Recording - May 2018 - 58

it's all political. So, is there hope? Can you still get
a song cut without having 13 co-writers?
Sydney: You can.
Continued from page 57
got a karaoke thing going on in there, and you
hear somebody that's got an incredible voice and a
great look. Can you take an artist with a great
voice and put them together with the right writing
team, with the right producer, and build a team
that can help that artist land a major label deal? Is
that still possible in today's music industry?
Sydney: Yeah, you absolutely can do that. I'm
doing that right now. I met an artist from
Delaware who I moved to L.A. I put her in the
studio with Heather Holly, who developed
Christina Aguilera, and a couple other really
strong people, and we've created a record that is
really, really good. But you do have to find
something special. So with this particular artist,
we built a record label built on cryptocurrency,
and it's the first time...
Explain what cryptocurrency is. I'm not sure everybody knows.
Sydney: It's a Ponzi scheme. [laughter] No,
cryptocurrency is basically a currency that is
traded online based on assets. So the way we
built the assets was with publishing catalogs
from some of the publishers who were involved
in the actual coin itself.
Which is like Bitcoin or Ethereum?
Sydney: Exactly. So the price of Bitcoin has
been raging. I got like 10,000 shares worth
$2.50. Now it's worth $25,000. It's one way of
building it up. And as a result of that, we are
now in talks with a major label, because it's the
very first cryptocurrency that was developed for
music in the music industry to develop artists.
So with that, getting that label together with the
cryptocurrency and speaking to a major label.
We are in talks, and hopeful we can close it
before the end of the month.
Do you think that part of the fascination or attraction is that there's a story there? It's a marketing
story because of the cryptocurrency?
Sydney: It's absolutely because of that!
So can the artist maintain and sustain a career if
the cryptocurrency story loses its shine, no pun
Sydney: Well, she's got really great songs
because of these great producers that we're
working with. And I think that that's always the
most important. You've gotta have great songs.
I think so many songwriters feel discouraged. Am I
crazy for having noticed this over the last few
years that pure songwriters just feel like, "There's
no hope for me. I'm gonna do film and TV." Because
the only way to get your stuff cut by a major artist
on a major label is if you are part of the artist's
writing camp, and you hang out with them, and

How does somebody who's a really strong, great
songwriter get into a camp?
Gilli: I had it happen a month ago. Whether it's
a hit song or not, time will tell. But here is what
happened. The first question you said was, how
do you get signed, or can you get signed? Or as a
songwriter get a hit song with this camp of the
record company?
A month ago, I had a one-on-one with a very big
A&R manager at a very big major record company. The way I got into that was through
somebody who knew somebody, and somehow I
was able to get that meeting. Just that alone can
be hard. When I first came to the U.S., my
uniqueness was my Aussie voice. So I was able to
get into the offices because, "Oh, an Aussie, yeah
sure." And I'd say, "I'm only here for a week,"
and they would actually let me in. There were a
lot of majors back then, and I would go in, and
at a certain point I decided to take the path least
traveled and set up my own record company.
Recently I'm like, "You know, I'm gonna go back
to those labels and show them what I've got." So
I got into the meeting and found out they were
about to sign a 19-year-old Instagram-influencer
who had 1.5 million followers. I could not compete with that, and that is their focus. They are
taking influencers on Instagram, signing them,
packaging around them, and it so happens that
this person can sing, and they are gonna do that.
Now they need the song. So then I said, "OK, I'm
not gonna get signed by you because I'm not 19,
and I don't have 1.5 million Instagram followers,
but what I have is on my phone. And so I played
three songs-the best three songs. And fortunately, he said, "I love your writing; I love your
voice-I would like you to write me three songs
for this artist, and I'm gonna give you the
tracks." So he has his posse of people that write
tracks, and I toplined for them, and then delivered them, and we're talking right now.
The point is, that they are always looking for
great songs, and maybe that's how you build a
relationship that could develop into something
I agree, great songs are still in demand. And while
everybody thinks that you've got to be part of the
camp and in the posse, major labels still run listings with TAXI. They are all always looking for that
one this is the song of the year.
Mark, creative people generally despise selling
themselves. I've been in the industry since I was
19-years-old; I've never met anybody other than
Bobby Borg, maybe, and Gilli that love to sell, that
have the artistic thing going on and love to sell. So
booking your own act for shows on your own takes

selling. Many people give it a half-hearted
attempt, then throw in the towel.
Your company, Gig Salad, takes most of the selling
burden off of their shoulders. I love people that flip
the business model like you did. Tell the audience
how it works...
Mark: I was working for a small, boutique,
booking agency in New York City. We did primarily big bands, jazz, and nostalgia artists, and
I was the middle broker. I was booking acts that
sold themselves, all established names. I would
call up a performing-arts center, a concert series
or a place that was booking types like that. It
was a really simple call: "Are you interested in
the Glenn Miller Orchestra or the Count Basie
Orchestra?" or whoever. It was really simple; it
was either, "Yes, we are, but not now," or "Yes,
we are right now," or "No, we're not." But I didn't have to explain who they were, so I've never
been in the development business. I was never
working with acts that I had discovered and that
I was developing or out there hustling and trying to sell.
So when I started getting contacted by
entertainers and performers that were looking
for representation, or looking for gigs, or looking to be listed on my roster because they saw all
these other names, they wanted to be a part of
that. But it wasn't my business model. So what I
was trying to do was tell these folks-because I
had been a starving artist at one point-that
[they] don't necessarily need representation
right now. Really, what you're looking for is
opportunities, and I happen to be getting contacted from the other side of that: event
planners and people that are looking for entertainers and performers. So we created a
directory, a very simple database. So I put
myself out of business. As a booking agent, I
was saying, "You don't need me anymore."
Using Gig Salad, you can be a performer; you can
be out there gigging instead of being a barista
while you're waiting to get the record deal, or
get the big contract or whatever that thing is.
These are real money gigs; this is not showing
up at a club and playing for the door, but these
are corporate events or wedding gigs or those
sorts of things.
And you guys help performers of all types, not only
musicians, right? Magicians, balloon artists... the
entire gamut, right?
Mark: Absolutely! Because my bio was so short,
I'm gonna take two minutes to interject something, if you don't mind. I've been to a lot of
conferences, conventions and trade shows over
the past five years. As a bootstrap company, the
only way we can get our name out there is out
there hustling, right? I want you people to know
that as a community-and this is in fact a community-it's a really unique thing. Joey and I got
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - May 2018

Recording - May 2018 - Intro
Recording - May 2018 - Cover1
Recording - May 2018 - Cover2
Recording - May 2018 - 1
Recording - May 2018 - 2
Recording - May 2018 - 3
Recording - May 2018 - 4
Recording - May 2018 - 5
Recording - May 2018 - Contents
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Recording - May 2018 - Cover3
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