PODCAST

Trapital

Dan Runcie

Gain insights from top execs in music, media, and entertainment. Trapital founder Dan Runcie interviews hip-hop heavy hitters to explore the trends that shape the rest of the business world. Learn more at https://trapital.co


Why the Golden State Warriors Launched a Record Label
The Golden State Warriors took the commonly-said phrase “every company is a media company” and did one better, launching a first-of-its-kind organization, Golden State Entertainment (GSE). Leading this brand-new entertainment company is Warriors’ chief business officer David Kelly, who joined me on this episode of the Trapital podcast to discuss the brand-new endeavor. While GSE is an extension of the Warriors brand, it wasn’t created with the sole purpose of advancing the NBA team. It’s a completely separate company (not a division) and as Kelly told me, it needs to be profitable. To do so, GSE will produce original documentaries, music, and events.Announced in April 2022, GSE has wasted no time breaking into the entertainment space. It’s already inked deals with iconic acts like Rhymefest and No I.D., released a song with K-pop star BamBam, and announced a documentary around Bay Area’s own Jeremy Lin.The Warriors are building a sports, entertainment, media, and technology company in front of us and this interview shines light into the entertainment piece. Here’s everything David and I covered in this episode:[3:10] How The Golden State Warriors Got Into Music & Film[5:34] Measuring Success For GSE Record Label[7:05] Synergy Opportunities With NBA Team[8:11] What’s An Artist Deal At GSE Look Like?[9:32] Why Rhymefest & No I.D. Joined GSE [14:55] Crypto’s Influence On Golden State & NBA Naming Rights Deals[16:52] What Type Of Projects GSE Is Pursuing[21:22] Why Can’t GSE Do A Steph Curry Documentary Until He’s Retired?[23:13] Is There A New Era Of Documentaries?[25:07] Upcoming GSE ProjectsListen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSSHost: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.coGuests: David Kelly, @goldenstateent This episode was brought to you by Highlight. Build the community of your dreams on the blockchain. The new company is backed by leading investors like Haun Ventures, Thirty Five Ventures (“35V”), and more. Learn more at highlight.xyz  Enjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! ratethispodcast.com/trapital Trapital is home for the business of hip-hop. Gain the latest insights from hip-hop’s biggest players by reading Trapital’s free weekly memo. TRANSCRIPTION[00:00:00] David Kelly: We don't want to limit ourselves to only doing Warrior stories. We're not going to limit ourselves, even you know only doing basketball stories. We want to do, and I don't think we're even going to ultimately limit ourselves to just do sports stories. We want to do stories that are relevant and resonate and have most likely some sort of sports tied to them.[00:00:18] David Kelly: But if it's a story that we think we can facilitate the telling of the story, and there's a place for us at that table, and, if not for our participation, the story maybe doesn't get told then we'll be involved. [00:00:29] Dan Runcie: Hey, welcome to the Trapital podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from executives in music, media, entertainment, and more who are taking hip-hop culture to the next level.[00:00:57] Dan Runcie: Today's guest is David Kelly. He's the Chief Business Officer and Chief Legal Officer of the Golden State Warriors. And he's the head of the new Golden State Entertainment, which has focused on music, media and more. That's right. The Golden State Warriors are starting a record label. Believe me, when I heard this, I paused what I was doing, and I said, "Okay, I got to learn more. Tell me everything." And it was great to have David on to hear more about it. A lot of the inspiration for the record label came from David's own experience in hip hop. He was an artist himself, Capital D. We talked about how his journey through music influenced what he saw the platform for, of this team and ultimately the opportunities that they could provide for artists.[00:01:41] Dan Runcie: They also have some great vets in the game that have jumped on board. No I.D. is an advisor to Golden State Entertainment, as well as Rhymefest who was signed on to join the record label himself. You may know both of them from their relationship with Kanye West and the work and influence he's done there.[00:01:58] Dan Runcie: And David's old relationship with Rhymefest, too. So this was great to chat about. And we also talked about some of the potential projects coming down the pipeline. They're actually working on a project telling the story of Jeremy Lin, who is a Bay Area native and especially around everything that happened with Linsanity We're coming up on the decade anniversary of that and the influence he had on his New York Knicks run.[00:02:21] Dan Runcie: And we talk about what some of those future projects may look like. We also talk about some of the trends happening right now with naming rights and all of the cryptocurrencies and Web 3.0 companies that are fighting for naming rights, both inside and outside of the arenas as well. This is a fun chat.[00:02:37] Dan Runcie: And if you're interested in how teams like the Warriors, a team that is worth nearly $6 billion, how are they thinking about things and using their platform? This is the episode for you had a great chat. Hope you enjoy it. Here's my talk with David Kelly.[00:02:52] Dan Runcie: All right. Today, we have David Kelly, head of Golden State Entertainment, which recently launched a record label. Congratulations. And let's actually start there. When did you first get the idea to start a record label for an NBA basketball team? [00:03:10] David Kelly: Yeah, so it's, it's funny. So, I mean, the company is two parts.[00:03:13] David Kelly: We're doing film and we're doing music as well. And so the idea has been something that's been kicking around in my head for maybe three years now. And it really came from conversations with our ownership group around what we want to create as the Golden State Warriors. Like we see ourselves as a sports team, but really a sports entertainment media technology company.[00:03:32] David Kelly: And it's up to me to try to figure out, all of us at the Warriors, to figure out what that really means and what kind of skills we can bring to bear on creating that larger vision so that to make it a reality. And so I thought about like what we do on the marketing side and what we do as a sports team, like we create stories, we create content.[00:03:51] David Kelly: And then I thought about my own personal background in the music front. And I always saw myself as a content creator storyteller. And I started thinking about how can we bridge these two worlds? And so just over time, it's just the idea started becoming more and more apparent that this is something that we can be doing as the Golden State Warriors, and we, you know, there's this ancillary markets that are close, very close to sports, specifically to basketball. and we can create content in that space, whether it's film and/or music, so. [00:04:20] Dan Runcie: And I feel like your background, as well as an artist, Capital D, you had an experience that you understand exactly what it takes and the nuances of the music industry. So I feel like that as well, likely had a, as you mentioned, a pretty big influence on wanting to bring this to life. [00:04:39] David Kelly: It did. I mean, in a lot of ways, it's kind of aligning my passions and my background, my experiences into just bringing it all into even greater alignment and, with the platform of the Golden State Warriors platform that the NBA provides and being able to take who I am and really, really of dig into it and align it.[00:05:00] Dan Runcie: Right. And then for the record label itself, let's talk a little bit about that. What do you see as success for the record label? How will you measure that? Because I'm sure that some people could maybe think that you obviously have a very successful basketball team itself. Is this something more that extends the brand and gets more customers in? Or is it something that, you know, stand alone, does have its own benchmarks for profitability or some of the other things looking at how other record labels may manage themselves? [00:05:34] David Kelly: Yeah, so we want to, it's both. It definitely is an extension of the brand and it's good for the Golden State Warrior brand. It's already paying dividends there, but it's a separate company that has it's, it's not like a division of the Warriors. This is a separate company that we launched.[00:05:48] David Kelly: And it needs to be a profitable company and we're going to run it as such. In addition, we want to make sure that we're having an impact with the art that we put out, with the music they'll be put out and we want it to be relevant. We want it to speak to issues. We want it to inspire people. And so it's nothing new for a record label to be focused on that, but because we are attached to a separate organization, a separate team, it needs to all be consistent with our mission as Golden State Warriors. And so what we do all has to, it's that word alignment again. It all has to be aligned. So, yeah, so we're going to make some money.[00:06:25] David Kelly: We're going to do dope projects. We're going to have an impact. And it's all going to speak to the benefit of the Golden State Warrior brand. [00:06:33] Dan Runcie: I'm envisioning some type of opportunities, just leveraging the platform you already have, whether that's, at halftime artists that assigned to the label coming out and being able to perform their, they have a platform or on the other side, as artists are performing at the Chase Center, being able to feature them as headliners for some of the A-list acts that come through.[00:06:55] Dan Runcie: I feel like you having that, and then you also have the channel as well. Just being able to leverage each of these things to amplify the voice of the platform you have. [00:07:05] David Kelly: Check, check, check. So, yes. So at game two in the series against Memphis, actually it was game four, the second home game in our, in the series against Memphis.[00:07:16] David Kelly: MAYZIN, who's the first artist who got signed, who signed to Golden State Entertainment, he performed at halftime in that game. And so, so yes, what you envision is, already come into pass. And in fact, the very, before we had even announced Golden State Entertainment, we had BamBam, performed at halftime right before we released the song by MAYZIN and BamBam. I mean, that was our last home game of the season against the Lakers. So yes, we definitely want to use that. We already bring talent in, artists in to perform. And so, yeah, we should be using the same sort of, the same homegrown talent that we have at GSE and finding these new ways to get exposure for artists who are affiliated with. [00:07:56] Dan Runcie: And for the artists listening that may be interested, I know where in this era where a lot of artists want to own their masters. They want to be able to have their own flexibility. Well, what does some of that look like for the artists that would be considering GSE? [00:08:11] David Kelly: Well, so I'm not going to get into the finer deal points that we have, but like something like, BamBam. Bambam was with this group called GOT7, obviously, right? And then he went solo. We did a song with BamBam. Bambam is not signed to Golden State Entertainment, right? He has his own career as an independent artist, huge following. So we can align ourselves with any number of artists who are not signed to our label.[00:08:36] David Kelly: And so I think that's something different than your typical record label in that we have this platform that the Golden State Warriors that has his own benefit that we bring to major artists to, to larger artists. And we have something that I think that's already attractive to an artist. So it doesn't have to be a long-term deal necessarily instead of every instance that we, that we're doing a partnership or collaboration with an artist, so. [00:09:00] Dan Runcie: And to that point, the connections and a lot of that is what makes the difference even when people see and understand the brand, or you had Too $hort performing at game one of the Western Conference finals, E-40's courtside at all of these games, like you have the culture that's there so I do think that you have that.[00:09:19] Dan Runcie: Oh, yeah. One of the other things I saw too, is that you all have Rhymefest who, of course, is an established artist himself, long-time collaborator with Kanye West. What did that relationship look like and getting him on board? [00:09:32] David Kelly: Yeah. So Rhymefest is like family. So that, that is a friend of mine going back 30 years. And when I think about, we're trying to build GSE, who do I want to align ourselves with from a brand perspective? When I think about one of the best writers that we have in hip hop over the past several decades, someone who actually has been an activist in his life still very, you know, very wise and very relevant at the same time, people like Rhymefest come to mind. And so that's where that kind of collaboration came from.[00:10:06] David Kelly: And No I.D., the same way, right? Like this is your OGs' OG when it comes to knowledge of the industry, knowledge of executive coaching. Someone who can help me just in terms of, trying to really run and build Golden State Entertainment. So to have him as a strategic advisor, also as a cultural advisor and producer, like there's no better person. And so, yeah, and those are just relationships from, you know, both of those guys are like family, so. [00:10:36] Dan Runcie: Yeah. That's great. That's great. And then are there any partnerships right now on the major record label side, or is it mostly an independent operation? [00:10:46] David Kelly: Independent at the moment, who knows what the future might bring. But I'm independent at the moment. We have a distribution agreement, so we go through a distributor like your typical indie label would what would do, and we go from there. [00:10:58] Dan Runcie: Nice. And something else you mentioned, taking a step back, looking at GSE more broadly, you mentioned the tech side and I always thought a lot about the rise of tech in the bay area, along with the rise of Golden State Warriors, just when they were in that run 2015 on with Steph, Klay, and Draymond, and we had heard so much about the investments that they were getting involved with.[00:11:23] Dan Runcie: I think this is a lot of what attracted KD. I know that Andre Iguodala and Steph had done work with Mastry and Rudy Cline-Thomas, and what he's done there. So, a lot of that at least to be seemed like the area brought them there, but they were each doing their own separate things. So it's interesting to hear what you may have alluded to in terms of the GSE in the Warriors itself, doing a bit more directly on the investment side.[00:11:49] David Kelly: Yeah. And so on the investment side, as it relates to tech, it's less GSE and more just the Golden State Warriors. And we have a separate arm that looks at various different tech investments. So that's separate from GSE. GSE is on the content front, film and music. But when we talk about us being a sports entertainment, media, and technology organization, we are as an, as a larger organization, that Golden State Warriors looking to make various different tech investments. The background of members of our ownership group, specifically, Joe Lacob, a fantastically successful venture capitalist. And so like he knows what he's doing when it comes to looking at those sorts of investments. [00:12:27] Dan Runcie: Let's take a quick break to hear a word from this week's sponsor.[00:12:30] Dan Runcie: That makes sense. Especially the past few years, I feel like there's so many teams as well that have either been getting more involved with crypto, where the rights for naming, with a lot of the crypto companies sponsoring arenas as well. And I know that some of that, you're also the Chief Business Officer for the organization too. What does that wave been like at least from your perspective when you're seeing some of the companies that want to, whether it's naming rights or wanting to be able to partner with the team on a more direct basis?[00:13:02] David Kelly: Yeah. I mean, so we're always looking to be at the forefront of new, innovative, whether it's technologies, ways of doing business. And so I see that world for the Golden State Warriors connects to what we'd have done in, in the NFT space. And we actually, we have a partnership ourselves with FTX. And so we were, I think the very first sports team to do an NFT drop around this time last year.[00:13:27] David Kelly: And so I do not, by any means, consider myself to be an expert in that space, but we, as an organization, want to make sure that we're on the cutting edge and innovative, and we have a number of people at the organization who are experts in that space and guide our hand in terms of looking into different companies with which we'll push to partner in ways in which to invest in, in Web 3.0 and NFTs and things of that nature, so.[00:13:49] Dan Runcie: That makes sense. And I guess on this note, thinking about naming rights more broadly, I know that the Chase Center had signed the deal with Kaiser. You, of course, have Thrive City and naming that through them. And then with the Chase Center as well, obviously with Chase too, it feels like every few years we do go through these waves where a lot of the teams do start to change or they do start to re-up their things. And I feel like the past couple of years, we've been in one of those modes now. Does it feel that way from your perspective, or do you feel like these things are constantly changing? [00:14:24] David Kelly: When you say one of one of those modes now, can you elaborate what you mean?[00:14:27] Dan Runcie: Yeah. So I feel like in the past couple of years, especially the NBA, there's been a lot of teams, either, A, changing their naming rights to crypto-related companies that like things that are reflecting the current wave, or maybe the same thing with their outdoor space. And I know a lot of these things may change from time and time again, but I feel like the past, like, two, three years, we saw a wave. It felt like there was a lot more turnover than maybe there was in the three years or four years before that. [00:14:55] David Kelly: Yeah, I think that may be more coincidence. I think those things go cyclical. And so you'll have your naming rights deal, whether it's for an outdoor space or for the arena itself, your 10- year deal or 20- year deal.[00:15:07] David Kelly: And just when those deals come up, they come up. And so I haven't talked to my counterparts at the other teams about it, but I'm pretty sure that those new deals that you're seeing are, they're as, a legacy deal that just happened to expire sometime over the last couple of years. And yes the crypto space is very hot right now.[00:15:25] David Kelly: So you'll see, you know, crypto arena and things of that nature, definitely jumping in and using sports properties, specifically arenas as a way to promote their product. And so you'll see a lot more arenas being named in the crypto space, but I don't think that the number of partnerships that have changed hands over the last couple of years is increased.[00:15:44] David Kelly: I don't think that's the case. You've just probably would see more concentration inside of that particular, with that particular industry. [00:15:50] Dan Runcie: Yeah, that makes sense. And I think maybe the other side of it too, is that because at least from my perspective, we're seeing more of the outdoor spaces as well. Like having those and maybe a bit more valid.[00:16:01] Dan Runcie: I think I recently saw that the box area, they call it Deer District. They're looking for $4 billion for the naming rights for that. And I mean, sure, other teams are seeing that. I mean, you already have yours with Warriors. I'm sure other teams will see that, okay, like how could we get our version of that?[00:16:17] David Kelly: Yeah. Yeah. We named our entire plaza as Thrive City. And so, yeah, so we sold naming rights with respect to the arena as Chase Center. And then, sold naming rights with respect to the entire district as Thrive City. And so, yeah, so similar things happening with other teams. [00:16:31] Dan Runcie: Got it. So shifting gears a bit, I want to talk a bit more about the other multimedia areas of GSE. So outside of music, we talked a bit about movies. You talked about what it could look like. It’s just like film and video in general. What does that outlook look like? What are you envisioning for the type of projects you can release? [00:16:52] David Kelly: Yeah, so we want to be involved in projects that are rooted in sports. By no means are they limited by sports, right? And so one of the first projects, and our involvement can be any number of things. We could be a producer. We might come to the table with the script, with the entirety of the idea. There might be a project that's already moving forward and it just kinda needs us to make some connections and, and help to facilitate and so we could be putting money in not putting money in, lending our platform, any number, any number of things. And so, but one of the first projects that we got involved with was a project that was already moving forward, called 38 At the Garden about Jeremy Lin. We came in to help facilitate the production of that project.[00:17:31] David Kelly: And it really is a, it's exactly what it is we want to be doing on the film side at GSE. It's a story that's rooted in sports. It's the 10 year anniversary of Linsanity, but the true relevance of the project and why it speaks to us, and why I think it's going to speak to so many people, it's premiering at Tribeca in a couple of weeks, is because, more recently, the Stop AAPI Hate Movement and the violence against members of the Asian American community makes Jeremy Lin's story that much more relevant. And there's, so there's a social relevance to his story, which is why it really appeals to us. So we want to be telling stories that are rooted in sports, but have a larger social component to them.[00:18:11] David Kelly: And so Lin, Jeremy Lin's story is specifically that. And so, yeah, we're proud to be a part of it.[00:18:15] Dan Runcie: That makes sense, especially given the connection there because I think that some people may hear the association immediately, they may think, okay, well, he's a New York Knick. How did the Golden State Warriors get involved with the project for the New York Knicks?[00:18:28] Dan Runcie: Like, wouldn't the Madison Square Garden, or their, entertainment group be all over this? But what was the process like for that? Because I do assume that that is something that they would want to be heavily involved with, or maybe even potentially protective of.[00:18:43] David Kelly: Well, to be clear, he's from the Bay Area. And his first shot in the NBA was with the Warriors and his last shot in the NBA was with the Warriors.[00:18:51] David Kelly: So, our stories, we do not have to, we're not only going to be involved in stories that are Golden State Warriors stories, but for Jeremy, there are several Golden State Warrior ties, which is why it was something that we were very much focused on him and his story. We don't want to limit ourselves to only doing warrior stories. We're not going to limit ourselves even, you know, only doing basketball stories we want to do. And I don't think we're even going to ultimately limit ourselves to just do sports stories. We want to do stories that are relevant and resonate and have most likely some sort of sports tied to them.[00:19:24] David Kelly: But if it's a story that we think we can facilitate the telling of the story, and there's a place for us at that table, and if not for our participation, the story, maybe doesn't get told then. we'll be involved [00:19:36] Dan Runcie: That makes sense. And I assume this also extends with scripted content as well, whether that is, you know, movies and films and things like that.[00:19:43] David Kelly: Yeah. we are starting off in the unscripted space, but we do not want to limit ourselves, put it that way. I think there's a lot that we can bring to bear whether on those unscripted or scripted side. [00:19:52] Dan Runcie: That makes sense. Thinking about your team though, and thinking about some of the stories you have potential for, a few things come to mind that I think would be amazing to see if there was something about it, that "We Believe" Warriors, that run. We'd love to see something like that. That's one of them, the other one that comes to mind is what would the Warriors' version of a Last Dance look like, right? Like we obviously have to see how this playoff run goes, but what would that look like?[00:20:21] Dan Runcie: I mean, I have to imagine that there's been some type of recording that has footage, that hasn't already been broadcast about everything from a, likely even well before that year you won the championship because this core group had been together for so long. [00:20:35] David Kelly: You have a very vivid imagination.[00:20:40] Dan Runcie: Well played,well played. [00:20:42] David Kelly: Yeah, yeah, I agree. Let's just say that. [00:20:46] Dan Runcie: Well, the one thing that you can comment on, which I saw and you can correct me if I got this right, but I saw something that said that GSE couldn't do a documentary on Steph Curry until he retires because of the League's collective bargaining agreement.[00:21:03] Dan Runcie: And when I first saw this, I had to pause and think about it because I was like, I thought that Steph had had stuff with Facebook, I thing, one of those shows. I think him and Ayesha have that HBO show. What is the aspect that makes it that he could do stuff with them, but you all couldn't do something like this?[00:21:22] David Kelly: Yeah. So, I mean, it seems a little, it doesn't seem intuitive, but when you think about it actually does make sense. So if we're paying, the salary cap is such that we can't pay Steph more than X dollars, so we can pay them X dollars in terms of his contract. But then we can go do a movie with him that's going to make X plus Y or X or 3X dollars.[00:21:43] David Kelly: The League will look at that and the other 29 teams will look at that as a salary cap and salary cap circumvention. And so I get it. It makes, it actually does make sense. It protects us the same way, protects all the teams. And so, yeah, you can't have your separate deals under the table deals with a player where you're driving revenue to that player outside of his player contract.[00:22:03] Dan Runcie: Okay. That makes sense. So, because it's still technically part of the broader organization, that's why versus obviously Facebook is completely independent. Okay. [00:22:13] David Kelly: Yeah. [00:22:13] Dan Runcie: Interesting. [00:22:15] David Kelly: So it's not to say that the player can't go out and make, you know, 5X, his player, his salary, more often times 10, 20X his playing contract. It just can't come from the team.[00:22:24] Dan Runcie: Got it. That makes sense. And maybe one thing that you may be able to comment on that I've been thinking about, especially just given the era that we're in now with how much more is being recorded, every person has their own channel to share things, whether that's Steph or a Draymond or whoever it is. I feel like that may make the filmmaking of a future Warriors-run documentary a little different than something like say The Last Dance when content and media was just less saturated then. So the footage and the concept they were able to have stands out in a unique way.[00:22:59] Dan Runcie: Does that shape overall, at least at this era, how you may approach documentary projects or what the unique angle may be given all of the opportunities for these players and for other outlets to be able to share their voice? [00:23:13] David Kelly: Oh, it does. It does. It changes it. In some ways it makes the player a lot more known and relevant and universal.