Author: Leah McHenry

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

Episode #036: Sync Licensing Sucks: Change My Mind with Michael Elsner Pt. 1

Today we get a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes functions involved in licensing; TV, film, ads, and anything alike. We’re joined by, Michael Elsner, a guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer, as well as the creator of the The 4 Step Plan to Licensing Success. Today Michael shares a little bit about his background and some of the success that he has had in this industry. Many people in the industry are huge skeptics of licensing and never want to even get into licensing. They always avoid it. Often you can feel like you have no control over it and you feel like you don’t even know the way in. There are tons services out there where you pay fees and supposedly some executive is going to hear it. However, as many of us have found, you pay those fees and never hear anything, never get anything back and never hear any good stories about it. Today, Michael is here to completely change our perspective on licensing as a whole. So, if this is sounding all too familiar and you are also one of those skeptics, keep listening. This show has been divided into two parts so be sure to come back next time for part two with Michael Elsner where we hear more about his 4-step process.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Hear more about Michael’s background and how he got into licensing.
  • Why licensing should be considered as a valid avenue for people with a music business.
  • Being diverse with your styles of music when licensing.
  • Money potential in licensing.
  • The five kinds of placements.
  • What the most favored nations clause means.
  • The two contracts: a sync license and a master license.
  • What a one-stop shop refers to.
  • Giving away rights to administer your songs, not giving ownership of your music.
  • Potential income streams that this could provide for musicians thinking about it.
  • Michael’s approach to licensing; all about consistent placements.
  • Understanding the different types of libraries.
  • Quality libraries and how it works.
  • Hear more about Michael’s 4 step process he takes each song through.
  • And so much more!

Tweetables:

“Licensing was always the outlet for the songs.” — @michaelelsner [0:05:05]

“One of the things that’s nice about licensing is you don’t have to live in a music industry town. You can really do it wherever you want.” — @michaelelsner [0:06:45]

“Licensing gives you that freedom to grow and expand and explore a lot of different avenues artistically.” — @michaelelsner [0:10:19]

“Let’s say you are the artist and you sign your music over to a library, you’re basically giving them the rights to administer your songs. You’re not giving them ownership of your music.” — @michaelelsner [0:22:54]

“My whole approach to licensing is not about the one song. I’m about consistent placements.” — @michaelelsner [0:27:16]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Michael Elsner — http://www.michaelelsner.com/Home.html

Michael on LinkedIn — https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelelsner/

Michael on Twitter — https://twitter.com/michaelelsner

Michael on Youtube — https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4Hhg45THp8l6zkih-Wo19g

The 4 Step Plan to Licensing Success E-book — https://www.mastermusiclicensing.com/ebook-offer

Episode #035: The Nuts & Bolts of Tour Production, Finances & Live Show Business Pt. 2

Welcome back to the Savvy Musician Show. Today on the podcast we continue with part two of our interview with John B. Webster, an accomplished tour set designer and builder. In this episode, we continue our conversation about the layering effect that you can achieve by systematically introducing light, color, and haze onto the stage. John explains how to increase the theatricality of your productions to ensure an impactful ending to your show. He sheds light on the safety implications of using pyro on stage and cautions us against those elements that are best avoided and those that should be used sparingly. For those who favor a romantic atmosphere, John B gives pointers about the types of objects that effectively create that vibe on stage. We discuss the practicality of using LED technology and then jump to the all-important topic of finances. As any successful entrepreneur would do, he reminds us how crucial it is to stay within the budget and to keep tabs on what you are spending on each effect. We learn how lucrative merchandise sales can be on tour and that it’s never too late to adjust a stage element that isn’t working for you. We talk about the visibility of artists during a show and John B. dishes out some helpful tips in this regard. Tune in to hear it all! 

Key Points From This Episode:

  • How to create a layering effect in your productions
  • Ensuring that your show builds up to a grand finale.
  • How and when to use pyro.
  • Why it is important to always consider safety first!
  • Using candelabras and candles to create mood.
  • Making the most of LED technology.
  • Respecting your budget.
  • Profiting from merchandise sales.
  • Optimizing your visibility on stage.

