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The New Music Biz: Bands, Brands, Managers, & Tours

Lesson 10 of 13

Being an Entrepreneur

Kevin Lyman

The New Music Biz: Bands, Brands, Managers, & Tours

Kevin Lyman

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Lesson Info

10. Being an Entrepreneur


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
3 Day of Show and Q&A Duration:20:26
5 Damon Atkinson Interview Duration:17:58
7 Kevin Lyman's Career Story Duration:24:33
8 Recording and Distribution Duration:10:21
9 Jake Round Interview Duration:43:54
10 Being an Entrepreneur Duration:30:10
11 Andy Biersack Interview Duration:45:16
12 Mike Kaminsky Interview Duration:24:26

Lesson Info

Being an Entrepreneur

So now you're going talk about being an entrepreneur, but before you do that, I just want to note that this I actually took this photo and it's one of the things that she's very proud of this thing, this photo because we get every once in a while in my world, I get to go to, like, the top of nassau coliseum and take a picture of the whole world that I got to be part of putting together. So I don't think it's any view on the work to her, and it really shows a lot of the stuff that goes on on site, which, when you're down on the ground sometimes it's hard to see, you know, the big picture, but all right that's all so this is a little bit about being a ninja premiere, you know it's for me, it's you live and die by your decisions is an enterpreneurs, you know, it's, I always say, you know, I'm I make decisions right or wrong, but make him you know, I think the biggest thing we get paralyzed in fear the biggest entrepreneurs out there in the music business of the ones that live and die by t...

