On this milestone tenth episode we have Mixmasters' founder Danny Savage.
One of the most influential figures in today's electronic music world, Danny Savage has gone from DJ'ing in working men's clubs to helping other DJ's and producers build their own musical career. His entrepreneurial mindset, combined with his passion for electronic music, has led him to spearhead game-changing ventures such as Igloo Disco (featured on BBC's Dragons' Den), DJ Growth Lab and the Mixmasters community.
Join us on this special tenth episode as we hear the amazing stories behind Danny Savage's rise in the music industry, as well as invaluable advice from the real Mixmaster himself on paid advertising, Beatport, bootlegs, and much more.
NICK SADLER: Welcome to The Label Machine series where we discuss with our guests how artists and record labels make money. Today's guest is Danny Savage. Danny has had over 15 years working on the forefront of the music industry and has been instrumental in helping DJs, artists and brands connect with an international audience. He is a hugely inspirational entrepreneur, creative marketing expert and the mastermind behind DJ Growth Labs, the DJ Growth Conferences, and more recently, the Mixmasters platform, which helps artists build a successful career and electronic music. Danny, it is an absolute honor to have you on the show today. How are you?
DANNY SAVAGE: Thank you, I'm good, Nick. How are you?
NS: I'm very good. And where are you calling in from?
DS: From home, in Ibiza.
NS: Home in Ibiza… and how’s the lock down going out there?
DS: Ah, we've do have a lock down…
NS: Well, there we go. Oh, it's going great.
DS: It's going great. Yeah. And restaurants and bars are closed. That's the main restriction. But yeah, we were allowed to go out and… we're allowed to go out. And do everything we can go this morning, I've been in a bank and opening a bank account and I've been to the post office, drop the kids off and come home…
NS: Normal life, then.
DS: Sort of good.
NS: Alright, so we're gonna start where we start with everybody. How did you get started in the music industry? So talk about the story up to where you are now, probably just before you start the Mixmasters platform.
DS: How long you got?... Okay, so I think I, right. Alright, so what is it? When I was 8 or 9 Okay, learned to read music. Um, one of my cousin's were the DJ on the local pirate radio station, and I ended up, I think the first ever rave tape I bought was The Ultimate Rave, then I bought Now Dance 91, so I must have been about 10 and then I started selling rave tapes at school. So I sold rave tapes. I did a milk round. And that enabled me to save up and buy my first decks but I only got one deck. I had one SoundLAB belt drive turntable and a Tandy, remember Tandy?... mixer, but a Tandy mixer, and a belt drive turntable. And I never, I didn't get another deck. And that's all I could afford. So I bought these and I bought some vinyl, I bought my first vinyl, so basically mixing a cassette tape into a vinyl.
Where, where, where I come from in West Yorkshire, there was a big, illegal rave scene. And my cousin was like, I thought it were cool, so I wanted to be a DJ on that radio station. I wanted to be a pirate radio DJ, but I never did, but when I was a kid, that's what I wanted to do. But yeah, I always wanted to become a DJ so and when I got to about 17-18, is that I got into the sending mixtapes off to clubs. I've actually got all the faxes from all the big labels as my ex-girlfriend sent them to me about three years ago. I hadn’t spoken to her for maybe 20 years, but she had all these things from the faxes that I used to get from record labels, sorry, DJ agents and clubs and stuff. I'd like lists of all the people to send promo, all that type of stuff. So I used to send tapes off in Jiffy envelopes like most people do back then. And I never really got, I got a few gigs here and there. I got someone ringing my girlfriend's mom, was winding me up once and I thought I got a gig. I played a few decent names. I played Insomniacs in Sheffield, hard dance event. I played everything by the way, I’ve played trance, hard house, bassline, house, techno, really hard techno, gabber. I've been into all of it at some point in my life through, you know, it's like when you go start clubbing.
NS: You go through all the different, you go through all the different styles.
DS: Yeah, so we go to like for example, we go to Gatecrasher one weekend, which were full of fluffy boots and flora and they would leave there and go to Niche in Sheffield, which were like an underground garage blob washed with gangs and shootings and stuff. So we're pretty diverse with that sort of parties we went to, but we had such a good selection I suppose, in the north, with Sheffield. Birmingham weren’t too far, Leeds is amazing. So we had a really good diverse mix of different big nights, small nights. The clubs were amazing. I was a regular at The Orbit in Morley, which is probably the one of the best techno clubs in the world ever. Have yet to find a club in the world that can match that atmosphere.
NS: So what made you kind of switch then on to the more business side of the music industry?
DS: Yeah, so DJ-wise, I never really kicked my career off. Like I said, I got a few gigs. And then I started like, I hung up my headphones, I lost motivation for it, I thought, look, it's not gonna happen for me. And I just resigned to just going out partying and clubbing every weekend. And I had loads of crap jobs, I never really could hold the job down.
And… I got into a started, I started, I started going to football games, right? This is if if you really want to know the story. So I started going to football games, and I was a Leeds United fan. And I got involved with this sort of football casual scene. “Hooligans,” some people might want to call them. And I started going out for years to these football games. And I started buying this. I started buying and selling the CCTV footage from these football games, so and I built a website. And it was the website was worldwide. And I bought and traded and sold all this football, casual, sort of DVDs, documentaries, and all that sort of stuff. So in the meantime of stopping DJing, I learned how to build an online business. And I was quite successful. At one point, I was doing like five grand a week. And what I learned doing that was I was involved in all these online communities. Because every football team had their casual forum, and back then there were forums, Angelfire and CGAB.net were the main ones. So from scratch, I learned how to use these platforms, and I learned how to video edit. And I learned how to do graphics. And looking back as well. I used to outsource my design to Romania, and this like 20, 20 years ago, nearly 15, 15-16 years ago. And so I was outsourcing then before everyone else was outsourcing and Upwork and stuff became popular. And also I was utilizing the forums to build a network. And I was also paying the forum owners to put banner adverts in the forums. So I literally had the whole of the football casual world box stuff or is everywhere, like omnipresent, I like to say nowadays, but it was the number one football casual site in the world. Number one, Google everything.
And then, so that was, that was sort of like, I was still going clubbing but I'd sort of like lost my passion for the music myself, like play music. But then through some friends are hanging around with at the time was we're actually having to remember the time we're having a party back at my house after a club. And there was a top of my steps as you do. You just sat around in random places on the floor in your house. There are about four of us sat at the top of our steps. I'll just chat in this for like Sunday. We've been out all night. And this girl Serena was saying to me, she said it's my 18th birthday party, it might be the 21st 18 to 21st. And she said I've got this, this birthday party at my local club and the DJ is pulled out, I was like “Why? Why is he pulled out?” And… he pulled out the DJ gig. And the reason was he never played in front of a crowd before. So I sort of like bottled it if you know I mean, so she asked if I wanted to play. So I just been to Ibiza about a month before and had bought some vinyl. It's not like the new electro sound was just starting. And like mid 2000s where it's like that too. 2004 or five. And I got back into the music again. So I bought some vinyl and started playing it again. I'm just messing about and I've still got all my old vinyl. I've got hundreds and hundreds of vinyls in storage. And she asked me to play at this party. So I said “oh, I've got all this new vinyl. Yeah, let's do it!” And so I played this party in Otley, it’s a little town in Leeds, and it was a working men's club backroom. So like proper Yorkshire working men's club style, but then so the family were there, even grandmas and granddad's and stuff, and I'm playing like old school bassline garage, trance, all sorts of mixture, but then all the parents and stuff went off and all the – and there were quite a lot of people there, like young people and it went off! And it went on until about one in the morning. And I were meant to come off, and I was just getting ready to finish. But everyone had a whip round and begged me to stay on. And there were all sorts of stuff in there, there were money and…
NS: …other things.