Tweetables:

“LED technology is the way to go.” — John B. Webster [0:07:49]

“The idea is to go out there, tour, and to make more money, make more connections, get your name out there, make your brand larger than it is.” — John B. Webster [0:11:10]

“Planning is key, it’s the key to all of it.” — John B. Webster [0:15:56]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

John B. Webster — https://johnbwebsterdesign.com/
Leah McHenry — https://leahmusic.net/
Leah on Twitter — https://twitter.com/LEAHthemusic
Savvy Musician Academy Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/onlinemusician/
The Super Fan System Elite Program  http://www.callsma.com/
Shopify —https://www.shopify.com/?ref=savvy-musician-academy

Episode #034: The Nuts & Bolts of Tour Production, Finances & Live Show Business Pt. 1

Today we get a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes functions involved in set and tour production. Having worked with artists such as Joni Mitchell and k.d. Lang, we are fortunate to have John B. Webster, better known simply as John B, with us today. He is going to share a bit about how he managed to land such impressive gigs and his philosophy that keeps all doors open. He touches on the nitty-gritty of set design, including the creative process and the importance of keeping the type of venue in mind. Those on a tighter budget would be delighted by his brilliant tips for introducing striking design elements, all available from your local Home Depot. We further talk about the effects of lighting and color on stage and hash out the difference between a fogger and a hazer. Tune in to find out what else you can do to put up a spectacular show.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Friends can be valuable contacts.
  • Never burn bridges in relationships.
  • Set design starts with a meeting with the artist.
  • 3D CAD programs can be used to sketch set designs.
  • Design elements must fit different venues.
  • Banners are user-friendly, convertible and inexpensive.
  • Digital printing has made logo printing much cheaper.
  • Use mylar foil and lights to create atmosphere.
  • Colored lights work well on screen door mesh. 
  • Make friends with the light guy at the venue.
  • Uses hazers rather than foggers.
  • Lighting and music must correspond.
  • Identify your primary color lights and communicate it.
  • Create a story with your music.

Tweetables:

“I’ve spent most of life very carefully trying not to burn any bridge whatsoever because you just never know when that’ll lead to a different opportunity for you.” JBW [0:03:48]

“You can’t, in any musical environment, you just about never can have too much haze.” JBW [0:16:26]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Displays2Go — https://www.displays2go.com/

John B. Webster — https://johnbwebsterdesign.com/

Leah McHenry — https://leahmusic.net/

Leah on Twitter — https://twitter.com/LEAHthemusic

Savvy Musician Academy — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/

Savvy Musician Academy Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/onlinemusician/

The Super Fan System Elite Program  http://www.callsma.com/

 

Episode #033: Secrets of Spotify: Case Study On How to Increase Monthly Listeners & Revenue

Today on the show we are joined by Dave Powers from the band MountainCity. Dave and his wife, Tara, formed the band as a folk and country duo a few years ago and have managed to grow their following and revenue impressively since then. In our conversation, Dave shares the ways in which he has approached these tasks on the different online platforms and the strategies that have helped him take the band to where they are today. We discuss a lot about Spotify and how to get onto the important playlists on the streaming platform. Dave even shares some extra special tactics that have helped them get millions of listens and a steady source of passive income. We talk systems and spreadsheets, generosity, guerrilla marketing, and building mutually beneficial relationships in the business. For this and a whole lot more, be sure to join us today!

Key Points From This Episode:

    • A little bit about Dave and his band Mountain City.

 

    • How Dave has approached growing on Spotify.

 

    • Reaching out to people with playlists on the platform.

 

    • Understanding Spotify’s algorithms and how to use them.

 

    • Intentionality and the tracking of your systems.

 

    • Guerrilla marketing and reaching out to strangers.

 

    • Generosity and helping others through your network.

 

    • Doubling down on relationships and solidifying your listens.

 

    • How payment works on streaming platforms.

 

  • And much more!

