This week on The What Podcast, the weekly show that takes a deep dive into the world of music festivals, Brad and Barry talk with Mike Daly, Executive Director of A&R and Music Publishing at Disney Music Group, about what exactly guys in his line of work do.
Guest: Mike Daly
You know a hit when you hear it, but where did that hit come from? Where did this band come from? Who's the person that digs through the TikToks, the dive bars, the Spotify playlists day after day after day in search of the next great artist? Well, it's the A&R guy, artist and repertoire. So today our guest is Mike Daly, the head of A&R for Hollywood Records, walking us through how to make a hit. How to make a hit, part one on the What Podcast. Today it starts right now. We're always trying to do our best To worry about what happens next Voted most amazing podcast in the history of mankind. This is the What Podcast. Barry Porter, Brad Steiner, Lord Taco along the way throughout today. By the way, if you're a first time listener, thanks for joining us. If you've been around forever, welcome back. So today, a very special day, very quarter, we get to finally, finally pull the curtain back on some of the industry that we've never talked about before on the What Podcast, which bands this year that matter. Yeah. And that vote was unanimous too, by the way. Which was the vote? Best podcast ever. Yeah, by the way, what was the overall, you know, percentage for against 100%? Yeah. Yeah. Gotcha. Actually. Yeah. Do we have, do we have, you know, breakdowns by district? We can get them, but they're a hundred percent. Did we win the electoral college as well? We won the electoral, we won the recount. All of them. Oh, wow. Like with several judges cited as a sweep. Well, I still think it's fake. Of course it is. I still think whatever you're saying is not real because if courts say it, if judges say it doesn't matter. All right. So, so if you've, by the way, let's step back for a second. If you are new to the show, I would implore you to go back and listen to the Grace Potter interview that we did last week. I love this and I very rarely, Barry, you know this, I very rarely even know that the show exists after we do it. Yeah. Right. So I go back and listen. I don't go when things are done in my life, they're done. Like I just don't. There were stories. I've never reread a story. Yeah. I hit send to the editor. It's yours and I don't want to see it again. Even the ones you've written about me? Those I've reread only because you keep sending them to me. That would be something pretty special. I send your own articles back to you. Yeah. With made up names. This is the greatest article you've ever written. Oh man, what if I just start sending you articles to you that were yours in quotation marks? Oh yeah, I remember this article. Remember this? She's called me a son of a bitch. So I went back and I actually listened to the Grace Potter chat and it's not because I thought it was just such a good episode. She's just phenomenal on every level. She's just a great person. She's just a good human and I like listening to her. I feel like we could hang out. You know, I kind of want to hang out with her in her Vermont home. I just kind of want to show up and be like, I'm here, Grace. And she would welcome you with open arms and do whatever you want to. Because she would have been making cookies or something. She would have been making cookies. You're just in time. You know, I've told you, I've had like three or four interviews like that. Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi. I've talked to all three of them several times. And the last time I talked to all of them, Derek in particular, and I'm terrible name dropping. I get it. I know that. But I call, he answered and I was like, I have to say you three are the nicest people that I've interviewed over the years. I said, it always feels like I'm, I'm interrupting you doing the laundry or the dishes. Right. And he said, that's exactly what I'm doing. That's what he was doing. Yeah. That's what I was. You know, well, when I interviewed Prince, so yeah, he was doing the dishes. He's done the dishes. Sure. You know, but you make a good point because I think about this a lot. There's just some people that would be really, really, really good grandparents. Yeah. And I know that that sounds weird to say about a woman who's, you know, got a newborn baby. She's gonna be a great grandma. Yeah. I know. I, I, it, it means a lot to me. It sounds so trite and Southern and whatever. But when people say he's a good guy, it means a lot. I don't say that. I don't throw that out there. Like Barry, you're a great grandfather. You're going to be a great grandpa. You're going to be a great granddad. You're going to be a fun grand grand pop. Are you by the way, are you grand pop? Are you poppy? Are you grandpa Barry, grandpa Barry, grandpa Barry, but, but can the kids actually get Barry out of their mouth or they just call you grandpa bear grandpa Barry? Yeah. They're the older ones, the younger ones. They don't call me anything yet. Get out of the way. Wait, how old are the older ones? 35 nine. We have, we will have seven here in a little. You'll have seven grandkids in August when grace has her, we'll have seven. Oh my God. I know I said that the other night. I mentioned that, uh, by the way, during our weekend trip down with the little mini Rue and I was like, you know, when you say that out loud, it becomes real and it's pretty frightening. It's pretty weird. I mean, seven is a lot. Yeah. I mean, I don't have seven friends. That's true. What is it? I've always said you have two. One is you and the other is fluid. Thank you. Thank you. That's my Brad Steiner. Nice to meet you. LLC. I say one thing though. I'm glad you brought up going back. Um, and I want to make this correction because I think what we brag on ourselves is about, you know, about getting things right. And I saw a post on Facebook, uh, from Mike Andy about our show with, um, uh, about the death tones and he, he was very, very nice. And, uh, but kind of took me really to task for making light of around the fur and calling it a juvenile title. And you know, stop it. I haven't, I haven't caught up on it. There's, there's what podcast drama? Well, we created drama. So he was just super nice, but I wanted to make the correction and say, I saw your post and I, and I, I admit it. As I said on the show, I did not know death tones. So I made a, tried to make a joke, you know, that around the fur sounded to me like something Van Halen would do with, oh, you eight one two or F you know, if you see K and turns out the song, the title is it's, it's a whole juxtaposition thing about the fur industry and meat and all that. So I just wanted to admit I was wrong. Barry, Barry, Barry, don't, don't do that. I know you'd say it was a joke. Who cares? I just want to say, we read the stuff and, uh, you know, sometimes you make a joke and get it wrong. I got it wrong. So, but the whole point of the joke is that you don't need to get it right. It's just a joke. Yeah. I know you were making light about a funny title. Who cares if it stopped it. I've been doing this for 21 years and the amount of people who have gotten a little bit sideways because of a joke. I can't even, the list is just monumental and I'm not even going to, like, you just don't, you just move on and say what it was. And who cares? Fair enough. I agree. I just want to take things so seriously guys. I can't take things so seriously. All right. So excited about this show. Do you feel better? Do you feel better now? I feel better. I feel better. That's all that matters. See, this is why Barry is a good person and I am not. Fair enough. I would be a terrible grandfather. I would be a terrible. Yeah. Yeah. Let it go. It's funny. Yeah. The, the only it is, you know, Hey, can I punch you in the face? Look at that. It's funny. Right. Get up. It's funny. Get up. It's funny. And I had this idea when we first started expanding the podcast, you know, from the, from the Bonnaroo world last year before the COVID thing hit, because it's something we never really talked about. And we love talking about parts of this industry that we don't really know. And it all started, if you're new to the show, it all started one day when, when Barry and I were walking backstage at Bonnaroo and Bonnaroo is in the middle of a field in Tennessee. There's no electricity. They have to create an entire city, which becomes the fifth biggest city, six biggest city in the state of Tennessee. Every single year, they have to create it every time they've got to whip it up like a tornado and drop it in the middle of the field in Tennessee. So literally a 700 acre farm. So we were walking backstage one day and we're walking along the, the, the, the road. And I looked down to the ground and there are wires all the way down the road. And then eventually the wires get into PVC pipe. And then the more we were walking, the PVC just continued down the road. And it hit me at that moment. And I know this sounds so trite, but it hit me. Oh my God, they have to put down wires to run this thing. Who did that? Who put those wires down? Who laid the PVC pipe? Who, you know, that there must be a million yards of just electric wire. And why did they put it there? Not over there. Yeah, and so that's when it started hitting us. Like, oh my God, there's an entire industry that nobody seems to really talk about. And it's those guys, it's that kind of thing that we really, really enjoy. And I know it's nerdy and I hope that you like it too. Some of you do, some of you don't, some of us, some of you just want to listen and talk about bands and talk about, you know, stage placement. That's cool too. But this kind of stuff, I really, really nerd out about maybe it's because of my industry. It's just because of, you know, I'm, I'm, I obsess over tiny minutiae and, and details like that. But either way, this was an idea that I had that I, that I wanted to bring to the team and say, Hey, how do you make a hit? Uh, do you know how you get the bands on the festival lineup? Um, not just a guy who's plucked them out of a live show and seen the live show and decides to put them on. No, there's a whole industry here of getting that artist on a, on a stage that also requires marketing, getting a radio hit. And before that getting found to begin with and who, who, yeah, who finds the band, who establishes a career, who creates the hit, who then delivers the hit to the radio station, who delivers the marketing plan, who delivers the, the booking of the tour on and on and on. I've talked to booking agents before. That's a great episode. If you want to get a little masterclass on how a tour is put together, especially a tour inside COVID. But today we're going to start a two part series on how you get a hit. How do you make a hit and who makes the