[00:23:21] David Kelly: I mean, if you think, if you look at a player like Draymond, who has been able to, he's a personality on TNT. He has his own podcast and he's phenomenal inside of all that, all the different venues that he's in, it makes them a lot more. It makes him a lot more marketable. And so that could be a very good thing for when we're trying to do, if we might try to do a, and make our version of The Last Dance documentary, right? Cause I think that, you know, there are still stories to be told. There is still the definitive story to be told. And so I don't think that it necessarily detracts from what it is that we're trying to do. I think one can build upon the other. Maybe we have to look at it differently in some of the stories that we're gonna maybe tell are going to be a little bit different than stories that you may have already heard as a listener. [00:24:06] Dan Runcie: That makes sense. And I think in a lot of ways, the fact that there is more means there's so much more to build upon. I think back to last year. So this would have been 2021 when Draymond and Kevin Durant had had that Bleacher report conversation they had, and it created enough buzz to create a moment, at least for people that follow the NBA.[00:24:25] Dan Runcie: And you got two people that were just sharing their thoughts on one particular aspect of, you know, not one particular aspect, but one of the main things surrounding that discussion was one of the infamous interactions that they had had. So I think that those things do, like you're saying they build upon each other and they create new opportunities to tell and share these stories.[00:24:45] David Kelly: That's right. I agree. [00:24:46] Dan Runcie: Yeah. That makes sense. Well, this has been great. I think it's exciting. You have a lot of stuff that's, we're definitely going to keep an eye on and I guess before we let you go though, are there any future GSE projects that you're excited about or anything that we haven't touched upon? Or as you're thinking about what the future looks like, where the potential is at, where things are going?[00:25:07] David Kelly: I mean, there's a number of film projects that we're working on right now. Not in a position to announce anything yet, but we, there may, there's another one that we're working on with respect to, a retired basketball player, probably gets announced over the next month or so. And when that comes out, you know exactly what I'm, talking about. What we have announced are some of, is the lineup that we have on the music side. And so I'm really excited for people to hear this new J.U.I.C.E. project and a couple of projects that we have with Georgia Anne Muldrow, because those are two legacy artists who I think have not received their just due in their careers.[00:25:41] David Kelly: And I think there's an underground, hardcore support that they have. And we're just looking to see if we can expand upon that because I think Georgia Anne is the Nina Simone of our generation, like she is, her voice and her ability to produce and sing and, and her viewpoint on the world is just something that would just love to be aligned with.[00:26:01] David Kelly: I love listen to and be aligned with. And so I'm really excited about that project. [00:26:04] Dan Runcie: Nice. Any plans in audio, not music-related, podcasting. [00:26:10] David Kelly: We've kicked some things around. Yeah. We've kicked some things around, nothing that's concrete at the moment, but you know, we're, we are aware of all the various different mediums.[00:26:19] David Kelly: And so we're looking to see how it is that we might be able to do storytelling be all on different media. [00:26:25] Dan Runcie: Sounds good. Looking forward to it. Well, David, this is great. Thanks for coming on and chatting. Before we let you go, where can people find you or find the GSE if they want to follow up and keep up to tabs with everything that you have coming?[00:26:39] David Kelly: Yeah, so, we're going to start doing a much better job updating our website. So our website is gsent.com and we're also on Twitter and on Instagram as well. [00:26:49] Dan Runcie: All right, sounds good. Thank you. This was great. [00:26:52] David Kelly: Hey, appreciate it, man. This was great.[00:26:54] Dan Runcie: If you enjoyed this podcast, go ahead and share with a friend, copy the link, text it to a friend posted in your group chat, post it in your slack groups, wherever you and your people talk. Spread the word. That's how Trapital continues to grow and continues to reach the right people. And while you're at it, if you use Apple Podcasts, go ahead, rate the podcast, give it a high rating and leave a review. Tell people why you like the podcast that helps more people discover the show. Thank you in advance. Talk to you next week.Advertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
2d ago
27 mins
The iPod’s Legacy in the Music Industry with Zack O’Malley Greenburg
On this episode, we switched things up! Instead of a standard interview, I talked about a few recent topics with the best-selling author, Zack O’Malley Greenburg. He has long had his pulse on the music industry. Between his past time covering the business at Forbes, writing acclaimed books on the likes of Jay-Z and Michael Jackson, or his current Substack blog, Zack has formed both a macro- and micro-view of the entire industry. He’s the perfect person to bring onto Trapital to discuss the stories reverberating across the music business today.One of those stories is Spotify’s floundering performance as of late. The streaming leader’s stock has cratered to all-time lows, partly due to so-so performance, but also as a byproduct of Netflix’s own struggles. But if you ask Zack, the commonalities between Netflix and Spotify aren’t as close as critics will have you believe. Specifically, Spotify’s “unlimited buffet” business model is a massive differentiator. And then there’s Apple officially discounting the iPod after 21 years. Whether it gets the credit or not, the innovative product re-shaped the music business into what we see today. As a “legal Napster”, it laid the groundwork for today’s streaming-dominated industry — not just for music, but podcasts too. Check out all the topics Zack and I covered in this episode of Trapital:[0:00] Zack’s First Experiences with The iPod[6:11] Steve Jobs First iPod Keynote[8:33] iPod As A Gateway Into Apple Ecosystem [12:16] Will iPod Have A Resurgence Like Vinyl? [14:48] U2’s Free Album On Apple Backfires [18:55] Spotify’s Current Business Struggles[20:09] Why Spotify Shouldn’t Be Compared To Netflix[27:23] Do Spotify And Netflix Have Content Problems?[33:00] Examining Bad Bunny’s Meteoric Rise In Six Years[38:21] Latin Music Succeeding In US Despite Language Barrier [40:12] Did Jay Z Ruin Robinson Cano’s Career?Listen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSSHost: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.coGuests: Zack O’Malley Greenburg, @zogblog This episode was brought to you by Highlight. Build the community of your dreams on the blockchain. The new company is backed by leading investors like Haun Ventures, Thirty Five Ventures (“35V”), and more. Learn more at highlight.xyz  Enjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! ratethispodcast.com/trapital Trapital is home for the business of hip-hop. Gain the latest insights from hip-hop’s biggest players by reading Trapital’s free weekly memo. TRANSCRIPTION[00:00:00] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: If you're a startup and you're looking for celebrity investors and, I know that the market is cooled down a bit, but still, you know, you're in a fairly mature startup. And you're trying to get your name out there a little more by getting, you know, music investors, celebrities, et cetera. The kind of reach that he has, especially if you're trying to get into the Spanish language market. It's untoppable and, you know, I just think there's a tremendous opportunity there and in a lot of other places for him too.[00:00:29] Dan Runcie: Hey, welcome to the Trapital podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from executives in music, media, entertainment, and more who are taking hip-hop culture to the next level.[00:00:49] Dan Runcie: On today's episode, we switched things up a little bit. This is normally an interview-style podcast, but I did a recent survey. And many of you say you wanted to hear more from me. You wanted to hear my insights, my perspective on this space and where things are heading. So it was a great time to invite back Zack O'Malley Greenburg.[00:01:08] Dan Runcie: You may know him from his work at Forbes, where he started a lot of the reporting on how much money hip hop artists were making and the potential for what they could do in the business world. So we covered a bunch of topics in this episode. First, we talked about the iPod. Apple recently announced that they are discontinuing the influential device after almost 21 years in its production. So Zach and I talk about the device's importance and influence. Then we talked about Spotify. The stock is trading at an all-time low. So we talk about what does that mean for streaming? What does that mean for music and, more broadly, how does that compare to video and other types of streaming?[00:01:45] Dan Runcie: Then we talked about the current king of streaming, of the current king of Spotify. Bad Bunny is the biggest artist in the world. So we talk about the impact and importance of what that means for a Latin artist, a Latin artist, who is yet to do a song in English and how cool that is. And then we close things out where we talked about Robinson Canó, who is a baseball player and how his career took a bit of a different turn after he sides with Jay-Z's Roc Nation sports agency.[00:02:12] Dan Runcie: Hope you enjoy this episode. If you do, send a note and let us know, because that's the type of stuff that encourages great content. I hope you enjoy it. Here's our conversation. All right. We got Zack O'Malley Greenburg with us today and we are going to cover a bunch of topics. And the first one that's near and dear to both of us is we got to pour some out for the iPod. After almost 21 years, the device that changed the game, Apple announced it's discontinuing it.[00:02:38] Dan Runcie: And it's a great time to talk about its legacy, its impact. So first let's start here cause I know that you likely owned a bunch of these. I did too. How many iPods did you own and which version was the first one you got? [00:02:50] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: Oh man. You know, I think I had originally one of the clunky ones that didn't have sort of like the touch wheel, you know, like the kind of mano, you know, the, what is it like the black and white kind of a janky one.[00:03:02] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: But the one that really sticks in my mind was right around the time that Bono was doing all those commercials. And I remember my godfather was like, I want to get you a nice present for your birthday. He's like, I want to get you like, like a personal DVD player. And I was like, that's very sweet of you. And I really appreciate that. Can I have an iPod instead?[00:03:23] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: He was like, what's this iPod? But yeah. I mean, it was, I think that one that must have been. I don't know, maybe around 2005, that was when they started getting really sexy-looking. And, and you had the touch wheel and you had kind of like the sleek black look on it instead of like, you know, sort of like the white witch, which would get kind of, you know, get kind of grimy, at least mine did.[00:03:47] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: But this was sleek. I think the back was silver. I mean, it was really a work of art and that was when I started thinking it's only a matter of time before they just make one of these as a phone, you know? And I'm sure, you know, having talked to people at Apple over the years, by the time they put out that iPod in the mid-aughts, they already had a design on the iPhone, but there would have been no, you know, no iPhone if there weren't an iPod.[00:04:10] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: You know, in many ways, I think the iPod saved the music industry, right? I mean, when they created that ecosystem, it just became easier to get your music, you know, through the legal means than by downloading them, you know, downloading those MP3s illegally and say what you will about the depth of the album and the issues of like breaking up albums and selling them single by single.[00:04:31] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: But, you know, I think that really provided the bridge that the music industry needed to get to the streaming era. So yeah. Pour one out, indeed. How about you, Dan, what was your first?[00:04:41] Dan Runcie: Ah, yeah. So the first one for me, let's see, I want to say it was 2004, I bought the iPod mini because I didn't have a Mac at home. So I waited until they were compatible on PC.[00:04:54] Dan Runcie: And I added, I think I was working either at Dairy Queen or I was working at our local parks and rec at the time. And one of the first paychecks I had, I was like, no, let me go take this, buy iPod mini. So I had that, but listen, after two months of having that, and I was one of the first people in the school to have one at the time. I left it in my pocket and put it in the washing machine, like a typical teenager would, and that thing gets ruined. Right. So then I was like, okay, fine. Let me get another one. This time I was making CDs at the time, I was burning them and selling them in school. So I said, okay, I need a bigger operation here. Let me get the full-on classic one.[00:05:34] Dan Runcie: Got that, within two months of getting that, so this is around the time of high school graduation. I put the bag into this bleacher area by the school where we had the graduation. I go back after graduation. Someone takes that bag, someone in the class must've seen me put it there, and then that was gone. So then by the time I'm entering in college, I said, you know what?[00:05:55] Dan Runcie: I just need to get another one. So I bought three iPods within an 18-month period. It's one of the most ridiculous things. And obviously for the kid that was making $7 an hour at various jobs, would be at a camp counselor, working at Dairy Queen and other places. That's what I spent my money on. I bought it on iPods.[00:06:11] Dan Runcie: So I had to go into freshman year of college, fresh with of those things, but as I had that, that one I did have for a while though, I kept that one for a number of years. And I think I eventually got a Shuffle later on for running and stuff like that. So I think, so I guess I had four devices total, but I agree with you. Take a step back, thinking about the device overall. I'd actually went back and watched Steve Job's keynote that he initially did.[00:06:35] Dan Runcie: And he had done keynote presentations before for all the other products that he had throughout the years. But I feel like this one is the one that really turned to the pop culture aspect of the Steve Job's keynote with, he was no longer wearing the suits. He’s wearing the black turtleneck tucked into the jeans.[00:06:51] Dan Runcie: Takes the iPod out of the pocket, has the “hundred songs in your pocket” quote. And I think, from there, what you mentioned too about the bridge that this was for streaming. It makes a lot of sense, right? I mean, look at the way iTunes is set up. iTunes was essentially a legalized version of Napster, right? Instead of just downloading the songs for free, let's take a similar layout and make it look a lot cleaner than Napster did.[00:07:14] Dan Runcie: And you can download the songs yourself. The thing that's interesting though, if we just think about Apple's influence in this space over the years. This was the company that essentially paved the way for digital music technology, listening, both from companies in the industry. And it did the same for podcasting as well.[00:07:33] Dan Runcie: And for years, Jobs didn't want to get into music streaming. He thought that having an annual or having a monthly subscription for it wasn't the best idea. And obviously, we know that podcasting as well. Although it was something that Apple started, we're looking now, with the way things are, yes, they have presence in both podcasting and of music, but Apple isn't the industry leader in any of these spaces. So we can have a whole podcast episode about what's changed, but even though there's a lot that necessarily maybe hasn't taken off in the same way. You can't knock the influence of what this product did in just its evolution over the years and what it led to. I was looking at some stats earlier. Its sales peaked in 2008, 2009, right? You could still, after the iPhone came out, so you had this whole runway of time where they just kept selling more and more and they just eventually figured it out. And they had a whole system of these things that you're selling 20, 30 billion of them a quarter. It's crazy. [00:08:33] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: Oh yeah. And you know, the deeper you get into the Apple ecosystem, right. I mean, and I'm fully embedded. I'm stuck. There's no way out. You know, I remember with that, you know, the U2 era iPod, you could still, you know, when you plugged it into your computer, you would still see that little iPod icon on your desktop and you could open it up as though it were, you know, an external hard drive and you could, you know, move files in and out.[00:08:59] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: And it didn't really, there were no questions asked as to where the files were obtained, you know, and they would show up in your music library and you can put all kinds of different files on there. And it was great. And then, you know, with each successive version, so they eventually eliminated that. And you know, now of course, if you have iTunes, you know, songs that you may have had in there from the, from the Limewire and Kazaa era just suddenly disappeared.[00:09:21] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: And, you know, you can't really get them back unless you have them backed up somewhere on a physical hard drive. So, you know, I think that there was also a level of control that Apple got, but, you know, but to have you be part of that ecosystem, I think that's the most valuable thing for them, right? I mean, if you look at Apple or Spotify, you know, like you were talking sure, Apple is not the leader in the music streaming business. Apple Music is I guess, a distant second, but they, you know, they don't need to win that because the hardware turns out or at least in the case of the iPod. And now that, you know, more recently that the iPhone, that the hardware turns out to be more valuable than the software, you know, looking at Spotify.[00:09:58] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: And I think a lot of it comes down to, you know, intellectual property, right? If the, if you have to pay for the intellectual property or your, you know, or a whole huge chunk of that is coming out of. You know, out of your profits or your revenue before you get to profit, you know, it's a, it's a lot harder to make a ton of money than it is for a company like Apple, where the iPod or the iPhone, you know, that was their intellectual property and they could sell it for whatever they want to. [00:10:22] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: Yeah, that's a good point. It makes it even think about AirPods. Now. Now I always see those infographics of AirPod revenue, and comparing that to all of these other tech companies. And how have you just looked at this one product that Apple has and how it does better than so many of the household companies that we have.[00:10:38] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: But for you though, was the iPod the first product that pushed you onto Apple? Or were you in a household that had iMacs and things like that? [00:10:48] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: Yeah, no, I was, my first computer was an Apple, I think I only ever owned one or two computers that were not Apples. And that was when my gaming buddies in high school convinced me to get something else. But yeah, no, it's been, you know, from back in the day for me. So, I'm stuck. [00:11:04] Dan Runcie: Yeah, it's, it's interesting because I do think for a lot of people, this product ended up being the game-changer. Yeah. I know it took a few generations for them to eventually put it and make it Windows-compatible. And it's funny. I was looking back, there was a few conversations where Tony Fadell, the guy who had actually invented it, essentially that worked with Apple on it.[00:11:26] Dan Runcie: They had had a whole bunch of conversations about what ends up leading to what. And I think for a while, Jobs was under the impression that if you keep the iPod as Apple iOS exclusive device that it'll encourage more people to buy future iMac or Apple products, but what actually ended up happening, they pushed for the opposite and they saw the opposite where make the device compatible people then see, and they get introduced to the Apple world.[00:11:55] Dan Runcie: And then that makes them want to then buy more iMacs and buy more MacBooks and buy things like that. So it was the opposite push-pull of what they thought happens. And it's one of those things where instead of restricting access to make people think that they want, that they, you're restricting. How do you give people a taste and then have them naturally want to get it on there on their own?[00:12:16] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: Absolutely. I mean, I think it almost mirrors being an artist, right? I mean, you don't want to withhold your art, your music from streaming services so that people will go out and buy the vinyl or, or, you know, back in those days, download the MP3. You want people to be out there and getting familiar with your work.[00:12:32] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: And you're not going to cannibalize yourself if people really like you. I mean, just look at Taylor Swift, you know, her fans go out and buy her vinyl, you know, by the hundred thousand and they can certainly have access to it whenever they want on the streaming services. [00:12:44] Dan Runcie: Yeah. Speaking of vinyls, it stuck out to me that there were a bunch of iPod Touch that sold out immediately.[00:12:51] Dan Runcie: So essentially the line is completely gone now and even a few on eBay that were going for crazy prices after this announcement came out and it made me think, is the iPod going to be the way that vinyls are looked at now? Is there going to be this resurgence for this retro thing where people look back and let's say that as millennials or gen Z have, kids, they want to see, okay, what was this generation listening to when they were teenagers and they'd go back and be like, oh, let's check out Zack's iPod, let's check out Dan's iPod or whatever else. Do you think that there is a resurgence in that type of way the same way we're seeing with vinyl? [00:13:26] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: You know, I could see maybe I think the main issue would be a compatibility, right? In the way that you, you know, not even Apple to PC, but you know, old Apple stuff isn't even necessarily compatible with, compatible with new Apple stuff.[00:13:37] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: So if I wanted to plug in my old iPod, if I could dig it up wherever it was. I don't think I even have a freaking USB port on my computer. No, I don't. [00:13:49] Dan Runcie: You need like five dongles. You need like a firewire, USB to USB to C. [00:13:54] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: Exactly. And so, and even then it's like what songs will it remove, will my computer remove from my iPod or vice versa?[00:14:04] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: So, I mean, I almost wonder if there's the really old ones where you go and you can see, like you can open it up like that U2 era iPod, and actually just manually move the MP3 tracks around, if those still work somehow, you know, that might be almost the way of safeguarding one's music files from being kinda like yanked up into the ether.[00:14:22] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: You know, I think whereas, vinyl, despite being somewhat cumbersome, it is ultimately plug and play. You plug it into a standard outlet, put the thing on pretty mechanical. So yeah, I do think that might be the only drawback, but yeah, I could totally see it. The next hipster thing, being dongles at all, finding the way to use iPod. So, yeah, just, I guess cassette tapes are making it come back to, so, you know, just like vinyl, even CDs were up, you know, over the past year or so.[00:14:46] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: What's old is new again. [00:14:48] Dan Runcie: I know, right? You never know if someone had told me when the iPod first came out, that vinyls would've made a comeback, I'd never would have thought that, but you mentioned plug and play and you mentioned U2 earlier. We have to talk about the greatest hack of all time with whatever you plug this damn device into any USB thing, U2's album automatically starts playing.[00:15:07] Dan Runcie: How they were able to get that to happen and I know it wasn't a hundred percent intended, but it also kind of was so however they were able to do that, eventually I do think it got on the nerves of many people and we saw from whether it was Apple or even Spotify later on people feeling like these services are pushing certain artists on them.[00:15:27] Dan Runcie: I do think that that is one of the understated hacks that we've seen in both of U2's major deals with Apple. [00:15:36] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: Yeah, for sure. I mean, I just remember, you know, right. They gave away that album and you woke up one morning and it was on your iTunes and all these people were freaking out, like, get this off my computer.[00:15:45] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: I can't get it off my computer. I don't want this taking up hard drive space. Like first of all, how much hard drive space is taken up? You have a Mac anyway, probably. And it's, you know, it's fine. Is Bono really that offensive to you? Like U2? I mean, I don't know. I think it's sort of, you know, I mean, I don't want to say like easy listening, but it's not like offensive, like who is offended by U2?[00:16:06] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: I was kind of always surprised by that. And Bono had this kind of poignant quote. He said he was like, you know, “I'm just an Irishman trying to give you some beautiful music.” Yeah. If you don't want it, I'm sorry, you know. That kind of thing and can't really feel bad for Bono and he was a good sport about it, but it's kind of funny that the way people's minds work, you know, it's like during the Napster era, it's like, oh, I got to go get all my music for free.[00:16:33] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: You know, I will seek it out to illegally download music. Right. And it'll take me an hour to download a song. And if somebody calls my mom on the landline, you know, it'll get interrupted halfway through, right? And then. Here comes U2 giving everybody a free album and they don't even have to do anything.[00:16:51] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: And all these people are kind of grousing about it. So I thought that was sort of, you know, above all a really interesting commentary on like the human psyche and, you know, wanting what you can't have. Not wanting what you do. So pour one out for that as well. [00:17:05] Dan Runcie: Oh yeah. I mean, it's interesting because I mean, from my perspective, I was never upset about the album actually being there, if anything, it was more so than minor inconvenience of can I plug this device into the USB port for one second, without anything automatically playing, right? Like I also had this era where it was back from doing anything that I'd purchased on iTunes and Lady Gaga's Bad Romance would always play. So like once the U2 thing stopped, like that song always played in.[00:17:35] Dan Runcie: You want to hear about friends making fun of me and dragging me for that all day long. That was always a, a hilarious one, but no, this was good. Let's pour one out for the iPod, one of the most influential products we've seen. And as we both know, I think we talk about how so much innovation starts in music and this device is one of the best examples of that.