Tweetables:

“This is something you just chip away at over and over again, you translate your key words into different languages so you can tap into those platforms or a playlist.” — @Mtncitymusic [0:14:01]

“I continue to engage in the process so it’s kind of always building more and more. It really does ebb and flow.” — @Mtncitymusic [0:16:58]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Leah McHenry — https://leahmusic.net/

Savvy Musician Academy Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/onlinemusician/

The Super Fan System Elite Program  http://www.callsma.com/

MountainCity — https://mountaincitymusic.com/

Jeff Walker — https://jeffwalker.com/

The difference between making $0 month and $10,000 with your music

How I went from $0 in music sales to $1000 to $5000, to $10,000 and beyond…

Most people want to shortcut. They want to reap all the rewards without putting in the risk and the work to get there. That’s like signing up for a gym membership and thinking that you should automatically have abs in a month. Ha!

The reality is that you CAN take a short cut: listen to people who are already achieving the results you want. But don’t just listen. DO.

Take ACTION.
But don’t just take action TODAY…. you have to be in this for the LONG HAUL and be CONSISTENT over a long period of time!


THAT is how you get abs and how you make progress in anything!

Why do I bring up revenue as a marker of success? Simply because that’s what musicians ask me about day and night. They want revenue.

They want to fund their passions, dreams, next album and be able to pay the bills from it and quit the job they hate.

Okay then, we can do that…. but it’s going to take a major shift in your attitude.

Here are 10 things you must do to get there:

D

1. Create amazing, quality music that the market wants. Quality means it’s in demand, and quality means it sounds great, regardless of the budget.

2. Identify your niche, your “twist” that a smaller group of people are actually excited about. You don’t need millions of fans, you only need a 1000 die-hard fans that are in love with your music.

3. Have a consistent image & brand across all social platforms, your website, and merchandise. What does your brand communicate? What feeling does your imagery create in your fans? If you don’t know, you’re likely missing out on a lot of sales.

4. Be purposeful in what your music stands for and build a culture around your music. People see your music as bigger than just the music. It’s part of their way of life. It’s a lifestyle brand.

5. Have a detailed understanding of how to launch your music online whenever you have a new release. You know how to plan and execute an online campaign, in a matter-of-fact, methodical way. No guessing.

6. Launch your old and new music perpetually to new people every single day. This is called an “evergreen launch”. It is always running, and the sales pay for the campaign.

7. Automate your “lead gen” or new fans. There’s a way to attract new fans every single day, 24/7. You know how to build relationships, and automate the process of taking a new fan from Aware to Engaged to Buyer.

8. Be fearless when it comes time to sell. If you want to succeed, you have to get over this. But even better, your system does the selling, and you don’t have to even talk to one single person (so yes, you can be successful as a hard-core introvert).

9. Regularly ask for feedback from your fans and survey them. Use the data they give you and you turn it around and make more music, merch products, bundles, and whatever they want based on that feedback. Don’t guess: ASK!

10. Be willing to take a RISK. Stop being afraid of what people will think. Don’t ask “How can I stand out online?” … just put your head down and start DOING what you know you should!

I am currently having my biggest physical music sales month… maybe ever. Mostly selling CDs.

What has taken me from $10,000 to $20,000 per month?

Doing exactly those 10 things over and over and over.

Getting better at it.

Dialing it in.

Then testing and experimenting even more.

Taking more risks.

Sometimes failing.

Learning from it.

Stepping out in faith.

Putting more faith in my fans.

Being more transparent.

And continuing this journey in the Wild West of the New Music Industry!

Episode #032: The Art & Science of Stage Design Pt. 2

Hey everyone and welcome back to the Savvy Musician Show! In this episode we dive into Part Two of our conversation with Matty Chirichillo, as he tells us about touring, the music industry, and putting together a great show. Matty is a DJ, Songwriter, Music Producer and Production Manager/Systems Engineer at Pure Joy Productions. After covering some important topics in Part One of our interview with Matty, today we are jumping in and discussing hiring the right people according to your budget, funding your tour, organizing transport, and much more. Matty’s enthusiasm and young expertise is so inspiring and we are sure you will find a few of gems in our conversation that you can apply to your own career. For all this and more be sure to join us!

Key Points From This Episode:

    • Putting together a skeleton crew for a great, low-cost tour.
       
    • Considering different ways of funding a tour and its expenses.

    • Figuring out salaries and the going rates for different roles.

    • The vehicle, the driver and the laws around these.