hit? So next week we're going to talk to, um, one of the, the most brilliant radio people in all the country. And I don't say that because the guy is my boss. He literally, I thought about, I thought this about him before we started working together a year ago. And, and I'll think about it till the day I die. The guy just knows radio and knows he's got the best year in the country. His name's Troy Hansen. This week though, we start from the granular level of where a band gets found. And then when that band gets found, how does that mature into an actual living, breathing entity that can find its way onto a festival lineup? So today the head of A&R for Hollywood records, Mike Daly is our, is our guest on how to make a hit part one, very quarter. Do I get to talk? I would love for you to talk if you'd like to. I wasn't sure you were going to take a breath. That was originally the name of the show. Brad takes a breath. Do I get to talk? Do I get to talk? No. You know what I love about this as you were, as you were talking, I was thinking most people get to see things from the top down. You only, you read about the bands that made it. You know what I mean? They only make documentaries about the bands that made it and films and books and all that. So you get to go back in time a lot in a lot of cases. And they say, you know, we got discovered 20 years ago, whatever. Sure. But you and I, and you talk about this a little bit with Mike, and you've mentioned it with some other bands, you know, they come knocking on your door and want to play out in your little courtyard in your, at your former radio station or their PR person sends me a press kit and I either choose to open it or not. So we, we have that unusual advantage of maybe sort of following bands from small to big. Most people don't really. Number one and number two, the question of why this band and not that band, you know what I mean? How many talented bands out there for whatever reason didn't make it. And to hear Mike talk about, and there are other examples, but to hear him go to a show in an airport hanger to hear almost, almost Monday when they were basically saying, please don't come to this show because we know it's not going to be good. And he said, no, I'm going. And you know, he's talented enough and experienced enough to realize the circumstances and to see that they had talent. Yeah. You know, that, that to me is the standout moment that we're about to hear, but those, yeah. And you, you brought it full circle. The band that he, that the least where I found Mike was when we interviewed my, or almost Monday and almost Monday brought him up as being the guy that found them and gave them their shot. And it was that story that they told in an episode a few weeks ago about how he came to this airport hanger and show that he didn't, they didn't want him to come to. And he, he mentioned that in the, in the, in the thing. Now the, the hard part about our, our A&R is that, and I say this in the thing and I try to lead him down this path, but it is the hardest job in all of the industry. The pressure on these people is unlike anything that you have ever experienced. They have to deliver hits. And if they don't deliver hits, if you don't have a history of making hits, you don't get a job. If you can't find the next thing, if you are just the slightest bit behind the next day and our guy, you're, you're yesterday's news. It is a pressure cooker and you know, for a guy like me who, who, who fancies himself having a good ear and you know, dreams of being an A&R guy one day, I could never do that job. I could never, you, you have to have a level of not just work ethic, but a desire to, to beat everybody that I just don't, I don't think I have, I don't think I have it. It's a special, it's a special group. Fascinating to hear him and describe what he does. Yeah. So, and I bring up the pressure part of it mainly because if you're watching this on YouTube, the man sitting in front of an azalea plant, I mean, he's just by his pool, you know, I love that. And I love it. It doesn't seem pressured whatsoever. I love it when you bring it up. Cause you don't know if he turns that camera even just a little bit, what we're looking at, you know, parking lot. It could be, it could be a dollar general or it could be a million dollar pool. Who knows? It could be his station wagon full of clothing or whatever. With that being said, you know, they, they, they have a very hard job, but they make a lot of money. They make a lot of money. The good ones. I imagine that was the other thing I love. And you'll see where we can, I just love the confidence that he has in his abilities. I mean, he didn't say that, but you can, you can hear it in what he says. Um, he knows if you don't, if you don't have it, you better fake it, dude. Yeah. If you don't have, you better fake it. Cause they will, they will see right through you. You'll get eaten up and chewed out chewed up and eaten live in a heartbeat if you don't got it. Right. Yeah. It's great. He's got another good interview. So this is Mike Daly from Hollywood records on the what podcast, which bands this year of that matter, which by the way, what you're hearing in two seconds, the sweet, sweet study beats of Midist our friend Nick Turner and his band Midist have graciously given some of their brilliant work to us as interludes, if you will, getting us in and out of, uh, of places in the show. So here you go. Midist and then Mike Daly from Hollywood records on the what podcast. Mike, how are you? Good, man. I'm so, I'm so happy that you're here because this is a topic that I've been trying to, uh, talk to people like you about for ever. I'm obsessed with what you do for a living. I'm obsessed with what it is that, um, the things that you can physically do and control. Um, I one time annoyed Sam Ryback from Interscope so much over dinner that he eventually just had to get up and leave, uh, because I just couldn't stop talking about this. All right. So this is a lot more than you might think. It actually does. Yeah. It actually has nothing to do with it. It's me. It's perfect. Man, you must be going deep. Sam is such a mellow, awesome dude. I love he's really awesome. I'm a big, big fan. So I want to start the conversation I want to have with you is, is so vast, but I want to, I want to start from the beginning. Um, yeah. How in the world did you get to where you are today? Where did it, where did it begin? Just the, the quick 30,000 foot view so we can lay a foundation as to what all this sure thing is. I'll, I'll bullet point it for you. Sure. So like, you know, like every other 16 year old kid, I just wanted to be like the next guitar God. And then, uh, I went to Berkeley and Boston for college. Somehow I talked my parents into that. And then after that I was in a very not good indie rock band signed to bar none records at a Hoboken in a way back machine. What was the name of the band? What was the name? Oh, that, that band was called Swales. I think we did one record. We tried really hard and it really went nowhere. And then, um, I started just doing sessions and playing for people around New York. And I was playing with Edith Frost, uh, who was on drag city records, a singer songwriter girl, totally awesome. And funny enough, we did this tour, uh, and she moved to Chicago and her band was Glenn Cochie who went on to be in Wilco and then after I got home from the Edith Frost tours when I joined whiskey town and then did that till, you know, the, the wheels eventually came off and, um, ironically at one point Glenn had just started playing with Jeff and we were trying to get Glenn to join whiskey town and, um, thank God for Glenn's career. He didn't and stayed with Jeff and Wilco and, um, then after that, uh, I was playing sessions in writing producing around New York. He had a ton of stuff. I moved out here to LA and I did a bunch of records for Hollywood records like Grace Potter and, um, this great guy, Patrick Park. It didn't never worked out, but he was amazing. And then through my writing producing, I've worked with like Lana Del Rey, uh, and imagine dragons and Jason Mraz and tons of different people. And then about eight years ago, I think it was Ken bunt was taking over for Bob Cavallo and he pitched me on this A&R idea. And you know, I still write and produce outside of the label. And uh, I had always wanted the insight of how things work inside labels. Cause I had developed bands and got them deals and then it would all sort of fall apart. And I didn't really understand. So I felt like it would be a good way to learn more. So I took the gig and, uh, I've really, I've really enjoyed it. Okay. So the reason why I love this topic so much in, and essentially it's how to make a hit. And okay, you know, when, when somebody like, so honest, first off, I want to warn you that there's going to be a lot of dumb questions. Cause you have this, you have almost like a wizard of odds sort of job in that people may know it exists, but they don't know what happens behind the curtain. They have no idea how it, yeah. Meaning there's nothing behind the curtain. Well, there may not be. I think that's a great, I think that's a great intro. I keep hearing the Tom Petty song. My A&R guy says, I don't hear a single. Number one is, is the, is one thought that I have in the other is when you were talking and it's so great that you're a producer songwriter, cause you come at it from that way. But from my perspective, 30 something years, it always seems like a band that's about to make it. It's the A&R guy that somehow screws it up. And but what I mean by that is the A&R guy finds him, loves him, you know, he's all in and then he either moves up, moves on, changes jobs or whatever. And the band is left sort of hanging. Is that even close to fair? I mean, that's what it seems like. I mean, I mean, it's hard to say. And I think it's changes over time, right? Your A&R guy needs to be our A&R guy was Mark Williams, who, you know, was on, you know, was over at Interscope then and Columbia and as a Concord now. And I still talk to Mark all the time. Your A&R guy has to be your white knight inside the building. Right. And when you lose that white knight, unless you're a massive band, it's really hard. It's really, really, really, really hard because you need somebody inspiring the troops inside the building all the time. And the manager can't do it in the same way. And you're also, you know, when you're the A&R person, you're sort of by default always in a sticky situation, right? Because you're asked by other departments to ask the artist to do things that may be related to, I don't know, marketing or whatever that maybe they don't want to do or it hasn't been fully explained to them why they should do it. So it's always like, well, you talk to the band all the time or the artist, like you talked to them about it. And