[00:17:55] Dan Runcie: So salute to it. It had a, had a great run. And on that note, I actually think it's probably better for us to stay on the music topic and the streaming topic. And talk a bit about Spotify because this company, less than a year ago, well, maybe a little bit more than a year ago, they were signing so many of the big exclusive deals.[00:18:18] Dan Runcie: The Rogan deal was still fairly fresh and the stock was at an all-time high. And now this stock is at an all-time low, as of recording this, it's trading under a hundred dollars. Its market cap is under $20 billion. Daniel Ek just purchased 50 million himself to show confidence that he has in the company stock moving forward.[00:18:39] Dan Runcie: But where do you see all of this happening? I think there's a lot that's happening in the market right now that could be aligned with this, but there's a lot that could be separate from this. That could be a bit more specific to where Spotify currently is. What's your take on the current state of Spotify?[00:18:55] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: Yeah. I mean, I think, like you say, there are these kinds of macro trends in the market, in the world that are kind of dragging down a lot of stuff. I think with Spotify though, what's going on is that people are freaking out about streaming in particular after that sort of big surprise, bad news from Netflix a little while ago, where they essentially admitted that the cap on, you know, paid streaming for them was 220 million people and that they were going to open up their free, you know, free or lower ad-supported tier. I forget if it was free tier with ads. I think it was just a lower price tier with ads. So yeah know the idea that, well, you know, it's all streaming and Spotify had been trying to emulate Netflix by paying all this money for content and you know, the Joe Rogan's of the world and podcasting and stuff.[00:19:40] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: So I get it on one hand, but, you know, there's a lot of fear right now in the public markets. And there's a lot of, sort of, you know, constellating of things, right. And yes, they're both streaming companies, but to me, you know, I take a step back and I look at it and I see two totally different companies. I mean, obviously one is primarily, you know, video, one's audio, but you know, the reason that Spotify works and the reason that Spotify became the market leader in audio streaming, it is essentially an unlimited buffet.[00:20:09] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: Netflix was never an unlimited buffet. And you know, this, if you are somebody who has ever gone on Netflix to find a particular movie or something like I remember many years ago when I first got Netflix, I was like, oh, you know, I want to watch whatever it was. The latest James Bond movie. I'll go on here. It's like $9.99 a month, unlimited everything, right? No, they only have, you know, whatever move they have, all these Adam Sandler movies and they have, you know, just like a random smattering of movies. And of course they have all these shows, but you get Netflix because you want to watch certain shows, you know, or because you are somebody who's just like, I want to just put something on and I trust that they will have, yeah, I don't want to think about it. Like I trust that they will have good stuff and I'll put on one of their shows and you know, it's not cheaper than cable. So, you know, that to me was always a very different model. It is not an unlimited buffet of movies and television, you know, unlike terrestrial cable, where in theory, you know, you get your cable package.[00:21:06] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: You can watch the news or you can watch sports. So you can, there's some crappy movies on, you know, there's like more of a promise of unlimited opportunity. So I think that, like, there was never a video streaming service that had the unlimited buffet kind of nature of Spotify. So, you know, I think that's what ultimately caps Netflix, like around that 220 million number. If there was some way that Netflix could totally replace your cable. And I know Hulu has live TV options, or if Netflix really did have, you know, a complete movie library that you could complete TV library, you can, anything you want. I think that there would be a lot more room to grow, but it's such an ordeal to get all the rights necessary to do that.[00:21:46] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: I don't know how that would ever happen. And you certainly couldn't bankroll like every single thing in the future. That would be needed to have that kind of thing going on in perpetuity. So, yeah, I guess I just, I think that Netflix is dealing with this issue of like, sort of the unbundling and re-bundling and what people are treating Netflix as a sort of like a bundle, right? You want to maybe some other bundles, you probably don't just have Netflix, you have Netflix and Hulu, or maybe you even have terrestrial cable and Netflix or something like that. Whereas the Spotify, you have all of your music. I mean, what do you not get on Spotify? Or if it's Apple Music, what do you not get an Apple Music?[00:22:18] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: So I think it's a little bit of the baby getting thrown out with the bathwater. And I just think that the fundamental thesis is a little bit different when it comes to Spotify than it is with Netflix. So that's my 2 cents. [00:22:29] Dan Runcie: Let's take a quick break to hear a word from this week's sponsor. [00:22:30] Dan Runcie: Yeah, I think that's fair. And I think that echoes what Daniel Ek had said himself. Right. He said, even though Spotify and Netflix are both subscription-based revenue companies that serve media on a regular basis to its content, that is where a lot of the similarities do stop. And even though there are points where I feel like Spotify and other streaming services, music streaming services, tried to replicate what Netflix did.[00:22:55] Dan Runcie: It was never going to be that way. And I think what makes the music streaming area a bit more unique is that because 80%, I'll probably even say 90% of the content that each of these services offer is largely the same. You end up inevitably having a price war at some point, once you've reached a certain level of distribution, and once you've reached a certain percentage of audience that you're reshaped, we're starting to see that happen.[00:23:20] Dan Runcie: Now you're starting to see that saturation. And I was recently talking to Will Page, the economist that studies this space. And his analogy was that for a long time, this was a herbivore market. People were capturing the opportunity that's there, we're shifting to a carnivore market, and in a lot of ways that does end up benefiting the companies that are the most willing to cut costs and the most willing to pivot. And if we're bringing things back full circle a bit to what we said about Apple Music earlier, this is not a product that they are necessarily trying to run at a profit. It's very similar to the Amazon Prime mentality of when Jeff Bezos has said, the more Golden Globes that we win, the more sneakers that we're able to sell through Amazon.[00:24:03] Dan Runcie: And I think the same could be said for Apple to some extent. They won best picture, CODA won best picture. That's their product that helps them get more subscribers who then end up purchasing the wide number of different products they have under their Apple TV+ bundle that they're able to offer there.[00:24:19] Dan Runcie: I do think with Spotify though, and this is why I do think they likely have more relative upside right now, I would say than Netflix, it's for two reasons. One, Spotify has had relatively better growth in the most recent quarters, I'd say, and that's even accounting for both services are ceasing their service in Russia.[00:24:37] Dan Runcie: It's also looking at them just being able to already have the free tier penetration, already having a pipeline to acquire more as well. And secondly, I think the podcasting model is ultimately what will help them. This was a model that I was initially skeptical about for years, just in terms of whether or not Spotify would be able to actually make it work and become the dominant player in audio.[00:25:01] Dan Runcie: But the reason that I think they're probably going to be better off is because of the actual data that they could offer both advertisers and listening and podcasters as well. And this is going back to opportunities that Apple didn't necessarily capture at the time, if you think about the fact that most podcasting is essentially just an RSS feed and a lot of people are sharing monthly podcast downloads and things like that.[00:25:25] Dan Runcie: And if you look at some of the podcasts, especially some of the ones that were most popular, 2016 when podcasts would really start to take off. A lot of those listeners may not necessarily be actively listening, like it could be background downloads. That's where Spotify wins, because they can actually have that clear data to show who's listening to what. They acquired two companies, Chartable and Podsights, that are both analyzing and having the better data in this space. So the, we're leading to a future where Spotify eventually is going to be able to, I think, dominate the space because they're able to make the better pitch to advertisers. Come here, get a more direct way to reach your audience.[00:26:03] Dan Runcie: And I think if the numbers do continue to grow, I think they will be better off. So of course this is not investment advice, to be clear for anyone. But I do think that between the two of these, that Spotify is probably the company that's in the better position. And it's funny cause this isn't always a, a thought that I would have had of course, two completely different business models.[00:26:22] Dan Runcie: Netflix is fixed. Spotify is variable, but I do think that over time, relatively speaking, it still has plenty of hurdles to get through, but it feels like that's where the opportunity is. [00:26:34] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: Yeah, absolutely. I think I totally agree with you there. [00:26:36] Dan Runcie: Yeah. And I mean, with that, another piece that people have brought up as well as content as well. What are your thoughts on Netflix's content? Because I know that's a piece where people have often said, well, if you're just going to make shows, like, Is It Cake? and stuff like that, then why am I going to pay money for the service and the fact that they haven't necessarily had as many true franchises or any repeatable types of things.[00:27:00] Dan Runcie: In my opinion, a lot of the things that have taken off from Spotify have, or not from Spotify, from Netflix. Sometimes it almost feels like it's like flashes and bottles that catch off a bit unexpectedly, whether it's like a Bird Box or a Squid Game, or Making A Murderer, things like that. Like it doesn't have the same feeling of, okay, you don't, this big HBO show is going to come and dominate like it does.[00:27:23] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: Yeah, you know, I mean, I think Netflix has just done such a good job of going out and just acquiring tons and tons of content. Right. And, you know, given their model, they pay out a lot, you know, then people have been talking over the past, however many years, like, oh, Netflix spent X billion dollars on content.[00:27:41] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: How are they going to sustain it? But when you're acquiring that much stuff, it's like, you have all these lotto tickets and when something takes off, you know, I think in most cases you're not having to pay a lot of it back, you know, on the backend like you would with, you know, obviously Spotify ends up paying back, you know, a huge percentage of what comes in back to the labels and to the artists.[00:28:01] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: So I think that the model. Netflix, has there are sort of like a lot higher upside when something works? I mean, I guess with Spotify, they're trying to emulate that on the podcasting side, but you know, it would seem to me that when Netflix has, you know, a TV show that takes off just out of nowhere, I mean, something like Squid Game, the amount of new subscribers they sign up are just, you know, so much more than, than you'd get with a hit podcast. So, I mean, you know, in a way I think what I'm most curious to see is how much will Spotify continue to try to emulate Netflix. Now that Netflix is sort of in a, you know, questionable phase and do they just kind of, you know, try to double down on the music aspect because the other piece of it that we haven't talked about, you know, when you're going out and acquiring content and you were paying for it specifically like to have it named and everything you become, you know, an arbiter of culture and taste also, you know, right and wrong of what is hate speech of what is, you know, all kinds of things. And that's like a huge pain in the ass to figure out, right, as we learned with the whole Spotify, Joe Rogan, Neil young situation.[00:29:06] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: And. Yeah. I never thought that Neil Young being off of Spotify was gonna ruin Spotify. And I don't really think very many people did, but you know, it did go to show that there's a, an amount of energy that has to go into defending some decisions once, once you are acquiring content versus sure, I mean, if you have artists on your platform and you know, they do something terrible, you may have to make a decision to try to pull them off. But, you know, I think generally as a society, we've moved away from pressuring people to sort of deplatform musicians for making, you know, offensive music or something like that, music that some people find offensive.[00:29:42] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: And even for, you know, some of the most controversial musicians, you know, it's super rare that their music is pulled down. So I just think that there's a lot more editorial energy that goes into obviously Netflix, but, you know, Spotify emulating Netflix in the podcasting space, that becomes a whole new headache with like a lot of unknown unknowns.[00:29:58] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: So I do wonder now that it's, you know, perhaps less of a growth area. Will Spotify continue to follow that path? [00:30:04] Dan Runcie: Yeah. That's a great point. We had not touched on this piece of it. And I think that in a lot of ways it does mean it's more workforce, something like a company like Spotify. Netflix can pretty easily, at least I would hope so, identify the movies that have these issues, and we've already seen some of them have disclaimers, but there's a bit of a removedness from it because of just how they go about their deals versus Spotify. You just see the blind spots where someone that literally goes and finds all of the clips of Joe Rogan saying the N-word, putting that together.[00:30:38] Dan Runcie: And then that's what sparks the controversy. You would have hoped that the company themselves would have been looking at the content. And then it makes you think, are people really responding to the issue itself? By people, I mean, the company like Spotify, are they really responding to the issue itself or are they responding to the public outcry over the issue?[00:30:54] Dan Runcie: And that could, you know, be an ongoing conversation, but that's where I do think that there needs to be much more editorial oversight and understanding that if you are going to be, it's one thing to say that you're an open platform that anyone can put music on. Anyone can put, upload their music too, but when you're exclusively paying someone or licensing their content, it changes the dynamic of the relationship.[00:31:18] Dan Runcie: And I know that they try to make the distinction. Yes. we are licensing Joe Rogan's content as opposed to acquiring it. But the example I always bring back to people it's like, okay, well, let's explore that scenario then, let's say that this was Bill Simmons, who now works for Spotify because you acquired his company and we found those clips of him saying those things. Would you then have treated this situation differently? I don't know the answer to that situation, but Spotify is implying that they would, but I don't know. [00:31:47] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: Yeah. It's a gray area. And the more you get into, the deeper you get into editorial, the less profitable it is, I say, as a journalist.[00:31:54] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: So I think that, you know, some of these companies are learning that the hard way. [00:31:58] Dan Runcie: Couldn't agree more. And while we're on the note of Spotify, let's switch gears again and let's talk about the current king of Spotify, right? Bad Bunny. It is been really cool, and refreshing to see an artist outside of the US dominate on a platform like this.[00:32:13] Dan Runcie: I think that his success has really shown what's possible now in a way, I think that he's the greatest success story of the streaming era. I really do. I mean, when you think about what he was able to do, where he was six years ago, I've written about it in a recent newsletter about how six years ago, he's bagging groceries at a local grocery store in Puerto Rico.[00:32:36] Dan Runcie: And then now he's a superstar. He was on stage at the Super Bowl. He's going to have this old Marvel movie, tops every chart possible. It's like that Kurt Warner underdog story from him starting off as a grocery bagger and then did his Arena Football. But imagine if Kurt Warner had the career of Peyton Manning and actually went on to, you know, dominate years and years, it's impressive. What do you think about Bad Bunny and what he's been able to do? [00:33:00] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: Ah, I think it's incredible. I mean, and I think it also, it shows the democratization that has been brought about by streaming and what's that Jay-Z line? Men lie, women lie, numbers don't. And you know, you can have your charts for whatever publication and you can have all this and that and their formulas and stuff like that.[00:33:18] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: But, you know, it's all very convoluted and, you know, it's, it's usually one way or the other. It's engineered to sort of favor the, those who are already sort of big names, but when you have the numbers, it shows up on Spotify and regardless of where you are on whatever other chart, I mean, the fact is that more people are listening to your music than they're listening to anybody else's music and it's objectively true. You can see it in Spotify and the numbers don't lie. And so Bad Bunny, I think, you know, was able to come up from, you know, in this incredible underdog story, you know, to get there and there's proof, right? I mean, there's proof in a way that there might not have been, you know, before the streaming era.[00:33:56] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: So I think another thing about Bad Bunny that, you know, certainly in my time at Forbes, we would look, we've scoured the world to find and do our list of the top-earning musicians. And I did that list this past year for Rolling Stone, but, you know, it was just all old rockers selling their catalogs basically.[00:34:14] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: And I think, you know, a function of that is that the pandemic has just greatly disrupted touring, which would kind of like traditionally be the thing that would get you up on one of these lists. And, you know, I think now that the pandemic is kind of easing up and tours are really starting to happen again, you know, we're seeing Bad Bunny be able to sell out stadiums, you know, I mean, he is really on that level in terms of, you know, people putting their money where their mouth is. So I think that next step is going to be, as we start to see these totals from his tour in combination, you know, with the streaming dollars and Marvel and all these other things that are going to come along with it, you know, he's going to start to climb up these earnings lists, you know, from a financial perspective as well.[00:34:56] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: So I think that adds a whole other level. You know, sort of like credibility in some cases, when looking at somebody as like a generational superstar, when they sort of have the, you know, the financial success to prove it and to sustain and to, you know, to expand into other fascinating ways. So I'm really curious to see what he does next.[00:35:16] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: Like, you know, what's his Jay-Z move? What's his Puffy move? Is there going to be something in the spirits business or the cannabis or who knows what, but, you know, personally, as sort of a music business nerd, I'm especially interested to see, you know, what does he do with all this energy and momentum and you know, what direction does he take it in having created this incredible musical empire.[00:35:36] Dan Runcie: Yeah, it's only a matter of time until he's going to top most of those lists, right? You look at the numbers that this tour will likely do. It's likely going to be over 2 or 3 million, if not more, just given the amount of shows that he has and the size of the arenas that he's performing in. And one of the things that I've always thought about with artists from other countries is that there's always been this stigma or thought that in order for them to monetize, it always had to rely much more on brand deals or things like that because the assumption was that the fan bases in these areas may not be willing to necessarily pay as much, but his tours are disproving that just based on the sales numbers, I would need to dig it a little bit further to see, okay, are the dollar amounts in all of the regions similar, but I think he's proving that that isn't necessarily the case. Yeah. If he does want to continue to take this further, what would it look like if he eventually let's say that he continues to do things with the WWE even further? Is he able to have some type of connection there to make that further extend, right? This Marvel character he's going to have in this upcoming movie is a wrestler. What could that potentially look like? If he ends up selling some type of, as you mentioned, some type of spirits or getting involved with something on the business side, the sky really is the limit.[00:36:52] Dan Runcie: And I think it's one of those unique optionality things where it's up to him and what stuck out to me as well as if we think, just think about his trajectory and what's possible now for a lot of Latin artists, is that he has not done one song in English. Everything that he's done is either been in Spanish or if he did it, then his verses is still in Spanish.[00:37:15] Dan Runcie: But everyone else is still doing their stuff in English. Like this song. Cardi B from a couple of years ago. But I do think that that's different from even the wave of Latin artists that got mainstream popularity. Let's say 20 years ago, you have Enrique Iglesias, your Mark Anthony or even JLo to some extent, they all had to do albums in English before they were ever given a consideration for that mainstream push or appeal.[00:37:41] Dan Runcie: Ricky Martin was the same exact way. And I think the fact that he's been able to do on his terms, he's been able to be an advocate as well for both gender norms and for just LGBTQ as well and how he has been just a lot of the causes and things that he cares about. It's really cool to see artists like this.[00:38:02] Dan Runcie: And I think in some ways the trajectory that Latin artists have been on, especially in the streaming era, kind of reminds me of where hip hop was at a certain point, right? It's like in the early days they wanted those artists to like assimilate to whatever the pop phase was, right? Like the rappers had to do these pop collaborations.[00:38:21] Dan Runcie: The Latin stars had to do the, you know, US pop star collaborations. Then once they prove they no longer have to assimilate in the same way, then those artists set the trends and now everyone else wants to come to them. And now we're seeing Billie Eilish and Drake and all these other artists doing songs in Spanish, even though that's not their main language, we're just going to see more and more of that.[00:38:42] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: Yeah, I mean, and I think that one of the things that Bad Bunny has proven, you know, in some other form, is that if given the opportunity, you know, if you're not sort of, you know, forced to go meet the quote unquote US mainstream market, where it's at, the US mainstream market will actually come to you. You know, and people who don't understand Spanish will still love your music.[00:39:02] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: And, you know, I mean, I don't know. I know a lot of songs in English that I don't understand. Whatever genre, if it's, you know, rock and there's a lot of yelling or if it's, you know, rap and it's like so fast or with like a really deep accent. I don't always catch on but, you know, people respond to music. I mean, it doesn't really matter what's being said, I mean, look at Nirvana, right? Like a lot of the lyrics didn't particularly mean anything, but people just responded to the music and the vibe, the whole thing. So even if you can understand the words, people are going to be attracted to the music. And, you know, I think that he's showing that that holds true even on the tip-top superstar level for sure.[00:39:38] Dan Runcie: A hundred percent. Excited to see where his career goes, excited to see where he continues to dominate. [00:39:43] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: Amen to that. And, you know, if have his management too, I'm trying to get him in some consumer-facing startups, because if you're a startup and you're looking for celebrity investors and they know that the market is cooled down at it, but still, you know, you're in a really mature startup. And you're trying to get your name out there a little more by getting, you know, music, investors, celebrities, et cetera. The kind of reach that has, especially if you're trying to get into Spanish language market. It's untoppable. And I just think there's a tremendous opportunity there and in a lot of other places for him too, so. [00:40:12] Dan Runcie: Oh, yeah, I'm sure. It should be. All right. Before we wrap this up, we got to talk about this article that you had written very recently about, we're both fellow Yankees fans, and one of the stars we've been most familiar with over the years, Robinson Canó, and you have this idea that you were brought up. I thought it was really interesting and I want for you to talk more. Did Jay-Z ruin Robinson Canó bag? [00:40:40] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, so I kind of posed that question on my Substack and, you know, I think going into it and that the background,I'm going to set the background for anybody who maybe isn't a Yankee fan, but I guess it was eight years ago, Robinson Canó, who at the time was the best player in the Yankees.[00:40:57] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: Everybody thought he was going to resign. He was a free agent. Everybody thought he would come back, think they he's never lose out on a free agent. Jay-Z comes in, takes over as his agent from Scott Boras, who was like, you know, he is to baseball agency as Jay-Z is to hip hop. Jay-Z comes in, gets Canó to come over to Roc Nation, Roc Nation brings on CAA to help them, you know, kind of become, you know, Scott Boras-level players in the game, let's say, and you know, Robinson Canó gets offered seven years, $161 million by the Yankees and the months drag on, nobody else is offering him more. Everybody thinks Jay-Z is getting greedy.[00:41:34] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: And then just out of nowhere, Canó goes to the Mariners for 240 million over 10 years and great deal financially for him. Obviously, it's, you know, like $80 million more than Yankees we're offering and no state income tax in Washington. However, a much worse team, a much worse ballpark for hitters and, you know, five years into the 10-year deal could no, I mean, I think that was when he got suspended for steroids, then he got traded to the Mets.