TPM 110 | Embrace Entrepreneurship

 

Taylor Swift is a business genius in the music industry. But what makes her rise from the underground full of people doing the same thing in the industry? That is where we dive into this episode. Gerard Longo, the Founder and CEO of ECM Collective, takes us into why musicians should embrace entrepreneurship in their endeavors in the music industry. He provides insights into what makes you stand out from others and touches on technology and AI in enhancing your creative space. Rise above others and find your creative space with Gerard by tuning in to this conversation today.

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From The Ground Up: Why Musicians Need To Embrace Entrepreneurship With Gerard Longo

In this episode, I am excited to be here with Gerard Longo from ECM Collective. He’ll explain what that is but it’s an exciting collective for musicians and connecting them with entrepreneurs and other creatives. Before we get into that though, Gerard, I would love to know what your background is in music. Why did you end up starting ECM Collective based on the journey that you’ve taken so far in music?

It’s a long and winding road. I always like to say that I’m going to write a book one day and it’s going to be titled Completely by Accident: How I Stumbled into The Music Industry. It started with my podcast, The Quinn Spinn. We enjoyed its tenth birthday in 2023 in Nashville. I needed to create an outlet. I had done college radio. One night, I was listening through all my old episodes from the college run in which we’ll never see the light of day.

I remember that we had an impact on our audience, as small as it was. You’re talking 10 to 15 people but they were there every week. They’d be giving stuff for the show. They were laughing at and with us simultaneously when something went wrong in the air because we were live. I was in Corporate America at the time, feeling like a spoke in the wheel. Not to say anything bad about my job at the time. It was cool and I learned a lot but I needed something that was mine. This outlet was mine.

It’s funny because we went back to the vault of all those old episodes from the beginning of the run, from 2013 and 2014. I listened to episode one. I say in episode one, “This is a platform for anybody building a thing. We want to highlight and feature you.” It became about music from there because part of what we did in college that I wanted to continue was featuring music and musicians. I went on what was known as Twitter at the time and then it’s X. I found musicians to feature. Before you know it, we were getting flooded with submissions and it became about music.

Once my corporate job contract had expired, I leaned all in and became an independent creative full-time myself. I formed this kinship with a lot of the musicians and other creatives in our community. From there, in 2013, 2014, and 2015, The Quinn Spinn has its OG run. I took a little bit of a break and took the show in my direction because I had a team of co-hosts who have since come back in the fold but everyone’s life started going in different directions.

I had relocated out to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania from New Jersey, where I went to college at Moravian University. There’s a music scene there about an hour North of Philly and I’m like, “I’ll restart the show but I’ll have it be part of this regional blog called Lehigh Valley Underground that highlights local music and musicians in the area, reviewing their music, going out to their shows, and taking photos.” That launched at the beginning of 2016.

You go to 2016, 2017, and 2018, the Lehigh Valley Underground days, where we’re building a community locally in Eastern PA. We’re putting on events and building a lot of partnerships. We had caught fire in the region pretty quickly in 2016 or early 2017 to the point where by the middle of 2017, we were doing a lot of cool things. We’re a pretty well-known entity locally but toward the middle half of 2018, I started to feel this pull to do something more and connect more to the industry.

I felt like my industry knowledge from where I was had about maxed out and I wanted the platform to keep growing. I looked at going to an industry town. New York was the closest one but I ended up being convinced to move to Nashville by my good friend Adam, who’s in a band The Mad Sugars. His wife, who’s also my friend, Anna, had just gotten married. They lived in Nashville already. They’re like, “Why don’t you give Nashville a try if you’re looking to relocate?”

In November 2018, I relocated to Nashville. We rebranded Underground Music Collective, which we had been from that point until October 2nd, 2023 when we officially transitioned over to ECM Collective. With UMC, it took a broader industry focus and more educational content while still highlighting musicians but broadening the scope of that too in terms of it not being specific to a location. We’re welcoming more genre and industry-type opportunities into the fold.

Through the UMC era, we built a bunch of partnerships, got to do a lot of cool things, and worked with a lot of people at the highest levels of the music industry. It’s led to this exciting world where not only are we connecting to those people but we’re connecting to people in the entrepreneurial space across industries and locations.