it's like, I'd really prefer you develop a relationship with them. But okay, so you're sort of always, you're just always in an awkward position. You know, I have a very, I have a few like round rules with everybody I sign. The first one is like, I will always tell you the truth, no matter if you want to hear it or not. The second one, I am, I'm not your dad. So if you keep asking me the same question, you are definitely not going to wear me down. You will only get the same answer over and over and over again. And number three, the day that I'm working harder on your career than you are is the day I drop you. Okay, that's a great place to start. What is an A&R guy? Or a woman? A&R guy or gal? Yeah, I will say some of the best A&R people working in the business are women by far. I would actually say I think women are at higher emotional intelligence in general. And I think they are generally less reactive. And I think make better A&R people just interesting as a blanket statement. Interesting. Having said that, you know, I look at my job is finding the talent, helping them in whatever it is, right? It can be connecting them with writers and producers. It can be making sure that they don't work with outside writers and producers as to not dilute what it is. It's you know, some of them need praise. Some of them need, you know, carrots and sticks. And you have to learn what each person responds to. And you have to really try to get into their world and understand how they see the world and what their perception of things are. So that's what you're sort of doing for them. And then inside the building, you are the cheerleader, the therapist, you are your whatever needs to be. I think of it as almost like being a manager who has deep musical knowledge and is also inside the building. And does the A&R guy need to come from a producing slash musician background? Do you think that it helps? No, I don't think they need to be. For me, it's an advantage because when things aren't right, I can really talk to producers and say like, there's too much 12K on the kick drum. It's you know, it's messing up the enunciation of the vocal in this spot. Like I can really like get in and we can just like fix shit. Like oh, I'm sorry, I'm not sure if I'm supposed to curse or not. I think we're gonna be okay. Okay. We can go in there and fix it in a way that's beyond like, well, I don't know. I don't know. It's just not getting there. Because, you know, when I was full time writing and producing, I would get notes back like, I don't know, man, just, you know, need some more of the sauce. So like, I no idea what that means. I can't translate sauce into Pro Tools in Ableton, but thank you. There's not a filter for sauce. I don't really like, where is my sauce plugin? So I think that it helps in the communication. And I think that sometimes when you're trying to crack a code on a song, you know, a lot of the artists that I write with too are more like, I worked a bunch on the first Shonda Giant record, like writing with those guys. And not that they need an outside writer, but it was more, it was more like being like the designated hitter. And like, well, you know, you can go here in your bridge, or maybe you should talk about this or maybe like, it was sort of like I was giving them options. But are they asking for are they asking for that feedback? Or are you throwing it in because it's your job? Um, generally, the people I work with asked for it. Okay. So I don't ever impose my writer producer-ness on artists unless they ask for it or their co-writer comes to me who, you know, I know everybody in the writing community here like, man, what do you think? And it's like, and I'm honest, like, hey, your pre-chorus is too long or you actually do need a bridge or lyric is a little boring in the second verse. Like my job is help them to get in there, get it better. So if I'm not involved in the actual writing of it, it's like, here are my general things. Like I said, bridge is too long, like whatever. If they're asking me specifically, can you come into the studio with us and really dig in and work on it? Then I will. And it's different. It then it's more like, let's try this. Let's try this. Let's try this. Well, maybe this gets to one of the dumb questions, Brad, but along those same lines, the dumb questions Brad alluded to, if there's a meeting around a table, where are you? Where is the A&R guy? Are you leading the meeting or are you, are you, you know what I mean? There's a manager, there's a booking agent, there's a producer, there's the label head in the pecking order around the table. Where's the A&R guy? Well, everything is downstream from the music, right? I mean, without great music, everything else is just, you know, empty suits sitting around a table. Swimming, yeah. Okay. Yeah. So to me, and you know, I know a lot of people signed by data. We're not really a market share label. So we look at data, but you know, I'm not trying to sign every kid on TikTok that gets a little bit of a buzz. In fact, I mean, in the, in the example of almost Monday, it was like the anti-data side. But back to your question, as far as sitting around the table, it just depends on what the conversation is, right? If the conversation is about trying to get the music right for the album, like you're at the head of the table with the artist. And look, I tell all artists, like, I will be honest with you, if there's a song that you love and I hate, it's your record. You can put your song on there. I don't care. At the same time, if there's a song that's going to change your career and a hundred X your business and get you to stay in this 10 more years, like I'm going to be very clear that you are making a very grave mistake. Okay. So, so when you, when, okay, you become an, by the way, artists or repertoire, you become an A and R guy, and then you have to then producing artists that are making hits and making money. So if you're not using a tick tock model, where are A and R people, aside from tick tock and the internet, where are A and R people finding talent these days if they're not going to clubs anymore? Are they still? Well, is that still happening? Are you still walking into the nine 30 club and finding somebody? Oh, I love nine 30 clubs. Yeah. Well, not in the last 15 months, that's, you know, the thing about the pandemic is the pandemic has been devastating to a lot of people and to the economy, but it is also fast forwarded life. There's things we're doing now, zooming telemedicine, remote work, food delivery is now at scale. These are all things that were going to happen in the next five to 10 years. Anyway, the pandemic just sped that all up. The adoption rate has gone higher. Not that it is also turbocharged the use of data to find things, right? Whether it be, you know, tick tock or YouTube or wherever the majority of A and R is being done by internet, social media, streaming, things that are taking off on generally Spotify a bit more than the others because you can just see the play counts, but it's more people digging into that kind of data, but still a lot of the traditional things, lawyers, managers, more managers. I think the lawyers are, there's so many deals happening right now that I think lawyers probably are too busy to actually shop deals. Interesting. Lawyers shop deals. Yeah, but it's more, more managers and internet and probably shows again when it starts back up. I don't know anybody who is like, yeah, I'm just going to roll down to the troubadour tonight and see who's playing. Like that, that's your check. I mean, even if you're going to like school night or some of the other LA sort of new artists shows, like you're definitely checking everybody out online before. What has your year been? I mean, if you're not, if they're not, are you focused on keeping the clients you have happy or finding new or, I mean, has it changed in that regard? I assume you're always looking for the next, the last year been like, well, a lot of zoom meetings, always looking for the next, obviously trying to keep artists and bands engaged and creative and trying to frame it as an opportunity. And I think that I've been lucky that a lot of my acts have seen it as an opportunity of like, wow, I don't have to go out and play every weekend. I can really focus on my craft of writing. And you know, a lot of people did a lot of live streams and I, I think that live streams will stay, but I think that's going to morph into more of the, into the metaverse world down, you know, the sort of that, that world of lives. I think that's where live streaming goes. So it's been a lot of that and it's honestly, it's been a lot of just talking to people and lowering their anxiety about things. Yeah. You know, I mean, you have a lot of artists who hit a wall when it like, and all this stuff lined up and then it all went away. Right. Yeah. So you have, you find somebody like almost Monday, who we talked to a couple of weeks ago, you find somebody like almost Monday, even if it's a data driven thing, not a data driven thing. And then when you go to sign them, you're not going to be the only person trying to sign them. What is the competition like and how do you break through to get the artists that you want to sign with you? Okay. So I'll give you two scenarios, right? So almost Monday, I was the only one trying to sign. And my biggest fear was somebody was going to find out about them. I found almost Monday because their mixer and co-producers manager, Andrew Brightman, who's a good friend of mine said, Hey, I got this band. I think you're going to like it. And he sent me three songs and I thought they were fantastic. And I said, I got to see this live. Like when, when are they playing? And I got to see this live. He said, well, they have this one show, but don't come because it's not a real show. Uh, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I was like, okay, cool. I will definitely be there. And he's like, no, no, you really, you know, and I was like, no, no, it's cool. I will like, I've played these shows. I know what I'm walking into. So it was Memorial Day. It was Memorial Day a year and a half ago or so. And it was at the Santa Monica, uh, hang airport hanger. And it was a high school girl throwing a music and art show. Every person there, the median age was maybe 15 and, uh, me and my buddy rolled up. They were playing in a room. There was no PA. Mark Needham was there and had like a mini mixer in his trunk that he broke out. And I met the band before for a couple minutes and like, cool, cool guys, like whatever. Then I was out, like, I think they had a taco truck there or something getting a taco. I tried to go back in to see the band and a 15 year old kid was like, no, you have to pay. And I was like, no, I paid. I was just sitting there. He's like, man, you can't be sneaking in. And I was like, dude, do you, I mean, do