you my release plan?” She’s like, “Yes send it over.” Then she texts me back. She’s like, “No, I’m calling you tomorrow night. We don’t have 10 minutes. We need an hour.”
13:29 CJ: Oh my gosh, that’s Leah. That is so Leah.
13:33 Lindsay: She was great. She was awesome. So supportive, got me into the Elite program. It has been life-changing. It’s been a realization of who I really am and what I’m really doing.
13:44 CJ: Wow. Now, okay, so you guys go way back. Obviously you’re able to keep track of what she’s doing. She’s keeping track of what you’re doing. When did the coin drop then for you as far as doing it this way, doing the Savvy Musician marketing approach to your own career?
14:01 Lindsay: It’s been a huge push because I’m in the industry, especially heavy metal. I see what’s happening. I was like, you know what, I do my best work when I’m home. I can play my harp. I can write music, I have a little recording station. It’s dirty and cheap and it just does the job until there’s real production. I love doing social media, but when I’m on tour, I’m haggard and tired all the time. I don’t feel good about dropping videos with not enough energy onto my Insta Story talking about something. I could come off as cranky, I’m very sarcastic.
I do do my best work from home and honestly, touring is getting more and more unrealistic and expensive. It’s really taking a toll on my health, physically and mentally. Tour schedules now, I’m really in with a lot of the metal bands that are consistently on tour and I am in that same spot like I don’t know how you do it. I’m like, I don’t know either. Just even this year, I was so determined. I was doing the homework from the course on tour while I was just burned out, and I was like, “No, this has to happen. I refuse to allow some other thing that thinks it’s greater than me to take control of my music career.”
It was hard. It was really hard. On days off, I’d spend 10 hours in front of my computer doing my homework at a hotel lobby. The guys in the band were like, “What is she doing? Go get a drink.” I don’t drink but go out, go watch a movie, go relax in your bunk. I’m like, “No, I am determined to do this. Screw record labels.” I was so angry. But that’s the thing. I’m just seeing the way the industry is going and it’s just getting a little bit unrealistic. The old school ways are really starting to crumble. I was like, “No, you know what, I want to stay home. I want to do this from home.” I would love to tour don’t get me wrong, I would love to go but I want to do it on my own time when my health allows, when funds allow, when the demand is there.
I love doing live shows. I just got offered earlier this year to go to Australia for a week with just my electric harp. That was so much fun. I would love doing that but at the same time, I’m like, “Oh, I want to bring my band.” but that’s expensive and that takes time to build the money and the clout for that, do you know what I mean?
16:16 CJ: Yes, sure. Absolutely. Okay, so you’re still doing the program, you’re still taking advantage of everything that’s there. I mean, what difference has this made for you especially with this recent album launch?
16:32 Lindsay: It was so self-realizing. I’m an artist and I just want to put out art and hope people enjoy it. When it came to finding out what your micro-niche was, and then asking your fans about you. My fans told me, they’re like, “You’re pretty much the gothic queen of darkness. Your genre is gothic rock.” Under symphonic metal, female-fronted and all that fun stuff. if you understand the course it’s like a system to find your micro-niche. My micro-niche is ethereal gothic rock. I’m like, “I’m okay with that. That sounds wicked.” I was just going to go out and get really dumb merch made mugs, scarps notebooks, candles.
My fans didn’t want any of that. I’m like, I want that. When I go to the dollar store I stock up. They were like, “No, we just want… We want t-shirts, hoodies, CDs, vinyl, patches, stickers, posters.” I’m like, “Done. This is what you want? Cool beans, I will give it to you. The other thing though is and I was talking to Leah about it when I went through the whole aspect of Facebook.
When I did my fan survey, I’m like on this pie chart, nobody uses Facebook anymore. Facebook is going to be obsolete. It’s going to be 25%. I did the survey. It came back and my fans, 55% of them prefer to use Facebook. I was like, again fell out of my computer chair. I was like, “Okay, wow.” Then when I learned all about the Facebook business manager and pixels and running ads and targeted ads and hashtags, I was just like I don’t think any of the record labels I hang out with after shows and schmooze and mingle with know anything about this.
This is what is so vital for your career. Why waste money advertising? You don’t even know what the heck you’re advertising first of all, but then… I am a believer that listen, make your art but nobody is original anymore. You sound like an amalgamation of three other artists. Get over it. We’re not original anymore, especially being a goth. We are not original.
