Are you trying to figure out how to get more streams on Spotify? Did you know we offer a course on this? This week C.J. welcomes Dave Powers, the co-founder of the course, and Kirk Smith, one of its top students and rising stars.
Dave and Kirk tell how they started making hundreds of dollars and thousands of streams a day by focusing on getting on big playlists by building relationships with curators and sending them steady streams of singles. You could do this too and it all starts with learning more with this weeks episode of The Savvy Musician Show.
Key Points From This Episode:
- Introduction to Dave Powers and Kirk Smith
- Why focus on Spotify?
- What is a curator?
- The power of the playlist
- Releasing singles instead of albums
- Staying consistent with reaching out to curators
- A steady stream of content
- Spotify is content marketing
- User-generated, algorithm, and editorial playlists
- Keeping users on the platform
- The music business is a relational business
- Getting past rejection
- Why you should be in the Spotify course
- Focusing on one music style
- Bad quality music fails quickly
- Having faith in yourself and the principles
- The Spotify course group
“I ought to focus on a platform that actually could make me money rather me spending money to grow.” – @Mtncitymusic [00:04:08]
“I put the record out. I probably should’ve been putting out singles, but I learned that lesson.” – Kirk Smith [00:08:39]
“I’m starting to see like, ‘Okay, I need to plan stuff out to where I’m putting out every six to eight weeks or every couple months.’” – Kirk Smith [00:11:30]
“Spotify is content marketing, and the content is the music… their main thing isn’t to get music to people. Their main thing is to get people to Spotify.” – Kirk Smith [00:11:56]
“You have to be consistent with reaching out and with making the content.” – Kirk Smith [00:18:52]
“The sole purpose of any platform is to keep people on the platform.” – @metalmotivation [00:21:22]
“Selling your music is not the end. It’s a means to an end. It’s one part of all the things that you will do in this new era of social media-driven marketing where you’re sharing a lot more of your life than just the music itself.” @metalmotivation [00:22:05]
“If your desire with everything that you post is to keep people on the platform, attract them to it, and keep them on the platform for as long as possible, guess what the algorithm is going to do with your content? It’s going to favor it.” – @metalmotivation [00:22:55]
“I think in the last couple of years, there’s been a real understanding among artists that culturally people are listening to one song as opposed to albums more frequently.” @Mtncitymusic [00:24:20]
“Whereas Spotify is technically the label now. The curator becomes A&R.” – @metalmotivation [00:30:19]
“The music business has always been a relational business, but I don’t know of a time when there’s more opportunity for an artist to develop relationships that can advance your career outside the context of a record label.” – @Mtncitymusic [00:31:42]
“If you have bad quality music, good marketing helps bad products fail quickly.” – @Mtncitymusic [00:50:52]
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
Kirk Smith (Spotify) — https://spoti.fi/2FcCAFM
Dave Powers — https://www.facebook.com/mountaincitymusic/
Spotify for Musicians — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/spotify/Click For Full Transcript
00:21 CJ: Welcome to The Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz. I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy, and I love hosting this Savvy Musician Show podcast, premier music marketing podcast. I just don’t know another one out there like it. They are echoes and not voices. No, I probably shouldn’t talk like that, but it’s a joy come each and every week to feature interviews and inspiring messages and great how-to information on how to market in this new era of the music industry, and today’s podcast is no different.
00:00:56 CJ: I love the diversity we’ve been having as of late, and today’s really special because I’ve got two guests with me today, one who I’ve gotten to know through the Savvy Musician Academy, one of our Elite students who’s also a participant in one of our products, which we’re going to talk more about, and then another who we’ll meet here for just a second. So, first of all, Dave Powers, welcome to the podcast. Good to see you, man.
00:01:20 Dave Powers: Hey. Thanks so much, CJ. I’m stoked to be on this with you, bro.
00:01:23 CJ: Great to have you, and also with us today is Kirk Smith. Now, Kirk, are you a student also at Savvy?
00:01:31 Kirk Smith: Yeah. I have a few of the Savvy products, and I found out about Spotify. It’s a course that Dave did through that.
00:01:38 CJ: Great. Well, and that’s what we’re talking about today is Spotify and just to set that up, the great revolution of the modern music industry really happened at the end of the ’90s with the advent of Napster with torrent bit streaming, with people digitizing their CDs, and now, all of a sudden, these MP3s, which nobody had ever heard of started to literally be networked together. So, you weren’t even sometimes getting one whole song from somebody. You were getting a complete file from thousands of different computers’ networks. I don’t know how it all worked, but that was Napster, and of course, it turned everything upside down. Of course, there’s a metal guy. I remember Metallica being very outspoken about this, and they were mocked because people just saw them as greedy musicians and all of that.
00:02:27 CJ: Well, now, they’ve been since justified in their argument, but then it went from there because for a few years then, that’s what was happened, a lot of file sharing, and people were getting used to the MP3s via podcast and all that, and then with the advent of the iPod, then Apple started to try to montage this MP3 digital phenomena. So, now, everybody was talking about downloading music that you could legally and pay for just $0.99 a song or $9.99 for an album. You were downloading music.
00:02:58 CJ: Now, in our day, if you were to say you were downloading music from iTunes, you’d be considered ancient. You’d be like AOL, but that just doesn’t seem like that all that long ago, but now everybody’s used to now the next phase of that, which is streaming music, and I remember Pandora and all that coming on the scene, and that was what everybody was doing for their music. Of course, you had to put up with commercials and all that kind of stuff, but then the market dominator became Spotify, and that’s really changing things now. So, Dave, why don’t you take us because at some point, Spotify became such a dominant that Leah felt the need at Savvy to get a Spotify course going. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about that?
00:03:47 Dave Powers: Yeah, it’s been really cool to partner with Leah and the Savvy Musician Academy actually and creating this course. So, the basic deal that I was working on as I was building my Facebook platform, and as I got into the 150,000 followers and stuff like that, I started turning my attention to Instagram, and as I thought about that, I thought, “I ought to focus on a platform that actually could make me money rather me spending money to grow.” So, even though I continued to be active in our social media stuff on Facebook and Instagram, I really just turned my attention towards Spotify, and one of the things that I found out, CJ, was that all of these big artists were whining and complaining because of what you just articulated. They’re used to getting $9.99 for an album or $0.99 for a song, and after everybody’s splits come out, the artist who’s maybe getting about $0.70 of that.
00:04:42 Dave Powers: So, if you sell a million individual songs, you get $700,000, but on this new landscape with Spotify, they were paying artists about four-tenths of a cent per stream. So, if you go from making $700,000 for a million songs sold to somebody streaming your song a million times and you make $4,000-
00:05:05 CJ: Wow.
00:05:07 Dave Powers: … you better believe they were frustrated. On the flip side of that though, all the indie artists were like, “Wait a minute. We get to make money when people listen to our music? This is awesome. I don’t care if it’s four-tenths of a cent. I’m getting money, man. This is great.” So, that’s the mindset that I have was I’m just curious how this whole platform works, and I started doing a bunch of research and trial and error stuff, and I think on July 1st, 2017, we had about 629 monthly listeners with 150,000 Facebook followers, and that just made me so mad because it was like I’m trying to promote market on Facebook and drag all those people over, and there wasn’t that connectivity at that time. So, I got frustrated and started calming myself and trying to think through processes and stuff, and this idea came to me about how to connect with curators that aren’t under the organizational umbrella or not being paid by Spotify.
