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 #080: An Interview With Jacqueline & Augustus of The Galaxy Electric (Elite Students)

We have all types of musical genres represented in our Elite students at the Savvy Musician Academy, and some of these genres are so unique that you can assume there’s no audience for them. Not true, and our special guests in this episode are proof of that!

Jacqueline and Augustus of The Galaxy Electric are a fun musical duo whose niche “cosmic tape music” has a dedicated following of like-minded fans who celebrate both the music and the culture that surrounds it. And it’s this understanding that’s empowering The Galaxy Electric to carve out their place in the new music industry. You’re going to love this discussion!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The biggest hurdle for an independent artist.
  • The importance of digging into your audience and culture.
  • How they found their sound.
  • How things changed when they joined Elite.
  • No creative limits to any niche.
  • The importance of knowing your strengths.
  • Changing the way you see social media.
  • Getting past the fear of rejection.
  • Maximizing Facebook Groups.


“I would say the biggest hurdle is figuring out exactly who you are as an artist.” — The Galaxy Electric [0:04:36]

“We connected deeply with a very small group of people who encouraged us kind of to keep going.” — The Galaxy Electric [0:11:55]

“We haven’t been talking to people, we’ve been talking at people. That is not how you build a relationship.” — The Galaxy Electric [0:20:02]

“Staying on the app and having conversations and that’s ultimately what Facebook wants.” — @metalmotivation [0:25:20]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Book a Call With Us —

The Inner Circle Membership —

The Galaxy Electric —

Click For Full Transcript

00:19 CJ: Well, welcome to the Savvy Musician Show this CJ Ortiz, the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. Once again, get the privilege to interview some of our Elite students in the Savvy Musician Superfan System Elite program. If you’ve heard the previous interviews with Karen and Lindsay, you know what a treat it is to kind of be a fly on the wall, to hear from students who are just really proficient musicians in and of themselves, but what they’re learning and growing in as far as marketing is really remarkable.

Because we are at this very unique time in history where what was created by Napster, if you want to call it a problem back in the end of the 20th century, still dealing with today, although now it’s evolved into the streaming services and all of that. How do musicians find a career? How do they sustain themselves? So much has changed. The labels are suffering, so Leah has paved a way forward. You guys know that. So I’m excited today to have two people who’ve I’ve already had a chance once again to work with on a coaching call. It’s Jacqueline and Augustus from the Galaxy Electric. Guys, welcome to the Savvy Musician Show.

01:34 Jaqueline: Thank you so much for having us. It’s a real honor.

01:34 Augustus: Yeah, thanks for having us.

01:37 CJ: These guys are really cool. I’ve met with them before in one of my branding coaching calls and those are really great because it’s when you talk about the essence of what something is not just about the mechanics and that’s always fun and you’re learning a lot of mechanics in Leah’s program, all of the buttons to push and the software to use. But I think you guys even realized just how much this, who you are, what you’re about, who your audiences plays, the culture and all these sorts of things plays such a huge role really with you guys. Because you guys are totally unique. One of the more unique musical talents in our group. So why don’t, let’s start there. Let’s start out with what is Galaxy Electric? How did you guys come together to do this? Tell us about the genre and the culture.

02:24 Jaqueline: That is always fun to talk about. It’s definitely been a journey because we started in LA very much in the old music industry model. We wanted to make a record. We thought, “You have to make a record and then you have to get signed and then you have to tour.” And so we really focused on that and making a record that we thought we could get signed with. So that was kind of our starting point. We had been making music together for a long time, but this project, the Galaxy Electric started because we really wanted to make an album that we thought, “This is what we want our sound to be. This is what we think we can tour with.” Not that we don’t love the style of music we make, but that was really where our heads were at and we, lots of twists and turns along the way.

We recorded in a studio with a full band making what I guess would be called psychedelic pop focused on songwriting. I was really involved with songwriting groups in LA. That’s a very big thing. How many songs can you write in a day? Can you get them published? Can you get them out there? Can you get somebody else to sing them? That kind of thing. So that was where my head was at. And Augustus was playing bass with another band that was touring. So we were really in this kind of scene, we’re kind of like soaked in it. And I think our sound came a lot from being involved with so many other artists in this sort of, I guess the psych-rock scene was like really happening in LA.

03:52 CJ: Well, break that down a little bit just so obviously, I mean I’ve heard your music and what, so I get what it is and it should be understood readily by the terminology. But I mean it really, I mean from the way you guys dress to everything, I mean it really is a very specific vibe. So break it down just a little bit for those who may not be familiar.

04:13 Jaqueline: Sure. And this has been a lot of what we’ve learned from the course, having to do our artist identity work. It was always there, but-

04:22 Augustus: We thought we knew. We thought we knew exactly who we were, but we started the course, we realized like, “Whoa, we-

04:29 CJ: Isn’t that great?

04:30 Augustus: There’s a long, long way to go before we know. And we’re still tweaking it, honestly. Like that is, I would say the biggest hurdle is figuring out exactly who you are as an artist.

04:42 Jaqueline: When you want to say like, “I’m undefinable.”

04:44 CJ: Yeah.

04:48 Jaqueline: Floated in space with, “I’m not tethered to anything.” But yeah, through our work with you just digging more into our work with the course we have called ourselves cosmic tape music-

05:01 CJ: Very cool.

05:03 Jaqueline: Which is in reference to our love of retro sci-fi, psychedelia and our explorations of the space age and early electronic music that was being developed during that time. And-

05:18 Augustus: Using the studio as the instrument. Like letting sort of the tape recorder if you will, inform the music. And kind of treating the tape recorder as if it’s a member of the band.

05:30 CJ: Wow. Well, let me ask you something about that because it’s so easy for people to dismiss something as a shtick or a trend or that sort of thing. So when you guys look back on what you referred to as this space-age, what did you call it? The musical aspect, you said it was a particular-

05:51 Jaqueline: Music and… Yeah.

05:53 CJ: So I’m like, I’m not familiar with that, so I can only guess at what that is. But what is it about that that appeals to you and what do you think was a secondary thing that appeals to you? What is it about the artists at that time that intrigues you?

06:09 Jaqueline: Well, this all stemmed from what we call retro-futurism or what we’ve studied as retro-futurism, which is a nostalgia for the future that the past was developing.

06:21 CJ: Right, right.

06:22 Jaqueline: So sort of lost futures.

06:24 CJ: Right.

06:24 Jaqueline: And then that’s pretty exciting and emotional and there’s a lot to dig into there.

06:30 Augustus: Like the World’s Fair, like the ’60s.

06:34 CJ: Right. So people who are engaging in genuine future trending and that sort of thing, what was going to come about that may not have developed. Some were actually pretty scary. They were dead on about the internet and things like that. People reading newspapers on computer screens and all of that. They were dead on. This is like in the 60s but yeah, like the World’s Fair. There’s that… So you guys are like looking back at those and saying what if?

06:59 Jaqueline: Yeah, sort of like, what if we did all get jet packs and we were all able to do the space travel thing and like live like the Jetsons. You know what if that did happen, what’s the soundtrack for that?

07:12 CJ: Right.

07:13 Augustus: What’s the soundtrack, we still have flying cars, unfortunately.

07:18 CJ: That’s right. Yeah. What did I see recently? There was a, as of something date, I think we just passed it. We have officially moved past the year that Blade Runner had and the movie. So yeah, so a lot has not developed. And of course, a lot has, but there’s nothing, there’s nothing really romantic and creative about the time in which we live. If anything we’re seeing kind of more… I saw in fact I saw today a little headline a little while ago about that people are now having more digital conversations than they are physical conversation. I don’t know how they measure that, but I could see how that would certainly be the case. And it’s not anything creative. Yeah. We get creative with our little memes and our little texts and our little emojis but that’s the extent of it.

You guys are saying, no, no, no, no, no. Let’s, they had a romantic vision back then. You know what I mean? It was a, they were a creating a painting in what they were projecting. And so how do you stumble on, because I can see the fascination with that. I could see the creative opportunities that just opens a door that like nobody’s really addressing, gets you beyond the sappy love song gets you beyond the breakup thing or whatever. And takes you into a whole different space. And I think that’s just so interesting. How did you guys stumble on that?

08:42 Jaqueline: Well, we were always using like analog synthesizers and cassette recorders and Gus can speak to this more.

08:52 Augustus: Well, I was just going to say that the soundtracks and the films that we know of from the sci-fi genre, you had to use these tools to create things that literally don’t exist in the world as we know it. So for example, if you like take the sound of a synthesizer and you record it to a tape machine and you speed it up double like it’s going to sound like alien chatter. Like it’s going to be a sound that you couldn’t, that doesn’t even exist without manipulating the audio in that way. And so I think the inspiration for the music that we make is sort of like watching these films, listening to the soundtracks and sort of paying special attention to the things that seemed out of this world about the art and kind of like saying like, “What if we made pop songs that had that in there?” Like that’s kind of…

09:57 CJ: I’ll tell you, that’s one of the fun parts about participating in the Savvy Musician Academy is because it’s not just a country artist, a rock artist, a pop artist, a heavy metal band that’s there. It’s these guys like you. From what you guys are doing to pure ambient instrumentalists to you name it. And it’s just this smorgasbord of talent. And it’s so interesting for me and I keep telling people when I’m advising them on the social media thing. For example, we talk about the know, like, and trust element. But one of the things that came out of this was when you get to know somebody, and it may not be your musical genre for example, but you get to know them as people. Maybe spend an afternoon with them at a barbecue or go out and see them live or something.

And it may not be your genre music, but because you got to know them and because you saw them and you heard them, you’re like, “You know what? I’m going to listen to their music.” So I might not listen to anything else in that particular genre, but I’ll listen to the galaxy electric because I know them. And when, so this has to be a fascinating thing for you to say because you got to be saying to yourself, “Okay, well we know some other people like us who are into this sort of thing, but how do we find people around the world that are into this thing?” I mean, is there enough people interested in for us to do what Leah’s saying we could possibly do? So this has to be, once this program kind of opened up to you was like, “Oh wow, here’s a way to do this.”

11:32 Jaqueline: Absolutely. I think especially coming from the touring side of things and the traditional, record industry model that we were chasing, we found a small, I would say micro, micro-niche group of people that was sort of like, “Oh okay, they’re out there.” So we connected deeply with a very small group of people who encouraged us kind of to keep going.

12:02 CJ: Right.

12:02 Jaqueline: And once we found Leah’s course and we’ve done a few of them now, and especially with elite, it’s on another level. Like I never could have imagined. We have been able to kind of break that open. And you’re right, it is people. We’re based in the U.S. There’s definitely a contingency in the U.S. but it’s more in the international waters that we [crosstalk 00:12:31].

12:31 CJ: That’s just so great. And I’m so happy for artists like yourself because now you have this possibility, you have this opportunity. Obviously it takes a lot and any of us can always drop the ball. We have the principals, we have the coaching but that doesn’t mean we’re not, we’re going to do the work. And of course, I see a lot of students who don’t, they don’t do the work, they don’t follow through. They don’t… Because there’s nothing but resistance on every front. Because like you said, you’re still figuring out who you are as an artist and you’re still figuring out the audience, still figuring out the culture. So there’s all of that. But it’s because we remove labels. We removed the traditional method of doing things. So now all of this is falling back on us.

And we have now the onus to have to be the marketing department and the creative department and the whatever. But that’s fun too. And oftentimes when I’m talking to artists like yourself, I love to highlight the fact that because what you’re doing is so unique and has a very specific culture and so much creative stuff, resource to draw from, you have so many more options that the average musical artist is not even thinking of. For example, you guys can blog, you guys could podcast, you guys could write pulp fiction, you guys could do any number of things to create opt-ins, to create great content for people to kind of build up that culture where the music is just a part of it.

Where you’re not, the music doesn’t have to carry the burden but because you’re bringing people in and giving them all this creative resource, they’re like, “I just love following those guys.” And they get to know you and buying the music is just a byproduct because one of the things that I see with some of the students is that they feel like, “Okay, great. I like what Leah’s doing and I feel like this could possibly work.” But they’re still in this mind trap of thinking, “Okay, I’ve got to do all this other stuff, the social media and the engagement and this and that, so that they’ll buy the music.” So they already don’t want to sell their music.

14:38 Jaqueline: Right.

14:38 CJ: You know what I mean? They’re creatives. They don’t want to sound like a car salesman. They don’t want to have to do that. Of course, Leah’s like past that, right Leah will sell the heck out of that stuff. But for a lot it’s just, it’s a struggle. We don’t want to do that. We just want people to say, “Well, if they like it, they’ll come buy it.”

14:54 Jaqueline: Yeah. I’d love if that were the case.

14:55 Augustus: Yeah.

14:56 CJ: But it’s a lot easier for you guys to come out from behind the mixing board and, or in your case, the tape player and get behind the microphone and say, ‘We’re going to preach about this culture. We’re going to preach about this retro-futurism. We’re going to preach and share with you guys and have fun with this creatively.” And then that endears people and the natural byproduct is they’re going to buy the music. And I haven’t been able to mention that in any of the interviews. And you guys have really given that opportunity because what you’re doing is just so unique and so off the beaten path, but it just goes to show how like as Leah said, “How many do you really need to finance a music career?”

It’s really not that much. She says a thousand super fans, right? Spending about a hundred dollars a year. So for you guys, I mean, I can see you coming up with trinkets little, I mean, just cool stuff that kids would have bought in 1965, you know what I mean? That would’ve been given to them. Little things in a stocking stuffer, the little spaceships and what have you. So yeah, I mean from a creative standpoint, there’s just so much that you could do. Tell me, when did Leah come on your radar? Because it all started with an ad, I’m sure, right?

16:22 Augustus: Yeah.

16:22 Jaqueline: You got it.

16:22 Augustus: Yeah, yeah. When did it happen? Like say three years ago-

16:29 Jaqueline: I think it was about 2016, 2017 you actually saw her at-

16:34 Augustus: I did. Yeah. Yeah. She was appearing in my feed one day in between like my family and my friends. And her copy grabbed me and because of the fact that I think I had seen a video that was just sort of casually telling her story about being a mom and also being a musician who was able to sell a decent amount of records.

17:04 Jaqueline: And not having to tour. I remember you like-

17:06 Augustus: And not having to tour. And it’s sort of like-

17:08 Jaqueline: Chase me down about it.

17:09 Augustus: Yeah.

17:09 Jaqueline: “You got to see this. This is for you, this is what we got to do.”

17:14 Augustus: Yeah. I was very persistent about getting it in your hands because a lot of the work to me sounded, I know that we get a lot of like training through books and things that Leah recommends, but it seemed a little out of my zone of genius, like the day to day stuff.

And so I knew that if I could collaborate with Jacqueline on it, that together we could make it happen. And that’s very much been the case. And something I highly recommend to others is making sure that you recognize your strengths. As you go through the course you will sort of take these quizzes and things to figure out what your strengths are, what your weaknesses are and make sure that if you yourself, if you’re like a solo artist, don’t have all the tools that you are able to sort of outsource or find a friend or a relative or somebody that you can collaborate with to make sure you have the full package because it’s absolutely necessary.

18:13 CJ: Yeah.

18:13 Augustus: It’s needed, I think.

18:15 CJ: Well yeah, and there was a bit of a breakthrough. I remember Jacqueline right when you were going, I remember, it’s like you were going out the door to do something and-

18:27 Jaqueline: Oh yeah.

18:27 CJ: Tell us about that.

18:30 Jaqueline: I had been posting, following this idea of culture and trying to grow our sort of our social media presence. Trying to post every day or twice a day and things like that and not really seeing… I could have been one of those people you see all the time saying, “My organic reach is down, what am I going to do? Facebook hates me. They won’t show my posts to anybody.”

18:54 CJ: Right.

18:54 Jaqueline: I was complaining about all that kind of stuff because I’m doing the work, why isn’t it working? And then I think it was after one of our coaching calls when you talked about how, what does your feed look like? Does it look like a bunch of ads? Does it look like a bunch of things being sold to you? NO, it’s your friends talking about their day or your family saying they lost their dog, can you help or whatever. It’s like you’re having real conversations with real people you actually know.

And that completely changed my whole paradigm about what social media is for. And so I picked this random selfie, I don’t really take that many selfies.

19:28 CJ: Right.

19:28 Jaqueline: And I was like, “I’m going to try this.” Because I think Leah had said, “Just try a selfie one day.” She’ll throw challenges out like that. And I had found a selfie and I had my headphones in at the time. I must’ve been like feeling good that day. I was like about to go out the door with my headphones going to go for a walk and I asked people, “What music should I listen to while I’m walking? What’s good walking music?” And it just exploded with what recommendations people had and conversations that you get to have.

And so that was a real turning point for us because we realized, “Oh, we haven’t been talking to people, we’ve been talking at people.” That is not how you build a relationship.

20:10 CJ: No.

20:10 Jaqueline: And I think we had sort of a wall up of this fear of like, “What if they don’t like us?”

20:16 CJ: Right.

20:17 Jaqueline: “What if we start talking to people and they don’t like us?” So once I broke through that barrier, it’s where we’ve come from there is like-

20:29 CJ: That was several months ago, right? I mean, that was a while back.

20:33 Jaqueline: I mean, once we had that breakthrough. I mean we are making weekly videos where we’re talking to people. I mean it’s just-

20:43 Augustus: We started a Facebook group that was inspired yet again by the course called Cosmic Tape Music Club.

20:51 CJ: Cool.

20:52 Augustus: Yeah. It’s kind of a club and it’s a group and people post their favorite cosmic tape music, whatever that is. You know what I mean? Like we kind of sort of like, you know define it-

21:01 CJ: We’re all defining it together.

21:05 Augustus: In the group. Yeah. Defining it as a group as we go. But like, so people are sharing, the group’s 800 strong now.

21:11 CJ: No way.

21:11 Augustus: We started it maybe like four months ago, five months ago.

21:14 Jaqueline: Yeah.

21:15 CJ: That is a good size group.

21:18 Jaqueline: It’s kind of overwhelming. When it took off, we were kind of in shock. We thought, “We’re going to start this group and…” Because we got to start a Facebook group. That’s a big part of it. You’ve got to build real relationships, right? Like that’s what we’re supposed to do, we’re going to follow the checklist and we’re to start a group. And then it just kind of exploded in a way that we didn’t expect because your regular Facebook feed, it does not have this kind of engagement.

21:42 CJ: Right.

21:43 Jaqueline: People in a private Facebook group are having, I mean they’re going deep in the comments with talking about this concert they went to when they were 12 and how their brother introduced them to this music. And they’re so glad there’s a place that they can talk about this weird stuff that they didn’t think anybody else was into.

21:59 Augustus: It’s their favorite group on Facebook.

22:01 Jaqueline: We’re just like, “What?”

22:01 Augustus: It’s their favorite band and yeah.

22:04 CJ: That’s wonderful.

22:05 Jaqueline: I feel this way, but all of you are here too now. So yeah.

22:09 Augustus: And then we started, so this of course once again, the teaching and everything in the course. Like it’s coming to us and we started doing weekly conversations where we’ll like take posts from group members and kind of do deep dives. Like we do like our own little live stream podcasts where we like basically deep dive on members’ posts because it’s like stuff that a lot of people don’t know. They may know like this, they may post about one artist, but they don’t know the backstory as to like how they got into doing what they do. And so we kind of like take it a step further. We turn the post back around on the member. We’ll basically say like, “Hey, this is about you, for you.” Like it’s never about our own posts. It’s about our members’ posts.

23:00 CJ: Isn’t that amazing? How that, and it’s, I don’t want people to think this is just a technique. I mean it is just human psychology. Everybody wants to talk about themselves. But I know that you guys mean it and it’s about things that are very meaningful to these people. And it does endear them to you even more so.

23:24 Jaqueline: We find that, much like ourselves, like we say in all of the teaching that, “You’re probably your fan of your own music.” We are pretty introverted and we don’t do a lot of commenting on Facebook. That’s, we’re sort of voyeurs. So this is a way to be like, “It’s okay. Come on out everybody, we’re in a safe space. We can have this conversation.” And then once you kind of, we’ve been cultivating this for a while and seeing just how much the sort of quality of what people are posting in the group has increased. And like it’s more conversational now and less people just posting a pretty picture or a link or whatever. We’re trying to cultivate not just relationships between us and maybe our fans, but also what feels like a family. In this, like you said, this digital world where people are having digital conversations, we want it to feel authentic.

24:25 CJ: Yeah. That’s where the private Facebook groups really help. It’s funny when you said that “safe space,” I thought well that’s just, it’s, obviously that that term gets loved and hated. But as soon as you said that I could see it in retro-futuristic fashion. Safe space.

24:41 Jaqueline: Yes. Yes, exactly.

24:43 CJ: You guys are just pushing,” Hey, this is our safe space, literally.”

24:47 Augustus: Good point, yeah. It’s definitely not just a tactic. It’s like Jacqueline said, it’s really, I would say it’s my favorite place to hang out and have a conversation on Facebook now that we’ve created it. Like for the reason of it being all of our favorite stuff to talk about.

25:05 CJ: Yeah. You can see the logic of why. And Leah began to inform the group over a year ago that Facebook was moving towards groups obviously because it keeps people on the platform, right?

25:19 Jaqueline: Yeah.

25:20 CJ: Staying on the app and having conversations and that’s ultimately what Facebook wants. And so this is where the challenge is always for us as artists who are using it from a business standpoint to constantly be changing, constantly be adjusting, learning how to adapt whatever new changes are and whatnot for the purpose of ultimately getting our music and things out there. How do you feel like you’ve grown then from the sales stamp? And I’m not talking about just what sales you’re making, but as salespersons, the confidence or are you okay with it morally or does it keep you up at night and you’re like, “Oh I can’t believe I did that,” or how’s that going for you?

26:02 Jaqueline: Yeah, that’s a really good way of putting it. Because I think we had that mindset, right? You don’t want to push things on people. I, for a long time, wasn’t growing our email list because I didn’t want to bother people.

26:13 CJ: Yeah.

26:14 Jaqueline: All these same things you hear all the time, I’m sure. It is then kind of flipped on its head when it becomes, I am talking to one person and I know who that person is now and I’m having a conversation with them. And so it’s sort of a litmus test when I’m writing an email or a post when we’re working, I mean we work together on pretty much everything because our voice together is the voice that we converse with that if I’m reading it back to myself or we’re reviewing something that we want to post and it doesn’t feel personal or it doesn’t feel like something we would talk to a friend about or the way we would talk to them. It’s so obvious now and it doesn’t work.

27:03 CJ: Yeah.

27:04 Augustus: Yeah. If one slips through, it’ll be real obvious that we messed up on that one.

27:10 Jaqueline: It doesn’t work. We want to be talked to. So…

27:15 CJ: Yeah, there’s only one way to learn, right? And it’s funny because it’s not the same for everybody in every genre, in every…

27:24 Jaqueline: Right.

27:24 CJ: Like I’ve got a podcast I co-host with a super commando elite delta force guy, and he’s super popular on YouTube and he’s been on Joe Rogan’s show and he’s got 300 plus thousand people follow him on Instagram and all that. So we have the, it’s called the university of badassery. And well, the premise being about just kind of kicking your own butt so to speak. And so it’s kind of self-improvement kind of thing. But even on the, how you have a little pop-up opt-ins when people come to the website and click on anything, it pulls up the popup for the email list and it just says get your ass on our list. And people hit that thing constantly. We don’t give anything away, it’s not…

But because of that culture and they love the show so much and the whole attitude thing, you can say that. You can’t take that into necessarily what you guys are doing or what Leah is doing and say the very same thing because it would go over terrible. So it really does. I mean it, there’s so much you do have to learn and again, labels used to handle this, but even then they weren’t, it wasn’t to this level. They were just, they would prepare press releases and throw up some billboards and maybe you do signings in some record stores and you are relying upon radio airplay to get things done. Well, Galaxy Electric is good luck with that scenario, right? But under this new model with taking advantage of the technologies and the fact that people are connected.

And I do appreciate that you guys acknowledge that it’s, you’re just talking to a person. And that is so different for artists. I mean, I love the fact that I can follow guys from the bands I grew up with, Kiss and you name it, but there’s Paul Stanley posting his breakfast. So it’s just a strange time that we live that and sure that’s great. With the celebrities, they obviously can’t answer the 5,729 comments that are there, but you guys are. And so you’re building this super fans. You weren’t asking to play arena rock.

29:43 Jaqueline: Right.

29:43 CJ: Right. You weren’t asking to go on tour with whoever. It’s not that you’re opposed to it, but it’s like, “Listen, we want to write and play music and be creative. That’s what we’re here to do.” Right? That’s what, you came out of the womb that way. And I think it’s such a powerful thing now that you can now take advantage of this. So where do you see yourself and how long has it been you’ve been in the elite program?

30:06 Jaqueline: Oh gosh, it’s coming up on a year.

30:09 CJ: Okay. So I know you’ve done with the course, you got any of it-

30:12 Jaqueline: We have a little bit. We’re like right at the end with our move obviously that we were talking about.

30:17 CJ: Yeah, sure.

30:19 Jaqueline: It kind of took us out more than we were expecting. So we were right at the end and then we moved. And so we’re kind of getting back into finishing that. But there’s always so much that we keep going back through. So we’re kind of like, “Will we ever be done?”

30:35 CJ: You’re never done. You’ve never done. Because it’ll change and revise. I mean, just between you and me and the fence posts and everybody who’s listening. Leah’s been working on revising Tom, the Tom program, which is Tom 2.0 the online musician Tom for short. So Tom 3.0 will come out next year. We’re going to change the whole way it’s done. It’s going to be just available for like once or twice a year, that’s it. So not something that’s just evergreen, always available. And then also changes to the elite program. And also there is, it’s a constant need for growth because things are constantly changing and whatnot.

I said recently in one of these podcasts, I had read a short article, I forget what music magazine it was, but they were interviewing Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins and he said, “If I had 60 seconds to advise any musician today, I would say focus 100% on the internet.” He said, “Forget the bar down the street.” It’s just, he just, and that may be a bit extreme, but I think he’s right. I think you do have to look at it and you guys obviously took a huge step in investment to do this. Any regrets?

31:50 Jaqueline: Never.

31:53 CJ: It does pay for itself, doesn’t it? And I think that’s an important thing because I think people are reluctant to do what needs to be done and they feel like they can kind of piece… How would you, or did you even do this, where you felt like, “Okay, let’s try to piecemeal together something from the free YouTube videos and this podcast over here, this ebook, free ebook and [crosstalk 00:32:19]

32:18 Jaqueline: For years, yeah. We read every book and followed everybody who seems like they knew what was up. As we’re going through that tumultuous Napster timeframe.

32:33 Augustus: It’s not that we never received any good information. I mean, there’s tons of good info out there about making sure that you have, you focused on having fans at least. I mean that’s very basic [inaudible 00:32:47] but like making sure you have fans before you go pitch your stuff to some record label at least, even that information is pretty good. It’s like, “Hey, focus on having die-hard individuals that are willing to literally buy everything that you put out before you think you’re ready for anything else.”

33:07 CJ: Right.

33:07 Augustus: That was having a…

33:09 Jaqueline: That’s where the ego check happens. That’s phase one.

33:12 CJ: Yeah. I think what the beauty of what Leah did is that she was, she paid that price herself because she literally knew nothing when I first, because we’ve known each other since 2010, ’11 I think. And so I remember when she started. And I remember having a conversation with her and her and Steve was doing some construction work, her husband and they were facing bankruptcy. They didn’t have hardly anything and she didn’t know anything about marketing. Can you imagine Leah not knowing anything?

I talked to that Leah. I spoke to that Leah. And to see what she did and the price that she paid in time and she did all that. She was kind of trying to piecemeal it together from all of these things. And so she spent the thousands of hours and the thousands of dollars on coaches that weren’t, because there wasn’t anything in music that she could really follow. So she had to, it’s tough to be a pioneer. She had to be that pioneer. And so she kind of took from these things. It kind of chew the meat, spit out the bones. She got everything narrowed down to what will work for musicians.

And I think that was the breakthrough moment is it that get this is for musicians, this is not, we’re not taking a marketing course from somebody who talks to coaches or authors or what have you. It’s if this is specifically for musicians and proven. And so what I love about these opportunities, not just to do the coaching with one-on-one, but this interview format here is that it’s a reaffirmation and a confirmation that this is a workable path. We’re not there yet. We’re still early in the bell curve here and there’s still so many great things to happen. How do you guys feel about the upcoming year?

35:07 Jaqueline: We are like guns blazing. We’re very, very hopeful and we’ve got so many, like you said, like the deeper you get into this, the more ideas you get. Like you were talking about all the products we can have. And it’s like we have more ideas than there’s time in the day to really do them. And we still have so much of the course that we want to review, but we’re going to be launching new music and crowdfunding and testing out all of these principles and how they work with our niche and with our fans. And because I know at least for me, I have to be like pushed into the fire. I’m going to dance around it as long as I possibly can. And saying yes to the elite course was like throwing myself into the fire and we wouldn’t be, I wouldn’t have done and I wouldn’t have a shop. We wouldn’t have any of this if I hadn’t said yes to the course because it just pushes you.

36:06 Augustus: Kicks everything into overdrive.

36:08 Jaqueline: You think you can’t be pushed anymore. And it’s like, “No, no, you haven’t even started.”

36:15 CJ: Yeah, it’s, it really is amazing to watch. And like I said, I enjoy having this front-row seat to all of these very, very special and talented people like yourself working hard and everybody. And the, one of the great things about the elite program is that because of the price of entry you, it’s filled with just very serious people and everybody’s sweet, everybody’s humble, everybody’s mutually encouraging. You get so much support from… Have you had a lot of support from some of the other students and…?

36:43 Jaqueline: I would say that is one of the most invaluable aspects of the elite group is we know how serious we are about this and we know how hard we’ve worked. And to have that very small kind of private community that we know is moderated of other people who are just as serious, working as hard, sacrificing as much, caring and passionate about what they specifically do. And somehow, even though we’re all doing our own thing, we have so much in common and so much to share and so much support to give. I don’t think we would be able to do this without that sort of support group. It’s essential.

37:30 Augustus: Yeah, it’s so specific, the information that we’re digesting and so to be able to ask questions about extremely specific things. I mean like literally like, “Hey, what about this plugin on Shopify?” For someone to know exactly why we’d even care about that. It’s like, just so-

37:53 Jaqueline: Like how generous everyone is with their, you think people would be like, “Well, I figured this out. I’m not telling somebody else. I worked really hard to figure that out.” But everyone is so generous.

38:02 Augustus: Yeah, there’s no selfish attitude about-

38:05 Jaqueline: They’re like excited to share with each other.

38:07 CJ: Well, you guys are all, you’re kind of the first generation of what will be the norm.

38:14 Jaqueline: We hope so.

38:14 CJ: You really are on the ground floor of what will become the norm as more and more… This is where it expands beyond just the musicians. It gets into all from authors to filmmakers to you name it. As more and more people are doing things on their own, it’s DIY at a whole nother level. I mean, I stumbled on a vlog, just a young couple and they just have this little camper. I mean, that’s literally not much bigger than my little office space here, which is tiny. It’s a very, very, the smallest kind of camper I’ve ever seen. And they got it hooked up to a Subaru and they’ve got a little dog and they’re out stuck in the snow out somewhere in Washington or Oregon or whatever and it’s beautiful, but they’re covered in snow and they’re just kind of doing their thing to get by until the snow melts and they can get out.

But it’s just a young guy and a girl and she went to film school and so they’re just using a little DSR camera and, but I’m sitting there going, “Darn it, I can’t stop watching these guys.” And it’s only like, 17, 18 minutes long, but they’ve got me and they’ve got hundreds of thousands of subscribers and millions of views and all of that. Here we are watching two people in a little tiny camper that we would never give a crap about.

39:36 Jaqueline: Never even know about.

39:37 CJ: At any other time, but they’re sustaining themselves and they’re able to sell. She makes little jewelries and things and all, it’s all germane to her culture and all of that. And she does a great job of editing the video and you’re like, “Wow.” It’s, I’m as riveted by that as I am Mandalorian, you know what I mean?

There’s no baby Yoda in this, there’s a puppy, but not a baby Yoda. Yeah. It’s just, it’s wonderful to me because it shows me that Galaxy Electric can have that same sort of appeal because it’s going to appeal to an audience and so much so that you can have experienced even a crossover effect as more and more people get to know you guys. Other people who may be interested in the culture but not necessarily in the music, they get to know you guys and they’re like, “You know what? I don’t normally listen to this, but I love the vibe these guys have and I just want to listen to the music.” And that’s kind of how the organic way you become that human algorithm and you get around Facebook’s little wall of resistance.

40:42 Jaqueline: Yeah, yeah. Definitely have to have that attitude of where there’s a will, there’s a way.

40:48 CJ: Well we’re looking forward to some big things for you guys in 2020 as we recording this the end of the year, but how can people learn more about what you’re doing? Where do you want to direct them to? I’ll put it on the show notes of course afterwards, but some people will never see that. They’ll only hear it.

41:04 Jaqueline: Okay.

41:04 CJ: So where do you want to send people?

41:05 Jaqueline: So is our website, which would be a place that you can find everything. You can kind of loop that direction to our Facebook and our Instagram and our YouTube or our shop. So the is also where you’re going to find our music. We have vinyl, we have digital, we have fun things that we call oddities, which are always changing. We have, since it’s winter, we have just gotten new like hoodies and warm, cozy things in the shop. So that’s been a really fun way to be creative as well it to develop the shop.

41:46 Augustus: And a little bit of a spoiler, a new product idea. I actually am going to put up there that I will record like sounds or whole songs to tape. Like I have like four or five different tape machines. There’s going to be a product where you can actually get your stuff like tapeified-

42:05 CJ: Oh, wow.

42:05 Augustus: If you don’t want to have to go through the trouble of getting a reel to reel yourself.

