Nick Lippman, partner at Lippman Entertainment based in Los Angeles, is in the middle of music and technology. He manages artists like Matchbox Twenty, Rob Thomas and George Michael and advises music tech startups through his technology incubator, Ava Jade.
This a fascinating interview where Nick talks about growing up around famous musicians (and how nice they were) and how the music industry works and how tech will affect it.
Here are some more things we talked about:
-How does Nick reintroduce someone like platinum selling artist Ryan Cabrera? What goes into the planning and execution?
-Who was Nick’s first client? What was the first deal Nick closed?
-How has working in the music industry helped with working with music tech companies?
-Nick is an amazing networker. He tells us why.
-Nick talks about a couple of his favorite music tech companies he’s working with.
Dave Kruse: Hi everyone, welcome to another episode of Flyover Labs, and of course this is Dave Kruse and today we are lucky to have Nick Lippman with us. He is a partner at Lippman Entertainment, which is an artist management firm based in LA, and they managed some pretty good artists including Matchbox Twenty, George Micheal, and Rob Thomas. I am hoping you guys have heard at least some of those. So Nick is a pretty interesting guy. He is in the middle of both the music and tech industry because in addition to being a partner at Lippman, he is also the Founder & President of Ava Jade, and at Ava Jade, they advise tech companies and invest in tech companies, and if I understand correctly, essentially they help bridge the gap between the tech and music industry and it sounds like they are getting into some other things too, so it’s quite interesting and I think it’s going to be a great talk. So Nick, thanks for joining us today.
Nick Lippman: Yeah my pleasure man.
Dave Kruse: So let’s first talk about music and then you can educate us in the Midwest and beyond, and then lets dive more into the tech because that’s of great interest. So what was your background and how did you get into the music industry?
Nick Lippman: My whole family has been a part of this. My father started 40 years ago, and then 10 years after that when he started his venture company, his brother, my uncle went to work with him and then 15 years ago my brother went there for a couple of years; my cousins both also work in the music industry until my father got both of them their jobs, initially. So we come from, you know, music has been a part of my life since I was born, and being around artists and my father’s office was inside of our house when I was growing up, so I was really privy to sort of the inner workings and obviously I was a child who felt like I knew the deal-flow that was going on, but just sort of the way in which managers dealt with business and clients, and everything was so privileged in my childhood that it was kind of ingrained in my head. I started my first internship at a record company at the age of 14 and I worked every summer of high school ___6:25___ actually two of the same label, but at record companies just learning from the ground up, the thing that’s really important that my father instilled into me and my brother that if we are going to learn any business that we gotta learn it from the bottom up, and that’s kind of how I got mine started. I’ve been packaging records in the basement of the BMI records on Sunset when it existed there, working with DJs and radio promoters, just learning, kind of how that works and it was quite interesting.
Dave Kruse: Wow, that’s a great education, and so do you have any stories from when you were young, growing up, you know, in the music industry?
Nick Lippman: You know, all kinds of stories. I don’t know how many I’m allowed to say, you know, but I can tell you that, you know, very famous musicians were having drug issues in my family’s backyard. They are people who I saw on television, who I saw doing drugs in my house when I was a kid, you know, but on the other side of it, I think that the part that stuck with me the most is the majority of artists that my father worked with were all good people. A lot of them had kids, they were all really friendly to me and my brother, you know, a couple of guys from Guns N Roses took me with them to the concert that they went and recorded back for him and I was you know there with a babysitter, that was pretty fun and everybody was really, you know, like it’s funny as it sounds and as crazy as Rock N Roll was, especially those years, you know 30 years ago, 25 years ago; but the one thing I do remember is all these people being so friendly and they are nice and respectful around myself, you know at a young age.
Dave Kruse: That’s nice to hear. You may have to write a Tell-All bio someday.
Nick Lippman: Yeah, I think my father is doing one now but his is a lot more interesting than mine.
Dave Kruse: Well, you’re young, so give yourself another 30 odd years. Alright, so when did you officially join Lippman, I mean, you kind of always been a part of it.
Nick Lippman: 2002.
Dave Kruse: 2002, okay.
Nick Lippman: Yeah, I have been a part of the company since 1997.
Dave Kruse: Okay.
Nick Lippman: And you know, worked sort of as a way to make a living when I wasn’t in college, you know, like any time that they needed staff when I was on a vacation or something, I went to the office and helped out and did this, but I officially, you know, became an employee and by the way even though it was my family business, I started as an administrative assistant, you know.