We launched a coaching program, which was a big pivot point for me because so much of what we do in that coaching program is foundational values-based. It can apply to anybody on the creative journey, not just musicians. You combine that with the fact that over the course of the past year in particular, I’ve had a chance to connect with so many interesting people in different industries who have gravitated toward our platform. It got me thinking of what else this can be.

It got me thinking bigger like, “How do we take this work that we’ve done with these musicians in the music industry and connect it to the world of entrepreneurship of the creative sphere in general?” The music industry, if you’re trying to go the traditional route, is a tough day. For most musicians, you have to think like an entrepreneur and as though you’re building your platform and brand. Music is a vehicle by which you communicate the values of that brand.

There’s so much common thread between your independent musician and you’re an entrepreneur in any field. Over the summer, I went back North for a couple of months. I went back to where this started, back to my parent’s house, in the woods, where I could go pen to paper like Hemingway and come up with what the next phase of this whole ecosystem was going to be.

I had been poking around at launching a membership program before that trip but I didn’t have the idea flashed out. This gave me the opportunity to do that. It made me realize in the process, “We’re missing opportunities if we keep it narrow.” We’re also depriving the musicians, the music industry focus, of opportunities if we create this silo that’s contained within music.

Music affects everything like every creative field and entrepreneurial endeavor that there is. Why don’t we introduce these musicians or talented people to the greater world of entrepreneurship and let everybody provide value to each other? The musicians can provide their services, platforms, and perspectives to the other creatives in the group. The other creatives in the group can provide their knowledge, skills, and expertise to help the musicians fill whatever holes they need to fill as they look to build their platforms.

I settled on the name ECM Collective. ECM stands for two things. It stands for Entrepreneurs, Creators, and Musicians. It also stands for Empowered Change Makers because the goal here is to unite an ecosystem of people who want to use their platforms for good and have an impact. I’m a big believer in the rising tide that raises all boats. In a truer sense than we’ve ever done before, this allows everybody involved to do that.

Everybody can learn from each other, grow together, and build their platforms in conjunction with each other. What we aim to create is our ecosystem and industry within all of these creative industries to the point where it’s self-sustaining. It doesn’t depend on the traditional industry in any one field to thrive. The sky is the limit, I feel. I felt for years that UMC was the final form and the magnum opus. I feel that way about ECM until I find the next magnum opus because there’s always growth if there’s always evolution. I feel like this was the place we were always going to land.

When I started The Quinn Spinn in 2013, there’s no way I could have seen that because I didn’t even know what technology existed to connect people all over the country in the way that we can in 2023. This is where we were always going to land, back at this thing. This full-circle experience is where we’re connecting creatives to each other and helping them grow their platforms. That is the cliff notes of the several years and how it’s brought us to where we are.

TPM 110 | Embrace Entrepreneurship

Embrace Entrepreneurship: ECM is where we’re connecting creatives to each other and helping them grow their platforms.

 

You’re speaking my language. First of all, I love that you’re like, “I followed what I thought I should be doing and then it led me here.” That’s how it worked for me as well with being an independent musician and then starting Women of Substance Radio, which led me to help other female artists. That led me to expand even beyond The Profitable Musician platform. I started the Female Entrepreneur Musician Podcast in 2015. I felt like my entire job on that show was to convince musicians that they needed to be entrepreneurs or they were entrepreneurs and they needed to embrace that.

In 2023, I feel like that’s come together. Most people get that. The platform that you’ve created is helping them expand upon that more. It’s cool to see something where I feel like I was this huge proponent of back in the day and then becoming like a mainstream. When I was a musician, you know how the industry back then was. This was the 2000s. It’s so different. People weren’t working like entrepreneurs. You had to have a label and a manager. Work within the industry model.

What I was coming out with was like, “You don’t have to work within the industry model because that is making it so much harder for you. You have all these gatekeepers. You have the ability to move your career forward by acting like an entrepreneur.” To see this all coming to fruition is so great and having a platform like yours, where it’s not just teaching them to do it but saying, “Let’s come together as entrepreneurs, musicians, and other types of entrepreneurs.” That’s super cool. Props to you for doing that and following where everything led you, and it led you here.

