Tag Archives: music

How To Get Better Gigs With Help From Dave Ruch

dave ruch get gigs education libraries schools

Music educator and gigging specialist Dave Ruch

Every musician wants to get more gigs, book better venues and be able to perform regularly. Performing for some artists is one of the main methods for profiting from the business of being a musician.

However, getting gigs is getting harder and harder. Fortunately for all of us, there’s Dave Ruch.

Dave Ruch Is Great At Getting Paid Gets

Dave is a seasoned musician with a history of performing and creating new opportunities to perform.

One thing that sets him a part from most musicians, is the types of gigs he gets. Instead of competing with every cover band in the coffee shop/bar-type venue, he’s found a truly uncommon method of getting PAID gigs.

Yeah, you read that right.

One of the best places for musicians to get in front of a captivated (and paying) audience is to go to places that thrive on educational opportunities.

Schools and libraries are two of the best places where both education and supportive audiences await you.

If only you know how to book at their locations.

How To Book Gigs That Give You More Time With Friends & Family

That’s the specialty of Dave Ruch’s blog, a thorough resource for musicians of all walks to find ways to perform in places that keep you active in the daytime so that you can spend time with your family or friends in the evening.

How many of you have families (spouse and kids or grand kids) that you don’t see as much because you’re always on the road or playing late night gigs?

Dave’s method of performing allows him to work during the daytime and be home in the evenings/nights with his wife and kids.

Even if you’re in your 20s or 30s and haven’t settled down with a family, the rewarding nature of being a part of children and youth’s future by providing an educational and entertaining presentation during their school day is a great opportunity.

Helping others is the mark of truly influential and powerful people. In these ways, Dave shows us how to get better at helping others through booking a different kind of gig.

diy artist route podcast cover musician entrepreneur audience growthMake The Most Of Your Opportunities

Dave says, “Most public libraries have missions of entertain and educate audiences.” This is a natural fit for a musician to make new connections.

As a musician and creative entrepreneur, your main job is to build relationships with people and give them something powerful to experience.

This method of booking a different kind of venue opens up new ways for you to grow.  It gives another avenue to take the method of The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook and apply them to a new group of people to create success opportunities for you.

In a way similar to the past several DIY Artist Route guests (like Jeremy Young, Chandler Coyle, & Andrew Apanov) education in this music space is much more than a classroom experience. We all learn from each other.

Sometimes we have opportunities to take our art into new places to positively change the lives of others. In Dave’s method, you can get paid to do that too.

Quotes To Key In On

“What happens in the present is more important than being known in the end.” -Dave Ruch

“We’re all looking for hard, fast wins in the digital world. But few people are taking the time to build real relationships. When we miss building the relationship, we miss the chance to get real gold out of the exchange.” -D Grant Smith

“The wider you cast your net the busier you will be. Leaving your town gives you more work.” -Dave Ruch

Podcast Notes:

A big thanks to Bandzoogle for their continued support of The DIY Artist Route. They have 1 killer deal for musicians to get your own custom domain with a ton of built in features.

Use the promo code “DIYPOD” to get an additional 15% off of any order.

Education is a big part of what I do as a coach and mentor for musicians. I’m going to be hosting a series of free Webinars to show you how to build better connections, and more specifically make better contact with media for submissions. Click here to sign up to join me.

You can also set up a free session with me to talk about how to build your audience, grow your fan base, and more by filling out the form below.

 

Why Culture Determines Your Growth & Success

 

The entrance to Bonnaroo

The entrance to Bonnaroo, escaping a place of fear and into a place of love & acceptance

There are so many areas in our world that we blame our culture on. The perpetual violence in the US, especially in places where children or minorities are the victims, leads to division among our own people. When we look deeper into the causes of these problems, a destructive culture is at the root.

How can culture be such a powerful influence on the behavior or people? That’s the question I am searching for answers to right now, especially after returning from a trip where a culture of love and unity had created an amazing culture.

What does “culture” mean

I live in a small town in West Texas. The predominant culture is older and white. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, as the world has become more diverse with different ethnic groups, beliefs, races, and cultures inter-mingling together, we’re starting to taste the beauty of multi-culturalism in ways we haven’t before. There are positives and negatives that come out of this, but I am going to focus on what we can take away from the growth of culture in our every day lives, as well as how we have the responsibility of determining our own culture for growth and success.

Culture is simply this: the collection of arts and expressions of human intellectual achievement and growth.

Culture determines growth because that’s a part of what it is. A=A in simple math terms.