Dave Kruse: Oh, nice.
Nick Lippman: Filing and doing all that shit, you know, learning like any other employee in 2002.
Dave Kruse: So who was your first client and when did you get that client?
Nick Lippman: The first client that I found on my own was a kid named Hodges who is currently known on JT Hodges. He is a country artist and the first artist that I kind of inherited and took over that was part of the business was a girl named Anna Nalick, who, I don’t know if you remember her, but she had a pretty big song with Breathe (2AM).
Dave Kruse: Oh yeah.
Nick Lippman: Which was a lot of fun and Hodges was then signed to Show Dog-Universal and you know, he turned out pretty good for himself and that’s kind of how I started then as well as working with the current roster that we had in our company but those are the ones that I kind of took on my own.
Dave Kruse: Gotcha and what was one of those first deals you helped close with, you know, a record label or…?
Nick Lippman: Funnily, not the first, like big, big like a million dollar deal, I closed was a merchandizing deal and it was actually really interesting. I was on the hunt for a new merchandize companies because I was looking for people to get on board with Hodges, you know, this was 12 years ago, you know, what I mean this was before like your Instagrams and your Twitters, and you know, you have this following and you can monetize or maximize that kind of leverage, so this was just really kind of the end of the era of going out there and using your connections and telling someone just in pure belief and so I was out there meeting with sort of tertiary companies that were not the kind of major players and I found this one company called All Access Today, and I was really pushing them hard on Hodges, but we actually ended up not doing a deal with Hodges, but we ended up doing a deal with Matchbox Twenty, and it was my first major deal, it turned out to be a very lucrative one for both Matchbox Twenty and Rob, as well as it was my first venture into technology because there was a tech in there, which I correlated to lot of others things that we’ll discuss, the more that we talk now, but it was really, you know, my first time going up against the big dogs so to speak, and these are still major players in the business and the first time that, you know, my father kind of said “alright great, this is on you”, you know, you either fail miserably or you succeed, you know, and it turned out to be, probably the…., I didn’t sleep that night, and one of the funniest full circle stories is when we closed that deal, it was like 1.2 million or something like that; me and the CEO were partying, oh I guess partying is the wrong word, because we were just having a glass of champagne by ourselves, but into that, there was one other human being in that bar, and it was Ryan Cabrera who is now one of my client. So, it’s actually really funny, full circleish kind of thing; we didn’t know each other then.
Dave Kruse: It’s all that positive energy that were given off after…
Nick Lippman: Yeah, and it happens, you know, I was in New York, it was tough and we were going back and forth and negotiating, and that was my first like major deal and again it literally came out of pushing for a young client of mine, I guess not trying to pretend that the client was something that he wasn’t, so I wasn’t kind of calling the big dogs that George Michael worked with, trying to sell Hodges as the next, you know coming of, whatever rock band, I was just trying t create a niche for who he was by finding smaller companies that wanted to break into the industry, that wanted to use Hodges who is extremely good looking, a really talented guy as sort of their break into the industry as well, and then that just happened and turned into a much bigger play for all of us.
Dave Kruse: That’s smart, so how do you get in touch with these companies, is it just a lot of hustle or how…?
Nick Lippman: I mean, I’m a firm believer in networking. It was something that my father taught me at a young age, so for me, I literally would goal talk people and say, hey, I work for this company, I’ve leveraged, sort of the names on the roster , to go take meetings, and I was pretty confident in myself in my ability to talk to people, so I really would just kind of parlay these meetings into friendships, I really made an effort to become very friendly with these people, even if we didn’t do business together, because you never know what’s going to happen down the line, but that’s kind of really how I got mine started, and I felt that, you know, I have a pretty extensive network even to this day, a lot of these guys who I met at those days were assistants or just getting started at their job who are now the presidents or the head of music or the head of this, you know, I sat at the Grammys this year, I sat across a buddy of mine who is one of the most important people in music at one of the biggest digital screening providers, and he was telling stories about, you know, partying that he and I used to do when we were 23 years old.
Dave Kruse: Interesting. Yeah it’s amazing how these relationships, you know, play out over a career.
Nick Lippman: Well, it’s all, you know, it really has to do with one being honest.
Dave Kruse: Yeah.
Nick Lippman: You know, I never screwed anyone over, and also you know, I did have 7,000 artists that I pitched, you know, I was taught that not everybody is special and you got to find that one or those two that you’re willing to die for because the passion in the way in which you fight for your artists or believe in your artist is what’s going to come to you through conversation.