42:09 Jaqueline: Oh, wow.

42:10 Augustus: So that’s kind of like-

42:11 Jaqueline: Not everybody wants to be like a tape machine mechanic.

42:14 Augustus: So that’ll be something that you can do from our shop as well coming up in the near future.

42:19 Jaqueline: Yes.

42:20 CJ: Isn’t that great? And that creative space is just absolutely fascinating. Yeah, I would encourage our listeners, please go check these guys out. I love them. They, I love their attitude. I love how much they’ve pushed forward this past year and again, so great to watch it up close. But we do, we’re believing for great things for you guys, upcoming. Listen guys, if you’re listening, please do us a favor. Leave a review of this podcast, your favorite player. If they offer stars, click all of them. Click all the stars, give us a review because we do read them in our team meetings and it means a great deal to us and also helps people to discover.

If you’re not a subscriber, I encourage you to subscribe to the inner circle which is our membership. It’s the lowest end product that we have with the most bang for the buck and it’s, you get a periodical newsletter as well as a free mini-course and you get an audio version of it, but it’s a great way to get your feet wet into the principles of music marketing that we teach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. You can learn more about that at and we will see you guys soon.

Episode #079: Creating Boundaries With Fans — Where To Draw The Line

In this episode Leah and C.J. discuss setting boundaries between you and your fanbase in proactive ways to create a better customer support experience for you and your fans. In other words, setting boundaries is for more than protecting you, your privacy, and your time. It’s about creating a better experience for them too.

As Leah and C. J. touch on their personal experiences, they provide key insights to setting up boundaries, creating customer support techniques, and utilizing guidelines for conversing on social media. 

Customer Service is more than what we think, and it’s so important in the age of social media and digital marketing that you have to get it right from the beginning, and in this episode you’ll learn how!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The new role and accessibility of musicians
  • Separating your personal and business life
  • Different types of boundaries to have
  • The importance of customer service 
  • Handling negative customer behaviors
  • Setting up customer expectations 
  • Professional attitude and mindset
  • Problem solving in the customer service area
  • How to converse on social media
  • Setting up a P.O. Box
  • Setting up business hours


“The battle you have to win every day is the battle of the newsfeed.” – @metalmotivation [0:04:26]

“I’m going to have a personal page that’s for me, my personal profile. I’m going to have a professional page, and that’s where I’m going to post all my music stuff.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:08:17]

“(Customer’s) expectations are incredibly high for response on all platforms at all times.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:010:18]

“If there’s anything really important that you need them to know put it in the receipt email.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:015:55]

“We’re always looking to improve what we’re doing on our end, so I never automatically blame the person” – @LEAHthemusic [0:016:39]

“Put yourself in the shoes of a fan who’s buying something from you.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:18:39]

“I think what’s most important is the change that needs to happen in the artists themselves, to be strong, to learn to be firm, to know that just because this one person is difficult to deal with, is not a reflection on you.” – @metalmotivation [0:21:33]

“Boundaries and dealing with customer service are part of growing your empire.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:28:10]

“I try to treat every interaction as though this is life or death for my business.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:35:49]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Book a Call With Us —

Noe Venable (Student Spotlight) —

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: Welcome to the Savvy Musician Show, the premiere music marketing podcast. This is CJ Ortiz on the mindset and branding and friend of Leah and cohost of this show, all of those things for SMA. We all wear several hats, but joined once again by her eminence, Miss Awesomeness, Leah, how you doing?

00:43 Leah: I’m doing just great drinking my coffee here, getting a second wind.

00:48 CJ: That’s right. We batch-record these. We try to get as many of them knocked out as we can when we do these together, and we have some great chats. We just had one, so we’re maintaining energy for-

01:00 Leah: That’s right.

01:01 CJ: … these podcasts, but hope everybody’s getting great value out of them. Again, please, we encourage you to leave a review for us. Pick your favorite player, click some stars if that’s what they offer, and write a review. Helps other people to find it, and we read each and every one of them. We share them, in fact, in our team meetings, so if you want to inspire and motivate us, that’s how you do it. As I always say, being a motivational speaker myself, you want to know how to motivate a motivator, tell him or her how much they motivate you. We’d love to hear from you.

Before we get started into today’s episode, I want to share just a student spotlight. This is from one of our Elite members, Noe Venable, and she writes, “#win, I’m prepped and ready for my first harp pro photoshoot tomorrow,” by that, she means harp, playing the instrument the harp. She says, “What amazes me is how great I feel going into this one, like I know who I am artistically. I know what I want the photos to look and feel like. I’ve got my playlist ready. I’m ready to rock the photoshoot like I would rock a show. This would not have been the case a year ago before I started with SMA. I totally credit the course for holding space for me to dial in the look and feel of my brand so that I feel as good about that as I do about my music. Wish me luck, everyone, and thank you, SMA, xoxoxo.” Those are your xo’s I think, Leah.

02:32 Leah: Oh. I usually sign off with the x’s and o’s.

02:35 CJ: That’s a great testimony, man.

02:38 Leah: Yeah, absolutely. Seeing so much progress from her in our group, and I love it. It’s what keeps me doing all of this is people who take what I’ve put in the curriculum and they run with it. It’s just like, “Okay, I just need to know enough that I can go out there into the universe and do my thing, and all I needed was just the system, this process. I needed the confidence. I need the mindset check. I needed the strategy, and they just run with it. It makes me really proud.

03:15 CJ: Yeah. I mean, without spending too much time talking about her, but she is a great example, a more contemporary one for us because I observed the same things that you do, Leah, about her and what she’s doing. I mentioned her even the other day in our coaching group. I said, “One thing I appreciate about Noe, is that you’re willing to get your hands dirty and learn these things,” but one of the thing that’s interesting about her in specific as it relates to today’s episode, Leah, is that she had a lot of questions and a lot to overcome in relation to who she was allowing into her Facebook group that she attached to her Facebook music business page because she was opening the door to this whole new population of people, and all of these new fans are coming in, and there’s some people who maybe were not a great fit.

She really wanted to protect the culture, and so it brings up the question… in which she overcame all of that and applied the principles that you taught, but it does bring up the point about… because, Leah, so much of this is a social media thing, and I try to tell the students that, is that the battle you have to win every day is the battle of the newsfeed because that’s where people meet you primarily for the first time. They start this journey with you. They go then to your page, and they start following your posts, and they maybe opt in for something, visit your website or something like that.

Well, now they’re getting to know you, and so the dynamic of social media, as you know, means that we’ve got to come out from behind the microphone and be more of a messenger and a leader and interact with our fans and all of these things. Well, that can open up… That’s a blessing because you get to now communicate in a way artists never really were able to do in the past. Record labels can’t do this. But then there’s another side to this, which is having boundaries with fans. I know you’ve experienced this firsthand, which is this topic really came out of your own personal experience, but how do we broach this subject about creating boundaries with fans and drawing the line?

05:23 Leah: Yeah, I mean, I faced a great deal of this over the years, and as we move more and more into an e-commerce type of landscape where this is the norm, it’s no longer the exception, shopping online for physical products is more normal, what I’ve seen happen over the years is people don’t email in, they don’t call a phone number. What they do is basically post anywhere and everywhere, random places, for example, customer service questions, problems, whatever, and they expect to be answered immediately.

I’m addressing it from a customer service perspective, but there’s more to this, but it’s an easy one because I’m dealing with it still currently, and specifically, the fact that I am so accessible and reachable as an artist through social media, especially on Instagram, especially via DMs. I respond to every single DM that I get either by responding to it or actually writing something back, acknowledging that they wrote something to me, saying, “Thank you.” I reply to many comments, but I especially reply to DMs.

Before Instagram was so popular, it was also the same way on Facebook where before there was different security settings and privacy settings and before I really made my profile private, fans would just contact me and want to chit chat or talk or had questions about their order or whatever, a variety of things. I quickly realized that, “Okay, I’m going to have to really make a purposeful decision about what my boundaries are, how I want to run my music business in a way that isn’t going to burn me out, for one.” That set some healthy boundaries here.

First thing I did was I stopped adding fans or potential fans as friends. On your personal profile, you have a limit of 5,000. I can’t remember if there was ever a cap on that when Facebook started, but at some point they put a cap on, 5,000, and around that time, I realized I need to separate my personal from business. Besides, there’s a cap of 5,000, so why would I fill it all up with people who don’t even know me, and besides, I’m posting pictures of my cat and my kids and the funny things they said. It’s kind of a personal private thing. It’s not for them.

So I changed the settings on my profile, so deleted thousands of people. I want to say like 1,000 or 2,000, this was years ago, and made the decision, “I’m going to have a personal page that’s for me, personal profile. I’m going to have a professional page, and that’s where I’m going to post all my music stuff.”

Of course, a lot of people even today use their personal profile for business purposes because they think it gets better reach. Really, I think it’s almost the same as a page. There are people… I mean, I follow probably thousands of pages and groups and people, and there’s only so much space in the newsfeed, and I only spend so much time on there per day, so I’m only seeing a tiny, tiny fraction of things that I signed up to see. It’s the same thing on a page or anywhere else.

That’s the first big thing that I changed was pull the bandaid, rip the bandaid right off, get rid of all the fans that you have accepted on your personal profile. I mean, it’s kind of freaky when you think that if they’re a friend on your profile, they can pretty much have you on speed dial. They can video you, they can call you, they can message you at any time of the day or night, and there’s nothing you can do about that. I mean, I think there’s ways you can mute people. Maybe, but why do that to yourself? At any point you start scaling your music business and becoming more successful, this is not going to… you’re going to regret it really quickly.

That was a smart move for me. Now, even though I’ve done that, I still have to set firm boundaries. My biggest challenge right now with the level that I’m at is the customer service part of it where, yeah, you’re doing a crowdfunding campaign, and people somehow think that if I leave a message if I tweet something on Twitter that I’m going to get a customer service response. I’m like, “I’m not even on Twitter. Why are you asking me about a customer service… The status of your order is on Twitter. That’s not customer service. If you even saw my profile, you see I barely am on there.”

People are… their expectations are incredibly high for response on all platforms at all times, so this is a boundary thing even. I wish there was a blanket way to address that one issue, but there isn’t other than just making it clear, making it known during campaigns, after campaigns, and album launches through email and through organic posts that, “Hey, if you have any questions about your order, send an email here, and be specific. Give the email address.”

That’s the only thing that I can recommend that you do it, and just do it often, and do it even if you think no one needs it because they need to know there’s a place to go if I’m having an issue. I bring this up, and sorry this is a monologue, but… or rant, one of the two-

11:06 CJ: It’s great.

11:07 Leah: … because I really am still dealing with this. I’ve had to be very frank and upfront with certain fans that did not respect my boundaries and the fact that I am accessible and that that’s a privilege, and I don’t have to be that accessible where it was like the status of an order or something went haywire, whatever, and they’re contacting me over and over on a Saturday during my private weekend time with my family, and they’re expecting response right now. If I don’t respond to them, they’re getting more upset kind of a thing. I just… You try to be composed and polite… and I always believe in that, like basically, put a smile on and just realize, “Okay.”

I mean, as an artist, I think I hate dealing with customer service, would probably be like my top things that I don’t like doing, but you ended up having to do it a little bit as even if it’s just, “Hey, our business hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 to 5:00 at this email address,” and you put on a smile and you say that and you take care of your fans, even if they are being totally rude, obnoxious, demanding and you know. There’s a way to handle it while also setting your boundary and saying, “These are the hours we operate that we can get back to you, and this is where you can send in your complaint or concern or question.

I hope that helps somebody listening right now because it can be stressful when people expect such an immediate response from you any time of the day. I’m sure you’ve encountered that, CJ, with your Metal Motivation stuff too where just people just assume. Because you’re online, because the internet, you’re awake 24 hours a day, and you never go to sleep, and you should get an answer right now.

12:56 CJ: That’s right. Yeah, I had a guy just recently who was like… It’s so funny because he was just mad about an item that wasn’t included. He had ordered like a shirt, a hat, and then a phone case. Now, of course, as you know, Leah, these are different vendors providing these, so he got the first two items fine, but the phone case was delayed, and so he was very upset about it. He’s just hitting me up on all of these things and finishing with the line, which I haven’t heard since the ’80s, it was, “I’m going to call my lawyer and the Better Business Bureau.”

I’m like, “Really? Do you honestly think that matters?” I had written him back, and I told him all the little idiosyncrasies of all of this, and at the end, I said, “But listen, hey, I mean, you’re still welcome to call your lawyer, you’re still welcome to report to the Better Business Bureau because I know you don’t really mean that,” but what it shows you is that when you’re hearing from these people, it’s primarily emotion. They don’t know how to deal.

It’s like people who have to communicate every emotion they have on Facebook, so they go off and they just whatever they’re feeling. They have… You don’t have to do that, just as a note. You don’t have to go online and express your feelings, but the thing about it is that that is primarily what people are doing is they are venting. If they know that they can possibly upset your applecart or embarrass you or whatever, then they’re going to do that if you don’t have something in place that directs them. If anybody’s observant of a lot of the stuff, your emails or your sales pages or your whatever, there’s a lot of content in there telling people fulfillment time for orders and here’s who to call and you know, that sort of thing.

15:00 Leah: That’s another proactive thing that can really help as far as reducing the need for them to bother you and cross that boundary of contacting you whenever they want to is setting expectations as often and frequently as possible, especially when you’re dealing with the e-commerce side of things. Like you said, on product descriptions, I’m very transparent about shipping times, order processing times, “Hey, your items may arrive separately.” We put that in the product description. We’ll put it in a receipt email. We’ll put it up in a followup email, and yet people still don’t read it. They don’t compute, or somehow they’re not even seeing it.

But it does reduce the number of complaints for sure. If you’re just as upfront and put it in as many places as you know, they’re always going to open a receipt email, so if there’s anything really important that you need them to know like where to contact, what email to use, anything like order times or processing shipping times, if items are going to arrive separately, that is a fantastic place to put it because you always open a receipt email, make sure that you got what you ordered.

There’s a couple other really good things. Oh, I mean, I recently encountered an issue, here’s just another thing, and this has to do with boundaries, but also problem-solving in the customer service area where somebody, a fan, it might have even been the same one, was really upset about something, it was kind of like a delayed thing, like, “I got this thing, but I didn’t get that thing.” Of course, we’re always looking to improve what we’re doing on our end, so I never automatically like blame the person. I go first, “Oh, did we screw up on something? Let’s check.” If we did, we make it right, and if not, and if it ends up the person missed something, like, “Okay, well, clearly we can communicate better,” I still try to take ownership.

Anyway, this person wanted to get on the phone. I do have a customer service phone number, and you can get that through different customer service apps and stuff, so they’re not calling a phone. It’s connected to our ticketing service that we have. Anyway, he ended up calling the wrong number. It was a number we had actually for SMA on a receipt through Stripe, which is a payment processor, and because at the time when I set up the account, originally, I didn’t have my Ex Cathedra phone number, so I just… but you had to put something in there, so I put in the SMA phone number.

He’s like calling SMA and trying to get… He ended up talking to one of our people, and it all ended up working out. They’re like, “Yeah, no, this is SMA and… ” but anyways, but he was like, “I’m so confused, and blah, blah, blah.” Anyway, all I have to say is that that was preventable if I had thought through the fact that where is somebody looking to find that contact information. He went to a different… It wasn’t actually a Shopify receipt. It was a payment processor receipt. If I had turned it off… because they actually don’t need two of them. If I turned that off, that would have solved the problem. He would’ve gone to our website to get the phone number. Instead, he went to the receipt he had with the different phone number.

Again, that problem was preventable if I had done my due diligence and like sifted through those details, but because we didn’t and I didn’t catch it, I got a whole bunch of extra messages about it. The whole moral of the story is do what you can to think through… put yourself in the shoes of a fan who’s buying something from you. Did you make it clear where they can go if they have an issue or a problem or a question? Give them a specific email address that you want them to use.

This’ll go for, if I see something on social media, most of the time, I’m saying, “Hey, please email our support,” and I’ll tell them what it is. It takes an extra 10 seconds for me to type it. Put yourself in the shoes, go through the process, and then if someone is messaging you, emailing you, just tell them what your business hours are, so that means, hey, set some hours. Yeah, you’re not going to hear from us on a Saturday at midnight. No. We even have to set that expectation for customers in SMA, and you’re dealing with people in different time zones where they’re, it can be quite demanding and rude thinking, “I should be getting a response immediately because I’m a customer.”

It’s like, “Well, we have staff with business hours because they’re allowed to have time off and have a weekend with their family and… ” so you’re having to set boundaries. I mean, this is just part of business is setting those boundaries, and if you do get a fan who is disrespectful, rude, not respecting that, I think it’s okay to be forward and frank with them and saying just that that that’s not acceptable and please email. If they just at the end of the day will not respect you, you might have to go as far as deleting them, blocking them, doing what you have to do. It’s a last resort, obviously.

20:12 CJ: Yeah. Yeah, I think-

20:12 Leah: But it happens.

20:15 CJ: Yeah, it certainly does, and I think it extends into the other area where you have to have the boundaries, which is just in the basic interaction with fans on social media because they want to be acknowledged, which is important. You mentioned that you answer all your DMs, and I’m sure that if people comment, you do your best to answer or respond to their comments and what have you.

I think you can get with artists oftentimes is that fear of rejection, that fear of judgment. They don’t want people to not like them. Obviously, they’re doing what they can on social media to get their following and all of that, so the last thing they want to do is upset someone. What that ends up doing is you start placating these people, placating these fans, and suddenly then fans are starting to comment on everything and doing everything to… and just, they’ll take up your whole day with just a conversation over something, and-

21:13 Leah: They’ll use it as an excuse to just chit chat with you, really, if you’re that reachable.

21:19 CJ: Yeah, and I’ll get that with people who will private message me on my own profile or they’ll try to direct message me on the page or what have you, and so you have to take things one by one, but I think what’s most important is the change that needs to happen in the artists themselves, to be strong, to learn to be firm, to know that just because this one person is difficult to deal with, is not a reflection on you.

It’s them. It’s an issue they have, and it’s okay for you to establish these boundaries. They can be very public. Those boundaries can be very public in just the way that you answer. In other words, don’t answer… Learn how to answer in a way that doesn’t create an open loop. Just because they say, “Hey, how are you? Have a great day,” don’t answer back by saying, “My day’s great. Tell me what you did.” Don’t keep this loop going, everything in a way that tries to close a conversation while being polite because you just, you can’t-

22:22 Leah: Yeah. That’s really good. That’s a really good tip actually because the way you answer somebody could just keep it going and going. If you answer somebody with a question, well, you might just get sucked in for the next hour or two. I think knowing, especially if you’re in DMs and stuff, if people say something, just say, “Thank you, means a lot,” or something like that and move on. It’s just like a statement. I answer a lot of things with statements, and very rarely will I open the loop for more conversation. Even though if someone continues, I’ll acknowledge them by double tapping their message, sending them a little heart back or something, saying, “I saw you. I acknowledge you.”

It does something for their dopamine loop, actually, if you acknowledge somebody. I read somewhere that, on social media anyways and the reason why we’re all addicted to social media is because of dopamine. It’s this little pleasure chemical in your brain, so when you get these little dings and notifications, when you open it up and see there’s somebody’s messaged you, it makes you… There’s a little sensor in your brain saying, “I’m important.”

When someone leaves a message or a comment or a DM with you and you acknowledge them back, especially if you comment back, it actually closes that dopamine loop, and it’s not closed unless it’s acknowledged. If you can do that, it will keep them coming back and keep them very loyal. There’s good reason to respond to people.

I am lucky in that I haven’t had anything too weird going on as far as like weird stalkers or anything. I haven’t had much of that, but it happens as well. There’s other safety things you want to keep in mind in terms of boundaries, like don’t put your phone number somewhere on the internet, don’t put your address somewhere on the internet. If you’re using an email service provider, use a P.O. Box because you have to, by law, display an address. Use a PO box. Don’t put your personal email. I think I said that already.

It may be useful, if you do get a lot of questions about orders and products and stuff like that, it may be useful in your Instagram bio to say what your business hours are, where they can find out more information if they have questions, and send them to your website, to a contact form, with specifics of, “Hey, my business hours,” or, “Our business hours are between Monday and Friday noon to 4:00 or something,” so they have expectation of when they can hear back from you on something. Just doing those few things can really cut down on people bombarding you inappropriately or just taking advantage of the fact that you are online and you’re accessible and reachable.

25:08 CJ: Yeah, I mean, I talk a lot about… I’ll use the example of defensive driving, which is when people take a course and drive, they’ll often take the course Defensive Driving. Why would you take defensive driving? Because you’re out there with other people who are behind the wheel of a 10,000 pound piece of steel.

You want to be on the defensive because they’re going to make bad decisions. They’re not going to be paying attention or whatever. But sometimes it comes down to the way your fans perceive you because of social media. For example, I get, because of the motivational thing, I get people asking me, “What’s your remedy for post-traumatic stress disorder?” I’m like, “You’re asking a guy who calls himself the Metal Motivator on Facebook to answer the PTSD question?” or that people with, I mean, serious therapeutic psychiatric issues and they’re talking to me about it, and I said, “Listen, guys, I’m just a motivational speaker.” Why… I’m talking to… or I’ll say something, like I said one day, “Attitude determines how long it takes to, quote-unquote, ‘get over it.'” Someone went off about that because, “What about this and this” and then some horror story.

I’m like, “You have to understand that if I get on here and I start talking about, for example, budgeting finances, I’m obviously not talking to an audience in the third world, so don’t bring them up.” I can’t die the death of a thousand qualifications, but because you’re out there and you’re this accessible, people perceive you a certain way, and so they’re just going to message you.

I had a guy messaged me a couple of days ago. He DM’d me on Instagram. All he said was… I don’t know who he is. There’s not even his face. It was some other just image for his profile picture. But he just said, “I need some advice.” That’s it. He didn’t say what he needed… Nothing, so I just wrote back, “Don’t marry her.” Your approach determines my response. You know what I mean? If you’re going to come at me like that, it’s just like, “Hey,” and it might be a serious thing going on on his end, but if you’re going to approach me like that and you’re going to know firsthand…

I’m not saying everybody needs to do it my way, but I’m just saying once you’ve done this for a long time, I want you… that’s my point is that you’re going to get used to that. You’re going to get tough skin. You’re not going to feel so bad about everybody’s feelings that you were a little too short with them or you had to be more direct in your… Don’t worry about that. It’s going to be rough getting started, but do it because it’s going to save you a ton of heartache down the road. Some of the things that Leah said, having these things completely spelled out on your sales pages and what numbers you feature, don’t feature your personal stuff, but again, that first line of defense is going to be when you are literally interacting with people, and know that you’re protecting your empire.

28:04 Leah: Absolutely. I wanted to also bring up on the topic of boundaries and dealing with customer service is part of growing your empire. You may be a one-man band and you’re dealing with it all yourself, or maybe you handle it as a band or maybe you are designating the customer service part of it to a spouse or a part-time person eventually. I just want you guys to all know that I too get extremely rude messages from fans from time to time. I have a couple of examples sitting here in front of me I had to pull up.

This is a post. Here’s a post. I put a screenshot in our Elite group, and I said… This is back from August, I said, “Let’s keep it real, folks. Today, I hit $50,000 in pre-orders. What people don’t see is that I also get to deal with lovely messages like these. It just comes with the territory. I send a lot of emails during a campaign. This poor fellow wants out of the car, so we’ll let him out.”

This was somebody who was really upset and was still sending emails and didn’t just unsubscribe. They want you to unsubscribe them. They’re so upset that “I’m not even going to unsubscribe myself. I’m going to make you do it, and I’m going to tell you how upset I am.” This person said, “I want to unsubscribe. I’ve done it, but I still get messages,” and then in all caps, all caps, so now he’s yelling, “I don’t effing care about… F-off,” with lots of exclamation marks and lots of all caps.

I mean, it made me laugh. I said, “Oh.” Let me tell you what my response was because I think it’s a good thing. Oh, so I posted my response to him in a screenshot, and I said, “I’m so sorry the unsubscribe button didn’t work for you. I’ll have my team take care of it. Lots of love, Leah.” This, you might think, “Well, why don’t you just tell him to F-off back or something?” It’s like because when you’re in business and you’re starting to make money, you have to take the higher road. You need to tell people that you are heard, and like you said, they’re just venting, and they want attention, and they’re looking for a certain response. They’re trying to upset you.

I mean, this guy is yelling at me in all caps, “I really want to unsubscribe, but I’m still getting messages I don’t care about, F you,” and all that. He’s trying to get a rise out of me, and I’m not going to give it to him. I’m going to be polite. What’s that that saying about heaping hot coals on someone’s head? How’s it go?

30:44 CJ: By doing something good for them, you’re heaping hot coals on their head, which we would say it would be like pouring water on their fire. It’s basically the same sort of effect. You neutralize their angst.

30:56 Leah: Yeah, being by being kind and polite and professional back to him, I am virtually completely disarming him, taking away all his ammunition. Another person a little more recently… Actually, I thought this was quite funny. They were begging me to unsubscribe them she said, “For her own sanity.” Basically she was saying, “I’m getting anxiety because your subject lines are so compelling,”-

31:27 CJ: Yeah.

31:27 Leah: … “I have to open your emails, and I can’t stop myself from opening your emails, and it’s causing me anxiety because you use subject lines like ‘we need to talk’ or ‘I have some bad news,'” things like that that basically I’m doing a really good job marketing because she can’t stop opening my emails and it’s causing her… I got a whole email about it, “And I really need you to unsubscribe me even though,”-

31:48 CJ: That’s funny.

31:48 Leah: … “my unsubscribe button is in the footer.” I thought that was hilarious. I sent it to my marketing manager, and he’s like… He just totally chuckled. He’s like, “That means you’re doing it right if someone can’t help but open them,” but just so you know, this comes with the territory, you guys. You need to step it up. Be professional. Don’t give them what they’re looking for. Heap coals on their head or pour water on their fire. You are going to maintain your dignity, retain your respect for yourself. You reply with a polite and kind answer, and just keep in mind, because people screenshot stuff and post them in forms and do weird things like that too, what you write and how you respond to people, it kind of lasts forever.

I also think it’s a good thing to keep in mind to maintain that professional posture at all times so you can never be accused of anything crazy or weird. You can always say… and this actually happened a couple of years back. I think some guy… I think when I launched a crowdfunding campaign, some person, I think last year was like, “Oh, I… ” something about the way I treat my fans. I’m like, “What on earth are you talking about, the way I treat my fans? I go the extra mile to treat my fans as good as I possibly could without inviting them to my house. What do you mean?”

“I remember talking to you about something or other,” and just incredibly accusatory of something. I don’t know what he was talking about. He mentioned something about how I had responded to him. I went back into my messages. I actually looked him up in Facebook Messenger on my page, found the conversation, screenshotted it, sent him back to it, said, “Oh, you mean this conversation?” and I don’t know, he was going on about something upset about something, and I maintained my posture. I maintain my politeness. I even offered to go the extra mile for him in that conversation. I was actually really proud of my response, and he said, “Oh. Okay. I guess I was wrong. Sorry.”

But I mean, he made a big stink about it, and he was really vocal about it. Then as soon as I had the proof to show him, “Hey, actually, I was really kind to you,” he pretty much went away with his tail between his legs. That’s why you want to maintain that. You have to take the higher road and just know that you are going to get rude fans. It’s kind of crazy to think… It’s like I’m just making music people, like seriously, but they’re out there.

34:23 CJ: Yeah. If you’re not a skilled debater, it’s certainly better to take the high road. There’ll be occasions where I will just because-

34:33 Leah: Well, you’re on a different level there. You do it for amusement, but-

34:38 CJ: Yeah, I do it for fun, but it’s like shooting fish in a barrel because I was debating on forums and things long before social media ever began, so for them, it’s something new, for me, it’s… but sometimes, it’s just like they catch you on that kind of day, but in general, I think, you always want to take the high road.

I mean, I would never do anything mean to somebody. I would just… It would lead more to their embarrassment just because they’re not necessarily prepared for that type of exchange, but other than that, there’s never a reason to be rude or name calling or anything like that. But, again, if you’re dealing with a fan, somebody who wants to spend money with you and that sort of stuff, that’s a business. Now you’re business type.

35:39 Leah: Well, and that’s why I handle it the way I do because it’s not like I’m just an artist out there with… and I’m not selling anything, and I’m just like, “This is personal interaction.” No, I treated it like a business. I try to treat every interaction as though this is life or death for my business. Customer service is a huge, huge part of success for any business. One thing I learned is if let’s say there’s two identical products out there, the one that has amazing customer service people will leave the other one and just go to the one with good customer service because it matters so much more for their experience.

In fact, the other product could be superior, and if you have better customer service, they will leave whatever… They don’t have no loyalty over there. They’ll go where they’re treated well, where they’re feeling respected, they feel heard. That’s why I built SMA with the team that we have and… Well, my team has built. I feel like it’s very democratic over here. We built it together. The systems and processes that we’ve developed have come out of responding to needs and hearing people and what they need and how they can feel best supported. That’s why I think it’s second to none.

36:52 CJ: Awesome. Leah, thank you. Set boundaries, guys, boundaries, because you’re now in the public space, and that’s a part of this wonderful opportunity that we have, but like I said, there’s another side to all of this, but being proactive in all of these things are great remedies and will go a much, much long way. We’re obviously giving specific examples of problematic people. You just know that you’re going to get it. Don’t take it personally. This is part of you growing as a business owner, so good things are ahead for you. Please do us, again, a favor, and leave a review for this podcast. We’re so excited about what’s coming for all of you in the new year, and so join us online as well. Leave us some comments, questions, some things you’d like for us to cover. We’d love to hear from you.

Episode #078: Leah’s Black Friday & Cyber Monday Results

2019 was one of Leah’s busiest years yet with a crowdfunding campaign, launching a new album, and aggressive holiday sales. In this episode, Leah and C. J. discuss her results and lessons learned from her Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

She shares what she spent in ads. She shares what she earned. And she shares the lessons learned and how she’s planning the upcoming year.

Remember, year-end holiday sales always begins now by bringing in new followers and turning them into superfans who are ready to spend money with you by the end of the year. Enjoy this episode!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Why you shouldn’t feel bad about promoting often.
  • The cynical nature of social media.
  • Leah’s music marketing team.
  • Leah’s holiday sales results.
  • What Leah’s focusing on in 2020.
  • Leah’s warm audience strategy.
  • Leah’s total ad spend.
  • Creating incentives for customers to buy now.
  • Leah’s 5 top-selling products.
  • Should you release an album during the holidays?
  • What Leah did differently this year.
  • Email vs social media ads.


“When it comes to advertising, people need to see it multiple times.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:04:00]

 “My gifts and abilities as a marketer myself, are inspired by someone else’s vision, someone else’s faith, someone else’s success.” — @metalmotivation [0:07:56]

“You have more gifts and abilities than you realize, and it’s just a matter of learning the skills to go ahead and put it out there to the world.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:11:13]

“You’re always wanting to replenish that email list.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:19:10]

“So when you’re planning a sale or a campaign, your challenge is to come up with the reason why they should do anything.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:25:14]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Book a Call With Us —

Rich Howe, Epoch of Chirality (Student Spotlight) —

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: Well, welcome to the Savvy Musician Show, the premiere music marketing podcast; at least that’s what I think. This is CJ Ortiz, I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy, and thrilled to do it. Of course, joined once again by her eminence, the lovely Leah McHenry. Leah, how are you doing?

00:42 Leah: Doing great. I’m happy to be here today recording this with you.

00:46 CJ: It’s good to see you. I just did a couple of interviews with students and you weren’t on hiatus anywhere, just resting and relaxing, necessarily; you had plenty to do. We’re going to talk a little bit about that today, what you’ve been up to, sales wise. Of course, everybody’s heard about the album; we did the three parts on the crowdfunding campaign. We did an episode on the album launch. We talked about all the things that you’ve learned and just when you think that’s about all we can talk about for the end of the year, nope.

We still have to talk about the holiday sales. Black Friday, Cyber Monday. You say, well, that’s already passed. What does that matter? It matters big time because as you learned in some of the episodes we just recorded, Leah starts her preparation for that time now. So your preparation for your next Black Friday, your next Cyber Monday, your next album release, starts now with building your audience and all of the wonderful things that we’ll talk about. We’ll talk more about that today as Leah’s going to share her results and some of the things she learned and some of the details of what happened recently with her Black Friday/ Cyber Monday campaign.

Before we get into it, let me just share a quick student spotlight. This is from Rich Howe, and he’s one of our Tom students, I believe he’s also an elite now, if I’m not mistaken. Anyway, this is what Rich says, “#Win. Big moment. This week I have finally opened my website, mailing list, and now my Facebook page for my progressive Syfy metal project. I’ve also made a teaser video from my first single, which is going to act as a Facebook ad. I’m so excited. Until I got to the moment of actually making everything live, I was nervous about the point of no return. Now fan numbers are increasing already and it’s all the motivation I need to crack on with my debut album do next spring. All of this kicked off in April when Leah’s ad, after seeing it about five times everywhere, directed me to the Tom webinar and my brain was just in the perfect place to receive the information and I suddenly saw a path. Thank you Leah.”

02:57 Leah: That’s it, right? Your brain being the right place to receive the information. That is the case for so many people and it’s all about receptivity and are you ready to use the information that we’re trying to educate people about. If not, it doesn’t matter how well we present the information or how much information we give away, then you’re just not going to do anything with it. You won’t even appreciate it.

03:26 CJ: No, you won’t. I think it’s great that he said he saw your ad five times everywhere. I probably even saw it more than that, but he wasn’t offended. Isn’t that great?