[00:42:03] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: And then he got suspended again last year, 80 games. And he started out this year with the Mets and just earlier this week got cut. And so here's this guy who, you know, so I guess that's my question. If he'd stayed with the Yankees, would all of, all of these miseries have befallen him and should we blame Jay-Z for the misery?[00:42:22] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: And I think my answer ultimately is, is no, you know, It's going to retire almost a hundred million dollars richer, eventually. From a baseball perspective though, you can argue that things would have been better for him if he'd stayed with the Yankees. And as it turns out, the guy who really kind of led the charge and I reported this in the latest edition of my Jay-Z book, Empire State of Mind, the guy who led the charge for Canó to leave was Brodie Van Wagenen at CAA who then became the GM of the Mets. Traded for Canó, got fired by the new owner of the Mets and is now back working with Jay-Z. And I think working on, on representing Canó again, as he tries to, to latch on with another major league team.[00:43:00] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: So you could kind of blame him, but you know, at the end of the day, I think it really does come down to the player, you know, who makes the decision to take bag, you know, instead of glory, which is, you know, defensible, I think you've got to live and you only have so long to be a professional ballplayer. And, you know, he was the one that took the performance-enhancing drugs, got suspended so, but it is this just sort of like a fascinating winding road, you know, from this decision that happened eight years ago, that's still playing out, that still had all these ramifications. And you look back to that deal. I mean, you know, the fact that Jay-Z, whether it was Jay-Z or CAA, or this guy, Brodie Van Wagenen doing most of the work.[00:43:37] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: Jay-Z, Roc Nation did get credit. And after that you saw Roc Nation really become much more of a force as a professional sports agency. So, you know, certainly, Jay-Z did well for himself in those past eight years. He's a billionaire now. Brodie Van Wagenen has this great new job, and Robinson Canó has that much nicer retirement eventually.[00:43:58] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: So maybe he lost a chance at eternal glory, but you know, a hundred million dollars is a lot of money. I don't know. Dan, what do you think? [00:44:04] Dan Runcie: It's interesting because I've always thought that his career was definitely into replay. I felt like it was typical timing of, okay, this guy's turning 30 and that could be hit or miss for a lot of baseball players, depending on how well they're able to take care of themselves and stay out of injury thing.[00:44:18] Dan Runcie: The one thing though, and this is a part that I do think gets overlooked sometimes is the ballpark difference. Yankee Stadium, especially in the new Yankee stadium, literally engineered in some ways to get more home runs and just have more, especially more than the old Yankee stadium compared to T-Mobile Park in Seattle, before it was Safeco park, historically picture friendly ballpark.[00:44:41] Dan Runcie: So if you know what you're getting yourself into, I mean, outside of Griffey and A-Rod in the nineties. I can't necessarily think of people that really like, oh yeah. You know, they cleaned up there. Maybe, you know, you had some early, I'm trying to think of some of the other stars who may have like, done well they're from like a home run hitting perspective, but it's one of those things where you think about the trade-off, right? It's. to some degree, it kind of makes me think about Carmelo Anthony with the Knicks, right? It's like you went to that team, you did get paid and you ended up getting, you know, later on a Supermax. But I think a lot of the decisions that he made show that he was prioritizing more of the money that came through, as opposed to the decisions, why not wait until free agency to then join that team instead of making them all those picks for you. [00:45:30] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: Exactly.[00:45:31] Dan Runcie: And in some ways, yeah, I think about the Canó thing, that kinda kind of similarly, right. If you want it to continue to win and you didn't care as much about the money that you would have stayed in New York, but to our point, yeah. You get it a hundred million dollars is a lot, of course, but it's hard to have both, especially with the franchise, in my opinion, that they'll have spurts of having great players here and there, but they haven't necessarily been able to prove that winning this, that Canó was raised in.[00:45:57] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: Yeah, and Canó is going to finish up and, you know, even now it looks like he may, he's probably going to catch on with another team, at least for the rest of the year, but he's, I think at 2,600, a little over 2,600 hits for his career, if he had been able to get to 3000, which I think in New York with a better lineup that turned over more, he gets more best, more opportunities to hit.[00:46:16] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: There 's a better ballpark for hitters. So more fly balls turn into home runs. It's pretty likely, he would've gotten to 3000 hits or that he'd be within shouting distance of it. Now with, you know, a little more time to go. There has never been a major league baseball player who got 3000 hits who did not end up in the hall of fame once eligible, except for the steroid guys and Pete Rose, who was thrown out of the game for betting on baseball. So it is like an automatic ticket to the hall of fame. So if he had just stayed at Yankee stadium, not done, you know, not on steroids, I think he would have gotten there. No question. And you know, who knows, I mean, seven years into that deal that he would have been what, 37, maybe. You never know if he was still hitting well, they might've brought him back for another year or two. God knows they kept bringing Brett Gardner back. So I do think he would've gotten a few thousand hits and had a really good shot at the hall of fame. And is that worth a hundred million dollars though?[00:47:16] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: Yeah, I don't know. Probably not. Probably not. He did have such a sweet swing though, man. Watching him play in the Yankees stadium. That was always fun. [00:47:25] Dan Runcie: He did it. He was exciting to watch. He had a great career and yeah, I think that's a great note for us to close out with this. Zack, we've covered a bunch in this pod, but basically, we'll have to have another roundup again at some point soon, but thanks for doing this. This is fun.[00:47:38] Zack O'Malley Greenburg: For sure. Thanks as always.[00:47:41] Dan Runcie: If you enjoyed this podcast, go ahead and share it with a friend. Copy the link, text it to a friend, post in your group chat, post in your Slack groups, wherever you and your people talk, spread the word. That's how Trapital continues to grow and continues to reach the right people.[00:47:56] Dan Runcie: And while you're at it, if you use Apple Podcast, go ahead, rate the podcast, give it a high rating and leave a review. Tell people why you like the podcast. That helps more people discover the show. Thank you in advance. Talk to you next week.Advertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
May 20 2022
48 mins
Comedian Bigg Jah Charters His Own Path Into Entertainment Industry
3.3 million followers on Facebook. Over 423 million views on YouTube. 4.2 million TikTok likes.Bigg Jah (real name Jahdai Pickett) has put up those gaudy social media numbers with no studio or agency backing and a relatively small team. The do-everything entertainer — who can write, act, direct, produce, and everything in between — has been posting content online almost nonstop for the past five years, doing what he calls “hood good comedy.” It’s all paying dividends now.  He’s built a synergy map that extends past his wildly popular social media franchises like “Inner Thoughts” and “The Lesbian Homie.” There’s also merch (with a new piece dropping almost every month) and with the world re-opening, perhaps comedy shows again.  Next, Bigg Jah is trying to parlay his massive social media success into feature films. He originally studied film in college and planned to take the traditional route into the industry — shooting a short film, winning movie festivals, and signing with an agent. But the rise of social media gave Bigg Jah an alternative AND independent route into the business.You’ll want to listen to my interview with Bigg Jah to get more insight into his creative process and meteoric rise on social media. Here’s everything we covered in this Trapital episode:[3:14] What Does “Hood Good Comedy” Mean?[5:36] Lasting Impact Of 90s Comedy Movies [7:36] Navigating Different Entertainment Mediums (Social Media, Film, Comedy)[11:49] Being Forced To Go The Independent Creator Route[14:59] Acting Vs. Directing Vs. Writing[18:18] How Bigg Jah Chooses What Type Of Content To Make[21:06] What’s Behind Bigg Jah’s Success On Facebook?[23:19] How Bigg Jah Has Leveraged Other Social Networks[26:25] Bigg Jah’s Revenue Breakdown[29:05] The Struggles Of Creator Burnout [33:56] The Key To Bigg Jah’s Success [43:55] Upcoming Projects For Bigg Jah[45:44] How To Follow Bigg JahListen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSSHost: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.coGuests: Bigg Jahh, @biggjah Enjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! ratethispodcast.com/trapital Trapital is home for the business of hip-hop. Gain the latest insights from hip-hop’s biggest players by reading Trapital’s free weekly memo. TRANSCRIPTION[00:00:00] Bigg Jah: I'm not pressured to keep the series going, because I know that it works. I'm in it to create new stuff and see how it goes. I'm not a slave to the, "Well, this is what works. So let me just keep doing this only." No, I'm gonna push the envelope and push the line and I'm gonna see if they like this too. And what about this?[00:00:15] I'm going to grab this and what if I do this? You know, so I don't have a problem with that. Plus I've done so much. I've done the series thing to a degree now I wanna move on to something else. I want to challenge myself to do another character or another storyline that see if people like that.[00:00:36] Dan Runcie: Hey, welcome to the Trapital podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from executives in music, media, entertainment, and more who are taking hip-hop culture to the next level.[00:00:56] Today's guest is Bigg Jah. He's an actor creator, filmmaker, comedian, and one of the funniest people on the internet, I was first put onto Bigg Jah's work because I got to know Damien Ritter, shout out to Dame. He used to run Funk Volume, and he's now chief operating officer at BeatStars, but he also manages Jah.[00:01:16] And Jah is someone who I think has definitely been one of the more successful, independent creators that I've seen being able to leverage social media, to grow his platform. And now accrue millions of followers on Facebook. And on YouTube. And we talk a lot about how he's built his career. He's someone that first went to school to study film and how he transitioned eventually to wanting to be the person behind the camera.[00:01:43] But realizing that there was a lot of value from him being the person in front of the camera as well. And that's when things really started to take off for him. And we talked about how he approached his comedy, some of the most successful franchises and series that he's had and his bigger ambitions to still be able to do more motion pictures, and do more stuff behind the scenes.[00:02:02] And we talked a lot as well about just how much of a grind it can be for creators to always produce content nonstop and how that's what the algorithms ultimately want you to do. And that's definitely something that I can relate to. I know a lot of people listening to this can relate to as well. [00:02:17] We also talked about how he looks at running his business, what his team looks like. And so much more, if you are interested in the different levels of the creator economy, there is this essay that I wrote a couple of months back, that overlooked levels of the creator economy. And I talked a lot about the success at each stage.[00:02:34] Jah was one of the people that was featured and mentioned in that article. So I definitely recommend you check that out and Pete this episode, because I think that anyone that. The landscape. You're trying to love a love determine. When do you partner with other companies when you don't? This is the episode for you I had a great chat with him.[00:02:51] Hope you enjoyed it. Here's my conversation with Bigg Jah. [00:02:55] All right. Today we got the one and only Bigg Jah. He's a comedian, an actor, a filmmaker himself. Jah, welcome to the [00:03:02] Bigg Jah: Thank you for having me, bro. Appreciate it. [00:03:05] Dan Runcie: Hey, I've always been a big fan of you, how you've built up your platform, not just on social media, but through touring and putting everything out there.[00:03:14] And one of the things that stuck out to me is your brand. You've referred to yourself as putting out hood good comedy. Can you talk more about that and what that means? [00:03:23] Bigg Jah: Yeah, man, have a good comedy, bro. Is this I'm from the hood, bro. Hood good means good things come out of the hood, and I'm one of them. So it's just sometimes you being from the hood or growing up in that environment.[00:03:36] It's humble beginnings, tough times. Things that a lot of people wouldn't want to go through, but if you're from here and you grew up this way and you end up, you turn out good, you turned out. Okay. I loved my, I love my upbringing. I love even the hard times. Yeah, it's almost like making lemonade out of lemons..[00:03:52] You know what I'm saying? So it's hood good comedy. A lot of the times, the stuff I like to talk about or display on camera are things that if you're from the hood, you can relate to, you don't even have to be from the hood to relate to it. But for sure if you're from the hood. You can relate to it. You know what I'm saying?[00:04:07] That's kind of what I make it for everybody, but I make it for specifically, for folks in the hood, [00:04:12] Dan Runcie: And I think what helps you as well as that, of course, there's a lot of black content that is out there now with Netflix and all these other streaming services. You're able to tell stories and talk about things that aren't going to get covered in those spaces.[00:04:25] And I think that just shows that even though people may think that there's this abundance of content, that's everywhere. Now, you're telling stories through your comedy and through your sketches that you know are not going to get told elsewhere. So you have a good niche for yourself there. [00:04:40] Bigg Jah: Yeah. Thank you, bro.[00:04:41] It took me a minute to do it consistently. I've always wanted to do this type of stuff, this type of content, but growing up, watching Martin, you know, the Jamie Fox show or the woods, Don't Be a Menace to Society, all those different shows and movies, Harlem Nights, Eddie Murphy, like Boomerang.[00:05:01] Those films definitely influenced me into doing what I do now. And so I feel like you watch Friday that Friday show the movie Friday is specifically for the hood. Anybody could like it. Anybody can find value in it and find humor in it, but for sure the hood is going to love it because it's exactly where we come from.[00:05:18] It tells the story, it tells our story. When I had the opportunity to do that, I wanted to do the same. [00:05:23] Dan Runcie: Yeah. And those movies you mentioned, and the TV shows too, they all hit this error that I feel like a lot of us grew up with that we saw on TV, right? The nineties had such a Renaissance for not just black entertainment, but comedy too.[00:05:36] I mean, thinking about even you mentioning the way, a lot of people may not think about that as a traditional comedy, but it's a coming of age story. Everyone remembers what it's like going to prom or going through any of those experiences. [00:05:48] Bigg Jah: For me, for sure. A hundred percent for that boy. It was it's funny because I remember going through almost every single thing in that movie I experienced as a kid growing up.[00:05:57] So yeah, that's why the woods is a classic for me. I would love to create something like that for myself, for the people in other versions of. The Hood Good stories and stuff like that. So, yeah. [00:06:10] Dan Runcie: Yeah, because now we're in this space where they're starting to make sequels of all those right. Cause best man came out right around the same time as the wood and that best man holiday.[00:06:19] And I think I saw something they're trying to put out another one of these know [00:06:23] Bigg Jah: that series is dope. I think that cast is so strong. They can do a part three and as long as it's just that. And then the next thing someone else is getting married or someone's going through a divorce, or if someone's having a baby shower or something, I think you can do more, are turned into a TV show or something about that.[00:06:39] Cash is so dope. I think, I think a baby could do it. And I think all the actors in that movie wouldn't mind doing the series. You know what I'm saying? Because they all doing their thing, but I'm sure that'd be a great opportunity for them to really get back on camera together and consider. [00:06:56] Dan Runcie: Yeah. Yeah. One of the things about your career that I think is a bit more unique from maybe that generation of stars is they very much were trained to perfect how they were on screen, right.[00:07:08] They're either going to be in TV or in movies. Your career's a little different because you have to. Be a face on social media, you're doing your stand-up. You have your specials, your movies, and then even your own touring. And I got to imagine that there was a bit of maneuvering there between each of those areas.[00:07:25] You're not trying to get pigeonholed, but you also know that you need to have exposure in each of those. What has it been like navigating each of those areas, but knowing that they're all part of how you run and do what you do [00:07:36] Bigg Jah: It's still a challenge. it's lovely. It's a beautiful struggle, man. That's crazy.[00:07:40] Cause I went to film school to learn how to make films. And then I started doing comedy. Then I went and did comedy. I started pursuing comedy when I moved back to LA. And I was trying to make it as a comic, still trying to make it as a comic and, you know, get on tours, open up for different comics, get the, be, become a stronger comic, get my hour going.[00:08:04] And it was moving by the snail's pace. I was growing as a comic. But I just wasn't professionally growing as a comic. And then it dawned on me, like once I started reaching back and grabbing my film information, my film degree, and working on films and sketches and just doing content like that, it took my comedy and it boosted it.[00:08:23] And then fast forward, a lot of things are, are, I wouldn't say fast-forwarded. I think it brought me up to speed with my comedy, you know, because the biggest thing about comedy, no matter how funny you are, if you can't get butts on the seats. No one cares, you know, promoters don't care and you don't care either.[00:08:38] If you throw a show and no one comes then you don't really have a show. Cause you probably still gonna perform. But you know, it's just being a filmmaker and a comedian at the same time allows me to A. Interchange both. So if I think of a funny sketch, a lot of the time I'll put that sketch on stage and talk about the sketch as the comedy bit.[00:08:58] But most of my sketches come from comedy. Anyhow, come from my stage work. So I have a joke about certain things word plays. The whole crew is stupid, came from a joke on stage. The lesbian homie came from a joke on stage, you know? Yeah, man. So I think it worked in my favor at first. I was doing one or the other.[00:09:15] Now I'm doing both, you know, so [00:09:17] Dan Runcie: yeah. And I figured what that, to each of these, it gives you an opportunity to just get that quick feedback. You can then turn that into however you're going to make the actual longer form content itself. You put something on social media, you see the engagement, that's your feedback.[00:09:32] You're doing something on tour. You see how the crowd reacts. You see, okay. There are differences with the crowd in this city versus that city. And then each of those things I'm sure gives you the confidence. You'd be like, okay, if we're going to spend several weeks or several months putting this project together.[00:09:47] I know this is going to hit because of what I saw from the responsible people. [00:09:51] Bigg Jah: Right? True. Yeah. The social media is great for that, you know, instantly whether or not it is funny or not, or you can find out instantly whether it's funny or not. And even if you don't find it, that it's funny right away doesn't mean it's not funny.[00:10:04] I refuse to believe. Social media is the only way to gauge whether a joke is funny or not. It's a good way because the people laughing at me and it's funny. And what I'm saying, if people don't laugh, I mean, they're not laughing yet in my opinion, but yeah. So I navigated through both, you know, stand up comedy, sketch comedy, and then I'm moving on to feature films.[00:10:23] Eventually that's the goal. That's the immediate goal, you know? So yeah.[00:10:27] Dan Runcie: let's talk more about that immediate goal. People could probably look at your career from outside it and be like, oh, he's killing it independently. He's doing his thing. He has things in motion and you've definitely hit one of those higher levels of being someone that has their platform and being able to just do bigger things with it.[00:10:47] But you're still like, no, you want to be able to do the feature films and you want to be able to do bigger, bigger things. Can you talk about that? The difference there, because I know. There was likely a stage maybe from where you may have been several years ago, where the point you're at now would have been like, oh, this is where I really want to be able to get to.[00:11:04] Right. And then now it's about what it looks like for that next level of being able to do more motion pictures. [00:11:13] Bigg Jah: And so my goal was to, in a perfect world, create a film, enter into a film festival when it wins several film, festivals, booking agent, you know what I'm saying? That, and then getting to the point where I'm in a position to create, write and direct my own films.[00:11:29] And that's the typical way I believe, you know, but then this thing called social media came and it took me a while to really buy into it. That's what changed my world and my mindset. A lot of the time I was trying to be an employee. I was trying to be a writer for sketch comedy network or a writer for Fox or writer for ADD or something like that.[00:11:49] So I was trying to pitch me. I was pitching myself to, you know, what the funny was back in the day, which is the Waynes Brothers and whatnot that was sitting in the offices, just trying to say, oh, look at the sketch. I did look at this, read my script. And no one really took hold of it. No one really long story short note, and everyone said, no, they didn't say no. No, we not going to mess with you, but they didn't hire me.[00:12:10] They didn't put me in a position in their company to thrive or just become a team player. So eventually I got to the point where I was like, I got to do this myself. And so let me start a page from scratch, put my name on it and started making them for the first sketch and the second sketch and the third and fourth and keep it going as opposed to, because most of my sketches, especially in the first year, Most of my sketches were sketches that I wrote for ADD or for other platforms.[00:12:35] And there was a rifle with me at first, you know, and so a shout out to them. I said, I know a lot of people over there and so I love it. But, it was a blessing in disguise me not like selling my, my scripts over there or getting hired to be a director over there, forced me into doing my own thing. And I'm much rather we would be doing this than anything else.[00:12:54] So, uh, the feature film thing. I also still want to state, I would love to be independent, an independent filmmaker that makes what I want to make. And at the times, and the pacing that I wouldn't make it. But my goal was to always make films and TV. So I went to school for that.[00:13:09] And when I came across social media, it was, it's not, I would say it's a step back, cause it's not, it's a step across. It's another way of getting to where I want to go. And it took me some years to figure that out. But, uh, I did so myself putting sketches or sort of spending months of making a short film or many months trying to make a feature and trying to get the funding for, to produce a feature or short.[00:13:34] let me just take this camera that I have and my equipment that I already have and start shooting the small vignettes. So small sketches cause people doing anyways, small sketches and it's keep doing that until something happens and something happened. It was a fan base and a fan base is the most important thing to any entertainer.[00:13:51] Singer writer, poet offer dancer. You build a fan base. That's the most important thing, in my opinion. Because at that point you have people who love what you do, you know, and you don't need, you don't need a producer or a studio to say yes to do what you want to do. I can move right now by myself.[00:14:09] And it took me a while to get to this point. It's a blessing that people do, like what I do, and they do support. Like I said, it's, it's way more gratifying than making someone else's dream come true.[00:14:20] Dan Runcie: It's powerful, especially to be able to do it on your own. And you saw it, it was like you tried to break out initially and they weren't feeling it at first, but now that you have a bit more clout and leverage, you can do the same thing yourself.[00:14:34] And in that space, I'm sure it's a bit of this distinction where you're wearing multiple hats. You're the lead person as the comic and the creator and the face of the brand. You also want to be the filmmaker, the person that can direct and put everything together. Do you feel as if people are always seeing you in that light or do you feel like you may have to remind people?[00:14:55] No. No. I'm also interested in this other aspect as well.[00:14:59] Bigg Jah: As far as acting and producing and directing. Okay. So one thing I will say this, when I will create different things, whether it was a short film or, or just a piece of content, a lot of the time I was writting it and I was directing it and I was shooting it, and that was getting other actors.[00:15:15] To begin it and building it that way. And no one really out would put it online. Nobody would really follow it or watch it. And maybe because it was just too soon, then back in 2017, I decided, let me put myself on camera, have someone from me doing all the funny stuff I'm writing for other people. Let me do, let me do the funny stuff.[00:15:32] And that was already an actor. I have an agent and I've been acting since 2009. So it was not like I was just a director writer. I was after as well, but I didn't care when it came to my projects, I was seeing other people play these roles. And I was working under the hat of writer director. And then it got to the point where, all right, you can't really rely on people, especially when you have no money and limited resources and limited time.[00:15:56] So you have to start doing things yourself. And so I said, okay, cool. I'm gonna have to find somebody who rocks with me, who cares about what I do and asked him to shoot me, just hold the camera, push record and just make sure it's steady and I'm going in front of the camera and then I'm going to be the funny, and that's when things start picking up, that's when things took off.