#Fangagement: Artists Crowdsourcing Opinion – Part 7: David Buttrey


I’m here today with David Buttrey, but everyone round the way knows him as Butters. I know him personally, and I have to tell you… I think he's one of the most knowledgeable and hardworking people that I know in the entertainment industry.

Except he's not going to tell you that, because he's humble and keeps it pretty low key. But I personally can't speak highly enough about him. He's been sent to London on behalf of the state of Louisiana as part of a step program to increase digital exposure for the state. He's worked a bunch of high level positions at all the major music festivals around the globe including playing a role in bringing major artists like Snoop Dogg to India. He attends and occasionally speaks at music conferences, and his digital media company has down work for bands and special events across the country involving artists like Big Gigantic, Pretty Lights, Galactic, Flo-Rida, and a ton of other major brands. He's a world class jet setter and a really sharp guy (even though he doesn't want me to say that) :).

So let's take a look.

Early Days

Vincent: The early days, I notice that you did a lot of interning. Now, talk to us about some of that and tell us how it shaped your early decisions.

David: As soon as I moved to New Orleans, I immediately recognized that..it’s almost like an inversion of Nashville, where in Nashville you have a massive industry and then less of an organic talent pool. A lot of people move there with great talent to help further develop that talent, then pick up the tour and go on tour but be based out of Nashville. But in New Orleans, it’s kind of the opposite.

You have this really massive organic pool of talent as far as music and musicians, but not necessarily the industry to develop it properly, and kind of push it forward to the next level, where you have a lot of these people making some very reasonable incomes off of this.

So, through that I really wanted to like learn as much I could about what the scene was like down here, because it so different than what I’d been exposed to in Nashville.

Just like a quick touch on that. Like in Nashville, you can go into a bank and get a loan to record an album. It’s like a pre-setup form. I mean it’s already integrated with the city’s banking system. Down here that’s sort of laughable.

So, I just started reaching out to the clubs and found friends that were promoters. I used to intern for Tipitina's bar, which is just kind of a solo music club down here, with just less than a thousand cap. Then Republic, which is much more like a night club sort of feel.

Then I started working for an entertainment attorney doing sync license deals, and learning about publishing rights, and how the money flows from the recorded end. Once you do have a recording, what you can do with it, how you can properly leverage that.

That sort of allowed me to learn a little bit more about the tax credit side of things, where money was flowing for these musicians down here.

As I started working more of these venues, I realized that a lot of these bands really were not making that much. So, I was sort of learning more about tour accounting and financial projections as far as tours, getting split deals and guarantees. Contractually what happened with offer sheets, when you have conflicts and how a club owners here handle it versus how club owners in other cities handle it. Learning the nuances of the New Orleans scene was really important to me, because it was so different than everything I knew coming from Nashville.

So, interning from like promoters even to working with friends of mine that were sort of hip-hop promoters. I was doing ticket promo deals, where I got a dollar per head of people that I brought in. If I brought in 500 people, cool, I make 500 bucks for the night. Just like sending a couple of email blasts, and learning that sort of thing wasn’t necessarily what I wanted to do.

But going through that process was invaluable to understand how it actually works, and what the goals are when you’re sort of in that position.

As far as internships and the reason I was so aggressive then really filling every week for every year that I was down here for college making sure that I was doing something in the music industry space. It was really driven by that goal of understanding every nook and cranny of this industry. I mean it’s kind of still, to a certain degree, an untamed beast and you shouldn’t necessarily try to run what you don’t understand.

So, I’ve been hopping around from publishing to loyalty issues, to live performance issues, to tour managing, to settling shows, to running live sound, to running lights, to working the door. That’s learning every aspect, whether it was paid or unpaid; it was a goal essentially I had just written on my wall.

It’s like you’re going to learn every scar and cut of this industry before you really make your impact in it. So, start early and be aggressive. Sort of also be humble with what you’re exposed to, and the opportunities that present themselves, and kind of to steal something from Seneca. I feel like luck is when opportunity meets preparation. Essentially I was just preparing for each internship that I had as best as I could each day.

Capital Injections and Katrina’s Effect on the Music Scene

Vincent: So, I’m curious to talk about some of the differences after Katrina and the opportunities that were there. Like that HBO show Tremé brought some money and some visibility to the scene in the music scene down there.