Dave Kruse: Interesting. That makes sense, and so I was curious, I’ve read some place how you helped to re-introduce Ryan Cabrera, you know, to the world.
Nick Lippman: Yeah.
Dave Kruse: So how does that work. Can you describe like what goes in the plan and execution in order to make that happen.
Nick Lippman: Yeah! well I mean, what had happened for me was first sitting with Ryan and us really seeing if we gel together as people, you know, it’s important for me that I love the people I work with, we are in business relationships together and you know management is really a front-line war, and if I’m going to go and war with someone next to me, we’ve got to really like each other. There are other managers that do it for money and I respect them, but that’s not how I was taught, you know, I’m a family business and we work very close, we don’t have a big turnaround company; Matchbox, Rob, George, these are all have been with us for a long time, so when it came to Ryan, it kind of came to, I did a very deep dive on what existed out there, found a way that I thought I could provide a value, then sat with him and explained how I do things and on what I wanted to do and made sure that we were on the same kind of wavelength and we hit the ground running and it was a lot of hard work, it was a lot more sort of resistance.
Dave Kruse: Oh yeah, how did you hit the ground running?
Nick Lippman: I guess, I started with meeting all the people that were a part of his world at the time, whoever his current lawyer was, his current this, whatever project he had going on, just to get an idea of who he was surrounding himself with. Ultimately, we got rid of every single one of those people. I think there was a lot of people that were around Ryan’s life that weren’t really looking out for his best interest and I think that was causing sort of a problem, it was also sitting with him and kind of explaining how I do things and what I expect out of him, you know, in exchange for what he’d expect out of me, and I think that was really important and then it was really leveraging my hard work and my relationships to go and reintroduce Ryan to those people, but doing it under the guys that I’m there with him, so if people were worried that Ryan for whatever happened, I would then come in and say, well no, because this is Ryan with me, you know how I work, so let’s try this and we all of a sudden starting turning that into a real business and he was having a problem touring, he was a problem with dates and just kind of making everything happen, I came in, met with those same people, you know, it was like, let’s put all this on me and not on him, we changed it around and we did pretty incredible stuff on the road two years leading up his record deal, and I think that’s how it all started, once the record deal came out; and people watching what I was able to do with his business in 18 months that he wasn’t able to do 3 years prior, more than 3 years prior.
Dave Kruse: Interesting, okay, and who pays for the tour upfront and well of course the record label, but who…
Nick Lippman: I mean there are some expenses that I took on, I would say they were kind of minimal because I leveraged a lot of my relationships, but really, it’s all interesting negotiations on how you do it, some of the stuff were spec, some of the stuff was…, you know, money we would take from a show, so if he was getting X amount of dollars to do a show, I would show him how we need to take that money and may need to re-put it back into his career and not to his pocket. So, we reinvested a lot of the money we were making initially to get things going, to get some of these songs done and then I was able to negotiate an interesting advance to our record deal, which I think is a new way to do it, which was a monthly sort of allowance that Ryan could live off of, so that we didn’t misuse any of the funds given as the advance, so that he could still live but simultaneously make the record we wanted to make.
Dave Kruse: Interesting, sounds like, at least with Ryan and part of the other artists, you almost approach them like they are your own start up.
Nick Lippman: Yeah, I mean they are all brands, every artist is a brand, you know, and it’s funny that you say that because as I don’t do really working with up and coming bands anymore, I kind of replace with my incubator and these startups because they are the same, and it is a lot of leg work, it’s a lot of hard work, it’s a lot of belief, you know, just to get people to see what you see, but it’s very rewarding not just from a financial standpoint, but you know, these are human beings that your helping build careers and you know, taking frontline together and I’ve enjoyed a lot of that, but yeah it is a lot of work to get people to see what you see.
Dave Kruse: And that’s a good saying going a little more into that, I’ve got a couple more music questions; but into the tech world, you know, you kind of talked about it right there a little bit, but how has your music career helped you move into the tech industry and do you think that in certain aspects, did you have advantage over, you know, people who have always been in the tech industry.
Nick Lippman: Well, I mean, what I did was leverage the two things that I was best at, to sort of pivot in musical technology and that was leveraging all my relationships, which I worked, you know, very hard to cultivate, and my ability to work with startups and young bands, and treating these young tech startups like I would a brand new band and approaching it with the same kind of hard work, due diligence, mentality etc., that I did with, you know, with these bands and these kids that I believed in and I think that’s what really helps, because I’ve been through the up’s and down’s and I have been able to persevere with these young bands and seeing these kind of small opportunities and turn them into big opportunities and I think that helped me a lot especially with the technology businesses that I use, but also I never worked with the technology company I didn’t believe in and did use my own client.
