On this week’s episode, we have music manager Dave Rose (Lit, Marcy Playground, Stryper and many many more) and we discuss his journey starting out as a bassist and what it’s like managing today vs. the pre-digital age. Tune in for so much more.

Show Notes

Dave Rose Agency: https://www.deepsouthentertainment.com/

Dave Rose on TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@daverosedeepsouth

Dave Rose on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/daverosedeepsouth/ 

A Paper Orchestra on Website: https://michaeljamin.com/book

A Paper Orchestra on Audible: https://www.audible.com/ep/creator?source_code=PDTGBPD060314004R&irclickid=wsY0cWRTYxyPWQ32v63t0WpwUkHzByXJyROHz00&irgwc=1

A Paper Orchestra on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Audible-A-Paper-Orchestra/dp/B0CS5129X1/ref=sr_1_4?crid=19R6SSAJRS6TU&keywords=a+paper+orchestra&qid=1707342963&sprefix=a+paper+orchestra%2Caps%2C149&sr=8-4

A Paper Orchestra on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/203928260-a-paper-orchestra

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Michael’s Online Screenwriting Course – https://michaeljamin.com/course

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Autogenerated Transcript

Dave Rose:
I’m so amazed that people pay me to do this. I was doing it long before I knew you could make money at it. And so the pinnacle for me is really that this continued joy of the business of music

Michael Jamin:
You are listening to. What the Hell is Michael Jamin talking about conversations in writing, art, and creativity. Today’s episode is brought to you by my debut collection of True Stories, a paper orchestra available in print, ebook and audiobook to purchase And to support me in this podcast, please visit michael jamin.com/book and now on with the show.
Hey everyone, welcome back to another episode of What the Hell is Michael Jamin talking about conversations in writing, art, and creativity. And today I got a special guest for you. Musicians out there. You don’t deserve any of this. This is a wonderful treat for all of you. Don’t say I never gave you anything. I’m here with Dave Rose from Deep South Entertainment and he is a career music manager. But Dave, first of all, welcome. I got a billion questions for you, but did you start off, are you a musician as well?

Dave Rose:
Thank you. Good to be here, Michael. Man, mutual admiration all the way around. This is exciting to be here. But yes, I started out as a musician. I was a, yes, I started out as a musician. I mean, yes and no, there’s a story, but I became a musician out of necessity.

Michael Jamin:
How does that work? No one becomes, that’s like the last thing you become out of necessity.

Dave Rose:
I know. Isn’t that funny? So I was managing, and I very much put that in air quotes. Say I was a freshman in college and I had a local band decide they wanted me to be their manager. I was showing up at all their gigs and selling merchandise and unloading the van and doing all the things that I thought I could do to help. I just loved being around music. One day they said to me, would you be our manager? And I didn’t know what the hell a manager was. I still don’t. But they said, well, you could start by getting us some gigs. And that’s not what a manager does, by the way. But that’s when you’re in college, that’s what you do.

Michael Jamin:
That’s not what a manager does then. Okay, you have to elaborate on that when we

Dave Rose:
Can get into that for sure. So I got ’em 20 gigs and we had it all booked up and we’re all ready to go. And we were two weeks out from the very first gig, big string of shows, playing skate ranches and pool parties and all the places that you play when you’re just starting out anywhere and everywhere that’ll give you room. And they came me and they said, our bass player quit and he’s moving, so we need to cancel these gigs and we can no longer, we will audition new bass players later. I said, like, hell, you are, I’ve been watching this. It doesn’t look like it’s that hard to play bass, so here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to cram myself in the basement with you, Mr. Guitar player, and you’re going to teach me all the parts to these songs.
We’re going to go play these 20 shows with me as the bass player, and when we come back, you can audition bass players. That’s how. And they were like, yeah, that’s not how that works. I said, well, that’s the way this is going to go. And so they did. I crammed myself in the basement and learned to play bass in two weeks, and it was rock and roll. It was three chord rock and roll. Wasn’t real hard, but apparently I picked it up pretty easily and I played bass in a band for the next 10 years, but that should have been my first indication that I was not a musician. I learned how to play just to keep a band.

Michael Jamin:
But you must, if you played for 10 years, you’re good enough.

Dave Rose:
Yeah, I mean I figured it out along the way.

Michael Jamin:
Wow. But then at some point you went to full-time management.

Dave Rose:
Yeah. Yeah. I ultimately segued into full-time management, and that was, I started this company putting out compilation CDs. That was a big thing. I started in 1995 and in the mid nineties, these sort of mix tape CDs were a big thing. And I would find local and regional bands from around the area and put ’em on this compilation CD and put it out and see what happens. But from the very first CD we put out, we had one of the biggest hits of the nineties, a song called Sex and Candy by Marcy Playground. And my intention was I would stick my band right in the middle of all these big regional bands or bands that I thought was going to be big and maybe my band would get some attention too. And I think nine bands on that first compilation got record deals accept my band. So that was kind of my moment of realizing, yeah, I’m definitely not, I’m way better on the business side of things.

Michael Jamin:
So then tell me then what a manager music manager does exactly if they don’t get you work.

Dave Rose:
Sure. It’s very different, I would guess, than in the film and TV business. And I would love to learn this from you, but I’m guessing in the film and TV business, the person that gets you work is the agent. Is that

Michael Jamin:
Yes, the agent and not the manager and I have Right,

Dave Rose:
And that’s what it is here. So a manager in music, I’m put it in the simplest terms, but it’s like if the entire career is a wheel, the manager and the artist are in the center of that wheel. And all these spokes are things like booking agents and publicists and record labels and publishing companies and people that do film and TV music and all the accountants, the crew, all the thing, the attorneys that make the machine, the wheel turn. The manager is making sure all of those things are working. So it’s sort of like being, I compare it to this, it’s being the CEO of a band, but if you’re,

Michael Jamin:
I’m sorry, go on.

Dave Rose:
That’s all right. The band is owned by the band or the artist is owned by the, they own their company, but they retain an artist manager commission, an artist manager to manage their career.

Michael Jamin:
But if that band is going on tour, are you expected to go with them?

Dave Rose:
Only if you’re in country music.

Michael Jamin:
Okay. Why is that?

Dave Rose:
It is different. Country music is one of the few genres that still very much lives and dies by the radio, and so the relationships with local radio is very important. So a manager should be there to kind of nurture those radio relationships from town to town to town. Now, if you’re in rock and roll or hip hop or almost any other genre, Americana folk bluegrass, most managers do not travel with the band,

Michael Jamin:
But a touring manager would No,

Dave Rose:
A tour manager. Exactly. A tour manager does. And the tour manager is exactly, it sounds, it’s the manager of the tour. So it deals with getting the bus from point A to point B and where do we park and what do I mean? It’s way more than that, but it’s the finance of the tour and they report to the artist manager.

Michael Jamin:
Now over the years, I’ve heard you mention this, you have a very, very big it’s successful TikTok page, which is how I found you. You’ve managed a bunch of really big acts, right?

Dave Rose:
I’ve had some, yes. I’ve had a lot of, and I still do have a lot of big acts. It’s been just amazing. I keep waiting for somebody to knock on my door and go, okay, gigs up. Time to get a real job.

Michael Jamin:
Can you share some of ’em with us?

Dave Rose:
Oh, absolutely. Yeah. So I got my start with Marcy Playground, and I’m still with them 26, 7 years later. But one of my first big clients was the piano player, Bruce Hornsby, who was in the Grateful Dead, and he had a bunch of hits in the eighties and nineties, but he’s had a very, very unique career. He is done albums with Ricky Scaggs and Jazz Records, but Little Feat, the classic rock band of, they’re just so iconic. The band Lit who had one of the biggest rock hits of the nineties, that song, my Own Worst Enemy, some of the country acts that I’ve worked with, Laney Wilson, who just won a Grammy, and yeah, I worked with the band six Pence, none The Richer who had the mega hit Kiss Me. And so yeah, it’s been not to just, one of the bands I’ve been with the longest 23 years is an eighties rock band from LA called Striper. They kind of came up in the ranks with Moley Crewe and Bon Jovi and that kind world of big hair and Sunset Strip and all the things of Hollywood, but they’re a Christian man. They sing about Jesus. So they’re very, very different than that.