18:36 CJ: Right.
18:36 Lindsay: Then just finding out what bands you sound like. Your fans are out there. They want your music. Ever since I started running ads. I’m not a big fan of Zuckerberg. I’m not and I mean to him behind the scenes, but I looked into advertising and what the labels charge and what advertising looks like. It’s so expensive. Zuckerberg is giving us musicians a huge discount. If we know what we’re doing. It’s ridiculous.
When I told a friend of mine in Australia, who’s also in digital marketing, I’m like, “I spend $90 a month on ads and that’s it. Every month I get about 6000 followers and I get this many click-throughs.” She’s like, “$90 a month.” She’s like, “That’s just a grocery bill.” I’m like, “I know.” And I’m vegan. I live off of twigs and berries. I don’t have an expensive grocery bill, this is fine.
The course really just… Oh, man. It’s been a journey. I feel like a whole new person. I’m confident. Confidence is practice but it’s also nurtured. Your confidence needs to be nurtured that you’re not crazy and you are thinking the right way or doing the right thing.
19:43 CJ: I said the… and I interviewed someone, another one of the students in the last episode, one of the things that she talked about was this support element, with the coaches and things like that. Obviously, you know Leah personally. The secret to success in anything is you need principles which are taught in any sort of course. But then you need coaching. You need someone to tell you whether you’re doing it right, something that you’re missing, otherwise, you get trapped in your own head. You start this vicious cycle of self-defeat, you’ve got enough challenges as it is. So when it comes to building your own music empire, you want to minimize the mental and emotional challenges as much as you can.
This is reinforced in the course itself. Now for you, you’re obviously very excited about what’s happening. You just came out with the new album. How empowered now, do you feel about moving forward into the next year?
20:43 Lindsay: It was… I will say first off, especially with the heavy touring schedule, it was very tough and it was a lot of sacrifice. I dubbed this the year of no fun because I didn’t do any sightseeing. I just stayed on my laptop. But I always knew… I’m like, I trust Leah. I trust savvy. I know the outcome of this is going to be really good. I am the definition of grit. I really am. I stuck it out. There were times when it was very hard. Going back to coaching, in this industry, there’s not a lot of leaders or coaches, it’s just a lot of people doing the thing and going home.
That’s not wrong, especially when it comes to musicians, crew and people who run the business side of the industry. There’s very few good people in this industry, who I do keep in consistent communication with. But that first week of the launch was a bit messy, but it went over really well overall. Then when I finally… The first week, I recouped, record labels have to recoup their expenses. I don’t mind talking numbers, but I spent about $25,000 in my own money that I saved and invested into this program and into my product and into my team. The first week I saw all that money back, just the first week.
21:50 CJ: Wow.
21:52 Lindsay: It was like, “Okay, I just recouped. Cool beans. Let’s run some ads and do some funnels and see what we can do.”
21:59 CJ: Right.
21:59 Lindsay: You know what I mean? That’s the next chapter.
22:01 CJ: If you can do that much, then if you can move it an inch, as they say, right, we can certainly move it a mile.
22:08 Lindsay: Precisely.
22:08 CJ: It’s been interesting, myself serving just as a coach and of course hosting this podcast and all of that. It’s awesome to meet all of the incredible students. But the reason why I’m here is because I’ve been doing this thing myself. I’ve got 30 years in advertising and marketing myself, but then I also did the motivational speaking professional development thing, and that’s the metal motivation. Heavy metal motivator. That’s how Leah and I worked together for a number of years, like yourself about a decade.
I watched her go from… struggling. Her and her husband struggling to make ends meet, facing bankruptcy, being advised to declare bankruptcy to where she is now. I could verify the process. I could watch this. I could see the success almost predicted in a way because I knew she was following the established principles of marketing. In other words, what you’re being armed with, Lindsay is not something she made up. You know what I mean? This is something that she’s…
I can tell you from again, 30 years of doing this, she’s using the standard principles of direct marketing that were used in the ’60s, used in the ’70s, used in the ’80s, and the ’90s all apply to this new space. Tell me then about things you’re learning about for example copywriting and how you handle your social media and all that sort of stuff.
23:35 Lindsay: Well, I mean, here’s the thing. I’ve always been very organic with my audience and growing it. Especially in all the time I’ve been touring the world, past seven years and up on the hashtags wishing people a happy birthday. I appreciate and love my fans, and I nurture that and they come to me and I’m like, “Fairy goth mother. Come under my batwing. Tell me about your problems.” I love my fans so much. I really do. I have a lot of really good connections and personal relationships with my fans.