Dave Kruse: Interesting, and so are you largely focused on tech now, at least for nearly a year.
Nick Lippman: I’m largely focused on both.
Dave Kruse: Okay.
Nick Lippman: You know, I’m largely focused on the George Michael’s record coming out, I have Rob Thomas’s record coming out, Matchbox, you know when it comes back together, certainly Ryan and my new project Beyond The Sky, we have an incredible group of young artists coming up, we have a young girl named Mattie Wolf, whom I’ve super invested in, who I think is just incredible. We’ve gotten a great band called Radical Something, which everyone is going to hear a lot of things about; I’ve got a lot of deals for them, this year in this summer. We’ve got a kid named Trev Lukather whose father was also part of this business, who has just finished making his debut with me. For me, there’s still that business that I’m so super stoked and I really try to play them into the technology ventures that I take on and see if there are ways that I can help, you know, break both at the same time, but I think I’m equally as focused on both, but really I’m also focused on expansion of management in general and creating the bigger opportunities for not just me but other likeminded mangers.
Dave Kruse: Interesting, that makes sense, and going back to music just real quick. Who’s all part of a musician’s team, you know, you mentioned Ryan having a whole team, who’s…
Nick Lippman: I mean, from my company standpoint, it’s my father and I are the partners in the business and then I have a couple of other managers, I have some scouts, I have a guy at Atlanta, I have a guy in the Bay Area, I have a guy in Miami who just kind of basically are looking for talent, and co-manager, or finding different ways to do it. I have a branding guy that we work with, and then with him each of these, let’s call them brand artists, there’s teams, there’s tour managers, there are social medial people that I have big alliances with. So it’s a lot of sort of outsourcing, but it’s outsourcing all within companies that my business has a long-standing relationship and/or strategic alliances with, that help all of our clients.
Dave Kruse: Interesting.
Nick Lippman: So that my clients get the best of it all, and from a financial side we are all saving money, leveraging sort of the network and then I help, and bring all these other companies to clients outside of our management company, you know, in exchange for getting my clients better rates.
Dave Kruse: Gotcha, okay, interesting. So you are across to tech and music industry. Do you think there is anything that the music industry could learn from the tech industry or vice versa that you see?.
Nick Lippman: I think that the thing I noticed the most is that young people in tech are very excited and open to meet everybody and anybody, and I think people in music, they have a little bit more of an ego and a little bit more stand-offish as to, you know, taking meetings and doing this, and they are looking at their time versus who they’re going to meet, not knowing, you’d never know what is going to be the next Uber or what’s going to be the next Waze and I was always taught to meet everybody, but it’s interesting to me that when I approach some of these managers or these people in the music industry about some of these ventures, they are like ah! you know, send it to this guy or I’m busy or I’m that…, but if I bring a new band that you may have never heard of up to the biggest band, you’d say you want to meet everybody, and they are serious, and I think that’s sort of what the music industry was years ago when there wasn’t all these metrics and ways in which people talk that they could figure out who’s the next big star is going to be, and I think because it’s such a wild wild west in technology these people have a lot more clients and meet a lot of people and one of the things that I have learned is a lot of the big deals that I’ve done in this business have never come out of that meeting that you expected it too. It’s not like I met with Ryan Hoyer and I got Ryan. He actually came through a publisher that I had met through a baby band that I was working with, that didn’t amount to anything, but I was able to keep that relationship with the publisher and then out of nowhere, a couple months later he called me and brought Ryan to my attention, and that wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t take all these meetings, you know what I mean, so I’ve always been a big believer in that and so they answer your question, I think that’s what I’ve learned, is that a lot of these young companies, even in the company that I was sitting with today, this guy was, I can’t meet everybody, I want to meet this guy, oh this is great, it’s a great idea, it’s great, you know, whereas some of the managers I sit with are like, ah, you know I’m busy today, you know, maybe you can schedule it three weeks down the line and then of course with all due the respect, I’ll get a call from them, like oh my God, is that that the company ___25:56___, like you know, hey man! we’ve already moved on, but I appreciate it, you know.
Dave Kruse: Interesting, and so with your current roster of artists, do you leverage your tech, I don’t know if you want to call him tech clients, but your tech portfolio, to use their technologies at all or what type of ideas do you use ?
