New Music Startup Helps Independent Artists Make Music Their Day Job — Without Management or a Label.
A few days after Euphoria Fest 2017, I sat down with Kevin Woods and Clay Young to talk about their new music industry startup. These two young marketing minds have been working Euphoria Fest and other events for the last few years, and now they are using their experience to fill a major hole in the music industry.
They have joined forces with their 3rd tech co-founder Tony Stewart to launch Wysidio – a services company that provides technology based solutions to music industry professionals. Their focus is with artists, event organizers, and venues, and they are on a mission to change the way music professionals get help to grow their businesses.
Tony was unable to join us for this interview, but you can see his great work on their new website.
When was Wysidio formed and how did you guys meet?
Kevin: I’ve been doing my own club and festival events for 4 years, and then I got partnered with Clay. We started doing our own events together, mainly in Austin.
Clay: We just met on the scene you know, just saw each other at shows more and more. I was also working some food events, so we ended up just being around each other.
Kevin: Ya, we just had a good working relationship together. We were bringing in artists that we really liked, but Austin is a very competitive space to be doing your own events. Putting on your own events can be very risky too. Fast forward a year later, we were barely breaking even on most shows, even losing money on some events, and its tough when you don’t truly own your own bar / venue. So I knew there had to be something better than this that was still in music.
I had been doing events and was getting contracted out pretty often to do on-site consulting at events or marketing. After a while I started realizing that was where all my money was coming from, so that was kind of the inception of Wysidio.
After we talked about it and developed the idea more, we realized there is no company that offers all inclusive end-to-end services for an artist that isn’t their management team or label. Most artists are giving up 10% of everything they make for 3 years for these management deals, and even more so with labels.
The other option right now is fighting it all on your own, which is a lot to handle for an artist. For example, if an artist is going on tour, they need a graphic designer for each show, print source for posters, stream team to put up the posters, digital marketing on social media, photography/video, etc.
There is no middle ground, its either go at it alone or give up a large chunk to management and labels to do these things. We are trying to be the middle ground.
So you guys allow artists to work with you where they can pay you month-by-month for all of these services, or they can pick and choose them individually and select which services they need help with? And they don’t have to give up any percentage of their income like the other models?
Clay: Yes, exactly. And it all depends on their budget size too. If you are a bigger artist and have more money to work with, then we can help work with you across all your marketing channels and across multiple cities touring. Or if you are a smaller artist with a few hundred dollars to work with, we can help guide you on what the best way to spend that would be, and ideally help create something scalable that they can use going forward.
Tell us about Tony, the 3rd member of the Wysidio team since he isn’t here today. How did yall get connected with him?
Clay: Tony is our CTO. I actually went to college with Tony, and he is a hyper-intelligent individual. He was a guy I was always bouncing ideas of from business ideas, to tech, etc. He was just a person that consistently blew our mind, and we had him do some early web development stuff for Wysidio. He just kept doing some other small projects until we brought some of these bigger concepts to him, and he helped develop them. He also just provided another level of expertise to our team, and could help in areas that Kevin and I weren’t as familiar with, and it was a good fit. He’s helped us a ton on the tech front.
Wysidio for artists – what does a typical engagement look like with an artist / event? Are they paying a monthly retainer for Wysidio? Are they paying a la carte for whatever things they need?
Kevin: Like I mentioned, I’ve been working events for a long time, so events are kind of our bread and butter right now. We just have a lot of experience doing that, and we know a lot of people in that world. What we offer with marketing and on-site consulting, including everything from camping and box office logistics to sustainability direction, is unique. There’s not really anyone doing it like we are.
Same goes for artists. We know the services we are providing are unique, and we definitely have some artists that immediately get it. But there are also the ones who are a little hesitant because its new to them, and they aren’t used to seeing companies that can offer these services in a different way. So for those artists, it takes more time to educate them and teach them that there is another way, and that they don’t have to choose between giving a big cut away or going at it alone. We are working on creating more sales content pieces right now, like white papers and case studies to highlight real pieces we’ve completed for past clients. That way we can show what we are doing is working and get more artists to jump on board.
Clay: Ya we really focus on 3 groups that we market to and have specific services for. Those groups are artists (management / booking), venues, and events.
What is the long-term vision / goal for Wysidio?
Kevin: I think one of the cool things about Wysidio is that an up and coming artist in Austin would be just as interested in these services as an established band in the UK, or China. There is a ton of opportunity there.
The events are great too, and we love doing doing on-site stuff, so we want to expand that further out in the US and work more deeply with the festivals at a higher level.
Clay: Long term, we are also focusing on relationship management – helping artists grow from the closet DJ to working music as your full-time job. We want to go on that journey with them, and help them grow.
There are not a lot of companies offering creative rights retention, allowing artists to make the music however they want to. There’s also not enough people treating music as a business and doing business development for bands. If you look at any other industry, there are a group of companies that specifically cater to getting them to the next step. We looked around and were like “Where is this in the music industry?” Some companies offer bits and pieces of what an artist needs, but a lot of these more niche services companies are regional or are in specific cities. We decided to change the business model, and we think we are really onto something.
We offer a mutually beneficial relationship and it scales beyond just local regions. We can scale internationally.
END OF INTERVIEW
If you work in the music industry, or are a passionate music fan, make sure you check out Wysidio and all the amazing services they provide!