Like what other kinds of like injections of capital were happening around that time and how did that affect the music scene?

David: As far as capital injection, we had a lot of really interesting things happened. Essentially we have like one of the oldest cities in America, a reset button pressed on it. 

So, it kind of became somewhat of a petri dish especially for business entrepreneurial types looking to start something new, but still have the reputation and legacy of an old city to play with.

The city recognized kind of a lot of that interest as well, and not necessarily having the economy to sustain quick growth and foster quick growth in and of itself. There was a lot of movement from the state legislator to setup these tax incentives; specifically for the entertainment community. As well as more construction based and cultural based sectors like historic building tax credits.

Where for instance if you’re going to be investing in the music venue, or invest in a recording studio, or investing in a theatre, or investing in film, you can actually get a check back from the state in the form of tax credits, depending on which area you’re in within the entertainment space. 

Like, it would be from interactive to theatre, to live performance. It’s kind of across the board now, as far as entertainment, you’ll have a different tax credit rate that’ll come back to you.

Some of these have sun set clauses, which have already passed. But there is still actually a pretty decent amount of opportunity for those of capital and entertainment based, to develop something that’s sustainable with a low cost of entry with potentially very high return on investment.

Vincent: How about that show Tremé, how did that affect?

David: Yeah. Tremé brought a lot of attention to the city, actually I’d say it best helped, kind of those unfamiliar with the city were exposed to certain elements of the city that they may have never learned about, had it not been for Tremé.

Tremé also qualified for a lot of those tax credits. You had some great people come in for that show that helped bolster the national spotlight onto this city, which in turn creates more tourism, which drives more traffic, more finance to the city and develops a better cash flow for the city as a whole.

Since the city historically has depended so heavily on the entertainment dollar through kind of its cultural economy, that it’s been a great addition to the city’s offering as far as the infrastructure for the film and entertainment industry.

Even musicians that maybe struggling that are looking to get their name out, we now certainly have someone down the street that you can call, that you can potentially get your song in HBO show that’s doing quite well.
That’s a great sync license opportunity, if you’ve the proper team around you to handle those deals. As well as just the exposure of suddenly you’re in a lot of homes across America. Before that people may have just had to come to New Orleans and go to a certain section of the city on a certain night to find out about you.
Lessons Learned From Managing Creative Acts

Vincent: You’ve managed and currently act as a liaison for a lot of creative acts. So, tell us about some of the important lessons that you’ve learned from this.

David: Just kind of from that standpoint, I’ve learned the creative life is difficult. There are some people that kind of choose to only focus and hone their skills in the creative aspects of their career. That’s fantastic. It’s usually raises their skill level in whatever field that they’re in or whatever craft they’re trying to perfect.

But that’s also potentially damaging when you’re in an economy like New Orleans, where there is not necessarily a very strong middle class that’s willing to go out and spend that entertainment dollar, which leads to less cash available. So, thus you have to sort of approach the situation with a business head on your shoulders as well to survive.

Kind of helping bridge that gap between the finance world, kind of the business head and creative head is where I really like to find myself. I mean I grew up a musician. I grew up surrounded by musicians, kind of learned the struggles of that life pretty early on.

I also grew up around some very well intentioned intelligent businesspeople and kind of learned the way they worked. It seemed like often there is misalignment between these two groups as far as communication even if though their goals are the same.

So, sort of finding unique ways to bridge that gap is really what wakes me up and gets me going in the morning.

Creative Ways That Artists Engage With Fans

Vincent: Now social media seems to have changed the relationships between artists and fans. My perception of this is that the public wants to be more involved outside of just the performances or the purchasing of the art itself.

So, do you think this is true and what are some of the creative ways that you’ve seen artists engage with fans?

David: Yeah absolutely. I mean I feel like ever since the Bill Graham day started coming out of building huge stage sets, and literally lifting the performers above the audiences head, they kind of created the sense of separation.

That was just pumped and pumped and reinforced overtime with this sort of gargantuan shows, the sort of giant entity that the radio publishing and now kind of music-video world, became like especially throughout the eighties and nineties. You kind of had the sense of separation between the audience and the band.

I’d say probably about ten years ago, maybe more than that, the Napster or early file sharing days and kind of direct outreach to fans, you started seeing this change within the music industry, of how do you address this new ability for fans to directly reach artists.