Nick Lippman: I use all of them.
Dave Kruse: You use all of them, yeah.
Nick Lippman: I usually start, when I find companies that we’re going to go, you know, that I’m going to bring inside the incubator , they all stem out of companies that I find to help market my client, and if they’ve done a good job or I think the technology is great, then I will wait till it’s done; if it was my client, I will go and sit with their company and say hey!, you know, that was really good, here’s what I could do for us take it to the next level, let’s look at your portfolio, and see how much money to put for you to get to and then let’s do it from there, but it always stems from my clients because I don’t want to sell anything or be a part of anything that I wouldn’t use or believe in myself.
Dave Kruse: That makes sense and okay, so let’s keep talking about tech here. So was it back in, when did you do the USB wrist band, so…
Nick Lippman: Yeah, that was like 10 years ago.
Dave Kruse: Okay.
Nick Lippman: That was the first venture. That was that same deal I told you about that which started out with Hodges and turned into a Matchbox deal, that’s where our USB came out of.
Dave Kruse: Interesting, okay, and do you want to just tell the audience quick about that deal…
Nick Lippman: Yeah, I mean basically, it’s not a company who was a tech business, essentially first, and we were trying to get into merchandize, fan clubs and VIP, and they had come up with this very early rendition of what was a rubber wrist band connected via a USB port and basically it became a wrist band and then you could plug that in and the software allowed, you know, taps into a cloud server which pulled the music from the mixing board of the live show, and they were sort of saying that was kind of a concept, was their special thought and when I had met this company, I had said, whose ever used this before, and they said, well no one, we tried it with Willie Nelson, because he’s the only artist in our little back door in Austin and I said don’t show anybody this, let’s sit down, let’s look over the technology and we can turn this into something bigger, and we sat there and I looked at all and I looked at the server, I looked at the technology, and I realized that our band Matchbox Twenty was one of those few bands that would go right from the mixing board to the public and we kind of put it together and when I presented it to the band, they all freaked out and loved it, and all of a sudden we were making another business, you know, another model of our business, I was pulling in 6-figures, and I was like Wow! there is really something here, and we would go to be a bunch of other managers, Michael, my father, and myself and we would pitch in and people just weren’t, you know; when you’re an early adapter of anything, especially in our business, in the record business, people aren’t very inclined to jump on board, they are always worried about the negatives and not the positives, and we came from the other direction and I guess what I learned a lot from doing all the USB stuff was that if I believe in it enough, I’m just going to keep pushing it through my clients and keeping pushing it and then eventually I’ll get someone to pay attention and whatever it was, 8 or 9 years later, I finally got Bruce Springsteen to do it and it turned into be a nice lucrative thing for us but it was so many no’s to get to a yes, but it was the perseverance because, I believed so heavily in the technology, I just thought it was awesome, and I’m still to this date perplexed, why more artists don’t do it, I mean, it is confusing to me because, it works in all which is basically the phrase of, you know, having it to go from the mixing board to the thing, exists, it’s called YouTube. Any artist who is out there, that’s like worried about that is slightly ignorant to modern day technology and how fans and people are watching, sharing, and partaking in musical experience, you know.
Dave Kruse: Yeah.
Nick Lippman: And I remember, I’m not going to throw any artist under the bus, but I remember having a conversation a manager, and I was pitching them on some technology and the manger said to me, well you know what, my client does not do cover songs, and I said to the manger, well you are an idiot, because I’m on YouTube right now and I see about 27 covers songs that your artist has done.
Dave Kruse: Are you serious…?
Nick Lippman: … So you might want to do a little bit more homework before you say ridiculous blanket statements like that, and I mean, obviously that was the end of our relationship with that guy, but it was foolish, because there is such a diverse, you know, network of human beings who are taking content that they are seeing and uploading it for the world to experience, that, if you’re not going to sit there and monetize it, you’re just going to sit there and complain about how other people are monetizing it and how fucked up it is for our business, you know what I mean.
Dave Kruse: Yeah.
Nick Lippman: Well here’s an opportunity to monetize it and to take advantage of it and to stand behind it and people are like, ah no, I don’t want to blah.., blah.., for whatever reason. Meanwhile, their fans have watched, you know, toilet lover 72 uploaded her 22 minute segment of your live show and it has 127,000 views, and you do not monetize that all, and you get nothing out of that, and meanwhile there is a 127,000 opportunities for you to have made some money and delivering a better file for these people who are living it that way anyway, you know what I mean.
