Who are you and what do you do?
My name's Jonathan Graynor and I run Black Dots Music Group, an artist management and marketing company. I also do marketing for soon to be launched app and events curator, Concertpass.
Can you tell me a little about your company and what motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
Black Dots Music Group is a boutique music company that provides artist management and marketing for up and coming artists. Right now I'm managing an amazing pop artist named EVVY and a killer neo-surf rock band, Coastgaard. Black Dots also does artist marketing, mostly focused on social media since my career prior to Black Dots was rooted in that, but also digital pr.
I've had entrepreneurial ventures for a good chunk of my 20's. It's been a grind and I've had my share of ups and downs and successes and failures. It's definitely a lifestyle. Truthfully, I was motivated to become an entrepreneur because I've always been impractical and idealistic. If I wanted to do something, I was going to do it. Part of it stems from my punk rock youth, where the idea of DIY - do it yourself, was a big focal point and really stuck with me.
How have your clients grown over the past year and what have you done to help push that growth?
It's always really exciting to see your clients grow, especially as an artist manager because you're so involved, from a business and personal standpoint. In the past year, Coastgaard recorded an amazing album and signed their first label deal with eONE music, which was a great moment for them and myself. They also went from playing support on local shows to opening for acts like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Here We Go Magic. EVVY went through some tremendous buzz, getting attention from a lot of industry folks. She played a ton of amazing sold out shows doing direct support for artists like Robert Delong, Verite, Christine & The Queens, Brigitte, HolyChild, and Cody Simpson - yes, that Cody Simpson. A big growth to see for her, was going from fans coming up and telling her she had a great show, to having a big group of fans surrounding her after a show and asking for pictures and autographs.
For me, pushing that growth was always rooted in efficient strategizing, focusing on marketing and surrounding myself and my artists with other people in the industry that can bring something to the camp to progress the project, whether it be a lawyer, pr rep, stylist, videographer, etc.
What are you business goals for 2016?
Making sure my artist's career goals are on the right track to being achieved, is always the top priority, at all times. As an artist manager, your artists and their progress is a reflection of you and your business. Expanding Black Dots Music Group's network is also big business goal for 2016. I've only been in this industry for a little over a year, and have made some great connections, but want to keep meeting smart and ambitious people to collaborate with. Black Dots Music Group is also going to be putting more of a push on the marketing branch, so working with new and exciting artists for marketing, is another business goal.
What is one tip you would give to young professionals starting out in this industry?
I'm sort of starting out in this industry myself, ha, but luckily I've learned a lot in a short amount of time. I have four tips I want to share, because one isn't enough:
- If you want it bad enough, work hard and be persistent. I think hustle can outweigh most other attributes and if you want to work in this industry and be successful, then work harder than the hardest working person you know and don't ever let obstacles or roadblocks deter you.
- Network your ass off. This industry is very much built on relationships and it will help you get ahead. Make sure you have a wide range of contacts and are taking time to actually develop those relationships. Having a mentor and great group of colleagues whom I could rely on, really helped me out with progressing my career.
- Be open to criticism, advice and guidance. You should always be eager to grow in your career and learn from your faults.
- Learn to develop thick skin. The industry does live true to it's reputation for being cut throat, albeit not always. Learn who you can and cannot rely on, sooner than later, and never let gossip get to you.