A couple of thoughts on that. First of all, intuition has guided this entire process. It’s been so much ready, fire, and aim. Sometimes, to my detriment, honestly. Intuitively, I’ve pursued a particular aspect of the path and it ended up being a lesson instead of a success. There’s value in that too. You learn what doesn’t work so you learn what does. You can go and impart that to other people. That’s an ongoing process for all of us, no matter how long we’ve been in the game.

I’ve been in the game for several years and I’m still learning things. I’m still not always getting it right. Nobody always gets it right, especially with the evolution of technology and the industry in general. This goes for any industry. There are things you have to keep up with and used to work that got you to a certain level that isn’t going to get you any further and don’t necessarily work anymore.

It’s a constant game of adaptation. A lot of it is feeling it out and that process of trying to find the right way and what works for you. What I’m about to say is probably going to make a lot of people in the music industry mad at me. There’s got to be a better way. From what I’ve observed and, in my opinion, as well, the traditional music industry is more cookie-cutter than it’s ever been.

If you’re not making a certain type of music, don’t bore us to get to the chorus. If you’re a country artist, you better write about trucks and beer. If you’re a pop artist, you better be a sad girl. There’s no tangible, sustainable opportunity for you to break in that way in the traditional industry. You’ve got to do it independently.

What ECM Collective aims to do is give people the tools, resources, mindset, and connections to do that and build their platforms organically in a way that’s authentic to them. A lot of this comes from observing what musicians and other creatives have gone through in the process. In years in Nashville, I’ve seen so many artists make posts about how excited they are that they’re getting signed and this, that, and the other thing.

Years later, they made an Instagram post saying, “I got dropped from all that but at least I get to write my songs now.” Let’s help people skip that step of going against your values and everything that makes your artistry and platform what it is. Let’s build your platform straight out and connect you to everything that you need to do it.

I’m so glad that people are starting to get that we don’t have to work within those confines. I’m curious about this new direction. You had a music collective before and then you’re connecting more creatives and entrepreneurs to the musicians. How is ECM going to be different from your average music collective because there are plenty of them out there?

We’re a membership organization. You can join up on a yearly or monthly basis. We are offering educational opportunities like seminars, workshops, and panels. We’re going to start virtually and eventually expand to in-person. I’ve already got a few markets pegged for our first in-person markets. Nashville is one of them. Greater Philadelphia is one, which includes Lehigh Valley Regional, where we started because we still have a nice strong foothold there. We’re doing an event up there in Bethlehem at SteelStacks on November 17th, 2023. I ended up in other areas. Southern California comes to mind and Chicago.

Let me know because I’m in Southern California.

I’ve been connecting with so many creators in Southern California. It’s such a rich ecosystem because you have the whole LA area and San Diego. You have so much music, art, and entertainment out there.

It’s an empire in Orange County and Santa Barbara. There are so many places.

It’s a natural move for us to establish a foothold out there. SoCal, Chicago, New York, and Atlanta are all on my radar. Also, Austin. We want to start with a few. You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. You want sustainable growth. We’re going to start with a lot of virtual programming as far as the educational stuff. We’re doing virtual coffee chats starting once a month but I suspect it might move to more than that. It’s where our community gets together.

There may be a speaker for some of these for the first 15 to 20 minutes that will lead us into the day’s discussion topic among the group. It’s a chance for people to connect, learn about each other, learn about what the other people in the group are working on as well, and how we can help and serve each other. There’s a big service mindset behind everything that we’re doing here at ECM.

TPM 110 | Embrace Entrepreneurship

Embrace Entrepreneurship: There’s a big service mindset behind everything that we’re doing here at ECM.

 

We are leading on our roots as a media outlet as well. The focus of our blog and multimedia content is going to be focused on our members, the things happening with our members within the community, and their updates. If you’re a musician, that could still be a music review or an interview that we’ve done. If you’re not a musician, it could be like, “So-and-so released a book. So-and-so won an award. This organization that’s part of our organization had this milestone.” Congratulate them on it.