Dave Kruse: Oh yeah, that’s a great idea. I’ve not heard of it of course when I was reading about you, but I think, oh that’s interesting, so yeah, it still makes sense, but sometimes it’s hard to change people’s mind, that for sure.
Nick Lippman: Oh yeah, especially in a business where people are used to making money in a traditional way and don’t want to screw up, you know, the baseline income with taking risks, which in fact may or may not backfire and you know, like I see it, without risk there is no reward.
Dave Kruse: No, no.
Nick Lippman: So it’s all different ways in which you approach life and what you’re doing but my job as an artist manager, my job when I first joined with my father was to go find new and innovative ways for us to market and, you know, take our clients to the future so that we can continue to monetize, and we’ve done a pretty incredible job with Rob, Matchbox, and George of doing that, and it’s been something that I’ve been really proud of, but it’s also been something that has opened a lot of doors and it all came from the risk, and by the way not everything is perfect, but you know, you take the good with the bad, but it all maximizes itself and taken itself much further in the positive than it ever has in the negative.
Dave Kruse: Interesting, and so what finally prompted you to start Ava Jade, because it sounds like you’ve been thinking about technology, marking technology for many years, what…
Nick Lippman: I mean, Ava Jade was basically the formalization of what I was doing. I had, had kind of deals with different technology companies, some to Lippman entertainment some to Nick Lippman personally, but I had never had a housing around them, and the deeper that I got in the Silicon Valley world, the deeper my connections came with VC’s and all these other stuff, I started to learn about how to leverage everything I was building for the greater good of the technology side of it, and all of a sudden not only was I, you know, really close with the heads of record companies, but I was now really close with the heads of Spotify and the heads of Uber, and the heads of these companies and these guys were all teaching me sort of the ways that I can leverage and maximize all the hard work that I was doing and one of them was formalizing all the different entities that I had my hand in, and that’s really where Ava Jade came from, it’s in homage to my two daughters who are my entire life and it was sort of my way of saying, look, I know I’m in technology, people in my business know me as a manager, who is deep in technology, but I never had a definitive entity that I could then utilize to help grow both my management business and my technology business but offer them to help leverage the relationships that I was building up in Silicon Valley.
Dave Kruse: Yeah, so it makes California, LA in particular… I mean, the tech industry is really exploding our way of course, and you have Hollywood, you have the music business, so you’re right at the heart of things.
Nick Lippman: You know, it’s the buzz right ? ah! technology, technology, we’ve got to be into that but it’s still really the wild west. I mean all of this stuff is the wild west between how to market and break new artists and what’s working and what’s not. In the management side and the same with the technology side, it’s really still the relationship business.
Dave Kruse: Definitely, and can you share one or two of your portfolio companies or your clients in Ava Jade.
Nick Lippman: Yes, Co-Promote, formally Headliner.fm started by one of the smartest and greatest guys I’ve met, a guy named Mike More and he had an incredible product and just needed some help, breaking down a couple of doors, those doors happened to be for me, very easy doors to open. We sat with each other, we became very good friends, Mike and his children and his wife come and spend time with my wife and my children, and I just thought it was a genius way for artists to help market their, whatever it was they were doing, and when I utilized it for Rob Thomas, the results that we got through the campaign I had done with Headliner was 1000 times, literally 1000 times greater than the way in which the record company launched the same day.
Dave Kruse: Oh really, okay.
Nick Lippman: Which was a single, it was a promotion around the single utilizing band engagement and through their platforms, I think we had like 596 people sign up to do it, and through Co-Promote I had over 6000.
Dave Kruse: Wow, that’s quite interesting.
Nick Lippman: And it just showed me the kind of reach and how they were able to utilize data to do a much more integrated, targeted, you know, way to send out what it was that we were trying to do and that network that they had was a lot smarter and a lot more engaged network based on data, and all of a sudden, I was like, Oh! Jesus Christ, if this works for us, this should work for everybody, so there’s one of them that I loved. Another one is Ampsy, it was formally Fliptu, the CEO of that company is one of the smartest guys I ever met, his name is Jeremy Gocke, he is awesome, also a very close part of my inner circle, and we were looking for with both George and with Matchbox, which are more of the legacy-based artists. When we were kind of coming up in the last couple of years, we were competing against these kids; Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber’s that were 19, 20 years old who were utilizing source of media and creating content like people pulling out a file, which was very different than how legacy artists have done it, where you had ten images, that’s all you use for a campaign, and we were trying to find ways in which we would continuously give fans content, but real content because these artists weren’t going to do it, you know, the guys in Matchbox plus their heart wasn’t going to be doing these kind of Instagram, Facebook things 24/7 like teenagers do, just not realistic. So what Fliptu, which is now Ampsy did; there was a way to sort of vicariously allow people to go through events utilizing hash tags and geo-fencing, we would get, …God!, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of images that were continuous, every night on the show from fans to fans and all of a sudden, the website became a destination for fans to go get content, and that’s not the problem for both my fans and for my artists who then now didn’t have the onus on them to do things that wasn’t natural to them and thus wouldn’t come across natural to the audience, you know what I mean.