[00:16:12] So to answer your question about reminding people that are, yeah, I mean, honestly, I would love to, as much as I love being in front of a camera and telling jokes and being funny and being silly. I would love to just write and direct sometimes, sometimes to where it's a project that's produced by me directed by me, but I don't have to be the lead star.[00:16:32] I can just literally sit back and direct the actors and make some dope. So eventually I put on, get into. I think this year, the remainder of this year, I'm wanting to start putting more projects together where I'm not the focal point, but it's the focal point is where people come to see at this point, it's me.[00:16:48] So I would love to get to the point where people would love just to see my content, whether I'm in front of the camera or the main character or not, they just are interested in seeing what I put in. So that's the goal. [00:16:59] Dan Runcie: That reminds me of something I heard recently from Quinta Brunson from Abbott Elementary.[00:17:04] She had said when she was first pitching the show, she actually did even have herself as the lead in the role. And then the people that at ABC were like, ah, we didn't buy this project without you in this. Like you have to be in this. So it was interesting to hear her experience through that. And I think similarly with you, it'd be interesting to see what.[00:17:24] Continues to do a backpack. Cause I do think that there's this thing where yes, what people may most respond to is seeing the person they're most familiar with. But as the thing expands and grows, it doesn't necessarily have to be that way. And I think one of the ways that you've done that, and I think it continue through is that you do have consistent series throughout your content.[00:17:45] You have the lesbian Hovey, you have inner thoughts and some of these. Sketches. And I think in a lot of ways, these are the franchises that you have under your umbrella. And in thinking about that piece, do you ever think about the balance of content, whether you want to continue making shows in those series because you know how popular they are versus tried new series out and doing things, how much do you balance the content play between what you know is already proven versus testing new things?[00:18:18] Bigg Jah: Honestly, I will say over the years, I've gotten more comfortable with this. I've been going back and forth. I've been going, like, for example, when I first did my first big project I did, or my first sketch that really did numbers and really got me some notice was Tiberius, The Hood Man. And then that kind of spread fast and it was going to share it a lot.[00:18:38] And I was like, man, this is dope. And so I did another one. I did a part two. Then I got like an episode three. and episode four and I kept going. I was like, all right, let me fall back and not just do this one character, this one type of a piece of content. Let me do something different. I'm coming to, that was my second, like non-sequitur series.[00:18:56] You know what I'm saying? It just, it was just episode for episode here and there, but I was doing that. So that was a totally different room. It was still Hood Good, but it was, I was a different type of character in Tiberius. I'm this big Debo type character in the I'm coming to.[00:19:08] I'm like this big guy too. You can't hide my size, but pause, but you can. My lady is the bully. My lady is the one punking me and stuff like that. So that was like a two different dynamics there. And, it did well. And then moved on. So I forget the next one. I think that might've been lesbian the next one, but then the whole crew was stupid.[00:19:26] I keep trying to, I was still doing episode one, two and three of this series, one, two, and three of that series. And I was adding on the whole crew was stupid. My inner thoughts, the roommate pays all the bills I kept doing. So I don't have a problem with doing something new because I feel like. I feel like if I'm blessed enough to make these go to the next project, the next different ideas will go to, you know, so that's what I mean about like, yeah.[00:19:48] I'm not pressured to keep the series going, because I know that it works. I'm in it to create new stuff and see how it goes. I'm not a slave slave to the, "Well, this is what works. So let me just keep doing this only." No, I'm gonna push the envelope and push the line and I'm gonna see if they like this too. And what about this?[00:20:04] I'm going to grab this and what if I do this? You know, so I don't have a problem with that. Plus I've done so much. I've done the series thing to a degree now I wanna move on to something else. I want to challenge myself to do another character or another storyline that see if people like that.[00:20:25] Dan Runcie: Let's take a quick break to hear a word from this week's sponsor.[00:20:28] Yeah. And that follows with what you said earlier in terms of if you're only doing things for the response. You're not taking into account that some things may not take off on social media, but that doesn't mean that they're not funny. It could be the algorithm doing whatever it's doing that day. You still got to have the confidence in what you're putting out that it's good, and that people are going to resonate with that truth.[00:20:50] One of the other things too, that stuck out to me is that Facebook has been a pretty big channel for you in terms of where you have had a lot of your audience on social media, where there's been a lot of the growth that attraction there. But I also know that Facebook hasn't always been the easiest platform[00:21:06] For a lot of creators to be able to navigate, even though they have the biggest user base out of anyone, how have you been able to make the platform work for you [00:21:15] Bigg Jah: Well, let me start by saying shout out to Facebook. Facebook has been amazing. It's been a blessing for sure. And I agree with you. They're not the easiest to navigate through. If I had to critique them, which I would say they, the customer service needs to be much better.[00:21:29] Their customer. I think for someone like myself and others, We should have a little bit more love. We should get a little bit more love from them. A little bit more support from Facebook on the do's and don'ts and more and more clarity, you know, and I think that it should be more, we should be handled better, to be honest with you, as far as how that helped my channel go.[00:21:48] And for me, a hundred percent honest with you, I've never strategized. I literally just. I do all the work on my end and I post I don't and well, I will say I do have times where I will. I do strategize in the sense, I will say I'm going to post every day between eight and 10 o'clock 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM. I don't post in the evening time that I posted in the morning and I'm on the west coast.[00:22:10] So if it's. Here in the morning and in LA was 11 o'clock in the morning in New York. So it's still morning. And I posted that. I've been doing that for years. So, and because I'm not really clear on what to do and what not to do with Facebook, it's not very clear. I just do me and hopefully, it works.[00:22:29] So, uh, I do have some hangups here and there, but for the most part, I've been pretty successful as far as getting my content out and they're being overloaded. [00:22:37] Dan Runcie: Yeah, it's interesting because especially at your level, having millions of followers on the platform and through your page as well, having some type of custom service for someone at your level would make a lot of sense.[00:22:50] Cause I know that that's something that is existing on a lot of the other platforms. And to your point, I don't think any of these platforms have necessarily been perfect. They're always having challenges, but some of them have been more catering to others, but yeah, it's been fascinating to see. With that after Facebook, which other platform would you say has been the most beneficial for you?[00:23:11] I know where your followers are, but more from your perspective, which one have you enjoyed? Both from an engagement and a performance perspective? [00:23:19] Bigg Jah: Believe it or not. YouTube was my first platform that really no Instagram Instagram was where I started putting my one minute videos on my 15-second videos on the first 15 second videos.[00:23:29] And then they gave us a minute. I started doing one minutes pieces of work. And then I started going on YouTube and then Facebook, YouTube IG, and then Facebook. IG and Facebook at the same time, I think they're together. At least they are now, but I didn't see much. I didn't get that much love on Facebook initially.[00:23:47] It was, most of my success was coming on IG and I think maybe because it's more personal, it's closer. It's right there in your hand. And it's just a little bit more popular than Facebook and YouTube. Ideas, but I started there and then I started really focusing on YouTube first. And then you then Facebook started coming along strong.[00:24:06] And so now I will say Facebook and YouTube, but then IG as far as my success, Tik Tok is there as well. I'm not as strong on Twitter as I should probably be, but it's whether it was there, but mostly. Facebook is my biggest platform. Then YouTube, in this instance, Tik Tok actually, then there's YouTube, then there's Instagram.[00:24:25] So Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram. Those are my four biggest platforms and Facebook and YouTube are my biggest. Yeah, [00:24:32] Dan Runcie: it's interesting because I do think that for. Anyone that is creating content using platforms. There's normally going to be a few that you gravitate the most to, for what your strengths are and where you think works the best for you.[00:24:45] And I think in past interviews you had talked Vine saying like, Hey, there's certain people that are good with six seconds, but that just didn't necessarily work for what I was working with. But. When IG had expanded you at 15 and then 30 seconds of the whole mini you're like, all right, bet.[00:25:01] This is exactly where I need to be. And I think even Twitter, to some extent with that, right? I think that Twitter probably is something that leaves itself a bit more to people reacting to whatever the current thing is. And I don't necessarily look at your comedy in that type of way. Right. So I do feel like you've definitely found the places where you can perform the best and where your audience.[00:25:24] The other question that I had for you though, was around given everything that you do with what you do on social media, what you may do on tour as well. For other people that may be looking at you or where you're at at least independently, what are the rough breakdowns of where your revenue comes from in terms of, from touring, you know, versus other areas.[00:25:45] And it doesn't need to be like specifics more so from a percentage perspective, but how you run the business and where you expect things to come from. [00:25:53] Bigg Jah: Well, my biggest income, my biggest sources of revenue are from Facebook and YouTube. And then any given month, it would be merch and or brand deals like sponsorships.[00:26:04] So Facebook and YouTube. And then depending on if I have a shirt that I'm selling or has a shirt that people really like. Or as a piece of it is a hat or some type of piece of clothing that I have that people really like at that, I try to come up with something every month or something like that. So depending on the month, it could be, my third revenue could be merch or it could be sponsorships depending on if I, I landed a deal with a brand, with a company and they want to, you know, get this product promoted and they pay me this amount of money.[00:26:31] So it could be brand deals, which are very important too. Especially if your brand deal fits. If it really working and be creative, you can keep that relationship going for awhile for a long time. And that's the goal is to get a working relationship with these, with these companies and let them confide in you and you respect what they do, where they're doing and what they're willing to give and you, and what you're willing to give as far as your expertise and your talent and stuff like that.[00:26:55] And hopefully I'll come to an agreement and get it going for that for the longterm. So I will say merch then brand deals or sometimes brand deals then merch YouTube and Facebook or my business platforms. [00:27:07] Dan Runcie: Where does touring fit into that? [00:27:08] Bigg Jah: I haven't toured the 2019. So 2019. This is before the pandemic that it fit in there.[00:27:13] It was good. I had a great time. I loved the tour. My goal was to go back on tour in 2020. I was going to go into every year, but pandemic hit and 2020 was a blur. It was a down year. I caught COVID before the lockdown. I called it before the lockdown. I was in bad shape and then I got better and then it was still, the city was unlocked.[00:27:33] So no one was going anywhere. Then people started touring. But at this point I got to get back to the shooting. That's the other thing is the balancing the two, going back to that first question. I know the first couple of questions you asked about navigating between like comedy, standup comedy and filmmaking and sketch comedy.[00:27:49] The creating it's tough when you. One thing about sketch comedy, our social media creation, it's different from TV and movies because there's off seasons in TV and movies, you can really make movies all year round. Yes. But like with this pilot season, there's like, especially for TV. There's off seasons.[00:28:08] You know, sometimes the city of Hollywood shuts down for a few months, a year, right during the holidays and whatnot as a social content creator, social media content creator. There's no off days. Really, really you have a lot of times you find yourself I'm victim to it too. And it's like racing against the algorithm.[00:28:25] That's the problem. We don't have a network deal where you're getting paid this amount of money to create this. Then, you know, everything's set in stone. You're good. Come to work, do your work. And the season is wrapped. You go do something else. You go to another project and are you going on vacation with social media content creation, you have to create your own vacation and it's tough, but then you look at your numbers.[00:28:45] You look at your pages and your pages. Aren't really going because you're not putting content. That'd be because you're taking a break. It's hard to take a break. Yes. That's one of the biggest challenges I've been any social media creator feels and really relates to like, yeah, that's something that I think everybody can relate to and the constant need, or once our pressure to create.[00:29:05] Social media. It never gets tired of you, or they might get tired of you, but they'll never like they ask enough, they want more, this gets, it's funny. What's next? You know, when the TV show, you know, you got 13 episodes, 10 episodes, and then you got to wait for the off season for them to reshoot some stuff.[00:29:22] And then get back to showing your season two, season three, season four, with episode, whether it was social media content. Hey Jah. That was funny. Hilarious. When's the next case coming? When's the next Lesbian Homie. When's the next Roommate Pays All the Bills. When's the next, you know, Tiberius And then once those down, [00:29:36] Dan Runcie: it's a grind.[00:29:37] It is, I could speak to that myself and the algorithms don't know you want to take PTO, right? They're not going to be favorable to you when you come back and that's what can make it so tough with it. And I'm sure for you, that's probably a lot of. Thought behind wanting to eventually shift to being less the main person in front of the camera and do a more behind the camera, because then that just frees up a bit more of your time to still be able to leverage what you created, but not need to be as on-demand. .[00:30:06] Bigg Jah: I don't mind it. I love acting. I love creating and I love being in front of the camera, but at the same time, I feel like I could be, I could be even more effective all this love. I see other, I see a lot of talent around me that might not get the recognition unless they're in my video. I'm the, it's my video.[00:30:22] I'll create a storyline and I pull them into the storyline and try to showcase them. And tried to show how talented he or she is and show that to, hopefully they can build their own following off of it or continue building their following. A lot of them already have a following, but they wanna increase it.[00:30:37] So a lot of times I have to take them and put them in my video for them to get as much known as, as they want to get. As opposed to these people are so talented, I would just love just to work with them. I don't have to necessarily have them in my video. I can just, if they have an idea. If they want to do all with my producing it, I would love to eventually my goal is also to create my own films and my own TV shows, but also produce content for other strong creators, other strong actors, actors.[00:31:03] That might not be directors. I see a lot of talented people that put content out and I'm like, I don't like it because I'm very particular about how they convey a story, how to perform dialogue, how to really put a dope, strong scene together in a series of scenes together to make us.[00:31:21] To make a short film, to make a film, to make a TV show episode. And I see a lot of funny, talented people that can act. I can do these things, but they're not director. So it kind of falls flat. I would love to be, I would love to build some kind of conglomerate to where it's me, along with other directors.[00:31:36] That they have access to these strong actors that will help tell their stories. You know what I'm saying? [00:31:41] Dan Runcie: Yeah. You definitely have the network and the access to these people and being able to create that platform makes a lot of sense. And what it makes me think of is just how people are structuring.[00:31:54] Their team or what their group of people look like. And I'd be curious to hear what that is like on your end. What is your team look like? How many people are working with you on a regular basis to put out your content, to run the business, and what are some of those roles that people currently have with where you are right now?[00:32:14] Okay. [00:32:14] Bigg Jah: So I could tell you how I started. I started by myself. And my room on my phone, my iPad, and I had cameras. I had cameras equipment cause I was a DP, none, not a professional. I mean, I was a professional DP, but I wasn't in for Hollywood, but I was a DP. I was directing music videos and being hired to shoot weddings, music, videos, short films, sketches.[00:32:36] I was all those things by myself. I had a truck full of equipment, a lot of DIY. And then when I decided to do stuff for myself, like the Bigg Jah brand, I'm pushing big jock. I'm the first guy I had was my boy, Ken Edwin. I ran into Ken. Ken is another comedian, another actor and writer. I've known him for years, but I didn't know that he did content.[00:32:56] So I ran into him about five years ago. I've known him for about eight and then we didn't become real friends until five years. And I saw that he created too, and his stuff was dope. It was super, super creative. I was, I was not when I first saw it and I was like, maybe we need to work. And he come to find out he's just a selfless as I am, anytime I needed someone to shoot, he was there to shoot.[00:33:18] If I needed to use his house. I can come to his house and shoot at his house. If I needed to go to another location, he'd be there with his camera and my camera, and we'll put them together. And he's working. He was the first guy that really supported me in this as far as shooting, even before that, when I was a standup comedian and I just got my first camera and I was on to start shooting for other comedians, my boy, Kraig Smith.[00:33:40] Kraig is like the first guy that really supported me had my back. And it was a team. It was a team of two, me and him when I was writing something directly to him, he was after or whether or not he was trying to network and tell people that we can shoot your projects. And me and him first started doing like a comedy specials, like short comedy specials.[00:33:58] We would have like five, six comics at a time. They would come to a comedy show and we would film them doing their sets. And we did that. I'm talking about almost 10 years ago. So we've been doing this for a long time, and then it kind of evolved into me doing the big stuff and then add into the team. So Ken, my boy, Kraig, my boy Troy around, I ran to Troy working at a sketch house.[00:34:20] We were all creating at this place called the sketch house and he and I were the only ones that actually were doing. On cameras, not just cell phones, everyone else is doing cell phones. He and I were shooting on cameras and we needed somebody to shoot that we didn't have, we had cameras. We didn't have anyone to shoot for us because no one knew how to shoot cameras.[00:34:38] They were all always on their phones. And so we decided to you shoot for me, I shoot for you. And that's how we built that bond. So me, Troy, Kraig, Ken. So I met a lot of these guys doing the work as sketch artists, and we just clicked and we just decided. Okay. Is a group of us. Now is 1, 2, 3, 4 of us.[00:34:59] When you need them at the time where you just shoot, we got one of us gonna shoot for you. One of y'all gotta shoot for me, and that's how the team formed. And that's when we sort of started growing I'm shooting every day. I'm shooting a couple of sketches a day. I'm dropping two or three times a week and my platform is starting to grow.[00:35:14] Cause now I'm flooding. The followers on flooding the supporters that are just, if they love this, you're gonna love this. You're gonna love this. So I was coming out with so many different pieces of content, so many different stories. Cause I had guys that will come bring lights. They were inexpensive.[00:35:29] They were the cheapest lights you can get, but they were there and we just, none of us really had any real money we had. And we had loyalty and that's really the only reason why I got to where I'm at right now, honestly speaking is that the team and, and it wasn't like I had a professional casting, uh, cast director, casting director, or a professional DP or a gaffer.[00:35:50] I just had the homies and we were just supporting each other, shooting all of our sketches together and we was putting out stuff. And then it got to the point where we were all making okay money. We were starting to make a little income from it. And we start, we had to meeting, we had a recent meet every Sunday, every Sunday we used to meet.[00:36:09] And then we got to the point where we were saying, we got to find our individual teams as a team. We had to branch out and get our own shooters, our own editors, our own, this, that, and the other. So we don't have to be balled down weekly. This doing work for you. You know what I'm saying? It's the officer, their stuff, his stuff today, his stuff tomorrow, I Vista somebody showed my stuff on Wednesday and then I'm shooting this stuff on Thursday and vice versa.[00:36:30] Now a week we're all working as grind is great. We're grinding, but we need time to do something else too. You know? And so now I had to regroup my team. I had to rebuild my team. These guys are still around. They're still my brothers. They was at the house today. I mean yesterday, but I had to find my own guy.[00:36:46] That's going to shoot for me as opposed to. Always relying on them because now they gotta be there, but we're all busy. We all got our own things. We've built our platforms. We have our fan bases. We have our algorithm, the race against, you know what I'm saying? So instead of having him take the whole day to fill my stuff, he needs to feel his stuff.[00:37:02] And now we need more than one day each we need 2, 3, 4 days each for the week. You know what I'm saying? So now to answer your question, I have to give you that quick basketball, that long story. My team now is smaller. My glamour, their friends that are there, that I create with they're still here. It's about five of us.[00:37:20] The whole crew was stupid is the show that I was doing. I was on the live show December. I mean, November. October October, November, December of last year, I did a one monthly Inglewood, California. I did a live show where I was so fat. I was so sketches and I was shows that we would do stand up comedy in between the sketches.[00:37:41] And it's about five. And yeah. Five. Yes. So that's the crew, the whole crews who that's their crew. But as far as me shooting now, I have a DP and it's really just me and another guy, me and my boy, Anthony. He was also a director. But once again, you run across people who are selling. And just loyal to the cause.[00:38:01] And he's a director first arrived a director at first that has a strong with the camera and strong with lighting and strong with editing. And he does a lot of those things for me. He does basically, sometimes it's like, for example, we just came, we just finished shooting the second season of lesbian homie.[00:38:18] And he helped me write that he co-wrote it with me. He co-wrote it with me. He de Pete the whole. And he's editing the whole season. So he's really a person that is doing four or five guys jobs. You know what I'm saying? All in one. And it's a blessing. I met him a few years ago. He loves my content and we met basically him as a fan of the content come to find out he had this wealth of knowledge of filmmaking and we became a team.[00:38:43] So he and I together created this whole season two of lesbian homie. And it's probably the best thing I've ever done producing. Written, and he has a lot to do with it. He was, he's an inspirational dude and I'm all about organic relationships. And our relationship is very organic, even though he came to LA and he wanted to meet me because he wanted to let me know what he can do.[00:39:07] And once I'm, once we met clicked, we had the same type of style. So my team is small. Still. My goal is to branch out and delegate some of those, uh, roles that he does to other people. But to be honest with you, I'm particular. You know, I have a certain style that hood good style and how I edit, how I write.[00:39:27] It's hard for me to like, have other people write for me or other people edit my stuff, but I don't have time to do all of this stuff. I've written over 400 sketches. You know what I'm saying? So it gets to the point where I got to delegate some things. So I can't be doing everything myself. My team is small, but I know over the years I've worked on bigger projects and I've done.[00:39:48] I've hired. I do have access to other people who, like I said, I grew up, I came in in this game. Directing and DP work. So I know a lot of other DPS that have camera year and have experience. So when it comes time for me to shoot my actual film, I can have a cast. Wardrobe VP camera assistance, gaffing crew.[00:40:08] I know I have enough resources and a Rolodex of people I can contact when I need to do a full production. [00:40:13] Dan Runcie: It's impressive. What you've been able to do with the small team. I mean, outside in someone could look and see, I go, I'm sure he has a whole crew of people that are working with this. But like you said, you have people that are wearing multiple hats.[00:40:25] They're shipping in here and there to do things, and that's ultimately how you build. And I think you ultimately do get to the place where. Things kind of continue to expand, but there's also no reason to make things bigger than they need to. Part of the beauty is you being able to be nimble and having a team that appears bigger than it is.[00:40:42] I feel like that's the most powerful position to be in. And for you with that, what's on deck for you for the next few years. Now that things are opening back up now that the pandemic is starting to subside. What do you see for the next couple of years? What are you most excited about? I know you want to get more behind the camera, but is there any specific projects or anything else that we should keep an eye out for? [00:41:04] Bigg Jah: Yeah. Yes, sir. I don't know when, because I'm still assembling. It's still being written, but I'm wanting to do a film wrapped around the character Tiberius. I'm doing a Tiberius film and I'm excited about that. I think that's going to be a big thing. I hopefully the, I haven't brought Tiberius out in the long run.[00:41:21] And maybe, I'm praying that the supporters, fans, supporters, I call them supportive. Most likely, usually it will still let the idea of becoming that with a movie for type area. So audition still have an agent I saw audition for other roles. And I'm open to do other projects for other companies, other studios, but as far as my stuff, even one or two at one of the two are going to happen.[00:41:44] I'm either going to shoot the film this year are going toward this year. And if I don't shoot this feminist year and I still do go on tour, I want to be, I don't want the film with within the next year. The defendant would be, we made it in the film. So whether, and I can do it independently, like I said, I'm at the point now where I'm, it's a blessing to be able to say, I can just do this myself.[00:42:06] I know how to, I know how to create film, just do it myself. And I have enough people around me, good people who are, are good at what they do to make a dope film. [00:42:15] Dan Runcie: That's exciting, man. It's good stuff. Good stuff. Hey, Bigg Jah this has been great. Before we let you go, though, where should the chapter audience follow you to keep posted with what you're doing and everything that you got coming up?[00:42:28] Bigg Jah: You can follow me everywhere @Biggjah. B-I-G-G J-A-H. As YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok, I'll be on Tik Tok doing all kinds of stuff. I'll be dancing around. Naw, I'm not doing too much, but I do a little. I'm on all platforms at Bigg Jah. My website's Biggjah.com.[00:42:51] The Hood Good Store go get your merge. If you want to support, it's all love you. It's love anyways, but go to thehoodgoodstore.com. That's T-H-E-H-O-O-D-G-O-O-D-S-T-O-R-E.COM. That's the https://thehoodgoodstore.com. You can get almost most of the stuff I wear in my sketches.[00:43:09] This is my own company is my own brand and I sell it myself. Much love to you all. If you have any more questions, I got answers. [00:43:16] Dan Runcie: Good stuff, man. Good stuff, Jah. Appreciate you coming on [00:43:19] Bigg Jah: Thank you so much, bro. [00:43:21] Dan Runcie: If you enjoyed this podcast, go ahead and share with a friend, copy of the link, text it to a friend posted in your group chat,post it in your slack groups, wherever you and your people talk. Spread the word. That's how Trapital continues to grow and continues to reach the right people. And while you're at it, if you use Apple Podcasts, go ahead, rate the podcast, give it a high rating and leave a review. Tell people why you like the podcast that helps more people discover the show.[00:43:49] Thank you in advance. Talk to you next week.Advertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