Bonnaroo Main Stage

Bonnaroo Main Stage

As you know, I recently treked halfway across the country to attend Bonnaroo 2016. We had a little caravan of friends go together, and we all had a lot of fun. There were some standout bands who performed including Pearl Jam, LCD Soundsystem, Brett Dennen, and Band of Horses. I also was turned on to the music of Bob Moses, Chvrches, Chris Stapleton, and Dresden  (among others). The music was simply amazing.

However, it wasn’t the music that impacted me the most. It was something else: the predominant culture of love and acceptance to EVERYONE, regardless of race, age, belief, creed, heritage, or ideology.

When you have over 65,000 people converging on one location, you’re going to experience diversity. There’s inevitable (remember A=A). As soon as we entered into the farm (Bonnaroo sits on a 700 acre farm in Manchester, TN), the overall feeling of being safe as ourselves, being accepted for who we are, and love for each fellow person was the established rule of order.

Our Team & New Friends

Our Team & New Friends

The best thing about this culture was that we all knew it going in based solely on what we saw and felt around us. There were no “10 Rules Of Attending Bonnaroo” when we entered in. There wasn’t a form we had to sign that said we agreed to be kind, loving, and supportive of each other before being admitted in. And there wasn’t a punishment of being banished if anyone didn’t adhere to this loving culture. It was the opposite of what our modern society is and does, where rules try to dictate the behaviors of people.

Am I saying that rules and laws are not good and are a problem? NOT AT ALL.

DressedForDay1What I am saying is that it was the cultivation, seeding, nourishing, and continual harvesting of a loving culture that makes this 4 day music festival continue to grow. Any musician who has tried to get on stage at a festival like this runs up against some pretty big-named bands. There’s a reason for that.

Anyone who has tried to start a music festival and build up momentum to keep it going the following year has experienced the difficulties of building something new. The Bonnaroo guys did too 15 years ago.  A farm in the middle of nowhere Tennessee isn’t a beacon light for most people. However, give people great music (arts) and a supportive atmosphere of love (culture) and you can build a winner year after year.

What culture are you building

The tragedies of the Orlando shooting took place on the Saturday (day 3) of Bonnaroo, and we all had a lot of serious conversations with fellow Roo-vians that day and the days that followed. It made us confront ourselves, and look closer at this societal disparity in our modern culture where we turn ideologies into things that divide us to the point of death. Terrorism is all about creating more division by killing off people who cause them no harm, yet whose beliefs contradict their own. It’s bullshit. And it’s cowardly. That’s the terrorist culture.

Is the response to terrorism more violence to send a message? I don’t know. Hopefully our political leaders are discernible enough to find a path that works. My response to these acts of violence in our local and national areas is to operate from a culture that is loving and accepting. AND THAT IS FREAKING HARD TO DO IN THE FACE OF HATE AND VIOLENCE.

Don’t get me wrong, none of this is easy. But we’re uncommon people creating remarkable actions. It’s who we are. A=A. I believe that loving culture creates positive change, where people can be more whole and more themselves. Is this a utopian ideal? Hell if I know. I’ve seen and experienced part of this. What if we carried the heart of Bonnaroo with us in our personal lives, our social interactions, and the communities we’re a part of with our art and business? How would that change our society for the better?

These are the questions I’m asking myself, and the question I’m asking you. Are you the difference that you want to see in the world? Ghandi was. In the face of direct violence, hatred, and a negative culture he became the change he wanted to experience. And he changed his world. More on that in this video:

How To Have Success In Business & LIfe- BE The Change You Want from DGrantSmith on Vimeo.

 

How To Get Solid Radio Airplay The Right Way

This blog article is also published on Dotted Music. Musicians submit music to radio on a daily basis. Many of these music submissions to radio go ignored. Here’s how to submit music to radio that really works.

Secrets To Music Submissions To Radio Stations

Radio Mic Old FashionedGetting radio airplay isn’t a dice roll and it’s not a matter of doing multi-million dollar promotion campaigns. Especially not in public or indie radio (where your attention should be if you’re a DIY artist).

As I’ve said in past posts like How To Build A Radio Promotion Strategy & How To Make Effective Music Submissions To Radio, the basics to submitting music to radio is fairly easy.

The science to getting radio airplay has more to do with only a few specific things, AND they must be made a high priority. Community building and communication is top of that list.

Each radio station decision-maker (station manager, program director, program host, etc)  has their own individual perspectives and motives.

These preferences determine what they play and what they don’t. They also determine how often some songs get rotation versus others. However, how radio stations decide which songs get played actually has to do with a few factors that you might not realize.

online radio station jowanna lewis radiokscr music submission indie music airplay

Jowanna Lewis, owner of RadioKSCR in Los Angeles, CA

Station managers with commercial radio will give a few spins here and there to “unknown” or DIY musicians if it fits with the format and if they earn the respect of either the DJ or the station management.

