Jim Mallonee - 35+ Years of Booking and Promoting the Greatest Artists of our Lifetime at the Highest Level

Ep.080 Cover - Jim Mallonee.jpg

You can also listen to this episode on iTunes | Spotify | Stitcher |

One can’t do a lot of things great at one time, but one can do a lot of great things over a lifetime. Jim Mallonee is the Senior Vice President of Southeast Booking for Live Nation and House of Blues Entertainment. With over 35+ years of promoting concerts in the Southeast United States, he has worked with some of the greatest artists in our generation. Any reputable booking agent that has booked a show in the Southeast over the last 35 years, has worked with Jim Mallonee. He is a true legend of our industry, and established longevity in the music business through kindness, mentorship, and building amazing teams around him. This podcast was recorded live from University of Central Florida (UCF). In this conversation we cover some of the many stories that Jim has to share, his journey, advice on getting into the business, and much more.

I met Jim Mallonee prior to working at House of Blues in New Orleans. It was while I was still at the Plaza Live. At the time, I had already interviewed for HOB New Orleans the first time, and didn’t get the job offer. From that interview I learned a lot, and the importance of relationships. I really wanted to get to know Jim Mallonee, and learn what characteristics it would take to get a job with Live Nation in the future. When I reached out, he invited me to lunch at House of Blues. From the first minute, he was one of the kindest people I’ve ever met in the business full of wisdom, passion to teach, and wanting to empower others. I remember him ordering multiple desserts, just because he wanted me to try them. That was such a fun meeting. It was 2 years later, when I finally got a job offer to come to House of Blues New Orleans, where I met so many amazing people who have become my mentors. It’s a real blessing to have been able to work for Jim Mallonee’s team, and still having him as a friend many years later.

To learn more about the shows Jim Mallonee is booking visit http://www.houseofblues.com/orlando or http://www.houseofblues.com/myrtlebeach.

This episode was recorded LIVE form the University of Central Florida - the National Football Champions!!

Highlights from this episode:
[3:54] How Do You Stay Motivated
[5:47] Good traits of a Talent Buyer
[12:58] Background of Musician Days
[18:53] Day to Day Schedule
[23:09] Low Turnover Rate @ Live Nation
[26:24] Life Lessons
[28:23] Changing A Show Lineup Last Minute
[31:36] Social Media
[31:47] Small Artists Blowing Up
[33:33] How Artists Change Over Time
[35:20] Some Things Students Should Work on to Build Resume
[37:11] Booking Artists
[42:57] Balance Between Personal and Work Life
[46:34] First Concert
[46:53] Something Jim is Excited About
[48:28] Guilty Food Pleasures
[50:22] Hollywood Vampires
[52:15] Storytime

Quotes from Jim Mallonee:
“You need to listen with your head, not your heart. You’ve got to be able to be profitable."
“You’ve got to listen to what other people say about this artist.”
“Show em, be truthful, be ethical. Be ethical every minute of every day.”
“If they can count on you, they will remember that next time when something good comes along.”
“People by and large, people don’t forget when they see you take hard times and make them into as good as they can be.”
“I make myself manually a list of my goals for the day. And these change a lot. We work in a business that is very so peaks and valleys. You win big and loose big.”
“I don’t like to hire people that I have to boss and tell what to do everyday.”
“You’ve got to respect different styles. I want people of varied opinions, different backgrounds.”
“I bug the crap out of everyone I deal with. I say 'REALLY give me your opinion on this or that.’”
“Don’t get blind-sided. This is about a hell of a lot more than you. Quit being a bull-head SOB and move forward.”
“Take the first thing that makes sense with the company you are with, take the lowest level dog, work like a mad-demon. Make sure you take on 3-people’s jobs. Make yourself indispensable at all times.”
“It will take you 2-3 years to do 2-3 people’s jobs so you will be of value.”
“80 hours a week, every week without fail.”
“I generally do listen to every artist before we book them.”
“With breaking artists, it just don’t work with radio anymore.”
“Sometimes you just have to take the weekend off."
“Michael Rapino gives a damn about the people.”
“I’m inspired by moments.”
“Music industry needs heart."