Because instead of having one unlisted number for Warner and you have to go down to the office to find the right person… they’ll send you to the next floor and you’re sort of redirected. That’s just a huge hassle to actually directly speak with someone that you have this connection with, whether personally or professionally or artistically.

There is now almost limitless number of ways to engage with the artists. It’s up to the artist, their business manager and their manager, and to a certain degree the PR agent depending on the level of the artist, how they should handle that engagement.

There’s really creative ways to do it now. It’s really a beautiful thing. Some artist choose to run with it. Others either hide from it or directly attack it, based on whatever their business manager deems, or maybe personally they deem is the correct approach with it.

I personally think that any artist willing to sort of open lines of communications with fans is directly changing the lives of those fans, and thus planting seeds for future growth for your audience, that’s more sustainable. Not necessarily something that’s a boom-bust model of fame; but something that’s a lot more cultured and designed for a long term career.

Vincent: Do you think it’s likely to increase conversion to sale?

David: Yes absolutely. That circumstantial to a certain point, depending if you’re talking about recorded music, the live performance or merchandising around that. 

I mean several years you started seeing trends with experiences, for instance like Josh Freese, doing a sort of multi-tiered packaging model, of X amount of dollars gets you this. Then X 2 gets you this. The price squared to the point, where if you spent ten grand you’re on the actual recording. You get to drive around in this Lamborghini or what not and party with him for eight hours.

So, there is any number of ways you’re going to attack the problem. What’s great is sort of starting to see these artists try to figure out new ways to sustainably engage their audience, give them quality music. But also address the finance issues of the current industry with dwindling money from labels due to lack of recorded sales in terms of profits and still the high costs.

So, kind of as that shifts from labels being strictly bank accounts and PR machines, they have to start becoming more like targeted marketing machines, and kind of change from the target, the corporate world approach to a much more kind of like a targeted missile approach to find your correct audience and really leverage that.

So, as far as interactive social media, I think the more you can create closed loops and kind of push through the concept of the straddle of kind of starting in the real world, and a catalyst with that online. Then giving them a reward back in the real world, you’re kind of creating a closed loop from a psychological standpoint, which really helps.

Push that excitement and engagement from the band and the fan, and kind of develops a stronger relationship between the two. That’s happening now across some of these sectors.

As the gaming industry becomes more and more prevalent, and more people in other industries are understanding the importance of gaming, you are seeing a gamification of a lot of things that were kind of inordinate activities in life. But now you can track it. You can measure and then you can play with that data and make decisions based off of that data.

That’s like people creating tours based on Spotify streams within an hour in certain cities.


Vincent: Hey, let’s talk about that for a second, because you’re a big festival guy. You’re always on the move and you’re living out of a suitcase. What was it like for you to break into that scene? What do you love about that so much and after years of doing this, how have you moved up the ladder and what are you doing in it now?

David: I guess I started working in some festivals for free. Early college I used to go, I loved going to festivals in Nashville in high school. I went to Bonnaroo for the first time when I was in high school.

That was kind of the first ‘large scale’ festival that I ever experienced outside of Nashville city festivals downtown. So, that was kind of more like a remote, open field, you need to bring in a bit of everything.

From there it’s kind of the aspects of city planning involved and all that and sort of how meticulous you have to be in the design of it to became very attractive. Where you’re literally designing someone’s experience and hoping they enjoy it as much as you do.

Vincent: Right, because I know you from working at Coachella, working a few years with you at Coachella. Tell everybody what it is actually that you do at festivals, because I think that this is really, really impressive.

Just hearing how often you’re always on the move. Every time I see you, your eyes are blood shot, because you’ve been setting something up for hours and you’re always working crazy hours.

So, tell us all what it is that you do at festivals. What you kind of participate in?

David: It kind of depends on the festival. But it’s working from like a logistic standpoint in operations, from kind of dealing with vendors to transportation, the ticketing stuff. I have run box offices before for music festivals.

Recently we’ve been getting to the digital aspect as far as content creation for LED screens and projections. So, kind of working either the artist, or with the promoter, or with the brand, that’s looking to engage an audience in a more meaningful and contextually relevant manner.