DS: So I managed to stay for over two hours. They had to lock in at the working men's club and it were like, like a rave, it was brilliant. And it's sort of like, it gave me the buzz back and playing to a crowd. And I've always wanted to play to a crowd. That's all I really wanted. So I, the girl whose birthday it was worked at a wine bar, and she asked the owner of the wine bar, we both said, let's do a party together. Because that’s how, there were like 200 people there and everyone were just off it dancing properly, really, really good crowds. And I thought there's no nightclubs in this town, so we need to put a party up. So she approached the boss at the wine buy, Cox Wine Bar at the time. And we've managed to we've got a booking to do a Saturday night. And this room, we usually reserved for line dancing classes and stuff, they never had a rave on. And so I was I had to learn how to promote and obviously because she was local she already know a lot of people in that town. So we had tickets printed for a fiver, proper tickets of holographic on and stuff. And she was selling tickets locally, but I were online promoting as well. So I learned how to use MySpace and our MySpace to mostly build a big following on MySpace. I found all these tools that you could use for automation, like posting flyers on all your friends walls and stuff like that, friend adding tools, so I got really geeky on all that sort of stuff. So because I was already in the online forum world due to the football websites that I used to run I was ready to learn in online basically, I knew the value of online and MySpace were just taking off.
So I managed to build… decks up on a grand piano because it wasn't set up for, it wasn't set up like for a nightclub… soundsystem or to bring our own decks, we put the decks on the piano, the turntables, and a couple of events DJ and it was absolutely amazing until a big group of travelers came down and tried storming the doors and all the locals started fighting with them outside, it was a slight… it was chaos, but the night was really good. The vibe was really good until that happened. And then the guy the guy didn't want to do it again, obviously, says I'm not having that sort of crowd in my wine bar. So that was that was the end of the first one, we called it Filth by the way, so and then I got in talks of a nightclub in Wakefield which is a quite a big town, and they wanted me to move the brand there after we've only done one night so I decided to give it a go. And I booked a guy called Mickey Slim and I saw it did that jump around remix track and it's actually coming on my podcast in a couple of weeks. And it was like bubbling up and I managed to book him for like 500 pounds. But the downside we were playing at four in the morning so I saw that he had three other gigs in the north and I just put a cheeky offer in I said look up what you want at four o'clock. I know is in I think you're in Darby or somewhere or somewhere near ish and I managed to get 500 quid so at the time it was, so the Leeds crowd it was massive sell out like kiss the funk used to work in Leeds and sell out kiss the funk but I put him on a Wakefield which was still in the catchment area of Leeds, but we were further enough away that they didn't annoy kiss the funk and didn't get any to any agreements what they had had to have him exclusive in Leeds for example. So I managed to get him on Wakefield, so the whole of Leeds literally descended on Wakefield. We sold that night out we sold 650, they stop letting people in on the door, the bar was dry by like one in the morning, actual no alcohol left in the club by one in the morning, never ever seen. The club is busy since it'd been opened in 15 years. So we got off to quite a good start. And that was all due to building the MySpace following and networking well, choosing residents that also had a good following that would also work for the night that weren't particularly famous, but they had the good local following. So the first night we're off to a flying start straight away. My second book was Will Bailey, who's now called Low Stepper, who's quite big and I think we had Ben Maclin, Richard Dinsdale and Kate Lawler. So we already had a few beginners on from the start. And then after six months, I decided that like Wakefield was a bit grim and crappier. And I wanted to move to Leeds because it was like it was it's if you've been to Wakefield, it's full of street fights, and it's just, it's a town in Yorkshire. And it's not a city. So like Leeds obviously, is the coolest place up north for nightlife and I approached the main club. I phoned up as you do, you just phone the club and ask them if they've got any spare nights and I spoke to Valley owners, she goes, “just so happens that as from yesterday, we've got the second Saturday of the month available starting in September,” and she goes, “you can have that if you want.” And I really, it was that easy. Like I've got like one of the best most iconic clubs in the country. And it literally took me two minutes on the phone and I bagged a night. Regular Saturday as well. And, and then and then we sold that out. Because we're just in the meantime as well. I'd gone from a first season in Ibiza working and I'd run the night from Ibiza flying back to Wakefield to run the night. So I was quite I adapted quite well to freelance work. Freelance work? Remote work, sorry.
So and I was in Ibiza, while we were in Ibiza I started working for the Zoo Project selling tickets on the street. And I soon realized that can't be asked walking the streets like everyone else. And I started building lists of people coming over on holiday. So I'm very in contact with people on MySpace and Facebook, and then getting spreadsheets for the people, what dates are they coming in, how many will come in? How many tickets I could sell them? And yeah, so I was doing that, was flying back to England and running these nights. And then so by the end of the summer, when we relaunched in Leeds we'd already built a big worker following up in Ibiza and lived in Leeds as well a lot of a lot of there are a lot of Northerners in Ibiza, a lot of Manchester, Leeds. So we'd built a good following in Ibiza, as well, and then so that obviously helped us kick off the launch in Leeds. And then it just went on from there, and we managed to bug successful residences at sankeys Ministry of Sound in London Rainbow in Birmingham, so we had like about three or four parties around the UK every month, the highlight booking you know, I managed to book Faithless live because I would not accept no for an answer. And I went on and on for nearly six months emailing their agent and just get nowhere and no and I would never stop until I book them and I managed to get him through life giggy leads where we sold out the O2 Arena. So that's probably the highlight of my booking career as a promoter. And I've run my own festivals off the back of that, I run my own festival in Leeds called Field Trip Festival.
NS: So all of, all of this is really showing that you were a) learning how to build how to use digital tools and how to use online businesses to b) grow an audience and how important it is to grow those audiences and reach out to them and all the, all the time, doing it in the music industry, in the creative industry, which is you know typically one of the harder areas to do it in. Then you ended up on Dragon's Den, just quickly talk about that.
DS: That was, me my girlfriend we're… this is a long story as well. But anyway…
NS: Try to do a short version.
DS: We was living in, I converted an old bus, right? And I decided to run my events company at the time, Igloo Disco, from this bus. And we came back to-
NS: What's Igloo Disco, for those that don't know?
DS: So Igloo Disco is an events company that I bought; basically when I was running club nights, I don't know why it - why did I think? - all right, so I bought an ice cream van and I turned it into a DJ booth. Because one day we're at an after party and my friend remixed an ice cream van noise, and I said “we should make a video for it.” And then this idea just ended up being really cool. So I bought an ice cream van, paid the graffiti artists to do it all up. We've got a sponsor and turned it into a proper mobile DJ booth/ice cream van. And I pitched it to all the big festivals, we managed to get in Glastonbury, Creamfields, Global Gathering. We managed to DJ… So anyway, we're doing this ice cream van in all these clubs, in all these festivals for about two years and it’s really fun. But I thought, “right, next thing we need to do now is build a marquee to put it in.” And I thought, “what else goes with ice cream?” so an igloo, obviously. I say we need to get an inflatable igloo as like our arena for the, for the festivals because if you've ever done a festival stage, basically a music festival give you x amount of money and you deal with everything. That's how it works. And you bring all you sell tickets, you bring a sound system. They'll give you a generator, but you've got to deal with everything else. So we had a deck party, we had a sound system, we had decks, we had everything we brought with us. It was good fun. I wanted to step it up a level and put it in a marquee. So then I started researching, and then I went and ordered one in China.
