Brian Thompson is a friend on Linkedin and has shared valuable information on marketing and music. As Artist Manager, Speaker, Consultant, FACTOR Accredited Juror, and Managing Partner at Thorny Bleeder Records – Brian Thompson gives an insight into the music marketing industry and tips for your promotion.
How did you get started in the music and entertainment industry?
I got started playing in some bands as a teenager. Then I ended up getting a job unpacking boxes in a warehouse for a big record store. I loved that job a lot, so I stuck around. Next thing you know, I was managing the store. Then, a number of years later, I became a buyer at the corporate head office at that chain. From there, I worked my way up to being the head buyer for the whole company. From that position I dealt with a lot of independent labels and all the major labels in Canada, as well as artist managers. I was doing all the marketing and advertising. I spent 14 years with that record chain, right up until the whole physical sales just started to kill the brick and mortar industry. That’s when I finally left to start up my own thing, which is where Thorny Bleeder got started.
Thorny Bleeder has been around now for 5 years; it started off as myself and my two partners using it for promotion and distribution of the band we were focusing on, Art of Dying. We realized that we were essentially doing the job of a record label with everything we were doing for Art of Dying, so we decided it would be easier on the business side of things if we actually became a record label. So the next day we said, we’re a record label and here’s our name. We spent a number of years working on Art of Dying and after we got them up to a good international level, we got them signed to Reprise Warner worldwide. That’s when I started to focus on developing the rest of Thorny Bleeder Records and our roster of artists, building our roster of distribution and management.
What is your thought on giving music and information away for free?
I’m a huge proponent of that. That’s basically my entire philosophy on marketing and music. You have to give stuff away. I do that as a label. Even what we’re doing now – I give away advice. I do that on my site all the time as well. In fact, last month I did an hour-and-a-half live web-chat on UStream which was just basically a music marketing Q&A. I gave unrestricted access to myself, to artists, and anybody else that wanted to pick my brain. So I practice what I preach, and what I preach is give your music away. It makes no sense to not let people hear your music, the whole reason why you create music is to have it heard. No one wants to pay for something that they haven’t heard. So there’s millions and millions of tracks out there for free, and if yours isn’t one of them, then you are missing out on many opportunities to create connections with potential fans of that style. So if you’re upfront with your demographic and you give music away, when you do stumble upon fans that like what you’re doing, they really appreciate the fact that you’ve given them something. That’s the start of a relationship. Music nowadays is really based on relationships with your fans. And that relationship can really stem from you giving them something for free. If they love it, chances are eventually they will reciprocate, either by paying for a ticket to come and see you live, or wanting to actually buy that piece of vinyl rather than just the free download that you gave. Your music is your business card. When you’re out networking as a business owner, entrepreneur or whatever, when you give someone your business card, you don’t ask for 15 cents, you give it away for free. As a musician, that’s what your album is. Let’s face it, you’re not losing anything. As a digital download you’re not losing anything, it’s a free item. There’s nothing to lose, there’s everything to gain. I can’t preach that enough.
For Brian’s informative anwers throughout this interview, as well as many other great music industry interviews, check out the PlayItLoudMusic Blog!
Interview with Artist Manager, Speaker, Consultant, FACTOR Accredited…playitloudmusic.wordpress.com