But Savvy helped me bring it to the next level. I didn’t realize I could write emails like I was sending a personal text message. I want to keep that connection with my fan base. Funny story. I was like, “Okay, I’m stuck in Australia before a wedding after a tour. I’m going to New Zealand, I’m having a vacation.” That was enough. That was a business retreat and I literally finished a lot of the bonus course material with Savvy because I was just so fired up. I’m like, “I need to do this thing.” I was little warrior mode. Might have been in New Zealand, I don’t know, the Maori culture there.
I have no idea, but yes. I went ahead and I was like, “No, this is just mind-blowing.” My fans get it and they’re very supportive. I understand a lot of people don’t want emails all the time. That’s fine. My mailing list is growing and I’m having this wicked connection with my fans and they reply and I reply, and it’s just nice. I love email because, here’s the thing, and I think musicians need to understand this right now. I didn’t know this until I opened my Drip.
Drip is the e-commerce mailing platform, which I don’t mind paying for after I opened and saw these numbers. I was never a numbers person. I hate math. I am dyslexic. You can tell I’m stumbling over my words a lot in this podcast. I was like, “Okay, I’ll do this.” I imported all my old emails and I started getting things working. Then about a week after when I recouped opened Drip. It’s like 80% of your sales came from Drip.
25:34 CJ: Wow.
25:35 Lindsay: I’m like, okay well, “Screw social media. Unless you’re paying for targeted ad I’m not doing this anymore.” The thing is, going back to Leah, we have to praise our queen. I was a fan of hers for the longest time I get it. I love fantasy folk metal. I love folk metal. In my mind, I am a dark queen elf saving the kingdom. I get it. As her fan, I understand that micro-niche, that culture.
I get it, I used to play World of Warcraft as an elf. I get it. I was like, no, she’s not wrong because I’m a fan and I see how she gets my fandom going. I won’t lie, I’ve dropped $100 on her here and there, I love her music and everything. Then I see the business side of her. I’m like, I need to be doing that for myself because I know that how I’m a fan of her music, those people are out there and they need me to be their gothic queen providing the spooky vibes and the spooky jams.
I knew that, I just know… I think that is something a lot of musicians don’t do. Some of them do. Some of them don’t or some of them know it and they just don’t tap into it. Remember when you were a music fan, what did you want? You know what I mean? Then putting yourself in those shoes and doing it for yourself. But that’s the thing that comes with that confidence. A lot of us are just such humble, sensitive creatives, we don’t step into those shoes enough, I think.
27:00 CJ: This is so important. You mentioned earlier some of your fellow musicians who are like, I don’t want to share my life like that on social media, et cetera. You just want to be the artist hidden away, trust the labels to do everything for you. Well, the times are changing and maybe things will develop on the label side of things, maybe they’ll come up to speed, new labels will come about who are more devoted to the artists themselves and share a bigger piece of the pie. But until then, what’s going to make you doubly attractive as an artist is if you have a sizable following.
A label is always going to be more interested in you if you have the following. A publishing label is going to be interested in you as an author if you’ve got a sizable following. It is in your interest to do the very basics of audience building. Like you said, you see the purpose of social media. You see the purpose of an email. You said, “Wow, I’m getting 80% of my sales via email.” And Leah’s recent crowdfunding campaign. 30 days her goal was $50,000. For 30 days she raised $83,000. In one week, seven days through Drip, the program you’re using. Seven days email campaign $27,299 for her album.
It’s like okay, well, what’s possible? Everything is possible because again, she does not tour. You’re on stages. You have… You mentioned a cool story that we actually shared in one of the previous podcasts where you were on a flight. What was it? You’re on a flight and you were recognized? Tell us that story.
28:35 Lindsay: Okay, this is just weird because I’ve always been known as the keyboardist to cradle filth, right. We were in Australia and I started running targeted ads, just with what music I had on band camp at the time. My Shopify wasn’t up yet. I was just running them and I do have this crazy underground little following in Australia. We’re on tour and I’m haggard. We were up at five in the morning. I’m just hiding in my sunglasses and my hoodie and my jacket. I just stumbled onto the plane and I’m like, I’m going to go find my seat and nap.