00:06:10 Dave Powers: They’re just normal people, average people making playlists that other people find and follow. So, I started reaching out to those people in over a, I don’t know, seven-to-eight-week period of time. I went from 629 monthly listeners to 62,400 monthly listeners.
00:06:27 CJ: Wow.
00:06:27 Dave Powers: By the end of that year, I started in July. So, December 31st, my goal was to have 50,000 streams total in my music, and I already had 20,000 or 30,000 at that time. Using this process, we blew that out of the water, man. We ended up the year of 1.8 million streams instead of just 50 like my goal was. So, anyway, just jumping into that space, and it occurred to me. Man, I can really help other musicians really similarly to how Leah processed stuff. She found a really beautiful niche and insight on how to create streams of income by selling merch and different things like that, marketing yourself as an artist online. Then she said, “Whoa. I have a passion to help others.” So, her and I share that same passion.
00:07:18 Dave Powers: So, we developed a friendship and got to create a course together to help other musicians find a stream of income through streaming, and that’s how I met Kirk. He’s part of the Spotify for Musicians course, and Kirk has blown it up. I literally cannot wait for him to tell you his story today. It’s so cool.
00:07:36 CJ: Awesome. Kirk, tell us, what’s going on?
00:07:39 Kirk Smith: First of all, I’m so pumped to be here and be talking to you guys. I’m so grateful for everything that’s been happening. Literally, it’s changed my life.
00:07:48 CJ: Wow.
00:07:50 Kirk Smith: I’m a producer, and I mix and I master, and I’ve been working with artists forever and helping them make their own product and take it market themselves. It was about two years ago, I was like, “Well, I want to make my own content. I want to do my own thing. I like producing and mixing/mastering, but I want to make music. I got it inside of me. I want to do it.” So, probably for about a year, I just made music in the mornings, at night when I had time, and just built up a collection of songs, instrumentals, started to find my own little voice and what I liked and my aesthetic. Right when I went to put it out… I think it was May 2019. I got ready to put it out, and I came across the Spotify course, and I was like, “Okay, so I need to look at this.”
00:08:39 Kirk Smith: I put the record out. I probably should’ve been putting out singles, but I learned that lesson, but I put out the whole record, and actually, a couple days before, I was like, “Oh, man. I need to make sure all my stuff works.” So, I basically created a single so that I could flesh out the infrastructure of everything and make sure it all works and Spotify for Artists and the backend and all my links and everything. So, I just created a single in a day, so I would have something to prime the pump before the album dropped, right? So, created the single, put it out, and I started going through his program. I reached out to curators. I had my little template script, and I was just trying to do as many as I could a day.
00:09:32 Kirk Smith: If I got five a day, I did five a day. If I got 10 a day, I did 10 a day, and pretty much every single day, I was chipping away at it and building my list, and I got crickets. Tons of people, no response, but every once in a while, I got a little response. “Hey, love the music. Great,” and I was telling all these people, “Hey, my album drops in a couple months. Is it okay if I follow up? People were like, “Yeah, cool.” So, I’m building this list, and I mean I can remember when I get my first thousand streams, and I was like, “This can work. This is going to work.” So, it’s like those little… I’m getting into fishing now, and it’s like you get those little nibbles, and you’re like, “Okay. There’s fish here,” and then you might get a bite, but you don’t hook it. You don’t bring it in.
00:10:25 Kirk Smith: But when you bring one in, you’re like, “Okay. This is going to work.” So, this whole process of reaching out, building the list was awesome. It was very exciting. Some days and some weeks, it was arduous, but you keep at it. So, did that for I don’t know months and months and months, and all the while I was building relationships. So, I built relationships with a couple of artists. We ended up collaborating and doing some songs together. So, we shared each other’s audiences. I ended up connecting with some really cool indie labels that are in my niche and said, “Hey, if you ever want to do something together, if there’s anything I can do for you guys, that’d be awesome.”
00:11:07 Kirk Smith: So, we ended up doing some projects together. I got on a compilation, and the thing about it, it’s just amazing way to just build relationships. We just kept building relationships and making music and following up with more music. So, all along in that process, I’m pushing the music that I have, but I’m building more content, so I’m making more content to get ready and now, I’m starting to see like, “Okay, I need to plan stuff out to where I’m putting out every six to eight weeks or every couple months, I got something that I can do.”
00:11:42 CJ: Now, when you say the content in every six, you’re talking about a song?
00:11:45 Kirk Smith: I’m talking about a song.
00:11:46 CJ: Okay.
00:11:46 Kirk Smith: So, here’s the mind-blowing thing I realized with Spotify is it’s content marketing. Spotify is content marketing, and the content is the music. So, what I realized was, Spotify, their main thing isn’t to get music to people. Their main thing is to get people to Spotify. That’s how they function. That’s how they’re able to give music to people, but their bottom line is getting people to Spotify, and they need content marketing in order to get people to their platform, and that’s the music. So, once I realize that, it’s like, “Okay, they need a steady flow of content.” Just like YouTube likes a steady flow of content and all the others, they like a steady flow of content. Now, it doesn’t have to be I drop a song every single day, right?
00:12:38 CJ: Right.
00:12:39 Kirk Smith: But I could do something every eight weeks, every six weeks, every five weeks, and it’s easier for me because I can produce mix and master, but just seeing that that’s… Spotify is content marketing with that light went off. So, then I had my EP coming, and I started doing singles on my EP. By this time, I probably had, I don’t know, four to 7,000 monthly listeners, and I was just like through the roof, and I was making $2 a day or $3 a day on music, and I’m like, “This is crazy,” and I’m like, “I’m not touring. I don’t have to buy a van. I don’t have to change tires. I don’t have to fill it up with gas. I don’t have to leave the house, and I’m making $2 a day,” and I’m like, “This is amazing. This is awesome.” I was like, “It’s not gonna pay all the bills, but I’m able to share my music and meet people and work with artists,” and it’s like, “This is awesome.”
00:13:37 Kirk Smith: So, that’s how it was going and growing. Then I’m working on my EP, and I’m like, “I’m going to chop this up into singles.” I sent it out some to some of my fans and some of my friends before I released it and said, “What do you guys think? It had some of the songs that they liked,” so I was like, “Okay, I’m going to lead with that,” and I put out a couple songs. I actually used artwork from my three-year-old finger paintings, and I did digital representations of his finger painting because it was just really cool, and I was like, “I don’t have to pay a graphic artist.”
00:14:15 CJ: [crosstalk 00:14:15].
00:14:15 Kirk Smith: I’ll pay him down the road in college. So, I started putting out the singles, and one of the singles ended up getting picked up by a really famous band in my niche. They put it on one of their quarantine playlists. I was so blown away and messaged them. It was like, “Thank you so much,” and it was getting picked up by a lot of my kind of top playlist of the relationship I had built. So, it was getting some good traction, and then I followed up six weeks with another single, and that got a lot of good placements, and then I think it was about a month later or where it was later, I drop the EP, and it’s like, “Okay, cool.” I open up my little app the next day, and it says a 100,000 plays for your EP, like the morning of, and I was like, “Honey, I think we did it. I think we hit the jackpot.”