Vincent: I just want to point that out that that’s like four or five different jobs right there that you just mentioned. I mean you’ve worked in all these different positions right? I know you’re doing coordination for the VIP tent, artist transportation. I mean you’ve been all over the place at this.

David: Yes. I find that, and this is something I picked that from a lady that helped to bring me in, Mary Jo, she made me realize the importance of working at every position before you can really own something.

Like, if you’re going to be managing a certain set of people, you should have already worked in those positions. Otherwise you’re going to end up with errors. You’re going to end up with frustrations and miscommunications and misalignments as far as goals and really mismanaging expectations.

So, if you’re able to sort of work at every work position before you manage them, then you have such a greater understanding of what the problems that will occur in those positions will be that you can sort of preemptively address them yourself or with that qualified member that’s in that position.

For instance, if you’re dealing with tour managers all the time from a logistic standpoint, if you’ve been a tour manager you already know the headaches that they deal with seven days a week.

If you’re dealing with one hundred and eighty of those tour managers over four days, if you can address each of their needs a month out, several months out, you can really rest them and sort of set them at ease before this large production.

You kind of handle your own business, they handle theirs. They come in, everything is handled smoothly. You get a handshake and then out the door. The fans have a great experience, as well as everyone that’s working on the show. 

That’s been really an important lesson for me that I’ve learned. Sort of where at times I’ve even been sort of offered positions that maybe above my qualifications, and kind of really need to turn those down.

Accept and stay humble and try to keep a certain amount of humility. From a conscious perspective of okay, maybe I’m not quite ready to handle X, Y, and Z. So, I’m going to find someone that can handle that, and just shadow under them and work with them and sort of learn from them.

Unlike accounting or banking or any of these industries, the modern music festival, especially kind of the American, sort of western approach to production is really new, I mean from a historical standpoint. Like, this is only a few generations old.

Vincent: Like name some of the festivals, because you’ve pretty much worked like every major music festival.

David: Yeah. Well, now there is so many it is difficult to say that.. It’s as, brands, who are recognizing that advertisements, and the standard approaches in advertising are not reaching people our age and below, especially those younger than us, these advertisers are looking for new ways to reach these people in a contextually relevant manner.

So, their messaging actually has a little meaning to it, and it’s not necessarily just a commercial with a quick smile, like a joke or something and after thirty seconds you forget what it is about or what the product is about.

But if you’re the brand that’s handing out umbrellas when it’s raining, when everyone is out in the festival, it’s like they’re going to remember you. It’s like you were there to actually serve a purpose.

As the industry is changing and it’s collapsing from a mountain peak bottleneck structure to a more flattened equal distribution, it's all about what you can create and how much relevance you can create for your audience. So, that what’s so great about the live event is that you can’t necessarily recreate it. Kind of that feeling of eighty, ninety thousand people all singing the words to the same song all at once, you can’t recreate that.

As with the advent of streaming, 3D viewing, 3D televisions, and surround systems, people are starting to sort scratch that recreation, but I still don’t really think you can adequately replicate what’s happening out in that field around the audience.

Live Experience in Ten Years

Vincent: Let’s talk about that. Like, let’s think ten years out from now. What do you think the live experience is going to feel like in ten years? Are they ever going to fix Wi-Fi?

David: Actually something kind of along those lines, Cisco, who’s been an animation client of ours in the past, they developed a new Wi-Fi grid network for stadiums. It’s this really interesting, this is when the kind of tech/nerd side out of me comes out. But it’s really interesting the way they have interlaced these Wi-Fi signals between nodes in a stadium.

So, typically you’d setup certain nodes across the field. You have to bounce the signal from node to node. But what they’ve done is essentially (in a nut shell), you take your right hand, and your left hand, and each of your fingers are these sort of bands of information, and that’s sort of signal strength, and you clasp your hands together – That’s what they’ve done at each level of these stadiums with this signal. This interlaced network.

They’re in the middle of rolling this out right now. It’s really going to change as far as Wi-Fi accessibility with large crowds and things like stadiums. Now the next issue is can you address that out in the field, in the countryside that is for example, one hundred and eighty miles from the largest town, which is only ten thousand people anyways. Not designed for bandwidth needs that are that resource heavy.

That also kind of plays to what you’re discussing in terms of audience interaction. You have all these really amazing digital solutions. but also, you want to have some sense of keeping that real world or kind of the tangible world. So, applications where you can kind of bridge that gap will be most successful. From what I’ve seen thus far in my limited experience, those have been the most successful.