Once songs begin to chart more (meaning that the music ranking organizations like Billboard and CMJ are recording more plays nationwide) those songs will get more rotation.

Much of this is based on requests and promotion dollars from the labels.

As a DIY artist, your plan is to get your music on stations who are be looking to add indie and unsigned artists to their station playlists.

These are the radio stations and managers who you should be trying to figure out how to gain the interest of. Indie radio is your ticket here. What does that look like?

What determines an indie radio station playlist and spin count

There are essentially three factors that determine whether a radio station manager or music director will add a new song to their rotation. See if your music fits into these factors to be Radio Ready with this free ebook.

The songs that get airplay first off have to meet these three qualification. Sound quality and production value are paramount.

Most professional radio outlets qualify potential music submissions on the quality of the recording first. It’s instinctive, we aren’t going to play a poorly mixed song.

Great songwriting involves lyricism as well as composition and arrangement. Some great songs have very clever, witty, or thought-provoking lyrics. Yet others simply have a good arrangement with a nice melody but nothing very complicated about how it is written.

The last qualification plays the largest role in not only whether as song will get added to the rotation of a radio station but also how often it will be played.

Simply put, if a radio station manager, music director, or approved station personality likes a song, it will probably get some radio airplay. If that song also catches on with other station staff and especially with listeners, that song is going to get a lot more spins.

radio submission music submission to radio How To Submit Music For Radio Airplay

Radio station managers are people too. We like what we play. We have a personal interest in the content that we put on our platforms. It’s just simple human nature.

To be in this industry an din this creative space, you have to be a fan. Radio station managers are fans of music too, and often we’re fans of artists who not only make music that we enjoy but also who have engaged with us in some manner.

Next Steps To Get Music Submissions Accepted On Radio

How someone feels about you as a musician can play almost a bigger role than whether they only like your music. When you try to just separate yourself out and away from your art you limit the reach and connection-building power you have.

Instead, focus your energies on building connections and communities with the radio stations that you want airplay on. It’s not a matter of getting your music out to every single station in existence, or even every station that plays music in the same genre as you.

Learn The Proven Process To Getting Radio Airplay

Many musicians don’t think about the pieces that need to be in place before starting this process.

If you want key elements , a proven process to implement with actionable steps, you’re going to get radio airplay and much more.

All of these tools and more are available for you in the Indie Radio Course.

You can build real relationships with the people behind the microphone. Get your spot on the course here.

 

Insights From The Musician’s Webman Andrew Apanov

Andrew Apanov

Andrew Apanov

In the digital age, we’re not limited to location for who we can learn from or be aided by.

One of my favorite people doing great things for musicians is Andrew Apanov. Based out of Poland, Andrew’s platform Dotted Music is a great resource for all things digital and web for musicians. His blog is a fantastic resource with great articles and posts that shine new light on not just the pieces of building a digital brand as a musician, but the how-to steps to make that happen.

What Andrew Apanov says about online branding for musicians

Andrew and I have had several conversations about what musicians need to do with their online branding and platforms to really grow their audience. We’ve also talked about media, which is why he was one of the first people I sent the DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook to, because back in the day Andrew was a radio host too.

His inclusion in the DIY Artist Route Podcast is perfect for us as we start the summer. I know a lot of artists are taking the time to re-evaluate their growth and what they’re working on. If that’s you, you’ll gain a lot from this episode. Music marketing online, online branding, relationship building a whole lot more are all in this episode.If you’re looking to hire a publicist or work with a music marketing agency, and you’ve read up on We Spin and Dotted Music, there are some things you should prepare for in consideration before you start writing checks.

What do marketing agencies and publicists look for with new musicians

Great publicists and music marketing agencies look for specific things from artists before they sign them. Do you know what they are? Andrew does, and now in turn you do too. I see a lot of musicians paying for services that they can do themselves. The reason they don’t do it themselves (like music marketing, radio promotion, etc) is because they’ve tried methods that don’t work and they gave up. So they pay money to someone else to do the work that creates networking connections. Except, they pay the money for the airplay, but don’t get the network. It’s so backwards. And it’s one of the things I appreciate most about this conversation with Andrew. His blogs and podcast get you even more form him.

How to be your own music publicist and promoter

Speaking of music promotions and publicity, don’t be one of those artists who get suckered into some promoter’s game of paying 100s or 1000s of dollars for promotion. It’s crap. Literally. Be your own radio promoter by doing 3 big things that many musicians and even labels get wrong. Learn how to do it right. I’ll show you. Click here to get it right.