Michael Jamin:
At this point. Are new bands finding you or are you reaching out to them? How does that work?

Dave Rose:
Yeah, they usually find me at this point, I don’t develop a lot of new acts anymore, mostly because I’ve just been doing it a long time and developing a new act from garage to Grammy is not only risky, but it’s a long runway. And when you’ve been sort of doing it for as long as I have, and I don’t mean any disrespect to anything on this, but you don’t need to take that risk anymore.

Michael Jamin:
But it seems like on TikTok, it seems like you’re talking to those people.

Dave Rose:
I am taking my audience on TikTok is very much the audience that is sort of just trying to figure out the next steps of a very complicated career path.

Michael Jamin:
But then why are you talking to them now if that’s not, I assume it’s because that’s what you’re looking for, but No,

Dave Rose:
Yeah, no, that’s a great question. The reason I’m doing it is very pure, because it is hard to do this, and there’s a lot of bad advice flying around out there. And to some extent, I wanted to get on there and level the playing field and just let people know the reality of how the business works. No, I’m not at all seeking to manage sort of startup band. I do some coaching that I’m more than willing to help them in. I’ll do these 30 minute sessions where I can really, really fast track things for them, help them avoid years and years of mistakes in a very quick conversation. It’s a lot like the stuff that you do in the sense that I’ll meet an artist from Topeka, Kansas or wherever and how they’re learning stuff that they would not learn anywhere else, only because nobody’s ever told ’em.
See Michael, something I think we ought to talk about at some point in here is part of why it’s difficult to get a manager in the music business is because of how a manager gets paid. Okay, how did they get paid? I think that’s an interesting dynamic that a lot of just, certainly a lot of people, but even a lot of artists don’t know how that works. So how does that work then? Yeah, so a manager is paid by commission, so it’s strictly a commission base. So if you are an artist and you go out and you play a show or you sell a T-shirt or make some sort of income, a percentage of that income is paid to your manager, includes the record deal, includes everything. It typically includes, and sort of depending on where you are in that artist’s career, it includes most every aspect of their entertainment career, including what about royalties?
It does include royalties, particularly if those royalties were ones that you helped them earn. If you get them a record deal and they continue to earn royalties either through radio play or whatever, you would earn a commission on that. So you’re earning commissions on these revenue streams, and that’s typically about 15%. So if you think about managing, like we talked about the wheel, all those different spokes in the wheel, maybe for each act that I manage, that’s probably 150 decisions a day that we’re making on behalf of that artist. So you can’t manage a lot of acts as an individual. You can have a company like we do that manages, has managers that manage acts, but generally speaking, you can’t manage a lot of acts. There’s a lot that goes into a typical day of that. So the commission, if you just break it down to making a living, an artist has to be making significant money for it to be worth that manager’s time to spend the bulk of their day managing their career.
So when you’ve got an artist that’s just starting out, and I want to get to why it’s hard to get advice when you’ve got an artist that’s just starting out and they’re making no money and are making very little money, I don’t know, 20, 30, 40, $50,000 a year, you think about that 15% of that is $5,000 a year maybe for the manager. So it’s really not enough to say, I’m going to dedicate my life to you, which is really what it takes. So as a result, it’s almost impossible for an artist to meet a manager. It’s really hard to meet a manager. Our time is paid by commission. So that’s why I get on TikTok and talk about the things I talk about because I was that bass player in a band not knowing what the hell I was doing, making every mistake under the sun. And I’m very, I don’t know, very genuinely just trying to help people not make those mistakes.

Michael Jamin:
Now, you said something a while ago on one of your tiktoks, and I was surprised you don’t come down. I thought everyone was supposed to hate Spotify and streaming because of the way, in my opinion, in my point of view, artists are being raped. I mean, that’s how I see it. But you don’t feel that way?

Dave Rose:
I don’t. I mean, do I think it’s a fair payment system? No, I think there’s a lot of improvement that needs to happen. Part of what I think is the imbalance is the payments between an artist, a songwriter, and the record label. You see, when a song is on Spotify, those are the three main parties that sort of have to get paid a record label, an artist and a songwriter. And the songwriters are the ones that are really struggling in this time.

Michael Jamin:
From what I pay on what people pay on Spotify, I gladly pay double for what? I mean, I get every album I want to listen to at any time through the month, almost anything. And if I pay double, I still feel like the artists wouldn’t be making not even close to what they used to make.

Dave Rose:
Well, yes. Again, we got to remember, there’s three buckets. We’re dealing with the artist, the record label, and the songwriter. And in some cases, that’s the same person in all three of those buckets. If you go out and self-release a record, and you’ve written that record and you performed on that record, and you do millions and millions of streams on that record, you’re making very respectable.

Michael Jamin:
I thought, again, I come at this completely ignorant. I know so little about it, but I think I saw a video by Snoop Dogg saying his album was streamed a billion times and he made 10 Sense or something.

Dave Rose:
That’s a famous video. That video circulated a lot. And what is missed most often in that conversation is the difference in those three buckets. My gut tells me, and I don’t know Snoop Dogg’s complete history, but he probably does not own that recording. So a big chunk of that money that’s being earned probably went to his record label, and I don’t know, maybe he wrote the song, maybe he didn’t, if he didn’t write the song, he’s missing that bucket of income, or maybe he did write this. So my gut tells me there’s more to that story. So

Michael Jamin:
Misunderstand this, which is fine.

Dave Rose:
I dunno, the full snoop do the inner workings of his business, but my gut tells me there’s more to that story because I know no shortage of independent artists making a great, great living, really. But the thing that’s different, and the thing that we got to think about that’s different from say 2005, say 20 years ago, the biggest difference is the revenue streams now are very multiple. I mean, I met a band the other day that’s doing insane six figures just on YouTube.

Michael Jamin:
On YouTube ad. So they put their music and they make ads on YouTube. Exactly, because they’re not selling

Dave Rose:
It. That’s right. The ad revenue is making four members a living, a very good living.

Michael Jamin:
See, it was my impression that, okay, so 20 years ago, a band would go on tour and after the show, they’d sell okay, merch, but they’d also sell the cd. If you want to listen to music, they sell. But now no one’s going to buy that cd.

Dave Rose:
They do. They very much buy, well, more so they buy vinyl. The vinyl buy vinyl. And what’s crazy, I was just on the phone with a head of a record label and he was talking about the rapid increase in the number of cassettes they’re selling, which is crazy. It’s just such a, I tell people this all the time, but you can’t autograph a stream, so you’re going to always need to have something that people can take home. I mean, I read the other day of all the vinyls sold only like 37% get listened to, but vinyl cells are through the roof, really. They buy the product, they get it autographed, they keep it as a collector’s item, and then they stream it on Spotify.

Michael Jamin:
But why do you feel vinyl as opposed to a cd, which is just vinyl, but smaller and better quality? Why is that?

Dave Rose:
Yeah, I think CDs, I mean, also depending on the genre, certain genres are very cd, like country. People still buy CDs. If you go into a Walmart and rural America, you’re going to see a lot of country in there. But yeah, I think vinyl partially because it’s just big and cool to hold, and

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, you right, because not a lot of people have record. A lot of people don’t even how to use a record like we do, but

Dave Rose:
Yeah. Well, I mean you’d really be surprised, Michael. The vinyl industry is insanely huge.

Michael Jamin:
Interesting.

Dave Rose:
And really among kids, I mean, the kids are buying vinyl. If you go into an Urban Outfitters, which is obviously geared toward 20 somethings, they have a whole record section in there, whole vinyl section in their stores, and they sell record players at Urban Outfitters.

Michael Jamin:
Right, right. I always thought that was ironic. I didn’t realize that they’re making money that way. I know. I thought they were museum pieces.