So, if you’re able to socially engage with others, for instance like voting or things such as Bedloo, is really a fantastic way to engage audiences and kind of open conversations amongst groups of friends.

That’s how things spread. You don’t necessarily go through the Yellow Pages to find the best mechanic. You call a bunch of friends and find out who has used someone that’s trusted. It’s the same thing with music. It’s the same thing with live performance.

It’s why Facebook is so successful. It’s because of that friend recommendation, the algorithm that they put in. From a real world standpoint, it’s just as applicable.

Vincent: Ten years out, is it pretty realistic for us to imagine everybody wearing Google glass or Facebook’s new Oculus Rift or whatever during this experience?

David: I think in a way it may even be further than that. Ten years out, that’s a long time. I don’t think anyone knows what’s two years out. I don’t currently have enough information to adequately answer that question. 

But from a gut feeling standpoint, I think kind of the world is an oyster at this point as far as what’s going to happen in the live event space, with technology’s integration.

Kind of a popular saying in the tech industry from the Silicon Valley ethos which is often equally applicable to the music sector, and it’s always been the case historically. Technology is usually disrupting the current model. So, it’s like the tech sector always kind of cannibalizes whatever was existing before it, unlike a lot of industries where as time goes by it builds off the previous standard.

So, technology equals disruption. Disruption equals opportunity. So, you have this sort of very excited edge of your seat, brilliant set of minds (from the tech sector) trying to collectively address these issues in the live entertainment space. With more knowledge available and better, cheaper, faster more efficient tools to approach the problem, who knows what’s going to happen.

I mean it’s stuff where people are tying in way the crowd moves. Algorithms with the noise levels, what the visuals are doing, you can create actions and triggers based off of that. Then you’re essentially creating like another level of intelligence in the live event space.

Black Rabbit: Projection Mapping


In addition to touring and to managing bands, and wearing all of these hats, you have this digital media company called BLK RBBT (Black Rabbit). Some of the things that I’ve seen you guys do with advertising and music festivals is you guys also do projection mapping. Let us know a little bit about BLK RBBT.

David: Okay. We’re essentially taking digital content that you’d typically see on a television, on a computer, on some sort of screen. Then we’re taking the frame off of that TV or off of your computer and then applying those same graphics to a tangible piece of architecture.

That piece of architecture can be any shape, any size, any dimensions, and any type of surface. You create this illusion that whatever those graphics are it’s actually on that surface. So, that you can give the illusion a building is on fire or that’s filling up with water from the inside, or that it’s falling to pieces and is being built back up.

So, it’s really fun playing with people’s perspectives. It’s really been a passion project for my business partner and me. It’s just great that we continue to get calls, and we progress in the way in which we do it. Also the way in which we can engage with people, especially bringing in more of a coding standpoint with the goal of creating active projections.

There are some really great companies, especially in Europe that have been doing it for a long time. It kind of started trending over in Germany and London pretty early on. Now it’s starting to catch on in the America's. It’s just been a really fantastic time for us.

As well as sort of those we get to do it for, and kind seeing people that I’ve been in the industry come out to us and ask us, oh how are you doing this, 'like this is just so cool', etc… 

Maybe meeting people that have become jaded with the scene and then seeing something fresh coming in and we being lucky enough to be a part of that, the team that comes in and then we bring something different to the table.

Vincent: It’s an interesting way to have brands kind of integrate into the experiences as well. Like, you’re seeing a lot of those kinds of stuff happen now in live festivals. Or just taking over like a city block as part of, sponsored by some particular brand where they’re just doing this really awesome projection mapping.

Do you think that there is going to be a lot more of that in the future?

David: Yeah, absolutely. Obviously I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid. So, I’m quite biased as far as projections. But some people have spoken with Disney and some of these really heavy early animations companies that have large manufacturing departments and research and development departments. They believe that like the future of all lights will be projections.

So, if you create pixel based light with a low cost energy power, then there is kind of this 'sky is the limit' approach on what you can do with the space around you from a design perspective.  If the equipment is not in the way, it is just how creative can you get with what you have.

Kind of gamification which is happening all over the place, it’s directly relevant with projection mapping where you’re literally taking any space and you can create it into an interactive game.