NS: You ordered an inflatable igloo?
DS: An inflatable igloo, yep, the first one was 12 meters diameter. And I didn't know anything about like health and safety, or wind restrictions and all this, you know, I just, we were…
NS: Gotta get it done. Just get it done. Worry about that later.
DS: And this, went on Alibaba, bought an igloo and had it sent over. I think it were about five grand. And then I did a party in it. And then someone in the party asked if they could hire it. And then I said, Yeah, yeah, it's, can’t remember what we charge for the first one, maybe 100 pounds to a grant. And then at that party is when they asked if they could hire it and I thought, actually there's legs in this business. It's quite cool. I know I'm doing with nightclubs in those, I can put sound systems in it, I can sort of like a mobile pop up nightclub. So it was originally bought to house the ice cream van, but then it became its company. We never actually really did any parties with the ice cream van. It became its own thing. So we started doing parties all over the UK, 18th birthdays, we did some weddings. We did music festivals, all sorts of stuff. So yeah, at one point we had eight igloos all around the country, different sizes, we had big ones, small ones, all for different types of events. And we did them indoors. Groups were quite a big thing. And so yeah, Dragon's Den. I'd always wanted to go on Dragon's Den, that’s…
NS: Bucket list.
DS: Set as a goal. But the truth is they actually called our office and asked if we wanted to go on track instead. Just out of the blue, so I decided I think it's a wind-up so I was like, “whatever.” And like yeah, “do you wanna go on Dragon’s Den?” but everyone knows I wanted to go on Dragon's Den, so I thought it was someone taking the piss. But they've got sort of like a research team, they go around looking for “interesting people,” they say. So obviously they read a few blogs about me, a club promoter. Some crazy stories. And then the next thing I've got inflatable igloo, so it just probably seems to them like it would be a fun show. I mean, a guy with igloos from a nightclub background, DJ, etc. So I was so we got, we got the debt to go on Dragon's Den and then I decided that because I was absolutely petrified of speaking or I've never done anything like that and never been interviewed. I've done a couple of magazine interviews. I'd been on galaxy radio doing a show and I was absolutely terrible. And I had no like, no sort of like communication skills when it came to interviewing and so I decided to get public speaking coach and it was Bilal from the Public Speaking Academy I think the thing from Sheffield, so I went to one of their group classes and then got some one to one coaching and some about some pitch training.
So we crafted the pitch for Dragon's Den over the course of like two weeks before it, and I'd like touches of NLP in it. So like Neuro-Linguistic Programming, if no one knows what that is, it's NLP. It's a type of like persuasion pitching. Yeah. And so if you look at the Dragon's Den pitch, the opening line was the NLP thing it was, it was on the room by telling them all to close their eyes and Peter Jones, he had a bee in his bonnet straight away, didn't want to do it, didn't like it, you could see on the Dragon's Den thing he pulled the right face when I asked them to close their eyes. So that was a technique used to like, control the room, getting them to close their eyes and visualize something, so that means you're in charge, so…
NS: Peter Jones doesn't want to be taken in charge.
DS: Taking charge of dragons is like… I feel like people probably don't look at, people probably look at that from the outside. They don't realize what was going on but that was a technique used but anyway, but yeah, so I went to Dragon's Den, it managed to get featured on the show. Got my 15 minutes of fame, 16 minutes. So I've got featured a lot of I think something like only 10% of people that go on Dragon's Den and they film it that actually get through to being on TVs only a small amount, so obviously they saw – I didn’t get investment, by the way - but they must have seen, they saw something in the show that they thought would be good.
NS: So just there, quickly, like you, earlier on you had the online forum where you're trading the CCTV’s and stuff, you had that business. And then you have this business. Where are they now? Like, what, why did you move on from those?
DS: So the football business… I got raided by the police.
NS: Okay, done.
DS: But the story of that is, I'd already booked in, it’s sort of like, every time, there's a chapter in my- every time that a chapter closes in my life, the other one overlaps a little bit and just opens. So my opening night of Filth was two weeks after that happened or two weeks before, I can't remember it's quite vague. But I was trying to get out of that anyway. I was making money but I didn't enjoy it, I had grown out of it, basically. Yeah. And so I saw this new potential, which was something I'd always wanted to do. So when I was 18, I wrote a business plan. I've got the business plan there. This came with all this stuff from my ex-girlfriend. And the night was called Greed. And it was a hard house night in Leeds. So I put this business plan together, I pitched it to the venue. I wrote down everything, visualized it, it was there. But it never, it never happens. So fast forward, like five years later, it was happening. And I was like, “This is what I've always wanted to do. I've always wanted to DJ at big crowds. I can do that now for my own night.” So I was quite excited. So wasn't that big a deal? I lost that business-
NS: And then what about the igloos? Are they still going? Can you still hire them?
DS: No, I sold that business to James Mallinder, my ex-sales manager. So he now runs it. And I have absolutely zero interest in it…
NS: So you’ve built up a company, sell it and move on to your next project?
DS: Yeah, so that's what I did. The thing with Igloo Disco became a logistical nightmare. So once after Dragon's Den, we quadrupled our turnover, like literally overnight, it was ridiculous because we didn't get investment, but we got more than we would have got from investment from new business. And it grew into something that I hated. It was like, loads of stuff, loads of vans, loads of weather, you know, I mean, all these factors that you have to, and it's not, it doesn't suit my visionary style. I'm the visionary. And then I had to, I couldn't find the right people to run it. And yeah, it just turned into a monster that I didn't enjoy.
NS: I guess on that, then, you know, like, you're sort of illustrating already how you have a bit of a natural knack for pivoting and adapting, which is important in the music industry. So to bring out to more recent events, you know, you had a successful platform built around helping DJs get bookings with the Get Booked DJ Academy, then COVID came along. And it has sadly destroyed the live scene, which was also the focus of your business. And that's its revenue. So I've kind of wanted to talk about three, asking three things around this. One of them is, “How did you decide on your next business when this happened?” “What are the practical steps you took?” and “How you managed to build it so quickly?” So yeah, so starting off with the you know, talk us through how you decided to pivot into the new business.
DS: So we've DJ Growth Lab was born from… I learned, I learned an online, I did an online course whilst I had Igloo Disco. I never, I always wanted to set up a second revenue stream for security reasons more than anything. So like when the events company had ups and downs seasons. So you can have, you can do loads of cash flow one month, and then you can drop off another so I was slowly trying to figure out how to set up this new online business. And I wanted to teach. By doing the market research, I wanted to teach people how to do club nights. But then going deeper and deeper into that research, who is my ideal avatar, so your, your ideal avatar is your perfect audience. And it's like, who actually wants to launch a club night? So it's, it's DJs who want to get themselves out there. That's the ideal person really. So I thought okay, so if I want to get DJs to run club nights, they need to have fans, need to have a following. So I started like blogging about how to get funds as a DJ so that it were a slow burner. I took me time, I didn't need to set up another business. I was quite comfortable with the events company, but I wanted to do something. And so blogging for about a year, and writing marketing blogs, how to get funds, social media tactics, they're still all on my website, Danny Savage.com, that's quite old. I don't really update that site. But that's how it all started blogging, and I built up an email list of about 7000 over a year just by that, not really spending any money on ads. It was all like organic.