The Quinn Spinn Podcast is still part of this. I joke that it’s like the cockroach that won’t die in the nuclear blast. No matter how the platform evolves, somehow The Quinn Spinn still stays The Quinn Spinn. Talking to creatives, we’re expanding. We’re still interviewing musicians. I had Dylan Huey who’s a brilliant USC student. He’s the CEO of REACH, which is an organization across colleges and universities that teaches and molds the next generation of social media influencers. He has done so much.

He’s a musician as well but he wears a lot of hats. He brings all these different minds, ideas, and perspectives into the fold to educate and realize that we have more common ground than we think despite being in different industries or lanes. There are so many things that we all experience. The creative journey is the creative journey no matter what lane you’re in. We are creating this ecosystem that connects people like no other.

Eventually, I have pie-in-the-sky ideas for hosting conferences and retreats. I do believe we’ll get there but it starts on the ground floor. It starts with these virtual offerings and then expands to regional in-person offerings. Another thing that we’re doing to help foster the community, especially as we start growing our in-person offerings, is enlisting the help of community leaders.

If you’re one of our ECM Community leaders, you get to join for free. You get to help spearhead a lot of the events that we’ll be putting on virtually and eventually in person. For every new member that you recruit, you receive a 10% commission to start. We’re incentivizing it for the people who want to take the lead and be on the ground floor of what we’re doing. We’ve already had some good people volunteer to be a part of it, this and that regard too.

I’m excited to work with them and hear what they have to say about it and hear them use the word We. We are going in this direction and do this. It’s exciting. It takes somebody entrepreneurial-minded and community-minded to step into that role. We’ve already identified some great people and are always looking for more. That’s another way that we are doing things a little differently. We’re giving a sense of ownership to the people who want that sense of ownership pretty much right off the bat. We’re giving them a chance to be on the ground floor of building this thing.

I like that. The more that people can buy in, the more they’re going to be committed and get involved. This collective brings musicians and creatives into the fold of entrepreneurs. I’m curious. What changes have you seen in the music industry over the last several years that make you feel like, more than ever, musicians have more in common with entrepreneurs?

Technology does a lot of it for us. We have more technology at our disposal than we ever have at any point in human history. That’s only going to continue evolving. That’s what connects us all and that’s what gives us the opportunities to get our messages out there. However, it also means that everybody has that same access should they choose to use it.

The focus on the story, who you are as an artist, and how that reflects in everything you do has become more important. Things have become a lot more transparent and real. Gone are the days when you the cookie-cutter artist brand that the industry has manufactured for you is going to resonate. There’s something to be said for the industry dollars being behind artists and that being the vehicle that drives them forward. The artist that remains independent and succeeds are the ones that find their thing and their audience for that thing.

To put it in complete layman’s terms, find out what makes you, you. Find your authentic story. Find ways to communicate that story and ways that are accessible to your audience. In the process of that, you’re going to encounter some trial and error and folks that aren’t your audience that maybe your story or your brand doesn’t resonate with. All that does is point your compass in a truer direction toward what’s meant for you and your platform. Lean into that truth and step into it as fearlessly as possible.

Find out your authentic story and how to communicate that story in ways that are accessible to your audience. Click To Tweet

Fear never goes away but managing your fear and putting yourself out there in that way is of increased importance because that’s ultimately what makes you stand out. You want to do something that’s going to differentiate you from everybody else creating this content in this ecosystem. Gone are the days of first name and middle name like, “I’m a single singer-songwriter from anywhere USA.” You and everybody else, find what makes you, you, and communicate that.

I go back to Dylan Huey because I had him on The Quinn Spinn. “What is your value proposition?” That’s another way musicians should think as entrepreneurs. “What do you offer your listener or audience that they can’t get anywhere else essentially?” Dylan, if I messed that up, please feel free to correct me. “What is your unique offering to the world? What can you do through your music and platform that nobody else can do?” There’s an audience for it. You just have to be clear and communicate it. That audience will find you the more that you put that message out.

By building this platform, I learn in the process of watching other people do that or drop that knowledge. “What is our value proposition as ECM? What can we do in this ecosystem that is different, that’s first best and most interesting?” You need to find that thing or you’re going to be among the pack of everyone else trying the same techniques, cash it on the same trends, or sound like this and that.