Jay Coyle Preaches Super Fan Gospel For Musicians

Jay Coyle

Jay Coyle, Music Geek Services

So far on the DIY Artist Route Podcast we’ve connected with fellow Super Fan building advocates like Benji Rogers (Pledge Music), Michael Brandvold, and Chandler Coyle (Berklee Online & Music Geek Services). Recently I was blessed to get to chat with Chandler’s brother and Music Geek founder Jay Coyle on the gospel of super fans for musicians.

Jay Coyle has a storied past with music and music marketing. His approach to helping musicians market themselves is an outside-the-box perspective that made me instantly pay closer attention. It’s the way that I’ve gone about building my audience for The Appetizer Radio Show, and help musicians connect with their fans for years. And best of all, it’s really easy.

What does your fan base want most from you?
Think about that. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience to see what you can do for them to garner more of their support, AND how you can build stronger connections with them.

Jay Coyle thinks like a Super Fan

Chances are you’re a big fan of at least 1 band or musician. What lengths would you go to in order to see your favorite band live? What about adding their music to your record library, even if that’s digital? Let’s throw some merch in too, because most of us Super Fans have merchandise from our favorite artists. What is it that we most want from our favorite artists, and why are we so passionate about them?

It’s these keen insights into what makes the super fan army move in your direction that Jay is so great at. It’s how his company Music Geek Services has helped many small-to-medium sized bands thrive in a constantly growing music market with new artists emerging daily. More competition creates more noise and less room. No musician in this industry can get by on trying to be all things to all people and expect to win. Instead, focus on your core audience of super fans and make them your prize.

Jay Coyle is one more advocate for the essential piece to your audience growth-Super Fans. Take his insights, tips, and advice to heart and to action. What stood out the most to you in our conversation on this podcast? Comment here and let’s chat about it.

Subscribe to the podcast for past episodes (mentioned above) in the right margin.

James Moore Joins The DIY Artist Route With PR Tips

“A lot of artists, if they don’t know how to do something, they find some sort of ideological reason not to do it, and that holds them up. You do need to take that leap. Learn about it instead of complain about it.” -James Moore, Independent Music Promotions

Image credit: Ryan Donnelly

James Moore; Image credit: Ryan Donnelly

PR is a buzzword in some business circles. In some music circles it’s a curse word. Author and PR pro James Moore is working diligently to correct the misinformation about not only the the business of PR for musicians, but also the pieces that make it up.

One of the ways he’s done this is from his fantastic book, Your Band Is A Virus. Websites, branding, social media and guerilla marketing are all subjects covered in the book. I’ve read it, and encourage musicians to pick it up to educate yourself on the pieces of the entrepreneurial puzzle that is the music business for DIY artists.

I wanted James to join me on the podcast because we have similar mantras about growth, fan building and the essential need that every artist, startup and creative entrepreneur in this space has for using basic business principles to win. His quote above is something we discuss in the podcast, and address solutions for.

“Getting rid of the mental obstructions that are holding you back is the same for businesses as it is for musicians or any endeavor really.”

It’s easy to complain about all the pieces of the puzzle that is entrepreneurial business. There is a LOT to be confused about. There are even more pathways available to learn something new, and grow your ability to connect the dots. James’ work with musicians with his company, Independent Music Promotions, does a blend of education with hands-on networking.

One key piece of this puzzle is the reality of how networking and relationship building actually works in the digital space. I’m thankful that social platforms like Facebook and Linked In have given us the ability to connect with fellow community members across the country and around the globe. However, there is a misnomer that clicking a Follow button is the same as networking. It’s not. Networking is relationship building. This requires time, conversation and shared interests. We build our networks and our relationships over chats, talks, and reciprocal connections.

I’m thankful to James Moore for sharing his insights into how growth works from a PR standpoint, educating both musicians and entrepreneurs on the role of media coverage in the development process, and the myriad of great quotes provided in this conversation.

What stands out the most to you from what James shared? Is there one thing in particular you’ve been trying to figure out about PR and still don’t understand? Reach out and we’ll figure it out together.

In this chat we also talked about my upcoming book, The DIY Musicians’ Radio Handbook: How To Growth Hack Your Fan Base Using Radio Airplay. The book will be out in early May. Make sure you’re on my book list to get first dibs and special bonuses.

Gain Super Fans With My Upcoming Book. Sign Up For The Book Release Here:

* indicates required




Have A Conversation And Make A Ruckus With Seth Godin

Get up close insights into the very big subjects Seth and I discussed in the podcast, along with next-steps for you to apply his wisdom to grow your music or creative project. Download it now here.