00:15:18 Kirk Smith: So, I was freaking out. Come out to find or I found out that it basically tallied all the streams from my first two singles and lumped them into the EP, which is cool, so I wasn’t getting a 100,000 streams a day. It was all right. Once I got over that emotional realization, I was like, “This is amazing. Let’s keep going,” and essentially three weeks later, or 10 days later, I get on a little editorial playlist, and it’s something that’s called a personalized playlist. So, you have the user-generated playlists, the algorithm playlists, and the big boys editorial playlist.
00:16:01 Kirk Smith: This was somewhere in between editorial and algorithmic, and I got a little bump in my numbers, and I have a little list of my own that I’ve been building through giving away music, and I said, “Hey guys, go to this list. Check it out here. Make sure you smash the heart and listen to it all the way through, and then three days later, I got on another editorial playlist. The crazy thing was it wasn’t even the song that I pitched to the Spotify for Artist pitch song. So, someone must have listened to the EP, and they just like this other song better, which was really cool.
00:16:45 Kirk Smith: So, I was like, “It’s not even the song I pitched,” and it’s starting to pick up on these little editorial playlists. So, every time, every couple days, it got on another editorial playlist, and every couple days I would send it out to my people and say, “If you haven’t listened already, go here, hit the heart, listen to it all the way through,” and it went from… I was getting 6,000 streams a day before all this happened, and then it jumped up to 14,000 streams, and then I was somewhere I didn’t have cell service, and I was driving, working all day, finally got onto the interstate, and I’m looking at my phone like, “Something’s weird. These numbers are really, really high. This is crazy.”
00:17:28 Kirk Smith: Then I saw an email, and it said, “Yeah, you’ve been added to this editorial playlist, and the playlist had 1.4 million followers,” and since then, that was the 25th of last month July, and since then, I’ve been getting 30,000 streams a day.
00:17:48 Dave Powers: That makes me so happy.
00:17:52 Kirk Smith: Hey, yesterday, Monday is the bump day. Yesterday, I broke 40. I had 40,300 streams.
00:18:02 Dave Powers: No kidding. So, dude, did you do the math on that? How much did you make in that one day?
00:18:08 Kirk Smith: Well, the math is always different for me because this… Some of my stuff are 50-50 splits with other artists. So, I round down a little bit, but yeah. I think when I do point 0.004, it turns out to be $160 or something. So, it’s something like that.
00:18:27 Dave Powers: Okay. That’s nothing to blink at, man.
00:18:29 Kirk Smith: Dude, I mean, I was excited to make $2 a day, $3 a day. I mean, I knew it would grow, but just that idea of, like it’s truly passive income. I definitely have done a lot of leg work and a lot of things to make the content and to talk to the people. It is a lot of work, and it’s consistent. You have to be consistent with reaching out and with making the content, but today, I’m talking to you guys. I’m making some plans for some new music. I got to fish with my son this morning, and I’m making 160 bucks. So, it’s been amazing. It’s really been amazing, and the thing that I realized too that I wanted to just mention throughout this whole process was I can remember years ago talking to a big record executive, and they were talking about how they broke this song. It was a really famous song, and they were just telling me how they broke it, meaning they blew it up.
00:19:29 Kirk Smith: They started in a very small radio markets, college radio, local radio, and they would play the song, and then the popularity grew. They would take those numbers, and they would take it to the next market, and then they would take those numbers, and they’d bring it to the big boys. So, they started in the small markets, and as they got the spins and the popularity, they’d bring it up to the bigger markets, and as this is all happening, I’m realizing, “This is the same thing,” like these curators, like Dave said, they’re just regular people who love music, and you reach out to them. You build relationship with them, and it starts to affect the algorithm, and then the algorithm starts to affect… The numbers can start to get the attention of the editors.
00:20:19 Kirk Smith: So, I’m just like, “Okay. It’s just like breaking a record in a radio promotion thing,” and now Dave has shown us how, independent artists, we can become our own promoters in this sense. So, it’s amazing, super cool.
00:20:34 CJ: What’s interesting about this is how similar it is to album rock in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s where they would put out 45 singles, and you always have to have something on the B side. What would always happen is the B-side song would be the one that makes it, right?
00:20:54 Kirk Smith: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
00:20:55 CJ: If anybody knows your history of rock bands like Kiss, Kiss’ famous ballad, the original rock ballad, Beth, was just a B-side song. It was not the one they were trying to promote, and that thing took over the world. So, it’s very, very common. The other thing is how similar this is to the way the other social platforms are actually working because you’re quite right, and I’ve been arguing this a lot lately that the sole purpose of any platform is to keep people on the platform. So, you want to draw people to it, which means, and I said that social platforms are much akin to the government. They don’t produce anything, but yet they control everything.
00:21:38 CJ: So, Spotify, YouTube, they don’t make anything. Even the record labels didn’t make anything. They’re powerless without creative artists. They’re powerless without the musicians. So, it does. It becomes a content thing, and it’s a challenge sometimes when at Savvy, we’re trying to get musicians to get the same philosophy as it relates to their music. I’ll tell them, “Selling your music is not the end. It’s a means to an end. It’s one part of all the things that you will do in this new era of social media-driven marketing where you’re sharing a lot more of your life than just the music itself. You’re contacting people, like you’re collaborating with people.”
00:22:24 CJ: This necessity of being the mother of invention, you’re diversifying, and it’s like, “Okay, well, these are new challenges, new precipices we have to reach, and there’s limitations, but there’s also freedom,” and there’s also opportunity if you keep a great attitude and realize that the algorithms whether it’s Spotify or Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, the algorithm… I always tell people. Just make a covenant agreement with the algorithm to have the same desire that the algorithm has and the algorithm will show you love. If your desire with everything that you post is to keep people on the platform, attract them to it, and keep them on the platform for as long as possible, guess what the algorithm is going to do with your content? It’s going to favor it, and I love to see that this is working across the board.
00:23:10 CJ: So, I’m sure you guys have both heard from the Instagram headline that was bannered about just in the last few weeks of the CEO, Spotify, saying, “You can’t just be putting out a record every two or three years. Everybody, of course, all the musicians are getting bent out of shape about it, but this is in essence what he means, right?
00:23:29 Kirk Smith: Correct, and yeah, I read that article, and I’ve listened to a bunch of interviews with him, and he seems like a good guy. The thing is it’s like, okay, if you made a records’ worth of material in two years or in a year and a half, you could still break that up and release it over the course of a year and a half, and you’re basically not having to, like not to make an album every four weeks. So, it’s the release schedule and strategy, even not as much as just the amount of content that you have to create.
00:24:02 CJ: Dave, do you think that we’re still suffering from the hangover of the record industry in the sense that you have to put out an album and thinking that way as opposed to what this new market is forcing artists like Kirk and yourself to do?
00:24:20 Dave Powers: I think in the last couple of years, there’s been a real understanding among artists that culturally people are listening to one song as opposed to albums more frequently, and I think the invention of the playlist or that concept anyway has really accentuated that concept, because you’re pulling from a variety of different artists and listening to more of an eclectic, or even I was going to say an eclectic mix of music, but even in the same genre, just jamming all these different artists together, they’re typically not adding entire albums but their favorite songs. So, I think it’s starting to click for artists all over. Hey, we’re in a culture where we used to prioritize listening to and enjoying an album, and now, our culture is shifting to listening to and enjoying a variety of different artists on a playlist, and that’s our new album.