you really think I'm like, I mean, I will pay you again, but do you really think I'm sneaking into this? Which was like, sort of, we all joke about it. And I went in that kid, that kid's going to be a CEO one day. Yeah. Hiring and running the world. That's the kid I want right there. Yeah. I know really. I was like, you want an internship? Yeah. So, uh, after I talked my way past the 15 year old, bum rush, the show you did you. Yeah, I did. And I did. I went in and the band was started playing in this room and it sounded terrible. I mean, it was so abusive to the ears. The songs were so good. And Dawson was like, I felt like I was watching like in excess was first club gig. He had so much of like that thing on stage and I was, I was literally taking video of it and I sent it to the label president and I was like, I'm signing this band or I'm quitting my job. Wow. And, uh, Ken was like, calm down. He's like, that kid looks like a star. I'm like, these songs are bangers. I was like, we're going to do this. So we talked to them afterwards. They had no lawyer. They had no booking agent. They had no manager and they, they sort of confessed this to me very seamlessly. And I was like, this is amazing. Yeah, this is great. So they hooked up, uh, through Andrew with Nick Ferrara, who's an amazing attorney. And um, I think they thought I was going to be bummed out. They didn't have all the infrastructure, but I was like, no, this is great. Like, no, that's actually better for you that way. Well, I could just get them the best team in the world and now they have Andy Mendelson at full stop managing him who has Kings of Leon and is so great. And Marty Diamond is their booking agent, right? It's like they have a world-class team because the only thing with any of this is that without the best team around it, it's not going to work. I don't really care how good the music is. If you have a terrible manager, it's not going to work. It's too hard. So that's the arc of them. 14 days after that share of the deal was signed. That boy that raises a whole nother. It's another thing that I've run into many, many times is if there's more than two people in a band, it's complicated, right? Then you start adding in girlfriends and wives and managers and the bass player wants to be huge, but the drummer doesn't. How much of that do you have to, um, well, there's a, there's a rude word for it, but fix is what I'm on unscrew, I guess is what, how often does that happen where you've got a great talented band, but something is just broken. You know, whether it's like you said, manager or a girlfriend or miss guided expectations one way, you know, from one or the other. Well, I think that going into it, I have a lot of conversations with people about like, who do you want to be like, and you know, almost Monday from San Diego. I'm like, great. Do you want to be the king of San Diego or do you want to be the kings of the world? Like, like, what is your ambition? And like, I live in silver Lake here and you know, there's a lot of super cool silver Lake bands that really just want to be super cool bands. And like, that's awesome. It's not a business I can invest in, um, because that's just not the business model we're in. So you just have to make sure everything is aligned and you know, you just have to manage expectations, everybody's expectations all the way down the line. You know, from, from moment one, you have to manage expectations. And then as far as managers, there's not a whole lot you can do because you can get, you know, there's torturous interference laws. And so you hope that they don't have a bad manager, the girlfriend, boyfriend, whatever thing, you know, those sort of seem to work themselves out because generally the other people in the band will finally throw down, um, and sort of, and solve that. But I I'm pretty, I'm pretty honest with people and I've, you know, you can ask anybody who I've a, an art, um, that I will tell them generally, like you're, you're making a mistake. I know why you don't see it as a mistake, but you are making a mistake. I assume with your experience, can you identify those problem bands pretty quickly? Are there cases where you, you know, you thought you had a great one and boy, I didn't see that coming or can you identify it pretty quickly? Like this band, there's a problem here and it's either going to have to be fixed or I'm walking type of thing. They say that love is blind. I tend to think talent is blinding. So it is very hard sometimes to see reality when that's not the reality you want to see. And I think that that's a symptom of being a human more than anything else. So I just really, really try to look at things through as an unbiased view as I can. Having said that there, there was one artist I had at some point and we had a sit down and I just said, look, this is what you did previously. This is what your last tour did and either we need to make some changes or you should realize that you peaked a year and a half ago. And it's a tough conversation. And it was like a 50-50 split that I was just like, you guys should go decide what you want to do. It's your lives. You don't have to do this. I'm not, I would love to keep doing it with you guys and it's all good, but I don't force anybody to do anything. And of course, this is all not just in a money making opportunity, but this is what they laid out as their goals when they first sat down with you at the beginning and said, this is who I want to be. This is what I want to be. And how do I get there? You talked a lot about the data and I'll put it this way. You talked about the second verse being too long. So after you signed them, after you've gone through the competition, after you get them in the studio and you're starting to craft a song and you're starting to craft a career, what is the most important thing that you try to get them to do? Are you looking for them to write a radio hit? Are you writing, are you trying to get them to make money? Are you trying to see what song works best with a sink? What are the goals that you sit down to try and flesh out when you make a, you know, when you have the band now in the studio? I have one goal, quality. That's it. That's all we can control is how good the music is. Everything else you can influence, but you cannot control it. So to me, I don't really think about is this a radio song? Is this a sync song? Is this bridge going to blow up on TikTok or anything like that? To me, it's how do we make the art as good as it can be? Because commerce follows art. Art never follows commerce. That's not the way the universe works. And that's for me, like that's it. I mean, it's that simple. Like yes, it's great when they go like, wow, I played this for the radio staff and they're freaking out. Like that's amazing. And I also think at some point in people's careers, if you want to put out an album that doesn't have like hit songs or radio songs or whatever, and you've earned it and go ahead, I mean, you know, there is no amnesiac without Kid A. Like let's face the facts. No kid A, you don't get to make amnesiac, you know, like hits and big songs by you freedom. And it's that freaking simple. Yeah. I mean, that's the Cohen brother model, you know? Yeah, that's right. I got a movie that everybody likes, and then I can start making the stuff that I really want to make. I mean, Steve Buscemi, same way. Yeah. How much of your job, Mike, and you've kind of said it, but how much of your job is pushing and how much is pulling? Oh man, that's a great question. I think it depends on the day. I think it also depends on the context. I generally, going back to my, the day I work harder on your career than you is the day I'm dropping you. I generally, I will tell people when they're messing up, I will drive to make things as great as they can be. But if I feel like I'm dragging an artist along, then I will tell them like, I'm no longer doing this. Because it won't work. Scott Lit, who, I don't know if you know who Scott Lit is, massive producer, producer like Nirvana, unplugged and mixed walking on sunshine actually. But you know, Scott Lit, when Whiskeytown was signed to Outpost, he was one of the founders at Outpost. I remember him telling me years later, he's like, you can't outwork the artist. I know why you think you can. I know why you think you can catch every falling knife. You cannot work out the artist. The artist is always the tip of the arrow. And if they're not stopped, it will not work. It's not the way it works. But am I right to assume though, every artist's version of work is different. You know, some artists are going to work really hard at radio. Some artists are going to be really great workers in the studio. I mean, I had a boss one time tell me that the farm needs thoroughbreds and worker mules. You can't all be thoroughbreds. You can't all be worker mules. So every artist is going to work differently based on I guess whatever goal that they have set out to you for, right? Right. But that is true. But they have to do the hard work in all areas. It's too hard anymore. It's just too hard. You cannot have a career if your songs aren't streaming and you're not going on tour and you're not really working on your craft, then you're a hobbyist. And then this is a hobby. Along those lines. That's a great question. And I had a boss said the same thing, Brad. We have thoroughbreds and mules. How much conversation do you have to have? Like within Almost Monday. I mean, another conversation I've had for many, many years is an artist, a lot of them don't want to do the marketing. They don't want to do the interviews. They don't want to do the not performing parts. You know what I mean? They just think this is all I'm going to do. But you really have to have the whole package, don't you? I mean, you do. And now you got social media and all this other stuff. Look, nobody's going to want to do everything. And artists shouldn't do everything, you know, and I don't really want artists who are like, I will do anything. Right. It's like, you don't really want that either. But you have to figure out why they don't want to do it. If they don't want to do it because they're scared of doing it wrong or scared of looking foolish in their dumb friend's eyes or that stuff, then you have to sort of work through that. So the thing is about the why, right? Like, why don't you want to do it? And if you say, look, I don't want to do that interview with whatever, because I have a deep held philosophical view that is very different than the parent company of that organization. God bless. Cool. Totally get it. If you say, I don't want to meet with the Spotify people because I think it's better for me to be mysterious after a show, then it's like, then you're an idiot. Like, I don't know what to tell you. Like, you are living out of fantasy that is based on fear. You don't want to meet them