Jim Mallonee's Definition of Making It:
"To get those (exceptional) moments"

Keep in touch:
chris.goyzueta@gmail.com
www.makingitwithchrisg.com
https://www.instagram.com/chrisgoyzueta/
https://www.facebook.com/makingitwithchrisg

Credits:
Host: Chris Goyzueta (Chris G.)
Producer: Jason Trosclair
Executive Producer: ONElive Creative Agency  
Music: Emily Kopp

Jovan Polanco - Founder of Swerve Presents, An Independent Promoter and Content Creator with a Focus on Creating a Brand with Culture

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You can also listen to this episode on iTunes | Spotify | Stitcher |

This episode was recorded live from Florida International University (FIU) 

When the average concert goer goes to a show, they don’t know the difference between Live Nation, AEG Presents, or whomever else is promoting the show. They are there to see their favorite artists, or go see a great show at one of their favorite venues. Jovan Polanco, is a independent promoter, talent buyer, and content creator that’s looking to change that. As the founder of Swerve Presents, he’s looking to create a concert promotions brand with a culture and personality that fans will remember. In this conversation, we discuss the process of booking a concert, competing in a very competitive environment, strategic partnerships, brand building, and much more. This episode is the first ever live podcast, recorded at Florida International University, in Music Business 101.

To learn more about Jovan Polanco, visit http://swerve.life/.  

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Highlights from this Episode
[4:45] About Jovan Polanco
[5:56] Learning how the Music Business works
[7:00] Using content to build a concert promotions brand
[8:36] The Swerve Presents Team
[9:58] Having first priority at venues
[10:14] Dealing with venues and creating partnerships
[11:55] The history and business model of Swerve Presents
[16:25] The booking process
[19:34] Biggest challenges as an independent protomer
[21:33] Dealing with agents
[25:36] Plans for Swerve Presents
[27:22] What gets Jovan’s attention as a Talent Buyer
[30:55] Drawing attention from a market for you events
[33:25] Booking Artist’s that don’t fit the company culture
[38:38] Growing contacts from volunteering at festivals
[41:21] Philosophy on how to learn the ins and outs of the music business
[47:50] Getting to know Jovan Polanco

Quotes from Jovan Polanco
“I was doing other things in school to prepare me for what I‘m doing now.”
“Learning how to market parties, translates into marketing shows.”
“As a independent promoter that doesn’t own venues, your venue deal will make or break your shows.”
“When you’re working with other promoters, definitely have a contract.”
“A lot of times people don’t want to jump on, until they see something is moving and happening.”
“To gain leverage in Talent Buying, I need to book multiple markets.”
“In the beginning it’s all about creating a connection, and get the agent to know who (you) are.”
“Our mission is to change the face of the industry.”
“Most of my first bookings came from meeting the agents at conferences.”
“If it’s good music, and we can get behind it, we should support it.”
“Going to the conferences is super pivotal if you want to do this.”
“When you go to a conference, you should have something you’re working.”
“If I approach a person at a conference, think about how you can add value to them.”
“College creates the environment to learn things on a micro level.”
“If you want to survive in the next 20 years, you need to be putting out content.”

Links to people, places, and things mentioned
Swerve Presents
Florida International University (FIU)
Live Nation
AEG Presents
TSA-Showcase
WRLD Entertainment
Revolt Music Conference
SXSW
Billboard Booking & Touring Conference
Dan Larson
Okeechobee Music Festival
Lil Uzi Vert
21 Savage
Meg White (Agent at ICM)
J.I.D
Moneybagg Yo
Trippie Redd
Maggie Rogers
Billie Eilish
Creative Artists Agency (CAA)
William Morris Endeavour (WME)
Promoter 101
Gary Vaynerchuck
Short Story Long (Podcast)
The Come Up Show (Podcast)  
Martin Luther King
Jay-Z
J. Cole
[BOOKS]
All You Need to Know About the Music Business by Donald Passman

Jovan Polanco’s Definition of Making It:
“Being able to do what I love full time, and being able to support myself of it.”