How do you get someone you don’t know but highly value to notice you?

That’s a great question. I don’t think there is a one-size fits all answer to it, but I do think that the power of intention can play a big role. You also have to be authentic, and have had some experience with the person you are seeking the attention from, or at least experience with their work (make note musicians, this is for you).

It’s no secret I’m a fan of Seth Godin’s work. His book All Marketers Are Liars/Tell Stories is on my book list from 2015. When I started the DIY Artist Route Podcast last year, he was on my bucket list to get as a guest. I honestly didn’t know if that would ever happen, but it has.

I talk a lot about being Uncommon. It’s a subject Seth covers in detail in his book Purple Cow. I urge you as a creator, builder and member of humanity to be a positively uncommon person for the betterment of yourself and all of us.

The insights from Seth through his blog, books and other media have been a wonderful guide for me in my development as a community builder. His participation in the DIY Artist Route Podcast adds to this development for all of us together.

Seth Godin is an uncommon person who shows us how we can be too

There’s a fun story I’ll tell at some point as to how Seth and I connected. A part of it is this idea that all of us in the creative realm are looking for the Promise Land (i.e. that place where our dreams will come into fruition). At the same time hoping to find a Moses in the wilderness to help take us there. That desert and Moses is a big part of our conversation in this podcast episode.

Do you feel like you’ve been wandering in an unknown land, trying to navigate the course towards success and growth as an artist or creative entrepreneur? I sure have. If you’ve left your job or what you were accustomed to doing, so you could build your own thing, you understand. All the choices, options, and things you’re “supposed to do” to win in this game can easily consume your time each day. That’s why Seth Godin has been like a Moses for a lot of people, including me.

Though he’s known for being a best selling author and business writer, and his blog is something where you find incredible insight, I learned from our chat that Seth used to have his own record label. His affinity for art, music, and expression is fairly obvious, but these little pieces of newness make for an even more enriched story line.

Stories are a big part of everything we do. I’m learning more and more about the power of them in how growth and enrichment works in the communities we build. The power of stories are talked about in our conversation, and honestly something I’m becoming more open to sharing. We should tell the stories that take place in our lives, both our own histories and our present work. It’s important for our communities to better connect with each other through storytelling.

Error: The resource attribute is invalid.

Seth Godin Seth Godin[/caption]

Make a ruckus. That’s what we’re here to do. That’s what matters.

Are there questions you’re still sorting through from this conversation? Did Seth Godin challenge your ideas of what you’ve been building or even how you see your own work? I am still working through questions from our conversation, and I imagine I will for some time.

Which is part of the joy of getting to engage with someone like Seth Godin. The conversation creates new, challenging questions that move us forward.

That final thing he said about the grass is green and our real job is being a farmer (not a hunter) has been in my head since we spoke a few weeks back. I hope it stays there for a very long time. I’ve spent far too much time hunting, and not enjoying the process as much. What about you?

The best conversations are ones that challenge us to think more and more deeply. I’m still thinking on these things. Let’s think on them together. Hit me up and we can talk about how these ideas fit into what you’re working on and building.

This conversation is further explored with specific insights, tips, and methods to put Growth Farming to work for you and your creative project in this Free Ebook. Download here.

Why We’re Already In The Zombie Apocalypse

Artist illustrates modern day life and it's terrifying Source: Steve Cutts / Via stevecutts.comenhanced-buzz-wide-30322-1440435962-9.jpg

Artist Source: Steve Cutts / Via stevecutts.comenhanced-buzz-wide-30322-1440435962-9.jpg

You have a band and a fan base that is supportive of your music. Excellent. But you hear news and industry reports that music sales are down, that music streaming is rising and that more and more people are consuming music yet not buying it. We’re already living in the zombie apocalypse. The Walking Dead is a reality. Let me explain.

The Zombies Walk Among Us (And May Be Us)

If I’m not careful, I can waste a ton of time on Facebook. We all can. Youtube is even worse because video is more appealing than any visual medium. Yet many people aren’t aware of their habits towards media consumption, be that streaming music on Spotify, binge watching videos on youtube, or spending all day on Facebook looking at the endless stream of content. This is where the zombie invasion has influenced our behavior towards media and entertainment (music in particular).

Music streaming and media consumption is not inherently a bad thing. However, if your listening experience is driven by an automated program that plays song after song and you never emotionally engage with the music, the artist, the melody or the message. You then have the attitude of a zombie towards the medium itself. Nothing gels or connects that you can build on.