because you don't think you're enough and you think they're going to see through you. So let's get to the root of that and let's figure it out. Because if you don't want to do those things, then again, you're a hobbyist. Professionals do the work. Hobbyists only do the play. When do you, so right now in the climate that we're in now, what is the most important thing for a band to accomplish, whether they're new, established, et cetera, what do they need to do in the next six months? Depending on where they are in their career, I would tweak the answer a little bit, but net overall, get better at your art and everything else follows. Get the songs as great as they can be. Because if you're great at social media, you're great at all this stuff and your music sucks, even if you get it going, it's going to run out of steam. Whereas if the songs are just great and you're consistent, that's another thing you really need these days are just consistency, then you will get somewhere. And then suddenly you'll realize like, wait, my social media is actually sort of taking care of itself. And I don't really have to tend that garden as much because of the strength of the song. Your song is sort of your first for everything else. Well, I'm glad you mentioned that because it sort of walks me into a kind of a delicate territory that I know is sensitive to your side of the industry. So when, okay, so you get a great song, but you're not judged as an A&R guy just on great songs, right? At some point, like what is the judgment for you, for your boss, for your peers? And how much pressure is there on you to perform at that level every time? Me personally, we're in our labels a little bit different. We have 25 to 30 artists on the label, whereas a lot of the other majors have 125. There is pressure to perform. But at the same time, for me, again, all I can control is how good the artists, I can't control if the marketing department does their job or the streaming department or whoever. And that's all I can control. So that's all I really focus on. And I think that if I look at some things at the label that we've done where we have had big streaming numbers or have had hits with them, it's always been things really of quality. And that's what I just sort of stand on is that because otherwise, if you just go, oh, this thing is blowing up and you start chasing stuff, that's a hit. Now by the time you find something and get it out, it's moved on anyway. Everything moves too fast these days. Well, that was sorry, but that's sort of where I was going. It's like art is so subjective and we have so many different opinions about this and that. And it always felt like A&R guys, their one mission was to perform hits, get hit after hit after hit after hit. And if you're not a hit machine, then what happens? I'm just trying to figure out are we in a world right now where hits are not necessarily as important because there's so many other pathways for an artist to be successful. A DSP, the right sync, a festival shot. There's a different version of success these days than just having chart success. Yeah. Well, I think you've gotten to the heart of it, which is what a hit is, is harder to find now than ever. Somebody has a hundred million streams on a song. Is it a hit? I don't know. How do we define a hit? It used to be a lot easier when hits were like, oh yeah, it's on however many radio stations and it's doing this and that's driving as many CD sales every week. But you have songs that are crushing at streaming and aren't on the radio at all. You have other songs that are on the radio and are a hit, I guess. But you couldn't sell a ticket to their show. So it's so amorphous. I try to look at everything and having a conversation with a friend of mine, a virgin, about this the other day as, you know, I also think the day and age of the music superstar is sort of behind us. I don't think you'll ever see the Michael Jackson level, the U2 level of superstar again. I think people's attention is bifurcated in a bajillion different ways now. And I think that you have to look at each of these artists and these acts as like a small business. And how do you grow this small business into a very healthy business? It can't be, if you exist only in black and white that like, this is like a complete smash. Like the numbers are so small when you look at the things signed, the things that come out compared to that. I don't think anybody would have a job anymore. So I tend to look at it, like I think about like, if you're one of the two guys that founded Google, right? You're super crazy rich, right? But if you're the guy who owns 10 gas stations in San Francisco, you're probably pretty rich too. Are you ever going to be as rich as the Google guy? No, but that doesn't mean you're not rich. So if you have a band that's generating income from themselves, labels getting in return, they have a good touring business, a great sync business or whatever, like that's a viable business and you can invest in those businesses. That is an amazing way of putting it. I never thought about it that way, but it is so right. On those lines, I mean, for you personally, I keep going back to, I mean, what you just said and the Cohen brothers sort of metrics for you. I mean, do you have to have that hit so that you can sign two, three, four, you know, that you love that maybe aren't going to have that ginormous hit? Do you have to worry about that? And how much of what you do personally is kind of the, what have you done for me lately thing? You know, at what point does it become nervous time for you? I got to find some, the next thing. Because I'm always looking for the next thing. I don't think I ever go into the wake up in the three in the morning, sort of panic like, Oh my God, I gotta find that thing. You know, look, we all want hits. We all want things to work and I'm always looking and I'm probably harder on myself than anybody at the label is. So I don't, you know, I feel my own internal pressure much more, I think, than pressure exerted upon me. I will say that the majority of things that I brought in and we didn't get have blown up a lot of things that we did get either are on their path to becoming big or maybe we're out of business now, but did really good business in the interim. And yeah, I mean, look, it's a, it's a, it's a hard job. I mean, it's a really, it's a really, really, really difficult, hard job because you have a lot of the responsibility and not a lot of the control. And I think any job where you have those two crosswinds, it's tough. You know, I mean, it's really tough. Look, I purported to know not much, but if there's something I do know, it always felt to me like the A&R guy was the hardest job in the entire industry. And that's why I'm so interested in it. I appreciate your time. I mean, I really do. This I could literally talk about this all day. I mean, there's, dude, I'm happy to keep going. We don't, I don't. I asked this question of Sam one night at dinner and he absolutely refused to answer me. So I asked him again and again and again. And so I have a feeling, I know what your answer is going to be, but am I going to, am I going to text Sam this question just to see if he has BGSD? Is there one that was this close that got away that you wanted really, really bad? I'll tell you why. You think the reason why Sam refused to answer that is because he said, cause I'm going to sign him one day and I'm not going to tell you who it is. Oh, Sam is the best. Yeah. Boy, let me think about that. None of them keep me up at night because I just, I just move on and I, I wish them well. Trying to think of, I mean, I will tell you, I saw Sam hunt open for chase rice in Boston years ago before he had a deal, before he had anything. He was playing acoustic guitar and singing. He had a guitar player and they're playing the tracks and the songs are just unbelievable. And we do have a lot of joint ventures in national our label, but we didn't have the infrastructure to really, to, to, to do that. So that was one that was like, oh man, love that answer. And I'll tell you why. What year was that? It's gotta be seven years, eight years. I don't remember the reason I ask is because the reason I love that is because there's, there was something in you that said, based on what was happening in country music, the way that it was crossing over the way that just some of the guys just looked right. He had the look, he's got the sound, he's got the songs. And you probably said to yourself, I think that's where country's going. Well, it was funny. I was there to see chase rice who I, I mean, I literally left the venue and called the president of the label. I'm like, okay, so here's the news. I want to sign both of these guys. And I was there to see chase cause chase at the time, you know, he was on, um, John Marx was playing them when he was at the highway and it was a rainy Sunday night in Boston and it was at paradise and it was fricking packed and people were singing along to songs that weren't on the radio. It was like, this is real. We didn't, we didn't get chase. We just weren't at the time. We weren't really set up to do that. So it was like, like I stumbled across pink sweats who I love before, before anything. I think I actually think I might've actually sent pink sweats to Sam. If I don't know Atlantic now. Um, I sent it before we signed it to Sam. Like, again, it's not something that our label was set up to do. Interesting. So there's, there's, and there's inner dynamic trading happening. There's like, uh, other, you send them to somebody else sometimes just because you know, it's probably going to work out a little bit better and they've got an infrastructure for it. Life is too short. Don't we all just want to get good music into the world? And like, I'm not, I'm not in competition with Atlantic. I'm in competition with Mike Daly every morning that I wake up with. Let me jump on that. Cause that, and it's an obvious question and I think you've probably alluded to some of the answers, but what are the reasons you just mentioned the one we weren't prepared for it, but what are the reasons that you wouldn't get an act? I mean, I'm thinking everything from you just personally don't hit it off. Oh, they like somebody. I mean, what are the sort of reasons why Mike Daly doesn't get somebody? Whatever. Well, I can think of a, I can like roll decks through deals. We haven't gotten, you know, for us, the selling part of our label is that there's 25 to 30 artists. So you get time, you get attention. We don't do like one EP. It didn't work. You sit on the shelf for three years or you get dropped or whatever. We don't, we don't do that. Right. So you get time and you get attention. Our label has as many streaming people, radio people as any other major label. And we're housed inside the world's biggest entertainment company. Right. So you