Once something’s already been done, it’s already been done. You have diminishing returns. Think of somebody like Taylor Swift who has that dialed into the point where she’s taking a break from her Era’s Tour but she’s still in the middle of it. It goes through every single era that she’s been through musically but what’s the common thread? The common thread is her and how she’s connected to her Swifties so much so that they will follow her wherever she goes, including becoming fans of the Kansas City Chiefs.

She’s found that thing and it’s so dialed in. She is a business genius. She relates to her audience quite like nobody else we’ve ever seen. By that same token, what you don’t want to do is if you’re seeing that and you’re a young female artist, you don’t want to label yourself as the next Taylor Swift because Taylor Swift is already Taylor Swift. It’s already been done. Every single iteration of that and that same design is going to have diminishing returns.

I grew up in the ‘90s. I saw the boy band era like the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC at the top of the food chain. Everything that came out of Orlando after that had diminishing returns to the point where you don’t remember half of them. You remember 98 Degrees, O-Town, and LFO after that. Do you remember any of them? No, because it was the same formula over and over again, milk dry. You have to find what works in that formula. You can be influenced by that formula but at the end of the day, you have to make it your own, find yourself in that, and figure out what makes you, you to communicate.

We’re so lucky that we have all these online platforms like social media and YouTube to get that across and be able to connect with people that are going to love our individuality. What is the role of streaming in all of this? That’s another big change that’s happened over the years.

Especially since the pandemic, technology like Zoom, which we’re using. It’s opened up a whole new world for us to be able to connect through live stream experiences, interviews, and concerts, the whole nine. It allows fans who aren’t in a particular area to watch. Maybe your favorite artist isn’t touring near you but they’re streaming their concert from Red Rocks. You can watch it live from wherever you are in the country or world.

It allows artists, fans, and anybody else to connect to experiences that they didn’t have the opportunity to connect with before. If you’re living in rural Montana, you can watch a concert that’s happening at Red Rocks or anywhere else in the country, connect to your favorite artists that way, and continue that conversation and build that community from wherever you are. It’s very powerful. That’s one of the silver linings of COVID.

It’s this opportunity that we all had and this resourcefulness that we’ve all found to make those connections. Even though the world is open again, continue those conversations when we can’t be there in person or it’s too far away. Whatever the case may be, we still have the opportunity to engage each other as creators but also as fans and continue to build.

It is so great that we do have that opportunity, especially when everything happened with COVID. It didn’t shut us entirely down, which is awesome. It opened up a whole other stream of income and a way to connect with people. I’m curious. What is your vision for the future? Where do you think we are going with musicians and entrepreneurship beyond where we are?

We’re going to continue to see this meld between the two worlds. Music touches everything like every form of entertainment. This world would be so much less vibrant without music informing the course of our daily lives. It’s the heartbeat of society, creativity, and entrepreneurship. The musicians who are going to succeed and find the ability to build the platform that they want are the ones who are going to embrace this entire world around them and the opportunities to connect with the greater world of entrepreneurship by embracing this technology and continuing to evolve with it and make it their own.

TPM 110 | Embrace Entrepreneurship

Embrace Entrepreneurship: Musicians who are going to succeed are those who have the ability to build the platform they want and who embrace this entire world around them and the opportunities to connect with the greater world of entrepreneurship.

 

It pains me to hear people say, “I wish we could go back to the days of selling CDs out of our car trunks.” There’s a certain nostalgia for that but that’s not where the world is going. Cassette tapes have made a comeback and vinyl has come back very strong. There are rumblings about CDs coming back too but that’s never going to be the main way that people access music again because it’s too easy to have it at your fingertips.

It’s going to be a retro thing that’s cool.

Your hipsters are going to love it but at the end of the day, people are going to consume their content digitally going forward through streaming or these different platforms and experiences. How do you continue to make those platforms your own? How do you engage people to meet them where they are? Much of building your platform is meeting people where they are and engaging with your audience where they exist.

People will consume their content digitally going forward. Click To Tweet

As opposed to letting them or expecting them to come to you, you have to think, “How can I get my word out there but also, how can I make it relatable to them so they care about it?” It’s that exchange. It’s that value proposition. It’s like, “What can I provide to you through what I do that’s going to keep you coming back?” The musician who wins here in the future and the entrepreneur who wins, in general, or any creator who wins, is the person who keeps that value proposition in mind.