NS: What year was that, round about?
DS: It was about four years ago.
NS: So 2016-2017. Yeah, nice.
"Igloo Disco became a logistical nightmare... after Dragon's Den, we quadrupled our turnover, like literally overnight, it was ridiculous because we didn't get investment, but we got more than we would have got from investment from new business. And it grew into something that I hated... it just turned into a monster that I didn't enjoy."
DS: So off the back of that, I watched a webinar on, on how to set up a Facebook group. So one Christmas, between Christmas and New Year, I decided to set this Facebook group after watching a webinar on how to set up a Facebook group and use it to build a community and add all these emails. So I just straight away, everyone, invited them to this Facebook group, and it grew to about 700 in a space of two weeks. So I came up with a name called it DJ Growth Lab. So we're all going to be about putting out information and sharing knowledge on how high this can grow. And then I realized that no one in the group would ever set goals, it was something that the like using goals, setting techniques that I use, I've just I'm doing a course at the moment in our group on it. It's something that I'm, I've wrote a book on it, “DJ Goals.” So that was the book that we read, we wrote that book in three days. So I use all the stuff that I've learned from business over the years, personal development, and wrote a book on how to set goals as an electronic artist, and using a proven strategy. So that was the first book I ever wrote. And we sold it for 40 pounds I think, something like that. And we managed to sell quite a few. And we made a decent profit. So that was the very first digital infoproduct I had ever made and sold and it was a profit straight away. It did really well. But then people started getting results from it. People started using it. And the group started growing. And people started talking about the groups, inviting their friends saying, look, there’s this group, because what was missing in the electronic music industry was people teaching, marketing and fan building, all that sort of stuff. There was production - they can learn production and all the technical stuff all over, but no one was actually teaching the life skills as well. Personal development, productivity, you know, goal setting, time management, no one teaches that sort of stuff.
So I thought yeah, that's what that were sort of thing. So fast forward in over the years since then it grew into now we have 10,000 free members or 25,000 in the email database, active database. And we've set up a separate company hosting Villa retreats here in Ibiza, which was a goal I set years ago, and then we and we sold every single retreat out and that turned into a decent business. And last year, we scheduled 24, back-to-back retreats. So we hired a villa for a ridiculous amount of money, six figures for a year, 10 million pound Villa with 10 bedrooms, and we put down deposits, and everything. And we also had a membership site that we've been running for about a year before that. And then COVID hit. So like with an online business, you need to have an ecosystem of different products and services for different wants and needs. So we have a free group, we have a podcast, which is free. And then we have an online membership, which is usually about 25 pounds a month. And then we have conferences. And then we have high ticket stuff, which is the villa retreats, which are about 3000 to 4000 pound for a week VIP standard luxury villa with some of the best music producers and experts in the world. So we have all these different things all working together. Some people don't like learning online, and they preferred flying to Ibiza for a week to immerse themselves. I'm that sort of person as well. I'd prefer to do that. And then some people just like learning online, and so is there's different budgets and different ways of learning. And that's what we provide all these different things. So one thing I was doing as well is I had an, I've got an iTunes number one podcast, I've interviewed you on it and it's DJ Growth Lab Podcast. And I really enjoy podcasting. So I was also building Ibiza’s first podcasting studio. So this, we had the retreats, we had the online membership. And then when I was building this podcasting studio, we just taken over this building this office space in Santa Eulalia with a sea view, a beautiful panoramic sea view, all the windows panoramic, clear… We're still in there, and they said I can come and share the office for until they move until they move out. So we were sort of like cost-sharing this massive, this massive open plan office with these guys accountants and so what happened I didn't actually sign any contracts, I was just in there for free but what I was doing is, I was getting the internet installed because as soon as they moved out, the internet was getting cut off and all, I needed it. So I was waiting for Internet's to be installed. And they were get packing this stuff to move out. And then all of a sudden, me and Adam, we’re inside the office looking at this COVID thing unravel, because it was a town center, you could see the people and like the less people every day, and then people started wearing masks and, and then there was queues outside the post office with social distancing. And all this sort of weird stuff started he could we were like, literally watching it in slow motion over a week in the town center. And then all of a sudden, they just like, lockdown hit. So yeah, and we literally it was, it was, I mean, I’m in a community, right…
This one was, it was Daniel Priestley, the Dent Global community for key persons of influence, which is a really high ticket program that I went through four years ago. And we've got access to this group for life. And everyone in there is a business owner who has gone through the same program. And that gets apart from Daniel Priestley, who's like a best selling author. And someone was in there saying, it was a guy called Sebastian Best. I've also been interviewed on his podcast about this… he had loads of dojos and physical buildings in Dubai and all over, teaching kids martial arts. And they literally got wiped out overnight, and they all got shot. And he said that I had to have the difficult conversations with my staff, and it's like, “Look, you're gonna have to work for a lot less than you're on now, and do a lot more work to keep this afloat, otherwise, you're going to go bust.” And so he said, It was a difficult conversation, and he had it with all of his staff. And he said, “Look, if you really, if you're still cushy, you're gonna lose your job. Otherwise, if you need to pay the bills, you're gonna have to take a wage cut.” And at the time, I had three full time staff who were working on the retreats, sales, project management, and also helping with the podcast studio. So overnight, all this, the retreats obviously come to a halt, we're in the peak time of the year, where the retreats with people were booked in, we had bookings, we had loads of people in a CRM system ready to book and we had Facebook ads running, we have 1000s of pounds a week spent on Facebook ads. So the system was perfect, we were looking to do three quarters of a million quid turnover that year just for the retreats on our first year as a new limited company. So yeah, so the retreats came so all the all our staff, it was a case of “I can pay you this but you're gonna have to, we're gonna have to find some different jobs for you.” Because obviously, there's no one's going to be buying retreats, the whole world's going into a lockdown. And also we’re running a business called DJ Growth Lab. And there's gonna be no DJ gigs. So we're teaching DJs how to get gigs online. And we actually offered gigs and we had a residency at Ministry of Sound where we gave our members gigs and all this, and it was awesome. Yeah, so like having to, having to make these decisions. And like I took the, one of the key things from this is being part of a community of people like you is essential during stuff like this, especially, I've never realized it as much now. But just being in that community of the Daniel Priestley community and learning, it helped me do everything I've done since, so learning from people who are actually taking action quickly and how it works out for them and then sharing their tactics and what they did. And I just straight away went, “right, I need to do that.” And so I had that conversation. All my team agreed to be on a reduced monthly wage. We found new roles within the business but then we also had this DJ thing where DJs were no longer going to be relevant, and I honestly said this, I said, this is gonna go on for over a year. I can see this ain’t going to be over in a few weeks. And DJ’ing is gonna be canceled for a year. So what can we do now as a business to- because no one's gonna want to learn how to DJ and get DJ bookings, because there's going to be no DJ bookings.