00:25:12 Dave Powers: So, I know that there’s some purists though that are hanging on to the creation of the album and don’t want to do the single thing because they want people to engage with a body of work and have an experience and have continuity and all that stuff. So, I don’t think that that concept will ever die. I don’t think in the listener or in the artist, but in general in culture, I think people are starting to get the idea, “Okay. We’re in a single-oriented culture, so we probably need to create and release some.”
00:25:42 CJ: Yeah, and I think… I mean, it’s great. I love that you call them purists because that’s literally the way that it ends up because a purist can end up as the starving artist whereas Kirk over here is like, hey, he’s happy to go fishing and do the passive income thing. So, I think in some cases, you can have both because obviously, like Kirk can add the Facebook, Instagram, Shopify component to this, right? He can eventually get into then building a more personal relationship where he’s sharing his life and his fishing trips on Facebook and all these sorts of things and getting people to buy, merch or anything else.
00:26:24 CJ: Because he’s got a foothold with Spotify, he can expand because again, it’s the same principles that are in application, but Dave, I really like what you just said that the big transformation in people’s thinking and artist’s thinking is to think in terms of the playlist, less in terms of the album, and again, it doesn’t have to be that that’s all that you do, but it’s a great way for you to be competitive to get yourself to the place and again, you can cultivate and build your fan base and put out an album if you want, put out a concept Pink Floyd album if you want. But to get to that place, we got to get you out of the day job. We got to get you out of… You need some of that passive income, so that you have more money to spend, more time, excuse me, to spend on these other things.
00:27:12 CJ: So, I love this idea of… because I think that’s a really big aha, Dave, in all honesty is musicians try to think in terms of the playlist, which means, yeah, you’re thinking in terms of individual songs, and there’s probably a lot of artists listening to us right now, Dave, who’ve never even heard of something like a curator.
00:27:32 Dave Powers: Okay, so let’s define that. So, a curator in this new music business era is somebody that just creates a playlist on one of the streaming platforms. So, they jump onto Spotify. They have their personal account. They put a bunch of their favorite songs on a list, they make it public, and people start following it over time, and that amount of people begins to grow, and I think the definition of a curator isn’t just somebody that makes a playlist and sets it and forgets it. A curator is somebody that wants to create an experience for themself and for others to enjoy. So, it’s almost like creating a concert for any live musicians. There’s a flow to concerts and where you play specific songs and tell specific stories because you’re trying to create moments, and I think a curator has that similar thought process that as somebody’s listening through their music, they’re trying to create moments.
00:28:34 Dave Powers: Like the curators that are overseeing some of the editorial playlists that Kirk is on, they are very much tuned into creating an experience. His music is… Kirk correct me if I’m wrong in terms of the way that I articulate your music, but it’s ambient, instrumental. It’s peaceful. It’s really easy to listen to. It’s easy to sleep to, and I think, Kirk, isn’t that right? That one of your biggest playlists is called… It’s something about sleep, isn’t it?
00:29:02 Kirk Smith: Yeah, Deep Sleep.
00:29:03 CJ: Deep Sleep. That’s a great game.
00:29:06 Dave Powers: It is. I think that’s the one with 1.4 million listeners. So, if any of you that are listening by the way want to enjoy some really peaceful beautiful music and support Kirk simultaneously, check out the Deep Sleep playlist on Spotify. It’s a great playlist, but oh, man. I just lost my train of thought on what I was saying.
00:29:23 CJ: Well, there’s I want to capitalize on what you just said because this… I’m really taken aback about how much of what we’ve discussed is just a different version of the way the record industry was being done. For example, the concept of the single, much like it was in the old days with the 45s, the B-side you get all the airplay, but then also what you just mentioned with the curator, the curators are the new A&R. It’s the guys who would go out and find these bands, who are getting all this popularity on a local scene, and they go in and they see the band perform, and they see a full house, and right after the show, they go back, and they sign that band. That’s the way it used to be done back then.
00:30:05 CJ: So, the curator is the new one who’s out there scouting, so to speak. Even though content producers are trying to share their stuff with curators, it’s the same process whereas Spotify is technically the label now. The curator becomes A&R. They become the people who are out there scouting and bringing in the new talent, so to speak. So, sure, it’s still an uphill climb for the artist. That’s also the same as it’s always been in the record industry.
00:30:39 CJ: However, there’s more autonomy now in the hands of the artist, but the challenge is still there to be creative.
00:30:50 Dave Powers: That’s right, and one of the things that I’m loving about this current setup and how Spotify is structured is it really places opportunity in the hands of the artists that they didn’t use to have. I mean, you used to have to have a record label that’s advocating opening doors and all of that stuff, but currently you can do what Kirk did. He just would find playlists. He would reach out to those people that created the playlist, and he’d create a relationship with them, and I don’t know if you guys caught this. When he was talking, he said, “I made an initial contact. I started developing a relationship, and then I told them, ‘I’m going to be releasing more music. Is it cool if I reach back out to you?'” What was he doing? He was creating future opportunities. He was opening up doors for himself in the future to touch back with them and submit a song to them.
00:31:40 Dave Powers: Man, I’ll tell you what. The music business has always been a relational business, but I don’t know of a time when there’s more opportunity for an artist to develop relationships that can advance your career outside the context of a record label. It’s phenomenal.
00:31:58 CJ: Yeah, I think this is great. So, Kirk, where to from here for you? What’s your next hill to conquer?
00:32:06 Kirk Smith: Well, I got to wait three months for the checks to start rolling in. There’s that, but essentially, what I’ve done is I’ve got music done in the can. I have an artist/friend who’s not a three-year-old, who’s helped do some of the work for the next basically four singles. So, she’s a great artist, and I got the artwork done. I got the music done, and I’ve got the dates chose, so I can release… I think it’s four singles, and then I’ll do the EP in January. So, basically, from at this point, I’m going to try to stay on Spotify’s radar. I’ve done a few collaborations. I just came out with the EP this Friday, and I got a single coming out in September, another in October, and basically, I’m going to try to have a release every four weeks until January, and then depending on everything else in the world, I’m going to make more content to fill up the next year. So, find a week or two week, where I know I can just hunker down and make the content.
00:33:13 CJ: That’s cool.
00:33:15 Kirk Smith: Yeah, and now that there’s actually money starting to trickle in, I can leverage my time to do that instead of working on the early mornings and the late evenings on music. So that’s one thing is I’m going to try to stockpile the content and stay on their radar by making sure I can at least pitch one song to editors every four weeks, and that’s the first thing. I’m also doing some list building with giveaway music. So, I’m trying to grow my email list and-
00:33:44 CJ: Good.
00:33:45 Kirk Smith: … stay on that and tinker around with Facebook ads. I’m using part of my revenue from streaming to pay for some of my Facebook ads and all that kind of stuff. Then, honestly, what I want to do is start again from scratch. I have other music that I like to make that’s not in the ambient, cinematic peace world, so I’m basically going to create another album’s worth of material and make a plan to start this all over again-
00:34:16 CJ: That’s great.