get all of these other opportunities that you would never have gotten. Right. So that's sort of the cell. Now I've lost deals because other people have just come in and paid an ungodly amount of money. I've lost deals because managers are, were, I can think of one deal was really, really good friends with the president of another label. So they got it. There was another deal we lost because the artist was very good friends with another artist who was on a big label and they went to the same label as that big artist. You know, sometimes, you know, I mean, those are some of the ones I could think of sort of off the top of my head. I mean, we're not like, like I said, we have a lot of joint ventures in country. So we have one with Warner's and we have most of them with universal down there. And we have a couple of things with both of them, which is great. But the other, the other unsaid part of all this is that you work on a budget too. You know, you have, you don't have an endless amount of money. Like you just can't just like sign everybody and anybody that you want to, you have to be really diligent about the ones that you are putting resources behind. But let me stop you there. We have to be more diligent because we're not a market share company. Explain the difference between the two market share when you're at more of a market share company and that's any kind of company, right? Like look at Spotify, like I love Spotify. Spotify will use millions upon millions of millions of dollars a year. Right? So does Netflix. They're growth companies. And for us, we work on money in money out, right? For some of the other labels, it's all just about increasing market share. So you can lose a million dollars on something, but increased market share. And it's seen as a win. Barry, Barry, it's a masterclass. I mean, this is amazing. I mean, I, I, I, I mean, I think I'm a little out of my depth on really getting into market share definitions of other labels, but I got, I got one for you. I'm I'm 18 years old. I'm talented. I want to, I want to record. I want to be a star. I think, um, what are the things that I need to, what are the questions I need to ask a Mike day who comes to an airport hanger and hears me at a horrible show? What are the things I need to be asking, thinking of to protect myself? Right. Let's look at it from that point of view, not your point of view. You know, what are some of the, what are the, what are the lives? I need to be worried about? What are the truths? What are the, you know, I'm 18 years old. I don't know anything. What would you have told young Mike daily when he was in Swains or whatever the name of the band was? Yeah. Um, you know, I, I think you need to ask as many questions as you can. Right. I think you need to ask like, how does the label work? What are the different departments do? I think you just, you, God, man, I would ask everything. Like how do you see our music? Where do you see us in three to five years? What do you think that the steps to success are? Um, I mean, cause the, the, the cliche or whatever is, you know, I 18, I'm signing the first piece of paper put in front of me, you know, and if, if you show me zeros, I'm in and now I've given, you know, we've all heard the horror stories of the artists who've given away their catalogs and, and all that. Is that still happen today? Like I know it doesn't happen. I mean, it's happened with Taylor Swift a couple of years ago. Yeah. Well, I won't wait into the Taylor thing. Um, but because she will find us and she will eat us alive. I'm not, no, because she didn't give them away because Scott Borsetta invested heavily in her career when she was 16. So, but I won't wait into that. Well, I give, I'll give you an example. A buddy of mine is in sort of a promotions business and he's got a couple of acts that he has helped increase their social media numbers to a large degree. They go from, so here's this guy, a young artist, very talented goes from nobody to tens and tens and thousands of social media. And he wants to walk away from my buddy who's helped him. Cause as he says, I'm the one with the talent. You haven't done anything for me. So, but they've had a contract. So it happens. Oh, I'm coming at this a different way than my original question, but that's the kind of thing I'm, I'm asking is I'm young, you know, all I want to be as a star. Uh, somebody comes at me with a piece of paper and zeros, you know, what's the bet? You answered the question with asking questions, but I'm just wondering, are there top five things, top three things? If you hear this run, you know, that kind of thing. Well, I think anybody who says like, it's definitely going to work. Like, you know, like that's definitely like, Ooh man. You know, it's like, it's like always and never are like the two most dangerous words in the English language. Cause somebody who says something always happens is lying to you. And somebody who says something never happens is also lying to you. Um, cause that's not reality. That's not the human existence or the human experience rather. So I think anybody who tells you it's deaf, anything is definitely going to work. Uh, I'd be, I'd be scared of, um, but I don't think, I don't really, I don't see, uh, we don't do any of those crappy deals. Um, I'm sure those deals are out there, uh, but I don't really have any exposure to them. And it's like anything else, like get a good entertainment lawyer, you know, like your uncle who's a personal energy injury lawyer should not be looking at your record. You'll Hey, Brad, that's one of the things Jeff Becker, who is an entertainment lawyer, if you remember, isn't that what he said is, uh, better to have a lawyer at the beginning than later. Yeah. I love that. Spend the few dollars at the front end rather than come see me later. I mean, it goes to what it goes to what he said. What Mike said earlier, you know, the, um, the first name that you mentioned, the first person, the first entity you mentioned when you started talking about this was lawyer. I mean, it's, it's the first thing you probably should, should put, you know, put on your backside immediately. You know, you need somebody at your back. You need somebody that's got you and the lawyer is probably the best thing. But to the point of all of this, do you think that recorded about this, do you think recording success is dependent as much on record labels these days as it had been in the past? It's an interesting question. It's a great question. Because you have a couple different forces at work here, right? One force is now it's pretty economical to record in your bedroom and make really good sounding records. And you know, the, the, it used to be, it was so expensive to record, but there, there was so many gatekeepers. There's a lot of barriers to enter. Right. So those are gone, which I think is great. I think that it's great that people can express themselves. I'm true believer in art. So I think that that's amazing. Conversely now, you know, I heard a statistic the other day, something like 40,000 new songs get uploaded every day to the DSPs, Spotify, Apple, Amazon. It's so much. It's so much music that you need to find a way to stand out amongst that seat. Right. And I think that things just raise their hand and get on some good playlists and, and, and whatever. But I think that record labels add a lot of value there. I think record labels are very good at expanding people's worlds. Right. Like I think it's very good at giving them a bigger view, like introducing them to people, connecting dots, just making their world bigger. Yeah. And again, it's, it's a little bit of a tricky area because defining success is completely, you know, like I have friends of mine who do it all on their own. They make music for like yoga and meditation and they make a great living at it and they do it all on their own, but they don't, you know, they have no ambition to tour the world and you know, they make, they love what they do. They make a great living. And that's success to them. I mean, it goes back to a lesson that the old man would say to all, to every old man, everybody's dad has said to him at some point, you know, that job ain't coming knocking at the door. You know, you got to go out and get a job and it's not just going to come find you, you know, to, to get out and actually do something, you probably need to, to, you know, put yourself out there and do it. It's just because you put a song out, doesn't mean the world's just going to come to you. Those things just don't happen very often. I mean, in your experience, you can probably count, you know, on one hand, how many people have truly hit six and a level of, of major success from recording in your bedroom. Billy Eilish, you know, what I'm here on this entire conversation, Mike, and I don't mean to put words in your mouth, but it just really depends on what you want. Right. And it depends on what they really want. If they want to do yoga soundtracks and be successful at it, then don't put them on the road in a van, you know, and if you want to be a star and you don't want to ride in the van, you need to know about that. So that it sounds like that's where the conversation, as you said, at the very beginning has to be two way. It has to be open and it has to be honest. Yeah. I mean, it's just, it's a lining. It's aligning goals, managing expectations. Exactly. I mean, and that's what it is all the way, all the way down the line. It's like, you know, you have an artist and the song's going to radio and they're so psyched. It's like, you should know this might not work. The final thing I got for you, because you've been so generous your time. I mean, by the way, by the way, Barry, he ain't living a tough life. Look at that backyard. I have perfected this camera angle. Yeah. I've collected the camera angle of my yard over the pandemic. I keep waiting for the umbrella drink to be delivered. I should have done. That's a really good idea. Yeah. The row of bikini clad women behind the camera right now are just waiting to deliver him Mai Tai. So if you are being being an aunt, be on your level of an A&R guys. One thing, but there's a whole level of people under you that are signing bands like even and these are usually kids. These are usually young, aggressive kids. Right. Are you seeing like those are the guys that are I'll put it this way to get where you are. You got to put in the work. Do you think that you got to make your chops to get to where you are by hustling on the streets and, you know, chasing down that act or that band that could get you to the next level? Is it still that kind of process? I think it's always at some level that process. I think that they're not they're not passionate about or they don't think that they can really add value to or whatever. I just think it's too hard. Yeah. You think it's a harder job than you got? In a