Get in touch with Jovan Polanco
http://swerve.life/
IG: @swervepresents
Twitter: @swervepresents

Related Articles & Episodes:
1. Ron Richard - Talent Buyer at One Eyed Jacks in New Orleans - Episode #071
2. Life of a Talent Buyer - Lessons to Becoming a Concert Promoter - Episode #036
3. Dan Larson - The Spectrum of Talent Buying - Episode #023

Ron Richard - Owner of SimplePlay Presents and Talent Buyer at One Eyed Jacks in New Orleans - Artist Development Strategies from Years of Booking and Promoting Live Music

Ep. 071 Cover Ron Richard.jpg

You can also listen to this episode on iTunes | Spotify | Stitcher |

Ron Richard is the owner of New Orleans based Artist Development and Promotions company, SimplePlay Presents, and the Talent Buyer for One Eyed Jacks. In this episode, we cover how to become an artist manager, artist development, booking shows, the advance process, opening for national acts, and much more. Ron has been a concert promoter in New Orleans for over 10 years, and has worked with all the major venues in the market. SimplePlay presents has become a major artist management company in the market that has worked with artists such as Big Freedia, Naughty Professor, Sweet Crude, and many more.

To learn more about Ron Richard, keep in touch with him on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/roncheadle/, and check out the shows he’s booking at One Eyed Jacks at https://www.oneeyedjacks.net/.   

Highlights from this Episode
[2:45] Ron’s first concert experience
[3:45] Ron’s story of getting started in the Music Business
[4:48] What is SimplePlay
[6:08] Skills an Artist Manager Needs
[7:25] Dealing with stressful situations  
[8:30] When artists should pursue managers
[10:15] Things artists should keep track of
[10:40] Managing and working with new artists
[14:18] Lessons from Promoting Shows for Artist Managers
[15:10] Advancing Shows
[16:28] Getting started as an Artist Manager
[18:30] What artists should look for in a manager
[20:05] Favorite New Orleans Jazz Fest moments
[21:32] Starting out as a promoter and reducing risks
[22:55] Making good deals and growing your business
[24:49] Getting started in competitive markets like New Orleans
[26:25] Not burning bridges with competing promoters
[28:00] Types of deal when promoting shows
[29:35] Emailing promoters - etiquette and pet peeves
[32:40] Putting together local shows with other locals
[33:45] Going out to shows
[35:32] Opening for National Acts
[36:52] Common mistakes artists make
[37:40] Lesson that took Ron the longest to learn
[39:31] Dealing with booking contracts
[41:45] Past and current mentors
[42:05] What Ron wants people to know about New Orleans
[43:40] Getting to know Ron Richard

Quotes from Ron Richard
“We sold 2 shirts, but made money on tickets. So, we canned the T-Shirt idea, and got into promoting.”
“You have to know your artist.”
“Go settle up as soon as you can, and make sure you get deposits”
“Go see shows, and talk to artists”
“Be smart with what you choose, and know your market.”
“Sometimes it works out, and sometimes you lose. That’s just how it goes.”
“The worst they can tell you is no, or they’ll just over quote you really high.”
“Work well with everyone, and eventually stuff will come back.”
“Make a point to go to other venues and show face, and talk to other buyers and people.”
“Make your hometown beckon for a show.”
“You don’t want to come off amateur to an agent.”

Links to people, places, and things mentioned
Pearl Jam
Sage Francis
One Eyed Jacks
SimplePlay
Big Freedia
Tank & The Bangas
Sweet Crude
Motel Radio
Coyotes  
Shep Gordon
AEG Presents
Live Nation
Maison
Joy Theater
Orpheum Theater
Sync Up Music Conference
New Orleans Jazz Fest
SXSW  
My Morning Jacket
EOTO
PollstarPro
Genius Sign App
Reptar
Port of Call - New Orleans
Green Day
Office Hours with Tim Heideker  
Tuesdays with Stories with Mark Norman
Hunter S. Thompson
Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon [Documentary]
History of The Eagles [Documentary]  

Ron’s Definition of Making It:
“Doing something you feel really happy doing, and fulfills you. To me, I have the most fun job in the world.”

Get in touch with Ron Richard
IG: @roncheadle

Related Articles & Episodes:
1. Promoter and Artist Deals & Settlements
2. Booking More Shows by Writing Better Emails to Talent Buyers, Promoters, and Venue Owners
3. Opening for National Acts
4. Wayne Lee - Journey of Legendary New Orleans Talent Buyer

Touring with a Plan and Strategy - Where to Play, When to Play, and How to Sell Tickets

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You can also listen to this episode on iTunes | Spotify | Stitcher |

This episode is all about Touring Strategy! How often to play, which cities or markets to play, what types of venues to play, what are promoters, talent buyers, and venue owners looking for, and how do you get a booking agent. This is my first solo, lecture style episode. One of my student's favorite classes is when I cover tour strategy, and it’s a lecture they always ask me to record. Now it’s available not just for my students in the class, but all of the Making It students and listeners around the world. In this episode, you’ll learn some simple easy to use strategies, that will help you simplify the topic of touring, and answer a lot of the common questions I receive.