00:34:17 Kirk Smith: … because I hear you guys talk to artists sometimes about like, “Well, I like this music, and I like to make this music,” and I don’t want to… It’s like, “Okay, that’s fine. Just pick one. Start making that kind of music. Make it as best as you can. Start putting it out, and if you build that to a place, it might give you the opportunity to start a side project or to start another thing and then start what else other kind of music do you want to build.” So, that’s how I approached it when I had that same conversation with myself. It’s like, “Well, I like doing all this stuff.” It’s like, “Well, just start. Just pick a thing that you like to do and do that as good as you can and build it.” So, that’s where I’m headed.
00:34:56 CJ: What I love about the attitude here is the commitment to the long-term approach, which I think gets a lot of people. I just saw a comment in one of our Facebook groups for someone who’s been in that particular course. A group for I know over a year was asking about their branding. They’re thinking about tinkering with their branding again, and I said, “Man, I wish you were so much further down the road. I wish you were just… ” Sometimes, I want people who just are fearless, don’t know what they’re doing, and are just willing to go on the internet and break stuff.” It’s the person who’s always thinking and never gets started. They never commit to one thing. They’re just afraid to leave the other stuff like, “Is it their other kind of music that they love to do that if they leave it alone, if they don’t tell everybody about it, then everybody’s going to think that they’re this artist and not this kind of artist?” You don’t have to worry about that.
00:35:48 CJ: The news cycle is very, very short. People have short attention spans. They forget real easily. Don’t worry about that. What you need to do is to, I think, and I think this is the case with you, Kirk, is you have to taste results, you know?
00:36:04 Kirk Smith: Yeah.
00:36:04 CJ: You have to taste that. So, it’s a self-reinforcing hunger because it keeps like fire. Fire is the one hunger that grows stronger the more you feed it.
00:36:17 Kirk Smith: Correct. Correct, and it’s like the two things. It’s like getting a taste of someone liking your music or getting a ad or that kind of thing. That’s one thing that feeds the fire. The other thing is getting okay with a rejection or getting okay with crickets. That’s really hard for an artist to put themselves out there and to feel like, “Oh, they didn’t like it,” or, “Oh, they didn’t respond back.” It’s like you can’t push through that until you start really experiencing it and experiencing that mix with people resonating with the music, and I think once you experience it enough to where you’re comfortable in your own skin, and you start to believe in your own music, then it allows you to just keep sharing, and it’s like, “You know what? A lot of people aren’t going to dig this music, but I really like it. It resonates with me, and I know that there’s people resonating with it because they’re telling me.”
00:37:15 Kirk Smith: So, that fuels you to be like, “This is fine. I’m going to put this out there. I’m going to share it, and some people are going to get it, and some people won’t, and that’s okay.”
00:37:25 CJ: Yeah, I think that’s amazing, and I think that people, right now, the response of most musicians to things like Spotify is just… It’s just somebody else who doesn’t do anything in music or is jacking the artist again. That’s how they see it instead of saying, “Okay, well, this is the… ” It’s the way I look at things politically. People will act online as so emotionally as if a president really changes that much of their life, like 50% of their life as they know it is going to be changed based on the next president. It would have to be because that’s how much they’re going off about it whereas I’ve lived through several presidents in my lifetime, and I can still buy pizza. I can still watch football and do all of these sorts of things. Nothing’s changed fundamentally about my life, nothing has, but people act as if it’s the end-all and the be-all because we need something to blame for our lack of effort.
00:38:23 CJ: We need something to blame for our lack of willingness to take care of ourselves to build the life we want, build the career we want, achieve goals, experience real achievement and lasting change. So, it’s helpful. We’re all the ultimate environmentalists. In other words, not that we hug trees, but that we think everything’s determined by things external to us. So, we’ve got to have the right politician. We got to have the right policy. It’s these technocrats that are killing us. It’s amazon. It’s Spotify. It’s Apple. It’s all of these people. It’s they’re at war against me, and that’s why I am where I am. No. That’s not why you are where you are. You are where you are because you’re filled with self-doubt, fear, procrastination, laziness, and a host of other.
00:39:08 CJ: You’re in your own way, but here’s the thing is, yeah, you are your own biggest problem, but that means you’re also your own best solution.
00:39:15 Dave Powers: That’s right.
00:39:16 CJ: You want to get to the place where we can say it’s up to you, and you feel like that’s good news whereas lot of people, you tell them it’s up to you, and it scares the hell out of them because they don’t feel like they can trust themselves. Well, the Savvy, this is what this… It’s about equipping the self-governing musician. That’s what we do. We give you the tools and methods and applications to help you do what you do. We don’t write your music for you, and we can’t turn you into a go-getter. If you don’t have that, you know what I mean? You can know all the knowledge in the world about marketing and algorithms and all that stuff and still have what Kirk’s been calling crickets. Nothing but crickets in what you try to produce and the efforts you try to make.
00:40:02 CJ: So, you have to be willing to get out of your own way, which is what Kirk did. So, Dave, as we wrap this up… I mean, Dave, sell me your Spotify course.
00:40:17 Dave Powers: Okay, that will be fun actually, and CJ, I just want to just jump in before I sell you the course. Is there an opportunity for us to just get some basic numbers so people have an understanding of where Kirk started, where he is today, and also give a name of his art so that they can go find it on Spotify or Apple Music or whatever and help support him? Is that cool if we should do that now or should we do that after this?
00:40:45 CJ: Yeah, I would have concluded with contact information for both of you guys.
00:40:48 Dave Powers: Oh, man. Sorry about that.
00:40:48 CJ: I’m a professional here, Dave, but thank you for trying to hold my hand, pal.
00:40:56 Dave Powers: Dang it. Sorry, man. I was listening. You’re like, “Oh.”
00:40:58 CJ: Well, one thing that I think would really be helpful is what you just mentioned about just summarizing the numbers timeline because that was obviously told throughout the story. So, I think that’s a great thing to share, Kirk, real quick before Dave talks about Spotify.
00:41:12 Kirk Smith: Yeah, totally.
00:41:13 CJ: Encapsulate that for us.
00:41:14 Kirk Smith: Absolutely, and I would say it’s like when I talk to my artists and talk to people I’m like, “If you could do one thing to start this whole journey, I would say take this Spotify course. It’s powerful. It’s elegant. It simple in a lot of ways. It just takes you being consistent and working it.” So, it’s not overwhelming in a technical sense. It doesn’t necessarily cost you anything to implement the strategy other than your time. So, just my testimonial is do it. Take the course. I’ve recouped my money 100 times over from what the investment was into it, and I’m making relationships with people.
00:41:56 Kirk Smith: So, five stars testimonial, whatever, I’m all in. It’s amazing. I might have had 50 streams and maybe two monthly listeners. I would have had three if my mom had Spotify.
00:42:13 CJ: When was this though?
00:42:14 Kirk Smith: This was April 2018.
00:42:17 CJ: Okay.
00:42:18 Kirk Smith: No, 2019.
00:42:20 CJ: Okay, great.
00:42:20 Kirk Smith: April 2019. It’s all blended together, and I built it up to probably 7,000 monthly listeners, and then it went to 12,000 monthly listeners, and it crossed 20,000 monthly listeners, and I got on this playlist probably about three and a half weeks ago, and I was like, “Oh, man, wouldn’t it be cool if I got to 80,000 monthly listeners? That would be so flipping awesome. I cannot believe it.” I’m waiting for it to populate. It hasn’t updated today, but as of yesterday, I’m at 325,000 monthly listeners.