heir decisions and take responsibility for him it's one of the reasons why you find me out on the road with the work for black people why are you on the road on every day of the warp tour on some of my other tours that arm or controlled environments that we talked about more routine but work tour is a living, breathing moving entity and I'm there every day and night maybe don't need to but I'm there because I can make those decisions quickly right or wrong and ten percent and that's all they do is such a good job jan everyone but those decisions that need to get made in really quick and really think it could affect the whole tour very quickly I could make him and I do that in business I don't I find when I overthink iced tea gave me a quote once he told me he wrote on the warp tour on a bus with me that's a whole diving tell stories about mormon drinking wine storytelling moment but you know it's it's you know he told me then you got a key lime and you got to go with your gut your gut is going to get you through it you know it's really is you know enterpreneurs have to learn how to sometimes shut this off and go if a guy not overthinking learn from your failures um I fail okay? I've almost failed me and I failed hopefully learned from those failures last year one paper you could put the most amazing projects you could put it together was is rob's on behind it? House kevin lyman festival guy john reese why'd you may have with festival guy we had we're going to the most amazing haunted house the great american nightmare which turned into my nightmare mostly but it was way built this thing we have the best haunted house builder in the in the country they're working with us guys very well known we put everything on paper and it just didn't pan out and one I learned two things from that failure I learned I lost a lot of money individually I lost and everyone's like you prosecution, you know? Look, it's not luckily I've learned from this failure that I got into a position where I can afford to lose some money once in a while I don't want to make it habit forming and two I learned that I like october too much to be doing this in october you learn from here failure I learned that october's my favorite month of the year, I'd much rather be doing out things like this booking awesome tours maybe going fishing, doing things like that that you learn from your failures. You know we've learned in our branding failures we've learned in things and you constantly have to tow learn from them and move on don't dwell on your failures, we can get locked up in our failures that cripple us depression is part of life, but you have to learn how to push through it and get to the next spot well and you can you know you learn more by seeing something you did wrong if you did something right all you know so that went right but failures give you more of an opportunity to figure out how to be better the next time that was crazy that haunted house for certain it was just great, but I really dug into it and learn more about and why all the reasons that failed it was her and you'll take that forward and and apply it to something the future I'm sure be confident, not cocky okay it's fine line between confident I want a job for you and you better give me a job be confident in life to be able to kind of that you can go and fail you learn from your success you just have to have that confidence and you don't make it without some ego and yet many entertainment space you have to have some sort of ego that drives you to be able to put yourself out there but you also have to not let that eagle get out of control so that's where that confidence and cockiness that comes up um and you know it's that thing and when you walked in that moment I made that first deal with vans I was very confident that the score was like going to be something that was really cool and you just can't come off so cocky to write me a check you that has a role with that to get going, so having getting that confidence and it grows and it's not something overnight, you know, but you have to have confidence that, you know, show up in a place and I want to help on this show, but we don't even help I need I'm going tol just be here if you need me, you know, in confidence that you put yourself out there look at the world from a different perspective, I think the best intra preneurs look at the world from a different perspective, we don't look what's behind us, we will look at what's ahead. I don't think I find so many people and that's why in music I think I just related to music a lot of people talk about, you know, oh that's music, punk rock, it's not punk rock it's not this, and I put that all behind and go, wait a second. This music is so relatives touching these kids in the same way you know, the u k subs or the germs or those bands touch this youth, but we get caught in this moment and we get caught in a time or I think music is the biggest time more people get they get stuck in a time zone and they can't move forward that's why I like leading parents and freedom warped tour because they get to expose themselves to new music that they're not exposing themselves to anymore and you know what it touches the same way, but I always say, what is going to be the best part of your life? It's the one it's still there it's out there it's it's looking the world from a different perspective I walk around, I run shows from a different world I look at everything you know it's hard to translate, but even today you know stays is what we're talking about road done like being road done road dumb is when you get in your bubble of the road and everything revolves around you there's a big world out there to understand the big pick up the paper and drink the local beer that's what I thought was my model kind of read the local paper to see the tone of the city you're going into and drink the local beer so you fit in thiss morning while we were eating breakfast, kevin was sitting there reading a local paper you know, I understand where you're going into a city there's other things than your show there there's factory closings and it was a practice of quick example we don't know we got to keep moving but I want someone that we went to pittsburgh on the tour and everyone was like world and you get a little loud on the road you've got your posse you're rolling in and I looked and I had read the local paper that a plant steel plant was closing not the mood like everyone's drinking beer not for happiness there drinking to forget something and these guys rolled in we're cocky drinking heineken's know the three days thinking heineken's got their ass kicked I just jumped in with the crowd with rolling rock and rolled out the back door got out of there in a hurry no, but you know it's that kind of thinking like, you know, look at the world in a different perspective, you know, and that's that listening to the beats between the notes listen to the beats between the notes on that's what I think you know is successful foreign enterpreneurs well, you're just you're right into the next flight, it's almost like you think about, you know, when we're on tour you point a good thing that it's very easy to end up in this bubble of the little traveling city that we're on and finding ways to stay connected and take advantage of the fact that you're in a different place every day and learn something about the world in that place every day I think you bring up a minutes here the between and that's my job on the warp tour now hear the beat between the notes we're going this moving this big entity but there's a pulse behind it there's perspective people getting tired there's health issues there's things going on and know when to shift the notes to get everything back to center where they need to be you know where I need to be sometimes it's come back I had to bring that back into perspective too because this industry