Conventions & Awards

Interview: RootMusic CEO J Sider On Music Business Success Strategies

J Last week in San Francisco, Musi2k held a Q&A session with RootMusic's CEO and Founder, J Sider. During the conversation, Sider brought up interesting anecdotal information about how he started RootMusic, the trials and tribulations he went through to get the company where it is today, and what musicians and entrepreneurs should keep in mind as they move forward into tomorrow’s music space. Here were the highlights:

Sider advises that entrepreneurs attend every social event they can possibly go to. With enough conversation skills and selective enough hearing, you may encounter someone who will actually want to work with you – being that you have a solid enough idea of what it is you're looking accomplish, and if you can articulate it well enough.

"Do you say that you work hard? Or do you actually work hard,” Sider asked the audience. “You have to be incredibly focused and concentrate on what it takes to reach the next plateau.”

While it's certainly important for one to plan their venture carefully, Sider points out that the biggest hurdle he experienced in starting RootMusic was simply… getting started.  

“What stops people from making things happen is actually just getting started – people get too caught up in the planning process.” 

Sider points out that the most important part of getting people to gigs is being creative. He goes on to share a story of a band that held a Happy Hour event just down the block from where they were playing a show one night, and “ended” the Happy Hour at 9pm so people could then make their way down to the show where the event resumed.

“Bringing value to the conversation – answering what’s in it for them – is key to creating an interest,” Sider said.

He goes on to suggest that musicians should not waste their time and money by creating and distributing flyers to random people, unless they’re physical extensions of conversations you actually had with them, or used as icebreakers to initiate conversation (not just shameless promotion) with potential attendees.

“Word of mouth is key,” he adds. “You need to remind people there are people behind your project.”

Instead of spending money on posters and flyers, Sider recommends purchasing Facebook ads, because of the ability to actually target people within your own region.

“It might look and feel good to see your name printed on a lamppost somewhere, but no one’s really paying attention to those.”

This post is by regular Hypebot contributor, musician, and music marketer Hisham Dahud (@hishamdahud).

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  1. Gee, buy FB ads ?! This guy’s whole business just happens to run on Facebook. Super Lame. In terms of “music business success stories” he doesn’t know what he is talking about. You’re a success b/c you find some angel investor fools so hyped up about web 2.0 that they toss you some change ?! Sure. RootMusic is here today, gone tomorrow.

  2. I understand where you’re coming from, but the reasoning behind Sider’s suggestion to purchase Facebook ads goes beyond his involvement with Facebook.
    In terms of effectiveness, it’s all about reaching people where their eyes are already drawn. Flyers and posters tend to become part of people’s day-to-day “noise”, but Facebook ads lay in areas where people spend a great deal of their time anyway. Additionally, they’re targeted towards people who will potentially and genuinely be interested, as opposed to random bystanders.
    Hope this helps.

  3. Depends on your audience. In the town where I went to college posters were plenty useful. And the Facebook event did as much to get noticed as any ad, and it was free. However for a bigger show or a tour, yeah Facebook ads are useful, but that’s still just an obvious and easy step, I don’t need an interview with a CEO to figure that out.
    I’d really like to hear some insight I haven’t thought of on my own.

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