I was just like, I’m too tired. I can’t do this. Usually, people recognize our lead singer. He’s a goth icon. He was huge in the ’90s. He’s a great poet and front person. So I’m sitting there, and then this girl comes up to me. She’s blushing and she’s giggling. She’s a flight attendant, and I’m like, “What’s going on?” She’s like, “Hey, I tried to find you vegan food, but we don’t have anything.” It was less than three hours. They don’t feed you, right? On a flight. If it’s over three hours, they have to provide a meal.
I was like, “Okay.” She’s like, “I just want to say like, I don’t care about Cradle Filth, but I’m a really big fan of yours. It’s so nice to meet you. It’s such an honor to serve you on this flight.” And I’m like, “Excuse me.” She’s like, “Yes, I saw your ad on Facebook and I started following you, your music’s amazing.” I’m just like… I’m sitting there and my guitarist is sitting across the aisle from me and he’s like “What’s going on? Are you okay?” I’m like, “She likes me.”
My guitarist always jokes, “Oh, I should have been a singer.” Rich is a good guy. Great sense of humor about being the guitarist which everybody has their place in the band. I wrote about it in the Elite group, which is just a fantastic little support system and I wouldn’t say little, we’re a big network of support, and everyone there’s going through the same growing pains and realizations and whatnot. It was just really weird for me. I was like, did that just happen? But that’s the thing. These things work and your superfans are out there. They want your music, they want to support you. It’s crazy.
30:48 CJ: That’s such a key thing. The superfan element is not just jargon, this is literally what we’re looking for because superfans will not get tired of your email. Superfans will be happy to hear about your little idiosyncrasies and the tough morning that you had and the little moment you might want to share. I think once you receive that, once you get that feedback from superfans and not the cynical people we see online all the time-
31:16 Lindsay: The elitists.
31:17 CJ: Yes, especially in the metal community, right?
31:20 Lindsay: Oh God yes.
31:22 CJ: Once you start getting this positive feedback from people that love you dearly and want to hear from you it’s going to open you up to share that sort of thing even more. Again, alluding to the fact that you have been a touring musician, you do have notoriety. You are working with somebody like Rocky that together with these elements, and you now taking over your own music marketing, your own music business, with the things you’re taught in the Savvy Musician Academy Elite program, man. I mean, this is a recipe for great things Lindsay, do you even understand this?
31:58 Lindsay: I do. The thing is Rocky, he saw the last end of the greatness that was music industry. He’s so excited for me, he always pops in. He’s like, “How’s it going? What’s going on?” Now, I understand. Rocky has done his thing. He’s retired he’s made his money everything’s paid for. He just for fun now does film scores and music video games, because he can. Because he wants to. When I show him what I’m doing, at first, he was like, “Wait, you’re becoming your own record label. What the heck, Lindsay? How does that work?”
Now he’s just… He’s always cheering me on. He’s so excited. He knows this is the future. He knows. He’s very well aware of it.
32:37 CJ: It is the future. It’s something we say a lot obviously on this show. It’s great to see someone like yourself at this really critical point. Like I said, she and I were chatting offline just before the podcast, we had to cut ourselves off because it would have turned into a podcast itself and then we would have regretted never recording any of it then she would have had to repeat and it just loses that kind of energy. But when she was talking about it, I felt the electricity immediately into the room and I just said, “You know what, the metal Gods want this discussion to be had.” Because it’s just…
I’m a metal lover, metal motivator stuff, you’re a metal artist. This is for everybody. This is every industry. You’re in country, jazz, ambient music, write music for kids. There’s no age to this. There’s no genre limitations to this. Anybody, if there’s a fan, we got somebody we’ve been looking at just in our own Elite group who has a space alien country.
33:41 Lindsay: I love it.
33:42 CJ: Space alien country.
33:43 Lindsay: Those guys are out there.
33:46 CJ: People who love country music, but also are all into the sci-fi thing. There’s genres and micro-niches out there for you and you can build your own Empire and Lindsey I know there’s so much more that you could say. I wish we had a lot more time to do that. We’ll bring you back on maybe when Leah’s here where we can talk more about that. But the e-commerce element was obviously a big eye-opener for you. Right? Not just selling the music but this other element. How are you doing with your store?
34:17 Lindsay: Oh, it’s just fantastic. I love Shopify, best customer service. I had a little bit of an issue with PayPal. It’s a long story I won’t get into it. But when you’re used to the customer service being so incredible through Shopify, what an incredible platform to sell your music, connect with your fans, provide tracking, buy your shipping labels off the website. Do it all from home really easily. Then you go to PayPal who nobody knows their butt from their toes.