03:34 Leah: Yeah. Science does clearly show people need to see things multiple times, I think six, seven, eight times before they often even take an action. So that’s why you shouldn’t feel bad about just promoting your music constantly; and there’s a way to do it correctly so that it doesn’t seem like you’re just promoting yourself relentlessly without trying to build relationships or a culture or anything like that. When it comes to advertising, people need to see it multiple times.

04:04 CJ: Yeah. We call it multiple touch points and if you’re really perceptive, you’re going to see that the dynamic of the relationship aspect is happening at this moment. As Leah and I are gathered together here to offer free valuable content that changes your life, that helps you move forward in your career, reach your goals, reach your dream, you get to know us, you get to trust us, you get to like us, hopefully. Therefore when we show up on your newsfeed, maybe one to five times, you’re not going to be put off by that because you’re going to say, these people mean something to me. They offer something and I know that yes, they have to obviously run their business and earn and all that sort of stuff, so I don’t take it personally because I see a promotion from the Savvy Musician Academy or Leah herself and that’s how it works, guys.

05:01 Leah: Well, I always think it’s funny, too, like musicians who are offended, you know the email promotions or ads that we see running or a campaign or something. It’s like you should maybe, even if you don’t want to buy anything or work with us or join a coaching program or anything, maybe it would be smart thing to just watch what we’re doing and observe.

05:23 CJ: Right?

05:23 Leah: I mean at the very least just watch and observe because we have experienced doing this, we’ve done millions of dollars in revenue. I think we know a little bit; we don’t know everything, but we do know we have, we have spent a lot to learn it, too. Observe and try to see what we’re doing so you can try and apply it to what you’re doing.

05:44 CJ: Exactly. This is so important. It’s so funny, we’ve become such a cynical culture, especially online, you either are going to celebrate what somebody posts or you’re going to criticize what somebody posts, it’s like one of the two. So many people now are in that sort of posture, where they’re so quick to criticize. They’re not going to give any allowance for it. Instead of looking at the big picture and saying, “Wow, here’s a person who, after 20 years now of- after Napster came on the scene and streaming services and the record labels began to decline, everybody’s saying music is dead, the music industry is dead, you can’t make money making music anymore- here’s a person who not just as doing it, but she’s doing it without touring. She’s doing it while raising five kids, schooling them at home as if that’s not big enough to do.

I mean, so you’re talking about an anomaly. You’re talking about somebody who has every reason to have excuses, every reason to not have time, every reason. She didn’t go to marketing school. She didn’t, she wasn’t raised to do this, but here she is coming out of nowhere, suddenly dropped into the scene and is paving a new way for musicians to create their own career. You have a problem with what exactly? What is it you’re so offended by? What is it you want to criticize? No, ladies and gentlemen; if anything you should say thank you. Thank you Leah, for being a pioneer. Thank you Leah, for penetrating that membrane, for breaking through like-

Everybody knows about the four minute mile. For hundreds and thousands of years, the four minute mile could not be broken until middle of the 20th century. Somebody broke the four minute mile. Then after that, everybody started breaking the four minute mile.

You’ve got to have somebody who is that spearhead, somebody who’s the pioneer, somebody who breaks through and then it opens the door for a torrent of other people. So I’m grateful, Leah, that you’ve done that and I was doing my own thing and you and I have had our friendship. Even so, because of your commitment to the vision, we were just talking about this offline; I told her, I said, “Listen man, my gifts and abilities as a marketer myself, are inspired by someone else’s vision, someone else’s faith, someone else’s success,” and so I don’t have any other choice but to say I want to be linked up with it. I want to help make it happen. I want to help continue to open these doors for other musicians.

I just think that’s the Savvy Musician Academy. That’s the Leah testimony. That’s why it’s so important for us to keep talking about what she’s doing and her results. We’re going to do that now, of course, in terms of the holiday sales, but again, man, you got to get past your cynicism because it says more about you than it does about the Savvy Musician Academy, the model that we teach. It really does say a whole lot more about you and we want you to get free of you, because you may just be your biggest hurdle right now.

08:43 Leah: Oh yeah, that’s so true. For those who get upset, and I don’t think people listening to this podcast are these people at all, but for those people who get upset about the coaching part of it- one of the comments you see on ads, it’s once in a while it’s, Oh, you make your money from coaching, not from music.” It’s like, well, number one, I made money with music long before I ever start a coaching. That’s why I started coaching and started Savvy Musician Academy, was because I was actually having success paying for bills in a financial climate that we were really struggling in. My music kind of saved the day, actually. Which is pretty incredible that, I mean, I had a newborn, I was, I was nursing a newborn and my music royalties were coming in, paying for groceries at times.

It was crazy. I had to pinch myself. Is this even real? So, that happened. Second of all, do you realize that what I’ve done with Savvy Musician Academy, that you could also do. In fact one of the five streams of income that I teach is your ability to teach other people what you know. So whether you are a piano teacher, vocal teacher, you teach guitar lessons, or you’re teaching people how to use a D.A.W.s, you’re teaching people how to do producing- there’s a whole variety of experts and skills that you have that can also turn into a stream of income.

So I did just that. I thought, I’m going to produce this little ebook maybe that could help our family out in addition to this online musician thing I’m doing. That ended up turning to SMA and I had absolutely no idea it would impact tens of thousands of people around the world. Now that I did not expect.

So it goes to show that you don’t know where things could lead and that it’s important that you explore these different options, explore these ideas. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket and teaching your knowledge is one of the ways you get to be creative with your gifts and your talents. That’s what I’ve done. Hey, maybe there’s a seven figure business sitting dormant inside of you that you need to explore.

11:04 CJ: Right?

11:05 Leah: You haven’t because you think, well that means I’m not a real musician. No, it means you’re a smart one. It means you’re creative. It means that you have more gifts and abilities than you realize, and it’s just a matter of learning the skills to go ahead and put it out there to the world.

11:22 CJ: Yeah, this is so key. I know we’re off topic, but this is such an important thing that people need to understand. That it’s more than a music career that they possibly have buried underneath their hypothetical lawn here. When I turned 40 and you do all the reflection and all that kind of stuff, and I’d been in design and advertising and marketing and all of that and in relation to the design, I thought, “Man, you know, I’m not getting any younger. So all the young bucks are coming out of art school in their early twenties, they’re hungry, they’ll work for less money. They’re not a head of household, so they’re going to start taking clients.”

So I started to think, well what’s going to, what’s it going to be like in 10 years? Can I keep doing this on a client by client, project by project basis. As I was thinking about it, I thought to myself, I’ve become an unintentional expert. The reason was because up to that time I had been self employed, working out of home for 15 years. Well you do 15 years of anything, you’re an expert, period. So I said, “You know, at the very least I could start doing things, marketing the information on how to have a home based business,” not even directly related to the field I was in; just talking about home based business. Anything that I didn’t know like certain accounting things or whatever. Those are little things you can fill in the gaps pretty quick. To be able to say that you’ve been doing something for 15, 20, 30 years, makes you the unintentional expert. Unintentional in that I wasn’t planning to become an expert in home based business, it’s just sort of happened along the way.

So these are the things that now in the information age you can capitalize on. If you do teach piano and music or producing or home recording or whatever it may be, managing bands, getting booked, anything can be monetized, information-based. That’s what Leah did; she did it very successfully. Like she said earlier, just watch what we’re doing. Watch we’re how we’re going about this whole process. We’re practicing what we preach.

13:28 Leah: Yeah.

13:29 CJ: Anyway, we’re suppose to talk about holiday sales.

13:31 Leah: We are.

13:34 CJ: Everybody’s done to death with the holidays, so they don’t even want to talk about the holidays anymore.

13:38 Leah: This is what’s called a post mortem where we dissect what happened, the good, bad and ugly, and really this is something we haven’t even gone over this fully yet in my team meetings toward the end of the year, which we’re going to do. I think in my next team meeting, we’re doing a full autopsy on the entire campaigns all the way from my crowd funding through to just like the Black Friday, Cyber Monday, but since we were recording today, I wanted to at least give a brief overview of some of the things I know, for sure, that we learned, things that we were surprised by, things that did not work so well, and what we’re going to do next time.

So it’s going to be valuable. I actually got a lot of detail from my team and my team, if you’re wondering what’s her team, I’ll just tell you who I have right now: I have somebody who I’m calling basically my marketing manager and someone who’s helping me push the buttons and execute all the sales and campaigns I have running. I have a full time assistant now. Actually, I have had that for the last few years and I have a full time customer service person. So that’s, that’s my core team. It’s a small, little, what you call a, skeleton team.

With those three people, you can accomplish a lot in an online business and my music business is an online business. It’s essentially an e-commerce business, selling music and physical products around the music. We can have another podcast episode one day, write this down, on team building and like who to hire first. We can talk about that. I would love to go into that, but for today I asked them, “Hey, is there any specific things that you would like to share that I can share on the podcast before we even do our big post-mortem meeting?” There are. There’s some really surprising and cool things.

I’m not going to go so super detailed because it would really overwhelm you. In fact, when I look at all these stats, it overwhelmed me because that’s my brain. I have to kind of take it in. What I will do is try to share with you the nuggets and principles that I think are most applicable to the most people.

Some of the nitty gritty stuff. I will save for my elite students, since that’s what they’re there for is to really get into the nitty gritty of some of these techniques and the psychology of things, but I can share quite a bit here with everybody because I think it’s part of just the education process; learning how to think this way.

16:19 CJ: Right.

16:19 Leah: So where should we begin?

16:21 CJ: Well, first let’s just: the general results. How profitable was it for you this year?

16:26 Leah: It’s been really profitable. Although, I will say there were some unexpected expenses that I wasn’t quite prepared for that we weren’t ready- and it was hard to get certain estimates on things until it was in production. So, that already started from the crowdfunding campaign. So for example, vinyl is very expensive. We sold out of it immediately, but it’s also very expensive to produce. Things like that where in the end, I knew, like I said in the past episodes, I wasn’t looking to be profitable in the campaign, I was looking to break even. So we accomplished exactly what we set out to do, and that was fantastic.

17:03 CJ: By campaign you meant, just to the peep people understand, the crowdfunding campaign, this is not the holiday sales.

17:10 Leah: Correct, yeah. The reason why I’m including that in this conversation is because it really has felt very back to back. My crowdfunding campaign was basically all through September and then we had October off. So one month where that wasn’t happening and we were dealing with logistics. November came around and my album launched on November the 15th, but two weeks before that launch we had a pre-sale. So the entire month of November was a sale. Then right back to back with that was Black Friday, Cyber Monday.

So it’s been pretty much an ongoing campaign since late August. It’s been going, going, going, going, going. So I have really kind of ridden my audience quite hard and at this point, I’ve kind of exhausted my warm audience. I’ve gone through a lot. A lot of the sales I was going to make, I’ve made.

18:18 CJ: Right.

18:19 Leah: So now I’m heading into the new year, we’re definitely going to be focusing on cold audiences, new people, new traffic, and that’s always usually what I’m doing year round. Then the beauty of doing that is when you get to a campaign or an album launch, you really are relying now on that warm audience you’ve built in your email list. So that’s the whole point and it’s really what we focus on very intentionally in our Super Fan System Elite Group is build that email list year round and you do make sales on the front end, you do.

Where you really see the fruit of your labor is later on down the road when you do the album launch, you do a sale or you have some kind of campaign going on. That’s where the big payoff is. You’re always wanting to replenish that email list because people on subscribe every time, they’re going to unsubscribe every day, and so you’re wanting to replenish that. Then there’s just other things that happen where you may be cleaning your list or people sign up with a bad email, so you’re always wanting to build that year round. So that’s contributing to this whole thing.

Now if you’re looking for specific numbers, I can share a few numbers, but I will confess, you guys, I am hesitant in doing so. Number one, I’m hesitant because, frankly, are people going to be like, “That’s nothing.” Other people are going to be like, “Oh my gosh, that’s like what I make an entire year.” This is the biggest reason is I really don’t like comparisons. I am really worried that my students will compare themselves to me and feel like they are not doing enough, that they’re not successful if they’re not hitting my numbers or, or if they loved my numbers, that if they swipe every single thing, I’m doing every single ad copy, and the layout of my sales pages and everything, that they’re also going to get the exact same results. Then if they don’t, they’re going to think there’s something wrong with them.

So I share all of this with you because that makes me very hesitant to share numbers because I don’t want the comparison game. It’s not good for you and we live in a comparison society. It’s an Instagram society. Everybody’s trying to inflate numbers and make themselves look better than they are. It’s not reality. So anyways, I can share couple of things, I think.

So for my preorder, let me share this. So my album launched was November 15th. We started to preorder two weeks before. The sale was two weeks before the album launch. Now before that, we ran ads to build something called an early bird list. Now, I may have mentioned this briefly, but we ran ads to my warm audience, I put emails out there and we even did some cold, I believe, where people opted in to get access to an early bird list.

The benefit of being on an early bird list, I had to come up with an incentive. Why would people join my email list if they can get access to the same products once the album is launched? So this is the challenge. I have to come up with an incentive. What is the incentive? What can I create that would be juicy enough for them to go through the process and the hassle of entering their email address? Well, the hook was they got a chance to win a free copy of the album; I think we even made it a bundle, it might’ve been a bundle. Getting first dibs on limited edition items, like autographed stuff and getting the album first. So we came up with like a little short list of just two or three really strong reasons why they would want to opt in.

Now obviously if it’s a cold audience, someone who’s never heard of me before, there’s a lot less of a chance of them opting in unless they first seen my music or heard me somewhere. So this is primarily a warm audience strategy. So we ran that for a couple of weeks before the prelaunch sale began. Once we launched the presale, that lasted two weeks. Total a revenue was just under $25,000 for those two weeks.

22:50 CJ: Yeah.

22:51 Leah: So that was amazing. We had an ad spend of about $5,800 so we ran ads. So it’s basically a return on ad spend of 4.2, which is very good.

23:05 CJ: Right.

23:06 Leah: It’s very, very good these days. The early bird list size was about 2300 people. So 2,300 people opted in, said, “Yes, I want first dibs, I want-” I think we have a discount code or we had something going on, and it’s all a blur now, that would incentivize them to buy now instead of later.

I think this is a nugget. You have to give people a reason to buy now because if you don’t tell them why to buy now, they will say, “Oh yeah, I mean to get that, I’m going to get that. I plan to get it, but I’m not going to do it yet. Oh, I’m waiting till Friday. Oh, I’m waiting for this”. You just have to give people a reason.

I think we mentioned this before about the copy machine scenario. Do you remember that? There has been experiments of where people were standing in line at a copy machine, if you even remember what that is-

24:07 CJ: Right?

24:07 Leah: -in an office. Some guy, this was an experiment, wanted to but in line and go to the front of the copy machine. There’s like a big lineup it’s some a corporate building. It’s a lot of employees there, and some guy wanted to cut in the front. So the experiment was: What if I tell them I’m running late? Would they let me cut in? So we tried that and sure enough they said, “Oh yeah, sure you can go ahead in front of me.” Then another day he tried a totally different reason. “My dog ate my homework,” or something really silly, kind of didn’t really make sense. Like 50 to 80% of the time they still said, “Yes, you can go in front of me.” So there’s a bunch of different reasons. Then when he just said, “Can I just go in front?” But didn’t give a reason, the answer was no. So the moral of the story is people don’t even really care from a psychological psychology standpoint, they don’t really care what the reason is as long as there’s a reason.

25:12 CJ: Right.

25:13 Leah: So when you’re planning a sale or a campaign, your challenge is to come up with the reason why they should do anything. Why? Because it’s my birthday. Because usually there’s scarcity and urgency involved, right? We’ve talked about this. Scarcity is the quantity of items and urgency is limited time. So those two things are always going to work no matter what. Then if you can come up with other incentives, like a special kind of discount or a bonus item or a bundle giveaway or- be creative. This is why musicians can be so good at this is because we’re creative. We can think outside of the box. So $25,000 in revenue just for the two week preorder period. I was really happy with that considering that came from a list of 2300 people.

I have a whole bunch of other stats like average order value and stuff like that, but I’ll save that for our elite students. I think if you’re curious, I mean I have breakdown. I have so many stats here, but I think one of the most surprising things, if you’re thinking of, “Well what was your biggest selling item?” You might think it’s something really expensive. You might think it was some kind of crazy bundle or something. Actually my top selling item that brought in $5,300 one item and was an autographed digipak. A CD, a physical CD that’s signed by me.

The second item was a limited edition vinyl. Third item was a jewel case CD. Then the fourth item was handmade candles that I had made. So I actually hand-poured, handmade these candles; we’ll talk about that in another episode. We have to do number one just on the candles, but-

27:13 CJ: I have them, and they’re beautiful, by the way.

27:16 Leah: Oh, you like them?

27:17 CJ: I love them, yeah.

27:19 Leah: I don’t know if you’re a candle guy, but if I make it, you get it. So, that’s how it works.

27:21 CJ: Yeah, no, I’ve got candles. Absolutely. Yeah.

27:25 Leah: Cool.

27:25 CJ: But they’re Leah candles, so what’s not to like, right?

27:29 Leah: Yeah. Right? Then the fifth biggest revenue item was, I call it a super download. Where instead of just getting the MP3s, I make this massive mega zip file and it comes with all the different formats, FLAC and wave and MP3 and the instrumental version and the cover art and the booklets and singles and a whole- it’s a massive zip file. The nice thing about doing stuff like a super download is that it’s pure profit because it’s a digital item. It doesn’t cost me anything to ship to them. It doesn’t cost me anything. It just is a pure profit item, and yet people want it. This is amazing. An extra $1,500 in my pocket that can go toward ads or go towards my business, I can reinvest it. Even though they’re Spotify, they can stream it all day. They still want this.

28:23 CJ: Right.

28:23 Leah: Okay, all right. So those are my top five selling products during my pre-launch and I don’t want to bore people to death. I hope this isn’t boring for anybody, I hope you find this interesting and fascinating, but it was kind of similar stuff during the album launch as well. So it was very similar items. The autograph digipaks, the CDs, candles, super download. It’s very similar stuff. So I said to my marketing manager, Jordan, “Would you ever conclude that people don’t believe that physical music sells after seeing this?”

29:05 CJ: Yeah. Well, that’s what stands up to what you just described is how many of those items- except for the last thing, the least of the best things was the digital download. The things that sold were different versions of CDs and then vinyl. So it doesn’t get any more physical than that. I mean people never thought vinyl was gone for good. Right? Video killed the radio star so that, that’s done. Nope, it’s all back. People are buying it. All to say that if you are in a particular unique musical niche, which a lot of our students are, your fans tend to be a little high brow about this sort of stuff and they enjoy the physical component to the music, as well. So I think that’s, that’s all very impressive. So how does this relate to then holiday sales in terms of your Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

29:59 Leah: Like I was saying, it was pretty intense. One takeaway that I have was if you’re not releasing a holiday album and if you have any say as to which time of year you’re going to release an album, I would say keep it away from being super close to Black Friday, Cyber Monday. So it’s stay out of the end of November and the December. Now in my case I didn’t really have a choice, it’s a holiday album. You have to release it that time of year, that’s the whole point.

30:34 CJ: Right.

30:35 Leah: If it’s not a holiday album, I’d say stay away from those two months because there’s a couple of logistical problems you run into. So for example, one of the big challenges we had was thinking of the crowd funders who just bought the album, bought these bundles at really the top price and then if they were to see the exact same offer on Black Friday, like 50% off or something. What you’re communicating, again from a psychological standpoint, is that my first supporters, my top supporters who believe in me are going to pay the most, and people who didn’t buy for me, you’re going to pay 50% less on a sale. That’s not how you want to nurture people.

31:17 CJ: Right.

31:17 Leah: That’s not a good relationship. This was the logistical problem we really had to think through. How can we do this without basically pissing off all the people who just supported me and spent a ton of money from September and even during the preorder? How can we do these Black Friday and holiday sales and still maintain our integrity and keep these supporters coming back time and time again? Now I think to an extent, everybody understands what Black Friday is. Everybody expects these sales to happen, but this is why I say if you have any choice to space out the distance between an album release and Black Friday, it’s a good idea to do that. I would say, at least not in the month of November. Mine was literally two weeks before Black Friday.

So for that reason I will really consider what I do then if I ever come up with a second holiday album, I’m going to really think this through a little bit more deep than I did because it did create a problem. It created a bit of a sticky situation for us where it’s like, well we have to offer a discount, that’s the whole point of Black Friday.

What we ended up doing was not discounting certain items from the album collection. When I say album collection, I mean I had like a whole whack of items, I mean we had so many different pieces of artwork that went- different hoodies and tee shirts and stuff and there just were certain items we just chose not to discount, just to make sure that we wouldn’t upset certain fans who had just bought it for a top price.

32:50 CJ: Sure.

32:50 Leah: So did I make less sales because of that? It’s likely. It was still my top selling product. So for example, we didn’t discount the digipak or this or the jewel case. They were not discounted, but it was still my top selling item. So that made Jordan and I think if we had discounted it, it would probably would have flown off the shelf, but that was a sacrifice I was willing to make to keep my integrity with my audience and I hope that’s something that they will take note of and go, “Okay, she didn’t discount that. So she was honoring the fact that we supported her at the top price.”

Those are little nuances that you think through when you become an online musician and you become a marketer and you become an expert at marketing your music. You are thinking through these kinds of details. If you’re not thinking through those details, you’ll learn pretty quick because people will be very expressive with you as to how upset they are; they just will. So that’s one big lesson.

33:51 CJ: Did you do anything different this year for holiday sales than previous years?

33:57 Leah: Yeah. In that, well, like I said, because of the timing of the crowdfunding campaign, album launch going rolling straight into Black Friday, Cyber Monday, we just noticed kind of a fatigue in my warm audience by the end of it, and rightfully so. I mean I have, I’ve been pushing sales and campaigning pretty much half the year. So at this point normally I’d be rolling out another sale to them already, like a holiday sale that’s just like a general holiday sale and we decided to actually cool it with the warm audience.

34:33 Leah: So that’s one thing I’m doing differently is you know, you have a plan and then you assess the situation and this is where using a little intuition comes in. It’s like, “Hey, I don’t want to burn them out to where they just completely end subscribed, don’t want to follow me at all,” but it’s having a sensitivity and it’s really just having your finger on the pulse of your music business and of your audience where you know when it’s time to maybe back off a little. So we’ll bring a sale back in for New Year’s. So I’m giving them a few weeks, but we’re still going hard on the cold audiences right now because they’re doing well.

35:09 CJ: Right.

35:11 Leah: As far as like doing anything specifically different, it’s very similar to what I did last year in that I picked certain products that I wanted to feature. One thing I am doing different is featuring some of these items almost on their own sales page where there’s more attention on them. It’s kind of just more of like a long form sales page versus just sending them to the store and saying, “here’s a discount on the entire store,” even though there was pretty much. Instead of doing that, I picked a few core items and we put them on a longer form sales page where we could kind of explain more, just really focus on these items and it did well. So those are some of the tests that we’re running and as we get into more of our post-mortem meetings, I’m sure there’s going to be more that is unveiled and changes that we make for next year.

36:05 CJ: So email was still king at the end of the day?

36:08 Leah: Oh yeah. Oh yeah, most of all this came from email. Even my warm audience, we were retargeting them through ads that came from the email list.

36:16 CJ: Yeah, and I think people can sometimes get confused, Leah, who are not familiar with how everything gets done. Granted, different businesses operate differently. There’s people who are selling t-shirts, for example, who aren’t building a relationship with an audience. They’re just running ads to a cold audience and just hoping that they’ll capitalize like on a trend that’s going on, or maybe somebody puts out some baby Yoda shirts or something because that’s popular; they just seize moments and all that sort of stuff.

Obviously this is what we’re doing is something much, much different. People can sometimes think because they see these social media ads all the time, that Leah is turning and burning with social media advertising and not realizing, again, even though you said it a hundred times, if you said it once, email is king in relation to sales. That doesn’t mean you’re not running a ton of Facebook ads.

37:14 Leah: Oh, yeah.

37:14 CJ: Those have more to do with the customer journey. They have more to do with bringing people into your sphere of influence, into your funnel, that sort of thing. So as it relates to holiday sales, can you even comment on- because obviously you must’ve run some kind of advertising on social.

37:33 Leah: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. That was a huge part of the strategy. So basically for every campaign- so I ran all my own ads during the crowdfunding. They did very well. Then Jordan came on board right at the end of the crowdfunding campaign. Anyways, during our pre-launch, basically, every little mini-campaign that we’re were running, so preorder sale, album, launch sale, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, we have ads for every single one of these sales and we roll them out, roll them out, roll them out, roll them out. Most of the ad spend is going toward warm audiences. We’re uploading my email list to Facebook, we’re showing them the specific ads I want them to see and so even if they don’t open an email, they’re going to see it in their newsfeed or wherever they are on Instagram.

So yeah, it’s a super important, I’m reinforcing, “Hey, the sale is on,” I get custom graphics made for these and I don’t make them myself. You know, is one of those things that if you’re not a graphic designer, definitely outsource this. There’s so many people out there who can do this, but if you had to use something, you know you can use tools out there, Canva and different ones that are pretty good, and just focusing on getting those graphics made for each mini-campaign that you’re running. I think that’s a huge part is the creative aspect of the ads. I want to say it’s almost more important than the ad copy. They’re visual platforms or social platforms. The creative, whether they’re videos or images or a mixture or whatever it is you’re doing, even slideshows have worked well for me, the creative part of it is a big contributor to the revenue and the success of the ads. So yeah, I mean that gives people a lot to work with even just there.

39:28 CJ: So cause we’ve come to the end of this, anything you’re going to do differently in 2020? Obviously you’re already thinking about the upcoming year.

39:36 Leah: Yeah. Well one thing that I always do is preplan all the sales I’m going to be doing for the year. So my annual planning meeting is coming up and if you are a musician, even if you don’t really have your music off the ground, you should do an annual planning session with yourself or your band or your spouse or whatever. Do an annual planning meeting at that point. Because of where I’m at in my music business, I plan out all my big projects, I plan out the specific promotions I’ll be running. Kind of reverse engineer that into quarters, I kind of break the year up into quarters and we have an episode on this where we talk about how to plan your music year. In fact we will link that in the show notes. We have some resources and a guide for you to walk you through that.

Now’s the time to start thinking about it. So as for what I’m going to do in 2020, during that annual planning meeting is where we kind of hammer out all those decisions. “Hey, what went well? What did not go well?” We have a meeting about it and then we work that into how are we going to make 2020 different?

I’m going to say that I’ll probably be doing a little bit less in my music business this coming year only because I’m turning my attention a little bit to a couple other focuses. I’m probably going to run a spring sale, I’ll probably run a summer sale, and then I will run a big winter holiday Black Friday sale again. So I mean at least three big ones where you’re really pushing and promoting certain items.

I don’t plan on releasing any music in 2020 so that makes my life so much easier. I did that two years in a row and I definitely need a break from that. I will write, though, and do a few other things. I can’t go into crazy detail of how I’m going to change my strategies, I think I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing to be honest. It’s working so I’ll do more of it.

41:30 CJ: Oh good. No, that’s awesome results, Leah. It’s what people expect and again, qualified with what you mentioned earlier about, “Hey, don’t think that you have to match these particular results. Don’t try and think that if you just imitate what she does word for word, that you’re going to get the same results.” We just had an article come out, issue number six of the Inner Circle Membership that we publish, and if you’re not on it, you should check that out. We talked about something that you had noted, which was that coming out of your campaigns at the end of the year, you said that 50% of marketing is intuition. So, that’s something you can’t copy. You can’t copy intuition, and your intuition as an artist, as a creative person has to be applied to your audience. So, Leah’s is as applied to her audience, and your audience is not her audience, and her audience is not your audience.

So there’s so much you can glean, principally, that she teaches in the courses, like Tom in elite, but you can’t just go in there and try to think that you’re just going to imitate, just mimic, just ape what she does and somehow get even a semblance. You may find it ends up being an abysmal failure because you’re missing more than half of what’s going on. She knows her audience and she’s operating out of her own sensibilities, her own intuition, making changes and adjustments on the fly. So you may be adapting to something that she did that was just a sudden decision she made based on data she was seeing at the time and using her gut marketing instinct and may not even be applicable any more for her or you.

43:12 Leah: Yeah.

43:12 CJ: So, guys, again, when we teach something we will highlight what is a principal, what is tried and true, what is an absolute, what is a commandment as opposed to just the testaments. So we love, Leah, hearing your testimony. We love hearing your results, but we don’t want to discourage people.

43:33 Leah: Right, and that’s why I didn’t share all the numbers from all the campaigns that I ran here because again, I’m not here to say look at how good I am. Look at how- look at me. This is not why I’m doing this. I do want to show you what’s possible. I do want to show you. That’s why I shared just during the prelaunch was like a $25,000 two weeks, but like I’m not here to try and make you feel intimidated or like, “Oh my gosh, I’m not, I’m not even doing $1,000 a month.” Hey, I was there and it wasn’t that long ago and anything is possible. So I share with you a little bit, because I want you to know, “Okay, wow, this is doable. Someone like her, homeschool mom of five kids who doesn’t tour, she can do this. Then I can learn this too. I can learn this,” and guess what? You can do hard things. It’s a learning curve. It’s all part of it.

44:25 CJ: That’s right. Well Leah, thank you so much for sharing those results and guys, listen, if you’d like to us a favor, we would love to have your review of this podcast. We do read them in our team meetings. We take your comments very, very seriously. So go to the player that you use to listen to this podcast, leave a review, click some stars of that’s what they offer. Also, feel free if you’re in any of our Facebook groups, to also go in there and leave a comment when you see the show posted. If you have any questions or interesting topics you’d like to see us cover in the future, you can also mention those as well, but always a pleasure to be with you guys and we will see you next time.

Episode #077: An Interview With Lindsay Schoolcraft (Elite Student)

Keyboardist and vocalist for the internationally popular heavy metal band, Cradle of Filth, Lindsay Schoolcraft joins C. J. to discuss how she’s using the principles taught in the Savvy Musician Academy to launch her own album without a record label.

Lindsay is an experienced recording and touring artist and speaks directly to the pain points that are wreaking havoc on the music industry. This is an inspiring episode!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The problems with rapid change in the record industry.
  • The financial reality that’s hitting touring musicians.
  • The confusion surrounding artists.
  • Working with a Grammy-winning artist.
  • How Lindsay decided to do it on her own.
  • How SMA was life-changing for Lindsay.
  • The toll that’s taken by touring.
  • Great awakenings to music marketing.
  • Lindsay’s spending and profits.


“You go on tour and you find out how much your crew and your bus driver makes and some people just come home breaking even and that’s not right.” — @lindzriot [0:06:09]

“There’s always been an injustice to the music industry.” — @metalmotivation [0:07:12]

“We know we have to be online but once we’re online, a lot of us just don’t know what to do.” — @lindzriot [0:07:22]

“I’m doing it all online. I’m going to do it digital, screw the record labels, they can’t tell me what to do. You’re not my real dad.” — @lindzriot [0:12:59]

“I refuse to allow some other thing that thinks it’s greater than me to take control of my music career.” — @lindzriot [0:15:10]

“I’m an artist and I just want to put out art and hope people enjoy it.” — @lindzriot [0:16:35]

“When it comes to building your own music empire, you want to minimize the mental and emotional challenges as much as you can.” — @metalmotivation [0:20:20]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Belzebubs (Lindsay’s cartoon character) —

Lindsay Schoolcraft —

Book A Call —

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: Welcome once again to the Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz. I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. I also get to host this awesome podcast, the Music Marketing podcast on the interwebs. Now as I mentioned in the last episode, we’re doing a series of interviews with students of our Elite program to give you a behind the scenes look at how some new success stories are happening in the new music industry.

I’m really, really excited about this one today because it’s somebody whose story is really unique because she’s already in an existing popular touring band and she is starting now her own project. I’m going to tell you a whole lot more about that with her as I welcome Lindsay Schoolcraft to the podcast. Thank you, Lindsay, for being here.

01:12 Lindsay: Thank you for having me. I’m excited.

01:14 CJ: Isn’t this awesome? I was talking to Lindsay just offline before we started the recording and the electricity entered the room immediately with her. Because Lindsay this is such a crucial time, not just in your own personal musical journey, but in the music industry itself. I shared something, Lindsay, in the last episode of the podcast talking about a recent article that… It was in Guitar World Magazine. I talked to Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins who said if he was to give 60 seconds of advice to an up and coming musician, he would say, “Don’t worry about playing down the street. Focus 100% of your efforts on the internet.”

Of course at Savvy Musician Academy, that’s something we’ve been trying to put out there for a long time. You’ve been a student in the Elite program for some time now. Now, give everybody a little bit of background. What band is it that you play in and then let’s get into what I just mentioned.

02:13 Lindsay: Okay, so for the past seven years I have been the keyboardist and the backing vocalist for Cradle of Filth, which was very… It’s still very established, but very well established in the ’90s type band. Heavy metal, extreme Gothic, heavy metal.

02:27 CJ: Again, keyboardist for Cradle of Filth, for anybody like me who’s a metalhead, you know very well who Cradle of Filth is and that’s huge. Now you are about to venture off into your own music projects already underway. You’ve got this debut solo album that we’re going to talk about, but before we get to that, I want to go back to the discussion we were having offline because it was so good that we had to just say, let’s save this for the podcast itself.

I mentioned what Billy said. You’ve been pursuing the online space. You’re doing your solo project this way. But you’ve also got an insider’s look at what’s happening right now with record labels and bands. Tell us about that.

03:08 Lindsay: Okay, so being in the metal industry, there’s about four major labels that run the monopoly on the market. The problem is, is they’re changing right now, and they’re not changing fast enough. The biggest issue is a lot of the old-schoolers are ready to retire, they’re tired, they want to retire. The new people are coming into the labels, and they don’t know where they belong. They’re like, “Hey, we need to update and do all this digital marketing stuff.” And it’s not being met fast enough.