00:43:01 CJ: Wow. So, we’re talking about just over a year? Just over a year, 18 months.
00:43:07 Kirk Smith: Wow, and I’m on track at least for this month to get a million streams in a month.
00:43:13 CJ: Kirk, that’s great, man, and guys, this is ambient music.
00:43:18 Kirk Smith: Yeah.
00:43:19 CJ: Okay? We’re not talking about pop or hip-hop or straight-up rock and roll or something like that. This is just ambient music. So, there’s no lyrics in there?
00:43:30 Kirk Smith: No lyrics. I like to write songs, but it takes me so dang long to write a song. I’m like, “I can just crank out music and just do it like that.”
00:43:38 CJ: Well, I’ll tell you what, we’ve got a lot of ambient players in our Elite course, as Dave probably knows, and we’ve got one guy, Jeff Pierce who’s guitar, and he’s worked with Windham Hill over the years, and he’s just put out his, I think, his 13th album or something, and he does really, really well just like CD Baby. These people are still buying these CDs, but like I told him, I said, “You know what? I and I think a lot of people are closet fans of ambient music because my background is design marketing and all these sorts,” so I still do a lot of creative type stuff and CDs correspondence and writing emails and blog posts and all this stuff. So, even though I’m a metal fan, I can’t listen to lyric-based music and think conceptually.
00:44:23 Kirk Smith: Yeah, you never get anything done.
00:44:25 CJ: But I don’t want it necessarily to be quiet either. So, for a long time, in fact, that’s where I came up with the phrase that Leah was the heavy metal Enya because I would listen to ambient music all the time. So, of course, Enya always pops up on every ambient channel and all of that. It’s the Kenny G of ambient music, but then when Leah first sent her music to me, I think this is beginning of 2012 or something like that, and I listened to it, I thought I was just so struck. The first thing I thought was she’s a heavy metal Enya, but it was because I was a devoted listener to ambient music. As the harder I get in relation to that is maybe some smooth jazz, but anything that’s relaxation or ambient or whatever spacey, it’s easy to put in the background. It creates atmosphere. It truly is musical life enhancement. It truly is mini escapism.
00:45:27 CJ: So, I’m not surprised, but I think for our listener, they feel like, again, thinking like the old industry, it’s got to be something poppy. It’s got to be something that everybody can sing along to, three-and-a-half-minute song, but you’re proof that that’s not the case.
00:45:43 Kirk Smith: Yeah, it needs to be something that you believe in, something that resonates with you, but then the key is to just go find other people who would most likely it because if I was going to go reach out to a bunch of metal curators and be like, “Check out my new thing,” it’s like I’m going to get laughed at, and no one’s going to like it.
00:46:02 CJ: Just tell them it’s heavy metal ambient music. They’ll be like, “What?”
00:46:05 Kirk Smith: Yeah, mix minus guitar, drums, bass and vocals.
00:46:12 Dave Powers: I love that, Kirk. I love the story. I love the journey that you’ve been on. I’ve been tracking with you along this journey obviously because you’ve been a part of the course, and just watching you stay faithful just step after step, man, day after day, engaging in the process some days more than others, some days like you articulated in your story. Sometimes, it was like, “Man, this is a grind.” Sometimes, it’s exciting. Sometimes, you have to deal with a bunch of internal stuff like CJ was talking about of mindset and what do you do with rejection and how do you process all of that stuff, but man, it has been so cool to watch you just keep moving, keep moving and then boom, this thing break open for you. That is so awesome, man. I love that.
00:46:59 Kirk Smith: Thanks, Dave. I appreciate it.
00:47:01 Dave Powers: Then CJ, I really love the perspective that you bring to the table. I love the wisdom, the insight that you have. I’m so thankful for you, man. Thank you for serving artists so well so beautifully.
00:47:13 CJ: Oh, you bet, man.
00:47:13 Dave Powers: I really appreciate you. I learn something from you every time I hear you talk. So, I just want to let you know, man, I appreciate you a lot.
00:47:20 CJ: I appreciate that, and of course, we have to say thank you to Leah and-
00:47:25 Dave Powers: That’s right.
00:47:25 CJ: … Steve for giving us this platform to be able to do this. It’s funny because I’m playing music myself, but my background is all of this stuff that we’re talking about, but I’m a music guy, and I know tons of music because I’ve run venues. I have so many friends that are independent artists, bands, club owners, and the promoters and the like. So, for me, to have the opportunity to work with musicians like yourself is so important because I understand the setbacks. I understand how disappointing it can be and yet, we all want to keep music alive, and I want artists to be taken care of. So, it’s like, “Man, what part can I play in helping to make that happen?” So, I’m grateful to be in a position where we can hear these stories and hear these testimonies and get these interviews and get these insights from what you guys are doing because you’re pioneers, man.
00:48:32 Dave Powers: That’s awesome.
00:48:33 CJ: You don’t have somebody to follow. You guys are creating this seemingly out of nothing. Like we said before that necessity being this mother of invention. So, Dave, thank you for working with Savvy to put together such a course that is making a difference. So, man, I mean it too. I am not afraid to sell anything especially something that I believe in. So, Dave, sell me Spotify.
00:49:03 Dave Powers: Okay. The majority of the students in the Spotify for Musician course are ambient, instrumental players, creators, and singer, songwriters. There’s every genre represented in the group that’s taken the course. We’re working with hundreds and hundreds of artists all over the world, but one of the things that I articulate to people, I say, “Look, if you’re taking your music career seriously, and you’re taking ownership of it, then this is a course that’ll help you actually practically line by line, literally point by point go through the process to get the results.”
00:49:39 Dave Powers: I started a brand new project in march just to see if it would work again, and I put out one song. I followed all of my advice in the course. I went from zero monthly listeners and zero followers in a brand new genre. So, I wasn’t borrowing my relationships from my singer-songwriter duo that me and my wife have. Brand new genre, no contacts. I just started fresh, went through it, and it went from zero monthly listeners to 12,500 monthly listeners in 30 days.
00:50:10 CJ: Wow.
00:50:11 Kirk Smith: Awesome.
00:50:12 Dave Powers: It just works. I mean, it still works. It’s cool because I have the advantage of working with and walking alongside all these artists from all over the world and watching them. As they faithfully engage in the process, I’m seeing their music grow just like we’ve watched Kirk’s music grow, but I don’t know. I was still curious. Will it work for me again? Or was that a fluke? I’m sitting here watching it work for others, but is it going to work for me though? So, I did it, and it just works, man. It’s unbelievable because it’s rooted in the concept of relationship, and it’s rooted in hard work. So, one of the things that I tell people when I’m talking about this course, I said, “Look, if you have bad quality music, good marketing helps bad products fail quickly.”
00:51:04 Dave Powers: So, what I’m teaching you in this thing is it’s a form of relational marketing. It’s not just a one-time benefit. As you build relationships, it has reoccurring benefits to you over and over. As you release more music, they’ll be interested in putting more of your music on their playlists. So, I always tell people, “Look, if you have a bad product, a bad quality music or whatever, you can follow this course. You can jump in and do everything I tell you, and it’s not going to work because you have a bad product.” So, I guess number one is if you’re going to take your music seriously in terms of a career or even monetizing your hobby, it really does need to be quality, and sometimes our closest friends and family, they’re just too scared to shoot you straight.