May 13 2022
44 mins
How indify’s Co-Founder prettyboyshav Is Flipping The Economics Of The Record Business
The traditional record label model isn’t artist-friendly. That’s not a secret to anyone by now. Deals are notoriously long and feature a revenue split heavily tilted toward the label — not the artist. But an ambitious alternative has arisen in the last few years. Meet indify, a start-up co-founded by musician prettyboyshav and his two childhood best friends, Matthew Pavia and Connor Lawrence.indify is a platform that connects investors with up-and-coming artists. Investors can not only financially back artists, but also mentor them in matters like legal or marketing. But unlike a record deal, investments can be as short as a song-per-song basis. As prettyboyshav told me, it’s like “going on dates instead of marrying.” As an artist himself with millions of streams to his name, Prettyboyshav is specially equipped to carry out indify’s vision — to create a more equitable, prosperous music industry. indify was originally a music discovery tool when it launched in 2015. Using an algorithm, it identified emerging artists on the cusp of “blowing up” like Khalid, who the tool flagged way back in 2015. That technology still underpins its new business pivot as the “AngeList for the music industry.” To get a glimpse into indify’s innovative technology and mission, listen to my full interview with prettyboyshav. We covered a lot of topics, including the ones below: [3:39] indify’s Mission In The Music Industry [5:28] Why Artists Are Taken Advantage Of So Often[7:03] What Does indify Look For In Investors Wanting To Join The Platform? [10:16] The Potential For Culture-Setters To Financially Back An Emerging Artist[14:38] indify Vs. Record Labels [19:07] Is There A Glass Ceiling On Artists Who Don’t Sign With A Record Label? [23:35] Does indify Do Upfront Money Deals? [26:10] Principles That Guard indify’s Technology[29:27] indify Having Web 3.0 Values Despite Being Off-Chain [33:11] How prettyboyshav Juggles His Music Career And Being Start-Up FounderListen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSSHost: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.coGuests: prettyboyshav, @prettyboyshav Enjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! ratethispodcast.com/trapital Trapital is home for the business of hip-hop. Gain the latest insights from hip-hop’s biggest players by reading Trapital’s free weekly memo. TRANSCRIPTIONprettyboyshav 00:00I truly, truly, deeply believe in it and feel it and empathize with the work that's being done because I believe in these values, which really comes down to community, right? And community ownership, community governance, I think these things are very powerful concepts. And I think these are very powerful ways for an artist to run their business.Dan Runcie 00:26Hey, welcome to the Trapital podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from executives in music, media, entertainment, and more, who are taking hip hop culture to the next level. Today's guest is prettyboyshav. He's the co-founder and CEO of Indify, a platform that is helping people invest in the future of music. Indify connects merchant artists with the funding they need to build the biggest careers. On Indify, it brings together artists who want to grow and control their career on their terms. It also brings together investors who want to support and back these artists and have the know how to help bring them to the next level. It also brings together business partners who can help artists with marketing, legal, accounting, and many of the other things involved to help run the business. One of the things that Shav and I have always talked about and we agree on is that artists are founders. If you follow me anywhere, you've seen me talk about this, you see me reiterate this. And I think Shav himself is a great example of this. He very much approaches Indify this way, and he's also a recording artist himself, prettyboyshav has over 10 million streams. And we talked a lot about what it's been like for him, navigating both the CEO role and his role as an artist. But we also talk about what Indify has been up to and some of their progress they've ha. The company has had over a million dollars generated this past quarter and 2022 for the artists on its platform and over a billion streams for those artists collectively as well. We talk about the influence that some of the partners they've had as well, such as Alexis Ohanian, who was an early investor in Indify, some of the artists that he's been able to back, and ultimately what they're trying to build towards. We talked about how Indify is positioned relative to other alternative financing options in the music industry. We also talked about how it's positioned relative to record labels. And can an artist on one of these alternative financing platforms achieve the same success as the superstars that are on the major record labels? The folks that headline major music festivals, perform at the Super Bowl and things like that? This is a great conversation. And if you're interested in where the music industry is going, some other options, you'll love this one. Here's my chat with prettyboyshav. All right, we got the one and only prettyboyshav here with us today. He is the co-founder CEO of Indify, platform and a company that is helping artists embrace their independence. He is also an artist himself with over 10 million streams. Shav, welcome to the pod.prettyboyshav 03:15What's up, Dan? Good to be here, man. I've been wanting to come on here for a while.Dan Runcie 03:19Yeah. And I mean, you know that I've been following everything that you've all been doing. And it's been very interesting to see how you've navigated the industry and how you leverage the technology built to continue to do good things. So for those that are less familiar, what is Indify and what is it that you all are trying to help solve in the music industry?prettyboyshav 03:39Well, Indify is a marketplace that's helping artists raise funding on equitable terms from strategic partners. You could think of it as almost like AngelList for music. I think our premise is that the major labels and a lot of the old system and the traditional system, the music industry, kind of represent what you know, private equity did years ago on the venture side. And I think fortunately, we have things like YC and AngelList. Actually, one of these tweets is the Kanye tweet from around fall 2020, where he kind of talked about a lot of things that we've been talking about, but we think it's time that a lot of those standardized, founder-friendly, and digitize terms come to help artists who we believe are also founders raise funding equitably. Yeah. So it's been exciting. I think this is an evolution from our earlier platform, which was really just a discovery tool for the music industry and became an industry-standard tool across a ton of record labels and ended up identifying a ton of artists, early one that we're very known for is Khalid.Dan Runcie 04:34Nice, and I got to mention, because you mentioned the Kanye tweets behind you. Is one of those the one that's talked about the Y Combinator for the music industry?prettyboyshav 04:43Yes, that's exactly what it is, you know, “When I spoke to Katie Jacobs who's on the board of the Vivendi. We decided to create a YC for the music industry so artists have the power and transparency to be in control of our future. No more shady contracts, no more lifelong deals.” And this one is Alexis tweeting Blonde, because I showed Alexis Ohanian, who's our investor. I was like, man, you got to get deeper into Blonde and Frank Ocean because this thing is amazing.Dan Runcie 05:05Yeah, it's an amazing album. And I think, thinking more broadly about what you all are building, I think that venture for music is the pitch I've heard from you. I've heard references well with where you're seeing with this, but I feel like you're taking a bit of a more unique take on it than maybe just the YC model. So what does that look like? What do you see things playing out for you?prettyboyshav 05:28Well, I think what YC did, right, in building the safe and standardized docs, and more documentation and transparency has allowed founders to see, okay, what is par for the course? What are founder-friendly terms? You know, if you don't use a safe note, for a raise, or standardized docs, you're kind of, you know, totally left field, a ton of artists, I would say, you know, just anecdotally, like, one out of three artists we meet, a very high percentage have actually signed some sort of predatory, shady contract before they even get off the ground. And the lack of standardization at that early stage if you compare it to Venture Seed, Series A, Pre-seed, has made it so a lot of artists get taken advantage of at inception. And I think that's something that's very core to Indify to prevent that from happening to build the tools and education system so that artists can have an ecosystem or have kind of technology, such that they're protected.Dan Runcie 06:20And I think a lot of that you mentioned the partners they work with and the people they meet, because that, of course, is how people ended up in either good contracts or bad contracts. That's a lot of what's there right? And I think you've spoken before about this distinction between smart money versus dumb money, which I know has also been very common in investing and in tech as well. And I think the same can be said in music. And I know that you all do your job on both sides, both the artist side and the investor side to determine who can be entered into the program. So yeah, let's start with the investor side. What are the things that you look for when someone wants to join your platform because they want to invest in an artist?prettyboyshav 07:03Yeah, I think, you know, building on kind of some of the points you were making earlier to Dan, like, what is protection for artists? What is being artists first? This is something that at Indify we studied for six years, and these are nuanced questions, and I've studied it myself as an artist, right? You know, there's a ton of funding solutions that are out there, some fan investing, some loan investing, but you know, if it is a finance bro buying your song, or if it is, you know, a loan against your own streams, a lot of the times this can put the artists in a worse position than if they were to take no money at all, because now they're in the hole, X amount of dollars. And if all those dollars are not spent, wisely are spent in a way that they're amplifying, ultimately, your platform as an artist or your income as an artist. Now, you're not increasing your income, and you're in the hole 10, 20, 50k. And that's something that I think, you know, is important to make a distinction about because artists are founders. And we're not necessarily seeing founders prioritize capital, but prioritize the best partners when they're raising funds for their companies. I think the same is true for the smart business owners that are artists. And I think they should be respected as such, many of them are making six, seven figures a year that work with Indify. And part of the reason that that is, is they're not only I think, CEOs in their own right, and building their business on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, social media, shipping every day, right? Like we talked about shipping with founders, these artists are shipping every day. They're putting their stories out there, they're connecting with people. But they're also very, very smart to find business partners that know how to digital market their music, that know how to manage their operations, and they're hiring these partners and partnering with investors. And so what we look for, you know, there's generally two kinds of cohorts, I would say, one is spark music professionals that have had experienced breaking artists before. And we have certain kinds of thresholds for that, one of the thresholds we talked about is, has this partner work with an artist that has reached over 30,000 streams a day or not, even previous time? Or also, you know, influencers themselves. I think that's something that we're really excited about. It's a bit more on the early stage. But, for example, Alexis Ohanian invested in the artist Leah Kate, I think around, you know, when he least identified her on the platform, and he, that was all him. He went on the platform and he found her. She was even lower on the rank. She was at around 3000 streams per day. He's helped her grow using his platform and his base to now over a million streams a day. And we think that's an incredible example of a partnership. And we think those combinations together, a syndicate of sorts of these strategic professionals with strategic influencers that can gift an audience to younger artists, is the new way of music industry.Dan Runcie 09:51I'm sure there must be some nuance there, right because of course, someone like Alexis who is a fan, he understands that clearly, he has a lot of influence to be able to make things happen. But I'm sure you may also get interest for people in tech, let's say they were early at a startup, startup exited, they have some extra money. They may know nothing about the music industry, but they just want to get in. How are those conversations?prettyboyshav 10:16Well, I think, Alexis, and I'll tell the story, like, Alexis tweeted, I wish I could invest in Lizzo enterprises. And I tweeted back, invest in the next one on Indify, and somebody showed him the tweet, somehow, I caught him for five minutes at the US Open actually, and told him music investing safe, he said, you're a crazy person. Investing in music can't be safe, I tried it. And he, actually, you know, put his money where his mouth is, and he backed an artist. But I think with that was the spirit of somebody who wanted to help that artist and grow, with that was the spirit of somebody who wanted to spend time with Leah, who was a founder and help her develop both as an artist and as a businesswoman, an independent businesswoman who's building an incredible seven-figure per year revenue business. And so I think that that development, and I think more so with him, the ability to empower her as an entrepreneur. And that story, getting out there, I think, was what made for something really exciting with Leah. But I think what's really interesting is now bigger artists actually coming into the fold. We actually a huge artist, I'm not at liberty to say yet, in Q1, backed an artist, one of my favorite artists of all time, and this I think is going to happen more and more. What happens if LeBron starts backing artists on Indify, right? What happens if, you know, actors and actresses? What happens if Lisa, right, starts backing artists on Indify? I mean, these are artists that can bring real taste, culture, and audiences to those next generation of emerging artists. And I think when you're posed with signing your rights away to a major label or partnering with someone like that, I think it's a really exciting proposition for the future.Dan Runcie 11:48Yeah, this reminds me of an idea that I think it was Jack Butcher, if someone like that had mentioned on a podcast about looking at someone like a Canelo Alvarez or even Deontay Wilder, you have these prizefighters, boxers, and if they invest in artists, that artist is the one that walks out with them when they're doing their walk-up music, that is a huge platform, so able to introduce someone like that. I think that is so powerful.prettyboyshav 12:14I saw that clip and shout out Jack Butcher and Visualize Value, and everything he's doing. He has an amazing podcast too, he's a friend. And I think that's such an amazing concept, right? Like, I think as a society, we're yearning for cross-cultural moments, you know what I mean? You see it so much with even the Paul's fighting in boxing. And you know, Paul-Mayweather, what a crazy event that was, or Conor McGregor-Mayweather and I think, more and more, I think you're gonna see culture crossover, right. And I like that fun there. But like, you know, music is in our DNA. And people talk about sometimes they asked me, like, you know, what's the market in music? What's the market of streaming? What's the opportunity? And I'm like, well, there's 7 billion of us in the world. We all like music, right? So I think everybody is on the table to be a part of the story. And I think that's why it's so powerful. I think we've wanted solutions for music for such a long time. But I think for us, you know, it's been these strategic partners, and pairing them with, you know, and our ability to identify artists, I think is the best out there in all honesty, pairing them with artists with traction, that's when one plus one equals 100. I mean, in the last year or so we've helped artists reach over a billion streams independently. And this is rea on the ground effort, and real on the ground connections, that is making a difference in these lives, not in terms of just a one-time cash-out. But many of these artists are now making six, and some seven figures per year over, you know, what could be the rest of their careers. And that's the beauty of when you do break through on streaming, what it can do for you can create sustainability as an artist, I think it's something that we're very proud of, in our cohort of artists helping them get to.Dan Runcie 13:48So let's talk a little bit more about the benefits and what artists do you get. Because I think a lot of people, they hear options like Indify, they're thinking about it as an alternative to maybe going with their traditional record label and doing that type of deal. And on the surface. Of course, if an artist is working with Indify, I believe the terms is up to 50% and rotating ownership for their masters is what they offer. I know there are some record label deals that do offer that. But if you could talk a little bit more about the distinction there. And if there are certain things that you think that you offer as a replacement, and then are there certain things where you still think that an artist would need to still find elsewhere, they should find elsewhere, and may be a bit of the itemization of where Indify's value add is relative to what the artists would get on a record label.prettyboyshav 14:38Well, I think talking more just technically to start, if you look at the traditional record industry contract and what standard and this is for people out there who don't know, generally they're like, aghast when I explain this, but a typical record deal is, this is the deal that a lot of these greats have signed A typically a record deal Is 85%-15% in favor of the major label, a five-album deal. And over the course of a lifetime of copyright plus like seven years. It's like the traditional kind of deal. So that means an entire artist’s career, that they're sort of signing away at 17, 16, 20 years old, but are involved in for the next 10 to 15 years of their career. And I think that time period also matters. Also, for the capital advance, you get, right, like you see these artists get all these nice things upfront, I think that upfront cost is massive. It's massive, because you're not only, in a typical loan, you pay, you know, your 100% of your rights would pay back that loan, right? In this case, your 15% has to pay back that initial advance, let's say it's 100k, 200k, 500k, meaning you're in the whole millions, right of dollars, before you see 15 cents on the dollar. And that's after there is and these are some of the things that I find the most predatory, a 25% distribution fee, which costs $20 on this circuit, or, you know, accounting that is just less than clean and clear, I'll say. And so I think on the converse side, I think a lot of these infrastructural issues are initially what we're trying to fix, you know, beyond just I think the terms, but if we put it plain and simple on terms, I mean, a lot of artists on our platforms start with raising for one song, right? With a partner that they talked to, and they might have interest from a ton of partners, messages from the ton of partners on the platform, speak with them. And if they liked that partner, generally these deals are for one song, only three to five years. And after the initial investment is paid back, I think we see a lot of 70-30 kind of splits in favor of the artists. So it's quite literally flipping the economics and making the commitment significantly less. And I think honestly, one of the other things that I've heard, you know, people talk about one of the greatest forms of control is slowness. I think, you know, these contracts, they take sometimes six weeks to six months to a year to fully kind of work through. On Indify we're seeing, you know, you can raise one song, try a partner, try another partner for another song, if you liked them, do an EP. And you can do that investment. You know, using this platform. Again, all of the actual legal terms are in our outsourced to our like TOS and our super artist-friendly, we have our sort of indie note that like backs that, but you're then just deciding for simple terms, once those are decided it can take 45 minutes to raise, and you can capitalize on that moment that's happening on TikTok, or on Instagram immediately with some of the best marketers and managers in the business that are doing a lot of, a lot of the heavy lifting behind the scenes, and are a lot of times the people who the label pay at a premium. And so I think that's for us why we feel Indify is really a better option. Because, you know, rather than diving in and getting married to a partner at the youngest possible age, you're in fact, just, you know, going on dates, I guess, with different partners and seeing, alright, who's the best fit for me, who's somebody that connect with? Who's the right value add investor for my project?Dan Runcie 18:01I do think that last example, makes a ton of sense of that, essentially, because so much of it, especially with these five-album deals, you are signing away so much early on when, if you think about yourself as an asset, you've been de-risked, hopefully much earlier in the process if you end up being successful, but there's no opportunity to necessarily realize that until a bit later on in the process, and I know one thing that I do hear from people and I'd love to hear your thoughts on it is that with some of these alternative financing options, the terms are great, everything is effective from that perspective. However, people still have this question about, okay, well, what is the max that we could see an artist succeed? Can we see someone be this superstar that's performing at the Super Bowl or reaching these Billy Eilish or Olivia Rodrigo or Ariana Grande level of artists if they're not with one of the major record labels? You could still earn a living off of those, but can an artist reach that path? So it'd be great to hear your thoughts on that, and especially how you think that relates with Indify. prettyboyshav 19:07I'd really love that question. It's something that I think about a lot. It's something that I'm excited to experiment with myself. I think eventually, you know, something that I'm interested in is documenting, transcribing, and publishing my process of going through Indify with an artist with 10 million streams. I'm not quite, I think fairly qualified. So I'm actually posting my TikToks trying to get there. But I think as an artist, you get excited about seeing what, and as obviously as a founder, what the brink of this platform is. We've seen for transparency's sake a $400,000 deal happened on Indify. We've also seen deals for 10 to 50k, right, where the investor, you know, pre-release, invest in the song. Week one with some initial pre-release traction, and then I can talk about the Seaside demo example. That song was invested in on Sunday, it came out on Monday. By Wednesday, it was doing well, Nick Mueller and Golden Kids Group, he flagged it to Spotify. And he made sure the digital marketing was being spent wisely. So that week two, it's now doing 100,000 streams per day 200,000 streams per day, week three, week four, he's calling TikTok, calling Snapchat, calling Apple, calling all the right partners such that it reaches pop rising by week two, or three, and by week five, and hit Today's Top hits as an independent song. And this happened within the course of a month. I mean, you know, songs like that, without going into too much detail. When you do have that viral capacity, you could see a 30 or 50x, on your 10k investment. And we're seeing investors experienced that, you're seeing these artists, again, earn six to seven figures, from creating moments like that. And beyond that, you know, just working with these partners, when it doesn't happen at that level, you're seeing, I think 80 or 90% of these deals on the platform are profitable. So quite literally, you have what is a low ceiling, or a low risk, high ceiling asset class, which I think is incredibly unique, especially because we're de-risking those things by only allowing the artists to come on and see strategic partners and only allowing the partners to come on and see artists with traction and be able to invest in them right on the platform and then be able to earn out directly through kind of this whole ecosystem and technology that we've built. And I think what we've seen in the last year, even the last quarter Jx.Zero, I think he reached 700 or 800,000 streams a day. Leah is now doing a million streams per day. Pink Sweat$, who was the first artist to raise way back when this was even off platform. Leah was the first one on platform with Alexis. Off platform, Pink did a funding partnership, a funding deal to start his career. I