So right now, I see my friends feeling the pressure of not making enough money, bands breaking up, people wanting to quit. It’s really upsetting me. I’ve been reaching out to people and I say, “Your career isn’t over. Check out this podcast. Check out Savvy because I’ve done it. I’ve seen it. I know you’re sick of touring. It can be done just give it a chance.” Because there’s so many talented people out there who are great singers and songwriters and they’re just ready to quit. I’m like, “Well, that’s not fair.” For me, I’m being selfish but for your fans.

I know that they don’t want to quit music, but everyone’s just feeling the massive crunch of the labels not transforming fast enough right now, especially in heavy metal. The fans are concerned and confused too. They’re like, how can I help? It’s unbelievable what’s happening right now.

04:25 CJ: Yes, I remember Leah telling me one time about a year or so ago, how she was approached by one of the major labels. They were interested in her success and wanted to do an album with her and all she did was go to their website and see that they weren’t using a Facebook pixel on their website. She said, “There ain’t no way I’m giving you any of my music because if you don’t understand the importance, for example, of something so minor as a Facebook pixel, that tells us loads. That means you don’t understand anything about digital marketing right now.” Which is how she achieved her success, which is the approach you’re now taking in your life.

It’s so interesting because you’re highlighting this current phase of the history of the music industry since Napster. Napster came in, that did its work, then you had iTunes come in, and then that had its effect. Then you had streaming Pandora, Spotify and the like, then that had its effect. YouTube having its effect, copyright issues, all of that. As you said, during this whole time, all these guys and gals who started these metal record labels, for example, well they’re into their retirement years. They’re ready to… Enough of this.

05:44 Lindsay: Yeah, the ’80s were fantastic and now it’s over.

05:47 CJ: So now you got the new breed coming in, and they’re caught between because they learned the old way of doing things. Now the pressure is on because the results aren’t coming and so now, bands are touring to try and make a difference and try to sell merch but now the labels are taking huge percentages of that too.

06:05 Lindsay: Exactly, and that’s a problem.

06:08 CJ: Like you said, they’re not making more than the bus driver.

06:09 Lindsay: Yes, you go on tour and you find out how much your crew and your bus driver makes and some people just come home breaking even and that’s not right. Especially after all that fan money. The fans thought they were putting the money towards the artists only to find out it went into the whole hiring of the staff to get the artists out on tour. It’s just… It’s wrong. It feels so wrong. I feel that from time to time as well. I understand entirely.

06:37 CJ: In fact, I mentioned to you offline, in getting someone like yourself to talk about this here on the podcast, it’s… and talk about your own story and what you’re doing with your own music marketing. It’s not just for you and it’s not just because this is a great selling point for the Savvy Musician Academy. I can hear in you this sense of justice. That it is unjust for musicians who… Not just in this modern era, but since the outset. Motown artists and even Metallica just recently got their publishing rights back.

07:12 Lindsay: My God, that’s brutal.

07:12 CJ: There’s always been an injustice to the music industry. You seem to be… You’re feeling that for a lot of your fellow artists.

07:20 Lindsay: Yes, and that’s the thing. We know we have to be online but once we’re online, a lot of us just don’t know what to do and we’re like, “I don’t want to show my personal life to these people online.” Everyone’s just confused. It’s like herding cats right now. Nobody knows what they want or what to do. I’m like, “Guys, hello, over here.”

07:37 CJ: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Tell us a little bit… Going back now, of course, let me just update people on where you are right now. Your debut solo album, Martyr just recently came out, right?

07:50 Lindsay: Yes.

07:51 CJ: Ethereal gothic metal, and who did you write this record with? Somebody that everybody in the industry so to speak, should know?

07:58 Lindsay: Yes. I got really lucky. Rocky Grey who is Grammy Award-winning, the original drummer of Evanescence, he approached me back in the beginning of 2016. He’s like, “Hey, do you want to work on music together?” And I nearly fell out of my computer chair. I was just like, “This is ridiculous.” But I was open to collaboration because to be fair, I can do pretty much anything minus the band structure. He knows guitars, bass drums.

It’s like, yes, let’s do this. I went from a cover to a few songs to a full-blown album in a year. I did get really lucky and I’m very grateful for that. He’s onboard for the second album. He’s just so wonderful to work with. It’s weird working with one of your idols who you totally idolized in high school. Strange stuff.

08:40 CJ: Yes, Rocky has done so much. Other bands as well. He’s a… like you said a versatile all-around musician and arranger and songwriter and all of the above. I was thrilled to hear when you first told me when you and I had a one-on-one coaching call at one point. You told me… One of the first things you told me that blew me away that you and Rocky were working together. Because I’m looking at you, and of course you do kind of… You get that Evanescence vibe so to speak. Gothic element, obviously much different but I just thought wow, what a great… Because Evanescence is doing their thing.

09:16 Lindsay: Yes, they’ve moved on. They’re more in a pop element now, which is cool, people still dig it. I love that. That’s great.

09:23 CJ: Yes, so Lindsay, here you are now. You’re also a comic book character, aren’t you?

09:30 Lindsay: Yes, I still have to pinch myself about that. That was JP Ahonen. He has this comic book series called Belzebubs. It’s the struggles… Anyone in Savvy would love it. It’s the struggles of being in a band, but having a family and trying to get things off the ground and recording the album. It’s really cute and I think everyone can relate to if not the teen romance between the daughter and the drummer in the band. Just the struggles of being in a band.

My character came in and she does exactly what I do. She’s guest vocaling and she’s just being part of the band. It’s really cool. I’ve made a few appearances in the comic book. I’m in the animated music video, which actually just won an award over in Scandinavia, which I think is just so fantastic. That was just a huge opportunity I jumped on. I was totally honored to be a part of it. I think that just comes with building a relationship with the comic book character because I am technically in a black metal band, and it’s about a black metal band. It really makes fun of it too and I love it.

10:31 CJ: Well, that’s a great segue. You are in a very… One of the most popular black metal bands in the world, Cradle of Filth. There’s not a festival that goes on that you don’t see Cradle of Filth listed and of course, obviously, you’re on tours. You just got off a tour and so you’ve got a very busy life but you’re launching this solo project, which you’ve done this month. The Martyr album release and you’ve got more coming and so you’ve been now with Savvy Musician Academy for some time. Let’s go back there. When did Leah first appear on your radar?

11:05 Lindsay: Leah has been in my life for almost a decade. When she released her first album Of Earth and Angels, I was actually writing. That was my in to the industry. I used to review music and interview people. That’s how I built my network. It’s a great way to get in. The press world does need people that care. I think that’s important. It was all-consuming and I wasn’t getting paid for it so eventually, I moved out of it. But during that time, I met Leah and someone at the zine I was working with.

He’s like, “You would love this. You have to listen to this. Listen to this album.” And I’m like, “Okay.” And I did and I was like, “Who is this person? They’re incredible.” I loved her first album. I really did. I still do. I have the old copy of it before she revamped it. We stayed in touch. We have a lot in common, even though she’s folk and I’m goth, it’s very fantasy based in both worlds. I play the harp, she plays the harp. We never run out of things to talk about, especially in the business industry.

What happened was, my story is crazy. I’m a very Joan Jett story where she just kept getting rejected and she’s like, “I’m going to be persistent.” Now Joan Jett’s a rock icon. I was banging on the doors of labels for four months, and the labels are going through their awful growing pains right now and no one was getting back to me. I was working this counter job at a drug store in the makeup department. If you can tell by my face, I do makeup too.

I was like, “Why am I so unhappy with my life?” There was that aha moment when I’m like, I don’t have a release date for my album. That’s why I’m so miserable. Granted, it was in January and it’s minus 28 outside. Reason to be miserable in Canada that time of year. I just went… I went home that night, I stayed up till 3:00 AM, I did a brain dump into a Word document about how I wanted this release to look. I’m doing it all online. I’m going to do it digital, screw the record labels, they can’t tell me what to do. You’re not my real dad.

I got really defiant in that case. Then I’m like, “Leah is really good at this stuff. Maybe I should just shoot her an email and a text and be like, hey, do you have 10 minutes to talk on the phone?” So I got a hold of her and I said… I was like, “Hey, do you got 10 minutes? Can I send you my release plan?” She’s like, “Yes send it over.” Then she texts me back. She’s like, “No, I’m calling you tomorrow night. We don’t have 10 minutes. We need an hour.”

13:29 CJ: Oh my gosh, that’s Leah. That is so Leah.

13:33 Lindsay: She was great. She was awesome. So supportive, got me into the Elite program. It has been life-changing. It’s been a realization of who I really am and what I’m really doing.

13:44 CJ: Wow. Now, okay, so you guys go way back. Obviously you’re able to keep track of what she’s doing. She’s keeping track of what you’re doing. When did the coin drop then for you as far as doing it this way, doing the Savvy Musician marketing approach to your own career?

14:01 Lindsay: It’s been a huge push because I’m in the industry, especially heavy metal. I see what’s happening. I was like, you know what, I do my best work when I’m home. I can play my harp. I can write music, I have a little recording station. It’s dirty and cheap and it just does the job until there’s real production. I love doing social media, but when I’m on tour, I’m haggard and tired all the time. I don’t feel good about dropping videos with not enough energy onto my Insta Story talking about something. I could come off as cranky, I’m very sarcastic.

I do do my best work from home and honestly, touring is getting more and more unrealistic and expensive. It’s really taking a toll on my health, physically and mentally. Tour schedules now, I’m really in with a lot of the metal bands that are consistently on tour and I am in that same spot like I don’t know how you do it. I’m like, I don’t know either. Just even this year, I was so determined. I was doing the homework from the course on tour while I was just burned out, and I was like, “No, this has to happen. I refuse to allow some other thing that thinks it’s greater than me to take control of my music career.”

It was hard. It was really hard. On days off, I’d spend 10 hours in front of my computer doing my homework at a hotel lobby. The guys in the band were like, “What is she doing? Go get a drink.” I don’t drink but go out, go watch a movie, go relax in your bunk. I’m like, “No, I am determined to do this. Screw record labels.” I was so angry. But that’s the thing. I’m just seeing the way the industry is going and it’s just getting a little bit unrealistic. The old school ways are really starting to crumble. I was like, “No, you know what, I want to stay home. I want to do this from home.” I would love to tour don’t get me wrong, I would love to go but I want to do it on my own time when my health allows, when funds allow, when the demand is there.

I love doing live shows. I just got offered earlier this year to go to Australia for a week with just my electric harp. That was so much fun. I would love doing that but at the same time, I’m like, “Oh, I want to bring my band.” but that’s expensive and that takes time to build the money and the clout for that, do you know what I mean?

16:16 CJ: Yes, sure. Absolutely. Okay, so you’re still doing the program, you’re still taking advantage of everything that’s there. I mean, what difference has this made for you especially with this recent album launch?

16:32 Lindsay: It was so self-realizing. I’m an artist and I just want to put out art and hope people enjoy it. When it came to finding out what your micro-niche was, and then asking your fans about you. My fans told me, they’re like, “You’re pretty much the gothic queen of darkness. Your genre is gothic rock.” Under symphonic metal, female-fronted and all that fun stuff. if you understand the course it’s like a system to find your micro-niche. My micro-niche is ethereal gothic rock. I’m like, “I’m okay with that. That sounds wicked.” I was just going to go out and get really dumb merch made mugs, scarps notebooks, candles.

My fans didn’t want any of that. I’m like, I want that. When I go to the dollar store I stock up. They were like, “No, we just want… We want t-shirts, hoodies, CDs, vinyl, patches, stickers, posters.” I’m like, “Done. This is what you want? Cool beans, I will give it to you. The other thing though is and I was talking to Leah about it when I went through the whole aspect of Facebook.

When I did my fan survey, I’m like on this pie chart, nobody uses Facebook anymore. Facebook is going to be obsolete. It’s going to be 25%. I did the survey. It came back and my fans, 55% of them prefer to use Facebook. I was like, again fell out of my computer chair. I was like, “Okay, wow.” Then when I learned all about the Facebook business manager and pixels and running ads and targeted ads and hashtags, I was just like I don’t think any of the record labels I hang out with after shows and schmooze and mingle with know anything about this.

This is what is so vital for your career. Why waste money advertising? You don’t even know what the heck you’re advertising first of all, but then… I am a believer that listen, make your art but nobody is original anymore. You sound like an amalgamation of three other artists. Get over it. We’re not original anymore, especially being a goth. We are not original.

18:36 CJ: Right.

18:36 Lindsay: Then just finding out what bands you sound like. Your fans are out there. They want your music. Ever since I started running ads. I’m not a big fan of Zuckerberg. I’m not and I mean to him behind the scenes, but I looked into advertising and what the labels charge and what advertising looks like. It’s so expensive. Zuckerberg is giving us musicians a huge discount. If we know what we’re doing. It’s ridiculous.

When I told a friend of mine in Australia, who’s also in digital marketing, I’m like, “I spend $90 a month on ads and that’s it. Every month I get about 6000 followers and I get this many click-throughs.” She’s like, “$90 a month.” She’s like, “That’s just a grocery bill.” I’m like, “I know.” And I’m vegan. I live off of twigs and berries. I don’t have an expensive grocery bill, this is fine.

The course really just… Oh, man. It’s been a journey. I feel like a whole new person. I’m confident. Confidence is practice but it’s also nurtured. Your confidence needs to be nurtured that you’re not crazy and you are thinking the right way or doing the right thing.

19:43 CJ: I said the… and I interviewed someone, another one of the students in the last episode, one of the things that she talked about was this support element, with the coaches and things like that. Obviously, you know Leah personally. The secret to success in anything is you need principles which are taught in any sort of course. But then you need coaching. You need someone to tell you whether you’re doing it right, something that you’re missing, otherwise, you get trapped in your own head. You start this vicious cycle of self-defeat, you’ve got enough challenges as it is. So when it comes to building your own music empire, you want to minimize the mental and emotional challenges as much as you can.

This is reinforced in the course itself. Now for you, you’re obviously very excited about what’s happening. You just came out with the new album. How empowered now, do you feel about moving forward into the next year?

20:43 Lindsay: It was… I will say first off, especially with the heavy touring schedule, it was very tough and it was a lot of sacrifice. I dubbed this the year of no fun because I didn’t do any sightseeing. I just stayed on my laptop. But I always knew… I’m like, I trust Leah. I trust savvy. I know the outcome of this is going to be really good. I am the definition of grit. I really am. I stuck it out. There were times when it was very hard. Going back to coaching, in this industry, there’s not a lot of leaders or coaches, it’s just a lot of people doing the thing and going home.

That’s not wrong, especially when it comes to musicians, crew and people who run the business side of the industry. There’s very few good people in this industry, who I do keep in consistent communication with. But that first week of the launch was a bit messy, but it went over really well overall. Then when I finally… The first week, I recouped, record labels have to recoup their expenses. I don’t mind talking numbers, but I spent about $25,000 in my own money that I saved and invested into this program and into my product and into my team. The first week I saw all that money back, just the first week.

21:50 CJ: Wow.

21:52 Lindsay: It was like, “Okay, I just recouped. Cool beans. Let’s run some ads and do some funnels and see what we can do.”

21:59 CJ: Right.

21:59 Lindsay: You know what I mean? That’s the next chapter.

22:01 CJ: If you can do that much, then if you can move it an inch, as they say, right, we can certainly move it a mile.

22:08 Lindsay: Precisely.

22:08 CJ: It’s been interesting, myself serving just as a coach and of course hosting this podcast and all of that. It’s awesome to meet all of the incredible students. But the reason why I’m here is because I’ve been doing this thing myself. I’ve got 30 years in advertising and marketing myself, but then I also did the motivational speaking professional development thing, and that’s the metal motivation. Heavy metal motivator. That’s how Leah and I worked together for a number of years, like yourself about a decade.

I watched her go from… struggling. Her and her husband struggling to make ends meet, facing bankruptcy, being advised to declare bankruptcy to where she is now. I could verify the process. I could watch this. I could see the success almost predicted in a way because I knew she was following the established principles of marketing. In other words, what you’re being armed with, Lindsay is not something she made up. You know what I mean? This is something that she’s…

I can tell you from again, 30 years of doing this, she’s using the standard principles of direct marketing that were used in the ’60s, used in the ’70s, used in the ’80s, and the ’90s all apply to this new space. Tell me then about things you’re learning about for example copywriting and how you handle your social media and all that sort of stuff.

23:35 Lindsay: Well, I mean, here’s the thing. I’ve always been very organic with my audience and growing it. Especially in all the time I’ve been touring the world, past seven years and up on the hashtags wishing people a happy birthday. I appreciate and love my fans, and I nurture that and they come to me and I’m like, “Fairy goth mother. Come under my batwing. Tell me about your problems.” I love my fans so much. I really do. I have a lot of really good connections and personal relationships with my fans.

But Savvy helped me bring it to the next level. I didn’t realize I could write emails like I was sending a personal text message. I want to keep that connection with my fan base. Funny story. I was like, “Okay, I’m stuck in Australia before a wedding after a tour. I’m going to New Zealand, I’m having a vacation.” That was enough. That was a business retreat and I literally finished a lot of the bonus course material with Savvy because I was just so fired up. I’m like, “I need to do this thing.” I was little warrior mode. Might have been in New Zealand, I don’t know, the Maori culture there.

I have no idea, but yes. I went ahead and I was like, “No, this is just mind-blowing.” My fans get it and they’re very supportive. I understand a lot of people don’t want emails all the time. That’s fine. My mailing list is growing and I’m having this wicked connection with my fans and they reply and I reply, and it’s just nice. I love email because, here’s the thing, and I think musicians need to understand this right now. I didn’t know this until I opened my Drip.

Drip is the e-commerce mailing platform, which I don’t mind paying for after I opened and saw these numbers. I was never a numbers person. I hate math. I am dyslexic. You can tell I’m stumbling over my words a lot in this podcast. I was like, “Okay, I’ll do this.” I imported all my old emails and I started getting things working. Then about a week after when I recouped opened Drip. It’s like 80% of your sales came from Drip.

25:34 CJ: Wow.

25:35 Lindsay: I’m like, okay well, “Screw social media. Unless you’re paying for targeted ad I’m not doing this anymore.” The thing is, going back to Leah, we have to praise our queen. I was a fan of hers for the longest time I get it. I love fantasy folk metal. I love folk metal. In my mind, I am a dark queen elf saving the kingdom. I get it. As her fan, I understand that micro-niche, that culture.

I get it, I used to play World of Warcraft as an elf. I get it. I was like, no, she’s not wrong because I’m a fan and I see how she gets my fandom going. I won’t lie, I’ve dropped $100 on her here and there, I love her music and everything. Then I see the business side of her. I’m like, I need to be doing that for myself because I know that how I’m a fan of her music, those people are out there and they need me to be their gothic queen providing the spooky vibes and the spooky jams.

I knew that, I just know… I think that is something a lot of musicians don’t do. Some of them do. Some of them don’t or some of them know it and they just don’t tap into it. Remember when you were a music fan, what did you want? You know what I mean? Then putting yourself in those shoes and doing it for yourself. But that’s the thing that comes with that confidence. A lot of us are just such humble, sensitive creatives, we don’t step into those shoes enough, I think.

27:00 CJ: This is so important. You mentioned earlier some of your fellow musicians who are like, I don’t want to share my life like that on social media, et cetera. You just want to be the artist hidden away, trust the labels to do everything for you. Well, the times are changing and maybe things will develop on the label side of things, maybe they’ll come up to speed, new labels will come about who are more devoted to the artists themselves and share a bigger piece of the pie. But until then, what’s going to make you doubly attractive as an artist is if you have a sizable following.

A label is always going to be more interested in you if you have the following. A publishing label is going to be interested in you as an author if you’ve got a sizable following. It is in your interest to do the very basics of audience building. Like you said, you see the purpose of social media. You see the purpose of an email. You said, “Wow, I’m getting 80% of my sales via email.” And Leah’s recent crowdfunding campaign. 30 days her goal was $50,000. For 30 days she raised $83,000. In one week, seven days through Drip, the program you’re using. Seven days email campaign $27,299 for her album.

It’s like okay, well, what’s possible? Everything is possible because again, she does not tour. You’re on stages. You have… You mentioned a cool story that we actually shared in one of the previous podcasts where you were on a flight. What was it? You’re on a flight and you were recognized? Tell us that story.

28:35 Lindsay: Okay, this is just weird because I’ve always been known as the keyboardist to cradle filth, right. We were in Australia and I started running targeted ads, just with what music I had on band camp at the time. My Shopify wasn’t up yet. I was just running them and I do have this crazy underground little following in Australia. We’re on tour and I’m haggard. We were up at five in the morning. I’m just hiding in my sunglasses and my hoodie and my jacket. I just stumbled onto the plane and I’m like, I’m going to go find my seat and nap.

I was just like, I’m too tired. I can’t do this. Usually, people recognize our lead singer. He’s a goth icon. He was huge in the ’90s. He’s a great poet and front person. So I’m sitting there, and then this girl comes up to me. She’s blushing and she’s giggling. She’s a flight attendant, and I’m like, “What’s going on?” She’s like, “Hey, I tried to find you vegan food, but we don’t have anything.” It was less than three hours. They don’t feed you, right? On a flight. If it’s over three hours, they have to provide a meal.

I was like, “Okay.” She’s like, “I just want to say like, I don’t care about Cradle Filth, but I’m a really big fan of yours. It’s so nice to meet you. It’s such an honor to serve you on this flight.” And I’m like, “Excuse me.” She’s like, “Yes, I saw your ad on Facebook and I started following you, your music’s amazing.” I’m just like… I’m sitting there and my guitarist is sitting across the aisle from me and he’s like “What’s going on? Are you okay?” I’m like, “She likes me.”

My guitarist always jokes, “Oh, I should have been a singer.” Rich is a good guy. Great sense of humor about being the guitarist which everybody has their place in the band. I wrote about it in the Elite group, which is just a fantastic little support system and I wouldn’t say little, we’re a big network of support, and everyone there’s going through the same growing pains and realizations and whatnot. It was just really weird for me. I was like, did that just happen? But that’s the thing. These things work and your superfans are out there. They want your music, they want to support you. It’s crazy.

30:48 CJ: That’s such a key thing. The superfan element is not just jargon, this is literally what we’re looking for because superfans will not get tired of your email. Superfans will be happy to hear about your little idiosyncrasies and the tough morning that you had and the little moment you might want to share. I think once you receive that, once you get that feedback from superfans and not the cynical people we see online all the time-

31:16 Lindsay: The elitists.

31:17 CJ: Yes, especially in the metal community, right?

31:20 Lindsay: Oh God yes.

31:22 CJ: Once you start getting this positive feedback from people that love you dearly and want to hear from you it’s going to open you up to share that sort of thing even more. Again, alluding to the fact that you have been a touring musician, you do have notoriety. You are working with somebody like Rocky that together with these elements, and you now taking over your own music marketing, your own music business, with the things you’re taught in the Savvy Musician Academy Elite program, man. I mean, this is a recipe for great things Lindsay, do you even understand this?

31:58 Lindsay: I do. The thing is Rocky, he saw the last end of the greatness that was music industry. He’s so excited for me, he always pops in. He’s like, “How’s it going? What’s going on?” Now, I understand. Rocky has done his thing. He’s retired he’s made his money everything’s paid for. He just for fun now does film scores and music video games, because he can. Because he wants to. When I show him what I’m doing, at first, he was like, “Wait, you’re becoming your own record label. What the heck, Lindsay? How does that work?”

Now he’s just… He’s always cheering me on. He’s so excited. He knows this is the future. He knows. He’s very well aware of it.

32:37 CJ: It is the future. It’s something we say a lot obviously on this show. It’s great to see someone like yourself at this really critical point. Like I said, she and I were chatting offline just before the podcast, we had to cut ourselves off because it would have turned into a podcast itself and then we would have regretted never recording any of it then she would have had to repeat and it just loses that kind of energy. But when she was talking about it, I felt the electricity immediately into the room and I just said, “You know what, the metal Gods want this discussion to be had.” Because it’s just…

I’m a metal lover, metal motivator stuff, you’re a metal artist. This is for everybody. This is every industry. You’re in country, jazz, ambient music, write music for kids. There’s no age to this. There’s no genre limitations to this. Anybody, if there’s a fan, we got somebody we’ve been looking at just in our own Elite group who has a space alien country.

33:41 Lindsay: I love it.

33:42 CJ: Space alien country.

33:43 Lindsay: Those guys are out there.

33:46 CJ: People who love country music, but also are all into the sci-fi thing. There’s genres and micro-niches out there for you and you can build your own Empire and Lindsey I know there’s so much more that you could say. I wish we had a lot more time to do that. We’ll bring you back on maybe when Leah’s here where we can talk more about that. But the e-commerce element was obviously a big eye-opener for you. Right? Not just selling the music but this other element. How are you doing with your store?

34:17 Lindsay: Oh, it’s just fantastic. I love Shopify, best customer service. I had a little bit of an issue with PayPal. It’s a long story I won’t get into it. But when you’re used to the customer service being so incredible through Shopify, what an incredible platform to sell your music, connect with your fans, provide tracking, buy your shipping labels off the website. Do it all from home really easily. Then you go to PayPal who nobody knows their butt from their toes.

It was really stressful. But Shopify made it so easy. I am living in a little bit of a box right now in my apartment, but I don’t care because when people come to visit, they’re like, “Wow, that is so cool. Go you. You’re doing it all yourself from home.” I’m like, “Yes, thanks to Shopify. Shopify is my friend.” And I’m on the basic plan, an annual basic plan, doing it all through the course.

For $30 a month. That’s what? I just don’t go out and buy coffee for a month. That’s nothing. That’s a sacrifice I can make for now. I don’t care.

35:21 CJ: For now, exactly. For now. I think what people… I think this is… And I have to apologize that I don’t offer more explanation. Me and Leah, when we talk, we say we got to be careful about how much we assume people know about what we’re talking about when we talk about marketing things. When we say Shopify, in other words, that Lindsay is doing great with her Shopify store e-commerce, which means selling all of her hoodies, and shirts, and mugs and all that kind of stuff.

But here’s the thing guys, she doesn’t carry any inventory. She’s not sitting there with printed stuff that she has to put in bags and ship out to anybody. You’re not shipping anything. Are you?

35:59 Lindsay: Oh, no. I am. I did… Okay, so listen. I’m a little bit punk rock. I came from a punk band first when I was 15. Yes, you can do the whole print on demand. I looked into it and I was like I’m such a control freak and I understand a lot of people have been very happy with their print on demand. But I did small quantities. I lie… I say box for… just a little pile over there. There’s a little pile over there, there’s a little pile in the other room. It doesn’t bother my roommates.

I live with a drummer, I live with students and artists. It’s a very Amanda Palmer situation. If you don’t know Amanda Palmer check her out. She’s amazing. But I did do small quantity prints because I wanted to support… I’m so sentimental this way, I wanted to support some local printers that I thought were really good small local businesses because the end of the day my fans are coming to support me. A lot of people do the print on demand and I think that is fantastic.

But I have had a lot of fun just taking down the first big shipment. Taking some downtime, inviting over my sister and my closest friends. Doing an assembly line, boxing things up, putting little love notes. The fans I’ve had a really good relationship with putting it in the boxes. I did do things a little differently. I know I didn’t have to do it this way but I did it this way because I’m punk rock. I wanted to send love letters and the print on demand does make more sense for your sanity and I will look into it in the future, but I just did it a little bit differently because I’m a little bit of an oddball. I am very unique.

37:26 CJ: No I completely understand because that’s the way I did it for the longest time. Because you just… I did want that and I wanted to make sure things got there. I wanted to make sure an order wasn’t messed up. The most important part was I could throw a sticker in there. I could throw a patch in there. I could write a little note on the invoice and all of that. But then what happens is the volume kicks up, and then you realize well, I can’t have mugs, hats, little pieces of trinkets, all the different iPhone covers, and all of these things.

At some point, you do have to turn some of that over to the print on demand because then… Because if it was print on demand, you can say, okay, well if somebody… If you all of a sudden you start getting people saying, “I want an iPhone cover.” What are you going to do?

38:14 Lindsay: Exactly. I’m going to order 10 and they’ll collect dust.

38:17 CJ: Yes, you got to get one for iPhone 7S, iPhone 8, iPhone 10 X, iPhone 11. But where you have these print on demand, you could have it up and available… I’ve had people request something from me and had it up available on my store in less than five minutes.

38:33 Lindsay: Right.

38:34 CJ: I had somebody say… Somebody said, “Well, I would get a shirt from you.” Of course, we have this in the metal community, the extra extra large folks, bless their hearts. One guy said, “Hey man, I need something four X, five X. I can’t do three.” I’m thinking bigger than three x? He said if you had that, I would order it. So I said okay. Five minutes, I had a whole three x, four x, five x shirts and all my shirts available and send him a link, he was like, “That was fast.”

39:06 Lindsay: I need that right now because my fans that are triple XL they’re just like, Where’s the things?” I’m like, “I’m so sorry, I will print the things next time.” That’s money I’m losing. You live you learn. I did do this launch a little old school in areas which I shouldn’t have. But in the future, my dream was building my fan base and my mailing list and my career essentially. I’ve talked about it with Leah, I will look into warehouse like shipping, fulfillment facilities.

Not a lot around here in Toronto but again I’m very persistent. I will find someone and I will do that and then I can just clear up my house. Make it look social media pretty. Write all my music from here, have my little motivational speeches every morning. I can’t wait for that but it is a transition and the other thing is, is I did do a little rant when I was opening my bank account.

I was on the way to open my bank account. I said I think the millennial lie is the whole ‘it happens overnight’. I have been a work in progress for 18 years. I’ve seen the industry change multiple times in multiple ways. But this just didn’t happen overnight. I started Savvy in February. I had to tour. I had a lot of research to do, I’m still not done. I’m still getting distribution offers. I’ve got to figure out distribution. I’ve had a publishing offer, I need to go study publishing a little more. I don’t know enough about publishing, I’m not going to jump in and sign something.

There’s all these things that are being offered on the table for me and it’s like, okay, I need to be smart and do my research. When I’m caught up, I’m caught up. But with Savvy it’s just such a good little breakdown of where you need to start because it will grow bigger than you. Now I got my sister is… We’re only three years apart. She’s a graphic designer photographer. She gets it. She made my Shopify look beautiful. Having my family member who’s my best friend work for me it’s just been…

The fact that, hey, your sisters out of work and you can employ her is one of the most beautiful feelings in the entire world. I do have a fantastic team around me. A lot of the women, we’re really good multitaskers no offence to dudes, I get it. I admire the man’s pinpoint focus to get that job done and get it done right. But we women, we’re just an octopus with our tentacles everywhere doing multiple things at once. But that growth is just so beautiful. And I’m starting to see just the tip of the iceberg and I’m so happy.

I can’t wait to get back to writing music. I spoke to Steve at Savvy. He’s great. I think a lot of people have phone calls with him and stuff. I was like, “Steve, I’m so miserable I’m not writing music.” He’s like, “You’re going through a season. You’re in building season. You’re in business season, you will get back to being creative.” He’s like, “I know. My wife when she’s not writing she gets grumpy. I know. I get it.”

I was there and I was like, okay. I have a lot of stuff to clean up and then I’m going to get back into working on a very special little EP, hopefully, done before Christmas, but I can do that now. Because I don’t have to go on tour for this album as much as I know the fans want it, maybe one day they will get it. I don’t have to go on tour, I can just go back right into writing and performing music from home. Living the dream. I’m sorry, that’s living the dream now.

42:20 CJ: That is the dream. That’s what we want for every musician that’s listening. Again, doesn’t matter what genre you’re in. Lindsay has a clear picture now and this… How you do that thing as an independent artist today is part of what the Savvy Musician Academy is. Well, it is what the Savvy Musician Academy is about. It gives you that clear path and these are proven principles. Like I said, this is not something Leah just pulled out of her ear. This is stuff that’s been established for years and I wouldn’t be a part of the Savvy Musician. I would not take the time to do this podcast. I’ve got my own stuff to do. I would not waste my time if it wasn’t something that I sincerely believed in one, being principle-based but number two because I have such a heart for music.

Not because I’m a musician myself, but because I love music especially the heavy metal genre and I want to see it continue and I know what the problems are. I have a lot of very good friends that are professional musicians, especially in the heavy metal genre. I know the pain. To me, there’s such a cause here. This is so purpose-driven. When it comes to helping people.

43:28 Lindsay: One thing I do want to point out especially with heavy metal and rock and alternative, I wasn’t better but I’m doing this all myself. I have hired out session players. My guitarist is in Toronto, my basis is in Vancouver. I live with my drummer but he’s doing his own thing, he’s a drum teacher, he’s very busy, he lets me keep all my inventory here, bless him. But if you’re in a metal band, you have four to six other people who can help you with all of this.

If you go through Savvy, you have six other people. I am one person. Everybody in your band has a strength. If you’re a duet or you’re a three-piece or four-piece. Someone in there is good at social media. Someone in there is good at marketing. Someone in there is good at numbers and keeping a mailing list. Delegate the task. I was just like, “Man, what I would give to have five other band members right now doing this with me.”

It’s not that my hired session people can’t but they’re still in their other jobs. They’re still teachers, they’re still doing their respective thing. I can’t like plug them into savvy and be like, “Okay, do the thing.” They have multiple questions and it’s slowing me down and I had a deadline. Maybe in the future, they can. I know, my guitarist is in marketing, and he would love to do this. I’ll bring him in eventually.

If you start with your band, and you have yourself and you have these five other people helping you, you will get through the course so quickly. It’ll be like magic. It will.