There are hordes of people who consume music all day long, but never engage with it emotionally. Consumption without engagement is the behavior of a zombie that we can see in TV shows like The Walking Dead, video games like Dead Rising, or movies like World War Z (which was a novel first).

Many music listeners are on the big streaming platforms. They have “favorite” bands and artists but own zero music in their library. Hell, they don’t even have a music library. They think that their Pandora Playlist or Spotify playlist constitutes a library. Sorry, that’s not the same thing.

When the mind is not engaged with what it’s doing, or what it’s consuming, you don’t create connections that last. The listening experience doesn’t lead to a search for more music from that artist. As soon as the song is finished, it’s on to the next song. Do you want an audience that isn’t engaged with you and your music experience?

Commercial radio has been programming music stations for decades with this mantra:

feed them the same thing over and over again, program the listeners to only be subjected to a handful of artists because we don’t want them to think or have an opinion that something better may be out there

This is one reason that the big record labels and the big radio stations are trying to get indie radio shut down right now. They want to program to zombies who aren’t paying attention and don’t have engaged minds. They want to control the listening-engagement experience so that they have all the power to determine what music gets consumed.

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

In the hit TV show The Walking Dead, there are armies of the undead walking around looking to consume human flesh. They don’t care who the individual is, they just crave flesh. It’s just like people who consume music without thought or care. They will listen and move on to the next song or artist or video or whatever. They “like” you in the moment and when the song is over they’re on to something else.

Why The Walking Dead Is A Metaphor For Music Zombies

The Walking Dead is a show more about the people who are living than it is about the zombies, which is what has made it the #1 show on network television. The people in Rick’s group are another great analogy of the world we live in currently as DIY and indie musicians. Rick’s group is one of a number of humans living in groups across the country. Groups together are strong, and benefit everyone in the community when they decide to live in a community. Individuals out on their own against the hordes of zombies don’t fair well. Often they struggle just to live day to day, or end up victim to the walkers.

Each member of Rick’s group (or family) is a very talented and crafty individual, similar to how your Super Fans operate. Each of them have a particular skill set that adds greatly to you and what you’re doing. As Rick’s group keeps going, they carefully add members to their family and bring people in to help them survive against what awaits them on the outside. This is also the world we live in.

It’s too common and too difficult for us to try and reach the masses because the masses aren’t paying attention for more than 3 minutes. Masses are interested in instant gratification, not becoming an ardent follower and supporter. Those passionate music lovers are out there, sometimes as individuals and sometimes in small groups. When you find them, bring them into your world and give them something they really want: music worth experiencing and a connection with the artist who makes it.

Do these two simple things to survive in the music industry zombie apocalypse. Be on the look out for passionate individuals who not only consume music, but attend shows and buy albums. How can you find them?

They’re at the music venues you attend and perform at. They’re buying music from other bands and merch from tables. Attend other shows and start conversations with the people there on why they love the band you’re both watching, how long they’ve followed the band and how the music has impacted them. Make the connection with them so you can share your music with them and build a true community together.

Do you know who to Michonne or Darryl is in your fan base? They’re your Super Fans. Here’s how to find them.

Gain Super Fans With My Upcoming Book. Be The First To Get It Upon Release (coming very soon!!!)

* indicates required




Who I Am And What I’m Really All About

DGS-StairsProfileHeadshotThis isn’t a typical blog post, with tips or insights into growth strategies. Instead, I just want to shoot from the hip with a little insight about why I post the content I do each week, what drives the subject matter, and who I am so that you can have a better grid for connecting with me.

In the end, that’s what I’m striving for with this online platform: connecting with you.

We connect with people we relate to, folks whose stories are similar to ours and who show us a part of who they are that syncs with who we are.

I work in two seemingly different fields (music and the entrepreneurial business world), but actually they’re very similar. You can read the About page for more of my history, but all of those experiences lead to very concrete ways of doing things in a practical sense, especially since what I do involves working one-on-one with people.

Instead of a narrative, I’ve been asked some questions in an interview format that I’ll share with you so you can know a little more about why I do what I do (and more specifics on the what as well).

Q: What are you passionate about in your career?

I’m excited and passionate about people. I spent a very long time in life being afraid of people, scared for a few different reasons, but mostly thinking that I wouldn’t be taken seriously, or worse, taken advantage of. In the past few years I’ve come out of that shell, thanks to many great people including mentors and my amazing wife.

It’s people who have reshaped my career. Working both in radio, the music industry, and the nonprofit sector, I’ve been incredibly blessed to have been impacted through the relationships, networking, and mentoring of some great individuals who changed the way I see myself and the world.