I’ve seen a lot of artists make many mistakes when it comes to touring. Yes, it’s fun and exciting to hit the road, but it can also be very costly and expensive. Touring up and down the coast or around the country over and over again to play in empty rooms, is just not a good way to do business. Now if you’re just looking for adventure, have at it. I’d love to just circle the country over and over again. However, when it comes to building a career and longevity, it’s better to do things with a strategy. Look at it as a roadmap. You don’t want your driver on the road blind without a game plan or a map to follow. You’ll never get to where you want to go that way, or at least it’ll take much longer. This episode is here to lay out a strategy for you when it comes to touring. It’s not the only way to do things, but it’s something to think about and something anyone could build off of and make it their own.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this solo/lecture style episode. The holidays are a great time to experiment with new formats for the podcast to learn what gives our listeners the most value going, so we can deliver the best content for you in 2018.

Additional Resources to Book Your Next Show/Tour:
1. Booking More Shows by Writing Better Emails to Talent Buyers, Promoters, and Venue Owners
- Use this article to help you book more shows, and write better emails as you’re mapping out your tours, or selecting which markets you’re going to play.

2. 40 Strategies to Promote Your Next Show
- Use this article to help you promote the shows you book, and make sure to grab the free marketing plan below.

3. How to Open for National Acts
- Use this article to help you get opening slots for national acts.

Make sure to read all these articles to really benefit from the strategies mentioned here.

Highlights from this episode:
[5:31] Playing with Purpose
[6:25] Determining your Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)
[10:12] Who Books the Shows
[13:50] What are Promoters Looking For?  
[30:13] The types of Venues to Play
[35:34] How Often to Play
[39:40] Which Cities/Markets to Play
[42:52] How Many Cities to Develop at a Time

Links to people, places, and things mentioned
Delta Rae
Foo Fighters
House of Blues New Orleans
Live Nation
Earthday Birthday
WJRR 101.1
Dickerman from WJRR
SunFest - West Palm Beach
AEG Present
Jason Hunnicutt of 1904 Music Hall
Ari Herstand
Creative Artist Agency (CAA)
William Morris Endeavor (WME)
Paradigm  
Kessler Theater in Dallas, TX
Ari Nisman (College Booking Agent with Degy Entertainment)
Andy Grammer
Steve Aoki
Shannon Curtis
Dawn Beyer
Kyle Lemaire
Vulfpeck  
Chris Stapleton on Joe Rogan Podcast
Hydrogen Child
Joe Pulizzi
[BOOKS]
How to Make It in the New Music Business by Ari Herstand

Booking Agent Interviews
Kevin Stone - Florida Theater - Jacksonville, FL
Wayne Lee - New Orleans, LA
Dan Larson - Okeechobee Music Fest / Venue 578 - Orlando, FL
Allen Anders - AEG Presents - Dallas, TX
Michael Yerke - Live Nation - Los Angeles, CA

Talent Buyer Interviews
Alec Vidmar - United Talent Agency (UTA)
Ari Nisman - Degy Entertainment
Jeff Howard - Agency for the Performing Arts (APA)
Pete Anderson - Agency for the Performing Arts (APA)
Jeremy Holgersen - United Talent Agency (UTA)
Joshua Knight - Paradigm Agency
Meg White - ICM Partners

Ben Weeden - COO of House of Blues Entertainment at Live Nation - Building the Largest Portfolio of Clubs & Theaters for the Most Powerful Concert Promoter in the World

EP050 Cover Ben Weeden.jpg

You can also listen to this episode on iTunes | Stitcher |

Benjamin Weeden is the COO of House of Blues Entertainment at Live Nation for their Clubs & Theaters division. In 2016, his team promoted over 10,000 concerts in the United States. The company owns and operates clubs and theaters all over the United States, and is most known for it’s House of Blues and Fillmore brands. Ben has been with the company literally since day one, having worked along with one of his mentors and CEO of Live Nation, Michael Rapino. In this conversation, we celebrate our 50th episode, and Ben shares a ton of insight and wisdom from his time in the Entertainment Business. We discuss his experience and how he got in, what makes a great talent buyer, what makes his division unique, the most in demand jobs at Live Nation, what his ideal curriculum would look at a Music Business school, and much more.