44:53 CJ: That’s awesome. Thank you for saying that. Because we get so focused on the individual artists, we forget oftentimes other players involved and burden doesn’t have to all be on you but hats off to you. Horns off to you, Lindsay Schoolcraft for… I love it, the fairy goth mother, that was so cool. It’s so wonderful to watch your brand develop and to be so faithful to it. I love hearing about your work ethic and the grit you talked about because that is what it takes.

We don’t want this to be unrealistic for people to think, oh, yes, you just take this course and everything works. No, it takes work. It takes work. The difference is, is that you’re going to be willing to do the work more because you’re going to get the results and you’re going to get the results because you’re going to have a proven program. You’re going to have coaches there with you committed to you. Now I’m speaking specifically of the Elite program. We have other things like The Online Musician, what we call our TOM program, which is about to get an upgrade.

The Elite program is different. It’s a higher ticket, higher cost program, but you get all the coaches I work with, students and we have other teams. People specializing in email, people specializing in Facebook ads. These are people who make their living. For example, Jody, who was our Facebook ads coach, that’s what she does. She makes her living teaching people on Facebook ads. All of that and people forget about Steve, Leah’s husband Steve.

46:22 Lindsay: He’s so great.

46:22 CJ: He’s one of my best buddies. Oftentimes when we do, we have our little team meetings. It’s all women, Melissa and Chandra, Amy and all these other girls, and Leah, and then there’s just me and Steve. Representing the testosterone end of things in the face of so much estrogen holding our own and saying yes ma’am a whole lot of the time.

46:49 Lindsay: Oh bless.

46:51 CJ: Yes, Steve told me one time… No, I’m kidding, but the joke I say all the time when your wife tries to tell you what to do as a man, you say no woman is going to tell me what to do, so one time, when they tell you, “Hey, get over here and wash these dishes.” You just tell them I’m not doing anything until I finish this ironing. It is a… We work with some very brilliant ladies. Of course, Leah, as you said, the queen who really set the standard for all of this.

So thankful for you, Lindsay, for taking the time. Thank you for giving me a front-row seat to watching what’s going on and hope we get to chance to keep in touch and whatnot. But either way, we’ll be behind you 110% singing your praises, spreading the word and we know you’re going to do well.

47:47 Lindsay: Thank you so much. It means a lot, seriously.

47:50 CJ: How can people… We going to put stuff in the show notes, but what’s the best place for people to go to learn more about what you’re doing?

47:56 Lindsay: You can go to I spell Lindsay with an I and an A. Schoolcraft is with a C, not a K and you can also go to if you want to see how beautiful my sister made my Shopify. All my social media is linked there. You can come join me on Instagram. I’m quite punctual on Twitter and I just post a lot of really silly jokes which is fun. You got to make someone laugh even if it’s just yourself. I’m pretty active on my social media and if gothic rock or gothic culture or hey, happy Halloween, it’s this week. That’s your thing. That’s my life. It’s Halloween every day in my world. Come hang out.

48:41 CJ: Even guys, I tell people this all the time. Especially for somebody who’s listening to this podcast or not just a music listener. They’re aspiring musicians themselves. It is great to watch what Lindsay’s doing right now as a case study for yourself. Because the people learning the principles, they might as well watch somebody literally do a beyond… They all know Leah’s success story. They’ve heard it before. But to watch someone else following those similar proven principles that don’t belong to SMA, they belong to the marketing communications world like I said for as long as I’ve known them.

It’s great to watch that, they can check that out too. Again, all that information will be in the show notes. But again, Lindsay, it was so great to see you.

49:23 Lindsay: You too. Thank you again.

49:25 CJ: Guys, thank you so much for joining us on the Savvy Musician show. If you would like, you can leave a review. We need them. We lust for them. We salivate for them. We share them in our meetings and reviews are really important because they help other musicians like yourself discover the Savvy Musician Show. Leave us as many stars as you can. Again, whatever player you use, Stitcher, Spotify, iTunes, please take the time to leave a review. You’re also always welcome to come to one of our Facebook groups and leave your comments there. Some things that you would like to see us cover in the future. We’ll be happy to address it. Once again, thanks for being with us and we’ll see you soon.

Episode #076: An Interview With Karen Barrow (Elite Student)

Her online music career began early in the days of MySpace—gaining 30,000 followers—and at one point, one of her music videos gained 12 million views, and yet Karen Barrow still had no money to show for it. Like most artists, she was confused, frustrated, and unsure about her music career because of all the changes in the industry. Then, she found the Savvy Musician Academy, went through The Online Musician course, then joined the Elite program, and that’s when things started to change. If you want an honest look at what goes on behind the scenes of our Elite coaching group, then this episode reveals it. Listen in as Karen shares her own story of struggle, awakening, and the progress!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The reality of today’s average musician.
  • How Karen refined her personal brand.
  • The impact of music marketing coaches.
  • Overcoming doubt and taking action.
  • Karen’s major victory.
  • The power of a pruned email list.
  • How major artists are realizing the power of the internet.
  • Why views and a large audience don’t produce results.
  • How Karen took control of her music career.
  • The power of a professional mindset.
  • How ecommerce changed Karen’s results.


“You need two things for success in any area. You need principles. Whatever principles govern success. Then number two, you need coaching.” — @metalmotivation [0:08:43]

“I’ve started to lose the idea of it’s not for me, I can’t do it, it’s not meant to be.” — Karen Barrow [0:13:37]

“Listen, you guys could tear it up with 50% of what Leah teaches you, if you just understand that one element that Leah really emphasizes traditional marketing principles.” — @metalmotivation [0:21:16]

“You’ll really understand the revolutionary aspect of social media when social media itself disappears and you realize you’re just talking to a person.” — @metalmotivation [0:22:45]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Episode #073: Record Label or Independent Artist? An Interview With Jens Hilzensauer Pt. 1 . –

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

Episode #067: Leah’s Recent Crowdfunding Results, Part 1: 80k in 30 Days –

Episode #068: Leah’s Recent Crowdfunding Results, Part 2: Mistakes & Lessons Learned –

Episode #069: Crowdfunding Q&AKaren Barrow’s Facebook Page –

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: Well, welcome once again to the Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz, I’m the branding and mindset coach here at The Savvy Musician Academy and I’m beginning a three-part interview series, which is really, really special, I’m excited about it. It will be me interviewing three of our elite students from The Savvy Musician Academy. And this is special because I think it gives everyone just a little bit of background, a little behind the scenes look, at what some of these independent artists who are doing everything they can to maximize their success going exclusively online. And I think it’s really important that you not just hear from Leah from the front end, or from me on the front end, but get to get a, again, a fly on the wall sort of view from someone who’s actually going through the program and experiencing some results.

So, whereas normally I would include a student spotlight, the whole thing is a student spotlight and I’m really, really excited about it. And so today I have someone very special, someone who I’ve actually worked with in a coaching call and a delightful artist, and you’re going to learn so much more about her. Coming all the way from the United Kingdom is Karen Barrow, one of our Elite students. Karen, thank you for being with us on The Savvy Musician Show.

01:41 Karen: Oh, my pleasure CJ.

01:42 CJ: Like I said, you and I have had the chance to work together and that’s probably one of the cool things about the Elite Program is it’s not just a course that you take, like for example The Online Musician, but you get also these other elements working with coaches and we’ll talk a little bit more about that. But Karen, let’s start at the outset, you are an independent artist, you’ve put out music before, you’re getting ready to put out another album, crowdfunding and all that good stuff. Let’s start at the beginning. Where did you first come across Savvy Musician Academy. How did Leah come across your radar?

02:20 Karen: I think it was a couple of years ago. Just a bit of background. My career, I sort of started my career on that cusp of the internet. So when I was starting out, it was the whole MySpace thing and I experienced probably loads of people, I built up 30,000 people in MySpace, and then it went overnight like that, gone, and the whole point of my career, I always knew I wanted to be independent, but it was all about chasing radio and chasing media and if these guys play you, you’ll get noticed, it will happen, blah blah blah. And I just reached a point in my career where I’d done everything that had been asked of me. I had the radio play, I had songs in the billboard dance charts. I had all of that stuff, but it still, the internet was this big mammoth beast that had come along and I had like 4,000 fans on Facebook.

I just wasn’t getting the sales. So, I was looking for something else, realizing that this was just a waste of my time, just putting out music, hoping that someone on the radio is going to give me the break or on TV or whatever. And I stumbled across Leah, first of all, I think the first course I did of hers was just like the Online Musician Course. And then I did the one following that, which I can never remember the name. I did a few of her courses. This was before Leah existed. And I reached a point where I had set up my first funnel in terms of email, which is bringing leads in and doing the whole … at that point, it was like a three-day song giveaway. Three songs, three days. And then they were in the funnel and that was great. And that was fab, and I started to build this list. But then I was like, “Great, so where’s my sales?” And I was like, “Right, this is great. What’s next?”

And it was like a year later, the Elite Course came on my radar and I didn’t sign up to it immediately because I was umming and ahhing and like, “Ooh, is it really going to deliver, am I really going to … I don’t know, I don’t know.” And I was just kind of plateauing around, not really knowing what to do, not really knowing how to put a promotion together. And I was building this list and I didn’t know what to do with it. So, I kind of decided it’s all or nothing because this isn’t working. What’s wrong? Something’s wrong. And it’s a case of either, go big or go home. So, I decided to take the plunge and I went for a leap.

04:43 CJ: And how long ago was that?

04:44 Karen: Oh gosh, it was at the beginning of the summer, so I think it was like May.

04:49 CJ: Okay, May. May of this year, 2019.

04:52 Karen: Yep.

04:52 CJ: Now, your stage name is Scarlet.

04:55 Karen: Yes.

04:55 CJ: And for a while, there was Scarlet Fever. And of course, after a session that you and I had, which we talked about branding specifically, you had done the branding bootcamp in the Elite Course and we had an offer there to just do kind of a one-on-one. And, even though we’re not taking an extensive amount of time in that sort of thing, from that initial branding bootcamp and from that initial branding call, how much was opened up for you in terms of the importance of branding yourself as an artist now, in the online space?

05:26 Karen: I can’t possibly state the impact that working with the coaches, you know, you guys, the weekly sessions with Melissa, as much as the course content is mind-blowingly incredible, it’s been that one-on-one coaching that has really been a game-changer for me. Because it stopped me getting stuck in this micro-world of, is it this, is it that? Is that kind of quite right? Is it this? But maybe it’s that. Because it’s just that being an online musician, it’s a lonely world. It’s not like I sit here and I’ve got my community of labels to talk to about decisions and branding and marketing and blah blah. And that’s what that gave me, was just that opportunity of an actual trusted professional person. This is what you do. Okay, let’s put it on the plate in that arena. It was massive. It was absolutely massive.

06:24 CJ: Once you got into the program, working with the coaches and stuff, what was the first major victory that you had?

06:30 Karen: I think the first major victory was … that’s an interesting question actually because I don’t think I was aware of it at the time, it was actually over the summer, I did a flash summer sale and over a weekend I made like £300. And it was like, “Oh, Oh wow, I’ve made some money. Oh, that’s weird.” And I think that’s been the interesting thing for me. At the time I was like, “Oh, that’s pretty good. £300.” I’m pretty ambitious with my goals so I didn’t see it at the time for what that meant. I mean, obviously what that meant is that my list building, my audience, that my email was on the right track.

And I think that the other big one actually was, I had a session with Steve as well, which was amazing. And something that had slipped through the net for me was understanding about how to actually keep pruning your list and how to check the house of your list. Because when I was looking at my list, I was frustrated because I had a good open rate, good click-through rate, but I didn’t feel that I had the sales. Of course, I had a list that was established from before Elite, before Savvy Musician, I didn’t know about pruning my list and getting rid of people who aren’t engaged. So, my buying percentage was really low. And then as soon as I pruned the list, I had that thing of, “Ah, brilliant, it’s actually that.” Had I not spoken to Steve and I looked at all of those figures, I’d have been like, “Well, what’s wrong? I must have my targeting wrong. I’ve got to go back to going through my targeting.” And it’s been, I think that’s what the coaching has done, it’s helping me look at the right thing rather than going down this forever ending tunnel of, is it this, is it that? Is it that you guys have helped me go, no, branding, tick. The right people, tick. It’s not that, it’s this.

08:31 CJ: Isn’t that amazing? You know, I’ve often told people, I’m so glad you said it that way, because I’ve told people for years when I talk about … and I do motivational stuff on the side, and I try to get them to understand that you need two things for success in any area. You need principles. Whatever principles govern success. Then number two, you need coaching. And the coaching part is what stumbles them because think they can figure it out, right? They’re going to listen to the free podcast. They’re going to listen to the free YouTube videos, right? And there’s somehow they’re going to figure it out. But what they miss about the coaching part is that like a professional athlete for example, like over here in the United States, you have a pro golfer like Tiger Woods, right? Well, Tiger Woods has a golfing coach, but that doesn’t mean the golfing coach is necessarily better player than Tiger at all, not even close.

But what the coach does, is watches his technique, watches so he can tell when he’s starting to get into a bad habit or he’s missing something very simple that he already knows, but the player can’t keep all of that in mind all the time. And so yeah, you get trapped and you think it’s something you did wrong or you think it’s the problem is in an area that the problem is not actually in, and it is, it’s a rabbit trail and you waste so much time, you waste so much emotional energy, you get discouraged, you start to turn on yourself, you start with all the mind games of, is it worth it, it’s not meant to be. All of these things that we do, and it’s just a simple fix. And so now here we are in this new era of the music industry where this becomes imperative.

I don’t know if you saw this? This is a new article and you know Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins, there was an article about him in a recent issue of Guitar World Magazine, and it says, “Smashing Pumpkins leader on why, as an artist, you should focus completely on the internet.” And it was interesting because he says, “Going out into the world and playing down the street, don’t even bother.” And then later on he says, and this is a literal quote, he says, “If I was going to give you 60 seconds of advice, I would put your whole focus into reaching people through the internet.” That’s amazing. So I think more and more people are beginning to understand that this is what you need to do. But that’s kind of an ambiguous general statement. What does that mean? You were doing it, as you said, back in the days of MySpace. You were on the internet, but it’s the new dynamics of how social media has changed. Things like email opt-ins. Did you have any idea it was as involved as you’ve learned it to be?

11:10 Karen: No, the funny thing is, and I was doing it. But the interesting thing is when I realized that the internet was there and I was first speaking to music marketing gurus about the internet, it was the same model, just different. They were still going for, “You’ve just got to get the views, you’ve just got to get the audience and then they will come.” These imaginary people who will come and make your career. And, I sat there at that point before Leah, I had 12 million video views, and I still couldn’t buy you … I couldn’t buy you a pint, CJ.

11:47 CJ: 12 million video views on YouTube, right?

11:50 Karen: No, no. This was on Facebook. Because I was advertising on Facebook.

11:53 CJ: On Facebook? Even on Facebook?

11:54 Karen: But what I wasn’t doing, was doing anything with that audience because I didn’t know how. Obviously, through the first courses, I stumbled, well not stumbled, I learned that we need an email address and that’s great. And I sat there and I looked at my new little list and I was like, “Great, now what do I do with you?” Because I still didn’t know. Do you send out an email saying “Buy this?” So, every now and then, I’d send out an email but there was no focus to it, there wasn’t direction. I didn’t know about putting together campaigns and promotions and how to actually start leveraging this list. I didn’t know.

12:34 CJ: Yeah, so now there’s an intentionality, for example, to your email. There’s intentionality to your social media posting. So tell me, how does this make you feel in terms of your own personal empowerment, feeling like you’re starting to get more and more control over your own career?

12:53 Karen: Well, it’s funny you should say that because the biggest change I’ve had, and I spoke to Melissa about this a couple of weeks ago, and I said the biggest change in my mentality is that for the longest time, for my whole career, I think I thought about making it in music as being this magical thing. It’s the moment of magic, the magic audience that’s going to make all the difference. When suddenly I’ll wake up and there’ll be all these sales, the magic branding, the magic. And what I’ve realized, it was all about, for me, the biggest change actually, the breakthrough, was that session with Steve when I realized, no, there’s nothing wrong with my list, I’ve just got to get rid of people who aren’t engaged. And from that point onwards, I’ve started to lose the idea of it’s not for me, I can’t do it, it’s not meant to be. That stuff that you said earlier, all of that negative self-talk of, it’s not my time, not in this lifetime. It’s, you can’t make money from [inaudible 00:13:52] all that stuff.

Now I’m in a professional mindset of, “okay, I’m now, at the moment, I’m bringing in £500 in sales a month. Okay, let’s look at how I get to my next goal, which is going to be £1,000 per month. And then my next go, which is going to be blah, blah, blah. And on it’s going to go. So, I’m no longer thinking about it in terms of finding the magic potion. I’m just going to look at how I now grow, which is great, it’s really exciting.

14:23 CJ: That’s amazing. Even though we’re in this new era with the online space governing, so much of all sales, not just music, all sales and commerce being done online, but I think artists, musicians in particular, still think like the old way. Meaning, that in the old way you would wait to be discovered by the record label, right? And so nowadays you’re waiting to be discovered on the internet, that somehow your video will go viral. And that will be answered, as you said. Instead of saying, “No, I can literally create my own space, I can literally create my own empire.” And so I think one of the funny things that Leah often says, is when people will see her ads and they’ll say, “Well, if you’re making all this money as an independent artist not touring, then why have I never heard of you?” And she says, “Well that’s the point. I’m only targeting people who listen to Celtic fantasy metal. So it stands to reason that you’d have not heard of me.”

And so we just had a recent interview with a gentleman, the name of Jens who, a proficient online marketer himself working closely with Leah on some other projects, and he was talking to some German record labels and they were absolutely puzzled, could not figure out how Leah was doing what she’s doing. And, of course, everybody resorts to scam and all these sorts of things. Just because you can’t figure something out, doesn’t mean it’s done illegally. Just because you can’t figure out how somebody is doing something, doesn’t mean it’s done by magic. I mean, I’ve seen some pretty powerful magicians do pretty powerful magic tricks and for the life of me, I could spend all my days and never figure it out. But then you watch a video showing how that sort of trick is done, and you feel stupid that you couldn’t figure this out. Can you understand why people just can’t wrap their heads around this, now that you’re doing the sort of thing yourself?

16:17 Karen: I can, because it’s a huge amount of work and it is a huge amount of discipline and dedication. Because the thing is, if you don’t show up every day, then like had I not shown up and not put in all that work and not had that moment with Steve, I wouldn’t have had that breakthrough. I had another one where it came up in the group and someone was talking about making sure that all of your audiences have also included that you only want to target online shoppers and people engage with online shopping. It’s a small detail, but it’s a big thing. Because why target people who don’t buy online. And it’s all of those details that build the puzzle. It’s not magic, but all of those details, when you look at them as the picture, it’s like, “Wow, Oh, how do you do that?”

17:01 CJ: Exactly. And it’s pretty amazing that you’re doing something like this for the most part on your own, that you’re not doing it with a team of people or whatnot. You can get to the place where you might have to bring some things in and you’ve done little things like maybe you hire something out, a little graphic design project here, but there’s so many now inexpensive vendors to do that. Tell me a little bit now, because I don’t know how much you were doing this beforehand, I’m sure you did, but how has the e-commerce element that you’re taught in Elite, the merchandise and all of that, how has that changed things?

17:36 Karen: Oh gosh, it’s massive. It’s absolutely massive. And I think that again, Shopify has been the moment of, you know, an out of control independent artist to someone who actually has a business. Because last Christmas and this was before I did Elite, but I’d done all the other trainings and I was building my list and I was not stupid, I was kind of having a look at what other independent artists were doing, who seems to be successful, “Oh, they do this Christmas promotion, okay, right, well, I’m going to do this Christmas promotion.”

And I remember hearing Leah talk about figuring out the numbers. And I was like, I’ve got no idea what that means, and I don’t know how you figure out the numbers, but I’m going to do something. So, I had this idea of I’m going to do Christmas promotion, but at that point I only had WooCommerce and I had the free WooCommerce, so I didn’t have upsells on that, I didn’t have any ability to actually really control, it was purely like a purchase platform, I didn’t know about writing the correct sales descriptions or even the right photos, or didn’t know any of that. So, it’s a miracle that I actually got any sales. I did, no way near of what I actually wanted at that time to get at, but what Shopify has done, especially with the analytics, I’ve got this incredible tool, and to actually really now start using that data to grow. Shopify has been huge, but I will say this, I can see how easy it is to get, again, sucked in down the rabbit hole of the perfect app.

19:16 CJ: Right, right.

19:18 Karen: The perfect theme, you know. So, I think that for me, I’ve got it at that place of … And that’s why I just listen to Leah. I got the apps that she recommended as being the vital apps, and I put it to bed. Because you could easily spend a year, two years, just sitting on Shopify, tweaking pages. So it is incredible, but it’s another whole universe.

19:41 CJ: And it adds a tremendous amount of, you know when people try to wrap their heads around when Leah Tout’s making six figures with her own music without touring, that’s part of the reason of how that’s accomplished, is because of the Shopify element. You’re not just selling your CD’s and vinyl, which she does, but she’s selling bundles, she’s selling accessories, she’s selling everything from shower curtains, literally Leah shower curtains, bedspreads to journals, to T-shirts to hoodies, to mugs, to hats, to a smartphone covers, jewelry, shoes, sneakers, all of this stuff being sold under her own personal brand that she’s marketing to her list, email wise, et cetera. Tremendously empowering. But you said something Karen, that I thought is really, really noteworthy. Well, two things you said. Number one, you said the Shopify element took it from just being an artist, willy-nilly, moving around, trying to make things happen, to actually being a business.

20:49 Karen: Yes.

20:50 CJ: And then the second thing is, with the Shopify thing, like all the other aspects of this type of approach to music marketing, you can end up getting pigeonholed and too focused on the apps and all of these sorts of things. Tell me what you’ve learned in terms of how important just the basic principles of marketing are. Copywriting and marketing, that are always true no matter what software you’re using. I always said, “Listen, you guys could tear it up with 50% of what Leah teaches you, if you just understand that one element of, Leah really emphasizes traditional marketing principles.”

21:26 Karen: Well, funny you should say that CJ, because I have an example that’s occurring right now and it’s blown my mind. So, I’ve been running the eCommerce adverts, you know, here’s the T-shirt, blah blah, and I had about nine pounds something cost conversion, I can’t think of the word but you know what I mean, nine-pound, whatever. Anyway, I hadn’t done it before, but I actually created, based on one of Leah’s trainings where she talks about the surround [inaudible 00:21:55] where you write a really compelling, long post, just outlining your journey, and just talking a bit about life as the independent musician, blah, blah, blah. Just to kind of, little bit of a story, and I woke up this morning, I ran the advert yesterday, and I woke up to £100 worth in sales, with a cost conversion of £1.67.

22:17 CJ: Wow, isn’t that amazing?

22:19 Karen: It’s slightly different to what you’re saying because it’s not copywriting on Shopify, but it’s copy, you know, it’s getting the right copy, again, promoting the right copy. And that I just found like, “Wow, that’s crazy.”

22:32 CJ: Yes. And a lot of the coaching calls that I’ll do, we have monthly coaching calls with each of the coaches when everybody can participate, not just a one-on-one like you and I did, and I’ve been telling them recently just about that very thing is when you’ll really understand the revolutionary aspect of social media when social media itself disappears and you realize you’re just talking to a person. That’s why it’s not all about the software, it’s not about the media. Even though we teach these things in depth, it’s really about your personal relationship with your fan, with your follower, engaging with them, creating this know, like and trust relationship that marketers have never been able to achieve, advertisers have never been able to achieve, in the history of advertising and marketing, so much so that I would tell you that if social media had appeared a hundred years ago, at the same time marketing and advertising appeared, the rules of marketing and advertising would be different. Because, up until the age of social media, you could never be personal with somebody, so you had to fake it. You know what I mean? You had to make that sales letter personal and you had to throw in all these 90-day guarantees to try and get people to take a risk on your product or service. Now Karen is going directly to her audience. That just adds to this sense of empowerment and limitless growth.

23:54 Karen: I think that’s why those big moments are almost hard to see because that isn’t the big moment. The big moment has been the year of building the list and all of the posts I’ve been making and all of the stories I’ve been telling them, so when I posted that one, people have taken action on it. And that’s the point that you say, that it’s the background relationship building, so that when you do ask for the sale or the promotion or whatever, it’s there.

24:22 CJ: So tell us real quick, what’s next for you, what’s next for Scarlet and how they can follow up with what you’re doing.

24:31 Karen: Again, I’m staying close to the fire. So that for me right now, at the end of October, means that I’m going to very, very quickly go through the holiday training. And I’m going to apply that and I’m going to be realistic about that, I’m going to do that this year with a view of learning from it. And then next year I’m going to be attempting a crowdfunding campaign. And I’ll be honest, it’s a real big mental block for me, because I’ve got that horrible fear of what if you don’t raise any money, but it’s the next thing. So, I’m going to have to smash through that one.

25:04 CJ: That’s pretty cool because of course as you know, we just did the three episodes on the crowdfunding, and Leah took risks and hosted it on her own site and you know all the details of that sort of thing. But, I can tell you from just the way things have taken off since you’ve come into the program, and just how well and professional and dedicated you are in applying everything, you’re going to do just fine. Because you’ve got great music, you’re a great artist, and I want people again to … we’ll put your contact information in the show notes, but I want you to go ahead and tell everybody how they can reach you. But, I think it’s going to be easier to see that you’re going to continue to be a great example of what an independent artist can do in this new era of the music industry utilizing social media, marketing, Shopify, e-commerce, email, all of these powerful, powerful … They’re always changing, right? You see it just in the group, we have to keep updating it, revising and changing things, because these mediums are always changing. But that’s okay, you’ve got to feel empowered about the next year, even though you might be a little leery of the crowdfunding aspect, but think of how armed you’re going to be in 2020 with what you’ve learned in the past six months.

What kind of progress, you start the compounding, the multiplying effect, where the effort is not just two times the result, but 10 times the result. That’s that limitless aspect if you’re just faithful to the principles. Don’t be moved by what you see, right? Don’t be moved by your feelings. Don’t get all caught up in your head. Stay close to the principals. Know that they work just like the laws of flight work and just keep pushing ahead. And Karen, you’ve been doing such a great job of exemplifying that. So, tell everybody how they can reach you, learn more about your music.

26:52 Karen: So all you need to do is go to, it’s a funny spelling. It’s And that’s S-C-A-R-L-E-T-T-E,

27:04 CJ: Yeah, so Scarlette, and for all you Americans, all you yanks,,, We’ll put this in the show notes so everybody can follow up with that. But Karen, I’m so glad you were the one that we got to start off this little series, talking with some of the students because like I said, you’ve been such a great example and I had the chance to work with you one-on-one and see up close what you were doing, and again, we are all so proud of you, behind you 110%, committed to your success. So, thank you for taking the time.

27:39 Karen: Thank you CJ. Thank you so much.

27:41 CJ: Well guys, listen, if you want to hear more of this, please go and subscribe to this podcast, whatever player you’re listening on, whether it be Spotify, Stitcher, iTunes, just be sure to leave us a review. We covet those reviews, we do read them in our weekly team meetings. They mean a lot to us. If they give you the option for including stars, then give us the maximum of five stars. But we appreciate that. And again, thank you so much, we’ll be back next time with another student interview. Take care.

48:58 CJ: All right guys, we will see you next time. Take care.

Episode #075: How To Handle Yourself On Social Media

In the new era of the music industry, artists are taking control of their music careers through the power of the internet and social media, which means there’s more pressure on the artist to deal with their fans more personally. When you have to open yourself up to the world, how do you handle yourself and the interaction with your audience? How much of your personal life should you share? How accessible should you be? How do you deal with problematic fans? That’s why we’re covering in this episode of the Savvy Musician Show.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Creating perceived value
  • The importance of intangible qualities
  • How to use culture in your posting
  • Sharing your personal life 
  • The 3 P’s of what to share on social media
  • Having personal and business social media accounts
  • Why you shouldn’t use your personal profiles for business
  • Avoiding controversial topics on social media
  • When it makes to be political on your pages
  • Dealing with trolls
  • Toughening yourself up for social media


“You need to help your fans understand that, that you are a farmer’s market and you’re not Walmart.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:07:40]

“People pay for water, people pay for Starbucks coffee. They could easily make the coffee at home, but people are obviously paying these prices because of a perceived value.” — @metalmotivation [0:08:56]

“I’m going to pay a lawyer more than I pay my landscaper because they just solve different problems, so it’s all in terms of value.” — @metalmotivation [0:11:09]

“I’m one of those introverted extroverts where I want to be out there, I love people, but I also sometimes shy away from the spotlight and I don’t want to be in the spotlight all the time.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:14:50]

“You don’t want to be airing your dirty laundry online, that’s not attractive, nobody wants that and it’s not professional.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:15:32]

“There’s many reasons why you do not want to collect fans on a personal profile.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:19:46]

“You cannot advertise from a personal profile, so you shouldn’t be collecting fans there.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:19:58]

“You have a tremendous opportunity even as an artist to demonstrate leadership.” — @metalmotivation [0:24:32]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Nazneen Rahman (Student Spotlight) —

Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers by Jay Baer —

Episode #064: How To Get Rid Of A Poverty Mentality —

Click For Full Transcript

00:19 CJ: Welcome to the Savvy Musician Show. This is C.J. Ortiz, I am the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. Joined once again by her eminence, my favorite music marketer in the whole world, Leah McHenry. How are you, Leah?

00:36 Leah: Doing great, thanks. How are you?

00:39 CJ: I’m doing wonderful. Favorite music marketer in the whole world.

00:45 Leah: Thanks.

00:45 CJ: Out of all the music marketers that I know, you’re the one closest to me, so-

00:52 Leah: Yeah, but you only know like two.

00:58 CJ: Music marketing isn’t that wonderful subject we get to talk about because as people may have discovered in our more recent episodes, the music industry we know has changed, but also struggling because they don’t understand this new model that we are advocating. And new only in the sense that it’s a combination of something else.

It’s traditional type of direct marketing, et cetera, applied to the music industry and the music industry is having a hard time, Leah, getting its head wrapped around it. But that’s why we have this podcast and that’s why you are being so generous with your time in helping all of us to better understand this.

Before we get into what we’re going to talk about today, which is going to be a very, very interesting subject, I want to share a student spotlight. This is one of our elite students. Make sure I’m pronouncing the name right, [Nazneen Rahman 00:01:52] who writes, “Hashtag when I joined SFS elite two months before a release, so I’ve been trying to get as much done as practical. I’ve been posting to my Facebook page every day and set up my website, shop, some video view ads and an opt-in. Some things worked, some things did not.

Yesterday I linked my shop to Facebook, set up a pre-order for my new album, told my tiny email list, 250 and did a conversion ad to my Facebook page engagers, about 14,000 people. Amazingly, I’ve had 15 orders in 24 hours, 12 people, I don’t know and 25250 pounds in sales and my row as is 3.67.” So that’s the return per sale.

02:46 Leah: Return on ad spend. That is amazing. 3.67 is great.

02:50 CJ: “I’m so happy, I did not expect this. A key change for me has been believing my music can be of value to some people, can matter to people and those people are happy to pay for it. So I increased my prices by 20%, offered autographed versions, which people do want, charged for shipping and it seems to be fine. I’m sure it’s the same for every one of us. We just have to plug away finding our personal super fans who care about our music. I just wanted to send some good vibes and optimism because we all know it can be a slog at times.” That’s good.

03:27 Leah: Yeah, I love that. This is really good, and I love the price increase. It’s just like… I just think that musicians across the board are afraid of money. We’ve talked about money in past episodes, but a lot of them are afraid of money, they’re afraid to charge for what they’re worth. How do you put a price on your art? It’s difficult. It is difficult.

But one thing that I like to inform fans about, if you ever get a comment about this is you can explain to them, listen, there’s a difference between the farmer’s market and Walmart. There’s a difference in pricing there. What you’re going to pay for a jar of jam at a farmer’s market is going to be different than what you pay for a jar of jam at Walmart because one is made at a huge assembly line factory, the other one is handmade with love and it took that person hours and hours of their energy, their soul into that little jar of jam and it’s going to be priced differently for a very good reason.

You need to help your fans understand that, that you are a farmer’s market and you’re not Walmart, you’re an artisan maker, you’re an artisan artist and that you don’t get the same prices for t-shirts and albums that these big, huge record labels get. So no, you can’t charge $8 for a CD, you wouldn’t even break-even doing that.

And so this student is understanding that they have inherent value because it’s art and that they can charge for it and they can experiment. And guess what? Nothing’s permanent. You can put your prices a little higher and see if it sells, and if it doesn’t you can change it. And that’s a very valuable test. So I love hearing stories like this.

05:16 CJ: What’s interesting is we just posted on all of our social media channels a meme, one of our quotes from a previous episode, I believe it was from you, and it just simply said, “Perceived value is everything.” And that is such an important point because that’s what this student alluded to was he said, or she said, “A key change for me has been believing my music can be of value to some people, can matter to some people and that those people are happy to pay for it.”

People pay for water, people pay for Starbucks coffee. They could easily make the coffee at home, but people are obviously paying these prices because of a perceived value. And part of our responsibility as creators is to create that sense of value.

06:06 Leah: And like why is an autographed version of an album, why does it have more perceived value? There’s something personalized about… there’s something perceived about that. Someone’s signing their name on that, that’s different from the unsigned version. It’s just a perception. That’s all it is. The actual item itself is not more valuable other than the fact that there’s something limited about it.

If they understand things about limitation, supply and demand and that there’s an infinite amount of pie, there’s not a limited amount of pie, there’s an infinite amount of pie. There’s no limit to how much money can be made in this world. That’s a lie that some… I don’t know where we learn that, at school probably that there’s a finite amount of money in this world and only a few people have it. That’s a lie.

06:59 CJ: Yeah. In fact, we did a podcast episode not too long ago on this. We talked about a poverty mindset?

07:06 Leah: Yeah.