That’s one thing that has made The Appetizer Radio Show so fulfilling to me personally over the past decade and more. Helping to launch someone from unknown and uncelebrated to nationally recognized, showcased, and prized is a big deal. Sharing in someone’s underdog story as they rise to success is a very fulfilling part of why I do what I do.

Q: What or who are you most passionate about?

I mentioned fears earlier, and I think most artists and creative people share some of the same fears. Overcoming them is a vital part of the growth and success process, and at times it’s a daily exercise. From my experience, I’m drawn to people who feel like they’ve been ignored or skipped over by pop culture, who don’t fit neatly into boxes, who have the odds stacked against them but who have a fire burning in them to win. Their ambition and goals aren’t too big for their circumstances. They just need a little help and direction. They are the Rockys who need a Mickey in their corner (I speak often in metaphors and boxing provides plenty of them for me).

Q: What do you believe in?

This is one of my philosophies: Talent is important but by itself it won’t lead to consistent wins, or even the wins that matter most. Heart and determination, paired with talent, that will take you to bigger and better place, and more powerful wins along the way. That’s what champions are made from, talent plus heart plus determination.

The quality of your character is the most important thing for who you are. Do what you say you will do. Treat others with love always. And true power doesn’t come from one person, but instead from the power of community and relationships.

Q: You writing a lot about being uncommon, building community and growth. Ultimately what is the message you are trying to communicate?

The world is inherently selfish. As individuals, it’s in our nature to be very Me-First in what we do and each of us has to deal with those tendencies in our own ways. This leads to a very important question that each of us has to answer as we face our path forward to success: How do you get people to take notice of you and unplug from themselves so that you can build an audience, a following, and a growing platform?

I think we look at the ground, plants, and trees for wisdom here. You water their tree. The basic roots of relationship are in sharing, but giving is required to start. It’s human nature to put yourself out front and shout for attention. What happens when someone notices you first and engages with you? Something happens that is dynamic in its connection power between you and that person. We care about people who engage with us. You then become a fan of this person in some way. So to attract a fan, maybe you should think about the reverse path of how they would come to you and go to them in that way.

Be Uncommon

To build anything you need strong roots. Roots that are deep and well connected to resources. Those take water and a process for growth. I want to be better at growing strong, solid roots and that’s what I work at every day. It’s what I write about here on this blog, speak about at events and engagements, and coach my clients with in their development. Growing roots and nourishing the connections we have to the people we want fruit from is the key to success, to winning at this game called business and life.

Doing growth and process this way is not ordinary, it’s not common. Common people follow the herd and do what everyone else does because it feels safe and not risky. Yet the more people do the same thing in terms of trying to be heard, the more noise that gets put out there. Noise doesn’t lead to wins. That’s why I talk so much about being uncommon. The uncommon path and uncommon people are the ones who are well received, prized and showcased. True, loyal, and solid fans/audiences don’t follow regular or common artists. They follow amazing and uncommon ones. That’s what we can build together.

Q: How about some other insights into who you are that are not business, music or career related?

I’m a staunch Alabama Crimson Tide fan, but only during football season even though I didn’t go to college there. I do love football. My favorite player of all time is Bo Jackson because he was simply a superhero on the field and we share a birthday. If you haven’t seen the 30 for 30 biography on him, Netflix it today.

DGrantTexansManningJerseyBeerUntil last year I was a pretty die hard Houston Texans fan and continue to follow them but for different reasons. I’m a super fan in most areas, so if I follow something it’s with all of my heart. Honestly I was a Texans fan because they had Danieal Manning at safety and he played at ACU when I was in college there. Manning was the first player to be drafted out of ACU since Wilbert Montgomery in the 70s. Unfortunately for my fandom, Manning retired this year and the secondary of the Texans has suffered for it, but that’s my opinion.

I’m a big fan of Batman, in particular the Christopher Nolen Dark Knight trilogy. Actually I have all of the books related to the movies including the novelizations. I’m very nerdy about that stuff. I do have a ton of comics and graphic novels as well. I think Jeph Loeb, Frank Miller, and Brian Azzarello’s writing is top shelf (excluding The Dark Knight Strikes Back, that was rubbish). On the subject of books, I’m an avid reader and am usually reading at least 2 books at a time.

My favorite thing in the whole world is having engaging conversations with people. I love to grab a beer or coffee and talk about anything and everything. Again, people are what I’m really passionate about.

I’m married to a gorgeous and amazing woman who inspires me every day to do things I haven’t thought of, and who makes me laugh harder than anyone on earth. If you want some truly fantastic storytelling plus really awesome DIY ideas for your home, visit her blog HERE.