Dave Rose:
Well, probably to some they are. Wow. Yeah.

Michael Jamin:
Now, do you specialize in any kind of genre of music or does that matter to

Dave Rose:
You? I’m a rock and roll guy at heart, but I’ve done a lot of work in sort of songwriter rock. I’ve certainly had my share of country acts, although it’s not my preferred genre, I’ve not done a lot in bluegrass, and I’ve not done a lot in hip hop, which is strange because if this is a visual thing, I’m staring at a Tupac Black behind me. So I say I don’t really work in hip hop, but then I got to Tupac Black up here.

Michael Jamin:
I have a question for you. I don’t think you’re going to be able to answer this one. I don’t know if there’s an answer. Probably

Dave Rose:
Not.

Michael Jamin:
So Daryl Hall has a show that I happen to catch sometimes. I think he shoots in his basement or something. You must’ve seen it, where he brings in friends, like eighties stars or whatever, Darryl’s

Dave Rose:
House,

Michael Jamin:
Darryl’s house, and he looks cool. He’s got a blazer on, he’s got dark glasses, and I’m like, okay, he looks cool. But then sometimes he brings in other men his age, which is whatever, 70, whatever it is, I don’t know. And they’re dressed and they’re stars from the eighties, and they’re dressed like they used to dress in the eighties. I wonder, how are aging rockstar supposed to dress? Do you have to answer this to your clients? You

Dave Rose:
Talk about this. Oh, yeah. We talk about, I mean, I tell artists this all the time, including my big artists. The biggest mistake you can make with a tire fashion, whatever you want to call it, is to not talk about it. You have to talk about it. A matter of fact, I recommend a band sometimes, particularly new bands, take a night and don’t bring your instrument, get in a room together and talk about what you want This look to look like. It is so incredibly important and,

Michael Jamin:
But do you have an opinion on what it should be then? Should it stay what it was, or should it evolve?

Dave Rose:
I think it’s interesting, like this eighties band striper that I talked about that I manage from the eighties, that it’s the same guys 40 years later. Back in the day, there was a lot of hair and makeup and spandex pants and all the things that, and so no, they don’t wear that anymore, and they don’t wear the makeup and the teased hair, but they do an age appropriate version of that rock and roll gear and rock. It

Michael Jamin:
Seems weird because the fans are coming to see their band. The fans don’t want the band to age, but unfortunately the band aged.

Dave Rose:
Yeah.

Michael Jamin:
How do you give them what they want? It seems like, it seems like a really hard thing to struggle with.

Dave Rose:
It is. It’s a tough thing. And the good ones, the ones that are really good at this, are good at sort of making fun of the, well, sort of making the audience one with them and sort of we’re all aging together and this is welcome to us 40 years later. What I think we don’t want is our aging rock stars to show up in sweatpants and a hoodie. We want ’em to show up at least caring and some resemblance of days gone by without being a carbon copy of that, because you shouldn’t try to be,

Michael Jamin:
For the most part though, I imagine they’re playing whatever their greatest hits, the songs that made them big, and the people, the fans, that’s what they want to hear. And I imagine if I were a musician who’s played the same song 30,000 times, I might get tired of this.

Dave Rose:
You would think, and here’s what happens to a lot of them. Some do, yeah. They usually don’t get tired of it. They get tired of being known only for that. There are some artists that have two or three mega hits so big you can’t even compare. And as a result, there’s no way for their catalog of deep catalog of hundreds of songs to sort of surface. It’s why the band little feat that I worked with, they never really had a radio hit, and they always talked about the best thing that ever happened to us was never having a radio hit because we never had this super high. Instead, our fans consume our entire catalog. It’s a little bit like the Grateful Dead in that sense. Grateful Dead never had this mega hit. They just had a lifestyle.

Michael Jamin:
Do they complain to you about this, though? Is this something they talk about?

Dave Rose:
Yeah, I mean, one thing that’s interesting is when you’re on stage and you’re playing a 60, 75 minutes set or whatever, and you’re playing songs from your catalog, one thing that you don’t think about a lot, but when they hit that big hit, when they go into playing that big song that everybody knows of any song in that, it’s almost like it’s for them, it’s a welcomed break in the set. Meaning when you’re playing a new song, you’re sort of working really hard to try to win this audience over on this new material or this unfamiliar material. So maybe if you’re a rock band, you’re probably moving around a little more. If you’re whatever kind of band you are, you’re just really giving it all to win over this crowd. But when you kick into a mega hit that they’ve heard a million times over, it’s a moment you can just breathe.

Michael Jamin:
I see.

Dave Rose:
And go, okay, I’m good for three and a half minutes here. They’re going to go nuts. No matter what we do.

Michael Jamin:
I would not have thought of. That’s interesting you brought that up. I would not have thought it, but I would’ve thought it the other way around that like, oh, fuck, I got to play this again. But

Dave Rose:
No. Yeah, no. I do have a few artists that feel that way. One of my favorite moments in that regard was Sean Colvin. She’s a kind of a folk songwriter artist, and she did end up having a big hit called Sonny Came Home, and that came out, I guess in the, I’m going to get the dates wrong, but that was a huge hit. Sonny came home and I went and saw Sean Colvin one night in concert, and she comes out on stage packed amphitheater, and she says, we’re going to go ahead and play this song for those of you that just came to hear this, so you can go ahead and leave and the rest of us can have a good time.

Michael Jamin:
Is that what happened though?

Dave Rose:
That’s why she opened the show when Sonny came home, and then what happened? I’m paraphrasing what she said there, but it was generally that for those of you that just came to hear the hit, let’s play it. You can go about the way and sort of the implication was the rest of us who came to hear the entire catalog can now enjoy the show. Do

Michael Jamin:
You think people walked out? I mean,

Dave Rose:
Nobody left nobody. I was there. Nobody left. And that’s a bold move. Yeah. I love that about her. And that’s kind of the way a lot of artists feel about a big hit is like they don’t dislike it. They love what it’s brought to their career. They just dislike it being the only thing people may want to consume.

Michael Jamin:
I think about art, and you must have these conversations with your artists is like, how do you reinvent yourself on the next album when audience, your audience doesn’t really want you to reinvent you. They want what they have, but if you give ’em the same, it’s also like, yeah, we already have this. It seems so incredibly daunting to come up with another album that works,

Dave Rose:
Man. It is. And I got to say, in your world, I would think the same thing. How do you write the next episode given the audience what they want, but still keeping it

Michael Jamin:
Well, that’s when they get mad at you. That’s when they say the shows jumped the shark. Or they say, the show died four years ago. Jump

Dave Rose:
The Shark. Is that a

Michael Jamin:
Term? Oh, yeah. I’m sorry. You haven’t heard it. That refers to an episode of Happy Days when Henry Winkler, they put him on water skis and he had to jump a shark tank. I remember

Dave Rose:
That.

Michael Jamin:
And he was wearing a leather jacket when you saw Fonzi jumping a Shark tank in a leather jacket. You go, all right, the show is Jump a Shark.

Dave Rose:
Oh, I got to remember that. Oh, yeah.

Michael Jamin:
It’s a famous term. Yeah, I worked with Henry years ago and we spoke about that.

Dave Rose:
Oh, really?

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. Yeah. It’s funny.

Dave Rose:
What did you work on with him?