It was really stressful. But Shopify made it so easy. I am living in a little bit of a box right now in my apartment, but I don’t care because when people come to visit, they’re like, “Wow, that is so cool. Go you. You’re doing it all yourself from home.” I’m like, “Yes, thanks to Shopify. Shopify is my friend.” And I’m on the basic plan, an annual basic plan, doing it all through the course.
For $30 a month. That’s what? I just don’t go out and buy coffee for a month. That’s nothing. That’s a sacrifice I can make for now. I don’t care.
35:21 CJ: For now, exactly. For now. I think what people… I think this is… And I have to apologize that I don’t offer more explanation. Me and Leah, when we talk, we say we got to be careful about how much we assume people know about what we’re talking about when we talk about marketing things. When we say Shopify, in other words, that Lindsay is doing great with her Shopify store e-commerce, which means selling all of her hoodies, and shirts, and mugs and all that kind of stuff.
But here’s the thing guys, she doesn’t carry any inventory. She’s not sitting there with printed stuff that she has to put in bags and ship out to anybody. You’re not shipping anything. Are you?
35:59 Lindsay: Oh, no. I am. I did… Okay, so listen. I’m a little bit punk rock. I came from a punk band first when I was 15. Yes, you can do the whole print on demand. I looked into it and I was like I’m such a control freak and I understand a lot of people have been very happy with their print on demand. But I did small quantities. I lie… I say box for… just a little pile over there. There’s a little pile over there, there’s a little pile in the other room. It doesn’t bother my roommates.
I live with a drummer, I live with students and artists. It’s a very Amanda Palmer situation. If you don’t know Amanda Palmer check her out. She’s amazing. But I did do small quantity prints because I wanted to support… I’m so sentimental this way, I wanted to support some local printers that I thought were really good small local businesses because the end of the day my fans are coming to support me. A lot of people do the print on demand and I think that is fantastic.
But I have had a lot of fun just taking down the first big shipment. Taking some downtime, inviting over my sister and my closest friends. Doing an assembly line, boxing things up, putting little love notes. The fans I’ve had a really good relationship with putting it in the boxes. I did do things a little differently. I know I didn’t have to do it this way but I did it this way because I’m punk rock. I wanted to send love letters and the print on demand does make more sense for your sanity and I will look into it in the future, but I just did it a little bit differently because I’m a little bit of an oddball. I am very unique.
37:26 CJ: No I completely understand because that’s the way I did it for the longest time. Because you just… I did want that and I wanted to make sure things got there. I wanted to make sure an order wasn’t messed up. The most important part was I could throw a sticker in there. I could throw a patch in there. I could write a little note on the invoice and all of that. But then what happens is the volume kicks up, and then you realize well, I can’t have mugs, hats, little pieces of trinkets, all the different iPhone covers, and all of these things.
At some point, you do have to turn some of that over to the print on demand because then… Because if it was print on demand, you can say, okay, well if somebody… If you all of a sudden you start getting people saying, “I want an iPhone cover.” What are you going to do?
38:14 Lindsay: Exactly. I’m going to order 10 and they’ll collect dust.
38:17 CJ: Yes, you got to get one for iPhone 7S, iPhone 8, iPhone 10 X, iPhone 11. But where you have these print on demand, you could have it up and available… I’ve had people request something from me and had it up available on my store in less than five minutes.
38:33 Lindsay: Right.
38:34 CJ: I had somebody say… Somebody said, “Well, I would get a shirt from you.” Of course, we have this in the metal community, the extra extra large folks, bless their hearts. One guy said, “Hey man, I need something four X, five X. I can’t do three.” I’m thinking bigger than three x? He said if you had that, I would order it. So I said okay. Five minutes, I had a whole three x, four x, five x shirts and all my shirts available and send him a link, he was like, “That was fast.”
39:06 Lindsay: I need that right now because my fans that are triple XL they’re just like, Where’s the things?” I’m like, “I’m so sorry, I will print the things next time.” That’s money I’m losing. You live you learn. I did do this launch a little old school in areas which I shouldn’t have. But in the future, my dream was building my fan base and my mailing list and my career essentially. I’ve talked about it with Leah, I will look into warehouse like shipping, fulfillment facilities.