allows you to live your life in a big way you know, swimming pendulum and that pendulum can get out of control and I had I risk the bowman time where I'll almost lost control of my life and then you know it was like howto re center and we focus yourself um you know that's the thing if you want you know there's a lot of freedom in the world we live in but that could get that can get really out of control and out of balance and it's how to keep that balance too and as an entrepreneur you always have to kind of do that and your business and in your life and you know something that you know it's all right to start this or that other things were coming on and the next thing you know people are like there's people around you are business to this you're feeding your bullshit too books and then you're all of a sudden going live in a swamp in a tour bus or something you know, like you know sounds good for a moment and then you pull your life back into focus and you know you could move on be able to check yourself in that kind of leads into being able check yourself you've got to check yourself you know, that is an intra preneurs that there are other perspectives out there you're very strongly opinionated you're going to have an opinion and you're gonna have a passion about it but you have to be willing to listen to others you have to be able to you know and that's the thing you know you a debt right here I'm telling a lot of my stories and then talking about myself but it's also being willing to stop and listen to other people's stories and other things that are going on you know you could become a megalomaniac kind of thing you did just the world of it but you just you know, it's being able to check yourself and realize that the world keeps spinning if you want if you spin out of it that's not in the world, everything associated with that is there's always something to learn from every situation and being open tio learning something either from your failure what you're what somebody else is doing listening to what's going on around you and just stepping back and observing um I think is really key at any point in life and in business if you don't know something, be willing to learn it or ask someone or hire someone that knows it would only well, you know and that's where you know, people are getting jobs if maybe we could talk about how people getting up working because they're filling roles in my weakness entrepreneur hires people that can help complement their weaknesses, recognizing you have weaknesses well and you've hired a lot of people that have created a job for themselves. This might be a good time to talk about dakota, the intern that wouldn't have kind of why we're sitting here creative live because I didn't even know what creative live really wass he's a kid that showed up as an intern about a year ago maybe they almost two years ago maybe now in my office your start rolling to you start the years get crazy hey just showed up it was interning in my office and then one day is like you need someone to coordinate the interns you want I can coordinate him start into coordinating the intern so we have a little more of a structured program for him so you know it's here then it's like ok, you're done with your throat will know you need this he kept coming to me with my weaknesses you know? And he saw last year around october no, I was a little frustrated because I like going out speaking colleges this is where your ego is doesn't want anyone want to hear my story is anyone I wasn't getting offers you know it's like come on it's kevin lyman twenty years of this people in here when I'm talking about and you know, he was listening and he came over he goes, hey, kevin, throw it out on your twitter like if anyone wants to book a speaking gig with kevin lyman, just contact dakota for phoenix you know, um I put it out just like I talk to like sixteen or twenty colleges last week my ego feels a little better, you know? It's like I'm stoked you but you don't want to do it and he did that and now he's you know, he had an idea to do more education education. So really I think the education institute it could be credited to dakotas kind of thing and then he saw that he needed mentoring so jen I think has become a mentor to him I think I'm in I think I'm more of an inspiration to him in a sense that, you know, he loved he's a little bit he's fired up he reminds me a lot of use very enthusiastic which we love and thank you any is but he's he's like ok he's learning that off jan knew how did this presentations and all this kind of stuff it makes you look better I think these are awesome and we'll use them and so to coat I couldn't get rid of him so finally and then we brought him on the road for a week and we never got rid of it he was out there all summer I still don't know how they also those timing when to come and ask me to be willing can I stay on the road all summer? And he learned how to approach me through jan because he'd be like, come up in the wrong moment I should get the hell out of here, you know it's like and then he knew that its structure time in the right time to talk together anything in there working all summer putting these videos together we've got hard drives and hard drive the stuff that he's working on and he's worked himself into a full time john where he'll get health insurance he gets a job and he's told as long as he's producing he can hang around the minute he figures out how not to produce he's gone so I don't really know if I need that job but right now he's he's good I need him he's great, but I didn't know but he's also building a thing right he's gonna roll into some other job if you wanted to down the road eating out but people love is enthusiasm the big point is the job that he's doing right now never existed before he saw an opportunity and saw something that he could fulfill and so I mean he really created the job for himself and it was through, you know, steps along the way of being persistent and eyes filling a need and now he's a got a full time job it really does, you know and and and he's filled things I need but it's also understand is everywhere you constantly have to learn do I really want to learn more about fine and do I really want to learn about analytic social media no, but I mean I need to so I just spent a week in new york understanding it you know it's like what are you doing? Kevin you're seeing bands or I think I go no, I'm learning about analytics good it's the important you know and your brain is the mush by five o'clock if you want to find your friend and talk about music because that's why it really I got in this business way talked earlier about giving back you know I mean it's just becomes part of your fabric do what you can I mean you know, and it's not about it's, not about getting you're doing it because you do it. Um, you know, it's, just because you do it's not you're not looking for awards and recognition, um, for doing this, I mean, so many things, I think we've stepped out a little more with what we d'oh because I think I'm proud of the kids that are actually driving everything on warped tour. I want people to know that you guys donated four hundred thirty three thousand cans of food that could do three hundred twenty meals, thousand meals, I want people because we were always look at punk rock was always looked don't let these people in your neighborhood there's still look at it somewhere it's amazing to me that my daughter, who had bright, bright, bright pink here and sabrin with her, you know, look, and sometimes these people look at my kids like they're strange till I thought we've way past that in society, but we're not the war kid to me is superintelligent supers creative, super motivated that's the classroom I've created, and I'm proud of those kids. So stepping out now and getting recognition for this group of people that gets together each year