    • Hiring a visual artist and the video and projection aspects of a show.

    • Matty’s last little piece of advice to our audience.

    • And much more!

Tweetables:

“You got to have some idea of tickets being sold before you get there and really working on your marketing aspect and doing a real hard marketing push no matter what.” — @MattyChirch [0:06:28.4]

“At the end of the day even though these bands have a lot of big budgets everyone is still trying to save money.” — @MattyChirch [0:08:09.3]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Matty Chirichilo — https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattchirichillo

Leah McHenry — https://leahmusic.net/

Leah on Twitter — https://twitter.com/LEAHthemusic

Savvy Musician Academy Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/onlinemusician/

The Super Fan System Elite Program  http://www.callsma.com/

Facebook For Musicians Mini Course — http://facebook4muscians.com/

Episode #031: The Art & Science of Stage Design Pt. 1

Welcome back to the show everyone. Today we are joined by Matty Chirichillo who is here tell us all about how to put together a successful tour and all the different aspects that go into this. Matty has worn a lot of hats at his young age, having toured with the Eagles amongst other big names, travelled the world as a DJ, and worked in studio as a producer and musician. In this first part of the conversation we cover Matty’s early years and how he got into the music industry. Matty then breaks down the logistical aspects of touring and offers tons of great advice for accounting, merchandise, and who to hire. The conversation continues in part two, so stay tuned for that too!

Key Points From This Episode:

    • Some background on Matty, his work and area of expertise.

 

    • Where to start when planning a first tour.

 

    • Tour accounting and Matty’s own tips for this endeavor.

 

    • Tickets, merchandise and logging all these numbers before paying anybody.

 

    • The different roles and people you need to take along.

 

  • And much more!

Tweetables:

“It’s super important of really being kind and never burning bridges wherever you go because if you are really serious about touring, you will see all these people again.” — @MattyChirch [0:07:57.9]

“One of the biggest ways to create revenue for yourself as an artist these days is from the live touring.” — @MattyChirch [0:11:31.8]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Matty Chirichilo — https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattchirichillo

Leah McHenry — https://leahmusic.net/

Leah on Twitter — https://twitter.com/LEAHthemusic

Savvy Musician Academy — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/

Savvy Musician Academy Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/onlinemusician/

The Super Fan System Elite Program  http://www.callsma.com/

Facebook For Musicians  — http://facebook4musicians.com/

BVRLY — https://bvrlymusic.com/

Excel — https://products.office.com/excel

The Eagles — https://eagles.com/

Airtable — https://try.airtable.com/

Episode #030: From $0 to $20k Per Month in Music Sales Without Touring

Welcome back to the Savvy Musician Show. Today on the podcast we are going to be talking about using Facebook as a platform and the strategies Leah has used that have led to some amazing results lately. Since implementing these strategies, Leah has gone from zero dollars, zero fan base, no knowledge about business or the music industry whatsoever, all the way to making $20,000 a month in music sales. Inside this episode, we will go over exactly how Leah did this, especially as a recording artist who doesn’t tour, which is absolutely unheard of! Stay tuned as we go over how to build your culture, why you cannot ignore Facebook as a platform, and how to micro-niche down to let your brand stand out. So to jump into the savvy side of Facebook, stay tuned to today’s episode!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The reason behind why Leah chose not to go on tour.
  • What motivated Leah to become a savvy musician.
  • Understanding that there is no cheap trick or tactic to success.
  • Why it is important to build a culture around your music.
  • Micro-niching down in order to stand out in a saturated industry.
  • Importance of having a congruent brand across all platforms.
  • Why knowing your audience is a precursor to your marketing strategies.
  • And much more!