07:06 CJ: Is that what it was?

07:07 Leah: Yeah. What is a poverty mindset and how to overcome it.

07:09 CJ: Yeah. We’ll put some information to go to that episode in the show notes, but yeah, I think again, like the students said, “A key change for me was the issue of value.” And I think is such an important statement because they’re understanding that it did not come down to the piece of software, did not come down to the particular technique. It came down to the intangible things. Those are the things that really make the difference.

The social media software and all of the stuff that you do from a mechanical side, from a technological side is just there to facilitate a very human psychological process going on, and value is something that is perceived. I just had people come out to do some things in my yard, I’m going to pay a lawyer more than I pay my landscaper because they just solve different problems, so it’s all in terms of value.

That’s how we essentially operate. But that’s not the subject of this particular episode, but-

08:12 Leah: But it was an interesting one-

08:12 CJ: … just because-

08:13 Leah: … right?.

08:13 CJ: Yeah, it was an interesting one. Our rabbit trails are very interesting. Today we’re talking about actually a question or questions that we get a lot. I know, especially in the elite group because they’re more into the down and dirty of online marketing, and so they’re really building their fan bases and engaging with their fans. And so they’re opening themselves up to people that they don’t know.

And so that brings all these kind of challenges with people that they didn’t necessarily anticipate. And so we want to talk a little bit about handling yourself on social media. Now, Leah, I know that… Tell me about one of the things that struck you initially when you started, when you really started to grow. What was the thing that hit you with, oh my gosh, I’ve got all these people following me like crazy?

09:13 Leah: Is there a particular story you’re thinking?

09:15 CJ: No, no, no. I’m just thinking of just what struck you initially? Was it intimidating? Was it, oh my gosh, I’m opening myself up to all of these people, how much do I need to be showing them? How much do I want to let them into my life?

09:33 Leah: All of the above actually. It was exciting and intimidating all the same time, especially back when I was starting out six years ago when you would make a post on Facebook, actually a lot of people saw it, a huge percentage of people would see your post back then. So this was before Facebook ads were really a big thing. The algorithms were completely different.

So you would post something and people would see it regardless if it was engaging or not. There was always an element of there had to be a certain amount of engagement for it to be seen by more people, but it was more in our favors. Nowadays, they want us to pay for that engagement and pay for the reach. That’s the way it is. So-

10:12 CJ: Let me put it to you this way. If you had a dollar for every marriage proposal you received, how much money would you have?

10:22 Leah: I definitely have gotten marriage proposals, but they’re from Pakistan, so I didn’t take them too seriously. And for the most part actually I’ve had a very good experience with being online, the exposure that you voluntarily give. And I have really… I rarely ever get like negative comments. I’m very blessed that way.

I know not everybody is, especially… I think certain platforms are more… like YouTube. YouTube is like troll land. That’s where all the trolls hang out, and I think that people are a lot… totally ruthless on YouTube. And maybe there are other platforms, but my main focus starting out was on Facebook. And this was before really Instagram was really a big thing like it is now. So Facebook was my primary platform for me and it was just cool.

I was just amazed that anybody would even listen to my music, nevermind engage with me or share my stuff, or that people would just come and like my page and interact with me. So very early on I did start understanding the concept of culture, and so I had a lot to post about besides myself, which helped because I’m one of those introverted extroverts where I want to be out there, I love people, but I also sometimes shy away from the spotlight and I don’t want to be in the spotlight all the time.

And so being able to post about other things besides me is always a bit of a reprieve, and so that helped. And nowadays I find myself thinking, I could be a lot more open and transparent than I even am and I’m pretty open and transparent. And there is a fine line I think in how far you go with that. Like we’ve said on a previous podcast, you don’t want to be airing your dirty laundry online, that’s not attractive, nobody wants that and it’s not professional.

So for me, I’m thinking about a few things. I’m thinking about how can my fans feel like they really, really know me without telling them details about my life they don’t need to know about or that are private and while still maintaining some area of being professional, but authentic and transparent? Those are like five things I just said.

It’s not an easy thing, but again, I run my life very much off of intuition and so I’m intuitive how I do this. There’s no formula or science about it. I’m doing what’s comfortable, but I’m always thinking how can I make them feel like they really know me? So when it comes to what I’m posting on social media, especially like Instagram stories, I want it to be a blend of personal stuff.

Personal meaning here’s my cat, here are my kids. I don’t post about my kids every day, but they are in my life and I know it’s a fascinating part of my life because people, it’s not every day they see someone with five kids, they want to know how I do it, blah, blah, blah. So that’s just part of my life, and so I do share a little bit of that.

Personal as in, oh, I like this glass of wine, I really like this, oh, I’m on a hike today. Just sharing a bit of my personal life with them, oh, here’s this instrument. And then I would say the professional side would be working on a song today, studio stuff, behind the scenes with band members goofing off because it’s more about the music side of things and it’s about the professional side.

So those are two examples of sides of yourself you can show. And oh, the third P is actually promotional, so personal, professional, promotional. Those are the three categories like when I write emails, they usually fall into one of three categories. And the same thing with my post. So in between like in any given day, if you go to my Instagram account, leahthemusic, and you watch my Instagram stories, it’ll be like, here’s a photo of my cat, here’s my kid. We had a funeral for a lizard the other day. It was very sad. And then final sale on right now, swipe up for 20% off.

Okay. So personal, professional, which I didn’t put in those posts, but professional would be working on a new song today and then vinyl sale. Three categories and those are the same types of emails I write. So for me, I feel like in combination with those three Ps, they’re really going to get an amazing sense of me, who is Leah? What is her music about? What is the culture like? And do I feel like I know her? Do I like her? Do I trust her? Those three elements really tie it all in together.

15:28 CJ: Again, you’re determining that, those are decisions you’re making, but obviously then you’ve got, again, this interaction with large groups of people. You don’t know them, they’re just following your page and they have access to you. There’s a tremendous sense of accessibility-

15:47 Leah: Yes.

15:47 CJ: … here. What sort of things have you done just to keep, let’s just say, a professional distance from people?

15:58 Leah: Okay. First of all, I have a private Instagram account that’s only for friends and family, people I know in real life and I post about my kids all day long and whatever, just stuff that’s private that I… So I separate accounts. leahthemusic is, yes, I’m showing personal part of my life, but only to a certain extent.

The same thing with Facebook. I do not have all my fans on my personal profile and I think I say somewhere like on my…. if you go to view my Facebook profile, the personal one, it says something like, “Friends and family only.” or something like that. “Please visit this page to interact with me. I’m very active over there.” So there’s many reasons why you do not want to collect fans on a personal profile besides the privacy thing and really drawing the line there.

You cannot advertise from a personal profile, so you shouldn’t be collecting fans there. You can’t re-target people who’ve been there like… You can’t do all the marketing things, the important things you need to do on a personal profile. You need to be sending people to a professional page. It’s actually against Facebook’s terms of service to be running business type stuff on a personal profile, so you shouldn’t be doing that too to begin with.

Also, you don’t want people, your friends on your personal friends list, they have access to message you 24/7. They can call you, they can video message you. You don’t want that, you do not want that. So while we want to be authentic and real and let them get to know us, there does need to be… You need to draw a line in the sand. So do not accept friend requests from fans. That would be my first rule. Create separate profiles, have an Instagram for just family and friends and then have your public music profile.

17:50 CJ: I think that’s a really good point. Just again from the practical aspects of the business, like Leah said, you’re can’t do any real advertising or get any data from your personal page as well, so it does you absolutely no good business-wise. I think people are tempted obviously because they get more engagement seemingly on their personal page and so they’re so reluctant to go back to the maybe the business page that they’ve had for a couple of years now that they didn’t really do much with.

There’s 200 followers and nobody ever… So they’re reluctant to even start that whole process and they just keep driving things to their personal page. But then once you do start taking your music business seriously, that changes everything. So now not only do you need to be running everything through there, but now again, you have this accessibility. So I think that’s a great way for you to protect your privacy.

Let’s talk about some other stuff, Leah, that people tend to do because here we are in the United States, the election cycle, we know how politically divisive everybody is. We know you never bring up politics and religion at a dinner party, right? Well, we bring it up on Facebook all the time, and so you do have musicians who do happen to be very passionate maybe about a particular belief or political viewpoint or what have you and they’re letting that stuff spill over, or maybe even their own personal frustrations and things. Should they even be doing that?

19:21 Leah: My view is that there are certain topics that are incredibly polarizing and there are plenty of other people who are doing that just fine. I don’t think that it does us any favors to polarize our fans and alienate fans based on our personal beliefs or political preferences. I’m not saying don’t have them, I’m not saying you can’t… They’re going to be present probably in your music, it’s somewhere at some point.

I’m not saying don’t tell people about it, but I think that it doesn’t serve you in this capacity, and there are plenty of other people doing this already. So my view is be the best artists that you can be, not politician if that’s not what you’re doing. So be a musician, and I’ve made posts every once in a while, like in every blue moon where it danced in that direction. And you have to know that if you do that, you will turn people off, you will lose fans and you need to understand that and be okay with it if that’s what you’re looking to do.

If that’s not what you’re looking to do, it’s probably best to stay away from some of those polarizing topics. Don’t start a thread about vaccinations, please. Maybe not unless you have a song about it in that case.

20:40 CJ: All right. Unless that’s a part of your mission, then you want to stay away from these sorts of things. It really does apply for anything that is more reactionary, which you want to do… You want your social media to be action, you don’t want it to be reaction. And what people tend to do is when they get all upset, they want to go online and they want to vent that somehow they’re fulfilling something or finding some sort of cathartic release if they can just vent.

Well, no, you don’t want to do that, especially when you’ve got fans that are following you because obviously the world is unstable, so people are looking for stable people. And so you have a tremendous opportunity even as an artist to demonstrate leadership, to demonstrate what it’s like to be an example to others about how to be objective, how to be diplomatic, how to be focused on what your mission is.

One of the interesting things as of late here, there was a big brouhaha made over the fact that the comedian and talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres was caught… caught, if you will, just footage of her at a football game where she was up in the booth and sitting next to her was former president George Bush Jr. So they were laughing and getting along, and so, of course, people of another political persuasion were making such a big deal out of it.

22:10 Leah: Yep.

22:10 CJ: And so she had produced this little video that was just talking about getting along kind of thing. So everybody was sharing it like this was some miracle message. And so a friend of mine had shared it and I just wrote, I just said, “I find it astonishing that in the year 2019, living in the greatest country,” in my opinion, “that’s existed in the history of mankind is astonished over a lesson that you would normally get in kindergarten or from your mom at home about getting along with-“

22:44 Leah: Be nice to people.

22:45 CJ: Be nice to people. They don’t necessarily have to think how you think. And so I’ve got plenty of people of different, radically different political persuasion. There’s people in our groups that are of radically different [crosstalk 00:22:56] and they’re very, very vocal about it.

22:58 Leah: Sure.

22:59 CJ: But I just want to love on them. If my kid and your five-year-old brother or sister spills their juice on their shirt, you don’t smack the crap out of them. Right? They’re five years old, man. You wipe it up, wipe their chin and send them back out to play. You’re the big brother, you’re the big sister in all of this, and so you want to handle your social media that way so that you again become an example just in a general sense for what humanity should be, but even more so because that will again, further endear your fans to you.

23:36 Leah: Let me just give one exception to this rule, and it’s not a rule to… a general guideline. The exception to the rule would be if you absolutely… If you have really carved out your artist identity and your culture and you understand that your fan avatar is a specific person with a specific political belief, that could work in your favor.

24:00 CJ: Oh, sure.

24:00 Leah: I’ve seen this done… Actually, I just was recently at a show and I saw All That Remains and a few other people. If you go to his Instagram, what’s his Instagram?

24:12 CJ: philthatremains.

24:15 Leah: Yeah, that’s it. And you take a look… he’s very out there about the fact that… he’s like, “I sing, lift, shoot, and meme. I do not eat Uni, like communism, or behave properly. Liberty.” That was… He is really out there with who he is, what his beliefs are. He doesn’t like communism, he shoots guns, he lifts weights. He’s really out there with who he is and now he’s attracting people like that.

And similarly, I recently came across a… Have you heard of a coffee company called Black Rifle Coffee?

24:55 CJ: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep.

24:55 Leah: So when I look it up, if I Google it, what’s interesting is the Google ad is the first listing in the search results, it actually says, “Black Rifle Coffee Company Veteran Owned & Operated.” Already there’s an avatar there, there’s an ideal customer like who is this? There’s so much culture embedded in that one phrase. And then it says in the subtext of this search result, “The taste of freedom is here. Try the greatest coffee on the planet today. Order online. BRCC is veteran owned and operated, founded by former special forces veterans.”

And I happened to hear about this company and their main avatar is gun-owning men who like coffee. There’s a million other coffees out there, but they’ve picked one avatar. So this is where I would say the exception to the rule is if you know beyond the shadow of a doubt exactly what your culture is all about and who you want to attract.

In that case, there seems to be ways that people have made that work for them and capitalized on it. But my kind of music does not lend itself to that, for example, so you’ve got to know what your music is all about. It makes sense for maybe All That Remains to do that because it’s this aggressive kind of music and I don’t know… It makes sense, it fits the culture of the music.

My stuff is I’m taking you to fairyland, right? We’re going to Lala land, it wouldn’t make sense for me to come out and start talking about politics and the democratic debates and… It may make no sense for me to do that. I’m taking people… The idea of my music is to help people escape and relax and go into chill mode, not get all riled up about politics, so it would not align with my brand to do that if that makes sense.

26:48 CJ: No, yeah. Obviously a very small world here because the reason why I know Phil Labonte from All That Remains, we have a lot of mutual friends, but he’s good friends with the cohost of my University of Badassery Podcast, Pat McNamara. So I know the community very well because that’s the target community for that particular podcast and we’re sponsored by Black Rifle’s competitor, Invader Coffee Veteran Owned.

27:13 Leah: Oh, there you go.

27:15 CJ: So very, very small world here, but no, I think that came up first. And here’s how deep the rabbit hole goals, because everyone else is that way we are on the University of Badassery intentionally not that way. So we never advocate a particular… we don’t go after left-wing or anything. And so that’s even in… so that makes us then stand out in that particular community because it’s almost more, not neutral per se, but our premise is just, well, ultimately we’re talking about self-government.

You want to talk about true Liberty, it’s not going to be found by a political movement or left or right, it’s going to be found by you taking care of your own stuff, so we want to talk about that in particular. But in that sense, emphasizing self-government, we actually become very political, so maybe with your particular, whatever your niches or whatever area you have, maybe there’s a way for you to communicate certain ideas without being so predictably reactionary or left or right.

For example, Leah communicate a lot of deep spiritual ideas through your music, but that doesn’t mean you’re on there pounding about spiritual issues necessarily, but a lot of those things are communicated through the music itself.

28:33 Leah: It’s very funny because, yeah, this is no secret, I have a Christian background, but it’s funny, I attract so many other people from different walks of life and beliefs. I have self-proclaimed pagans, and witches, and all kinds of people who like my music and they play my stuff on their playlists and their radio stations and I really appreciate it. Even though I have that background, I don’t consider myself a Christian artist in terms of the genre. To me that’s just a marketing ploy, it’s just part of the market and I don’t really want to be in that market.

That’s a different market, that’s not my market. That’s not where I’m called to be. So my thing is I just want to make great music, whatever comes out, comes out and I’m okay with whatever comes out. So I appreciate that others can listen to my stuff and I don’t hide who I am, but they can appreciate it for what it is. And I also appreciate my listeners and that they come from walks of life, and they are willing to listen to me, and have me in their ears, and that they buy my stuff and I just appreciate them for who they are too.

29:54 CJ: There’s, again, you have to look at your own personal situation, I think a lot of what you’re doing is reactionary, I think that’s a good indication that it’s not intentional in the way it should be, so I would be careful about it only in that regard just because you don’t want to alienate unnecessarily fans who would otherwise enjoy your music.

For example, Leah could get on her page and start Bible-thumping, let’s just say, well, then those relationships that you would have would be driven away. I remember there’s… anybody’s that’s ever seen, one of the greatest movies of all time, The Godfather. He gets an offer from this other gangster who wants to do drugs, wants to run drugs. And so he needs the politicians and the police that the godfather has, he needs to borrow from some of that capital that the godfather has.

So the godfather actually turns him down and he said, “I’ll give you my reasons.” And he says, “Yes, it’s true. I do have a lot of police, and judges, and politicians in my back pocket, but if they knew I was dealing drugs, they wouldn’t be so friendly to me anymore.” And so you have to always keep in mind that when you’re posting online because again, what most people do, it’s reactionary.

You see it all the time, they’re always on there saying how much they don’t care, which means they care because they’re posting about how much they don’t care, or they’re going after somebody, or they’re doing something to imply someone else, they’re not using a name or what have you. Everybody does that sort of thing.

We have road rage, we have digital rage. It’s the same psychological dynamic where people who otherwise act pretty copacetic and cool change when they get online. As an artist trying to build a following, you just want to be cognizant of that. Let’s turn this around, Leah, and flip it the other way. Let’s talk about the trolls, the haters, the critics. Like you said, on your own music page, you don’t get a whole lot of that because you have a lot of endearment.

Switch over to something like Savvy Musician Academy, then you’ve opened yourself up to a whole nother thing, right?

32:06 Leah: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. And like I’ve said previously, I’ve been called every name under the sun, a snake oil salesman, scam artist, you name it, all kinds of colorful things, straight out insults, just so much skepticism from every single angle. “Why do you charge for this?” I’m like, “You’re an artist charging for music, why are you charging for that? You want people to buy your music and yet you don’t want to learn how to sell your music? This makes no sense.”

But I have three words for you. If you come across people who are insulting you or trolling, three words, block and delete. Especially on your ads or anything like that. Customer service thing is a little bit different, but I have some wisdom there. If there’s anything customer service related, someone’s upset or, “I didn’t get my order.” Sometimes people can be very vocal when they didn’t get something.

There’s an amazing book that I will recommend if you have the time to address this, if this is… You’re starting to really sell your music and you’re worried about people trolling on your comments if something went wrong. There’s a book called Hug Your Haters, and it’s all about customer service and how the customer experience and how you treat them when they’re upset is the new marketing. It’s one amazing channel of marketing.

So one thing I would suggest is if you do get some customer service related, a person who’s upset on a comment somewhere, take it off the thread, and it needs to go personal, it needs to go direct message, go to email. What you don’t want to do is have a thread going on publicly if at all possible where, “Oh, let me look into your order and blah, blah, blah.” You don’t want that going on and on and on publicly.

If you can take it somewhere else private, that’s where it needs to go, that’s where that conversation needs to live. And just, we can say, you do want to publicly say to them, “Hey, oh, I’m so sorry to hear that this has happened to you. We will fix it. I’m going to DM you and we will solve this problem.” That’s all that needs to be said publicly. The rest is taken offline.

Now, if you have a straight-up hater or a troll who’s just being negative or whatever, this is poison to your or your profile, or your page, or your ad, whatever it is. This is poison and you need to take the poison out. You just block and delete. No questions asked. Period enough subject. Don’t think twice about it.

34:39 CJ: Because the temptation is to defend yourself and try to get back at them and whatever. Trolls are trolls, haters are haters. That’s what they do. It’s like when you tease somebody when you’re kids, the more the other sibling reacts to the teasing, then the more they’re going to be teased because that’s the whole point of teasing is to get a reaction. Trolling is the adult quote, unquote version of teasing, so the more you react, the more they respond.

I’ve done my Metal Motivation page for 10 years, and that’s exactly the way I do it, Leah, is block and delete.

35:20 Leah: Nobody got time to waste on stuff like that, on trolls. You have more important things to do. It’s up to you where you want to draw the line like what’s considered maybe a snarky comment versus trolling. That’s not for me to decide, it’s up to you, your comfort level, but if it’s causing a negative feeling in you, a negative reaction in others, what I’ve seen, especially on the SMA side is that negativity begets negativity.

And you let one person roll with a negative remark and it will breed more negativity and more people will join in on the negativity bandwagon. That’s why you must stop in its tracks, delete and ban them. Get rid of it. It’s poison. So be merciless on that.

36:09 CJ: Show no mercy. No, that’s good. That’s good counsel, that’s good counsel. So what about, Leah, we really see this a lot with our lovely women artists, female artists in the elite group who are following all the rules, and building up their page, and increasing their followers, et cetera. And suddenly now they’ve gotten all this-

36:33 Leah: Unwanted attention?

36:34 CJ: … inappropriate male attention and I know you’ve had to deal with that in spades, so what counsel do you offer for them?

36:42 Leah: Some of this stuff is just like if I’m getting a marriage proposal and all these spammy type messages from someone in Bangladesh, I also will block and delete them because I don’t need that on my page. Most of the time people are pretty respectful because of the type of music that I make and the culture I have created, so it’s not a very big issue, but it trickles in. And like the marriage proposal and all that, I just say delete the comments that make you uncomfortable.

I think the worst for me is Facebook Messenger. For some reason, even though I have certain countries blocked from my page, just nothing against the country, there’s some wonderful people there, but on Facebook, there tends to be spammy-type profiles. So you can take measures on your page for example where you go into the settings and you can block certain countries. So just think about where are some of the… on Facebook only, and again, this is not a judgment against cultures or anything, this is just who is on Facebook at the moment.

What are some of the countries that might be spamming and just block them from your page so that they can’t find you and just send you random messages because some of them are just random. So that can help, and then I would just delete those messages. I don’t think twice about them, it’s really a blip on my radar, I just move on. Right.

38:08 CJ: I think they get a little tired of… I think they get so much sometimes that they wonder is this is what I’m going to be doing from here on out is just deleting messages and all of that. No, I think over time you’ll learn to cultivate your audience and weed out the things that are bad and whatnot. Much like yourself, and this is even on YouTube, I’ve remained pretty much troll-free for the past 10 years. And I think so much of it has to do with the presentation itself and the way you operate.

38:45 Leah: What are you attracting?

38:47 CJ: Yeah, exactly. And for anybody who would try it, it would just sound so stupid for them to do it. There’s some people that their personality is such that they… their flank is left open to be attacked by somebody. And so I think, for example, me as Metal Motivator, if I was on there putting on a personality and sounding like a wrestler or something like that and some kind of contrived persona, then yeah, you’re leaving yourself open for people to say, “Who is this idiot?” Whatever.

But if you’re doing something where it’s an intelligent conversation, and you handle yourself well, and you communicate well, somebody comes in and tries to troll you, always you’re going to hear is crickets because nobody’s going to join in in the fray. They’re going to say, “Dude, you sound like an idiot trying to do that.”

39:35 Leah: And I will say, and as a woman, I believe men have 100% responsibility for what they do, what they think and everything. I’m totally for that, but it’s not like I’m out there flaunting my body. I’m not doing things that would provoke certain kinds of reactions that would be expected. I’m not dressing in a certain way that would, I guess, attract like super sexual type of attention because, you know what I mean?

If I were then maybe I would expect those kind of messages coming in. And I’m not suggesting our students are doing that by the way. This is part of the conversation, but even still, I think people are responsible for what they say and do, and I think they’re responsible for their reactions. At the same time, if I don’t want that kind of attention, I’m just careful about it. I’m just careful what I’m put out there.

40:25 CJ: If you have confidence to deal with people, then by all means deal with it.

40:28 Leah: Yeah.

40:28 CJ: Sometimes you don’t know. Sometimes a snarky comment is coming from somebody who’s just having a bad day, so like Leah said, you’ve got to feel that out and as you get more proficient at this… For me, if I’m really just in a mood or whatever, I’ll go troll fishing, so I’m ready for somebody to do something because I used to do debating and stuff in forums and for theology and philosophy and stuff for years before social media ever came around.

So for me, operating intellectually and engaging with people was something we did for academic sport. So the likelihood that a troll is going to come in there and win the battle with is highly unlikely. It like a cat playing with injured mouse. You know what I mean? Not going to kill it just yet, I’m just going to throw it around the room for a while.

Sometimes when my old self is a little bit more dominant that day I will take it out on a troll and they’re not… for the most part, most people are not very sophisticated. They’re not. But I don’t advocate that, but I do think if you do have some confidence, you can be diplomatic because sometimes that’s also seen by people, so everybody else will see the way you handle somebody.

Like I’ll have that happen if somebody says something that tends to be snarky or whatever, and then I answer them appropriately. Then you’ll see that person had no like, and then your response had like 25 likes, which means 20, probably more than that people saw your interaction even though it’s buried in a thread. They saw your interaction with that person.

And so long as you’re not emotionally frail, and that’s the key here. You may be new to this whole social media marketing thing and so you’re just emotionally fragile and you’re not very strong. Well, you’re going to have to get past that quickly. You’re going to have to… There’s no getting around them… You can tell you techniques about privacy and all this sort of stuff, but nothing is better for you than being just a stronger person in general.

You’re too sensitive, you’re too fragile, and we got to toughen you up. You can be tough. Don’t keep telling yourself, “Well, my mom was this way, my dad was just this.” Whatever excuses, it’s because I’m Irish, it’s because I’m this, it’s because I’m that, because I’m a woman. No, none of that stuff matters. You can be stronger.

In fact, I remember when I went to art school years and years and years ago, my first day of design class, graphic design class, they had us go through the phone book and find a company that needed a new logo. And so that was our class assignment. A teacher told us, “Go home and create 50 thumbnail versions of this logo.”

And so we went home and did it. We thought we’re just going to be turning it in to the teacher. No, he took them and he hung them out all around the classroom. Everybody’s logos were now on full display. He went through one by one and just reamed us, just raked us all over the coals. Just insulting the logos and just saying, “What the heck is this? What is this supposed to mean? This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.”

There was students crying in the class and we’re like, “What did we sign up for?” And he said, “This is a lesson because what you’re learning is commercial art, which means somebody is going to be paying you for this and they’re not going to care about your feelings. They’re not going to care when they come and they look at the stuff that you… you’re going to have to get tough skin.”

So that’s what we’re here to teach you is get that tough skin, so ultimately when it comes to trolls and haters and all that sort of thing is you can’t be phased. They only have… Their words have only as much authority as you grant them. Right? So somebody can say… If somebody that you know says very harsh things about you, somebody close to you, well that’s going to hurt you. Then I can come up as a complete stranger and say the exact same thing to you.

Would it hurt you as much? No. Why? Because you don’t know me and you know that I don’t know you, but it’s the same words. So why does the person you know words have more power over you than the person you don’t know? Because you grant more authority to the person who knows you. So that’s why. It’s not because it’s from whom it’s coming from, it’s because you allow more that into you because you know them, so you grant them authority.

But if you can grant authority to someone’s words, then you can certainly revoke it. So I think what we do is when we read these things from people, even though we instinctively know they’re not true, we give them power over us, so-

45:03 Leah: That’s a really good point.

45:05 CJ: … you got… just be liberated from that, but ultimately, a strong version of you, creative version of you, you can end up having fun with all of these crazy people.

45:14 Leah: Oh yeah. Yeah. I’m really not too phased by it. I’m not flattered by it. To me, if you’re getting marriage proposals and creepy type people, I’m personally grossed out by it, and well, and I will say there’s another level of things too before I… I think Instagram made some changes where now they’re like blur photos if someone you don’t know sends them to you.

45:41 CJ: Okay.

45:42 Leah: But if I made the mistake of opening the photo, and then you can’t unsee the things you see and it was horrifying.

45:52 CJ: Oh my God.

45:52 Leah: I even had to warn my customer service person. Hey, you might get the odd inappropriate photos being sent and I’ve had them and it’s just like, wow, just you sent that to the wrong person because you are being blocked so fast. Anyway.

46:08 CJ: No, I actually had that happen to me once and the photo was not blurred, and was a woman from Australia. I wrote back and I said, “You sent this to the wrong person.” I said, “I don’t want to insult you, I appreciate the gesture, but um too much information.” And I said, “And I’m going to pretend that you didn’t do that.”

46:37 Leah: Wow.

46:37 CJ: She answered, I forget what she answered back, but obviously, after that brash, then –

46:45 Leah: You’re probably not going to insult them-

46:47 CJ: No.

46:47 Leah: … at this point.

46:49 CJ: No. No. But that’s the crazy world we live in now, and so what we just wanted to talk about today was just some basics about handling yourself on social media. Because again, we see this a lot with our elite students who are working so hard to build their followings and they don’t anticipate necessarily the kind of things that they’re going to have to deal with, especially at that level and in that quantity.

It’s one thing if it’s here and there, it’s another thing when you’re running like ads and so people are commenting on your pictures, and or what have you, or criticizing you, or whatever. So try not to be moved by it, and that’s again, we can’t… We don’t have principles for everybody’s situation, but the one principle we can say is your best defence is a stronger you, so let’s just make you as strong as we possibly can, which is why at SMA we have a personal development component to what we do and we coach you on that as well. So under the shout out to the Savvy Musician Academy.

Leah, do you have anything else you want to add?

47:59 Leah: No. I think that covers it. You can always let us know in the comments or in our Facebook groups if you have any follow-up questions, we always take your suggestion seriously. So thanks for listening today.

48:09 CJ: Yeah, you guys again, leave us a review on the podcast. We love to hear from you. We read every single review we get. Leave stars as many as you can if that’s the kind of player that you’re listening to. Again, these things mean a great deal to us, it helps other people to discover this awesome podcast.

And if you’re not a part of any of the Facebook groups, we do have a free mastermind group. We encourage you to join that and start to get in our little circle of influence. We’d love to have you and to see what you’re up to musically. Leah, thank you once again for sharing your heart and mind. We appreciate it.

48:45 Leah: It was great being here today. I hope that some of these tips were helpful and useful to you. If they were, I would really love it if you left us a review. It also helps other people discover this podcast who really, really need it. So thank you for that.

48:58 CJ: All right guys, we will see you next time. Take care.

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

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

Key Points From This Episode:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Jens’ Band “Planet Trompeta” —

Schedule a Call with SMA —

Click For Full Transcript

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

06:30 Leah: And profitable.

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

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

07:12 Jens: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11:02 Leah: No customer journey at all.

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

11:17 Leah: It’s a little premature.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

21:47 Leah: Oh my goodness.

21:48 Jens: Which is just insane.

21:49 CJ: Record labels alone, right?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

29:21 Jens: Got it. Sounds awesome.

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

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

29:37 Leah: Exactly.

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

30:00 Leah: Exactly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

32:48 Leah: Yeah.

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

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

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

33:52 Leah: You’re a liar.

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

33:58 Leah: Totally.

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

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

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

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

37:04 CJ: That’s great.

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

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

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

37:48 Jens: Of course.

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

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

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

38:20 Jens: Me too. My pleasure.

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

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

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

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

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

Episode #073: Record Label or Independent Artist? An Interview With Jens Hilzensauer Pt. 1

In this episode, we go behind the scenes of Leah’s push for publishing and sync licensing her music by interviewing someone who is working intimately for Leah in this process. The results have been eye-opening as our special guest, Jens Hilzensauer, pulls the veil back on what’s going on now with record labels. And because Jens is an experienced digital marketer himself, the conversation gets deep into the cutting edge of what innovative artists like Leah are doing now to achieve levels of success that are challenging the beliefs of record label executives. And because the interview went so long, we’ve decided to break it up into two parts. Believe us, you won’t want to miss this interview!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The new era of the music industry
  • What European records labels thought of Leah’s success
  • The reality of what A&R people see and sign to a label
  • Why musicians need to take extreme ownership
  • Applying marketing principles to music
  • How effective are labels in their marketing?
  • The power of culture in making sales


“What good marketing actually is, relationship building. And I think that’s where a lot of labels, and publishing companies still fail.” — @jenshilzensauer [0:19:46]

“But this is what makes social media such a revolutionary element, and a huge key to Leah’s success because you can now go direct to market.” — @metalmotivation [0:28:57]

“You’ll really understand social media when social media disappears, and you realize you’re just talking to people.” — @metalmotivation [0:29:56]

“It’s just simple offline relationship building in an online world. And you can scale it.” — @jenshilzensauer [0:32:26]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Jens’ Band “Planet Trompeta” —

Schedule a Call with SMA —

Rich How (Student Spotlight) —

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: Well, welcome once again to the Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz. I’m the Branding and Mindset Coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy, joined once again by the lovely Leah, McHenry, her eminence, the mistress of all music marketing, Princess Leah, as I think I once called her. Good to see you, again.

00:40 Leah: I’m happy to be here. Today’s an exciting day.

00:43 CJ: Very exciting day. Can’t wait to get into this. I hope everybody’s been enjoying the podcast. Again, you can do us a solid by being sure to go to your podcast player and leave an exciting, riveting review that other people will want to read. People just like, who are working very hard in their personal music business and help them find and discover the Savvy Musician Show because it’s going to mean a lot to them and their career. That’s a great way to be a help to us. Leave us stars if they offer that, and we appreciate each and every review that you give.

Leah, before we get into what’s special about today, I just want to share again what we always do, a student spotlight. Today, one of our T.O.M. students, Rich How, he writes hashtag win, big moment, this week I have finally opened my website, mailing list, and now my Facebook page for my progressive sci-fi metal project. I’ve also made a teaser video, my first single, which is going to act as a Facebook ad.

I’m so excited. Until I got to the moment of actually making everything live, I was nervous about the point of no return. But now, fan numbers are increasing already, and it’s all the motivation I need to crack on with my debut album, due next spring.

All of this kicked off in April when Leah’s ad, after seeing it about five times everywhere, directed me to the TOM webinar and my brain was just in the perfect place to receive the information, and I suddenly saw a path. Thank you Leah. How about that?

02:18 Leah: It’s great.

02:20 CJ: Don’t you love these micro-niches that people come up with, sci-fi, heavy metal jazz, influenced country-rock?

02:28 Leah: And there really are people that want it, and they love it, and will totally nerd out over it.