Not a lot around here in Toronto but again I’m very persistent. I will find someone and I will do that and then I can just clear up my house. Make it look social media pretty. Write all my music from here, have my little motivational speeches every morning. I can’t wait for that but it is a transition and the other thing is, is I did do a little rant when I was opening my bank account.
I was on the way to open my bank account. I said I think the millennial lie is the whole ‘it happens overnight’. I have been a work in progress for 18 years. I’ve seen the industry change multiple times in multiple ways. But this just didn’t happen overnight. I started Savvy in February. I had to tour. I had a lot of research to do, I’m still not done. I’m still getting distribution offers. I’ve got to figure out distribution. I’ve had a publishing offer, I need to go study publishing a little more. I don’t know enough about publishing, I’m not going to jump in and sign something.
There’s all these things that are being offered on the table for me and it’s like, okay, I need to be smart and do my research. When I’m caught up, I’m caught up. But with Savvy it’s just such a good little breakdown of where you need to start because it will grow bigger than you. Now I got my sister is… We’re only three years apart. She’s a graphic designer photographer. She gets it. She made my Shopify look beautiful. Having my family member who’s my best friend work for me it’s just been…
The fact that, hey, your sisters out of work and you can employ her is one of the most beautiful feelings in the entire world. I do have a fantastic team around me. A lot of the women, we’re really good multitaskers no offence to dudes, I get it. I admire the man’s pinpoint focus to get that job done and get it done right. But we women, we’re just an octopus with our tentacles everywhere doing multiple things at once. But that growth is just so beautiful. And I’m starting to see just the tip of the iceberg and I’m so happy.
I can’t wait to get back to writing music. I spoke to Steve at Savvy. He’s great. I think a lot of people have phone calls with him and stuff. I was like, “Steve, I’m so miserable I’m not writing music.” He’s like, “You’re going through a season. You’re in building season. You’re in business season, you will get back to being creative.” He’s like, “I know. My wife when she’s not writing she gets grumpy. I know. I get it.”
I was there and I was like, okay. I have a lot of stuff to clean up and then I’m going to get back into working on a very special little EP, hopefully, done before Christmas, but I can do that now. Because I don’t have to go on tour for this album as much as I know the fans want it, maybe one day they will get it. I don’t have to go on tour, I can just go back right into writing and performing music from home. Living the dream. I’m sorry, that’s living the dream now.
42:20 CJ: That is the dream. That’s what we want for every musician that’s listening. Again, doesn’t matter what genre you’re in. Lindsay has a clear picture now and this… How you do that thing as an independent artist today is part of what the Savvy Musician Academy is. Well, it is what the Savvy Musician Academy is about. It gives you that clear path and these are proven principles. Like I said, this is not something Leah just pulled out of her ear. This is stuff that’s been established for years and I wouldn’t be a part of the Savvy Musician. I would not take the time to do this podcast. I’ve got my own stuff to do. I would not waste my time if it wasn’t something that I sincerely believed in one, being principle-based but number two because I have such a heart for music.
Not because I’m a musician myself, but because I love music especially the heavy metal genre and I want to see it continue and I know what the problems are. I have a lot of very good friends that are professional musicians, especially in the heavy metal genre. I know the pain. To me, there’s such a cause here. This is so purpose-driven. When it comes to helping people.
43:28 Lindsay: One thing I do want to point out especially with heavy metal and rock and alternative, I wasn’t better but I’m doing this all myself. I have hired out session players. My guitarist is in Toronto, my basis is in Vancouver. I live with my drummer but he’s doing his own thing, he’s a drum teacher, he’s very busy, he lets me keep all my inventory here, bless him. But if you’re in a metal band, you have four to six other people who can help you with all of this.
If you go through Savvy, you have six other people. I am one person. Everybody in your band has a strength. If you’re a duet or you’re a three-piece or four-piece. Someone in there is good at social media. Someone in there is good at marketing. Someone in there is good at numbers and keeping a mailing list. Delegate the task. I was just like, “Man, what I would give to have five other band members right now doing this with me.”
It’s not that my hired session people can’t but they’re still in their other jobs. They’re still teachers, they’re still doing their respective thing. I can’t like plug them into savvy and be like, “Okay, do the thing.” They have multiple questions and it’s slowing me down and I had a deadline. Maybe in the future, they can. I know, my guitarist is in marketing, and he would love to do this. I’ll bring him in eventually.