Michael Jamin:
It was a show called Out of Practice with Henry Winkler and Stocker Channing and Ty Burrell, and they were the three main leads, and Henry’s like the sweetest man in Hollywood. But we spoke a little bit about that

Dave Rose:
Being a child of sort of growing up in the eighties. I’m going to be remiss if we don’t at least, and I’m sorry, man, talk about asking somebody about their hit. Please tell me about Beavis and Butthead for a minute. I mean, I don’t care what you tell me about

Michael Jamin:
There’s, there’s very little I can tell you. So I was friend, this is when they brought the show back. It’s been on three times already. And the second iteration, our friends, John Altro and Dave Krinsky, they were the showrunners. They created Silicon Valley and now they’re running the second beavers. But that was so they needed freelance writers. It was a really low budget thing, and they reach out to us and the money was terrible, but we just had a break in our, we were in between shows, so the timing was perfect. They said, do you want to write some Beavis? But so we pitched them maybe 10 ideas. They bought four, but that was it. I mean, that was kind of the involvement. Then we went to see Mike Judge, we went to the record session. So we’ll go to the booth and we’re all watching videos, and we we’re literally standing over his shoulders watching music videos, just pitching jokes about what beef is, and Bud would say, and then he would go into the booth, do the voice, and come back out. That was my involvement. So it was only we because wanted, it was just a fun experience. It was not for

Dave Rose:
Sure. Absolutely. What a, but again, I bet coming into it sort of midstream like that, what an even harder job. You’ve got hits. You want to give the audience what they expect, but you also want to give them what they don’t expect. I mean, how you do that as an artist is hard.

Michael Jamin:
And do you have these conversations with your bands?

Dave Rose:
Absolutely. Yeah. Yes. Because the funny thing about music is none of us, if we sit down and listen to our Spotify list or whatever, and we have our catalog of music, none of us listen to one kind of music. We listen to all kinds of music, jazz and reggae and rock and whatever. We all have a mixture of taste, and depending on our mood, we want to explore that music. It’s the same with artists. They don’t think in one genre. They’re artists. They’re thinking all over the place. So it’s really hard for them creatively to stay in this lane. It’s why you see so many artists, I’m going to try to do a country record, or I’m going to try to do some other exploratory record, and that’s okay. If you’re Prince, you look like a genius. If you’re Prince, if you’re just starting out, you look confused. I don’t know what I want to do, so I’m going to do a jazz song. So yeah, we do talk a lot about trying to stay, it’s a terrible term for art, but trying to stay on brand with both your look and your sound and your music and the audience. When they go to buy a Bruce Springsteen record, they don’t want to hear a jazz record. They want to hear good American rock and roll songs,

Michael Jamin:
But they also don’t want to hear, I think you too may struggle with this. I think they got their sound, and it’s like, all right, but I’ve already heard it.

Dave Rose:
They do struggle with that. Yeah, they’ve had a couple, and almost any act has their moment of when they look back on it, it’s kind of like, what was I thinking?

Michael Jamin:
Right. I mean, to me, it sounds like I haven’t listened to it in a while, but at one point I got an album there. I just thought it just sounded like every other, and they were amazing in the, I don’t know, it seems like a very hard balancing act. How do you do this? How do you It

Dave Rose:
Is. It’s why bands like Kiss, for example. I don’t, I can’t remember when. I think 20, I don’t know. It was over 20 years since they recorded new music, just because they didn’t want to attempt, they didn’t top what they had done.

Michael Jamin:
I heard an interview by Cures for Fears, and they were talking about, and I didn’t know this because really, I don’t know the inside of music at all, but they were talking about how at one point, the album, I guess mid-career, that they were assigned a music producer and the producer kind of determined the sound. And I was, I surprised. I really thought that that’s what they did. I thought they wrote all their songs and it said they were hearing songs written for them. I did not know that. I was really surprised. They are songwriters.

Dave Rose:
They are songwriters. And sometimes when a band or an artist hits that moment of how do we feed our fan base, but stay ahead of things, sometimes a good producer, outside writer can help move that along.

Michael Jamin:
On their last album, they shunned all that. They did it themselves, and I thought the album was terrific.

Dave Rose:
Yeah, I mean, I haven’t heard it, but I’ve heard people say that,

Michael Jamin:
Oh, you haven’t.

Dave Rose:
It’s probably because they really went for the middle lane that they developed all along with their fan base. I mean, they’re a brilliant act with an incredible catalog.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. I mean, in the management world, at least in tv, in film, and for agents as well, it’s not untypical for atypical for a writer or an actor to get to some point. Then they leave their manager or their agent, maybe they outgrow them or something happen. And how do you reconcile that?

Dave Rose:
Yeah, that happens all the time. In the music business, we call it the revolving door of managers and artists. I’ve had some come and go and come back and go,

Michael Jamin:
Really? Do you not take it personally then, or

Dave Rose:
One of the things you have to do is truly not take it personally. And sometimes it’s sort of like I look at it like this. If you were to own a restaurant and that restaurant grows and changes and involves a different manager, has different skill sets. We’re not all graded everything. We’re good at certain things. And if you happen to be at the place in your career to where you’re with a manager that is good at the things you need, that’s a perfect relationship. If you happen to go outside of that, then you might need someone with a different skillset. And oftentimes a manager is the first to say, I feel like I’ve taken you as far as I can.
Let’s find something new here. It’s no different than a football coach or a restaurant manager or any sort of leader of a company. Sometimes for a lot of reasons, the stars align and sometimes they just don’t. And if they don’t, it’s usually pretty recognizable to both parties. And there’s very rarely, I mean, you certainly hear the stories both online and elsewhere of manager artists fallout, but by and large, I’m friends with every artist I’ve ever worked with, and I’ve never had a, I mean, I don’t manage Bruce Hornsby anymore, but I just went backstage, went to his show and hung out with him after the show. And we talked about old times and had a good hang together. But there was a point in his career where I was and a point in my career where we just weren’t at the same place, and I don’t even mind sharing that. Yeah, please. He had been on RCA records for about 25 years, and the top brass at RCA was kind of changing, again, the revolving doors of executives at a record label, it was Tom. And so his life at RCA, his deal and relationship at RCA started to come to an end.
And I was really, really, I had two other bands at RCA. I was sort of really inside the walls of RCA records at the time, and so I wasn’t really best suited for the next step in his career, which was to find a new label, a New York based label. I was very much Nashville centric at that point, and it was just, we came to a place where I felt like for him to go where he needed to go, he needed somebody else, and he felt the same. And

Michael Jamin:
It was, but that’s another thing, because I see with my management, they have relationships at studios, and as you do have relationships and there, at the end of the day, you have your interests, and it is not like you’re going to burn bridges with these studio that you have relationships with. You can only fight so much because of what you have with your other clients, right?

Dave Rose:
That’s right. Yeah. It is probably like your business. It’s a very small business at a certain level, a very small business. There’s not a lot of, you’re going to run into everybody again, and at some point you’re going to want your act touring with their act, or you’re going to want their act being featured on a record of your act. And if you burn bridges, it’s just going to, I mean, I know people that do burn bridges, but it’s rarely good.

Michael Jamin:
You are listening to, what the Hell is Michael Jamin talking about? Today’s episode is brought to you by my new book, A Paper Orchestra, a collection of True Stories. John Mayer says, it’s fantastic. It’s multi timbral. It runs all levels of the pyramid at the same time. His knockout punches are stinging, sincerity, and Kirker View says, those who appreciate the power of simple stories to tell us about human nature or who are bewitched by a storyteller who has mastered his craft, will find a delightful collection of vignettes, a lovely anthology that strikes a perfect balance between humor and poignancy. So my podcast is not advertiser supported. I’m not running ads here. So if you’d like to support me or the podcast, come check out my book, go get an ebook or a paperback, or if you really want to treat yourself, check out the audio book. Go to michael jamin.com/book. And now back to our show.
What is then the pinnacle for, I mean, we know what the pinnacle for an artist’s career would be, whatever, selling a ton of records playing the Super Bowl, whatever they aspire to do, but what’s the pinnacle for your career?

