Broadcast & Satellite

Indie Rock Band Cab 20 Pitch For Funding On ABC TV’s Shark Tank

Tom-callahanMembers of rock band Cab 20 and manager Tom Callahan took to the Shark Tank stage to pitch a deal to fund their band. When faced with the final decision, they turned down the offer, but gained a higher profile in the viewing audience and in the music industry. I spoke recently with manager Tom Callahan about Cab 20's experience on Shark Tank. 

Callahan had an upbeat take on things fueled by the fact that Cab 20 was just coming out of the studio with a new album and it was good timing for a marketing boost.

Cab 20 on Shark Tank 5-11-12

The ABC show Shark Tank features rich and famous business people like Mark Cuban and Daymond John deciding whether or not they're going to bid on a handful of startups each week in the style of a roast. Deals seem to keep happenening so we can assume their money is good but the rapid-pace presentation of moments chosen for dramatic impact seem a bit artificial.

I talked to Cab 20 manager Tom Callahan about the band's recent appearance on Shark Tank, most of which appears in the above video. He pointed out that the episode was filmed back in October and is providing a nice publicity boost.  They are getting more traffic on their band's website and more interest from industry people. Since they're currently coming out of the studio from recording a new album they're finishing that up while talking to labels about the possibilities.

Shark Tank does offer a real chance to get funding but the opening pitch from Callahan seems a bit odd, as he asks for $200,000 for a 20% share with publishing excluded. Exchanges were truncated from 90 minutes of negotiating but it seemed to get things off to an awkward beginning.

As it turned out, a producer encouraged them at the last minute to start with a smaller share for less as some kind of dramatic move and Callahan went along with that request.

Though it is tempting to armchair quarterback such a show, you see so little of what really happens in the process that it becomes kind of meaningless to second guess. Callahan says it's the first time Shark Tank has had a band on and the show's staff as a whole were very supportive. That included ample time the day before to get their sound right for the two songs they ended up recording.

Apparently getting Shark Tank funding wasn't crucial to Cab 20's ongoing development. So their unanimous agreement to not take the final offer was made from a strong position.  Nevertheless, the prospect of being the first band funded by Shark Tank is interesting to consider.

Hypebot Features Writer Clyde Smith blogs about business at Flux Research: Business Changes and about dance at All World Dance: News. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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  1. If you want real business advice in a friendly but critical manner, check out Shark Tank clips from This Week in Startups (awesome podcast). YouTube Shark Tank & This Week in Startups. Or watch podcasts at or off iTunes.

  2. First off, I watch this show every week and it’s a great way to learn what to do and what not to in pitching a business.
    Second, I cannot believe they turned down the deal. Nobody with the following of Cab 20 is getting a $250k advance anymore, and there is an entire process after the show for working out small details of the contract, where many companies (and the Sharks) ultimately walk away from the deal. Might as well say yes and end up in the negotiating room with the potential for a contract than say no and be excited about a little extra web traffic. I bet the extra interest they’re getting from the show is not translating to a $250k check.

  3. I just got a $250K advance with an artist with less going on than CAB 20 a year ago. WITHOUT publishing being included. SO, that is not an accurate statement. I actually did not KNOW that you could renegotiate after the show with the sharks, and if I was aware of that YES, there may have been a different outcome. It wasn’t JUST about web traffic. MANY people got to see and hear the band albeit for 40 seconds. It was enough to generate lots of interest, which I am now capitalizing on

  4. Sorry but the money is only a part of what the Sharks offer. To me, a viewer of the show, I believe that the money can come from anywhere and it would be as valuable then getting half of what you ask and getting someone with a big name and big figures to follow up and help your band grow. If the deal you wanted happened then I am glad for you and the band, but if you think about it the way the Sharks are connected to society is ridiculous. Then again hey who am I to say anything im just a viewer. Keep doing what your doing man!

  5. You are weak and your band was lame Tommy boy! See you at sxsw with all the other wanna be black keys………… Bands like that come a dime a dozen in Austin!!

  6. Here is the thing. They have a look BUT they are not that good. Sorry but bring back the 3 man power group is nit going to happen with this band. To do that ALL members must have chops and in this case none do. hosting an open jam and posting it on Facebook?!?! Rethink this !!!!!!

  7. You call that terrible musician a prodigy. That is an insult to all the real musicians in the world. You just used Shark Tank to get some publicity. You people are pathetic and types like you are ruining the show for me.
    The fact that they offered you a deal only because it is pocket change to them was a miracle that you rejected for 20% difference and no difference in equity is purely mathematical proof that you are just scammers.
    Please go and listen to some real music before you use the word prodigy again.

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