to do something good, I'm willing to do that, um it goes back to ninety six when I realized I wasn't doing press then when I started worked her I'm not I'm a guy who loads fans and trucks and this would ideo and then I realize that if you're not if it's your event you have to be so passionate about willing to talk to you her j jakey he'll talk about pure noise for like may you know we'll talk about it art what we're passionate about forest much and make and what a cz long's people listen and uh but get back, get back you know we've it's really cool is a warped tour community we were we're going to be honored I just got an email last sometimes an email in a zoo community a lot of people are doing things for make a wish and everything, but as a community we were chosen as thie the entertainment event that does the most for the kids when they get to come and what makes me proud is watching kids like obama. We make a wish kid and you know they come to the warp tour and the band keep wanting to do something cooler and better for that kid and it's just natural, but they rival amongst each other in the parking lots of little bit next thing you know and when they fly they leave that afternoon they've got a trunk a van full of stuff that they've got to figure out how to get back on a plane there they've got personal phone numbers they've got text messages they get you know bands you know bringing kids on stage to sing with him and being on getting that to me you know and yes I will go I was told you know, flying arizona get it later this month to pick up but it's not the award but it's like hey, this is my community these people kick ass and I'm proud of the bands and proud of the crew proud of everyone that's involved in it and we can keep doing maur you know I'm proud that you know, to write love on their arms and make a wish and comes out and you know, music saves lives with blood drives and probably a lot of kids don't know that warped tour is the largest independent blood drive in north america the red cross had for like six years in a row they have anything and we got plaques on the wall of all the pints of blood donate that you guys get together and put these blood ties together and I'm trying to instill that in other artists it's really hard sometimes outside of the work toward john your music like come on you know added quarter to your ticket put a box up front of the guest list office provide and I'm on the board of charities and I'm like and it pains me sometimes that these people don't it's easy to build in your fabric but if it's not there at the beginning it's harder to back track to share charity and then you'll find yourself when you're successful just buying big tables at some gala will make yourself feel good you buy a big giant table you look great you're sitting up close to the at these events but that's the only thing you do each year and I think that if giving back is something that is important individually and something that people want to have a career being involved in jesse who runs our non profits on the tour when he talked about how she ended up on the warped tour but really her heart is with the nonprofit stuff and how she made it yes it was a girl these are things how you get in jesse would go to detroit every year and there'd be this blonde girl just kind of standing there ready to help you know and she would help and she was just like cool like, you know it's like we come across a lot of volunteers let people help that sometimes they stick out and she would just help each year and be there until the end doing whatever could be done and help in the press and one year we're like, wait, we need to hire someone and it's like who's that blocked the blonde girl from, like detroit. Let's hired her, so she hired her for a job and I got my first job was, like, labeled him think the pack up bags for the labels when labels would send us up, but we're taking away to give away to everyone the label, the label tent. And then jesse keeps we're gonna put her passion was nonprofits and charities, so she he now runs that for us out there, and she works outside all different kinds of things. You're around for different people, and she took that passion just volunteer took about three years and then got this thing and then went in that direction, and I think our non profit area is is important as any ban on the tour it's important for kids to be able to come, ninety percent of the people are coming just have a good time in the sun. Ten percent walk out of there going. I'm now going to go back into my community and do something cool. It's another way to get involved work tour is find a local team charity that you work what you think is doing great things convinced them to come have a table or booth at the work tour. And they're going and most we're gonna go now that's places crazy you get that you man, that booth for them there you get all your signatures and sign up a lot of times you could take that back to the capture and say look at the success I had on this too warped tour we're gonna go that's the most sign ups we've ever gotten in one event, maybe we should get involved and maybe we need someone to lead them through the whole national nation next year we've had a few of those they come out to one show, two shows, then become a national charity that were along with great way do we have questions? Wait, did I would love to hear from folks here in the room that you guys have any questions? How are you currently like acting like an entrepreneur in your business in your music? Does this work anybody that I have a question more base? We've been talking a lot about the trends and the needs of the industry right now on duato war evolved over the last twenty years, I'm wondering why're the next five and ten years aren't with the future there is we've seen brands like clean canteen come out and start doing, you know, the refillable water recycling water and things like reverse day care for the parents but where the next five ten years trends I don't know you know it was just where people don't know and I focused very much on worked her I can't worry about other people stuff my audience when the economy was down when everyone while back and one had debit card your mom let's go spend money it was like we're borrowing it anyhow it's not really ours and and I saw people spending money at work to her in a different way then I watched the moment in time was a couple of year right when the economy really crashed because I sit out front I'm still on every tour and I watch the kids and was over here and keep talking about seattle but it was at the gorge I'll never forget sitting out there and I was wondering why kids air leaving like five thirty and six thirty they're leaving early and I would walk over there and talk to him and say, why are you leaving work early like it is a bad show this year they're going no I just starving and I haven't eaten and I have no money for water and I was like and I'd hand them twenty bucks and telling to go back in not a good business model I did that get passed out that day like a couple hundred bucks to kids to send him back into the show but they taught me a lesson so they need to that hey, you know what the teenagers of america really when you have limited finances and you're being going to the warp tour show are you goingto a drink because or you're going to buy the data? Remember t shirt you're invincible when you're a teenager you don't need water, you don't need food and put your body all of a sudden just shuts down that's why teenagers just crash on the couch at night you know it's like one of those things their bodies are developing they don't know how to manage, so I was like, so I went in and told live nation and the other promoters it wasn't that because they had raised or take a water prices to like forty four fifty a bottle of water just add more money to make