02:34 CJ: Yeah. It’s funny. Well, great here because we recently talked about crowdfunding, and we’re going to talk more about the larger context of things in relation to the production of music. But it’s great to see someone, see a path. And I think that’s an important point, is he sees a path.

Because I think when we’re looking for motivation and things, sometimes all’s we really need, we don’t need a cheerleader, right now. We don’t need somebody just to tell us, “Hey, you can do it.” We need to know how, and we need to see a path. We need a light, something to direct us to know where we’re going.

That’s enough oftentimes to carry us. We’ve got all the energy and the creative power that we need. We just need to know which direction to go. And in light of that, the direction we have been steering people away from, Leah, for a while now is the traditional music industry, is record labels.

And in light of all of that, you’ve been telling me about somebody for some time now, which I’m very excited to say is going to be joining us today on this particular podcast. And why don’t you tell us a little bit about our guest?

03:41 Leah: Yeah. I am really excited to introduce you guys to somebody that I’ve been working with all year, and his name is Jens [Hillsandsour 00:03:51]. Did I get it right? Sort of, kind of. All right. Well it’s German, and he’s from Germany and he’s been working with me behind the scenes on my own music career.

As you guys know, if you’ve ever watched my webinars, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of never putting all your eggs in one basket. No investor will ever tell you to, “Yeah. Put them all in one basket. Put it all in this one place, invest it all in whatever the stock market or something.” That’s not wise.

So I have been working a little bit on, well the beginning of 2019, I decided I really wanted to pursue sync licensing after I talked to a couple of other people. We had a great guest on our podcast about it. I was like, “That is an avenue I’ve really never pursued, and I think it would be really fun.”

So in that process, I met Jens and through a series of events. And he’s been helping me with getting that process started, and subsequently getting a little bit into the publishing side of things. Because, if you get publishing, it’s easier to get sync licensing. These are things I had no idea about. It’s a whole world, I don’t know anything about.

And so that’s why I got the help, is because this isn’t something that can be easily taught. There’s no course that especially when you get into relationships, and it all comes down to relationships, when in the publishing world, it just, from what I understand is very complex.

So that’s why I got help. So I wanted to bring Jens in today, and you can correct the pronunciation on your last name to talk a little bit about behind the scenes. Because he has many talents, for one. That’s what I learned. Many different talents. He does many different things. He is a musician, himself.

He’s also got a lot of inside perspectives and insight on the industry itself and especially in the record labels, and what’s actually going on there now. There’s been such a transition. Now we’ve never come out and said, “We hate record labels.” That’s never been the case. It’s just that for 98.7% of musicians, I made that up, but 98% of musicians are never going to get a traditional record deal.

And so to put all your dreams, hopes, and everything into that one thing, thinking it’s going to be your saviour and that’s what’s going to make you rich and famous is delusional. And you don’t need to, in light of the music industry we have today. So it’s not necessary, but we never said that we hate record labels.

It just that there are so many more viable options for you. So I just want to say that from the outset going in. We’re not here to bash anybody. We’re not here to bash labels. But we are here to talk about what’s really going on, and why it is more important than ever that you take ownership of your own music career.

And I say this, as somebody who is, we’re talking with publishing companies and somebody who is going into this. So let’s dig into this a little bit. Nice to have you here, Jens. I’m so glad that you could join us today.

06:49 Jens: Hi guys. Thanks for having me.

06:52 CJ: Let me say something just really quick here. Whenever I coach any of the elite students that I work with in the Savvy Musician Academy, I’ll often ask them, “When did Leah first come across your screen?” I understand Leah’s utilizing your abilities and positioning in the industry where you are in Germany. But when did she come across your radar? How did you meet Leah for the first time?

07:18 Jens: I met Leah in little quotation marks online back in, I think it was 2013. And I worked as an intern at a game and sound design company. And at that time, I just saw a YouTube video of Leah going viral. Was it 2013? I think it was related to the Skyrim soundtrack. I don’t recall exactly when you published your rendition of the main theme of this video game.

But that was the first time I heard of your music. And I was like, “Oh, that’s interesting.” I stalked you. And I was like, “Yeah, okay. It’s a viral video, and she doesn’t even have a label.” I like it.

And I just put it somewhere in my internal archive and forgot about it. And a few years later, I was thinking about different business models or new directions, artists are going. Because there are a lot of famous rappers and hip hop artists who are really getting out ahead as completely independent from labels.

So they’re not with Indies. They are doing and running their own label, so to speak, but not in a classic way. And I was looking for artists that have the same approach to business. They run the artist’s career like a business and artists who are in the driver’s seat, but not in the hip hop or rap industry.

And then I remembered, there was this woman, this female metal singer. And then I remembered. And then I just saw her job opening, and I basically more or less wrote, “I don’t want this job, but I would love to work with you because you get it. And you get the idea of running your artistry like a business. And it’s a good thing because nobody is deciding things for you, artistically.”

09:20 Leah: Yeah.

09:20 Jens: Because I think what really attracted me to Leah, as an artist and as an entrepreneur, is she got that it makes a lot of musicians shy away from the business side of things. But what they forget is the business decisions have to be made. It’s either you, you are making them or it’s somebody else.

And I experienced firsthand what that actually means, being signed to a record label with a band a few years ago. And we were young and dumb, signed a bad contract. And yeah, our band broke up and we got dropped a few years later. So that was that.

10:00 CJ: Well there you go. I mean, right it’s a testimony to the fact that like, Leah said, “We’re not trying to bash the record labels.” But sometimes what we’re for, really is the success of the independent artists and the continuation of artists being able to earn a living from their music.

But sometimes being for something, makes you against something else. And so, it’s just a default, because up until this time, obviously, labels have controlled so much of this. And as in anything that’s institutional, it rests on its [inaudible 00:10:30] and it is going to exploit and it’s going to look after its own interests. And, the artist’s tends to be the one who’s expendable.

We don’t see many testimonies of big successes having to do with artists and record labels. It’s usually an artist, years later, I remember Metallica, for example, announcing that they … in fact, I heard James Hetfield reiterate the story. He was saying how, when he finally got the news that Metallica now had the rights to all of their music. And so he’s with his family, he has several kids and he was celebrating this. And the kids were like, “Well dad, what are you celebrating?? He goes, “We finally have all of our music.” And the kids were like, “Why would you not have your music?” They couldn’t figure out. Well, you see the record labels have owned it for this many decades, et cetera.

So yeah, now we’ve got this new era where we need something much, much different. And you know, thankfully, Leah didn’t necessarily go that route. So she was forced to, kind of, forge her own way, which has, kind of, created this now, this new template for things. How long did it take for you to really get your head around what exactly she was doing?

11:34 Jens: I think, actually not that long, because at the point of realization, I was already deep into funnel marketing, email marketing, content marketing, customer journeys, etc., online marketing and paid advertising on social media.

So I was like, “Ah, she’s just applying real-world business and e-commerce tactics to the music industry. She’s running it like a business and it makes total sense.”

12:03 Leah: Thank you. Because I get so many people like you on our ads or wherever they’re seeing me, and they think that I’m a scam artist because they don’t get it.

And can you tell us like some of the reactions you got, some of the work we’re doing together, and some of the reactions you’ve gotten from some of the executives that you’ve been meeting with? We can’t say a whole lot at this point. Can you just give us a little bit, of why we can’t say a whole lot? Yeah. There’s so much to say here.

12:30 Jens: Yeah. We are in negotiation with different companies, so, unfortunately, I’m not allowed to disclose anything. But reactions varied widely from some companies that are more on the traditional side. They work on radio. The concept of business is you get a radio hit, and then you go on tour and promote the hell out of it and make the money back.

And then there are other companies that are a little bit more modern and from the, let’s say, conservative spectrum of music business. Things I heard phrases, like, “That’s not possible. It’s a scam. How can you make money without going on tour?”

Because I think I’m allowed to say that it’s not a number I got from the labels. It’s just if you watched the numbers published by the music industry, in general, then from record sales, only the top 20 makes a profit from record sales alone.

And they were like, “She’s not in the top 20. How is she making money from music without touring?” They couldn’t grasp the concept. And then there was the other side of the spectrum, where things are a little bit more modern and tailor-made, and they are more flexible with contracts. They’re more like, “We don’t get it, but we would like to get in.”

It’s like, “Ah, we don’t exactly understand how this works, but we want a piece of it.” And that’s actually where I think, especially a major player, makes sense as a partner. If you already run a successful business and make it to a certain point, and you really want to take things up a notch or to the next league or global, I mean, of course, you are already global, if you upload your music with, let’s say, a DistroKid or CD Baby or any online digital distributor, you’re global, but in the traditional sense. And then I think a major is a good partner, and they have, of course, the money and the pathways, the infrastructure to roll it out in a big way.

But up until that point, if you’re not doing mainstream pop, I wouldn’t recommend sending your stuff to a label. Because I talk to so many label people. One A and R, I’m friends with, he said, “On my desk, I receive around 2,000 demos a year.” So, 2,000 are the demos that are left after his assistant [inaudible 00:15:07] out, a lot of stuff.

And he’s like, “I can sign around five a year, and I only sign-

15:14 Leah: Not very good odds.

15:15 Jens: Yeah. “And I only sign what I think has a target audience, has a brand that’s already clear and ready.”

15:23 Leah: Yep.

15:24 Jens: “And had some kind of small success, because I can only sign so many artists that fail. Because if I signed, let’s say five artists this year and they all fail, then it’s my job.”

15:37 Leah: Yeah. This even creates a stronger argument for why people need to take extreme ownership of their music career. Figure out your branding, figure out your niche, develop a following. Because even if you wanted a major deal, they’re not even going to look twice at you if you don’t have those things in place already.

15:54 Jens: Yeah. Correct.

15:55 Leah: So that is your goal. All the more reason, to get this off the ground yourself. Learn the principles of digital marketing, learn the principles of branding, and all the things that we talk about here. It just makes an even stronger case.

16:09 Jens: Yeah. And I think it’s totally easy for musicians if you frame it right. I mean, it’s like learning an instrument. You are not sitting down with your guitar for the first time, and you are not expecting to be the next Eddie Van Halen right out of the gate. It’s not going to happen.

And it’s the same with your brand. It needs work, it needs time, it needs dedication, and you need to have a plan and structure. I mean, you can waste a lot of time practicing in quotes, though there’s a difference between smart practice and just noodling away in your shed.

And I think it’s the same in marketing, and that’s where I think, really for me, going through your stuff, and like, I already know this, but it makes so much sense. I’m watching the courses right now. I’m going through all of Leah’s stuff just to get the whole picture of Savvy Musician Academy and it makes so much sense. It’s like, “Yeah, finally.”

17:05 Leah: It’s funny because I even have, there are people that come into our courses, they’ve taken a ton of other actual, like, business courses, marketing courses, and they weren’t able to bridge the gap to make it work for their music. There are some highly intelligent people too, that are in our elite program, people who even create courses for other people, and they weren’t able to somehow translate to their music. And I think that was actually the true problem that I was able to solve, wasn’t so much, I certainly haven’t reinvented the wheel about digital marketing. 

Like there’s, in some ways a lot of what I teach, there’s nothing really new there. I think the problem I solved was applying it to music and because it’s weird, it’s art and it seems totally subjective. And how you sell this so that’s a pleasure point. It’s not really a big pain point.

And we’ve talked a lot about that, sort of thing. And I think that’s the problem that we’ve, kind of, solved on the digital marketing end, was bridging the gap for music. You can learn a lot of these same principles if you study business and e-commerce and marketing, in all these other places.

But suddenly, you go to apply it to your music and you’re like, “This feels weird. Like, can I do the same thing? Can I have the same kind of calls to action? Do I use copywriting in the same way?” Like, suddenly it just feels awkward.

And that’s how I felt. And then I learned the key to it all, is really, it’s the identity. It’s the artist identity and creating this truly authentic voice. So coming up to all the Black Friday sales and promotions, I’m going to create all my, like my album launch, the black holiday sales and promotions, the exact same way any e-commerce brand would.

However, the difference is that it’s not like a team writing it. It’s all in my voice. I’m speaking to my fans, and yeah, I do have help. I have a small team helping me orchestrate all of this, but at the end of the day it’s my voice coming through and they’re feeling like they’re hearing from me, not a corporation, not a business.

That’s one of the ways I’ve been able to do this. Can you tell us a little bit about some of the epiphany’s that you’ve had in this year? What is the state of most major labels right now, in terms of their marketing? Like what are some of the takeaways that you’ve landed in your mind?

Because we’ve had some meetings where we’re like laughing and crying at the same time, and it’s just, are you allowed to talk about those things, just generally?

19:33 Jens: Yeah. I mean, most of the bigger Indies and majors, they don’t even pixel their shop. It’s like, it doesn’t make sense and it’s so easy. What good marketing actually is, relationship building. And I think that’s where a lot of labels, publishing companies, et cetera, still fail.

They try to reach new people all the time. Let’s say you are releasing an album from artist X, she’s a pop star. And instead of just asking all the people who bought the first album, if they are interested in the second one, they just try to find new people to sell the second album to. It doesn’t make sense.

If you just made a friend, and you went out and had a few beers and a great night, who’s the first person I would call to go out with and have a few beers? Hmm. Maybe I should find some new guy. It doesn’t make any sense.

And I think that’s what good marketing actually is. It’s just following up on people and trying to view it from a relationship perspective.

20:42 Leah: Totally. Do some of these majors or even Indies, do they have email lists?

20:48 Jens: Yeah, they have email lists. But, I mean, it’s not enticing to be on that email list. And it’s called, join our newsletter. Sign up for our newsletter and we’ll let you know when we are going on tour. And I’m like, “Yeah.” I can Google it. So there’s no reason for me to join those email lists.

And, I mean, I know your email list, and it’s actually bigger than a lot of really big mainstream artist’s email list, which is crazy.

21:19 Leah: Yeah. Jens, he has access to my entire backend. So he’s seeing, like everything from the inside out.

21:26 Jens: I think it’s so empowering, even for me, as a musician, to see that there is another artist who gets it, who’s doing it on her own terms. And I mean that literally, it’s like you decide who’s in your band and who’s not. You decide what songs going to make the album or not when it’s going to be released, is it going to be vinyl or whatever? You decide what the artwork looks like.

So there’s no middle man in creative decisions, you know? And of course, does pressure attach to that?

22:05 Leah: Yeah.

22:05 Jens: So, you have to decide it yourself and you have to get it done. But at the same time, you have the freedom to decide it yourself, and I think it’s awesome.

22:13 Leah: Yeah. And I think that’s also the fun of it, too. Like to me, that’s half of the enjoyment, is being able to make those decisions. Being fully creative, like, would it even really be fun if I didn’t get to decide the artwork and I didn’t get to just completely make it my own? Like, I can’t imagine it being nearly as satisfying.

So is that really a thing? Do people really lose creative freedom when they have a big record contract?

22:38 Jens: Typically they do. And then it all comes back to where you are in your career. If you’re already having some form of success, whatever that means, it could be some form of vanity metric, let’s say YouTube plays, which we all know means nothing in the first place. I can’t pay rent from YouTube plays. But the music industry still values it. But at the same time, maybe it’s sales. Of course, that works. Spotify followers is a big incentive.

So whatever form of success you can show, then you have some form of leverage over the label. And, of course, it makes sense from the label’s perspective. Let’s say I’m the label, I have a big infrastructure to, let’s say, radio, TV shows, or traditional forms of media outlets. And somebody’s coming along, let’s say Leah is coming along with an idea of like, “I can sing.” I’m like, “Yeah, I can see that.” How am I supposed to make money with your ability to sing?

But if I already know you are a great performer, you write great songs, you have a finished product I can sell. It’s like, “Ah, yeah, okay. There’s a product I can sell and that’s where they make money.” And I still have the feeling, labels still haven’t figured out how to make new fans. I think all the artists that are big now, for like 20 years or 10-15 years, they are famous because they busted their behinds on the road.

And then after 10 or 15 years, you see something like an overnight success. But they worked this traditional model of, “Let’s say we play this club for five people, and next year they each bring two friends. And a year after that they bring two friends. And the year after that it’s like 200 people. And then another year goes by and it’s 500, blah blah blah.”

Fast forward 10 years, and then it’s like 5,000 people, and then you can really make a living on it and you can quit your shitty day job, that crust financed all of this. And you’re an overnight success, and I think your model is actually a lot smarter.

I haven’t even talked about this with you, but I just had the idea of I want to start a solo career as a singer. And I’m just going to use the principles you do because to me it sounds a lot more attractive to make a name for yourself, get fans, become friends with them. And after you build a following, you go on tour and you sell out places, and you have data on people. That makes a lot more sense than going on tour and hoping for the best for the next 10 years.

25:20 Leah: Totally. That reminds me of, I just saw in my … I have a street team, a Facebook street team and one of my sweet fans posted a video in here. It was an unboxing video he did of vinyl. And he said, “Oh, I got a comment on my video.” And this was the quote. It said, “Leah is probably the most caring, incredible and reachable music artist I’ve ever listened to. Thanks for the video. We’ll definitely buy this bundle.”

I thought that was the sweetest comment, like that I’ve seen in a really long time. That they really see me as reachable. And when you said like, “Be their friend,” it reminded me of that comment I saw. And that it really matters.

Sometimes, I’m doing this relentlessly, and I forget how much it means to people. I forget that they’re not used to this. They’re not used to people they look up to, band members, actually replying to them, caring about them.

I’ve got a customer support person who I’m like, I really, we’ve got protocols in place. It’s like, “Hey, here’s where the e-commerce stuff comes in and the customer journey comes in.” Or, it’s just like, I want them to be happy. If something gets lost in the mail, we send them another one on my dime. I don’t care. We need to make that person happy.

And so just caring about those things, giving a damn about people is revolutionary in today’s online world. So that’s another aspect. But are you telling me you’ve decided you’re going to be a solo artist? Is that what you’re saying?

26:41 Jens: Yep.

26:42 Leah: I love it. This is exciting. This is so cool. That’s really great. I mean, there’s so much we could talk about with you too, and I feel like we may end up doing a part two because you have a lot of other specialties too. You’re not just in the back end of the music industry, although you have experience there, you have personal experiences with it yourself. But yeah, there’s so much to talk about.

27:03 CJ: Let me just say this is a key point, as to why the record labels are struggling, as much as they are, to understand Leah’s situation and what she’s doing. And when we don’t understand the way something is done, the more we think it’s happening by magic or a scam or fate or something else, we ascribe these mysterious causes to something, simply because we don’t understand the way-

27:28 Jens: Yeah.

27:28 CJ: … that it works and the personal aspect. In fact, even, this month I think is a year I’ve been working with CMA. Excuse me-

27:36 Leah: SMA.

27:36 CJ: … SMA, as a, yeah, country music association. I’ve been working for a year. But, so now they’re completely metal. The country music is completely metal.

27:46 Leah: Yeah.

27:46 CJ: But working for a year, especially as a coach, and watching these musicians trying to absorb something that’s very principle-based, obviously has a lot to do with the quote-unquote technology and all of that. And they’re scared to death that they’re going to miss something.

They’re scared to death, that it comes down to a particular piece of software or something. There has to be some magic element to it. Forgetting the fact that no, this is a very, very personal social thing. So I’ll often tell them, “You have to keep in mind that although online marketing is a key element here, online marketing was happening long before social media because e-commerce was there.”

Amazon, obviously, had started in the ’90s, so people were spending money online and therefore businesses were marketing long before social media came around. But social media is the revolutionary element here because you’re no longer relying upon people searching on Google to find you. Right?

Especially, when you now have these creative niches that people have and these niche artists, with all the sci-fi, heavy metal, country music thing. Nobody’s going to go online looking for you. But this is what makes social media such a revolutionary element, and a huge key to Leah’s success because you can now go direct to market.

You’re not relying upon people finding you. You’re finding them, by understanding who you are as an artist, your genre, your niche, the type of people who would be best for you and then creating an effective brand for that community, for the culture that surrounds your music.

And then you now have to come out from behind the microphone, to be not just the musician, but now also the messenger of the big idea that’s behind your music. We have a lot of, for example, artists in our elite program that are very mission-driven.

29:38 Leah: They have a message or something.

29:38 CJ: Their lyrics are, you know, they have, yeah, there’s a clear message about what they’re doing, could be the environment, could be something of faith or what have you. But all of those things require so much more in order to market in these days.

But as I just taught a group out in Detroit here, at a marketing seminar, and I told them, I said, “You’ll really understand social media when social media disappears, and you realize you’re just talking to people.”

It does go back, Jens, to what you said about, you know, “You have a great night with a friend that you met, and you had several beers and you’re going to want to do that again. But are you going to go find somebody else?” No, you’re going to continue that relationship. It costs so much more time, energy, and money to find somebody new, when you can keep selling, so to speak, to that same person over and over again.

There is nothing magical, about this at all.

30:27 Jens: Yeah.

30:27 CJ: And I love the fact, Jens, that here you are in Germany and, Leah had mentioned to me beforehand, “Okay. Now he has an accent. He has a heavy accent.” So I’m thinking, I’m sitting here going, “He knows all of our jargon and cliches.” So you were thoroughly Americanized, as far as that goes.

But are you seeing that aspect of it, and how empowering is that to you, just the fact that you have this ability now to control what’s going on, but go direct to market and create these actual tangible, real relationships, where like Leah described, somebody is watching an unpacking of a fan with the album and saying, coming to that conclusion, “What a caring artist.”

31:10 Jens: Yeah, I mean it’s totally mind-blowing if you just think back a few years. I mean, I’m not that old, I’m 30 right? So it all began with the digitalization of recording becoming cheaper and cheaper. And then the social media thing happens. And the first thing I realized was like, “Okay. Why do I need social media as an artist, if I can fill a venue if I have reached directly? I can ask people to go to my shows. If people go to my shows, I get booked for the next festival.”

31:42 Jens: Then I had the realization of, “Oh, you can actually retarget people because you have a pixel, and that’s what most labels unfortunately still don’t get. You have a pixel and you can retarget people, so you can talk to people again that are already interested in your stuff.”

31:59 Jens: Let’s say I met CJ at a bar and we’re having a great time, a few big laughs, a few beers, and we forget to exchange numbers. But I have a pixel installed in that bar. I can show CJ a Facebook ad saying, “Hey, I had a great time. Let’s hang out again.” I mean, isn’t that great?

32:21 CJ: Yeah. “And the next round is on me,” you’d say,

32:23 Jens: Yeah, and the next round is on me. And I mean, it’s just simple offline relationship building in an online world. And you can scale it. That’s just mind-blowing. And you don’t need a middleman, and you can create your own artist business on your own terms because have no creative middleman in between you and your success.

It’s so crazy, empowering. I mean, of course, I had these talks about Leah. She’s not going on tour. And what’s the projection of her business? In my mind, it’s like, “Leah has five kids, homeschool, STEM, and runs two businesses. She’s tougher than all of you.” And what I just realized a few days ago is, of course, Leah’s approach works. We see it. It’s like-

33:09 Leah: It works for millions of other businesses. So, I’m pretty sure it works.

33:12 Jens: Yeah. And if you look at it from a perspective of how well known is a brand, to how much revenue is the brand making, and you compare, let’s say one company, Starbucks to the worldwide record industry, you learn that Starbucks is making more than five times the revenue the whole worldwide record business is making.

And I think that really puts it into perspective how small the record business actually is, compared to brand recognition. I mean, let’s only take Taylor Swift, Metallica, ACDC, how many people in the world know these brands? And yet these brands and bands and artists and real people make so little money compared to the actual brand awareness and reach. It’s insane. So there’s something fundamentally wrong with the business model.

34:08 Leah: Yeah. Well, and look at how many of these huge artists start completely side e-commerce businesses. Like Rihanna. I heard a statistic this morning like Rihanna has made more from her e-commerce business, her cosmetics line than from her music. So, and what does she have? Does she have a clothing line and she has a fragrance line and makeup line? Like, that should tell you something too. Well, I get a whole bunch of conclusions. What do you conclude from something like that?

34:42 Jens: Yeah, of course, you see that her contract is actually a bad one.

34:48 Leah: Yes.

34:49 Jens: So I mean, she really has a lot of radio airplay and all the traditional media visibility and reach, and she’s still not making a lot of money from her record sales.

And, of course, it’s because of the different deals people make and made in the past. And at the same time, you see the pull of e-commerce. And for me as a musician, I mean, after my publishing deal fell through, I thought it’s a good idea to go to college and learn about the music business.

And then I had this crazy idea of, “You go to college and then you know how it works.” That’s another story for another podcast episode. But what I learned over the last few years is people don’t listen to music, to listen to the music. And they don’t go to concerts or live shows, to listen to music.

It’s about status and about belonging to a specific group and to, let’s say you’re a little cult in a way. And at the same time, you go to concerts just to go on an emotional journey.

36:02 Leah: Yeah.

36:03 Jens: You can sum this up by saying it’s about culture. And your music is just one part of it. It’s so much more. It’s you as a person. And once I realized that, it’s like, “Oh yeah, of course it’s so much bigger.” It’s the attitude, the values, this artists portrays. It’s so much more.

I mean, it’s not putting the music down. It’s just, it’s so much bigger than only the music. And once you get this, it’s like, “Yeah, of course it makes sense for Rihanna to not only do music. She definitely should sell fragrances because she’s a personal brand.”

Episode #071: How To Get Ready Now For Holiday Sales

Believe it or not, now is the time to start thinking about preparing for your holiday sales whether you’re working only to build your list, preparing your special offers, or hitting your holiday marketing full on. The only time it’s not conducive is during the holidays, but this powerful episode was created to equip you to maximize your profits during the next holiday season. In this episode, Leah goes into the radical preparation and marketing she did for her recent holiday sales campaign, and it’s NOT for the faint of heart! For an independent, non-touring artist like her, you have to maximize your efforts in order to maximize your profits. You’re going to get a lot out of this episode, so get something write on to take notes!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • What you should be thinking about when it comes to holiday sales.
  • When you should start planning your holiday sales.
  • Do you market to a cold or warm audience?
  • What you should be doing throughout the year.
  • Why you shouldn’t worry about sending too many emails.
  • Segmenting your email list.
  • How to handle shipping times during the holidays.
  • Why more emails is better.


“Last year, I made an extra $33,000 just from Black Friday sales and holiday, little holiday promos and the majority of that came from email.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:04:40]

“Ideally, you would start planning your end of year sales in August and September.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:05:13]

“I’m spending the rest of the year building my email list, building my following, building my organic following, building my email list, just building my audience all year long.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:06:50]

“What we’re really going to focus on is honing in on the existing audience we already have and offering them really attractive deals.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:09:09]

“If I conducted myself worrying about offending people, too many emails, I wouldn’t send any emails.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:11:15]

“Don’t let your insecurity make the decisions…you got to do what’s best for your business.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:11:39]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

“How to Plan Music Promotions for the Holidays” (Freebie) —

Lorena Dale (Student Spotlight) —

Click For Full Transcript

00:18 CJ: Welcome to the Savvy Musician Show, the podcast for music marketing. This is CJ Ortiz. I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy and I’m joined once again by her eminence, Leah McHenry. So good to see you. There you are.

00:39 Leah: Here I am. Nice to see you too.

00:41 CJ: Love to pick your brain, miss lady and great receptions we’re getting out there. I keep hearing good things from people about how well the podcast is going over. And in light of that to the listener, I say, leave us a review. That’s something that I cannot emphasize enough. If you really want to help give back to this podcast, if you’re getting value out of it, if you feel like it’s really helping you with your music marketing, then do us a favour and go and leave a thoughtful comment.

We will read every single one of them in our staff meetings and leave us as many stars as you can, if they give that on your particular podcast player. But we, again, we live on those reviews because it’s the one feedback we get as I often say on my end of things in my motivational side, I’ll say, how do you motivate a motivator?

You have to tell him or her how much they motivate you. So if you want to motivate me, you got to tell me how much I motivate you. So if you’re getting value out of this, please go and leave a review. We can’t wait to read those. You love those don’t you, Leah?

01:52 Leah: I do. They really mean a lot and it gives me a lot of feedback to know if this content is even valuable. We don’t really have to be doing this, you know?

02:00 CJ: Yes, you’re right. But we enjoy this guys and thank you so much again for all of your support. I want to share something with all of you in the student spotlight, Lorena Dale, is one of our elite students, had a win and she writes, “Have just listed my first ever like ad and in less than a day have almost a thousand new likes. I’m still pinching myself that this even works. Excited to watch the rest of the week play out now to keep my new fans engaged.”

02:36 CJ: Sounds like she also understands what she needs to do.

02:38 Leah: That’s right, yeah. And she’s using a specific technique that we only reserve now for advanced students because I found that even though it’s a fairly simple process, most people don’t follow instructions. So we have to leave the more advanced techniques to the more advanced students who will follow. That’s how they’re going to get the good results like this.

03:02 CJ: Well, good for you Lorena, and we look forward to seeing and hearing more about your success. Well, the folks may hear this a little later before year-end, but when we’re recording this, we still have some ample time here for one of the busiest times of the year holiday sales. Which especially here in the US is governed by the Thanksgiving holiday, Black Friday and Cyber Mondays and all that kind of stuff. We just call it holiday sales because it’s kind of covers all of it.

But Leah, you are notorious and I have seen what you do in the background. You are notorious for plotting and planning for absolute domination when it comes to selling during the holiday season. So how can our listeners get ready for holiday sales?

03:57 Leah: Yeah. There’s a lot to say on this and actually I have also a free download for you guys if you really want to get ahead of your planning, but it’s going to be really useful. Because I’ve spent a lot of time doing these several years now and last year alone, just keep in mind for those of you who don’t know my story or even if you’ve heard it a hundred times, it’s important to keep things in context.

I’m a non-touring artist, I’m a recording artist for now. I have kind of an odd niche and I built my entire fan base, everything I’m doing online using strictly online digital marketing techniques. That’s all I’ve got. Last year, I made an extra $33,000 just from Black Friday sales and holiday, little holiday promos and the majority of that came from email. So that’s pretty significant for some people, that’s a year’s worth of salary, and I did that in a short amount of time just from these sorts of sales.

So I think it’s important to know and understand how significant this part of the year is and understand the types of things you should be thinking about when planning. Now, ideally, ideally, you would start planning your end of year sales in August and September.

05:20 CJ: Really? That early?

05:22 Leah: Yes, yes. Any major and minor brands and companies normally start planning the fourth quarter of the year, the quarter before. And the reason is because if you’re doing it properly and correctly, you need that amount of time to get your act together. Because there’s so many different assets involved. It’s not just sending one random email. I’ve done that in the past where it was like, “Oh, tomorrow’s black Friday. I guess I should send an email.” I’ve done that. Trust me, it didn’t give me an extra $33,000. Yeah, it did not.

It did not result in that kind of revenue. So if you want this kind of revenue, you should be done ahead of time. Now, most of you guys listening, maybe you’re not at that point where you’re listening to this. By the time you hear this you think, ah, it’s too late. It’s not too late.

There’s still things you can do. So I’m going to give you as many tips as I possibly can in this episode in the short amount of time. And then like I said, listen through to the end because I’ve got a link for you to where you can get a holiday guide, a planning guide that I put together for you.

06:28 CJ: Well, I mean obviously something like this, you’re not marketing to a cold audience, right? You’re going strictly for the audience that you’ve already built.

06:38 Leah: That’s right. I think that’s a really good place to start. I think one really key takeaway you can get right now if you didn’t even listen to the rest of this podcast is that I’m spending the rest of the year building my email list, building my following, building my organic following, building my email list, just building my audience all year long. So that by the time I get to Black Friday, I’m not trying to acquire new fans. I’ve already got a following.

There’s already people there, there’s an audience and they’re willing and ready to buy the new stuff I’m going to show them. Now is not the time in the fourth quarter to try and get new fans on your email list. The reason is that’s not because they might not be interested, but there’s a couple of reasons. One, they’re already going to be inundated with so many other offers, so many ads vying for their attention.

That’s one. So noise, just white noise. Number two, it’s the most expensive time of the year to try and use paid traffic or advertising to build your email list. That’s because the amount of competition is so high at this time of the year. So inventory, so space in the news feed, for example, is limited. There’s only so many places people can put an ad or Facebook can offer spaces for ads and that means the more competitive it becomes, the more expensive it becomes. The highest bid will win.

I don’t know if that just registered in your brains when you heard that, but this is an auction. Facebook is an auction. When it comes to buying media, buying advertising space. The highest bidder will win. That means the person who is willing to pay the most money to acquire that space or acquire that customer will win. And that’s why they say if you can outspend your competition, you will always win. You’ll be a thriving business.

But for most musicians, we’re not in that position that we can outspend the competition. That’s probably the worst time of year to ever try anything like that. So even big brands that I know and follow, most of them are not trying to acquire cold traffic, they’re not trying to build their email list and get new people that never heard of them. You may get a little bit of that trickling in, which is great as a side product or by-product.

What we’re really going to focus on is honing in on the existing audience we already have and offering them really attractive deals. And there’s a lot we can say about this, but this is going to be the most economical thing, and this is going to be the most profitable thing is focus on the existing audience you have through email ads and organic social. That’s my trifecta.

09:33 CJ: Okay. So it’s great for them to be focused on these holiday sales. Some of them may be waking up to the sudden reality that, well, I haven’t been building my audience throughout the year. So make this as a mental note that as you go into your next year, even start thinking about it now. Just say, I’m going to structure my music business to the place where I can sell when it comes down to the holiday because I’ve spent all that time building bringing people to my pages, my channels, getting them on email lists, creating that relationship.

And so it becomes much, much easier to do this. So you’ve already done that work, Leah. You’ve got raving fans, super fans, as you’d like to call them. We’ve just been covering in the last few episodes on the podcast about your crowdfunding. You’ve been doing pre-launches, you’ve been doing album launches. Now you’re going to hit them with holiday sales? How do you, that’s a lot?