Dave Rose:
Oh, that’s a great question. Yeah, it’s interesting. I was taking my son to school the other day and he said, daddy, work seems like it’s really fun, is work really fun. And he’s come to my office before, and I got thinking about that, and I’ve chosen a path that really is fun. Never, this sounds corny to say I’ve never felt like I’ve worked a day in my life, really. It just really has never felt like work. I am so amazed that people pay me to do this. I was doing it long before I knew you could make money at it. And so the pinnacle for me is really that this continued joy of the business of music.
There’s very few high level artists, celebrities I haven’t met or come in contact with. And so none of that is really the moment for me. It’s seeing an act like this band formerly that we’re looking at. They’re a country act. They’ve had four or five number one hits. They were playing in their garage in Greenville, North Carolina, small town where I grew up. I happened to just know them, and I took them to Nashville, one thing. So that’s sort of what this business is for me. You see a band in a garage, and the next thing you know, they’re accepting an award on stage, and it’s just a beautiful feeling to know that you’ve helped an artist achieve those dreams.

Michael Jamin:
Interesting. It’s interesting that that’s where you take the joy in. I would think that part, you’re not the one who wants that dream. You’re not the one, the artist. You’re not the one who wants that dream, your dream joy doing it for others.

Dave Rose:
I would think there’s similar satisfaction in being a writer, I would think. I mean, maybe you were motivated to be on screen all the time or in front of the camera all the time, but

Michael Jamin:
No, not really. No, not really. But I think writers are worried about their career. I want to write this, I want to make a lot of money or whatever.

Dave Rose:
Yeah. Well, the money certainly an enjoyable part of it, but it’s not the driving factor, and it can’t be in music, so risky.

Michael Jamin:
But you also, I guess, arrange entertainment events,

Dave Rose:
Right? Oh, wow. Yeah, that’s very, you did your homework. Yeah, so around the turn of the century, so I live in Raleigh, North Carolina. I’m in Nashville almost weekly, but I live in Raleigh, North Carolina, and in Raleigh, North Carolina, there are not a lot of artists management or record labels. It’s a big, very creative music city, but there’s not a lot of high level. So as Raleigh started to feel like they needed entertainment in their city and started thinking about amphitheaters and growth and expansion of their city, they kind of came to me saying, you’ve had artists play in these cities all over the country. Could you help us bring the good bad and the ugly of that to Raleigh and help us produce events? So yeah, over the past 20 years have become the kind of go-to, I produced the North Carolina State Fair and all the big festivals,

Michael Jamin:
But you keep it to this one region, though.

Dave Rose:
I do. I pretty much stay in the central, the Eastern North Carolina region. And it’s funny because when bands go out on tour, I’m managing bands. I learned from Bruce Hornsby one time. I called him, I’d always check in after the show, and how did it go and whatever. And he went and played one show somewhere, and I said, how was the show? And he said, he kind of laughed while I said this, but he said, I was staring at a funnel cake sign the whole time. What

Michael Jamin:
Does that mean?

Dave Rose:
Funnel cakes? So you’re playing this car almost like a carnival. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, and there’s plenty of respect in funnel cakes, but as an artist who played in the Grateful Dead Done Jazz records, not really his thing. So I kind of made a joke of always keep the funnel cake stand a little bit away from the stage, but I took all of this feedback from artists, what the backstage was like, what the stage was like, what the PA was like, what the lights were like. I took all the good, bad and the ugly from the artist, and I brought it back to my community to try to make the best concerts and events.

Michael Jamin:
I imagine there was a huge, not just a learning curve, but also financial risk in the beginning for you. No,

Dave Rose:
Yeah, I racked up a lot of credit cards.

Michael Jamin:
Oh, really? I mean,

Dave Rose:
Oh yeah.

Michael Jamin:
Wow.

Dave Rose:
Yeah. One of my, yeah, I sure did. We started this company on a credit card, and that’s what got us going. We produced CDs on credit card. We racked up a lot of credit card debt hoping this would win.

Michael Jamin:
What do you, and it’s paid off.

Dave Rose:
It’s paid off,

Michael Jamin:
Right?

Dave Rose:
I paid it off last week.

Michael Jamin:
Just last week. You made a final payment, you got points for it. But what advice then, do you have for, I guess, new artists? I mean, maybe either musicians or, I dunno, artists.

Dave Rose:
Yeah. I think the hardest thing to do, particularly in this world of TikTok and YouTube and reels, is to really be authentically you, because it’s so easy to want to try to be the person that just went viral,
And that’s never going to move the needle. That’s never going to make a big splash. You might have a moment, I don’t know if you remember, maybe three or four months ago, there was an artist on TikTok named Oliver Anthony that went massively viral. He is a bearded guy from the mountains and kind of just sang very, very pure songs, but went enormously huge. And within weeks, you’ve got every mountain guy with a beard trying to do the same thing. And it’s really hard to not do that. When we’re faced with that all the time, back in the day of Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and everything else, one didn’t really know what the other was doing.

Michael Jamin:
So

Dave Rose:
You went into your bubble and you created art in a way that you felt led to do, and now you’re so pressured to try to be the next viral thing, and that’s the hardest thing. So my advice is don’t do that.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. You also, it’s funny because I am a fan of your tiktoks. You give such interesting, great advice. You gave one post, this was maybe half a year or maybe a year ago, I don’t know. And I was like, yes, I wanted to stitch it, but I guess I just didn’t have the balls. And then I forgot about it. The post you did was, I guess a lot of people come to you for advice, and they just think they can just, Hey, you pick your brain or buy you a cup of coffee cup as if your time is worth $5 an hour, because that’s what coffee costs. But you handled it very gracefully and graciously, but I’m not sure. Did you get any blowback for it?

Dave Rose:
Yeah. You’re on TikTok, the blowback key. I mean, you definitely get, but by and large, by and large, what I ended up getting is it’s been beautiful actually. Ever since then, I’ve got a lot of artists coming to me saying, look, I’m not going to offer to buy you a cup of coffee. I know how you feel about that, but I would like 30 minutes of your time, and how would I go about doing that? That’s a beautiful way, I mean, I really picked this up from an attorney one time, and I was on the three-Way call with an artist, an attorney, and myself, and the artist said to the attorney, Hey, I got this contract and I don’t really have a lot of money to spend, but I was hoping you could read it over and I could buy you a cup of coffee and pick your brain

Michael Jamin:
On it. Yeah. What did the attorney say?

Dave Rose:
And the attorney said, look, I understand you mean well, but I only have two things to sell. I’ve got my time and my knowledge, and you have just asked for both of those things for free.

Michael Jamin:
Yes. That’s a good way of saying it.

Dave Rose:
And I just thought, wow. That’s right. And as a manager, that’s what you have. You got your time, your knowledge, and your connections. And if you’re picking my brain, you are asking for those things for free. And I don’t have anything else to feed my family with, but

Michael Jamin:
I wonder, is it because, because people ask me the same thing, and I guess it’s because some people are actually giving it to them for free. Do you think

Dave Rose:
It is? Yeah. I mean, they must be, or otherwise they wouldn’t be doing it, I guess.

Michael Jamin:
But then I wonder if you’re only paying $5 for advice, and that advice is only worth $5, I mean, why would you want to take $5 advice?

Dave Rose:
Right, exactly. Yeah. But yeah, that’s been a tough part of the music business because yeah, so thanks for noticing that. But I do think we, as a sort of service society, whether you’re a screenwriter or whether you’re a manager or an agent or whatever, all people really have is what’s in their head and their time. And so to take that so lightly is to think that buying you lunch is going to somehow make it worthwhile. It just doesn’t, not only doesn’t make sense in a strange way, it’s rude.

Michael Jamin:
Well, I don’t think it’s strange. I mean, I do think it’s rude. Yeah, yeah.

Dave Rose:
But as I said, I think in that TikTok, I said, I understand you’re offering to buy me something. So I understand that you’re trying to be in your own way, polite, but let me just educate you. That’s not a compliment to say that your time is worth a cup of coffee.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, yeah. But I appreciated that video. I really did. I was like, do

Dave Rose:
You get a lot of people asking to pick your brain?

Michael Jamin:
Yes. I guess less and less, but

Dave Rose:
You do some consulting as well, right?