mean, he's had a platinum record. He's in the top 500 of the world, and he's at Coachella. And that's the only artists that's had a few years to develop. I think the next superstars are already happening on Indify, I think that's a given. I just think that just like startups, these are going to take time. But if you look at the last year, and even if you look at the last quarter, I think we had three or four songs hit the global viral chart last quarter, and these artists are on their way to be great. And I think just to add one more thing, if you look at Kanye West's top songs on Spotify, his jeen-yuhs just came out, College Dropout was spotlighted in that, like crazy. I mean, what an amazing doc. But if you look at his Spotify, his number one song is Praise God, right? If his number one, why is his number one some Praise God? I mean, Moon. I love that song. Arguably a better song in my view, praise God is a great song. Off of Donda, there's a million tracks that are doing well but that's the only song off Donda that's number one. No, the jeen-yuhs doc didn't move anything to number one in terms of The College Dropout and the songs that were spotlighted. So why is it that Praise God is the number one song on Kanye's catalog. Kanye West are the biggest artists the world, because on TikTok it reached 1.5 million videos. The investors on Indify are the best at marketing on TikTok and social media. And it's my belief that not only should the next generation of emerging artists raise funding on Indify, but it's my belief that the current generation of superstars will start to in the next few years.Dan Runcie 22:58It's a compelling pitch. And I think normally at this stage, you of course, are able to incentivize artists with the amount that they could earn by essentially starting around and using their songs as around or using an album is around, right? Is there any upfront pitch or financing though that would happen? So let's say there is a major artist that's like, Oh, hey, I see what you all are doing, I'm down. But if you could give me some upfront money, not necessarily an advance or some type of upfront money, what would that look like? Is that something that you've all explored? Or has that come up at all?prettyboyshav 23:35You know, it's so funny. One, bigger artists are approaching us. I think that's actually, to my surprise, I didn't think we'd be at that stage yet. It's a dream. It really is a dream, what we get to do every day, a chance to serve some of these artists gives me chills, because these are artists that are heroes. And to know that we built the infrastructure better than the old. In fact, the pitch is much easier to them than the new artist because they've been through the system. They know what it looks like from the inside. Generally...Dan Runcie 24:01So you don’t have to say the artist but could you give us like a tier, like what level is one of the ones that have reached out?prettyboyshav 24:07I would say an important megastar. I won't say like, I think that's the right, I'll give that to you. That's what I'll give.Dan Runcie 24:14Okay, okay. Someone that would have headlined Coachella? prettyboyshav 24:18Yes, absolutely.Dan Runcie 24:19Okay. Okay. prettyboyshav 24:20I think you'll see artists that would headline Coachella, and that people would be most excited about on the bill, especially in Brooklyn, where I'm at, where there is a care for culture and art, and these things that we've been excited about. I think those are the artists who were excited to serve, man. You know, like it'd be a dream to work with and help Frank Ocean raise for his next project. I mean, he's the guy that started this model years ago, and I think these artists deserve credit, not just as artists, but as entrepreneurs. But yeah, to your question on Indify, you'd be shocked. Artists are on there negotiating down the amount of initial sort of capital they'll get, because they only want the right amount, not the most amount, because they don't want to earn on their advance. They want to earn on their equity, they want to earn on the business. And that's to me, the generation of founders as artists or founders that we're looking to empower. And I think I'm excited to help the superstars, you know, earn off of their streams too as they should, because their pies are going to look a lot bigger.Dan Runcie 25:17Yeah, I think the interesting test I've always looked at was when Taylor Swift had finished her record label deal that she was on the open market/ She was exploring options, and everyone wondered, what is she going to do. She obviously wants to own her masters moving forward. And she ended up doing a licensing deal with Republic Records, which she has been now and she's released, I believe, three albums now, under that deal. I think that, what you're saying is that if we could get to the point where now the market is at a different place than it was in 2018, with options like yours, that now have the option or opportunity for a megastar, who is out of their deal. They've been de-risked they already are a star, what could it look like for them to be like, okay, now that I'm done with this deal, now, I want to go to Indify?prettyboyshav 26:10Yeah, I think you're gonna see a lot of that happening. I'm very confident in that. And I think those are conversations that are happening faster than we expected, I think what, you know, going back to the Taylor Swift moment, and you actually did an amazing breakdown of what was going on with her. And just for anyone who's listening, like, I know, you're already on Trapital, because you're listening to the podcast. But I do believe, Dan, what you're doing is some of the most accurate breakdowns in the market. I mean that. It's a joy to listen to these podcasts. It's a dream to be on here. And it's so cool to read your newsletter, you know, every time it comes out. I think, going back to the Taylor one, because I remember you breaking it down. And obviously, we're nerds about this stuff. So we should talk about it. But you know, on Indify, there's three main principles that guard the technology on the platform. One, artists own the rights forever. You know, artist kids deserve to have their music, we think that's the fundamental, maybe even a human right, not just a right that we believe they should have. And that's something that, you know, an ownership deal will never happen and in the fight, and I would hold Web 3.0 platforms to that same standard, because I think a lot of them are doing ownership deals. And I think that's going backwards. I think a lot of the music industry is moving forward from that. So it's something that I believe just very strongly as an artist, we need to move forward from. Two, artists deals are always 50% or better after the initial investment is returned on Indify. The platform is like locked in, like error out if you start to put in terms that break that. And third, artists always keep creative control. And that's the way these docs are formatted. I mean, for an artists like Taylor Swift, who's brought a lot more value to these companies, and, you know, arguably bigger than some of these institutions ourselves. She deserves to be the CEO of her own life and our own art. And she deserves to make every decision the way she wants to, she deserves to pass that on to her kids. The fact that artists like that can't do that, and then what she has to now go through to make that music, you know, listen to equitably out there is insane, it's out of control, and it shouldn't exist. And I think, you know, we need tools that we need new solutions, to rewrite how this is going to work for the next generation of Taylor Swifts. I think, Indify, you know, I hope that we can have a conversation with her about doing stuff with her future projects to make sure that, again, she can build her business equitably, own her business, but still get those strategic partners and marketers needed to take the next level.Dan Runcie 28:30You mentioned Web 3.0 earlier, and some of the solutions there and what you hope those solutions will offer to artists. And I think a lot of people have talked and thought about the Web 3.0 opportunities in music and positioned it as a use case to do or in many ways, what Indify is doing and you are proving with your platform that this can happen. It is happening off-chain, and it doesn't necessarily need to be done through 3.0 or through NFTs or things like that. Some of these things you may be exploring in the future. But where do you stand right now in that aspect, because I do feel like a lot of the other companies that are positioning themselves to try to solve a similar problem have positioned themselves as the Web 3.0 solution for this. But you've been a bit more focused on saying, hey, this can exist, it doesn't necessarily need to happen that way. prettyboyshav 29:27I mean, look, I think you really broke it down best, as you do in the A16Z piece you wrote, the music tech community is going to need to, at large, both Web 2.0, and Web 3.0, and Web 2.5, and everything in between is going to need to tackle different problems for artists for us to build an ecosystem that's competitive with these goliaths of the old, you know, and I think us working together and us holding each other accountable having these conversations and I love how I think Web 3.0 has pushed Indify to be more open and more inclusive. I have a lot of friends in the community who've, you know, shown me incredible values and the incredible depths of what this movement is about. And I truly, truly deeply believe in it, and feel it, and empathize with the work that's being done. Because I believe in these values, which is really comes down to community, right, and community ownership, community governance, I think these things are very powerful concepts. And I think these are very powerful ways for an artist to run their business. I, you know, I have so much love for what sound and what catalog and what some of these companies are doing. I think there are amazing founders behind those companies. I think they're building amazing tools for artists to earn different and new revenue streams on their music. And I think all of us need to really come together and work together to build this infrastructure for new artists. I think one of the things that I'm yearning for, one of the things I haven't yet I think fully see in the space that I'm excited about, is something that maybe more reflects an artist DAO of sorts. And again, I'm still in the first inning of this, all of this understanding all of this as most people are, but something I'm going to experiment with. Again, like the way I've always operated with prettyboyshav and you know, the artist career and being the founder of Indify as co founder with Connor and Matt who I've built this with, you know, my best friend since day one is, like, I experiment and we experiment, me, Connor and Matt experiment and kind of create these different like processes with the prettyboyshav. We hack at my Spotify For Artists, we do all this crazy stuff, to learn, right, and to experiment and to figure things out. And then a lot of that, a lot of that failure becomes what is knowledge and R&D into I think the Indify roadmap. I think that's an amazing way to stay grounded and stay into focus. For me, one of the things I'm going to do is and I published my goals at the beginning of this year, I not only want to raise on Indify and published and transcribe that, that for the public to see. But I also want to, as an artist, do some Web 3.0 experiments. And I'm basically launching this physical and digital trading card experience that is going to be like my mecca for my pretty community. And so it's going to come, you know, if you get it, you can basically like, see a roadmap for the prettyboyshav art, you can come get your nails painted with me, you can listen to some exclusive music. And I think those community events, that superfan access, I think is something I'm really excited to just play with on the Web 3.0 side and to see happen in the space.Dan Runcie 32:21It's great to hear, because I think you can see both sides of this, you understand what needs to be done and not just using yourself as not even more, not even a use case. But essentially you understand what needs to be built, what you would want for yourself as an artist and how you navigate all of that, as well. And while we have the time, we'd love to chat a little bit more about you and what you've been doing with your artists career on that front. First off, how you manage the time between the two, because I'm sure it's both hats to wear. And I'm sure it's a lot from that perspective, but how have you navigated doing both of those things? And I know that you've also said in past interviews, you want to be known more for music moving forward. So how does that continue to or how does that evolution continue to progress based on where you see things going?prettyboyshav 33:11Yeah, well, I think, I appreciate it, that question. You know, me, myself, Connor and Matt, we've always understood that there's this fluidity, I think, between myself being an artist and being a part of the company. And in fact, I think we've all come to realize it's a huge advantage. When I talk to artists, I relate to them, I can understand their problems when we make decisions, you know, in the room. And I think I consider Connor and Matt artists and themselves. I think Matt, what he does on a technical level and building this tool, I've always fallen in love with the art of tech. And building product is very much like making music. It's a new creative entity that didn't exist before that you created the outside world. I think it's very similar. And I think Connor himself is a writer and an incredible artist. And if you don't have art and tech, then what do you have? You know, so I think we've all come to understand that, that the prettyboyshav journey is our guinea pig. And it's a part of our story. And it's cool. It's really cool. I think more than anything, the company is us three, and to have their support in that I think is first and foremost. And to have investors supporting them too, I think is first and foremost, I think people understand that it only really makes me better as a founder. And they're one and the same. You know, being an artist and having more artists lead music companies is kind of, I hope, the wave of the future. I think on a personal level. You know, I'm really proud of the music I've put out there. I think it's some of the best music out there, whether I'm a co-founder of that company or not. And I have a new album coming up that I think is just a huge step of growth and I think addresses a lot of my own values of growing up as an Indian American understanding my own perspective, telling my own story. And it's a story that when I was 15 the two things that my sort of Northstar were, were, man, I wish I could be an artist without having to be Drake and just being you know a sustainable artist because this is what I love to do. Why is it that somebody can be an accountant but I can't be a musician, right? And why can't those existences coexist? And I think for me, I think just seeing more people like me making pop music, more people like me, getting our nails painted, wearing earrings, wearing cool clothes, and breaking kind of the boxes that that we were put into. So, for me, I think all of this stuff comes from a deep sense of mission and a deep sense of serving our 15-year-old self. It's something that Virgil talked about a lot. And I think that's ultimately, you know, what I'm in service to when it comes to both Indify and the artists journey, but it's cool to see them coming together more and more, I had my first interaction where, I was actually with Peter Boyce and John Exley and we were in LA celebrating Peter installation actually just invested in the company. And it just turned Peter's birthday, and we were sitting having a great time. And somebody came up to the randomly and was like, Are you prettyboyshav? And you know, as a kid, you always, see, I was more excited than her. But as a kid, you always wonder, as an artist that'll ever happen. I think that moment is one that you know, we all got to share together, John and Peter, we wouldn't be here without them. They've been supporting for six, seven years. So to have that with them, you know, and be on this journey together, I think is super cool.Dan Runcie 36:05That's powerful. And those stories are always great when you hear them because you know your, it definitely won't be the last time.prettyboyshav 36:11Yeah, yeah. Let's see. Got more work to do then.Dan Runcie 36:15Well, Shav, this is great. Thanks so much for coming on and sharing both your journey as an artist and your journey as a founder, as we both say artists are founders and you're a great embodiment of that statement. But before we let you go, is there anything else that you want to plug? or love for the Trapital audience to know about?prettyboyshav 36:32Yeah, I would just say you know, follow Indify on Instagram and Twitter. I think it's a good follow. And, you know, we've done a lot of work behind the scenes in the last year and a half. I think we've got to do a better job of telling our story in front of the scenes and there's gonna be a lot of content coming in the next year and storytelling coming out of these artists and these incredible stories, you're going to find amazing music, so you know, give us a follow, follow the journey. Come along.Dan Runcie 36:57Good stuff. Good stuff. Thanks, man. prettyboyshav 37:00Cool. Thanks so much, Dan.Dan Runcie 37:02If you enjoyed this podcast, go ahead and share with a friend. Copy the link, text it to a friend, post it in your group chat, post it in your Slack groups. Wherever you and your people talk, spread the word. That's how Trapital continues to grow and continues to reach the right people. And while you're at it, if you use Apple podcast, go ahead, rate the podcast, give it a high rating, and leave a review. Tell people why you liked the podcast. That helps more people discover the show. Thank you in advance. Talk to you next week.Advertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
May 6 2022
37 mins
Young M.A and the $20 NFT
Music NFTs are all the rage as of late. Entering the mix is Young M.A, who dropped a capsule on April 19. But in true Young M.A fashion, she took a different approach to her first-ever NFT project.For one, each NFT is only $20, making it widely accessible to her diehard fanbase. That’s a departure from most artists-focused NFTs that are on the pricier side due to their limitedness. In total, Young M.A dropped five NFT collections with 250 editions in each — for a total of 1,250. Each of the five collections represents key moments in Young M.A’s career. From first going viral with her Brooklyn Chiraq freestyle to the smashing success of “OOOUUU” and other highlights. Moreover, the capsule is exclusive to new NFT marketplace Serenade. The platform prides itself on being eco-friendly in an industry widely criticized for its energy consumption. The NFT collection is just one way Young M.A is staying connected to her fans these days. She’s also on tour and has continued to invest in non-music products like her adult toy line. Here’s everything we covered in this episode:[0:00] Seeing where things go[2:45] Purpose Behind Young M.A’s NFT Drop[9:29] Surprising Price Point For Young M.A’s NFT Capsule[10:14] Young M.A Has Hesitations About The Drop (Honest Talk) [12:32] Prioritizing Long-Term Impact With Business Ventures[12:55] Young M.A’s Relationship With Fame[15:37] How Young M.A Approaches Non-Music Business Ventures[20:10] Partnering With Serenade For The NFT Drop[23:22] Keeping Up With Web 3.0 & Music Industry [28:00] Young M.A Understands Her Place In The IndustryListen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSSHost: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.coGuests: Young M.A, @youngma, serenade.co/@youngma Trapital is home for the business of hip-hop. Gain the latest insights from hip-hop’s biggest players by reading Trapital’s free weekly memo. Transcript________________Young M.A  00:00When it comes to business, you might not always know. You can't always say you know people. Even if you research them, no matter what the situation is, sometimes things might not work for you. You know what I mean? So you just look more to it. And you see how it goes as it goes. I mean, seeing business situations I handled in the past, some things didn't go right. Some things went right, you know, and it's just like with them. I feel good, you know? And it was like, let's go, let's see where it goes. Let's take these events and take risks. Dan Runcie  00:31Hey, welcome to the Trapital podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from executives in music, media, entertainment, and more, who are taking hip hop culture to the next level.  Today's guest is Young M.A. You may know her for her hits like BROOKLYN (Chiraq), OOOUUU, and plenty others that helped her go six times platinum. I knew this was going to be a good interview because, the moment that I logged on to the chat, Young M.A was already in there. And her first words were "took you long enough." And that's what I knew that we're in for a good one. Young M.A came on the Trapital podcast because she just had an NF T drop for her latest single Aye Day Pay Day. And she did it as a series of stories throughout her career. And she launched her NFTs different than most artists do. As I've written and talked about on this podcast, people have looked at NFTs as a way to monetize and make a lot of money from being able to sell high-end products as collectibles. But Young M.A is going about in a different way. She only has 250 drops for each of the five NFTs in this collection. And she's only selling them for $20. That's it. So we talked about the decision, how she's approached this, and why she made the decision that she has. And I think a lot of this ties into her mentality. As an artist, Young M.A is one of the more strong proponents of being an independent artist and what that means. And we talked about how this relates to how she looks at record labels and a lot of the deals that she's turned down. And we also talked about some of      Young M.A's investments too. She's invested in a bunch of different areas. So we talked about that. We also talked about some of the other trends happening in this music industry, how she keeps up with everything, how her team is structured, and a whole lot more. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Here's my chat with Young M.A. All right, today, we're joined by the one and only Young M.A, who has a big drop for us today. She is launching an NFT. And I'm excited and I want to hear more. So break it down. Why was now the time for you to make this drop happen?Young M.A  02:45I see. You know, I'm the same person. I don't, I don't talk all that extra “Aaah.”  I keep it real. The big one since A1.  You know what I mean? I honestly didn't know too much about it, you know what I mean? I used to see it every now and then. And I didn't understand what it was because I'm the type of person like, like, if it don't make sense to me at the moment of me seeing it, I'm just not going to pay attention. I don't see interest into things that everybody else see interesting, too, you know what I mean? So that was literally the case. But I didn't see it casually and then once my team brought it to my attention, it was like, oh, okay, I know what you're talking about, you know what I mean? Like, I've seen, so I'm guessing this is like the new way of things, new wave of things, or whatever. So focusing my attention, you know, just basically gave me the intellect of it, the background of it, detail and everything like that. Somehow, Okay, okay, no, still not understanding it too much. But you know, kind of intrigued into it. And they kind of like broke it down. So I was like, Yo, give me a little more like pinpoint, because like, I do want to understand this situation, because it'd be something that's going to be longevity, and something's that's gonna help, you know, long term future-wise. And it's like, one of the new way that's coming in, you know, why not, you know, at least, you know, check it out. So we talked more about it, had a meeting, and, and we came up with kind of like I did. So once they broke down the ideas to me of like, what's, like, the meaning of it. And also like, what I would do if I do it. And then it become a more of understanding that was like, Okay, now I can go, you know what I mean? It's not just like, like anything we ever did before. Like, it's not like, it's, like, we did but like more digital, you know what I mean? It's like what we did but digital, in a different sense. So I'm like, okay, I get it now. So once I got that understanding, there's like, I got more intrigued, and I was like, let's go. You know, I'm the type of person, like, I'd take risks. I don't believe in like, No, I gotta, I gotta be the see it to believe it type person, like, I got to see. You know, even if I got to take that risk. I had taken risk all my life, so now I was like, I want to take this risk of, a new risk of taking risk. Let's take this risk. So we got to to it on, whatever the case, got involved with a team or whatever. And we came to a point where it was like, alright, if I'm going to do this, you already know my vibe. Not going to do it on nobody else's terms and circumstances and shit like that. Like, I know how it moves. So me understanding that this is how it goes about, let's go into a route where it's going to make, make sense for me. That's always been my, my way of grinding since I came up. Anything that I've ever done always went in a sense of how I had to do, so on and, you know, still be independent, of course. So we came up with this, all my team came up with this plan of like just creating like a timeline of, like, when I first started. Literally from the ground up, like... I wouldn't say the ground up because literally I started from the ground like, like, probably like 19 years old. For like far as like when social media and stuff like that really came into play as far as music, we wanted to start from there and we started from like my first freestyling, like, went viral, BROOKLYN (Chiraq Freestyle), you know what I mean?  