So we had to quickly come up with a new idea. And what are people going to be doing during lockdown? What value can you give to everyone? And we had some artists that we were working with, called me up and said, “Look, how do we do this online teaching thing? We've lost all our DJ gigs, how can we earn some money online doing teaching like music production?” So there's some quite high profile artists as well as this, I said “look, we might be able to help out.” So we sort of like brainstormed, and I came up with this idea of putting some of the best music producers in the world teaching production workshops every single day during lockdown. So it was a live webinar. I've done hundreds of live webinars, you know that you've been, you've taught webinars all the time. So I'd probably like the first person in the electronic music industry to start posting loads of live webinars, and teaching. And so all these artists were like out of work and needed something to do. We needed we had an audience that needed something…
NS: …to do.
DS: So we came up with this idea of like “Netflix for producers” and I put it in our group. And this is a really good thing if you've got a Facebook group or any sort of audience and you want to test out… I always test an idea out to my audience before I go ahead with it, it will save you loads of time, effort and money if you do this, so before you create the product create the demand for the product. So I put that in my group my DJ Growth Lab group, said “Netflix for producers, who wants to join?” and 380 people said “Where do I pay?” And we're like, we made a really cool image, actually really cool for something like thrown together in two minutes and just started Netflix logo, some funny, Adam put some sort of funny quote on it. We did actually put it out there and thought who wants this and everyone wanted it still, right? We booked Rudy Silva for the first one in five days. So like we, I'm really I move quickly, I don't mess about ever, I'm well known for this… I'll pick up a tip and an idea and I'll take action on it like instantly and I'll not sleep until it's done. So we built this, we built this brand new platform using our old membership site, we just changed the URL and rebuilt loads of pages and put together a monthly subscription offer. And we called it Mixmasters. And the name I even, put the name as a put the name in the group for people to vote for the name so it was built with not just for the community but it was built by the community. The name, they told us what they wanted, they told us the artist they wanted, and we created what they wanted, so we provided that for, for them.
So yeah, Mixmasters was born. I believe the name wasn't trademark because it's, it's quite…
NS: It does seem like an obvious name.
DS: I think it were a popular 80’s documentary, like a TV show, or so.
NS: Yeah, that does ring a bell. And then what, how did you, so, the content? Obviously, you've got to create content for monthly members. How did you approach that?
DS: So like the USP at the time of Mixmasters when we launched, this was like March 2020. So we're literally a couple of weeks into lockdown. I don't even know if UK gone into lockdown. And when we launched it, I think it might be the first week of UK because we were in lockdown three weeks before in Spain. So the USP was a live production workshop every single day. So we like, everyone who was working on the retreats had to now manage your projects that was hosting live webinars every day. So we had to be, we were in contacts with high profile artists, we had Rui da Silva for the first one. And we've had Roger Sanchez in the first few days. So it was utilizing all the contacts we've made over the years of running club nights and everything I've done, it was reaching out to all my networks, calling some favors in. For some people it was me doing them a favor as well, because there was extra cash. So it was a win win for everyone. We were creating valuable content every day. It was given our audience, who was in lockdown, something to focus on every single day. So every day they were tuning in live, the show-up rate for the lives were ridiculous during that first few months. Because no one had anything else to do with the first time they'd ever been locked in a house in the life. And so we were providing this amazing content where you could access some of the best producers in the world of electronic, electronic music every day. You can speak to them, ask questions, they're taught their tactics. So we did 100 and… we did about 120 days live non-stop every day. We had a couple of cancellations. And it looking back now, the amount of stress for us to go through with something wrong when like, if someone canceled or were nearly gonna cancel or we had a tech problem just for one day, but like, “No, we have to do it every single day! This is what we're about, it’s every day! We can't let this happen, we need to get someone else.” Looking back now it's like fuckin’ hell, should just have a day off. It were intense, man.
And so like having to schedule these in, having someone hosting them, and then afterwards, uploading it to the website for people that missed it. And… but yeah, but then after lockdown, so after locked down had finished, obviously quite a few- numbers started dropping. So we've peaked at about 450 members. And then we went down to about 300. And it was like, right, we took a bit of a breather, I thought, well, we've got 120 courses now. So we already had a lot of courses from previous, we've got marketing courses, personal development courses, networking courses, all the stuff we've created over the years. But we didn't really focus that much on music production. Because I'm not a music producer, I run a music production business now and I don't produce. So that's another good one. But I thought, we've got about 120 courses. And this is gold. And it's like what we've not done is had the time or resources to edit them all. Afterwards, we just chopped the beginning and the end of using the waffle, like all chatting on zoom before. So I then started, I created a full time team. Now we've got five full time team members, I created a full time team of content editors. So what we've done is every single course we've ever done is we've gone and edited out all the fluff, we've turned it into chapters. So for every course that is broken into chunks, instead of one two hour-long webinar, it's sectioned off, we've had it transcribed, and we have our keywords put in there, this has been a big job, it's been going on for nearly five, five months now we're still not really we've not released the front end yet. So we've got all in all 180 courses that have been edited, transcribed, and polished and keyword optimized. And everything's there, ready to now start building that front end. So we're going to, we're going to use that content for, we're going to have a like, if you've ever been on skillshare.com we're just copying their model. It's a free preview video. So you can come on our website and view a trailer and a small section of every single course for free. And then afterwards, if you, if you like some of the courses, you can have a one pound trial, a 14-day one pound trial. And that's what's, that's available now on the website Mixmasters.net. But the preview bit isn't yet ready to launch. So that's what we're building now. So we've spent five months editing and creating all the content and the courses. And then we're now going to start populating the front end of the website.
NS: So essentially, you've taken a, you've taken like a two hour live webinar, and then formalized that into chapters - what you'd normally get if you went on to like Udemy or something like that, where it's broken up. And it's and people have got, I guess, a path to follow, an A-to-B path.
DS: Yeah, that's right. It's like the people's, people learn. There's a really good course called “Learning how to learn,” I think it is, I can't remember the woman, she's like, like a mathematician. And she teaches the best strategies on learning online and breaking it down into chunks. Digestible chunks, we have a little takeaway after each chunk is the best way to deliver an online course. So and then also you can, you can make that searchable. So you don't have to sit and look through a two hour webinar just to find a little one minute tip on Facebook ads, you can type in the keyword and it'll take you to that one little section where it's only three, four or five minutes long. So it's but yeah, so it's turning all that it's like we're starting, we've already done, we've done loads and loads of webinars over the years. So we already had a lot of content already. In the membership, we already had about 100 courses, we've actually removed a lot of them now which are redundant, because the quality of our stuffs have gone a lot higher. Yeah, and then there's a lot of like, obviously, when we have social media marketing, you need to be constantly on the pulse, there were loads of stuff in there that was out of depth. So we removed a lot of content and we're now we're redoing a lot of content, we're creating more courses. So what Mixmasters is now is a mixture of live webinars every week, so we don't do them every day. We stopped doing everyday we gradually, gradually wean them off it because it will like, “Okay, we need to stop doing this daily thing because it's killing us. Let's do for a week, and then we went down to three a week, then two a week. Now we do one a week guaranteed, but sometimes two, depending on what we're doing. So we focus, we have different challenges. So when we like, we'll do a four week challenge, a Marketing Challenge build with just a one called “Build 1000 true fans funnel.” So he's building marketing funnels for artists, and then running parallel with that we did a remix competition with Huxley. So there's something for everyone. So it's like caring for beginner producers, experienced producers, people that want to just spend the time on marketing instead of production that might be really good quality producers already, and they don't really need to learn much more, but they need to brush up on the marketing. And then also, we do remix competitions, where our members get signed to labels, big labels and get themselves in front of big artists. So we've got like a whole ecosystem of different things going on. But I think the main thing is the community as well. The community is like the backbone of everything, the Facebook group, collaborations are going off, people are making friends. I saw two guys last week taking, the one of them went to the other guy’s house and did this…
NS: Hey there, you just stopped for a second. So you've built this big ecosystem, how and I know and I understand that it's, it's having the community there already, is a great way to launch it. But talk us through how you are currently or how you aim to market this and grow the audience, grow your, grow your customer audience for it.
