2019 Summer Tours: Stones Hootie Rod

2019 Summer Tours

Is there such a thing as too much fun? As an artist manager and consultant sometimes it can be.


The summer of 2019 was one for the books. From May to September, we spent the summer flying back-and-forth between two major tours. The Rolling Stones and Hootie and The Blowfish. And then capped it all off with Rod Stewart in Vegas.

The Rolling Stones

 

The Stones tour kicked off in Chicago. There was lots of excitement, anticipation and a bit of anxiety due to Mick's health scare. The original tour dates were postponed for him to have surgery and recover.


The band came out swinging and Mick crushed it. Both shows were amazing and really set the tone for the rest of the tour. 


It was great to catch up with my Stones family again. Not just the band and staff, but also the amazing fans that follow the band all over the world. 


And I got a few opportunities to have some Chicago pizza, as our hotel was across the street from Giordano's. I also had a very unique opportunity to get a private tour of the Vienna Beef factory with some of the band's entourage. 

On The Beach

 

With the Stones it usually involves water. Hanging at the pool or at the ocean with the “World’s Greatest Rock n’ Roll Band” is always a blast.


Jacksonville and Miami were the coastal stops this tour. Loads of fun in Jacksonville hanging out on the beach. Miami, however, turned into one big Hurricane Dorian watch. The show was moved up a day early so the band could get out before the storm.

 

 

Houston and New York were fun Stones cities too. I was in New York for 10 days with the Stones. I got to sneak in a sold-out Barbara Streisand show at Madison Square Garden, between Stones shows. 

Hootie

 

Three days after the Stones left New York, the Hootie guys arrived in the city. They had two sold out shows at Madison Square as well. Great seeing the band play this legendary venue. Also went to Nashville and caught up with some of my old industry friends, and saw Raleigh and Charlotte in my neck of the woods.

Look Who's Here!

 

And with both bands, you never know who you will run into backstage. Here are a few shots (in order) with Bruce Willis, Steve Jordan, Chris Martin (Coldplay), Dakota Johnson, Cindy Crawford, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kevin Rahm (Madam Secretary, Mad Men), Matt Houston (The Advice/producer), Jim Sonefeld (Hootie).

Grand Finale...Rod

 

To cap off things off our Red39 2019 Summer Tour, I spent a couple days in Las Vegas to catch up with Rod Stewart. I first met Rod back in 1986. That meeting eventually led to his manager giving me a shot at working in management. Great to catch up with Rod!

What a crazy summer 2019 was. And yes, you can have too much fun. But I loved every minute of it.

For A Good Cause: Guns n’ Roses Duff Style

January 2019

2019 started off with a fantastic benefit concert in my hometown of Rock Hill, SC. 


Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses, Tommy DeCarlo of Boston, Parthenon Huxley of the Orchestra and Gary Green, from Hootie and the Blowfish, and a Rock Hill native himself. 


The show was a benefit to ROC, a local non profit that does a great job with helping homeless people in our city. We raised a lot of money for the organization and had a great night of music.

Back Out With The Stones

Germany & Prague

 

I just got in from an amazing trip with our friends in the Stones. I went out all by my lonesome to Stuttgart Germany and Prague in the Czech Republic to catch a few of the last shows of their 2017/2018 NoFilter Tour.


Lots of great meals and chats with Ronnie and his family and team, two great shows and a fantastic night watching England beating Colombia in the World Cup with Mick and Keith as well. 


No rest for the weary, though, as we are launching our new Management Consulting service today!

 

Hanging out in Ronnie's hotel suite talking music, soccer and old friends.

5 Tips On Facebook’s New Algorithm

 

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg made a big announcement in January.


“We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That’s why we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness.


But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.  It’s easy to understand how we got here.”

___


Yep. Facebook is changing it’s algorithm again. And this time it’s not good for bands and musicians. Starting very soon, the Newsfeed will have more post from your friends and less from band or business Pages. We believe, in part, this is a way to make more room for Facebook Ads in the Newsfeed.


What this means is that if you have a Facebook Fan or Band Page, your post are going to be further reduced in the Newsfeed... unless you pay them. Facebook Ads are cheap and you can choose who sees them. So that’s not all bad news.


But there are some organic practices you can use maximize your exposure. Here are some tips.

5 Tips To SUCCESS On  Facebook

 

1- Most people view Facebook on their phone. So make sure your content looks good on your mobile device.


This includes your Page Cover Photo or Banner. This is a HUGE part of your Page. It’s your Billboard. When you put up new a new banner, make sure you can read all the text on it when viewing on a mobile device.


2- Make sure your Fans are engaging with your post. Comments are what you need the most, then Shares then Likes.

If people are not commenting on your post, Facebook will stop showing them to your Fans. A few “Likes” are not going to help much.


So make sure your post are getting comments, shares and likes. But especially COMMENTS. Try to engage your Fans by asking them to comment. Ask questions, ask for feedback. You have to get engagement or your post simply won’t be seen.