10:33 Leah: Oh, you better believe it. This is, well, it’s going to be one of the most intense years that I have personally had just because of the timing of it all. Although last year when I released the Quest, it was released in October and then we still had November with Black Friday and everything. So it was very close together. This time it’s even more close together. Because album comes out November 15th and then a week later it’s Thanksgiving and holiday starts.

So it’s going, for me, one is rolling right into the other. That means, yeah, I am hitting up my audience like crazy. Now, how do I do this without offending people and knowing them? Number one, don’t worry about that. Don’t care about that. If I conducted myself worrying about offending people, too many emails, I wouldn’t send any emails. Because I’m always, that’s always in the back of my mind. So you got to let the marketer in you win and not the insecure musician win. It’s about going into a certain mode, right?

It’s a headspace, my musician artsy-fartsy mode or I’m in promotion mode. You just pick the mode you’re going to be in. Don’t let your insecurity make the decisions. So you got to do what’s best for your business. And that’s part of just learning how to think like a business owner and a marketer. So yeah, I will be hitting them up with a lot of emails. Now I’m going to open this little tool that I use to plan out all my stuff. And if you don’t know what this tool is, go back to the last episode. Go to the show notes, I’ve got a link for you to watch me kind of explain how I use this tool to plan out my album launches and holiday sales.

I use it for all these different things. So I’m going to open this up and the things that are in here that I use to plan out my holiday sales, I’ve got kind of high-level things that are going on. I will run a campaign for people to opt-in for my email list before any of these holidays happen. So there’s still an opportunity, there’s still a window of time to get people to opt-in and that’s going to happen if you’re not doing paid traffic yet. It’s going to happen from word of mouth and social media, just so organic social media.

12:38 CJ: Let me stop you for a second there. Because I think it’s an important point and I don’t know if everybody’s going to make sense of it. So you’re running ads during this time for an opt-in?

12:48 Leah: Before it begins. Before the holidays start. Yeah, so for me.

12:53 CJ: Would it be a dedicated list for just for this particular sale?

12:57 Leah: The way it’s going to work with my album launch and the holiday sales because of rolling in one after the other I have, with the software that I use, my email service provider, we don’t really create separate lists the way MailChimp does. In my software, we’re going to give people a tag. So there’s not really a separate list.

They just get a separate tag and so they’re going to get a specific name that says, “Early bird pre-launch.” And then the people who opted in to get that news and those discounts and freebies and things in there, I will send those people’s specific emails based on the tag they have. For the holiday sales, that will go out to everybody. Everybody’s going to get those emails. Does that make sense?

13:38 CJ: Yes. So this is a segmentation type of thing that you know, again, not your for your average person necessarily to indulge in, but Leah is, she wants to share everything that she’s doing. Whether you necessarily can grasp what it is she’s doing or that you’re ready for it right now is really not important. It’s important that you know what’s possible.

13:57 Leah: Right. Okay. So people are opting in before I do this holiday launch, then during the holiday lunch, I’m not trying to build my email list, I’m strictly marketing to the people who are on my email list, following on social, and I will advertise to my warm audience through Facebook and Instagram ads.

14:17 CJ: Okay. So again, it may seem a little bit sophisticated guys, but it makes sense that she’s differentiating. She knows she’s going to be, there’s going to be some overlap. Some people are going to get whatever, you know, little extra emails here and there.

But I’ve heard you say before recently on the podcast that you are not concerned that these people are getting too many emails. Why is that?

14:43 Leah: Well that’s because for one, most people are not seeing your emails. They’re not seeing your posts in social media, either. So that really frees you up to send more than you are comfortable with. Believe me, it’s outside of my comfort zone too. Don’t think that I’m comfortable sending sometimes up to three emails a day on a heavy last day cart disclosing, the last day to get this. I’ll send three.

In fact, the last one I sent four on the very, very last day and the last one wasn’t a heavy promotion when it was just like, “Hey guys, whatever happens. I just want you to know I appreciate you. Thank you for coming on this journey. If you’re still reading this, you’re still on my list. Thanks for hanging in there with me. I know I sent a lot of emails. I appreciate you going on this journey. This is how it is what during a campaign, so thanks.”

So I acknowledge it too. I want people to understand. I know I’m sending you lots of emails. I appreciate you putting up with it in a way without making it sound like that and it always goes over really well. People actually, a lot of my fans say, “Actually we like getting all those emails because I want to feel like I’m in the loop like I’m getting updated.”

Once in a while, get someone who’s PO’ed about it, but then they’re not for you. That’s okay. And I always say, “Hey, I’m not offended. You can jump out of the car. That’s okay. You can always come back later. No worries. Like no hard feelings.” I opt-out of emails constantly and it’s not because I don’t like the brand or the person. I just right now I feel like my inbox is too full. That’s all it is and I might resubscribe later. It happens all the time.

So I have at least 35 or 40 emails planned for November and December and there will be more ads. Because right now in my list here of emails planned out and yes, I do make a list of them, there will be some days where two or three go out in the same day and those aren’t accounted for yet. So Black Friday for example, I will send a lot of emails and the reason is specifically for that day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, people’s inbox are going to be buried alive. It’s going to be like quicksand in there. They won’t see anything.

There’s going to be so many, they will not see it. So I’m going to have to send more. You got to stand out more. That’s the only option. And at the end of the day, email is still the number one channel to drive eCommerce sales. So people buying physical items online, whether it’s a digital music. You’ve got a digital offer on Bandcamp or you would just want to send them to iTunes or you are running a full-on Shopify store and offering bundles. In any case, people won’t be seeing your emails. So send three times as many as you’re comfortable with.

17:27 CJ: So let me ask you this then. Do you, having done this many times yourself, whether the crowdfunding or holiday sales or launches, have you seen the uptick in sales when you’re ramping up the emails and even up until the last day when it’s super crazy? Do you see that it actually makes a difference?

17:48 Leah: Yes and that’s because also people are seeing their emails at different times and in my case, I have fans all over the world in different time zones so they may not have seen the one I sent at 8:00 AM in Pacific time or they had already finished their day and aren’t looking at email. But they might see the one that I send 10 o’clock at night, which might be 6:00 AM for them and then when they’re up, you know? So I don’t even really worry too much about the times of day.

I don’t even pay attention to that on social media, either. Like, “Oh, when is the optimal time to post?” I don’t know. There’s people all over the world awake right now. Who cares? Bottom line is post frequently and often. Same with email. Send messages frequently and often and at different times and test them out. So I’m sending a lot.

18:36 CJ: Well, let me ask you this, so how do you, because I know we can’t get into it necessarily here, but the way you handle a lot of your sales and merchandise fulfillment and stuff is through services where you’re not having to touch inventory. They’re taking care of it, but I know that that takes more time. It’s one thing if I have a bunch of products here in my house, I can ship it overnight. I can get it ready really quick.

So your service providers who are taking care of your merchandise and accessory and things, they’re getting inundated end of the year with all people just like us. So how do you deal with that aspect of people getting things late or trying to get in under the wire and that kind of thing when you’re not the one who’s able to control the actual fulfillment?

19:25 Leah: I mean, my personal situation is I have a hybrid going on. I have a physical warehouse, not in my house, but at a separate location where I have certain physical items like CDs and vinyl, certain t-shirts and stuff that are sitting there. And then I have a lot of print on demand stuff. Again, this, we cover these sorts of things in our Superfan System Elite program, how to do all of that.

Everything from the apps that we recommend to design and the fulfillment part of it, all of it. But the nice thing about print on demand is that you don’t have to touch it. You don’t touch the inventory. You don’t touch the shipping. It’s all drop-shipped for you and you don’t even have to pay for it until you’re paid first, which is revolutionary for a musician who’s on a budget with stuff like Christmas and people wanting to get things in time.

The best thing is be completely transparent about shipping times, and there’s a couple of reasons. This is very important. Well, from a customer experience position alone, you never want to over promise and under deliver much better to under-promise and over-deliver. So you should whatever you’re using, whether you’re shipping it out of your garage and you have an account with UPS or FedEx, you want to contact them and get their policy, their shipping times for that season, the holiday season and you need to ask them, “Hey, what’s the shipping time? What’s the standard shipping time during these months, these weeks so that I know what to tell my customers.”

And the same thing applies if you’re using print on demand. If you’re using anything, you want to get clear on what their standard procedure is during these times. Then you want to make sure it’s loud and clear on your website, on the product description, in your emails, on the order confirmations, anywhere where they’re going to be observing basically where they’re going to be opening their emails. Anywhere in that process, you need to say it and don’t think that if because you put it one place that they saw it. Put it multiple places like I said, on your website as a banner in the product descriptions.

If you’re using Shopify, in the order confirmation, follow-up emails anywhere you can put it. The more transparent and more times you see this, the better you can set the expectation, the happier your customer will be and want to come back and buy from you again. The worst thing you can do is promise that it’ll get there in time for Christmas and then it doesn’t. That’s going to be, they will be upset even if they liked the product, they’re going to be really upset. So be super transparent about these things.

The other really important reason, and I’m speaking to my Elite students right now, that you want to be so transparent about your shipping times is because Facebook is now surveying your customers. If you run an eCommerce store or you sell products through Facebook, after a certain period of time, Facebook is going to send a survey to your customer because they track all of this stuff in their newsfeed. They’re going to ask for their feedback and one of the things that are going to be asking about was quality of the product.

“Hey, was it what you expected? How long did shipping take, was that what you expected?” They’re going to survey them and you will get a score based on this. This is brand new. You will get a score based on this and if it goes under a certain number under a two. I think it’s like you get a scale of one to five if you’re a two or under, I think a two is the line of being satisfactory. If you are under a two, you can actually get penalized. Your accounts can be shut down. They can suspend you. All kinds of things.

And the reason Facebook is doing this, by the way, don’t demonize Facebook. Their job is to provide their customers, their users the best experience. If people are being on their platform and purchasing items and then having a negative experience, Facebook doesn’t want to associate with negative experiences. They want people to only have positive experiences. So you as an advertiser on their platform and you are now providing a negative experience for their customer, their users, they want to penalize you.

The whole goal is to get your act together so that it’s a positive experience for everybody. That’s why they’re doing it. So don’t freak out about it. I checked my score. I have a 4.8 so that’s next to perfect. I’m really happy about that. You never know what people are going to say, right? So that’s really good. That’s why this stuff matters. So just be transparent. Be honest. If you don’t set the expectation, that’s where the danger is. Don’t worry about, “Oh, it could take up to 14 days or whatever.” That’s fine. As long as they know that, then you’ve set the expectation.

24:28 CJ: Very good. Well guys, I mean this is a lot, I know it’s a lot, but the basics are the foresight to know that ahead of time, knowing what your goals are, knowing what you’re targeting, who you’re targeting, and then planning out your particular communication with your audience. Now, Leah mentioned she’s got a ton of emails that she’s going to be sending out. You’ve got to know your audience, but like she said, your audience is not seeing every email. They’re not seeing every social media post.

Don’t err on the side of caution. It’s better especially if they’re super fans, they’re going to understand as she mentioned earlier. She’s putting in her emails, “Hey, I know you’ve gotten a lot of emails. I know you know you’ve heard from me quite a bit, but thank you for standing with me.” Make them participants, partners with you and the success of what you’re doing. Because that’s what makes them super fans. They believe they are supporters of your particular vision. Leah, you mentioned you wanted to share something with them today.

25:35 Leah: That’s right. So there’s a lot more to say about this whole holiday planning stuff. So I have a download for you. If you go to, I know that’s a mouthful, but it’s in the show notes. So go ahead, go to the show notes, click on that link and you will download a PDF made by me to help you plan your holidays. Even if this feels last minute for you, there’s still stuff you can do.

Do it now and then prepare for next year. I hope we can work together. If you’re not already in one of my programs, I would love to work with you. I’d love to help you plan year-round. You need to start thinking long-term. Stop thinking short-term. Think about what you can be doing all year long in 2020 to prepare for the next holiday season. So

26:31 CJ: Wonderful. Leah, thank you so much. Guys, we will see you soon.

Episode #070: How Leah is Preparing For Her Album Launch

After completing her highly successful crowdfunding campaign where she raised $83,000+ in in 30 days, the work was actually just beginning. Leah still had to release her album, and there were still two more phases to doing this successfully. After crowdfunding—which is Phase 1—she still to do a pre-order launch and then the actual launch or album release. In this episode of the Savvy Musician Show, Leah and C.J. discuss the details of how Leah is going about the next two phases of her Ancient Winter album launch. A lot of great tips in this episode!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The 3 phases of an album launch
  • How long is the pre-order period?
  • Making money before the album release
  • Incentives for pre-orders
  • Leah’s pre-order bundles
  • The power of scarcity and urgency
  • The advantage of using print-on-demand
  • Giveaways and discounts


Any kind of promotion I run with built-in scarcity, built in urgency.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:09:10]

“It takes this level of creativity and planning and forethought to do this kind of revenue.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:11:32]

“Let’s say I do a video or a photo and it just gets really good engagement that I wasn’t expecting, I can then use that and turn it into an ad.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:15:04]

“Organic social paid ads, especially Facebook and Instagram ads are what I’m focusing on. And email, email, email.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:17:03]

“technical things to the unlearned can appear as magical or witchcraft but I can assure you it isn’t.” — @MetalMotivation [0:19:54]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Leah’s Crowdfunding Page (Limited time) —

FREE Planning Tool —

Call Savvy Musician Academy —

Colin Caetano (Student Spotlight) —

Click For Full Transcript

00:22 CJ: Welcome to the savvy musician show this a CJ Ortiz on the branding mindset coach here at the savvy musician Academy. Joined once again by, let’s see, what will I call her today? Princess Leah. She reins the marketing galaxy. Leah, how you doing?

00:41 Leah: Doing wonderful, thank you. How are you? 

00:44 CJ: I’m wonderful. It’s good to see you. 

00:46 Leah: Nice to see you since an hour ago. 

00:48 CJ: Yeah, right? I don’t know if we can or can’t do the recording of the banter that we have before and after and in between these podcasts. But it’s our, it’s our chance to put off the business hat sometimes and just kind of catch up on other stuff. So anyway, I’m excited about this episode today because we’re kind of, in a way, Leah, continuing what we talked about in the past three episodes. You got in-depth into the crowdfunding stuff, but still, after the crowdfunding, there comes the actual album launch and the preparation that you go through for the actual album launch is extensive in and of itself. So I’m excited about the fact that you’re going to break some of that down today for we get into that. Let me just share this real quick.

A student spotlight, this is from one of our TOM students and TOM is The Online Musician program. Collin Caetano, and he writes, “win, over two years it took me to get lead costs to stay this low consistently. This means I’m finally getting to know my audience aesthetic and what they like and want to see from me much better. 63 cents a lead over seven days. I’m super stoked about this. Ready to split test my landing page to raise my conversion rate and then split test ads to get lead costs even lower. Couldn’t have done this without SMA”.

02:18 Leah: That’s awesome. Colin, I know you’ve been working really hard for a really long time, so I love hearing about your progress.

02:25 CJ: When I read something like this and the jargon which you and I know very well, I think of the people out there listening to this podcast with some of that probably sounded like Greek.

02:35 Leah: Yeah. Like what? What split test? What?

02:37 CJ: Split tests, landing page, conversion rates, what is all that stuff? Well, you’d have to listen to every podcast we’ve ever, done. 

02:44 Leah: Yeah. You know, we should do an episode where I just explained some of these terms. That would probably be useful. 

02:50 CJ: We’ll call the glossary episode. 

02:53 Leah: Yeah. Well you know, it would be really informative because there are so many different terms and names for different things. I think it’s is a good idea. So we’ll write that one down.

03:06 CJ: Yeah. Yeah. I think that would be helpful for a lot of people. But short answer is Colin is making some progress at getting the money he’s spending on his advertising in order to get people to get on a list or what have you, is getting cheaper and cheaper per conversion. So he’s spending a bunch of money to reach a bunch of people and however many people respond, that gives them an average rate of what he spending, you know, his cost per conversion and he’s getting those lower. And so again, with something like the TOM program, Leah, people are learning how to get out there and start promoting themselves and learning even more how to keep their costs down in doing that. So that’s a real bonus. Very happy for you Colin. Well Leah, preparing for your album launch every time we unpack some of these things, I know you could go on for days in-depth and so we’re not going to do another three-part episode, but we may spend a couple episodes talking a little bit more about your album launch. But first of all, how is that going?

04:07 Leah: Well, it’s going really well. The last few episodes we recorded, my crowdfunding campaign was just wrapping up and yeah, we wrapped up around just over the $83,500 and something mark. So I was really happy with that, especially being that it was an eight-song holiday album, something different from what I normally do and I wasn’t sure how my fans would receive it. So what we do know is that it didn’t matter what platform I was on because I did just a little over that amount the last time. And I did that one on IndieGoGo. We talked about platforms, we talked about all of those kinds of pros and cons in the last episodes. Now is when all the work kind of begins. So that was all the heavy promotion and marketing. Now is the followup, all the fulfillment of these orders and preparing for a very busy crazy fourth quarter of the year.

And the reason it’s so busy is the way I’m doing launches is I’m not just doing a crowdfunding launch that’s best basically launch number one. Launch number two is the pre-order phase before the actual album launch, which in my case will be November 15th. So launch number two is the pre-order launch, which how is it different than crowdfunding? Well, I’m basically going to have everything in stock at my warehouse. I’ll also come out with some different products. I’ll go a little more in detail about that as we move into this section a little more in-depth, but launch number three is essentially the actual album launch. It’s available everywhere. People don’t have to wait for it anymore. It’s out. Then after that, because of the timing of this album launch on November 15th right. What else? What’s the big thing that happens in November? Well, in the US here you have Thanksgiving and that is the big kickoff to Black Friday, and so one thing I wasn’t really thinking of too much earlier in the year when I plan my album launch by was how close to Black Friday my album launch really is, and now that it’s set in stone, I have to take all of that into account as well.

I have to take into account Black Friday, Cyber Monday, the holidays leading basically all the way up to the end of the year. And that’s why I want to talk in this episode about how I’m preparing for my pre-launch and actual album launch. That’s kind of launch two and three. And then after that, the next episode I want to talk about specifically more what I’m doing for the holiday sales. I want to split it up because it is so much, there’s so much going on. So that’s kind of where we can begin.

06:41 CJ: Yeah, pre-launch pre-order. It’s all happening before the actual album is released, which again, you said about November 15th so we’re getting close to that. That’s just over a month.

06:53 Leah: Yeah, that’s right. So if people are wondering how long is my pre-order pre-launch period, it’s just two weeks. So November 1st will be the beginning. It’s a Friday. It’s going to be the beginning of my pre-order time. So the first thing you have to think about when doing some kind of a pre-order, whether it’s a crowdfunding campaign, because some people just do crowdfunding campaigns and then do these, do the actual album launch, no one says you have to do a pre-launch, but I like to do this, I like to maximize this. The fact is that there’s money to be made in a pre-order right before the actual launch. And so the question you have to ask is what can you offer, what kind of incentive can you offer to make someone want to buy the album before the actual launch date that’s different from maybe a crowdfunding campaign and different from the actual album launch? What can you offer? 

So there’s really only a couple options in my case. And you can be as creative as you want with this. In my case, it will be either access to some kind of bonus or something that they can’t get in the future or some kind of a discount on either select items or whatever you want to bundle or something. And I’m actually gonna do both in my pre-launch. So for the two week period, it’s going to be, I have a surplus of autographed digipacks, so physical CDs that I didn’t sell during the crowdfunding launch, and so that’s a perfect opportunity to sell the rest of those because they’re limited. So what’s nice is, because this is a two week period of time, I’ve got built-in scarcity, which speaks to the quantity of items and I’ve got built-in urgency, which speaks to the length of time that something is available.

So I have found over and over and over again with my audience, and this could be true for your audience, it could be true for even just the music audience in general, I haven’t proven this yet, but at least with my audience that anything, any kind of promotion I run with built-in scarcity, built-in urgency. True urgency and scarcity tend to work very well. So limited runs of things, limited number of items of things, limited time they can get something tends to work very well with my audience. It tends to work well with, I think probably general audiences in marketing all over the world. But at least in the music world, I have found this to be true. So I am trying to be as creative as I can in this two week pre-launch time period. So, I’m going to offer whatever, however many autographed packs I have leftover, which may be at 500 of them or whatever it is.

And then I will probably offer some kind of a small discount on certain items or bundles that we’re going to offer that weren’t offered in the crowdfunding campaign. So we have to come up with all new stuff. So that’s another thing. This is why we have modules in our Superfan System Elite on how to do print-on-demand. Which apps to use would, how to do this all on Shopify, blah, blah, blah. Because you need to be able to put things up fairly quickly and get it out there. Also, send yourself samples of some of these items. Make sure that quality assurance and make sure you like it. You also want to take photos of yourself and all these kinds of things that help sell the product. So that’s another thing I’m doing. And the third thing I’m doing, which will really help incentivize to get people on my email list during, well, before this pre-launch period and during the pre-launch period is I’m going to do a giveaway.

So it’s like enter, you know, get on my email list and you will get early access to limited edition items. You’re going to get access to a percentage off and you’ll be entered to win a bundle, like a high dollar amount and fun bundle. So it’s really worth it for them to do it and then they’re going to get blasted with emails. And that’s the other thing, you know, I mean I can talk about this all day about how we don’t email enough, but anyway, this is a lot of information I’m giving. This is normally the kind of information I would reserve even for our Elite students, but I really want to tell you guys, anybody who’s listening, it takes this level of creativity and planning and forethought to do this kind of revenue. It really does. And I just want to give you real-world examples of exactly what I’m doing, not so you can go out and just copy and paste it.

You can’t. My audience is not your audience. You can’t just copy and paste what I’m doing. I want it to infuse you with principles that you can take and go, oh, okay, so what I need to be thinking about, it’s not, oh, well what’re the items Leah is doing? Or what are her design looks? Oh, well, who’s the person who did her lyric video? Can I get the name? Instead of thinking about that, I want you to think about, oh, she talked about urgency and scarcity. What do the concepts look like and what does it mean for me if I were to go do this? How can I use scarcity and urgency in my pre-launch, in my crowdfunding campaigns? That will make you way more money than trying to copy exactly what I’m doing.

12:25 CJ: And that’s, I think, an important note because people do kind of get fixated on some of these details, which are important, we’re not saying those things are not important, but the things that are going to really convert are going to be the scarcity and urgency. That’s just direct marketing, guys. That’s just the way it works. You might be uncomfortable with it now, you can get used to it. You will become more comfortable. Now, Leah, which do you feel is your better source for marketing? Is it going to be your social media? Is it going to be your email? You mentioned email and really ramping it up in this. Again, this is a two week period, right? You said, so this is very limited, so there’s not a lot of time for data gathering and that sort of thing. You have to kind of go for the jugular, so to speak, during that period. So I know you’re going to be firing on all fronts. Which one do you feel like is gonna pull the most for you?

13:20 Leah: Well, because my campaign ended a couple of weeks ago and I’ve got basically a month here in between the next big campaign, which is the pre-order campaign, two week period, I am already building my list. You know, a bunch of people will unsubscribe when you’re doing a campaign like crowdfunding cause I’m sending so many emails, totally normal, par for the course, get over it, it doesn’t offend me, but I’m building my email list. Some people might want to resubscribe so I start showing them ads now, “hey get on the early bird list. You’re going to get all these benefits. Here are all the benefits and what it’s going to do for you.” And this is another skill that I really want to infuse people with, the principle of thinking about what is in it for them because nobody cares about me. They only care about themselves, what’s in it for them.

So I lead with what’s in it for them. You’re going to get this, you’re going to get that. So I’m already kind of rebuilding my email list a little bit. Not that I lost so many people, but it’s just a fact like a certain percentage of people unsubscribe normally. So I’m in the time between then and the next big launch from launch two and three I’m reinforcing my email list. And then when it comes time to launch that campaign, it will be a mixture. Then basically my big three is organic social, paid traffic and email list. Those are my big, like my trifecta of marketing, so I always, I always use organic social media and that will never go away. What’s cool is that if you see something that’s worked really well in organic social media, like let’s say I do a video or a photo and it just gets really good engagement that I wasn’t expecting, I can then use that and turn it into an ad.

When you know how to do these sorts of things, it’s really easy. You can turn it into an ad. I can go into my ad manager, find the post and it’s not like boosting a post it all. It’s a completely different thing, but I can turn it into an ad and make it very targeted. I can show it to my email list, I can show it to a, could show it to new people, but typically during a launch, I’m not looking to bring in new people. I’m looking to market to the people I’ve already built, the audience I’ve already acquired and they’ve been following me for a while now and especially moving into the holiday sales season, November and December. I am not trying to build my email list at that point with new people. I am strictly marketing to people that are already following me and I’ll know who I am.

It’s far too expensive in those months and so you’ll see it. I mean they are the most competitive advertising months of the entire year. That means you know, Coca Cola and all the big brands and all the big people, all your competitors, even the labels and stuff, a lot of these big companies have ad budgets and they are required to spend those ad budgets and when it gets to the end of the year, they actually have to blow out the rest of their ad budget. Believe it or not, they actually do. They don’t just save it, they actually spend it and so they’re spending it all at the end of the year. Plus we all know that’s the biggest commerce time of the year. That’s when people are pulling out their wallets and credit cards everywhere to buy Christmas gifts and just all of this stuff. So it is so competitive. It will be the most expensive time of the year. You don’t want to be spending all your money on cold audiences, on people who don’t know who you are. This is the time to capitalize on all your hard work and that you’ve been doing all year long and real in all of these warm audiences. And it’s time to show your ads and organic posts and emails to them. So that’s my trifecta. Organic social paid ads, especially Facebook and Instagram ads are what I’m focusing on. And email, email, email.

17:12 CJ: So are the ads that you’re running, both organic and paid, are they driving people to an opt-in or are they driving people to the actual preorder offer?

17:23 Leah: So when I go to do my pre-order, during that phase, we’ll probably have a couple of different campaigns going. I will have one trying to just notify all my fancy people following me on my page, people who follow me on Instagram, hey, you can still join. The early-bird list, pretty much until the day before the big launch. But I’ll also be showing people who are on my list who have been tagged as they’re on the early bird list, I’m going to show those exact people, not only emails, not only social posts, I’m going to show them ads. So that I’m top of mind during this period. So this gets a little bit techie, a little bit ninja, but there is something called dynamic custom audiences. And all that means is that when somebody joins my email list, because of the type of software I use and because of their capabilities, I can sync that specific audience.

So the early bird list, I can sync it with Facebook and say, Facebook, every time someone joins my early bird list, I want you to add that name to a specific small little audience and only those people, nobody else except these people who joined that list. And then I want you to show those people my ads, these specific ads that I’ve written. So that’s pretty awesome. If that just went completely over your head, you have no idea what I’m talking about, just know that you’re not alone. It is a little bit techie and it’s something that you will eventually learn to do in the future if you decide to ever work with us. This is the stuff that you will learn. And if you’re just like, oh, I’m so not a techie person, just know that I’m not either. I really am not. You just learn the stuff, you’ve got to learn to make it work and, and when there’s money on the other side of it, it becomes pretty fun pretty quick.

19:19 CJ: Yeah. And that’s a reason to be in the Elite program I think, because it does get, you know, people think that somebody had said in one of our team meetings recently that a record label couldn’t figure out what you were doing and the success you were having, and use the term actually will then it must be witchcraft. Of course. We, we have heard mostly on our own channels here. Well, it must be a scam or it must be this. It must be that. No, ladies and gentlemen, it is technical. Okay. So yeah, I mean technical things to the unlearned can appear as magical or witchcraft but I can assure you it isn’t. Now you mentioned two other phases to this.

20:04 Leah: Yeah. So then there’s the actual album launch and it’s now out, it’s available everywhere. Go buy it, go stream, blah blah blah. I really don’t like to, but on that one day and like what happens in that first or second week, I want to pretend like that day doesn’t exist. I want to work as hard as I can during my crowdfunding campaign and my pre-launch, as though my life depends on it, launch like nobody’s going to buy anything on that day and that way that just puts me in the right frame of mind that might the right headspace, and then there are a percentage of people who just do hold out until launch day. For some reason there is this percentage of people, but I try to make it juicy enough and attractive enough and incentivized enough that most people I’m hoping would buy stuff beforehand during the crowdfunding and during and during the prelaunch and if I’ve done well there, I know I’ve done a good job because at the end of the day there is going to be a large amount of people who buy on the day or the first week that it’s out.

And even after all this, there’s still going to be a fragment and a segment of people who didn’t even know you had a new album out like even a month later. Like they somehow did not get the memo. They didn’t get the emails. They didn’t, I mean just recently I saw, I had a Facebook post and someone just said, “oh my goodness, you have a new album coming out soon. I had no idea”. I’m like where the heck were you? And just because even with paid ads, even with organic, somehow still people aren’t seeing it. And this is why I want you to stop worrying about bugging people too much cause I promise you they’re not seeing it as much as you think they are. They’re not even seeing a fraction of what you’re putting out there so you can relax and do way more than you are and not worry about offending people.

22:11 CJ: So you’ve got a pre-order, you’ve got the actual launch, right, well, back up to the crowdfunding, pre-order the actual launch. Now we’re into just an open cart so to speak. We’re just, you can buy it as is at any time. There’s no more scarcity or urgency. Then at that point,

22:30 Leah: Well I do have some things in place.

22:32 CJ: I’m going to say it unless there’s something else here.

22:36 Leah: I do have something up my sleeve, but I can’t talk about it yet. I will. We will do maybe in a couple episodes from now because I can’t let the secret out. I can’t let the cat out of the bag just yet, but what I will tell you, here’s what I can say; I can tell you that the other thing I’ve discovered about maximizing sales is to not show your hand of cards all at once. So don’t do it during a crowdfunding campaign. Don’t do it during a launch, meaning always have something else that you’re going to bring out that people don’t know about just yet. So even if just one item, I have something up my sleeve that my fans don’t know about yet and I’m not, I haven’t determined exactly when I’m bringing it out. I might actually start it during the pre-orders just because I don’t know how it’s going to go and I really don’t know what to expect cause I’ve never offered anything like this or I might save certain things for later.

I haven’t fully determined it yet, but this is what I know is like people love new. If I offer the same during my album launch on November 15th that I offered her my crowdfunding campaign math, it’s old news. They’ve already seen it, they’re over it. I gotta have something new. So what I can tell you is there will be, for example, during the pre-launch, I will have a dedicated page to just an Ancient Winter collection. That’s the name of my album, Ancient Winter, there’ll be a collection of new stuff that they didn’t see before. So there will be a new t-shirt design that wasn’t offered in the previous campaign. There will be some mugs and like a hat and there will be some things that are offered that were not offered before. And then, like I said, I have a secret item that I can’t talk about yet, but stay tuned, you’ll hear about it.

I have a lot to say. So I think the important thing is keep them guessing, keep them on their toes, plan far enough ahead that you realize, okay, well what else could I do that would delight my fans? That’s a really important question. What can I do? 

I mean, if, if you’re in any business, how can I delight my customers? I asked myself that last year when we were done travelling and I was doing the Quest launch, my last album launch. And for example, the digital download, I put an Easter egg video in the zip file that they got with all of these different song files and formats. Something they weren’t expecting. It was a personalized thank-you video kind of coming from the heart and I didn’t tell them it was going to be in there. And just small little gestures like that, create an experience. Small little gestures like that will delight your fans and make you really memorable and make them want to support you and create a kind of loyalty that you would never even imagine. Things like that.

25:31 CJ: Well, yeah, and you know, I can back up from this and look at the whole thing and just see the overall approach. There is so much obvious technique, method and tools being used here, but it all stems from that. You know, the person, the artist and that artist’s connection with his or her audience. And so you can do that ladies and gentlemen, you can achieve these very same things. Yes, there’s a lot to learn on the technical side, but that’s the easy part because you can have all those things in place and if you don’t have the good music, if you don’t have the relationship with your fans, if you don’t know what you’re about, if you don’t know who you’re targeting, if you don’t know the message of the culture and all these sorts of things, all the tools in the world and are not going to make it work. So you need both. And so that’s again something you can get at the Elite Academy, but you wanted to offer them something kind of cool today. Why don’t you tell them about that?

26:30 Leah: Yeah. So, I know so many of you have album launches coming up or you’re in the middle of one or you’re thinking about doing your next crowdfunding campaign. I get a lot of questions about the tools that I use and there’s one simple one that I used to pretty much plan everything. And I’m looking at it right now. We use it in Savvy Musician Academy and I use it specifically for album launches, and all my holiday planning, all of this stuff. And I made a tutorial, just a little walkthrough showing you how I use the tool for album launches, for crowdfunding, what kind of stuff is in this tool and just how I kind of map it and plan it out. And you can watch that walkthrough. It’s only 15 minutes long. And if you want to use the tool, there’s a link there. I don’t get paid for it or anything. I just want to be able to help you guys out. You can go to So we’ll put that in the show notes. You can go get it there or just type it in your browser. And let me know if you liked it because I’m pretty sure this will be useful and maybe fascinating to you and maybe this is something you’ll incorporate.

27:39 CJ: Awesome. Thank you, Leah. Now guys, do us a favour, go right now from this podcast, go to your player and be sure to leave a review for this show. If they have the offer of stars, give us as many stars as you can possibly click on, but then again, write out a review. We’d love to hear from you. If you’re in any one of our groups, that free mastermind group or the student group for TOM or Elite group, please go into those groups, leave your comments and questions there about the podcast. We read all of your testimonies and comments and we love to share them in our team meetings so they’re huge encouragement to us to leave a review on the podcast today and uh, Leah, I think that’s it. Thank you so much.

28:24 Leah: You’re welcome. See you guys next time.