DS: Um, so we're, we're at the moment we're not, we're not pushing memberships. So we go through a phase of... So we last year, we did a summit, an online summit, you spoke at the summit. It was amazing. It was hard work. But off the back of that we managed to get 100 new members into Mixmasters. And then we did a Black Friday deal where we got another 100 new members. And since then we've not done anything. So what I'm doing now is I'm, I'm learning from what the members like and don't like. Making tweaks, changing it, getting feedback. And then we're ready to, we're going to start pushing it out again in the next few weeks.
NS: What kinds of things you're going to use to push it out, like practical things, are you using Facebook ads, using Google ads, like?
DS: So I've got a big email list, which is good to launch something but also Facebook ads. And one thing we've noticed is we don't really we're not that good on social media. We're not, we don't, we're not…
NS: You’re not content providers on social media where you're doing loads of stuff…
DS: We do a bit, we go through ups and downs, but you just don't see that return anymore. Instagram is atrocious. Facebook's… it's not even worth posting on your Facebook page.
NS: You're referring to organic posting as well, aren't you?
DS: Yeah, organic, or any sort of organic, it's just it's not, we don't get the return. And like, we could do, but it's obviously, it's the long game. And I'm really impatient. And I'm really good at Facebook ads, and I spend all our budget on Facebook ads, and I know that they'll get me a return and our cost per acquisition has gone down loads recently due to like, testing different campaigns like free trials versus one pound trials versus fourteen day trials versus 30-day trials. So I've been testing a lot that so far. And I think we sort of like found the sweet spot.
NS: Which actually, talking through those- because it's really interesting. What, what actually have you found works really well. Is it a free or one pound? Yeah. Out of those categories. Yeah.
DS: Yeah, the one pound trial is worth it works better, because I think you get a lot for someone to get their card out and pay a pound - it's only a pound but it's that, it's the time and effort that goes into it. Whereas in just putting your email address in and signing up for something it's like… Anyway, it takes a second and you just click a button and then you never log in and it's just a waste of everyone's time.
"what was missing in the electronic music industry was people teaching, marketing and fan building, all that sort of stuff. There was production - they can learn production and all the technical stuff all over, but no one was actually teaching the life skills as well. Personal development, productivity, you know, goal setting, time management, no one teaches that sort of stuff."
NS: What made you pick a pound? What made you pick a pound, though, instead of doing a What made you pick a pound instead of say doing a like 14 or five pound or, you know? Why so low?
DS: It's more or less a free trial, but you're having to commit to getting your debit card details and put the card details in which is like two minutes. It's a micro commitment, and then you just testing I suppose.e Everything I do is test, test, test, and the memberships only 25 quid anyway. So I really want people to see the value in it. And it's now at a level where you get into the library and it's really well arranged, we've got, we've had custom coded features put in there. So it's really easy to navigate, so you can search keywords, so driving people into that to see so they can get a taste of it. But like I said, one of the admin nightmares of having a free trial is putting people into the Facebook group and then having to remove them, because you can't automate that, which is a pain in the ass, as well. So if we're getting 20 people a day to the Facebook group there, I'm to remove them in 7 or 14 days, it's just like, it's constant. And then people sign into the Facebook group with different names and all that it's just, there's quite a few other things as well. It's just an admin thing more than anything, but it's the data doesn't lie, the data doesn't lie, and the conversion rates from free trials into the membership were about 30%. And then the last one pound trial was 68%. So 68% of the people that signed up on a one pound trial stayed.
NS: How does that practically work at the end of the 14 days? Is it a thing where they're signing? It'll automatically switch over to the 25 pounds a month? Or do you send an email saying, “Hey, we're going to do this? Do you want to cancel it?” Like, what's the psychology? And how do you kind of approach that?
DS: Yeah, it's in the terms, when the sign up is 20, the signing up for 25 pound a month with a one pound trial. And it states that after that, after that period, it was 30 days, the last one we did. So after that 30 day period, you'll be billed 25 pounds per month. But you can cancel at any time no obligation, it's in your, in your dashboard quite easy. Just go on the site into your profile and change your details or cancel your membership. So one thing I will say, right, is the people that cancelled it, I've never heard of them. ‘Cuz I've got my membership wired up to slack, to a pop up saying this name is canceled, x membership, we have different types of membership. And it's always someone I've never heard of. And that means that they've not joined the Facebook community. And they're not active in the Facebook community, because I've never heard the name ever. And there's a lot of people like this. So what I thought the key to keeping members I think is making sure that they're active in the community and get involved in the communities. Because the people join for the content, they'll stay for the community. Yeah.
NS: I was waiting for that quote.
DS: So it's a good quote that people use in the, in the online space, but it's true. It's like you build the community, and not necessarily, I know some of the data in the back end, most of the people are in this well, so a lot of people in the community and haven't accessed a course for over a month for example, you know, so they're not using the membership site as much but they're using the community for feedback and they collaborate and they're doing the live challenges. They're not necessarily going in and watching the pre-recorded stuff but then there's other people that - there's a guy called Jimmy McGee he’s done every single course we've got, I swear to God, every single course! I'm like, he just sits there all day in his spare time doing all the courses and he leaves a comment under every course and lets us know what he thinks of it. And he's not as active in the group and he doesn't… I've only seen him on like one or two live webinars but he's in the USA, for example, so but yeah, he's, he's like, different people take different things from it. But the remix competitions as well a lot of people love them because they've, it's a career defining moment getting signed to a label and having their track released on a big label, on the same EP as a big artist we've just chosen for three winners from our group who are assigned on the new Mixmasters label, and Huxley is on there. So if you don't know, Huxley is like a big house DJ producer, he’s just started, he’s just been signed to Ultra (Records) exclusively. So he's gonna be on our next, on our very first Mixmasters EP, which is raising funds for the Samburu tribe in Kenya. So that's pretty cool. So that we do a little cool projects like that. And that can be, that can be a life changing thing for some of these artists. Well, it is! Some of the guys have been signed on over an EP with Saytek, a techno EP on Saytek’s label.
NS: Lots of collaborations in their community. So I want to, I'm gonna want to move on to selling trends in the music industry because I've got a sort of series of questions that I ask every guest to get some feedback on. So I'll just jump in. So some of these are a bit more relative for people who are an artist, or they're running a label or their manager, managing artists, which I know is slightly out for you, but I think you still have some great insight. What have you, what's your experience that you find with the artists you're working with? If they said where they're finding their music royalties are coming from, from Spotify, iTunes? What sort of feedback have you been getting?