Dave Kruse: Interesting, that’s a good idea, and so with co-promote, how did they distribute it. How did they get people to sign up? do they…
Nick Lippman: They have a huge network now, it’s almost 10 years old.
Dave Kruse: Okay.
Nick Lippman: But it was basically a way, I think it started originally as ways for young artists to help each other by sharing networks, so if you were a band and you had 200 fans on Facebook and there was three other like-minded bands like yours, so if Nick Lippman had a band and Dave had a band and my band had 300 fans and your band had 200 fans and if we have similar music, I would reach out to you through the headliner and say hey man, you know, my music is the same as yours, would you do me a favor, and you know, I’ll share your music with my base if you’ll share my music with your base, and then all of a sudden, you’d start gaining more and more fans, and that network got bigger and then that artist would say, hey have you tried this service, I just got 200 new fans, through doing it and then it grew and grew, and grew.
Dave Kruse: That’s smart. So I think we are almost out of time here unfortunately. One of my last questions was, I don’t know if you have an answer in that, but, you know what technologies, do you wish are out there for the music industry? Is there anything, you’re like oh, somebody should create this and may be if you had this…
Nick Lippman: Well, I think a found a couple of those. One of them is a company called Gigmor and it is essentially LinkedIn for musicians, and it was really one of the things that I was like I don’t get it, you know, I have all these kids and they need to put a band together, but there is no network that I can tap into and find 25 guitar players in LA or 200 drummers or one’s that are needed to be 19 to 22, it just didn’t exist. There was a guy that existed, and he was kind of the go-to for everybody. He was one man, he did not have a technology platform behind him, so it’s very difficult to scale that, and also one guy can’t be at a hundred places at a hundred times and so that’s what made me jump into Gigmor in the first place when I found it, it was like wow!, this is something that we all need, not only just a fan of music or kids of all ages whether you want to start a band or you’re a 39-year-old lawyer who enjoys playing the guitar, but does not have outlet to play the guitar because, you know, you’re not in a band. Well, here’s a way that you can find a drummer, and a singer, and base player, and you can go gig together, and all of the other sites that were similar to this were all kind of based around being discovered, you know what I mean, like ah!, you’re going to be the next this or you check out my next song, and so that all of a sudden diluted all these platforms because then you had to listen to people’s shitty music and everyone was trying to be a rock star and the essential, just culmination of like-minded people getting together to jam, got lost in this concept that I’m going to be rock star and you know, I think what I love most about Gigmor is it solves all of those problems. If you are a kid rock and your drummer is sick and you got a show in Oklahoma City, you know, you can go on here and find a professional musician, you don’t’ have to cancel your show, you can have a drummer come in and play that gig because we have a gig score that’s set up, or if your Bill Smith who is from Arkansas who moved to LA and is a general contractor and family aren’t here, but you’re avid drummer, and all you want to do is play music, your only other option is going ___42:29___ sketchy, you’d never know, you can beat people or you can get killed, it just wasn’t his home for musicians to enjoy themselves and the more that I be around people, I’m one of the few people in the business that is not like a musician, but everyone else seems to be, they are like, oh yeah man, I’m a drummer, oh yeah I’m a guitar player, I’m a this, and I’m like where do you play; they are like oh!, in my bedroom. I’m like why, they are like, well I mean it’s not like we are going to go play the rock fest, or we’re going to play at this club, and I’m like, you know ah!, you know, scratching my head like, oh that’s interesting, so to your point that’s really what I’m looking for right now is technology companies that solve problems that I see, my colleagues or myself having.
Dave Kruse: Interesting.
Nick Lippman: Sam Flax is another new company that my incubator has taken on, and one of the things that I noticed about bands including my own young developing artists is that they would want to go play a venue, let’s say the Hotel Café which is a famous venue out here for singer song writers, right?, but you got to call the Hotel Café and you gotta pitch your band and then they are going to ask you to get X amount of people in the room in order for you to play that venue. Well, if you got an incredible new band from Oklahoma, that doesn’t have a fan base in LA you’re not going to get 25 people there, or if you do because the 25 are my friends; those 25 friends aren’t going to come to the next show a month later, you know what I mean.