Tweetables:

“Facebook has absolutely changed everything I was doing.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:04:19.1]

“You need to build a culture around your music using Facebook.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:06:38.1]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Leah McHenry — https://leahmusic.net/

Leah on Twitter — https://twitter.com/LEAHthemusic

Savvy Musician Academy — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/

Savvy Musician Academy Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/onlinemusician/

The Super Fan System Elite Program  http://www.callsma.com/

The Super Fan System Elite Program — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/elite/call/

Facebook For Musicians Mini Course — http://facebook4muscians.com/

Episode #029: Behind the Scenes of a Profitable Tour with Martjin Westerholt

Welcome back, everybody! On the show today we have Martijn Westerholt from the symphonic metal band, Delain. Martijn is here to tell us all about his experiences as a successful full time touring musician over the last two decades. We chat about his early career and former bands before discussing the set up with Delain. From there Martijn unpacks what goes into a tour for him and the band and what the process looks like from start to finish. Through the interview, our guest is kind enough to offer advice to those only starting out on this type of venture and then compare it with the more seasoned set up that he has with his work currently. Martijn offers great advice on staging a spectacle, conquering new markets and the value of having a strong team to work with. He also gets into some financial advice and the best use of earnings when trying to build a future as a touring band. For a great conversation with an experienced professional, be sure to listen in!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • A little about Martijn and his current band Delain.
  • The songwriting process for Delain.
  • Some of the accomplishments of which Martijn is most proud.
  • Planning for the future and focussing on building support.
  • Thinking about the idea of conquering countries and picking the right markets.
  • The importance of spectacle and putting on a great show.
  • Presenting yourself appropriately on stage in accordance with the music.
  • The order in which Martijn goes about planning a tour.
  • Why you should find good people to sell merch and work the sound desk.
  • Where to invest your earnings when you are starting out.
  • Maximizing profit from live shows and cutting costs.
  • Doubling down and selling more merchandise.
  • And much more!

Tweetables:

“You have limited resources at your disposal, so you should make every shot count and I think it’s very important that you reached the right people.” — @delainmusic [0:06:46.8]

“You have to think about the market you’re targeting so I’m not talking about the people, I’m also talking about the countries.” — @delainmusic [0:07:26.4]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

LEAH — https://leahmusic.net/

Savvy Musician Academy — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/

Savvy Musician Academy Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/onlinemusician/

The Super Fan System Elite Program  http://www.callsma.com/

The Super Fan System Elite Program — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/elite/call/

Martijn Westerholt — https://www.discogs.com/artist/254736-Martijn-Westerholt

Within Temptation — https://www.withintemptationrecordings.com

Delain — http://www.delain.nl

Orphanage — https://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Orphanage/778

Nightwish — https://www.discogs.com/artist/215663-Nightwish

Rammstein — https://www.discogs.com/artist/11771-Rammstein

Episode #028: How to Quit Your Day Job and Play Music Full-Time Pt. 2

Welcome back to the Savvy Musician Show and the second part of our conversation with Daniel Coates about going full time with your music career. Daniel travels and performs around the world as Suntara and in this segment we will continue our foray into how he made this a viable and profitable venture. We chat about capturing live shows on video and how Daniel uses this footage, and we get into taking a leap of faith to find your audience. Daniel also expresses his gratitude for his family who are always on the road with him before we think about the exponential growth of musicians following their dreams and finding their own magical way in the world. For all of this and much more, be sure to tune in!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The volunteer who films all of Daniel’s shows for his promotional use.
  • Taking the risk before you can see the whole path.
  • Daniel’s target audience and hitting it out of the gate.
  • Building an audience out of a look alike profile.
  • Daniel’s family’s involvement and the inspiration and motivation they give him.
  • The ripple effect of following your dreams.
  • Reconciling the calling for spiritual music and the business and marketing side of things.
  • Using your own micro-niche and building events and experiences out of that.
  • The power of retargeting and following up on interest.
  • And much more!

Tweetables:

“We started it out with a certain amount of savings and it wasn’t enough but then we manifested some money, it just came from an unexpected source and things just opened up as we went along.” — @suntaramusic [0:03:12.3]

“People think that kids get in the way off you living the dreams but they actually make you do it, they make you do it.” — @suntaramusic [0:11:39.1]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

LEAH — https://leahmusic.net/

Savvy Musician Academy — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/

Savvy Musician Academy Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/onlinemusician/

The Super Fan System Elite Program  http://www.callsma.com/

The Super Fan System Elite Program — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/elite/call/

Daniel Coates — http://www.suntaramusic.com/about/

Suntara Music — http://www.suntaramusic.com/

Suntara on Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/suntaramusic/

Eventbrite — https://www.eventbrite.com/