DS: So my this is, in the electronic music world, as you know, all- well, more, that's also in house and techno, Beatport’s like, the Beatport chart position is a lot more relevant as a goal for them than the money, there's very little money to be made from selling tracks on Beatport. But that's where they focus, all their attention is Beatport, I don't think there's enough. And people are, especially in our community, there's not as much focus on Spotify, as there is on Beatport. Still, because the chart positions work, like the chart positions are the goal. And that's what people want to get, like, I'd love to be able to teach people how to release independently. And I do encourage people to set up their own label as well. But I think like, it's really weird and I say this quite often, but in any industry in the world, you can teach someone to sell their own thing and make their own money. So like I can, I can teach someone a strategy on an online course I can put together tonight and launch it tomorrow. And I'm guaranteed to make a couple of grand in my own pocket, because I know how to teach that thing. But like an electronic musician, you can't teach them, it's really difficult to teach them a quick win to earn quick money like that unless they release independently, I suppose. And but then they won’t do that, because it's like they want to get on Beatport. And they want to get that recognition because like, it gives you the DJ gigs as well. So build your authority, build your credibility, it aligns you with good labels. And that's how you get gigs. So DJ gigs is like a byproduct of getting a Beatport chart position as well.
NS: So there's a culture, there's a culture of wanting to be signed to existing record labels to sort of straightaway, like either get you on Beatport Top 10 or #1. And as a, it's like I guess a nod to say, “hey, you're kind of, you're successful, because you've managed to sign to one of these labels.”
DS: Yeah, it's like it can be the make or break for you if you get signed to one of these big labels.
NS: Yeah, I do. I do. Actually, I do agree with that. But what I do find is, how do you get signed to that label is often putting your music out there first, showing you've got an audience, you know, and yet to show you got an audience, you've got to have it out on a platform on your own music. And then off the back of that, try and get signed to a, try and get signed to a label. And then there are artists that are releasing on their own labels and then releasing on Ultra as well. So I think that there is, there is still room for both of them, I guess and you want to, you want to have both those targets. Moving on to, I know, Spotify isn't the most important thing. But you know, outside electronic music, it is still getting on Spotify playlists, is there anything you've found that works really well for artists that are looking to get on Spotify playlists?
DS: That's something I'm… I stay away from Spotify. I leave that to the experts. We've got various people come into our community. So one of the key things about Mixmasters is we bring in experts for each area. So we have courses by you, we've had like, we've had a little mini course on setting up a label in seven steps. We have John Gold come in to do some Spotify stuff and on download gets as well as the one on Hypeddit, we had Grahame Farmer coming previously. So I don't spend much time on Spotify. So my strengths are Facebook ads, communities, online memberships, and sales funnels, marketing funnels, all that sort of stuff. Helping people build funds through download gifts is something that we we've had some good results on recently, we've done a whole six. It was a six week challenge. Building a funnel. Free Download funnel, giving away free music. One thing I will say too is for building funnels is get used to giving away free tracks in return for an email address.
NS: Can I talk about that as well because we are like, I guess I have an answer for this. But I'd like to hear your answer. And then when we're moving into a world of streaming and people don't own music, how are you going to get someone to give an email address to download an mp3 when people are like well I've just got my Spotify playlists, like, I don't want to download something. How are you overcoming that?
DS: Bootlegs. So one thing I tell people to produce is bootlegs, like… so bootlegs if you don't know what a “bootleg” is it's an unofficial remix of a track. So, the bootleg strategy - one guy in our group this week is just got his bootleg is being played by NERVO off the back of what we've just done, and he's put it together, he’s never made a bootleg, he did a London Grammar bootleg, it is getting radio plays, NERVO have played it. Right so this is the strategy of a bootleg: find something that your ideal audience love. Nostalgia is the key. Yeah, so the first time I did this with an artist, I helped him get in the Beatport Tops in the trance charts. Yeah, it's easier than techno and house in the trance charts. But he got a top 20 thing because he released three bootlegs. So Paul Van Dyk – “For an Angel” was one of them, our boot of “Beachball” I can’t remember which one, Oxia – “Domino” maybe another I can't remember. But they're all like big nostalgic tracks, where people are like, “oh, you remember this?” but if you can update that and put your own update, twist on it, and make it relevant. DJs want it? Yes, DJs wanna play that because no one else has got it, you're never gonna get it signed because it will never get cleared. So you can only give it away anyway. So you can give this track away, you're not, you're not losing any money. And you're getting yourself out there. So what you want to be doing is building an exclusive list of other DJs that want exclusive bootlegs from you, and then you can slowly introduce them to your other tracks as well. You know, I mean, so you're getting them, you get them and say, you could call it like your VIP tracklist, it's just for DJs for example, you sign up for this list, you get all my exclusive freebies, before anyone else, but then you're building up like the Law of Reciprocity, like is like Cialdini, a good book if you want to read it about this. It's called “Influence” by Robert Cialdini, I think you might read it, I don't know. But the Law of Reciprocity is like giving free value away, giving freebies. For example, if you've you've all been past like a shop or… I got done in Seville a bit ago right, the woman came up and she were giving away like free I think it would free cheese or something and then the next thing, you go to the shop, you have a look and then you feel obliged to buy some of a 25 euro cheese it's like really high end. And it's because you've had that free gift. And like I even knew when I walked to, “I've been done, she did me!” And I knew it and it were funny, I laughed like, that is the psychology. There's loads of it, Cialdini has literally spent decades researching this and doing tests and also there's all sorts of different cases in there explaining it, but giving away free value, demonstrating free value, giving away free gifts to your audience, making them feel exclusive and giving them something that they want… and then when you do have something to sell which is only a £1.50 Beatport track when it comes to selling it, it's like they’re more inclined to support you and say thank you for giving me all the free stuff in the past…
NS: Do you think there could be used - let's say if you weren't in electronic music - if you're making more traditional music or an indie band or something, the equivalent would be doing a cover track of a nostalgic track, and then giving that away or having that on like a private, you know private YouTube channel that people can only access by giving their email address?
DS: Yeah, I'll give you a really good example. Have you ever heard of Walk off the Earth, a band called Walk off the Earth, that's absolutely phenomenal. I don't if they’re still together and I'm gonna check him out actually today, but back in my, back in pre-kids, when I actually had time to listen to new music and stuff. There's a cover band called Walk off the Earth and they do like instrument covers of some loads of big tracks that did one of that Gotye *starts singing* “Somebody that I Used to Know,” an instrumental cover of that in the apartment in San Francisco, using pots and pans and loads of mad stuff, and then the vocalist, she was absolutely phenomenal, and all they did were like really cool covers, and absolutely blew up, and then touring the world, selling out everywhere. We couldn't get tickets to see him in Leeds or Manchester, couldn't get tickets for shit, it were impossible. And they built the whole brand on putting together covers on YouTube. So yeah, 100% you can do that.
NS: So moving on to kind of final questions around the, around selling trends. You are an expert with the paid advertising, so in particular for any artists or labels and listening, what right now is working in 2021 for you with paid advertising? Like, where should we, where should we be focusing our advertising spend?