00:51:54 Dave Powers: So, you really do need to get some outside feedback and stuff because we think something sounds awesome, and everybody else is like, “Barf. That’s really not great.”
00:52:03 CJ: That’s true.
00:52:03 Dave Powers: But they don’t want to be mean, so they won’t tell you. So, anyway, this course is so awesome for people that want to take their long-term hopes of, quote, making it or making some money off of their music. If they’re willing to put the hard work in, they’re going to make money if they have a good product. They don’t have a good product, they’ll work their butts off and not make money. So, there you go. Fascinating sales pitch, right?
00:52:31 CJ: Yeah, no. I love that. I love that because we sound so much alike, Dave. You’re hitting the nail on the head. There are so many ways to skin a cat, as they say. So, which is the best way? Which is the best marketing? They probably all work, but it really does come down to the individual themselves and dealing with the circumstances as we have them, which are not all together bad. I would argue that the chances of… Now, we say success doesn’t mean playing in a stadium. Nobody’s playing any stadiums right now or signed to the label or that sort of thing. No. What’s successful is you earning income from your music so that you have the opportunity and the time and the incentive to do it more. I think most people, that’s all they’ve ever wanted. They’re not asking for the moon. They’re not asking for the big record deal necessarily because they know they’re playing something like ambient or an obscure genre here and there, and they understand that you’d be lucky to get even on an indie label, small indie label somewhere.
00:53:37 CJ: So, to really empower the individual artists like this is so fantastic, and sometimes people aren’t ready for the more comprehensive in-depth Elite program, Dave, as you know, but what I love about this, Dave, is that it’s so targeted on a particular door. You know what I mean?
00:53:59 Dave Powers: Yep.
00:54:00 CJ: One door, something that like the old image of the salesman who just got to get his foot on the door to exploit that, to get you a taste of this, because I could see how someone like Kirk for example gets a taste for this, and pretty soon he’s like, “Okay, I got the Spotify thing down. I’m going to go tackle this platform over here. I’m going to go apply these same principles over here, learn what I got to learn, and with a little patience and some diligent effort, man, I’m going to break through there too.” All the fears and the guesswork and the inhibitions and the speculation all gets burned away because you’re now not just confident that there’s principles out there to achieve success in any area, but even more importantly you’re confident in your own ability to persistently apply those principles.
00:54:51 CJ: You got to have confidence in those two areas. You got to know there’s a way it can be done, and you got to know that you’re dogged determined enough to put out the effort to do that, and I think that gets us back to I think the main problem I see, not just with people who’ve never taken the Savvy course, but people in the Savvy course still in their own way, still self-defeated, still their biggest obstacle. So, I think the beauty of the Spotify course because it is so targeted and focused on a particular platform that’s measurable, you know what I mean?
00:55:23 Dave Powers: Yeah.
00:55:23 CJ: The metrics that Kirk gave us are easy to measure. We got curators. We got playlists. We’ve got numbers. We know the percentage. It’s something we can easily measure, not the multiplicity of things you’re measuring with social and email and stuff as in Elite, but what a great way and what a great opportunity through this one course to train yourself to become the larger marketing beast that you’re going to eventually become. That’s as much a part of this as anything else is. You got to get your head around something targeted enough to give you the confidence that you need to say, “I can take this anywhere.” That’s what Leah did with her mythology candles. She did just like what you did, Dave, zero based. She didn’t take her existing music audience and suddenly start selling candles to them. She started from scratch just like you did.
00:56:20 Dave Powers: Yep, genius.
00:56:23 CJ: Isn’t that amazing?
00:56:23 Dave Powers: I love it. Yes, it is. One of the common conversations that I’ll have with artists that we’re working with right now is people that just said, “Man, I’ve had so much hope and so much dreams that had been destroyed over the years. I got this music. I don’t know what to do with it. I want it to get out there and make a positive impact on people’s lives, or I want an opportunity to stretch out a little bit and show the potential fans music, and I don’t know how to do it, and I’ve just given up,” but when I saw about this course how targeted it is, how practical it is step by step, I started getting some of my hope back, and it reminded me of an ancient quote that is, “When hope gets deferred, your heart gets sick,” and there’s something too that when your hope just keeps getting pushed out and pushed out and pushed out and pushed out, it starts sickening your heart, so it makes you want to give up.
00:57:19 Dave Powers: I see so many artists that want to just give up. So, maybe there’s some artists listening that feel that way. I’ve had these hopes and these dreams, but I’ve never been able to break through. I’ve never been able to get traction. I mean, I was just talking to an artist the other day about this course, and he articulated this exact same thing for the hundredth time that I’ve heard from 100 different artists. “I don’t feel like I’ve worked so hard and I’ve got nowhere,” and I’m like, “Dude, good news. If you just do these few things, I think there’s 16 lessons or something in the course. Literally, sit down for two and a half or three hours, do what I tell you, and if your music doesn’t suck, you’re going to see results.” It’s hilarious how it works, man.
00:58:04 Dave Powers: So, I think that it’s really helpful when you start getting hope restored. It does all kinds of amazing things for you internally. It removes a bunch of natural barriers like fear or laziness. You start getting some motivation. Like Kirk, man, he’s getting seriously motivated to create new music, and now he’s thinking about, “Ooh, I’m going to start a different project,” because what he’s doing is diversifying his streams of income, right? He’s like, “I’ve got multiple styles of music in my heart,” so I’m going to engage in the ambient. I’m going to do this other stuff. He’s creating multiple streams of income by using the same information and the same method. It’s genius.
00:58:44 CJ: It really is, and it reminds me of another verse. It talks about how the spirit of man can endure sickness, but a wounded spirit who can bear, and in other words when you’re sick, physically, if you’ve got a strong heart, strong spirit, you can endure it, you know?
Dave Powers (00:59:00): That’s right.
00:59:01 CJ: But if your spirit is sick, if you’re wounded from defeat and failure and all of these things, what bears you then? If your spirit is wounded, what bears you then? I don’t want to over-promise, but I think again what we’re just saying is so important that a simple course so targeted and so practical as Dave noted would give you these little victories. That’s what kept Kirk going the whole time.
Dave Powers (00:59:29): That’s right.
00:59:30 CJ: The one or $2 a day, those were little victories, and little victories add up to rebuilding self-confidence just like multiplicity of little defeats add up to wounding that confidence.
Dave Powers (00:59:40): That’s good.
00:59:41 CJ: So, there’s a healing restoration for… And creative people are wounded oftentimes because they’re afraid of judgment. They’re afraid of the criticism. They don’t want to necessarily put themselves… They wish they could just hide away in the studio all day and let the label do all the work.
00:59:55 Dave Powers: That’s right.
00:59:56 CJ: But now they have this opportunity to build themselves back up. So, what a targeted way to do that. There’s a, ladies and gentlemen, a restoration I think that you might need that a simple little course like that can help you achieve, as you just get some victories, something measurable for you in a very targeted way, and let’s target something like Spotify that everybody considers to be just another enemy to the artist. No, let’s target this and see some game for you because you can break out into the other platforms as we noted.
01:00:30 CJ: Dave, let me just ask. Besides the actual course material, is there anything else special about Spotify for Musicians like a Facebook group or something like that?