lot of ways. Yeah. Because, you know, with manager, you're always at the you know, you're at the mercy of the artist. The artist can fire you at any minute. Yeah. And in most cases, you haven't gotten paid yet. Yeah. I mean, there's so I mean, like, I mean, how many management deals and in lawsuits like a lot. Look, and this is where selfishness comes in. There's never been a time in my life where I've not said to myself, I'd really like to be an A&R guy. And the I'm not kidding. Like, and then one day I was sitting here in New Orleans and this guy I was watching, I was like, this guy is unbelievable. I love this dude so much. And he walked up after and he's like, Hey, you want to be our manager? And I said, Oh, God, no, no, I never know. I want to do that ever in a million years. It is it is a daunting world. And for those who have the guts and the the passion to do it, you guys are there's not many of you and there's and there's even fewer that that do it really, really well. And so all the credit in the world to you, man. That's a well, I would say it's all hard. You know, it's all hard. It's hard being a manager. It's hard being an agent. You know, it's it's hard, you know, being a DJ, it's hard, you know, putting on festival. It's all it's it's an easy, you know, it's not an easy business. And it's hard being the artist. I mean, that's the other thing that we have to remember. Like, I did it. Like, I spent a lot of my years on tour and it ain't easy, man. So like, you really have to have empathy for all the other moving parts. It ain't easy being the creative director who sent five things through for them to look at for photo shoots. And everybody hates everything. It's not easy. I mean, look at videos. I mean, how do you make a good music video? Like I feel like almost every video is terrible. And then one is like really good. Like I don't. It's it's it's really been. Has there been a great music video since Korn's Free Con Elis, though? I mean, it really was the great music video since since Jackson, you know, but I do appreciate you talking about how difficult my job is because, Lord, I it's very difficult. I want Barry and Taka to realize this hair works very, very hard. Well, it's carried you this far as all I know. I appreciate this so much, I love you to death. And I'm so glad that we got to we got to talk shop a little bit and you got to dissect a part of the industry that so rarely gets talked about and exposed like this. So thanks for being the Wizard of Oz. I appreciate it, buddy. Absolutely. Any any time I had fun, I'm around. All right. Well, next time I'm out west, I'm coming to the porch for the Mai Tai. Sounds good. OK, see you soon. Thank you, guys. Bye bye. Thanks, buddy. Oh, the beautiful tones of Midas, M.I.D.I.S.T. Follow them on Bandcamp, follow them on Spotify, give them a listen. They're very good friends of ours and they were gracious enough to allow us to use their unbelievable work on the podcast, which bands this year that matter. That's Barry Courter. I'm Brad Steiner. Thanks for sticking with us. That was Mike Daly from Hollywood Records. The thing that I mentioned before the interview was that it's such a hard job. Well, it's not just a very difficult job because you have to produce over and over and over. Yes, I think that Mike says it over and over that he's just about the quality of work. I think that that's adorable. And I think that there is part of that. That's true. But man, you still got to deliver. You know, I mean, there are very few labels in the world. That. And again, I know that people hate this, but this is still a label generated and dominated industry. Now, you can make it work without a label. And so many people do. But at some point you need them. And whether it's distribution, whether it's representation, you need them at some point to hit a level that you want to attain. Very few people can do it without them. And like it or not, that's just sort of what the industry is. I think that he can be very open about it wanting to be quality of work. But I think he's still and doesn't probably want to admit he's still got to produce hits. He's got to produce hits and he's got to have people around him who believe in him. And that's I think I asked him about it. He mentioned it a little bit, but that's one of the things that I've seen over the many, many years is an act who has signed who looks like their trajectory is skyrocketing. And then something happens. The A&R guy gets promotion or the label head moves or somebody moves or something changes. It can be a small thing. Doesn't have to be a pandemic. And if everybody's not on board, suddenly it can get derailed. And I loved hearing him talk about sort of who's at the head of the table in the conference room, depends on the meeting type of thing. That's a fascinating scenario. Also depends on the person too. Yeah. I mean, there are several, go around the history of the industry. There are people in the industry that will be the head of the table and you're not, some A&R guys are not going to let anybody else be the head of the table. Clive Davis ain't letting anybody else talk. He's got a track record. He's got a track record to back it up. I'm sort of thinking of this for maybe that podcast listener out there who's in wherever, Iowa, Montana, we all have it. We all have that band that we, you know, whether they played our fraternity or they play in our town, who we think this is great. They're the next big thing. And it's, you know, why aren't they making it? Or where they're almost about to make it. So that's what I'm thinking about when I went with these interviews that we're doing. Hopefully everyone can kind of see what has to happen. You know, I, you know, I know that I get, I get beat up a lot because of hootie and the blowfish, but when you really think about it, the way that artists are being found now, there are no hootie the boat fishes anymore. You know, there are no just bar bands that are hanging out on college campuses that are just magically found and then given a record deal and within six months, their lives are changed. There's just so few of those, right? You have to have, I mean, Alabama shakes are sort of that way. I mean, she was, she was delivering mail for crying out loud, but you know, there's so few of those these days because of Tik Tok and how, you know, how the social, how YouTube and social media has completely changed the paradigm of, of how people find product. To your point, uh, Kane Brown, a country artists from the Chattanooga area here blew up was doing cover songs on, um, social media and his numbers were huge and, and continued, but he couldn't get a meeting for the longest time until they got so big because the label people were thinking it was a, you know, a Tik Tok or a social media flash in the pan. Well, he's proven them. He's, he's proven to be a pretty big star in the country music scene, but if you don't have a Tik Tok and a social media presence right now, you're not even getting a meeting. You're not even getting the, yeah. A sniff. That's exactly to your point. Yeah. So it's all, you gotta have those numbers and then, and then you got to back them up, I guess. So it's, yeah. So that shows you how a band is found, how it is nurtured, but you know, it still takes, you can, like Barry said, you can have all of the talent in the world, but if you don't have the hit and if you don't have the right songs, you're just not going to, you're going to be spinning in place. Right? I think of a band and they're coming to town here and I love them and they're good people, but it needs to be said, the band like the Struts, who have an incredible live show, they have, they were in this place a couple of years ago where they're that close. They were almost there and they just never got there. You know, if you remember back in the early aughts, there was a band by Mr. Butch Walker. I love Butch Walker and Marvelous 3, Marvelous 3 just couldn't get there. They just couldn't get to that next step and now Butch Walker is producing, you know, major artists. It happens over and over and over and it has to take that right chemical compound that brings everything together for that right song to hit and when it does though, you're made for the rest of your life. Yeah. And interesting thing that we've learned, I think Mike seemed very confident in his ability to pick a viable act, say, and so did Allie. Remember when we asked her, she was one of the two booking agency agents that we talked to. Do you know when a band is good or is it just, you know, basically dumb luck? And she very firmly said, I know when they're good. That's another, I find that fascinating. And obviously I would hope she would say that, but it's interesting still. If confidence is your thing, then I've got the guy for you. The quiet confidence of Mr. Troy Hanson, who is the head of rock for Cumulus Broadcasting is going to take us through next week. When these bands start to get their shot, he's the guy they go to. He's the one they call. You know, there are three people in radio, at least rock radio that make the entire thing work. Three people. You can add a couple more, you know, you can add, this is radio though, but you can add a couple more on the periphery, like, you know, some satellite radio people and, you know, Ali Hagendorf from, from Spotify, who is a major, you know, component in all of this. But when it comes to getting played on the radio, which is still no matter what you think, the biggest music discovery portal that the country uses, still 90% of people interact with radio on a daily and weekly basis. So, you know, it's still how the industry gets the message out and it's still how they deliver what eventually will be hits. Troy is one of the three people that you got to go to, to make it work and how he then picks the songs that he picks. I will try to take my radio programmer hat off and try and be a, just a listener with some, some, you know, general questions so that you understand exactly how decisions like that get made and who gets played on the radio and who gets the shot over the guy who you thought had it all. Yeah. How about we let listeners, if they have a question or two, send it to us. That'd be great. Yeah. Yeah. Tell us, ask us if you have any, you know, how do you, you know, look, I mean, it's a, it's a maddening process because people have this impression about radio that it just doesn't matter anymore, but it still is the most effective medium to get music discovery out because it casts such a wide net. So yeah, hit us up at the what podcast on Twitter. And by the way, the same place that you can register for tickets if you want to do that. Yeah. If you want to win tickets, we got to do the drawing here in a couple of weeks. If you want to win tickets to Bonnaroo, kind of sold out tickets to Bonnaroo. That's right. Wait, the tickets are sold