Music promotion is, to put it mildly, not an exact science. Already a wildly unpredictable gambit, the last 20 years or so have seen innumerable sea changes to the business of music promotion and venue ownership as the internet and social media turned our (and every other) business completely upside down. The ever-hectic world of music promo demands so much attention that it can be incredibly intimidating to know which of the seemingly endless facets of the industry you need to stay up-to-date with in the minimal “free time” those in our industry are allotted.
That’s what makes music industry-based podcasts such a valuable tool: a promoter can consume valuable information from industry leaders while, say, tackling the never-ending torrent of emails we are seemingly never able to totally summit. We’ve gathered a list of some of the best music biz podcasts out there, each of which contains multitudes of knowledge every promoter can benefit from.
When Life Hands You Lennons
One’s enjoyment of a Podcast can often hinge on host and their ability to entertainingly impart knowledge unique to their experience and/or those of an intriguing guest. Lennon Cihak, host of the When Life Hands You Lennons podcast, manages to do both with charmingly wide-eyed aplomb. Cihak is great at procuring a wide array of guests that cover everything from how to get a music biz career back on track after being derailed by a serious illness to discussing social media promotion strategies with the social media manager for world-conquering Broadway smash Hamilton. To ably promote music one needs to understand all facets of the ever-changing business and those involved in it, and Cihak offers a charming all-around window into several facets of the industry.
As the relatively recent ubiquity of the internet and social media continue to completely upend the music and music marketing worlds, this weekly podcast hosted by digital music marketing guru Michael Branvold has proven itself an invaluable tool to those who seek to keep abreast of the seemingly daily changes in music biz marketing. Branvold is undoubtedly an industry innovator in the digital realm—he was one of the first to offer the idea of VIP platinum tickets, for example—and his advice is worth its weight in gold. Branvold has been sought out by legends like KISS, Rod Stewart, Alice Cooper and Britney Spears, to name just a few, to helm their digital marketing and ticketing efforts, and Branvold has made tens of millions for his clients in the process. If there was to be a Mount Rushmore of the digital music marketing world constructed, it would 100% include Branvold’s smiling face front and center.
Dan Steinberg’s amazing career began with promoting concerts independently in Denver at 16 and has culminated with Live Nation purchasing a majority stake in his Emporium Presents imprint in 2018. As such, Steinberg has seen it all and his #Promoter101 podcast is aptly named. Gregarious and articulate, the #Promoter101 podcast should be added to the listening list of any promoter of any experience level, but most especially those seeking to carve out their own space in the music industry, as Steinberg has been nominated as the Independent Promoter of the year by Pollstar in 2003, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Steinberg is so well respected industry-wide that he tours the world speaking about show promotion, and you can access many of those golden nuggets of knowledge any time via this invaluable podcast.
Hosted by industry vet Andrew Apanov, he the founder of Dotted Music Marketing and WeSpin.co, this bi-weekley is essential listening for industry insiders of every stripe. Apanov, who has done everything in the music world from helm the editor-in-chief position at Ultimate Guitar to drum-n-bass DJ, has positioned himself as something as a one-stop-shop for all manner of music business knowledge and has dubbed himself a “Music Growth Engineer.” The moniker fits, as Apanow covers topics like how to expand your social media reach from both a promoter and musician’s perspective, something that can go a long way towards furthering a venue and/or promoter’s reputation within the artist community.
Former Taylor Swift manager and current consultant with Sony Records Rick Barker brings a wealth of experience and connects at the very top of industry to each episode of his podcast, and anyone looking to make it “big” in modern music would do well to take Barker’s words to heed each week. The manager, entrepreneur, author, and consultant shares tales and lessons learned from his and Tay Tay’s meteoric rise to the top of the music business; but Barker also isn’t afraid of pulling back the curtain on issues like substance abuse—including stories from his own struggles with addiction. Swift is considered one of music’s most shrewd businesswomen for a reason, and Barker was there when it all started. Any career in music promotion is going to be filled with roller coaster-like ups and downs, Barker’s career stands as an example of how best to weather storms both personal and professional with your sanity (mostly) intact.