3-Video content is King. It’s has the heaviest weight of any Facebook Post now, so it will show up more than a post with text and a photo.


And Facebook Live has the heaviest weight of any post. Use it to interview band members, play acoustic sets, show behind the scenes at shows, etc.


4-Don't be afraid to use Facebook Ads. You can run $3 campaigns to get the feel of it. Just make sure you have a plan.


Sometimes it’s good just to get video views. To build your BRAND. You can get video views for 1-3 cents a view. To be clear, this doesn’t mean posting YouTube links. Facebook competes with YT and will reduce your reach when you post their link. Download your videos directly to your Facebook Page.


Also you need to use ads to build your mailing list. So you need a Landing Page with an email form and a lead magnet to get people to give you their email address.


The days of offering a free download are over. Get creative and give people a little more value in exchange for their email address. Email list are your distribution channel to sell music and merch and your promotion channel to promote your shows. Build your list!


5- Use your personal Page. You can have up to 5,000 Friends on your personal Page. If you are serious about your music, use your Personal Page in tandem with your Band Page.


Focus on engagement and not always on your music. This will put more of your post in the Newsfeed. Remember, personal Pages are getting a boost by Facebook. Band Pages are being reduced.

But work your music in your personal post. And make sure your A out section has links to your Band Page. You can also use your Personal Page to use a Cover Photo to promote your Band Page.

Your Privacy Is Gone? Net Neutrality.

 

“Your privacy is gone...”


Net Neutrality is the basic principle that prohibits internet service providers (ISP's) like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from speeding up, slowing down or blocking any content, applications or websites you want to use. It's the way things have always been. It's the Internet you know and use now.


Check this Burger King parody out to get a feel for how some think Net Neutrality could impact everyone. Funny, but scary.  "Whopper Neutrally"


Two years ago was when Net Neutrality last came up. And the FCC ruled to keep it. But that was then. This is now.


Last month, a former Verizon lawyer and brand new Trump appointed FCC Chair,  Ajit Pai, repealed Net Neutrality.


Pai ignored the widespread outcry against his plan from millions of people, lawmakers, companies and public-interest groups and repealed it anyway. 


Many people who have followed this issue say that now the ISP’s, have more freedom on what they can charge and also how fast your internet connection speed is. They also have the power to block your content if they don't agree with it. 


The new FCC administration put the power of the internet into the hands of large corporations. like AT&T, Charter Communications,  Comcast, Verizon. Content providers like Hulu and Netflix, Google, Facebook, etc could be effected as well.


If you take their word, they won’t tilt the scales of the internet to  those with money. But ...  Netflix just had a price increase this month. Lovely.


When I submit a new site to Google, I’d like to think I have just as good a chance at ranking near the top of the Google search engine as the big companies do. 


And I have for over 20 years, starting with AltaVista's search engine in 1995, then on to Yahoo and Google. And that’s basically how I’ve made a living my entire adult life. The little guy being able to compete evenly with the big companies.


Most of the artists I have worked with over the years, have come to me though my internet marketing. I have also marketed and sold millions of dollars of products and real estate, on the side, using internet marketing.


That could likely change with the repeal of Net Neutrality. I guess we shall see. 


To be clear, this may not all be doom and gloom. Maybe things will stay the same? There are arguments on both sides. It almost seems like it's become politicized.


But one thing is certain...


For people like me who have been using and working to perfect internet marketing for over 20 years, we are licking our chops. 


Because NOW, with the repeal of Net Neutrality, your privacy is gone and it’s for sale. Because ISP’s track every website page you visit.


And now they can legally SELL it.


Companies are already lining up to buy YOUR data from ISP's to resell it to marketers like me. I'm already getting offers. some are calling it the biggest internet marketing movement since the .com gold rush. For ISP's, selling your private browsing data is projected to be a BILLION dollar market this year.


For musicians, if you want build your mailing list, you will be able to buy mailing list that contain names, phone numbers, addresses, email addresses, etc, from people who have visited your target audience pages.


If your music is similar to Bruno Mars or Justin Timberlake, you will be able to buy mailing list of people that have bought merchandise from them online, or bought their records.


It also means that if anyone in your house is going on sites, like say... porn or Ashley Madison, you and your spouse may start getting emails from them. Both of you. 


It's also a Hacker's dream.


Few are talking about the new Data Mining law changes. Your privacy is now for sale. 

And here is an interesting video interview on USA Today's website.

USA Today On New Neutrality

Europe With The Rolling Stones 2017

 

In October, I was fortunate enough to be an invited guest of Ronnie Wood on The Rolling Stones 2017 NoFilter Tour of Europe. My friend and colleague, Stroker Johnston, and I joined the band for the last 3 weeks of the tour with shows in Holland and France.


It was an amazing experience to see Europe through the eyes of the "world's Greatest Rock n Roll Band". I had never been to Holland or France and they were both very different  in terms of culture and atmosphere.