I have a ton of students that want to become Talent Buyers or work for Live Nation. Ben Weeden shares some great insight on what he personally looks for in Talent Buyers, and also the need for great promoters. In today’s touring industry, understanding social media, how to place efficient and effective ads on Facebook, Twitter, Instagarm, etc. is crucial to being a great marketer/promoter. Also, Ben talks a lot about analyzing data in this episode. One of the jobs I consistently see posted the most is for data analysts. If you can learn how to make marketing decisions based on data analysis, and then sell tickets, that’s where the money is! If you can do that, you’re going to be very successful as a marketer. I love this episode, and how he shared the importance of getting used to promoting 100+ shows per year to become a good Talent Buyer, and put yourself through bootcamp to get ready for the big leagues with Live Nation.

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Highlights from this Episode
(5:30) Ben’s role at Live Nation
(7:00) New venues, acquired and built
(7:42) Sought out trends in the market
(9:50) Current trends in today’s music business, based on live shows
(13:00) Raising ticket prices for smaller, DIY artists
(14:51) Ben’s start in the business
(21:54) Advice for students aspiring to work in Live Nation
(24:50) Advice for talent buying without wasting money
(27:28) Most in demand jobs in the industry
(28:40) College degrees/classes that add value to the music business
(30:30) Courses for Music Business students
(33:17) Lessons learned from Michael Rapino and other mentors
(36:14) Advice on marketing budgeting for emerging bands
(37:53) Ben’s routine for stress relief and mental health
(41:15) Words of wisdom for future talent buyers/promoters

Quotes from Ben Weeden
“When expanding, population and disposable income are two of the most important data points”
“We’re trying to raise our tickets prices in such a way that it goes up with the inevitable rise in talent.”
“For better or for worse, the price of talent will never go down”
“We got to get better at pricing the house without pricing people out of the house.”
“In order to be a top-notch talent buyer, we generally look for buyers that have been playing with their own money, have been promoting a significant volume of shows (over 100 shows a year) and battling bigger guys [in the business]”
“I’ve got a lot of respect for buyers that go out on their own and carve out a niche for themselves”
“Learning the marketing side is very important because at the end of the day we don’t want just talent buyers, we want promoters.”
“We’re all going to book shows that are going to lose money; let’s just learn from it and make sure we don’t book that same show at the same price again.”
“On average, our senior promoters are booking over 200 shows a year…you have to get time with your family; you have to get time with yourself, you have to get time to take your vacations because this business just never stops…”
“It’s a tough business; it’s a grind; if you love music this is certainly the industry to be in nowadays given the importance of touring…you have to find the experience booking shows…take whatever experience you can”
“It’s a great time to be in this business, it’s only going to continue to grow, and there’s only going to be more opportunities…it is a real grind, you have to be prepared for that.”
“Get grounded on all the different facets, finance, marketing, operations and hopefully find a job at a smaller club, grinding it out and booking at a lower volume cause there is where you’re going to get experience.”

Links to people, places, and things mentioned
Live Nation
Grand Rapids (20 Monroe Live)
HOB Anaheim
Buckhead Theater
Queen Theatre
The Van Buren
Bear Sterns                                                                                                
SFX Entertainment
Robert Sillerman
Brian Becker
Milano Concerti
Michael Rapino
Clear Channel Entertainment
Prince
Britney Spears
Neil Diamond
U2
Madonna
Rolling Stones
Ticketmaster
Artist Nation
Ron Bension
Facebook Campaigns
Instagram Campaigns
Ohio State

Get in touch with Ben Weeden
LinkedIn

Ben Weeden’s definition of making it:
“To continue to learn every day; I learn a lot from the younger people from our team as well as from the people above me. At some point, I would love to keep building and running this division and be thankful that I’m not in investment banking or selling insurance.”