This also has some really interesting ramifications in the health sector as well with these issues such as autism and other areas of where you need to remap brains and create new brain maps, where you can actually create visual interactions. Use that same sort of feedback in closed loop system to address health issues.

For instance (there is a great article on this online) the glass brain software it produces a reaction or a change of behavior in the brain. Then it records that in real time and isolates which parts of the brain are active during that game. Then you can use that information or adapt it, so that it can become more effective, which results in like targeted, personalized multi-modal and closed-loop treatments for brain patients.

Vincent: Wow. So, we’re likely to see the gamification or spatial awareness brought to you by BlueCross Blue Shield pretty soon.

David: Yeah, well not necessarily like that kind, not in the corporate advertising side. There is certainly the advertising side to it which the public will become more aware of as this becomes more common.  But also more in patient treatment. More like in the lab or like physical therapy. 

If someone has balance issues you put certain nodes on their tongue as far as like a really mild shock (more of a tingle) treatment, and use the same sort of max coding that we use for projections, you create that same system of feedbacks and loops and someone can literally relearn balance.

So, you can create that same structure but in the live event spaces whereas you are creating a transformative brand interaction. That’s what gets people talking about your brand at the dinner table.

Experiences in Music Festival India

Vincent: Throughout this experience that you’re massing, you started landing in some interesting jobs consulting, and I know you’re fairly humble when you’re speaking about these experiences.

But I remember you doing some kind of consulting for music festival in India with Snoop Dogg. You were doing a lot of the logistics. So, I’m curious to know about your experience with something like that.

David: Yeah. That was a very humbling experience. I had the opportunity to, I guess fly to India about seven times within a year working for a startup venture capital firm in the entertainment space that was partnered with the largest English speaking radio station out of Bangalore.

We were developing the live events sister company for the radio company. As their market share was increasing with radio, they were looking to leverage the local scene in the live event space, what better way to learn than from people that have made a lot of mistakes.

One of the best places to look for people that have made a lot of mistakes in the live entertainment space is America. Since American culture is so willing to make the leap of faith, trust, and risk in all sort of business ventures in this country, that we (american's) have been able to create a lot of really fantastic live events over the past fifty, sixty years. 

For example, Being able to work with someone that’s worked on Rolling Stones tours for decades, learning from people like that, it’s an invaluable experience. Because it’s kind of like cheating. You learn all the mistakes that they made without having to make them.

Vincent: We also like our rugged individualism as Americans like we wear our failures like a badge of honor. Like hey, we’ve tried it, we got here first, we made all these mistakes, but damn it if we didn’t pave the way for all this stuff.

David: Absolutely. It’s that same sort of approach that this VC over in India was willing to take and he is a very brilliant mind and is probably one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met with, and I was lucky enough to work with him for a year and still have a continued relationship to a certain degree. 

It’s really fantastic being over in a place and being allowed to work on shows  for artists that have had a following in a country for five, ten, fifteen, twenty plus years, but they’ve never actually been to the country before. It’s that same sort of thing we talked about firsts that has a big appeal for me, as well as the company over there, like that’s be the first to do X. Let’s be the first to bring Y.

When you do that, you’re sort of have this electric feeling in the crowd over there because you’ve had this people that have been a fan for fifteen, twenty years and they’d never had the opportunity to see the artist.

Vincent: You’re speaking to people like Snoop Dogg, right? Like who were the people that were on this that you were talking about being at the festival?

David: We had several artists and events that were a plunge into the hip-hop market over there to help develop that. We know the electronic space is doing very well over there. The hip-hop market it's a smaller market, but it’s still there. It’s growing due to sort of exposure to outside media, outside of the country. Now you suddenly have sort of a more organic scene developing there. 

As the private sector in India is opening up, and there is less restriction from a government standpoint from censorship, from live performance, from permitting issues.

One of the shows we were working with, there was a guy whom the first person to ever receive a live performance document as far as that type of permitting from the government of India. That was a big checkbox for those over there and for all of us able to join from abroad to be a part of the process for that accomplishment and being able to work with people that are really breaking down these walls over there. It was such a fantastic experience.

Vincent: But who, I mean like who were some of the artists, just so everybody listening understands, like who were some of the people that you were bringing over there to this festival, and how many times was it happening and things like that.