Michael Jamin:
Well, what I did was eventually I signed up for, there’s this app where you can sign up to be an expert. And so people ask me a question, sometimes it’s an autoresponder, and it says, if you want to book time with Michael, you can do it. So here, a half a dozen people have booked. Everyone’s asking, but no one books time. So to me, interesting. And I didn’t do it because that’s to make money, but I was like, well, look, if you want it, you’re going to have to pay. But they don’t want it bad enough to pay. So,

Dave Rose:
Well, it’s interesting. I’m on a platform called August managers.io, and that’s where I do my 30 minute consultations. And I’ve partially used it as a filter. It’s funny, I’ll get artists that go out and spend $10,000 on recording and $10,000 on video and photo shoots, and then they’ll come to me and say, can I pick your brain for a cup of coffee? And I’m thinking, you have just spent $20,000 making music, and now the most important part, getting it out to the public, that’s worth a cup of coffee to you. So I sort of use this platform as a filter. It’s like Chemistry 1 0 1 in college. If you’re willing to just invest a tiny bit to spend a little bit of time with a professional, I at least know you’re serious.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. That’s how I see it as well. So you’re weeding people out. They don’t really want, yeah, I guess that’s how unserious they are. If they’re getting caught up on booking a half hour with me, then they don’t really want,

Dave Rose:
I would think in your world, people want you to read their script, is

Michael Jamin:
That, oh, there’s a lot of that, but you got to pay me way more than, I mean, here’s the thing. I don’t even do it, but they all want it. They want me to spend an hour and a half reading their script, another hour assembling notes, and then another hour on a phone call them giving them my notes while they get angry and defensive telling me why I’m wrong and do it for free. I mean, oh, yeah, okay. That sounds like a ball to me. But it’s not about the money. The answer is no, all around. But it also exposes me to liability side because I don’t want to be sued for taking someone’s idea. So

Dave Rose:
Totally. I mean, that’s a big part of the music business a lot. You’d hear about unsolicited music, and a lot of people, myself included, will not even open an email with music attached if I don’t know who it is. Is it

Michael Jamin:
Because for liability reasons?

Dave Rose:
Yeah. They

Michael Jamin:
Think you’re going to steal their sound or their song.

Dave Rose:
I think Yes. I think they do think that. And I think in the history of the music business, that has happened maybe three times. I mean, it just doesn’t happen. Interesting. So it’s funny that that’s a topic even, I don’t know if it happens in the film and TV business, but in the music business that anytime you’ve heard of a lawsuit of one suing the other about a sound, it’s very, very rarely actual theft. Most often, there’s only eight chords, and you can arrange them in only so many ways. And if you’re in a genre like hip hop or country where it’s in some ways a little bit of a formula in the way your pop music is that way, you write very narrow melodies and chord progressions. It’s bound to your, I mean, about the a hundred thousand songs released a day, you’re bound to cross paths there in a close manner. It’s very rarely malicious.

Michael Jamin:
So then how are you listening to new music, if at all? Is it because you see an act on stage or something?

Dave Rose:
Yeah, no, I will listen to it if it’s coming to me from a vetted source or if it’s coming to me in a way that I feel. But I get a lot of just very blind emails, never met, seen, heard of the person. And one of my favorite quotes was Gene Simmons said one time, look, if I’m hearing about you for the first time from you, you’re not ready.

Michael Jamin:
You’re not ready. Interesting.

Dave Rose:
Because we keep our ears to the ground. I mean, I’m hearing about artists all the time. I mean, I can’t go to the dentist without hearing about five new artists. People know that we work in the music business. So no matter where I go, the coffee shop, the dentist, the pizza shop, whatever, they’re going to tell me about their cousin that just released a song. That’s the next Beatles. So I hear about stuff, and if I hear about it from 7, 8, 9 different places, I start to know there’s something there.

Michael Jamin:
Right. I directed Gene Simmons, by the way, on an animated show. I had to yell. No

Dave Rose:
Way.

Michael Jamin:
Well, yeah. Well, he came into the studio like a rockstar, which is what he is, of course. And then he is holding court and, Hey, dude, we’re paying for this thing. And I knew I was going to get yelled at by my boss, so I had to say, Hey, gene, we’re recording now. I had to tell shot him, get onto the microphone.

Dave Rose:
Oh, that’s awesome. He is a really interesting person. I’ve met him a couple of times. I really am amazed by his story.

Michael Jamin:
That’s funny. Chrissy Hy came in. My partner had to direct Chrissy, and she came in also like a rockstar into the booth, and she’s smoking a cigarette and you’re not supposed to with the equipment. And he asked her to put it out, and she wouldn’t. And he was like, that’s fine with me. Whatcha going to do?

Dave Rose:
I love it. She’s

Michael Jamin:
Chrissy Hein. She gets to do what she wants. But that’s so interesting. Yeah. I get that same sometimes when people ask me a question and I wonder if you feel the same way about breaking into the business or some kind of basic thing. They leave a comment and I’m like, all you got to do is just scroll down and all my videos are labeled. You’re going to find it. I wonder how bad you want it. If you feel like you have to ask me without looking. This is literally the least you have to do to find an answer nowadays.

Dave Rose:
I did a video recently where one of the most common questions I get is, somebody will present their music to me and they’ll say, do you think I have what it takes to make it? And that is without question, the hardest question to answer because I don’t know your definition of make it. And to be honest, a lot of people don’t know their definition of make it. I had a band come into my office one time, they finally, they’ve been wanting to line up a meeting. They came in and they said, I said, so what do you guys want to do? What are you hoping to do? And they said, well, we want to be successful. You know what I mean? And I said, well, no, I don’t know what you mean. Tell me what success means to you. And they said, well, we want to make a living at music.
I said, well, that’s good. I can have you doing that within 30 days. And they kind of looked at me like, wow. We hit the jackpot coming to this meeting, and I said, here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to buy you a bunch of tuxedos. You’re going to learn some top 40 songs. We’re going to play the wedding and corporate cover circuit, make a great living. They kind of looked at you and they were like, no, that’s not what we meant. Okay, let me change that answer. We want to make a living playing our music. I said, alright. Little bit harder to do, but we can still do it. There’s sports bars around the country where you set up in the corner and they don’t really care what you play, your background music, but you make a pretty decent living. You’ll make good tips.
We’re like, no, no. Lemme think about this. They thought about it for a little bit more and they said, okay, we got it. We want to be on the radio. Then one other guy spoke up and he said, playing our music. I said, okay, I got you, my friend does the Sunday night local show on the radio station. He’s a friend of mine. He’ll play anything I send him. I’ll send him your song, he’ll play it on Sunday. You will have been successful. And they like, all right. And one guy spoke up at that point and he said, I see what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to confuse us. I said, no, no, no. You’re quite confused on your own I’m trying to do is point out that I can’t help you until you know what you want. And there’s no wrong answer to that. Some artists come to me and say, I want world domination. I want to be the next big, huge thing. And others simply say, I just want to make great music and I don’t really care if I make a living. I just want good quality music out there.

Michael Jamin:
Is that right?

Dave Rose:
Oh yeah. People

Michael Jamin:
Really do. But I imagine, I mean, you got to pay your bills. That’s not attractive to you. Right?

Dave Rose:
It’s not attractive to me and that’s okay, but there’s still a place for that in this world. But yeah, and here’s the other thing. A lot of people think they want that world domination and playing arenas, but the moment we start saying things like, well, let’s say a country artist came to me and they said, I want to be the biggest country star in the world. First thing out of my mouth would be, you’re going to need to move to Nashville. You don’t need to do that in every genre, but in country, that’s a must be present To Win town, you’re going to have to be in Nashville. Well, I don’t really want to do that. I got this and a job and whatever. So I tell people all the time, prioritize where music is in your life. It doesn’t have to be number one, but just knowing where it is will help you make decisions on what’s most important. When I give advice to artists, I often ask them, do you have kids and are you married? And tell me about your personal life. The truth is, the advice I give to someone with a two month old baby at home is different than a single 21-year-old that can go out and explore the world.

Michael Jamin:
What do you think it is that people like me, Hollywood, what do I get? What do we get wrong about the music industry when we portray it on TV and film?