If you start with your band, and you have yourself and you have these five other people helping you, you will get through the course so quickly. It’ll be like magic. It will.
44:53 CJ: That’s awesome. Thank you for saying that. Because we get so focused on the individual artists, we forget oftentimes other players involved and burden doesn’t have to all be on you but hats off to you. Horns off to you, Lindsay Schoolcraft for… I love it, the fairy goth mother, that was so cool. It’s so wonderful to watch your brand develop and to be so faithful to it. I love hearing about your work ethic and the grit you talked about because that is what it takes.
We don’t want this to be unrealistic for people to think, oh, yes, you just take this course and everything works. No, it takes work. It takes work. The difference is, is that you’re going to be willing to do the work more because you’re going to get the results and you’re going to get the results because you’re going to have a proven program. You’re going to have coaches there with you committed to you. Now I’m speaking specifically of the Elite program. We have other things like The Online Musician, what we call our TOM program, which is about to get an upgrade.
The Elite program is different. It’s a higher ticket, higher cost program, but you get all the coaches I work with, students and we have other teams. People specializing in email, people specializing in Facebook ads. These are people who make their living. For example, Jody, who was our Facebook ads coach, that’s what she does. She makes her living teaching people on Facebook ads. All of that and people forget about Steve, Leah’s husband Steve.
46:22 Lindsay: He’s so great.
46:22 CJ: He’s one of my best buddies. Oftentimes when we do, we have our little team meetings. It’s all women, Melissa and Chandra, Amy and all these other girls, and Leah, and then there’s just me and Steve. Representing the testosterone end of things in the face of so much estrogen holding our own and saying yes ma’am a whole lot of the time.
46:49 Lindsay: Oh bless.
46:51 CJ: Yes, Steve told me one time… No, I’m kidding, but the joke I say all the time when your wife tries to tell you what to do as a man, you say no woman is going to tell me what to do, so one time, when they tell you, “Hey, get over here and wash these dishes.” You just tell them I’m not doing anything until I finish this ironing. It is a… We work with some very brilliant ladies. Of course, Leah, as you said, the queen who really set the standard for all of this.
So thankful for you, Lindsay, for taking the time. Thank you for giving me a front-row seat to watching what’s going on and hope we get to chance to keep in touch and whatnot. But either way, we’ll be behind you 110% singing your praises, spreading the word and we know you’re going to do well.
47:47 Lindsay: Thank you so much. It means a lot, seriously.
47:50 CJ: How can people… We going to put stuff in the show notes, but what’s the best place for people to go to learn more about what you’re doing?
47:56 Lindsay: You can go to lindsayschoolcraft.com I spell Lindsay with an I and an A. Schoolcraft is with a C, not a K and you can also go to schoolcraftshop.com if you want to see how beautiful my sister made my Shopify. All my social media is linked there. You can come join me on Instagram. I’m quite punctual on Twitter and I just post a lot of really silly jokes which is fun. You got to make someone laugh even if it’s just yourself. I’m pretty active on my social media and if gothic rock or gothic culture or hey, happy Halloween, it’s this week. That’s your thing. That’s my life. It’s Halloween every day in my world. Come hang out.
48:41 CJ: Even guys, I tell people this all the time. Especially for somebody who’s listening to this podcast or not just a music listener. They’re aspiring musicians themselves. It is great to watch what Lindsay’s doing right now as a case study for yourself. Because the people learning the principles, they might as well watch somebody literally do a beyond… They all know Leah’s success story. They’ve heard it before. But to watch someone else following those similar proven principles that don’t belong to SMA, they belong to the marketing communications world like I said for as long as I’ve known them.
It’s great to watch that, they can check that out too. Again, all that information will be in the show notes. But again, Lindsay, it was so great to see you.
49:23 Lindsay: You too. Thank you again.
49:25 CJ: Guys, thank you so much for joining us on the Savvy Musician show. If you would like, you can leave a review. We need them. We lust for them. We salivate for them. We share them in our meetings and reviews are really important because they help other musicians like yourself discover the Savvy Musician Show. Leave us as many stars as you can. Again, whatever player you use, Stitcher, Spotify, iTunes, please take the time to leave a review. You’re also always welcome to come to one of our Facebook groups and leave your comments there. Some things that you would like to see us cover in the future. We’ll be happy to address it. Once again, thanks for being with us and we’ll see you soon.