DS: Okay, so Facebook and Instagram is what I always use. This is difficult at the moment, I've took a break from Facebook ads because there's a few new things come in, there's they removed the optimization window. Seven day click, one day view or something like that, they changed that, but then also the iPhone, the iOS updates coming in, I think in June, this is gonna be like a gold rush. Leading up to June. So this is a big thing online with Facebook have fallen out with Apple massively over this, literally calling them out and stuff. And it's funny, two of the biggest tech giants in the world falling out. But iOS, the new iOS updates coming out is going to, it's going to give you people the opportunity to block all tracking pixels. And so Facebook retargeting is going to be wiped out unless you opt in. So retargeting is one of the main things with Facebook ads and Instagram ads. So if you're not familiar with Facebook and Instagram ads you have, you get what you call a tracking pixel, which is when you set up your ads account, and you put that in your website. And it will track people, anyone who comes in the website, you can then retarget them with ads, basically, on the Facebook or Instagram ads platform. Most of the conversion rates come through retargeting. A lot of people will visit your website, once to have a look, they think, “I'll go back to that.” And then you send the set retargeting will remind them to go back again. And that's, that's one of the best strategies for acquiring new members. So that's going to be wiped out in June. So there's quite a lot of big changes on the Facebook and Instagram ads platform at the moment. So I'm sort of like hanging fire. And I've just invested in a brand new course. It's like high end course. And I'm doing that at the moment. And it's all about all the new changes. It's like literally up to date. The new course was filmed this year and released a few weeks ago. So I'm going to hang fire until I finished that cost to set my new campaign up. But in general, so what I'd advise doing a bit of research on all the new policies coming in and making sure that you're up to date with Facebook ads. If you are going to run Facebook ads, always learn. Always update your learning every month, always keep checking out new courses. It's something that changes very quickly. So always keep updating your knowledge on Facebook ads, keep testing stuff, and always have something running if you can, even a little budget just running in the background.
NS: Yeah, what's… maybe this is a question around this. What are some rookie mistakes or common problems that you see over and over, with paid advertising?
DS: Always people clicking “Boost Post,” it's, you really need to get into Facebook Ads Manager, set up Facebook Ads business account, and get a Facebook Ads Manager account and get familiar with that. And don't just click “Boost Post” because you’re literally pissing in the wind. It’s just like Facebook make that feature, in my opinion, just to get cash out of people that don't know what they're doing. So spend some time and learn how to use Business Manager, how to set ads up properly in the campaign window, learn the different stages, there's three stages to ads: there’s a Campaign level, Ad Set and Ad, there are three things you need to learn. Targeting used to be something that you really needed to be really good at. But now there's a thing called “campaign budget optimization” that more or less does the work for you. So you can be quite broad in general where you're targeting. But focus 80% your attention on creative, which is the ad itself. So get good at writing sales copy, get good at writing captivating headlines, get good at hooks, which is like, makes people want to read the rest of the description, the rest of the copy. And also the image or the video get really good at making sure that they pop out. So imagine you're scrolling and you want it to pop out the screen and make someone stop and what's that. So that 80% of Facebook ads is the creative that's what you should focus on.
So let's say for example, a musician wants to put out a teaser for a free track. They really want to be focused on like a little small video, maybe 15-20 seconds long. With the, with the hook of the track, which would probably be the breakdown or the vocal or the drop, something that's like makes people want to listen to more. So creating that little 15/20-second video with that bit but then putting some cool videos behind it like some sort of graphic animation. One thing we found really well with the trance funnel that we built with the guy who got on beatport Top 20: we took like little video clips at Tomorrowland, stuff like that with loads of pyrotechnics and loads of like festival fire, and lights and all that, it straightaway pops out to that ideal, what's going to pop out to your ideal audience. And if your ideal audience is trance lovers, they're gonna love seeing like loads of fire and pyrotechnics and so that worked really well. So put like little demos of your free track and then click through to a Hypeddit download gear. And then ask him for an email address and a SoundCloud follow in return for the free downloads. That's how we, that's the best results we've found with our Facebook ads funnels.
NS: Gotcha. So it's been amazing having you on the show, Danny and hearing about the stories at the beginning and how you learn to get, you know, all your experiences and what you learned along the way. Looking to the future, what are you most excited about? In the future of music or music marketing?
DS: Need the club's opening.
NS: Yeah, I guess that's true. Isn't it? Just being able to go out and see live music again? And DJs?
DS: Yeah, I think just yeah, social interaction. And we, we love putting on live events, our retreats and our conferences. It's… Yeah, it's one thing I do miss, like it's all… we thrived through this lockdown and COVID era online, but like the physical events is something that I really miss. I do miss flying to London and meeting people and all that. So trying to think of any marketing trends I'm looking forward to… Clubhouse!
NS: Ah, yes.
DS: Right. So I've done a free guide as well on this. So if you want to get this free guide, it's Mixmasters.net/clubhouse, but I was introduced to Clubhouse a few weeks ago. And it's an invite-only platform. So you have to know someone who's on it to get an invite, it's quite easy if you're good at hustling. But if you’re not, it'll probably drag on for months. And it's only available on iOS at the moment. So Clubhouse is like a platform for engaging conversation. So it's like dropping audio, you can drop into rooms where people are discussing certain topics. Like we've hosted a few with Nick, on music marketing, we've done some on production. We had a mastermind session last Friday night, where we had Lenny Fontana and Brandon Block and Creature and some other, Huxley, where they were just like chatting, career advice and discussions on marketing and all sorts of stuff. But yeah, Clubhouse is amazing. And it's really, it's honestly, it's at the perfect time, it could have been more perfect last summer when the first lockdown hit. But during this time now where people are missing social interaction and missing meeting new people and speaking to people. It's a really, really good platform to get involved.
NS: Clubhouse, get involved.
DS: It’s literally, you can drop in rooms with some of the biggest tech billionaires in the world. Like we had Elon Musk in a room a few days ago. Like, where can you get that sort of access you get? It's like free masterminds with the best people in the industry, discussing tactics, routines, habits, marketing strategies, business strategies, live strategies, parenting strategies, there's all sorts of stuff in there. And it's all free and you can drop in, you can ask questions, you can listen to people sharing advice, and we host our own rooms as well. And you can you can even host, you can even do your own music rooms. So there's like label feedback rooms. There's people singing, pitching their songs or ideas.
NS: I've been on a couple of those. Yeah.
DS: Yeah, Clubhouse. It's amazing. I love it. It's addictive, though, so schedule time to be on it all day.
NS: Be careful with the notifications.
DS: I've turned them off completely now. But I have I do schedule talks on there every week. And yeah, it's enjoyable. So I think that's a really big one for networking. Some of our members have hosted rooms on there and they've all like, met loads of new people and formed new collaborations and friendships. Yeah, Clubhouse is a really good thing to get on, it's new, it's like any social media if you get on it quick when it first starts and build a following, you can like your monetize it well later. Like look at Instagram influencers when they first got on there and started absolutely hammering it and then now they've got millions of followers. So if you can, utilize the platform to your advantage, and I'd get on there quick and get involved.
NS: Get on Clubhouse. Danny, thank you again for your time. That was the longest and most epic series episode that we've done. Yes, please go to find out more if you want to sign up go to Mixmasters, m-i-x-m-a-s-t-e-r-s.net. You can download that, the Clubhouse guide and lots of other useful material around how to build a successful career in electronic music. And to sign off, thank you again, Danny!
DS: Thank you, Nick. And thank you everyone for listening.