out. No, we're not. We're giving away tickets to a sold out Fondue. There you go. So we're going to give away the tickets to the camping pass, just hashtag the what podcast on Instagram or Twitter. And, you know, we'll pick a, we'll pick somebody at random here in probably what 10 days, two weeks or so, right? Yeah. We've got to give them enough time to, to get packed. I think it's like 90 days. Oh God. Depending on when you're hearing this. I know, I know I, I don't, I'm not, I'm not ready. I think about this. We're recording this in early June. Um, it would be Bonnaroo right now when this comes out, it would be Bonnaroo. You know, um, circling back on some news that happened, you know, in the last couple of days, I think that I want to, I want to, you called back to a message on, in, uh, on Facebook earlier in the show about a guy who, who took me to task about deftones. I want someone to take me to task on liking that ACL lineup. Uh, I should be beaten in the street for liking that ACL lineup as much as I do. Cause it stinks. It stinks. It stinks. I don't know what I was seeing. So when you, the day to day got hold of me, I saw the day to day breakdown of the ACL lineup and it is terrible. Oh, fend it out. Yes. When you see it, especially when you, when you just do week to week because so many bands are only doing week one and so many are doing week two. You see, there was a day I might've counted two artists that I, you know, we talked about, I talked about that. That the whole two weekend thing to me is confusing. I don't, yeah, that would, that's that what you're talking about is what I was alluding to could happen. That would ruin it for me. You know, if I lived there and it didn't matter, great. If you're there, it's what you do. Yeah. You're already there. You might as well go, but if you had to choose between the two weekends, that makes, yeah, then it becomes not so good. So I, I, uh, I think that there's look, even though we've seen how many lineups come and go, how many Boner is come and go, you know, I'm still a fan and I still get, uh, I still get the, the, the wobbly legs when I see something I really like, you know, I see like Barry did the lineup in 2019 might've been, or 2020 might've been terrible, but Barry saw Miley Cyrus and his legs got wobbly and it didn't matter what the rest of the lineup was for him. It was the best lineup you'd ever seen. It was when I, when I saw George straight, my legs got wobbly and you know, my perspective got a little flawed. It was the lineup is terrible. It's terrible. Okay. I'll have to look at the data. Let me ask you this. This was a conversation we had at dinner in Austin when I went to see a black Pumas is, is Erica Badoo a headliner? You asked that the other day. And I said, yes, at the time. No, I said no, but then you asked me compared to another. And I said, yes. So is Stevie Nicks a headliner? You know, it's funny cause she's going to be down in a what shaky knees, right? Shaking knees. Um, to me, she is, if you're going to go legacy act for sure. And it came up on some social media for a couple of people like, my God, who, you know what? And the first thing my daughter said is I would go just to see Stevie Nicks. That's what every 30 to 45 year old woman's going to say. So, you know, that's why I said last show, I don't get caught up in it nearly as much as you do because I get it. That is over the audience. If, well, yeah, if it's, as I've said, if they have your favorite person on there, it's the buying up less lineup ever. If they're not, it's the worst. So I mean, I don't Rufus to soul. Is that a headliner? I don't have opinion one way or the other. The answer is no. Yeah. So no, it is a big no. Yeah. It is. And that would be fine. Look, I don't need headliners to make a festival go around. But when I look at the rest of the lineup, it just doesn't do anything. There is nothing interesting. Now again, I do like the fact that they did the Tanya Tucker kind of stuff that kind of, I love that. But then you get to a lineup that is hot trash from the moment you see it. And God love them. I hate to say this because they're fine people. But man, the music midtown lineup might be one of the worst things I've ever seen in my life. It is a absolute pop culture trying too hard train wreck. They are trying so hard to make that. Look, I don't know if it is like you asked a couple of weeks back just who you get and what you're stuck with. Thank you. That's why I was getting maybe that's it. But I think what we purposeful late, late fall, maybe November, maybe October after it's sort of shaken out. Maybe we have Ali and John back on and even Troy and whoever else you can think of and just say, how did it go? You know, was this a case of over saturation? And as we predicted months and months ago, October and September, September, October, we're going to be packed and there's only so much to go around. Well Miley's getting on every festival lineup in the country. Yeah. Which by the way, and that's, you know, I meant to bring this up. I almost feel as though Miley has become outcast 2.0. There was, I cannot remember when we had that conversation with the guys at Book Bonnaroo. They did, did I, but did I or did I not ask them about outcast and the fact that outcast played every festival that year on their, on their last tour ever except Bonnaroo. I don't remember if I asked them that question, but there was a, there's gotta be something about outcast not playing Bonnaroo. The one festival that they didn't play. Something tells me that's the reason why Bonnaroo didn't want them because they were playing everywhere else and it would sort of water down their product. Maybe Bonnaroo had Miley Cyrus last year knowing that she was going to try and do a festival run the next year and didn't want to be a part of it and wanted him for one of her first. Yeah, or maybe they got her and she was that sort of George straight. Like you, you know, got your knees wobbly and then everybody wanted her. I don't know that it's an interesting question how that, who, who gets what and why and how they go to this one and not that one. Because if you, if you follow any of the Bonnaroo conversation right now, the biggest question is why Miley? That's why I say, I think probably the time to ask is after it's all settled out and just see how it goes, maybe. But it, I don't know. I mean, we've talked with Brian and Steven at Bonnaroo about how they put a festival together and it's all about the lanes and all that. Yeah. I don't know if that, that matters this year. I don't like my point. Yeah. You can say that and you can intend to do that, but it's, you know, unless you are the 800 pound gorilla, you're not picking and choosing everybody you want. Things have to line up and, and so I don't know. That's, that's what I mean. Like I think we talked with them. They were, they are the big enough a gorilla that they could start with top of the line and then create the lanes. Sure. They may not get everybody they want in that lane, but they get the top of the line and then they create. There's a lot of other festivals, they got a spray, a splatter shot. That just actually made me think about something we didn't ask them. You know, if, if they start from the top down or the bottom up, if they started from the top down and they, you know, had post Malone, Lady Gaga, you know, uh, throw, throw another one in flaming lips. If those, and then you start to create everything down, downward, right. Creating a lane for the Lady Gaga fan, creating a, an urban lane for the post Malone urban pop lane for the, for the, uh, post Malone fan. And then you found a rock lane for the flame and lips. If they lose one of their top lines, do they fill that spot in with somebody similar because they have already created a lane for that person or they just try and get the best headline that they can get. I never asked that before. Yeah. They get the guy who answers the phone. Yeah. If, if flaming lips drops out, do you know, they go to government mule, um, or you know, some other, you know, right, right. If, if Lady Gaga drops out, do they go to pink? You know, they've try and figure out how, or if, or flaming lips drop out, do they get pink and have Lady Gaga and pink? Right. Your question. Yeah. Right. I don't remember if we asked that specifically or not. I think we kind of tried to, um, something tells me that somebody tells me they wouldn't do it that way. I mean, it just, so something tells me they would, they would try and, they would try and find something that fit something, the, the, the plan that they had already put together. Yeah. Well, the other sort of question, and I do know this has happened to the other festivals. Let's say it's a pink or Erica by do, and you have Erica by do and flaming lips and, and post Malone, but then, um, flaming lips drop out, but Lady Gaga's and is available. Do you not take Lady Gaga cause you've already got pink or Erica by do, you know, you take, yeah. You say, yeah. I mean, if the, if the money works, if the money works, something tells me that money wouldn't work. But, um, yeah, if, I mean, I just don't think that you have a spare two mil sitting around. Yeah. But you also don't say, well, we'll get you next time. You know, you take it. Yeah. You don't, you don't punt on, um, when, when in, when Prince is available. Exactly. See you next year. Yeah. So, um, so next week, uh, how to make a hit part two on the, uh, what podcast, uh, anything else to get to, uh, other than check out Middest on Spotify and, uh, and bandcamp check out repeat, repeat the theme song, which by the way, they, uh, they sent me their, their new single that comes out. Oh, I forgot when it comes out, but all Barry, they've got a hit. They've got a hit. I'm saying this as, as radio guy. Um, I'm not just as a friend. This is a hit. I love it. And so if it's not a hit, come back to how to make a hit and dissect what went wrong because this is exactly what I'm actually, it's a great parallel because they've got a song and I think it's a major hit, but based on what Mike said and what will Troy say, those fundamentals have got to all be working in the same jet stream or else you're going to things are going to cross and it's just never going to work. This song is a hit and hopefully, um, you'll hear it soon enough. I feel like they're releasing it next week. I could be wrong. If not, I'll find out and we'll, uh, we'll retweet it at the what podcast on, uh, on Twitter is that at the what pie? I always get this wrong. Is it at the what underscore podcast? I can never remember Twitter. It's underscores after the what send us a note so you can win some tickets. Yeah, do it. Yeah. Hashtag the what podcast on Twitter. I'm Brad. That's Barry. We'll talk to you next week on the what back gas. Thanks for watching. I'm Giselle. I'll talk to you next week on the what podcast.