Amsterdam, Holland

 

We started in Amsterdam, Holland and spent a week at the band's lovely Waldorf Astoria Hotel. It was surrounded by beautiful canals and buildings that were hundreds on years old. Apart from an amazing show by the band in Arnhem (an hour and a half away), one of the highlights for me was a private boat tour of the city via canals.

Room With A View
Boat Tour
Skyline
From The Water

Arnhem, Holland

 

The first show of our visit was in Arnhem, Holland. This is about an hour and a half drive my the band hotel in Amsterdam. There were very few guest here, apart from a few kids of the band, so no band guest bus was available for this show. Ronnie got us our own car so we could travel in comfort and be part of the motorcade back.

With Ronnie Wood in Arnhem, Holland

Private Car

Knee Elevation In Style

Paris, France

 

Next stop was a 10 day stay at the famous George V Four Seasons Hotel in Paris. Had a fantastic room with special free band upgrade (always love FREE upgrades:) The band had 3 shows in Paris at the brand new U Arena. 


Lots of family and friends flew in for the tour finale in Paris. We were treated to the largest Guest Bus I've seen the band use. And while the drive to the U Arena in Paris was only about 20 minutes, we saw a lot of the city, including the Arc de Triomphe.

With Keith Richards In Paris - Show 2

It was great seeing all the Stone's family in one place. And it's a big family. It was such an honor to be there as a guest among all the band's children and other close friends. 


I loved seeing the city, shopping on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees and visiting the Eiffel Tower.  

With Ronnie Wood at the Restaurant Le Cing In Paris

The shows were all amazing and so much fun. Each night was special. On the last night, we took Keith a little present. A photo someone sent me of Keith and Willie Nelson ... that Keith didn't have. He wanted it for his archives, so we had it printed and framed.


Hanging with "The World's Greatest Rock n Roll Band" is always fun, but so is hanging with their family of managers, assistants, security guards, kids, grand kids, friends and fans. They really are like one giant family, with so many of their kids growing up with each other on the road. And so many of their staff having worked with them for decades. 

With Keith Richards In Paris - Show 3

 

Facebook You Say? You Bet!

The Art of Facebook

 

Facebook is bigger than network TV. With over 2 BILLION users a month, virtually everyone is on there. If you are a musician, whether you like it or not, most likely your audience lives there.


And you probably already know that Facebook doesn't show all your post to everyone that has Liked your Page. They want you to pay for that. 


The good news is that Facebook also has the most cost effective, detailed targeting advertising platform on the planet! We use it as a record label substitute for our independent artist, like Jim Sonefeld of Hootie and the Blowfish.


And if you are a musician, you can use it to grow your fan base, and grow it in the geographical areas where you need it most. Facebook's "Detailed Targeting" Option lets you choose exactly who you want to see your ads.


If your music is similar to, let's say, Ed Sheeran, you can target fans of his that live in any city, state or country. And Facebook ads are cheap! We use them to build fans in new markets to book more shows. 


More to come on how to do this soon!

Guns N’ Roses Atlanta 2016

 

A few days ago, I had a chance to see Guns N Roses in Atlanta. I went with a great group of people from my hometown that are involved with helping those less fortunate. The Director of this organization is a friend named Bruce McKagan. Bruce is Duff McKagan's (bassist for GNR) big brother. I went along to help him navigate getting some of his supporters back to see his brother.


I met some of the GNR guys in the 90's when I lived in LA, but didn't really get to know Duff until the 2012 Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Awards when the band was inducted. It was great catching up again in Atlanta.

Atlanta, GA

 

I also had a chance to help video a promotional piece for Bruce's organization for a local TV station. Fun night. They still rock.

Hootie Homegrown 2014

Hootie's Homegrown 2014

 

Every year Hootie and the Blowfish do a non stop benefit weekend for their foundation that helps kids in SC. It's always a blast, trying to find the right mix of family, ministry and promotion.


This year, I took my youngest with me to work. He did a great job, was respectful to everyone and was a big help to me. Especially at the post concert autograph session.


A highlight each year is the Roundup event that helps underprivileged kids with school supplies, haircuts, shoes, dental and eye exams and so much more. And yes, that's me in the blue shirt slepping about around the one minute into the video.


Winter Jam 2013

Winter Jam 2013

 

Winter Jam is THE biggest Christian tour in the world and the biggest overall tour in the first quarter for a decade. It sells out EVERY 15,000-20,000 seat venue in it's path and actually has an outdoor overflow stage for the people that can't get in before it sells out. One of my artists, The Advice, had the chance to play this on Winter Jam’s 2013 tour. Great exposure for the band and a brilliant idea by InPop's Andrew Patton.


The Advice With Matthew West and Jim Sonefeld From Hootie and the Blowfish

My Youngest With TobyMac

It’s also a great event to take your family to, even if you are a manager.