up from somewhere else and I said I know will not play your venues unless they're three dollars some people complain about three dollars water, but if you go to a lot of places three dollars I'd look at in my role was kind of that threshold point of okay, I'll grab a bottle of water, I'll do this and I said we have to give out free water we have to make sure there's venues never gave out free water before it was always like maybe a little drinking found, so we also not need to have free water so the kid will by three dollars water that runs to run around and go bythe cards three bucks I'm back in the mosh pit I'm going at it but three bucks I'll get a bottle of water four dollars for fifties just didn't get water however we're gonna give free water to the kids that were willing that maybe there yet their economy is even you know that what they're assets or last that at least could get free water to get that done I had to subsidize I paid the promote I pay the promoters to be able to get that done we pay them money every day to keep that water price down that was important my audience I also implemented the voucher system for food because mom and dad could make sure they could buy you lunch and give you a voucher that you're going to eat a hamburger french fries and get a soda person that but getting you know an all time low but you know whatever you know it's just one advantage you know so that's things we look at our fans that the reverse daycare centers been around for a long time but that was when I was in my I was in wyoming and our montana montana actually andi I walked by and I saw parents sitting along the fence many years ago that's it because they were nervous about letting their kids go to a music show montana having no effects and penny wise you know so you know I said I'll build this, you know, reverse daycare center check your parents will watch him off and then a couple of years ago and I was thinking who the competition whose competition for warped tour now that I'm really zeroed in on this thirteen of nineteen year old you know, if people comments awesome but this is my crowd what's my competition I had just paid like eighty bucks goto one direction with my daughter, you know? And I'm like one direct this crowd I looked around the crowd there about the right age group I go, you know what? Maybe I can let the kids in free the parents are going I remember the warped tour that was pretty cool thing and say, guess what, we're going to the warp tour because we can all go for forty bucks let parents in free let the parents and free the kids get in and they feel comfortable with the show and no offense against one direction but you know, it is pretty brutal for me as a dad sitting watching that whole show, but you know what? What shit to her I could wander around finding one hundred two I like, you know and that's my philosophy now you know, it's also evolved, putting my personal taste behind sometimes you're always going to hear the influence is I like, you know, people know the music I like, but if I was putting that all out of work it wouldn't have evolved and you watch business evolved why does epitaph still around after all these years threat and his company evolves with the times and maybe, you know, I think warped urges so I don't know what we're going to be doing in five years. Um, I like how you talk about you look at the t shirts that they people are wearing and that's what kind of helps drive you in the direction of future I mean way do have all that we have our survey monkeys and all the things in one hundred fifty thousand kids sit here, they want to be on warped tour, paul that's his job mine is I stand in the lines all summer helping get kids into my show of eggs that's the most important thing is getting you guys in his quick as possible because if I don't, what do people do? I miss my favorite band, so I'm pushing these guys open doors early if I get people in, but I'm looking at everyone shirts I'm starting to look at the brands that wearing I'm looking at the designs they're wearing on their shirts I'm also looking for the bands that weren't on this year and I'm also watching this search they're not wearing any more it's interesting to see, maybe when a ban start to move out of the demo that I'm trying to work with, you don't see any of their shirts anymore, so maybe I got to go find a band of that demo of that type of music that we can start introducing these kids, that maybe they're going to come into like, diversity work towards diverse, and that makes me most proud is when you read something says work toward the most diverse festival of the year because we were so knowing because people don't, you know, there's a niche thing in a way, but we're not going hear anything out there. I think you're touching on something that that sets you apart from a lot of people in the world you're very observant of what's happening around you, whether it's reading the newspaper or looking at the t shirts of the kids coming in, getting in line at the airport or anything oblivious people are to each other in society just little respect people, but you pay attention to what's happening around you and it's that's a big deal, and then something that people have people think about it a little bit more in public places and learn how oblivious people are to each other just be cognizant of the world around you, a little curt I love we had a comment saying that kevin is a people producer you do you make people around the successful love that uh but one aspect of being an entrepreneur and doing this that you didn't really touch on too much we had somebody who says they're currently studying to become a digital data strategist what impact do you think analyzing big data will have on the future of the music industry and how much as someone who is working in this industry do you need to pay attention to that it's huge big game not so much in the process sort of what we're producing in music but it's as corporate sponsorships have become much more important in this world we need corporate alliances we need to bring things they're spending tons amount of big brands and everything are spending tons of money analyzing us so we don't have to necessarily big data but we better understand what they're looking what they're doing because they really know what they're they're much more sophisticated they understood big brands jumped into the space in the last couple flat it was like oh let's spotlight we need that's track for this commercial things like that they found out that adm music doesn't really resonate the music resonates but the actual track in the artist doesn't resonate with a brand so they were throwing around big money for these tracks and they go wait a second we can go find just the fit a backdrop of the music it doesn't have to be driven by an artist because there's not a huge connection between the song the artist and long term passion so big data is going to be a big thing and it's a big data and everything we do, the data they get honest is scary, you know, in a way, you know, on I think that was like that whole thing with the invasion of our telephones or our devices by u two and apple this last week, the up for that it caused within society was that's our last, best stone of ourselves we put on the aps we like we have our friends who we like on their phones and them coming in and doing that. But that's the backlash. No one knows that every time you send a tweet out, or you're posting something on facebook, it's going into a big gate, a bank of who we are, we've given up that privacy. We've given up that personal identity, but you know what? That was that backlash last I was someone saying let's go our device, someone intruded on our device that we can see attends, they're already in the device, but archangel and no, I don't hang out with neil young and talk about conspiracies of boxes