Dave Rose:
Oh wow. Well, it’s funny because in every music based show, I used to watch the show Nashville, which was produced very well, and it was done in Nashville, so it had a lot of authenticity to it. But I think what I don’t think you get it wrong, I think you have to portray it this way because that’s the way TV is made. But you can go from in one episode writing a song to going on tour with Bon Jovi all within a week or two’s time, what seems like a week or two’s time in a film or TV show. And it’s a laborious, long as you know from any aspect of entertainment, it’s years before you start to take off from that runway. It’s a several year runway, but I think the public as a result of just all of our short attention spans shows and even movies have to be written. So that what seems like in a couple of months, couple of weeks, sometimes you go from writing this song to touring with Beyonce.

Michael Jamin:
Why do you think, and I say this selfishly, I want to know for myself, why do you think the runways is so long before you take off? Why does that mean, why does it take so long?

Dave Rose:
Well, I think a lot of it is because writing music, like writing anything takes a lot of hours to get good at it.

Michael Jamin:
Okay, but let’s say you got your album out and it’s a great album now it’s going to take years before

Dave Rose:
No, no, no, no, no. It’s going to take years to get that great

Michael Jamin:
Album. Right. Okay.

Dave Rose:
Right. Once that great album is assembled and together, it can be a relatively, I mean, it can be a relatively short runway to success once that great in Nashville, there’s a saying when somebody comes into me with a publisher and a publisher is someone who oversees the copyrights of songs, but when someone comes to me with a publisher and they say, how many songs have you written? No matter what the answer is, they almost always say, come back when you’ve written your next a hundred. Really, there’s kind of an unwritten seven year rule in Nashville. You should not expect success for at least seven years after you come to town

Michael Jamin:
With your first album,

Dave Rose:
With your first set of releases. It just takes that long to get really, really top level good at this in any genre. I think, I mean, if there was a comment section on this podcast, there would be tons of people giving me the exceptions to those rules right now, which is the beauty of the music business or any entertainment. There’s exceptions to that rule. There’s overnight sensations, but by and large, most of the big artists had a long runway.

Michael Jamin:
So you’re listening, if you were listening to an album by a new artist, you’re thinking, okay, maybe one or two songs has got something in the rest are just not there. You’re saying

Dave Rose:
Sometimes. Yeah, sometimes. I mean, you take a band, it’s funny, that first hit, I worked with Sex and Candy, the band, Marcy Playground, between the time they rode and recorded that and it became a number one hit was four years.

Michael Jamin:
Okay,

Dave Rose:
Four years.

Michael Jamin:
Right. Okay. So they had the goods, but it took four years before people discovered they had the goods.

Dave Rose:
That’s right. That was a very interesting journey. They charted on college radio and then they tried to work to regular radio. It didn’t happen, and they label problems and they tried again and it finally happened. Same thing with this band, sixpence On The Richer and the song Kiss Me. They had that song Kiss Me on a Record, and it did not become a hit for another two years.

Michael Jamin:
Wow. Okay. So then how do they do that? Is it just touring? Is it just getting it out there? Just having people listen,

Dave Rose:
In the nineties it was touring. It was just getting out there and touring

Michael Jamin:
Even. Not today. You’re saying today’s it’s not like that today.

Dave Rose:
It’s not. I mean, it’s some touring is one aspect of it, but the beauty of Michael, you and I would not be here talking if it were not for TikTok. And as much as I love to hate on social media platforms for all the reasons they’re easy to hate on there is I tell our assist all the time. There is someone in Topeka, Kansas right now that loves what you do. You just got to find them. And if you do, there’ll be fans for life. But unless you plan on touring Topeka, Kansas this week, you’re not going to find ’em. So get online and post

Michael Jamin:
How many, I’ve heard numbers and I if it’s true, but how many crazy, what’s the word, rabid fans, do you need think a band needs before they hit critical mass?

Dave Rose:
Well, critical mass is a subjective term, but I say this a lot. You only need a thousand fans. And I’m talking about real fans. Fans that would give the shirt off their back fans. I’m not talking about followers,

Michael Jamin:
I’m not

Dave Rose:
Talking about likes or subscribes,

Michael Jamin:
Right? People who open their wallet,

Dave Rose:
A thousand fans that consume everything you put out. That’s all you need to make a great living in music.

Michael Jamin:
But how is that possible? Okay, so if you’ve had a thousand fans, they’re scattered all across the country and I don’t understand, how does that make you a good living? You can put it on a new album to a thousand fans. How does that make you a living?

Dave Rose:
I’ll tell you how that is because when I was 10 years old, I had a older cousin, cousin Rick and I went to his house and he had a wall of vinyl records, more vinyl records than you could ever imagine. And he reached and he had got a new stereo and he wanted to show me the stereo, and he pulled up a Boston record, the classic rock band Boston. They had just put out their first record and he put it on the turntable and he was telling me everything he needed to tell me about Boston, and I was just mostly fascinated by the fact that of a thousand records on his wall, he picked that one to tell me about it. And from there I went and bought the record. I consumed, I bought the T-shirts, I bought this. The thing about a thousand fans is they’re your marketing arms. A thousand fans are not going to keep your music close to their chest and keep it over here in the corner. They’re going to tell everybody that’ll possibly listen. And if you’ve got a fan that it gets in the car with their friends and they got three minutes to the next drive and a billion songs to choose from, they’re going to choose yours. And that’s going to turn those fans, those friends into fans. So it starts with a thousand core fans and you can really take over the world.

Michael Jamin:
I wonder, and again, I say this selfishly, I put out a book, and so this is the first venture. I’ve done solo like this, and so I’m curious how many, when do I go viral? How does that work for me? When do my thousand fans kick in and how does that

Dave Rose:
Work? I think a book is the hardest thing in the world. I’ve now released, I’m about to release my third book, and it is the hardest thing. God bless you. This is a great book. And by the way, everybody, I mean John Mayer endorses it. I loved your video on John Mayer,

Michael Jamin:
By the way.

Dave Rose:
I mean, that’s insane. But yeah. Yeah. I hope your thousand fans, I feel like they’re out there

Michael Jamin:
Because you think because no one wants to read, you’re saying

Dave Rose:
No. I think fans do want to read. I mean, do you have an audio version of this?

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, I have an audiobook. Yeah.

Dave Rose:
Yeah. So you’ve ’em covered whether they want to read or not. Right,

Michael Jamin:
Right. Interesting. Okay.

Dave Rose:
Did you read the book for the audio version?

Michael Jamin:
Perform it really? It’s a performance. Yeah.

Dave Rose:
Yeah. Oh, cool. Yeah, I’ll have to listen to that. That sounds really interesting. No, I think a thousand fans can be your marketing champions, but getting those thousand is hard. It’s the equivalent of having a thousand really good friends that really care about what you do. They’re passionate about your calls, your reason for doing this.

Michael Jamin:
But do you have any evidence to suggest that a thousand is the right number? You know what I’m saying?

Dave Rose:
I don’t. Right. Well, I know this, there’s a lot. One of the revenue streams right now for artists is things like Patreon and Patreon’s a big thing for the super fan. The super fan will give you a little bit of money each month, three, five, $10 to consume a little extra insight into your life, whether that be unreleased songs or behind the scenes videos or whatever that might be.

Michael Jamin:
That seems hard though, but I’m sorry, go ahead.

Dave Rose:
If you have a thousand people willing to give you $5 a month cup of coffee back to our cup

Michael Jamin:
Of coffee,

Dave Rose:
$5 a month, that’s $5,000 a month just on that one revenue stream. They’re also going to consume your music. They’re going to buy your T-shirts, they’re going to come to your shows, but more importantly, a thousand fans can quickly turn viral into 10,000 when they’re passionately telling everyone under the sun about you.

Michael Jamin:
You must must talk about this with your bands about shutting a Patreon, but don’t they say, well, we are already posting on social media. What the hell else do we have to say behind the paywall when we’re already saying everything? We’re already struggling to give enough for free.