David: We were bringing over a lot of jazz musicians as part of the world music series. Toumani Diabaté came over who is a Grammy winner. He plays like an ancient African instrument, the kora. I believe his family has been playing it like sixty generations or something really phenomenal like that. 

We were partnering with the UN for the world music shows and having those shows on World AIDS day as part of an awareness campaign. Trying to address certain health issues over in the country and then kind of  an open dialogue from that standpoint.

That’s much more the cultural sort of international conversation that’s being built within the country by bringing artists that are world famous in their own right, in their own type of music, and pairing them with Indian musicians that are of world class talent. 

So, you get this great sort of cultural dialogue that’s happening musically as well as from a business standpoint, where you have someone from X, Y, and Z country and their diplomats over.

You have the same diplomats (india-based) over in India with their respected musicians, and you sort of create this conversation now. How can we further develop this relationship with music and outside of music.

Vincent: So, outside of just being, dealing with kind of the logistics of all these stuff, you’re also acting as like a liaison between the UN and the foreign diplomats as they’re coming through?

David: The goal was kind of to create as much cultural conversation as we can with those types of shows. Then there is also other sort of property types such as the arena shows which are just like the “headliner”, name of the artist, kind of like the Deadmau5, or the Snoop Dogg kind of act. 

They just bring that exposure to the audience over in the country, which is being difficult for them to see in the past. So, you get this really amazing experience for the fans. You help develop the market. You help develop the awareness of the market from these western bands and talent and their agents and managers who typically skip that country.

Kind of developing a safe entry point to reliable partners within the country is the goal, since there have been a lot of promoters, which as everywhere that are kind of in it for a quick buck and don’t really pay attention to the longtime model and treat everyone with respect.

Thus they end up burning some of those talents that come over and it leaves some of these agencies and management groups with a bad taste in their mouth for the entire country due to unfamiliarity with the country.

But it’s more like saying, speaking from my limited experience over there, it would be like someone having a bad show in France and saying they’re not going to go to Germany anymore. Since India is such a really culturally rich and diverse country that you can’t necessarily write off the entire country by having one bad experience.

So, we have been slowly chipping away at changing that approach. The guys over at Sunburn are doing a fantastic job in the electronic space with that and my hats off to them completely for really changing the paradigm as far as what DJs are willing to travel to that region.

Vincent: How many of these festivals have you guys had now?

David: There is…let’s see.

Vincent: Or live events.

David: Four of one property a year. It’s seasonal and then special events maybe four of those as well. Then there are some other projects that are in works right now that I can’t necessarily speak about just because of the NDA concerns.

But there are a lot of people over there making great headway. It’s been an amazing experience kind of being in that group of a few people from the west kind working on that side of the pond, if you will, kind of in like a new territory really trying to develop work standards. 

Since it’s such an early phase in development that you really are in a position create safe working standards and kind of certain protocols of how things should be done, instead of kind of working like it’s the wild west, hoping no one gets hurt and you make some money off the gig.

Future Plans

Vincent: So, what are your plans for the future? Do you have any shout-outs or plugs for BLK RBBT?

David: We have some offers for two city wide projection mapping event, which is in a city that I can’t name yet. But if we decide to go through with it, they’ll quite a bit of press about it, which I’m very excited about. It will test all of our technical knowledge and have the opportunity to work with those more experience than me, which is great.

Then I have some offers to produce some events over in Asia again. Although this is a bit outside of my normal scope, I’ve recently been offered to produce a documentary with a spiritual leader over in India that I’m very humbled by that opportunity.

I’m currently kind of simmering over that and on which team I’m going to put together for it, and how best to address the constraints as far as time with the talent that is available through all these events that I’ve been able to work with these really amazing and talented people.

Vincent: Awesome. Well hey, David thank you so much man. I really appreciate this.

David: Yeah absolutely. It’s been fantastic speaking with you. I’m glad things are going so well. I look forward to catching up with you soon. I’ll checkout Hypebot and Bedloo and keep spreading the word about the great things you’re doing.

Thank you guys so much for tuning in. We'd love to hear your feedback. I'm (@cvpmusic) on Twitter or hit us up @bedloo. You can find 'Butters' on Twitter @davidTbuttrey or @blkrbbt on Instagram. Don't forget to use #fangagment.

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