Class Description

You can have a career in music – in The New Music Biz: Bands, Brands, Managers, & Tours, Kevin Lyman will show you how.

If you want to make a name for yourself and make an impact in the music industry – you have options. Kevin is the founder of the Vans Warped Tour, Rockstar Mayhem Fest and the catalyst behind an impressive range of successful projects and artists. In this class he’ll introduce you to your (many, many) options for building a career in the modern music industry. Kevin will talk to musicians about getting on festival tours and about operations jobs for people who are looking to get in on the business side. You’ll learn how to build and maintain a professional brand that will open doors for you and help connect you to the right people and expanding your opportunities in a constantly changing environment.

If you are serious about setting yourself up for a lifetime career in music you’ll want to watch this course. Kevin will set you on track for developing and sustaining a career that lasts.

Special Guests include:

  • Andy Biersack (Black Veil Brides)
  • Mike Kaminsky (Manager of the Summer Set and 3OH!3)
  • Jake Round (Pure Noise Records)



Beyond one of the greatest, if not the greatest, music biz courses I've ever taken. So thorough, with great speakers, and included such rich information. I truly appreciated and valued all that was said and all the hard work put into it. It was by far a class that's still worth talking about! - Tori Otamas

Janice Jacobs

I loved this class, as it showed different careers in the music industry, which was so eye opening. It helps as a musician too, so you get a basic understanding of how promoting, touring, and distribution works, especially if you're doing it yourself. Very well spoken, and well laid out, I loved it

a Creativelive Student

AMAZING! I teach a rock band class for an option at my school and this covers a lot of what I wanted to do. I particularly like the PDF showing what job in the industry would be best for you. Great site, overall.