Now that you know a little more insight into the what, the who, and the why philosophies behind the blog articles and posts, don’t be shy about reaching out and asking questions.

I’m open to you to build your uncommon pathway forward. Reach out and let’s talk.

Why I Work With Musicians & Entrepreneurs As A Coach

DGS-StairsProfileHeadshotRemember wanting to be cool when you were younger in grade school? As I get older, the desire to be cool in the eyes of other people still lingers but it’s not near as strong as it was in an
earlier time in my life. Part of that change is due to age, and hopefully a little maturity, but most
of it is because I know who is going to be interested in me, what I have to say, what I do and
who I am. Who I am is not for everyone, and that brings me comfort instead of fear.

The desire to be liked or to be cool with people is the same as the desire to be popular. Often
times, I think we confuse our desire to be respected and appreciated for a desire to be praised
by everyone. As technology keeps allowing for individuals to connect with each other across
spectrums without the former barriers of distance, time, or even language, there are more and
more people to potentially appeal to.

For people who don’t know their specific craft in life, or the certain colors that they paint better than others and the unique story that separates them from the crowd, coming to this realization can be daunting.

This is why I work with musicians and creative entrepreneurs as a coach and mentor. These struggles kept me from fulfilling my dreams for a long time, and they keep talented people stuck for far too long.

Musicians feel some version of this fear in several ways, as do entrepreneurs and creative startups. One way this fear comes into play is how it’s becoming harder and harder to promote your music and your business on a small scale or limited budget.

For musicians this is because the amount of indie and unsigned musicians (not including artists on major labels) is vast and large and growing by the day. For entrepreneurs, often the marketing and development side of networking isn’t something they’ve given a lot of thought to, but is absolutely necessary to reach the levels of success we all dream about.

All of these artists are creating and trying to sell their music. Innumerable options available to a
limited number of people creates fears of how it will work.

The music fan has changed too, because he or she is able to access so much more content
than any period in history, from anywhere in the world, and not have to have a hard copy of it to listen to,or have to take up room on their computer. Oh, and it’s free too. How do you sell a
product to a populace who is used to getting something without cost and who just wants a taste
of it without taking any ownership or commitment to it?

The whole identity thing is bigger than just knowing who you are and what makes you cool. It
helps you know what makes you and your story appealing to others. When you know the what, you can find the who. All you have to do is look inside.

I created a radio program (The Appetizer Radio Show) over a decade ago.  Originally it was designed for people who love music. I’m a big fan on noncommercial artists, but also love the B-side tracks on some very well-known albums. Those songs don’t get heard on the radio, not the big named stations. I was sick of having to listen to the same 40 songs repeated constantly. So I made a show that featured nearly every genre and type of artist. The radio program was called The Appetizer Radio Show, because like food, we sample different types of music regularly for our music diet.

As I tried to appeal to fans of all music, I became frustrated with the inability to really grow the
program. It’s hard to move forward when you’re trying to carry the weight of the world with you.

The whole world wasn’t going to follow one idea, and when I started to discover the stuff I was
drawn to the most, and then started featuring more of that, our audience grew. Growth was not
just in numbers but in quality of connections and relationships. I used my ability to connect with
people to single-handedly syndicated the show to markets across the country and even a few
international ones without using a high priced marketing agency (I did look at a few of those and the cost versus the return was outstanding).

Working with indie artists over the years has taught me a lot, and it’s made me a better
professional, both in music and in the relationship business that is life. One of the biggest
lessons I can give, and help people with in their process, is drilling down deep within themselves to discover the specific elements about themselves that make them great, so that they can know who will be most drawn to their art. If you want to make a million dollars in music, good luck. No one has discovered the formula for making that work, not even the billion-dollar labels. They lose money constantly trying to promote artists who don’t make real music or connections with people.

Relationship building through good old-fashioned methods has brought me more growth and
opportunity than I could have achieved using any other way. It’s what I want to pass on to
others, especially musicians and entrepreneurs.

There is a LOT of competition out there, but there is also a lot of opportunity. People are searching for stories, powerful ones that empower them and inspire them to do more. We’re looking for interesting people worth celebrating and connecting with, who value true connection instead of flash-in-the-pan fakery. Syncing up with the people who fit your music and artistic identity is the key to you finding the ongoing, long-term success that makes for legendary artists.

That’s what I do, that’s what I love. That is my why. Tell me your why. What is it that drives your music or your entrepreneurial endeavor? Connect with me to discover new ways of getting your story out to the audience that is hungry for it.