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Keep in touch with us
chris.goyzueta@gmail.com
www.makingitwithchrisg.com
https://www.instagram.com/chrisgoyzueta/
https://twitter.com/chrisgoyzueta
https://www.facebook.com/makingitwithchrisg

Episode Credits
Host: Chris Goyzueta
Producer: Jason Trosclair
Executive Producer: ONElive Creative Agency  
Music: Emily Kopp
Show Notes: Manuel Pachamoro

Inside the Life of a Talent Buyer - Lessons to Becoming a Talent Buyer & Concert Promoter

You can also listen to this episode on iTunes | Stitcher | SoundCloud   

Inside the life of a Talent Buyer. In this episode we feature lessons and insight to becoming a Talent Buyer and Concert Promoter. How to get started, how to succeed, and how to grow with companies such as Live Nation and AEG Live. In this episode, I answer questions about my experience as a Talent Buyer with House of Blues in New Orleans, as well as answer some previous unanswered Facebook questions. This episode also features 5 Lessons from highlights of previous episodes from our Talent Buyer series with Kevin Stone, Wayne Lee, Dan Larson, Allen Anders, and Michael Yerke. Be ready to learn all about what it takes to succeed as a Talent Buyer. 

Episodes:
1.   Kevin Stone
2.   Wayne Lee
3.   Dan Larson
4.   Allen Anders
5.   Michael Yerke  

Highlights from this Episode
What are the 3 criteria Chris looks for to book a band (06:00)
How to make a judgment call on under age crowds (07:50)
What to offer to performers to appeal them to your venue besides money (08:45)
Making great music or having a social media following. (11:05)
 Segment 1: Kevin Stone (13:25)
In a Time of crisis who are the Talent Buyer go to people (22:00)
What is the Golden rule to negotiating (23:40)
What to do if you have to put the number out first (26:15)
How Chris’ stays up to date on his markets the best he can (27:30)
How to remain in the smaller local scene as you grow in your career (29:00)
Segment 2: Wayne Lee (30:05)
How often to give a marketer a raise (38:00)
Important characteristics of a Talent Buyer (40:30)
How Chris stays organized (42:41)
How to stay in the loop with music industry and talent buyer buzz (44:10)
Segment 3: Dan Larson (46:35)
Daily Activities of a Talent Buyer (54:10)
How Chris stayed personable with performers (58:15)
Why local support isn’t regularly featured on tours (59:58)
Best way to get in touch with a talent buyer if you haven’t played at the venue (1:02:50)
Who led Chris on his journey to becoming a talent buyer (1:04:10)
Segment 4: Allen Anders (1:06:45)
Biggest yes and no that a Talent Buyer can do (1:17:10)
How to attract the attention of an entertainer or performer (1:19:50)
It is important to grasp a charity or cause early on in careers (1:22:45)
How to get into this line of work and how to get an internship with Live Nation (1:24:00)
Segment 5: Michael Yerke (1:29:30) 

Quotes from Chris Goyzueta
“Try to purposely sell out. It creates buzz.”
“If they aren’t willing to promote themselves, why should I promote them?”
“Having history, and having a good venue.”
“When they are at your house, you’re inviting a guest into your ‘house’. “
“Go the extra mile. A lot of promoters don’t do that.”
“The music comes first.”
“Social media matters, but it’s not the only thing that matters.”
“Playing the long game is always going to win.”
“Don’t be the first to put out a number.”
“Be involved in the scene. Go to shows.”
“Pick up the phone and call people.”
“As soon as you get lost in organization, you fail.”
“Make sure you say hi to everyone.”
“Find a way to build common ground.”
“Every show you play take it serious and like something you care about.”
“Whether it’s a charity or a cause, you should find a community to pour in to.”

Links to people, places, and things mentioned
People
Kevin Stone
John Legend
Sonny Schneidau
Wayne Lee
Childish Gambino
Macklemore
The Civil Wars
Dan Larson
Allen Anders
Ari Herstand
Michael Yerke

Places & Things
Live Nation
Tipitinas
Full Sail
Florida Theater
The Social
CID Entertainment
House of Blues
AEG
WME
CAA
Hype Machine
Sound Cloud
Spotify Viral 50
Billboard Heatseekers
Pollstar
Soundscan
The Plaza Live
Okeechobee Festival
Drunken Monkey
Rock for Hunger

Michael Yerke - President of House of Blues and Live Nation Talent Discusses What Makes a Great Talent Buyer & Success in the Music Business

This episode is part 4 of our Talent Buyer series, and features President of House of Blues and Live Nation Talent, Michael Yerke. Our Talent Buyer series has featured many great conversations so far such as Wayne Lee former Talent Buyer for the legendary Tipitina’s in New Orleans, Dan Larson from Okeechobee Festival, and Allen Anders with AEG Live in Dallas, TX.