01:00:41 Dave Powers: That’s one of the best features. I’m glad that you brought that up. There is a private Facebook group for anybody that goes through the course, and that thing is awesome. I think, Kirk, haven’t you found a ton of value in that?
01:00:52 Kirk Smith: Absolutely. It’s great to bounce ideas off other people. I built some relationships with other artists, and it’s just like, “Hey, this is what I’m thinking. Is this something you guys have done before?” It’s amazing. It’s a great part of the program.
01:01:06 Dave Powers: It is. There’s a lot of collaboration and community. There’s a great vibe in there. There’s not people chewing on each other or cussing each other or whatever. There’s lots of encouragement, lots of people sharing tips, and like Kirk did a 15-minute video the other day talking about some of his journey and just encouraged people and seeing comments and likes and people, like man, way to go Kirk instead of being like, “You idiot or jerk,” or whatever. Like, “You’re making all this headway, and I’m over here not seeing any.” They were just so encouraging and Facebook affirming of him in his journey. So, it’s probably, like the content that I do in the course is so practical point by point, literally follow the directions, and if your music doesn’t suck, it will work.
01:01:53 Dave Powers: But the best part in my opinion is that continuous ongoing support system, like Kirk said, bounce ideas off of each other and just be like, “Hey, I’m trying this. Does this work?” Or, “Hey, I just discovered this. Everybody go check this out.” There’s a cool vibe in there, man. It’s really cool.
01:02:10 CJ: That’s so valuable especially for the position that I’m in where I’m overseeing or participating in these different groups because I see that dynamic at play across the board with everybody helping each other, and the difference is, as you noted, you’re not getting the haters and the naysayers and all of this because all the people that are in there are people, A, just like you that’s-
01:02:33 Dave Powers: That’s right.
01:02:34 CJ: … trying to do this and then also though, but these are people who have skin in the game.
01:02:39 Dave Powers: That’s it, man.
01:02:39 CJ: They made a very small financial investment to be there. Now, it’s part of the course guys. So, that’s an ongoing thing. The course is one thing. The ongoing relationships and reinforcement and accountability and new ideas and new tips because as we know, three months, technologies can change things. So, new hacks or methods or whatever can come about. So, yeah, you can exploit in a good way. You know what’s happening because you’re in there with a bunch of Elite people, so to speak, people that are really taking their music marketing to the next level. So, because we’re all pushing on this invisible membrane, between us and success, we learn some things. If you ask, seek and knock, the universe spits out solutions sometimes.
01:03:27 CJ: So, we can glean so much more, so I love the fact, Dave, that there’s a Facebook group and people I’m sure all over the world probably, right?
01:03:36 Dave Powers: Yep. Yep.
01:03:37 CJ: Isn’t that great?
01:03:39 Dave Powers: It’s amazing.
01:03:40 CJ: Kirk, you have any concluding thoughts for us?
01:03:43 Kirk Smith: Yeah, yeah. Since we all got little verses, I’ve been chewing on one myself lately, and it’s the one that says, “Faith without works is dead.”
01:03:54 CJ: Dead, yeah.
01:03:57 Kirk Smith: The hardest thing for an artist to do is not reach out to the curators. It’s not set up their account. It’s not find a graphic artist. The hardest thing for an artist to do is to believe in themselves. That is the hardest thing. So, once you grapple with that and go to that place and realize that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that you are an amazing person regardless of your performance and your numbers and that you have something to say and that you have a voice and you should use it and believe in that, like that’s the faith part, but then you got to do the work.
01:04:42 Kirk Smith: So, sometimes when you’re doing the work and you don’t believe in yourself, it makes doing the work really hard. It’s like, “Oh, man, I got to reach out to these 10 guys today, and only one of them is going to probably message me back, or maybe nobody will today,” or you got to deal with this technological thing or trying to pitch to a Spotify editor and what do I say in the pitch part and what kind of genre do I label it this time? Or whatever.
01:05:06 Kirk Smith: It’s like the works are way harder when the faith is not there, but you can’t just have the hope and the dream and the faith, and it’s all going to work out and don’t put in the work. So, it’s faith and works. It’s believing in yourself, and then it’s grinding it out and putting it out there.
01:05:25 CJ: Yeah, show me what you believe by what you do, right?
01:05:26 Kirk Smith: Yeah, yeah.
01:05:26 CJ: Show me what you believe by what you do. Maybe keep quiet, and I’ll be able to see what you’re saying. So, yeah, I love this whole thing. In fact, you know what I’m going to do, man? I’m going to recommend to Steve that we put this video on the Spotify sales page. Even though we’re just technically recording the audio here for the podcast, I always make sure I snag the video just in case. So, because this I think is a great way to present the course, so we’ll see about doing that as well. Let me first just mention where they can learn more about Spotify. Then I want you guys to share your own contact information, but you guys can go to savvymusicianacademy.com/spotify. So, savvymusicianacademy.com/spotify to learn more about this course. Now, Kirk, tell everybody how they can follow and see what you’re doing.
01:06:22 Kirk Smith: Sure. If you’re into ambient music and you want to listen, you can go do a search for We Dream of Eden. We Dream of Eden. You can check it out on Spotify. I’m also on Bandcamp as well as all the other platforms.
01:06:39 CJ: Yeah, channels and platforms. Dave, how about you?
01:06:42 Dave Powers: You can search for my music at just by searching mountaincity, which is one word, mountaincity. Then you’ll see pictures of my sweet heart on there and listening to some good songs. We just released a song actually about families who have gone through miscarriage, and man, we’re just hearing so much feedback from people that are not knowing how to process that loss. So, we’re getting to jump in with them and help them process the pain. It’s so amazing. My wife did an amazing job on writing that song, but that’s called Graveyard, but yeah, you can find me there. My email’s [email protected] So, if you want to shoot me an email and pick my brain or whatever, I’d be happy to talk with you.
01:07:28 CJ: Yeah, and then I think what happens oftentimes is regardless of somebody’s personal genre preference, I think, and I would encourage the listener that I hope you’re interested in these two guys to follow their journey, to follow their process. You can learn a lot by observing and listening. So, it’s nothing to do with whether you like ambient or Dave’s music, or it has nothing to do with that. It’s about being connected to people who are determined to succeed and are applying proven principles to make that happen. You learn a lot that way. So, go and check them out, but gentlemen, once again, thank you so much for being with us today on The Savvy Musician Show.
01:08:08 Kirk Smith: Thank you so much, CJ.
01:08:09 Dave Powers: Thanks, CJ. Thanks so much, man. You are an inspiration and an amazing host. I appreciate you, and Kirk, thanks so much for coming on, bro. You did great.
01:08:18 Kirk Smith: Thanks, man. Thanks for inviting me. It was super fun.
01:08:20 CJ: So, ladies and gentlemen, what you can do for me, do me a solid and go to your favorite podcast player whether it be Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, and the like, Google Play. Just be sure, and if they give you the opportunity to leave stars, click all the stars and write a empowering comment because, hey, we read those things, and it’s your reviews that help this podcast reach musicians just like yourself. To learn more about what we’re doing, again, just go to savvymusicianacademy.com, and once again, for our Spotify course, Spotify for Musicians, savvymusician.com/spotify, and I will see you soon. Take care.