Dave Rose:
The thing that I’m finding is working the most is one-on-one or Experiences. For example, I have this one artist that does listening parties on their Patreon. They go on and they play their music, and they’ll talk about the making of it, and they’ll pause the record and they’ll say, Hey, I was trying this solo and it didn’t work. And these are one-on-one, and the people are shooting questions and the artist is answering them, and they’re not recorded, and they happen in the moment. And so for an extra five bucks a month, you get to get inside the life of that artist, and

Michael Jamin:
You can put that inside Patreon. How is it being broadcast?

Dave Rose:
So it’s being broadcast just on a Zoom, but only patrons have that link and they have a special code to get in and all that sort of stuff,

Michael Jamin:
And that’s kind of what they’re doing for $5 a month. You get basically that

Dave Rose:
You get experiences. Some artists, it really depends on your fan base. Some artists release a song per month. They’ll write a song and release it. Got a Texas artist that I’m friends with that that’s what he does. He releases a song only to his Patreon crowd once a month. He’s such a prolific writer. He could probably write an album per month. So putting an extra song on Patreon that nobody else hears is,

Michael Jamin:
And no one else will hear that song. Nobody

Dave Rose:
Else

Michael Jamin:
Will ever. I mean, that seems almost crazy.

Dave Rose:
Well, I wouldn’t say ever, but in some ways you can use Patreon as your vetting for what songs you should be releasing.

Michael Jamin:
Interesting.

Dave Rose:
You can put ’em out there to your thousand hardcore fans and watch which ones they really react to.

Michael Jamin:
Do you have a Patreon?

Dave Rose:
I don’t personally, no. I run a lot of Patreons for artists. I don’t personally have one. No,

Michael Jamin:
Those are all interesting ideas. Any other you? No, but I’ve been, here’s the thing, Dave, every time I should, but I’m like, do I really want to put more on my plate? You know what I’m saying? It’s putting stuff on your plate.

Dave Rose:
You’ve got a great course. I’ve been very much admiring your ability to put out courses, and one of the things I’ve liked that you’ve done, I’ve noticed, is you put out very specific topics for a pretty low amount.

Michael Jamin:
Well, it’s free. I do these webinars that are free. Well,

Dave Rose:
The webinars, the free webinars are insane. I, but I would think that’s got to help in the overall big picture of things. No,

Michael Jamin:
Maybe yes and no. Yes and no. We could talk more. Maybe we’ll talk more about that off the podcast. I’ll get your advice on something. Yeah, but

Dave Rose:
You do have courses, right? I mean,

Michael Jamin:
I have one course. Yeah, it’s a screenwriting course. Yeah. Yeah.

Dave Rose:
And I mean, somebody might buy that in the middle of the night and you’re making money without having Yeah,

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. Right. Which is nice. And that supports me, that allows me to do the creative things that I want to do that don’t necessarily make a lot of money, but I want to do ’em. So yeah.

Dave Rose:
What are you working on right now that you’re able to tell,

Michael Jamin:
Oh, well, you’re

Dave Rose:
Able to

Michael Jamin:
Share? Right now it’s about putting my book, getting my book out there. We’re pitching an animated pilot in the next couple of weeks. Will it sell? I don’t know. We’ll see. And then we’ll pitch a couple other shows. Will it sell? We don’t know. That’s how it goes.

Dave Rose:
I want to mention that real quick as it relates to your music audience. That’s a big question. I guess somebody will write a song and send it to me and say, do you think I could sell this to another artist? Which is interesting because in music it does not work that way at all. You don’t sell a song.

Michael Jamin:
I think you write a song. I think you could be a songwriter for somebody. So what’s the difference then?

Dave Rose:
So when you write a song, you basically give that song to an artist, and if that artist chooses to cut it, you are in a revenue stream on that.

Michael Jamin:
Right? Okay. That you

Dave Rose:
Don’t sell songs. Big misconception in the music business,

Michael Jamin:
But I guess I’m not clear on the difference then wouldn’t you send them a track and say, do you like this? And then you have to send ’em a track. They have to hear it, right?

Dave Rose:
Yeah. They have to hear it. And if they like it, they cut it. They don’t pay you for that song. Whenever that song is played on the radio, you get a royalty stream from that, or you get a royalty stream

Michael Jamin:
From

Dave Rose:
It’s spun on Spotify royalty stream from that. But the artist is not buying a song from you, and by the way, you still own that song. So you can take that song to someone else and to someone else and to someone else. That’s why you have lots of different cover versions of

Michael Jamin:
Oh, I see. Song. Okay, so you can get three different artists. I would’ve thought if you, I’m so sorry, I meant to put this on silent. Lemme this right now, I can

Dave Rose:
Hear.

Michael Jamin:
Okay. I would’ve thought when whoever major, whatever, Taylor Swift, I dunno, maybe she probably writes all her own music, but if she didn’t were to agree to record your song, I would’ve thought she’d say, no, it’s me and me alone.

Dave Rose:
You can’t do that. It’s not the way, yeah. I mean, she can say, I’m the first one to do it. You can’t let someone else do it first. But once a song, this is an interesting part of the music business, but once a song is in the public demand, once it’s been released, anyone can cover it. Day Taylor Swift releases a song, you, Michael Jamin can go the very next day and record that song as long as the proper royalties are paid to her as the songwriter.

Michael Jamin:
Why is that not done more often then?

Dave Rose:
You don’t even need to ask her permission. I mean, it is done. Just pop on Spotify or YouTube. If you take any song, take a Taylor Swift song and just search YouTube or search Spotify, and you’re going to see hundreds of versions of that song.

Michael Jamin:
Oh, okay. Interesting. Yeah. I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that. Wow. See, I’m long on all this stuff. I failed. This has been a very eyeopening conversation for

Dave Rose:
Me. Oh man. Next week I’m going to reverse the, I’m going to be asking you questions. If I had a podcast, you’d be my first

Michael Jamin:
Guest. I would appreciate that. No, I would do it in a heartbeat. Dave Rose, you are, thank you so much, and I want to make sure everyone knows where they can follow you on all their social media.

Dave Rose:
Yeah, so the name of my company is Deep South. If you search Dave Rose Deep South on almost any, I mean, stick it in Google and that’ll take you everywhere You need

Michael Jamin:
To go take everywhere. Go follow. I mean, go follow him. There’s so much overlap, I feel between the things that we say, and yet still, I feel like I learn a lot just by listening to you and watching

Dave Rose:
You. Likewise, when I started following your page, I was like, wow, there is a lot of similarities

Michael Jamin:
In this business. Yeah, it’s so interesting. But thank you again so much. Thank you. What a wonderful conversation. Don’t go anywhere. Don’t stay right there. Alright, everyone, what a great conversation we had. Go follow Dave Rose and Deep South and until Next Week, keep writing.
Wow. I did it again. Another fantastic episode of What the Hell is Michael Jamin talking about? How do I do it week after week? Well, I don’t do it with advertiser supported money. I tell you how I do it. I do it with my book. If you’d like to support the show, if you’d like to support me, go check out my new book, A Paper Orchestra. It asks the question, what if it’s the smallest, almost forgotten moments that are the ones that shape us most? Laura Sanoma says, good storytelling also leads us to ourselves, our memories, our beliefs, personal and powerful. I loved the Journey, and Max Munic, who was on my show says, as the father of daughters, I found Michael’s understanding of parenting and the human condition to be spot on. This book is a fantastic read. Go check it out for yourself. Go to michael jamin.com/book. Thank you all and stay tuned. More. Great stuff coming next week.

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Michael Jamin, Showrunner, TV Writer, Author

Michael Jamin

For the past 26 years, Michael Jamin has been a professional television writer/showrunner. His credits include King of the Hill, Beavis & Butthead, Wilfred, Maron, Just Shoot Me, Rules of Engagement, Brickleberry, Tacoma FD and many more.

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