When Facebook was like one of the hottest things ever, at the time, like Instagram was still hot. Cool. Instagram was hot but like, Facebook was one of the places where you want to go viral before you went viral on Instagram. Before... I came from them. I mean, SoundCloud, before there was SoundCloud rappers, I was on SoundCloud, you know what I mean? So like, we really wanted to bring that world into, like, just my supporters and my fan base. So it's really not too much about trying to sell this. It's more so about trying to give back to my supporters. In a way now that I understand that NF T is a way of them making money by just putting one investment into me, after like years of investment you will put into me, this is your way of making money, just like that? Come on, man. You know, I mean, like of course, I'm gonna jump into that. But of course, I still need to know more detail into it or whatever the case. So as time goes on, we come up with the details, we like, let's pinpoint the biggest times on your career. Chiraq Freestyle go viral. Boom. Years later, everybody knows, a lot of being on all these like big radio stations. Hot 97. after that and we went viral. On this... She started doing shows in Connecticut and Tri-state areas. You know what I mean? Like, I'm starting to do these type of things. Now my come up is coming up. Now OOOUUU come out, boom, because they like we need a club record. Boom, come with them. Exactly. I gotcha, you know what I mean? Like boom, OOOUUU, come out. Now that's became the biggest break now. Now, I'm crossing other into the industry. Another, you know, milestone in my career. We go from that, boom. And now we go into Petty Wap. It is a lot. So like, that's basically the timeline. Like there's so much that I did in between each time that could really count. But it's like, when you pinpoint, like, literally, like, the bowstones of everything. So like, that's what the NFT is really about, it was creating and like, like, you know, the longevity and what could create from each individual situation that you might not never know, that might develop as you go, you know what I mean? So that's what I feel like my NFT should be about. I don't know what everybody else is doing and shit about. Like, I heard about the research, I heard about, you know, people's, like, unreleased stuff. Of course, like I do unreleased music, or unreleased merch or unreleased things and shit like that. Of course, you get the exclusive. But to me, like, my NFTs, they have to, like gravitate to something close to me. It made my supporters understand that it's still me. It's not about just, yeah, having new stuff that nobody got. No, it's still connecting with you all. At the end of the day, I look at this. I don't know, I don't look at this for money. Like, I don't know, I don't know where people mine that or whatever. As humans, whatever the case, and they only be... But like me, as a artists. I always had this mindset. I treat my supporters as my family, for, like, this my way of, like, giving back. It's like me getting a platinum plaque. And seeing that I went platinum again. Like just, like it just, like I feel so good about just having that platinum plaque as another accomplishment. There's no one that I'm doing what I'm doing. So like for them to have something valuable, 250 out of millions, billions, and trillions of people in this world. You got that? Like, that's what matters to me. I don't know about that money stuff, bro. Okay, so that's what I'm trying to say.Dan Runcie  08:51Yeah. Was it tough to limit the amount because it's only 250 people for each of the drops, and you got a lot of...Young M.A  08:52Exactly. Dan Runcie  08:54...Young M.A fans out there. Was it tough to limit it?Young M.A  08:59Yeah, that's basically the case. Like, I'm still trying to figure it out. Like once it dropped and I see like how things go about, I just want to see the reaction. Like, I'm not even looking into like, like, I know the money aspects of things. And if you want to talk money, but, like, my benefit from it is more so like seeing what they value from it, you know what I mean? Like...Dan Runcie  09:20Yeah, let's talk the money piece of it first, just to get that out of the way. So you got 250 of volume. And of course, the goal is to sell out, how much are they? And are they different prices for each of the five different ones? Young M.A  09:29No, they're $20. Dan Runcie  09:31And see that's important because I think most people that do drops like this, if you only have a limited amount, they think it's going to be thousands of dollars, right? But you're like, so essentially it's like a first come first whoever gets it first, right? Young M.A  09:42Yeah, $20, $20. I feel like, you know, like my supporters.  If you could buy merch, I mean my merch is more $20, oh there you go. If my merch is, like, more than $20, or you could buy a ticket to come see me, my whole package, meet and greets, all that, it should be like a bucket of change. If you can spend $20 just have an NFT of me and make money off it, like, I don't know what to say, you know, like, I'm not a...  I just feel like, you know, like, we take risks, we take risks.Dan Runcie  10:08Do you feel like this was a big risk for you though? Because I feel like it's a slam dunk. I mean, you know that you got the fans that are going to want it. Young M.A  10:14Yeah, I mean, I don't look at it like a slam dunk, though. I don't know why. And that's just me being honest. I don't know why, like, I don't know, if it's just not in my heart to like, I don't really look at money value. I don't know. There's just something, I don't know. It's just something in my heart that just never been that person. Like, of course, I'm going to make money. Yes, I had to make money to survive. But my intent into going into things be more deeper than people ever think. Like, I really think deeper into things, like I have to understand. Because if I don't understand something 100%, like, what this NFT, I'm gonna keep it G. I don't know 100% about it. I do know enough. But I don't know 100%. And when I don't know, 100%+, about something. I'm not going to never put my trust into it. 100%. I'm going put my trust into how much I understand. So my trust is how much I understand per say, right? You know what I mean? And I just want to see how my supporters feel and what's gonna make them happy. If it ain't making them happy, I want to do it. And that's real, bro.Dan Runcie  11:13Oh, yeah. And I think the good thing with it, too, you have other exclusive perks lined up. If someone collects all five of them, then you invite them to certain things, and you know fans are always going to appreciate that. And I feel like this also taps into how you run your game in the industry from since you've been in this, you know, because you were always more about longevity. You were always more about the money. That is how you approach any deal that came through or you weren't trying to approach it with a bag. It wasn't about the bag, it had to be more than that.Young M.A  11:42Yeah, I had to always be more. I've been sitting in so many record labels... I fell asleep in one, I ain't going to say which label. I'm not going to say which one. But I literally lay my head on the table because they just said everything everybody else said and I don't have none of these labels. I don't. I just felt like it just wasn't, it wasn't in my league. You know what I mean? So I didn't want to tap into, some certain people I didn't want to sign to. I just felt like independent was my best move, because I just understood me. Like it was just more so, like. the industry wasn't about money to me. It wasn't about that. It was more so about understanding me as an artist, and how I express myself, and who I am. You all don't know me. You all don't know. You don't know. So you all can't tell me, which I can do for me. All you have to tell me what it is I can do for y'all that will do for me. But it won't do for me. Dan Runcie  12:31Right.Young M.A  12:32You know what I'm saying? So like, I'd rather move slow-paced than fast-paced. Just to get a quick dollar? No, like, like, I love the position I'm it. Like, I don't like that fast life. I don't even like the fame. I don't. I just love my supporters. I love when I go on stage. I love when I got to handle my business, when I got to handle my business. You know what I mean? And just like, just enjoying life, as long as my family's taken care of. That's all I care about, like all that fast-paced stuff and all that stuff like that. Like, I don't need it. It's fun when it's fun, like I can have those moments. I can go on a boat. I'm going on a yacht. I can drive a fast car. I can drive them... And it's just like, Okay, now like, I'm going to... I go to club, I can go...Dan Runcie  13:11Let's talk about relationship with fame. Because I feel like that's an interesting point, right? Like you would have the moment after, what is, Chiraq Freestyle or even after OOOUUU when things blew up. Now you're a few years past that. Do you feel like, the way things are right now, you're in a pretty good spot where, you know, I feel like the level of fame I have is in line with where I am comfortable, or do you still feel like no, no, I wish I was less famous than this.Young M.A  13:37No, actually, I think I'm in a comfortable spot. Because even when sometimes, like now, like I noticed, like, of course, I get bored. You know, sometimes you get bored. You know, that's just normal human being stuff. But you'll get bored. So you want to go out. And then sometimes I'll go out. And they'd be like, like, this is so normal. Like, I just be seeing guys. It's just everybody just acting... Like, man, been there, done that. And it's just like, so, it's just so common. It's like sometimes, like it'd be certain moments that feel good. It's like, this is the time to celebrate, like it's like accomplishment to me now more so than just going out for fun, like random and stuff like that. You know what I mean? Now it was more so like if we go out we have a good time, it's because we just, we just, you know, dropped the check or something. You know what I mean? Are we just invested in something, you know, we just got this or we got that. Like that celebration to me more is now more of a celebration and more fun to me now. All of just like randomly going out stuff to me is like. it's cool, but it's like, it's not as exciting. And I'm going to say that and that's just me being honest. Like, I can say it's me getting older but I can just say it's really me just probably, it's just, something that I always had in me. Like, even when I used to, like go out when the phase first happened, with OOOUUU and all that. It was fun, but I still wasn't like dramatic about it. Like I was never like that, Oh yeah, I'm happy to be in clubs, like, it was just like enjoying the moment I guess. Like, it was like one of the... Cool, cool, but I still wasn't like extra, like, I never got in trouble. I never went, you know what I mean? I never went crazy. You know, I still kept my composure even when having that much success and fame at the very moment. So like, even now that I've been there, done that, it's like, I'd be looking around at people and I'll just be like, damn, I understand. But like, to me, like, it's like, I can leave right now and be okay. You know? And that's where my mind and like, I'm automatically thinking like, damn, so tomorrow, I need to figure out, like, what next business move... And that's really when my mind be like, all day running like that. And that's just really how I be like.Dan Runcie  15:37Let's take a quick break to hear a word from this week's sponsor. Yeah, I feel like with you especially, you mentioned the investment piece. What does that piece of your business look like? What are some of the investment opportunities you've looked at? And how do you evaluate them?Young M.A  15:38Well, I can't tell you too much. So I'm going to shhh on that. But what I am, into I'm not going to tell you what I'm...Dan Runcie  15:55You're going to give us something public though?Young M.A  15:57So right now I got the, of course, the NFT and then I got the sex toy line that a lot of people, I mean, they aware of it but like, you know, just to get more aware in, you know, when we have these interviews. I have a sex toy line being that people want to talk about my strap, like I use things to my advantage. That just makes sense. Like, you got to talk about me, you're going to walk about me, you know what I mean? So like, I got the sex toy line that I originally created in collab with Doc Johnson, which is a big sex company located, like, based in LA, or whatever the case and, like, they just known, like, everywhere, like, they're literally like a big ass company. And we had like a meeting, went probably like three years ago. And we locked out with them and I came up with this own, my own sex toy line called Play Nyce, called Play Nyce. N-Y-C, so N-Y-C-E, so that's Play Nyce with a Y. That's why... With a Y. I just placed everything in one and NYC. I always do that. Like, even with my chains like this is Young M.A but it looked like the Loki symbol. You know, I always put anything when it comes to, like, where I'm from, what I'm based on, everything, just as long as it what makes sense. But like, yeah, we came up with that. So like, it's like a whole starter kit of sex toys and like, you know, strap-ons, and stuff like that. And even cleaning your strap-ons or whatever. So when they can't, you know, get pleased by whoever they want to get pleased by, they please they self. And then I also got the vibrators as well, because a lot of women are using vibrators now, and that's also by Play Nyce but it's called Power Play. Because there's a lot of power and it plays with that... And that's just, you know what I'm saying? And you know, I got a lot of, like, lot of positive comments back from that Power Play right there. And a lot of women use vibrators. And it's, like, so many different styles, they've been telling me about. So I've been doing my research and trying to get to it. So like, I just started off with that. So I'm gonna get more in tune with that, because that's literally like, a way for women, and I love women. So that's always going to work for me. So I'm definitely locking in with that, like, continuously. So that's just been in the works on that. So my website is shopyoungma. Everything is on shopyoungma.com. And then I got the PSD collaboration as well with my boxers. So we got like different, like, styles of boxers. like women's booty short-type boxers, and they got the men's boxers. Well, briefs, boxer briefs, like locked and tight. And then they got the women's sports bras. We actually got like all my designs and stuff like that. So we've been locked in with PTSD so make sure you all check that out as well. So it's basically underwear. And also Nyak. Nyak is my liquor brand that I've been associated with. They also had their own company, but they brought me a part of it with my own VSOP bottle. So I get my benefits from my actual own bottle which is all red. This is brown, is a brown label, is called Nyak, N-Y-A-K, you know what I mean? And mine's an all-red bottle, same thing, Nyak. But my actual, like, logo was on the bottle so you know it's mine, it's all red. And so I've been like, you know what I mean, doing little entrepreneur stuff, and then we got more stuff too, but you know, I'm just going keep quiet and not tell you.Dan Runcie  19:02No, I hear that. Well, I appreciate you sharing those though. And the sex toys and the adult toys in general. I feel like that lines up with some of the stuff you've done before. I know you've directed adult films before so I feel like you've been in this space.Young M.A  19:16Yeah, yeah. Exactly. And that's why it was perfect to actually release that because it wasn't coming from left field, you know what I mean, when that first came out. It was like a lot of people was like oh... Like, Young M.A on porn? So that literally became like a token discussion or whatever, so then it was like perfect timing because it's like, so now you're all talking about this, I see you're always talking about my strap, I was like, let's bridge the gap. There you go. So now I'm making money from you all. Hello. From not even from just y'all, from the people that... You know what I mean, like girl, or a man, I don't even care. It don't matter.Dan Runcie  19:51Yeah, so I feel like that lines up, too, and even back to the first piece. I know you've got the partnership here with Serenade for the NFT drop itself and... what does that relationship like? And I guess, first, what was it that made you want to partner with them on this? And then what does the relationship look like with them moving forward?Young M.A  20:10I ain't going to lie... I believe they didn't know too much about, you know what I mean? Like, I just know, once, you know, I really got the confirmation that they was, you know, more so equal, friendly, equal, friendly more than anything, and that's a big plus, in itself. Why do we want to establish more of a relationship with them? You know what I mean, after this NFT drop, and that's what kind of what we've been planning. You know what I mean? Like, I'm more so like an observant person, like, once I meet you, I understand. He was like, okay, cool. So once I met them, and it's like, okay, you know what I mean, we can move forward. If things don't go right then things don't go, right. That's just in the business. And so you know, what I mean, I'm not giving nobody the highest benefits of anything, you know, I'm not saying this person is so, so good. No, but they definitely good people to work with. And it's different discussions, different people. And I decided, you known what I mean, just to see where it go. Like we said, we'll take risks in life, see where it goes, I don't think they bad people. We're going to see where it goes. I'm still learning about this NFT more and more, and I just want to see where it goes. And that's was just pretty much that, you know what I mean? Too much to go into detail but I appreciate them for even giving me the opportunity. You know what I mean? They definitely looked out a lot, you know what I mean? a lot. And I could tell they have a lot of hustle and motivation to put forward into my NFT. So that's one of the reasons to as to why we work with them. Because I really feel like intuition with certain people and just having to understand, like, when it comes to business, you might not always know. You can't always say you know people. Even if you research them, no matter what the situation is, sometimes things might not work for you. You know what I mean? So you just look more to it. And you see how it go as it goes. I mean, seeing business situations I handled in the past, some things didn't go right. Some things went right, you know, and it's just like with them. I feel good, you know? And it was like, let's go, let's see where it goes. Let's take these events and take risks. Dan Runcie  21:52Yeah, it makes me think of two things. One, with Serenade, their eco-friendly pitch stuck out to me, too, just because a lot of people don't talk about how much energy is burned when people are either making NFTs or doing things related to gas fees, or any of this stuff like, it's a lot. Well, I'm glad that they're pushing that piece of it. And then, two, what I like about this for you, as well, is I've seen a lot of these times where new platforms or newer platforms will pitch themselves to a popular artist that has a fan base and then if they're able to grow with it, then that obviously attracts more and more artists, and then the artist gets a bit of that influence sort of help push this and they become, in many ways, one of the faces to push that brand through, especially if things continue to grow.Young M.A  22:36Right. Exactly. So like it's just understandable. Like, some, some, some people, you know, you got to get it like, that's why I said, like, I'm learning more about this, this, this, this whole company, this whole NFT thing, this whole new dispersion of just this new, new elevation of life, you know, and the evolution of life. And that's what I'm getting at. And I just want people to just... I want people to put the same kind of risk into and just had that understanding and learn more because like it's going... no matter what we do. We know we want to be so old school as much as possible. We're like, you know, you can still hold on to that like, Oh, no to the... But like, you still got to make sure you had...Dan Runcie  23:15Right. How do you keep up with all of it? I mean, every week, I feel like there's something new happening with Web 3.0 or that Metaverse.Young M.A  23:22Right, me too. I feel like... I feel like damn, wait, what's this right here? Like, I ain't going to lie, like, I ain't going to lie. It is hard to keep up with. I mean, I'm getting it, you know. I feel like I don't got to force it, too? You know, I don't always feel like I have to force it. Like, I'm the type of person, I will catch up with yo ass. I'm not running around, laps around, you know what I mean? Like, if you're already ahead, I'm like, alright, alright. I'm observing. I'm like that turtle, you know what I mean? Chasing the rabbit? Dan Runcie  23:50Yep. Yep. Young M.A  23:51You know, I mean, yeah, so...Dan Runcie  23:53Yeah, that's the thing. We're still in the early days with this, too. I think that's what people forget, I get it. Everyone wants to jump at the newest thing of the opportunity that's there. But we're still figuring a lot out about how so much of this is gonna shake out. And I feel like the way you're doing it is right. It's not like you're saying, No, I don't fully understand. But alright, if I get this enough to at least test this out, no different than a startup, just put it at initial product. Let's see how this works. All right. And we learned and then we continue to tweak.Young M.A  24:22Exactly, you know what I mean? You just learn as you go. That's how I look at life, you learn as you go. I mean, some things may not work for you, something will. You never know. Like, even if it don't, it may be something that makes you do something that changed something. You know what I mean? You might retreat something. You don't know where this is going to lead you. Everybody could be entrepreneurs. Anybody could just be what they could be, you know what I mean?  And that's just way of...Dan Runcie  24:44Yeah, for sure. Young M.A  24:45Yeah.Dan Runcie  24:45If anything, now, there's probably getting even more, with people reaching out about different opportunities. It's like you're picking your spots, right? And kind of with how you structured your career, I bet that you say no a lot, even if it's outside of the record labels or anyone else, just because there's only so much that you want to focus on. And there's only so much that you can do. So if you're saying yes to something that means it's definitely crossed at some level where it's like, no, this is worth our time. And we think that this is worth the potential benefit of what it could do for our fans and for us.Young M.A  25:17Yeah, me and my team, we family. You know what I mean? They consider me like a boss, but I don't consider that. I just consider us all, you know, just everybody working in this spots, in place, of course, I'm the yay or the nay... I mean, if I want to do it, I won't do it. If I want to do it, I'm going to do it. And there's that. But other than that, like that's what I said, I don't, I don't need a hundred people... As long as I got the right people and the right positions. That's all. That's all about relationships, man. It's all about relationships, whatever relationship you decide to, you know, what I mean, you keep or whatever you feel like is right for you, go about that. Other than that, like, I always know, like, I will avoid certain things. People look at something like glamor... and think that's just it all the time because they want to keep a certain relationship. But like, I don't think nothing's wrong with it. Don't get me wrong, but like, I don't have the kiss nobody else. Like, it ain't that I don't want to I'm not just a mean person, just like, I still always stand like firm to my ground. Like, I always stand firm to like, certain things, I believe in certain things on this day. When I see through somebody and I see bullshit, I will literally like just leave you alone, like there's no talking about that. And I don't have to go against you. I don't have to be mad, or will be angry. I got to be aggressive? No, Just like... And we go about our business. And it's just about that, you know what I mean? Like, I see when one person act towards this person this certain way and this person acts towards this person a certain way. I see those type of vibes. And when I see those type of vibes, I just don't look at you genuinely. You know what I mean? So, I know when somebody... And that's how I move with you, I move with you the same way you're probably moving. And that's just that, you know I mean? That's how I just, you know what I mean, like, I just understand this game and all that that's why I don't really play too much part into things like, I got a lot of people associated with in this industry that a lot of friends and then they got people that... but that's just a game. And I understood that a long time ago.Dan Runcie  27:02Right. And I feel like with how you’ve built this, what it ties back to you for me is you have a very clear understanding of who you are and what you want out of this game. And because of that, it helps you make better decisions and helps you not have that fear of missing out that other people do and you can be like No, like we're focused on what we're doing. And I think that's what hurts so many artists because so many artists get frustrated that they're not doing what that 1% of people are doing, they're not doing that thing and I think that mentality can all always just set you up for not feeling fulfilled or not feeling like you're doing enough. But you were able to have a pretty even perspective with that. Do you feel like you always had that? Or do you feel like that's something that you just became better with navigating over your career?Young M.A  27:48No, I always had that. Because if I didn't, I would have been so.Dan Runcie  27:51Yeah, yeah. Well, the thing is, though, you did say that there were times where you did go back and forth and you at least considered whether you should or not, right?Young M.A  28:00No, I had meeting yes, I have meetings of course. I had meetings. I wasn't, it wasn't that I wasn't I never going to give nobody a chance. I wasn't like... that's what I'm trying to say. I'm not against it. I'm not against it. I'm never against nothing. I've never against nothing. It's just like, I give things the actual opportunity. I'm a type of person, like, if I know for sure, for sure that it is not right, then, of course, it's clear. I already know. Because I know, because I know. But other than that, if I don't know, and I'm like, alright, let me just, at least, even if I have an intuition, I'm going to still go try. And if I'm right, then I'm right. If I'm wrong then damn, you know what I mean? Change my mind, you know, and I go from there. Like, that's just how I look at it. You know what I mean? Like, I'm not against nothing. I'm never against nothing. It's just more so like, I want nobody to feel like I'm like, against, like, what people will do or how they do it, or... Anybody can do how they want to do what they want to do when they want to do. Me, I'm just the type of person where I observe, you know what I mean? I go about it how I go about it. I want nobody to feel like I'm like, this person where I'm just happy-go-lucky, then. You know what I mean? You feel like, oh, yeah, we got to have it. Because that's how people come into it. Like these little young boys, young kids. They're so happy to have opportunity but they don't read between the lines, you know what I mean? And that's what it means. And I mean, always you have a lawyer and always you had somebody, a guardian beside you, you know, always you have somebody to understand, or you might have been people, enough people might just be really just trying to take advantage of you the whole time. You know what I mean? So like, I just don't trust nothing. Even if next to me, you won't don't got to be across the table. You could be next to me and I still don't... So like, that's just how I've always have moved, like, I always move like make sure I'll protect me. You know what I mean? Like, you can say you're for me. I will hear that. But I mean, I got to believe, right?Dan Runcie  29:46No, that's real. That's not real. And I mean, I appreciate you for sharing the insights here. I feel like a lot of people have looked up to you and appreciated how you run your career and I feel like this drop, this NFT job specifically, it's just that next evolution that ties back to everything you've been doing, so before we let you go, is there anything else you want to plug or you want to let the Trapital audience to know about?Young M.A  30:06Yeah, just know we're going on tour, man. April 23. We're in VA, Portsmouth, VA. . Portsmouth Virginia. It's at the 420ish, it's called the 420ish Festival. Make sure you have... that's where you start. And then I think we're in Cincinnati after that. 26 and then 27, I think the tour will be in Mesa, so we'll be able to on tour for a month. Off The Yak tour. Yeah, so that's pretty much, NFT about to drop. New music be here soon, I can't, I don't really know if we should. I'm going throw that in the air real quick...Dan Runcie  30:37Yeah. Because I was gonna say I thought you got a song lined up with the NFT drop, right?Young M.A  30:39Oh, yeah. Aye Day Pay Day. Dan Runcie  30:40Yeah.Young M.A  30:40Aye Day Pay Day. That's right, Aye Day Pay Day, y'all. Aye Day Pay Day.Dan Runcie  30:46I know, I was gonna say we can't let the interview cut if you don't mention the song. But Young M.A, this is great. I appreciate you coming on.Young M.A  30:52Thank you both. I appreciate it you guys.Dan Runcie  30:56If you enjoyed this podcast, go ahead and share with a friend. Copy the link, text it to a friend, post it in your group chat, post it in your Slack groups. Wherever you and your people talk, spread the word. That's how Trapital continues to grow and continues to reach the right people. And while you're at it, if you use Apple podcast, go ahead, rate the podcast, give it a high rating, and leave a review. Tell people why you liked the podcast. That helps more people discover the show. Thank you in advance. Talk to you next week.Advertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
Apr 29 2022
31 mins