Dave Kruse: Right.
Nick Lippman: So we try to…. and on the other side the artist has to pay their band members and pay this, and all of a sudden they shelling out $500 to put a band to go play a show that 3 people go to, and it does not work for anybody. The venue is pissed off because I didn’t deliver the 25 people and they lost money, the bands, you know, the artist is pissed off because here they are spending their hard earned money to play in front of nobody and Sam Flax was basically a solution where artist need to pre-sell the X amount of tickets, the threshold for the venue, there is venues of all sizes, from as little as 10 tickets up to 10,000 tickets, and then the artist knows, okay great, I have already pre-sold these tickets, I’m going to have an audience and the Venue know it’s great, that these people already pre-sold which means these people are already coming here, I don’t have to worry about that overhead, or I don’t have to worry about that minimum threshold because it’s already been done for me before I put myself in that situation.
Dave Kruse: Gotcha, and yeah, we can have another whole interview just on all of those companies, so those were some of the smart ideas and …
Nick Lippman: And such is your answer that is what…
Dave Kruse: Yeah.
Nick Lippman: … Ava Jade does now. We are looking to expanding and Ava Jade is going to be joining another big network, it’s South by South West is coming up, there are lots of announcements that I have going on both from an artist management side and from a technology side that we are trying to do there, but we are really looking for solutions to better service our industry.
Dave Kruse: That makes sense.
Nick Lippman: And I think that’s the key of technology and what I don’t want is the next…, I don’t care of being the next this; you know what I’m saying.
Dave Kruse: Yeah.
Nick Lippman: …. is what next social network, the next Twitter, I don’t want to be involved in any of the next. What I want to be involved in is how do I solve problems that you have now. You being an artist, a manager, a promoter, merchandiser, you know, whatever is out there, there is a lot of problems in our business that technology could solve, but people are too busy chasing the money to try to create the next social network, but do we really need the next social network. What’s wrong with the social networks we have now? there is nothing really wrong with it, you know, it’s just oh! you can monetize on this one and you can monetize on that one, and then you know, monetize is a big buzz word and we make jokes within my tech group of people, the people into my business, my music, you know, on the management side who don’t know shit about technology, but they read quick notes and they really give it buzz word.
Dave Kruse: Good point. Yeah and if music tech companies come to you, and you provide probably some money, it sounds like, but then also of course you provide your entire network and I’m guessing you mention with the first company, they just needed some doors open, and so…
Nick Lippman: Yeah, I mean, what I try to provide is a partnership, like a real partnership, like any other partnerships that we do, you know, it’s sitting down and looking what their needs are. Of course 99.5% of these young start-ups need money, but also at the same time we bring in infrastructure so that you can understand how to spend that money correctly. What do you need that money for? What are you trying to achieve? Who do you need to get in front of? you know, everybody wants to get in front of, I don’t know, let’s make up a name, Michael Rapeno, right, he’s a super big guy, well some of them aren’t ready to go there and instead of wasting their time trying to break down doors, you get that person, they are not ready for that person at all and all it’s going to do is cause a problem, so what we try to do all encompassing solutions, I guess, the best tag line is we try to not only find the money, but then protect the investment of the people who put the money in by helping these companies grow up correctly. So it’s a full service incubator.
Dave Kruse: Yeah, that’s impressive. Well wish we had more time today, but we should probably wrap it up, and this has been quite great. I appreciate Nicky coming on this show and talk about tech and music, it’s quite fascinating and you obviously have a good understanding of both, so you’re a good person.
Nick Lippman: It was great, thanks for having me. I love this, you know. I’m a big fan of our business and I’m a big fan of trying to help everybody, every manager, every artist, every tech company, and everybody who works hard or has a good idea, I want my business to be one that helps all businesses and you know, being in the hub of that is also quite lucrative so it works out well.
Dave Kruse: Yeah exactly, yeah, and I can just tell you, you love it and you have a certain good energy coming of here, so that’s…
Nick Lippman: How sweet, well I try.
Dave Kruse: Alright, well thanks everyone for listening and thanks Nick again for coming on this show, we appreciate it.
Nick Lippman: Absolutely.
Dave Kruse: Alright, bye everyone.
Nick Lippman: Alright man.