Michael Yerke got his start booking shows in Chicago, IL at a club called the Cubby Bear in Chicago, IL. His journey with Live Nation began with a pick up Basketball game with Kevin Morrow (CEO of Artist Management firm and label Steel Wool, and former Live Nation Executive). After a few years at House of Blues in Chicago, Michael’s journey took him to Los Angeles to work for Live Nation where he eventually became the President of House of Blues and Live Nation Talent. In this conversation, we discuss Michael Yerke’s journey in the music business, what makes a great Talent Buyer, his passion for Basketball, the incredible Ones to Watch program from Live Nation, and much more.

Highlights from this episode:
How Michael Yerke got started in the music industry (6:10)
First moment when Michael Yerke knew he wanted to work in this industry (9:45)
How to work your way up in a company like Live Nation (16:30)
A breakdown on the “Ones to Watch” (23:35)
How Michael Yerke manages his busy schedule (26:50)
Mentors and influential people thus far (33:35)
What “Making It” means to Yerke (39:50)

Quotes from Michael Yerke
“Our company is for someone who is hardworking, smart, and puts in the time and effort.”
“It comes down to hard work, putting in time and effort, and that isn’t just in the office. It’s going to shows and networking too”
“You choose your spots”
“If you’re someone people can’t get a response from, they’re going to find somebody else.”
“Responding quickly, being diligent, working hard, and trying to look at your time management and get better”
“You need balance too; you can’t always work.”
“I’m not gonna say everyday is a perfect job but 98% of the time it’s great.:
“The industry has never been boring.”
“If it’s not enjoyable, it’d be a drag.”

Links to People, Places, and Things mentioned:
People:

Kevin Morrow
Smashing Pumpkins
A Tribe Called Quest
George Clinton
Anderson Paak
Twenty One Pilots
Future
Imagine Dragons
Michael Rapino
Sonny Schneidau

Places:
Cubby Bear
Wrigley Field
DePaul University
China Club
Aces of Spades Venue

Things
Live Nation
House of Blues
Chicago Bulls
UCLA
Full Sail University
Shaky Knees Festival
Ones to Watch

Michael Yerke on Making It:
“Being successful in my position and being happy doing it.”

Kevin Stone - Program Director and Talent Buyer of Florida Theatre on Philosophies of Booking Concerts

You can also listen to this episode on iTunes | Stitcher | SoundCloud  

This podcast interview is with Kevin Stone, Program Director and Talent Buyer for The Florida Theatre in Jacksonville, FL. This is my first conversation with a Talent Buyer. One of my kind! My experience in the industry, has been booking and promoting shows since 2006. Shout out to Emily Kopp for introducing me to Kevin Stone. This was a wonderful interview, and the first one where I personally feel like I’m finally hitting a good groove. Still have a long way to go to the 10,000 hours to greatness in my podcast journey, but this conversation and the stories by Kevin, has made this one of my favorites so far.  

Kevin Stone, the program Director of Florida Theatre in Jacksonville, FL. He started his journey in the entertainment business when he graduated college in 1999 from a college in Toronto Canada. After many years on the road, he landed at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL where he became the Director of Entertainment. While at Ruth Eckerd Hall he started a concert series with the Tampa Bay Rays where they promoted many amazing concert from which he will share some stories in this conversation. In 2013, he became the director of programming at Florida Theatre, a beautiful 1,900 capacity historic theatre, bringing all kinds of amazing concerts and events to Jacksonville, FL

Kevin is a man of service that gives back so much to the live music community. This was a really fun interview, and I’m excited to bring this to you for two episodes. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Kevin Stone.  

Kevin’s Definition of Making It:
It’s not 100% dollars and cents. It’s being able to come to work every sing day and knowing you love what you do, and getting to make a difference in the community. 

The Show Poster from when Elvis Presley performed at the Florida Theatre in 1956. 

The Show Poster from when Elvis Presley performed at the Florida Theatre in 1956.