“How am I creating value? How am I communicating that value? How is that value resonating to the point where people keep coming back to me for that value?” It’s going to be a continuation of that as technology continues to evolve and AI continues to gain prominence. We’ll figure out how to use AI, make AI our own, and how to humanize it in a way that’s going to help us better connect. What do you delegate to AI so you can focus on creating the art?

AI is another thing that gets such a bad rap because everyone’s waiting for 1984 to come. There are ways to use these tools in a way that frees you up to create more. In a way, that gives you a baseline so that you can create from that. I saw a video with Gary Vee. He doesn’t use AI necessarily to create. He uses it to help him think and research so then he can think and create off of that. It informs the things that are created out of his agency and ecosystem.

It’s a tool like any other tool. Streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music are tools for us to use to get our message out there, like the social platforms. AI is another tool in our tool belt that if you use it wisely enhances what we’re able to do in the creative space. Here’s what I would tell anybody. Give the new technology a chance.

Give yourself a chance to learn it. It’s never too late to learn it, whether you’re a Gen Z, Millennial, Gen X, or even going up into the Boomer region generationally. There’s always a chance to learn. These tools are here for all of us. The people who learn them, no matter where you are in life or journey, are the people who are going to endure and continue to grow.

We put out an episode about using AI so you’re spot on that. I think you will agree with me. Live music still has a place in this world. We still can connect with people in a way that is like no other in person.

All this talk about technology can be easy to forget. In my opinion, as much as I’m for all of these developments, we’ll advocate until the cows come home for people to learn how to use them. To me, there’s still no better way to connect and build rapport than in person, whether it’s at a live music event or a networking event. You need to get out into the world. That’s still the most pure and authentic way to meet people where they are.

TPM 110 | Embrace Entrepreneurship

Embrace Entrepreneurship: There’s still no better way to connect and build rapport than in person.

 

It’s not always possible. You’re in Southern California and I’m in Nashville. This makes it easy for us to connect but if I’m ever out there or you’re ever here, we have a basis to go off of to connect an in-person event. Technology enhances our human experience if we allow it to but it’s still very important to go out and have that human experience.

We all live through 2020. We all know what it was like to only have this means, for the most part, to interact with other people. While it helped a lot of us get through, it also felt limiting to a lot of us after a while. I speak for myself when I say that. I couldn’t wait to get back out into the world and experience things in person. It does hit differently in person, whether it’s live music or any other experience.

Over the past year, I’ve been holding behind technology because I’ve been so busy with things, trying to develop and grow this platform that I’ve forgotten for non-COVID reasons to go back out into the world. I’ve recommitted myself to going out at least once a week, experiencing an event, and making connections.

Bring the camera. Have that be a conversation starter. Maybe it will land some gigs. There’s only so much, especially with so many people rolling out content, that you can do through social media. There needs to be that in-person element, those handshakes that are exchanged, or conversations face-to-face that are going to help you connect to people in a way that you can’t quite do any other way.

I thought it was important to say that because you can’t just cut out the live aspect. It’s a balance. This technology helps us take the first step. We’re able to get to know each other this way but if we met in person, we would get to know each other so much better and faster than over Zoom. It’s the same thing with musicians and their audiences.

During 2020 and 2021, people are speculating, “Is this the future of live music? Will there ever be live music again? Are we just going to do this?” I’m like, “I hope not.” This is fine and don’t get me wrong. There are livestreams that I watch that I still remember. I’ll go back and rewatch the videos. Dirty Heads did a live stream of each of their albums throughout the course of 2020. I tuned in for those. It was appointment viewing for me every other week when they did them. I love those things. I’ll go back and watch those live performances.

It was a bastion of sanity in those times in the spring and summer of 2020 but I’d much rather go see them live, go out, enjoy life experience, and have that opportunity to do so. I’m glad it’s back. I always knew we’d get back to this point intrinsically. A lot was hyperbole when we’re in the moment of like, “This is the way it’s always going to be forever. The sky is falling and the world is ending.” In a lot of respects, there was a lot of uncertainty. I’m not trying to downplay that but at the same time, we were going to find a way. Humans are resilient creatures. There is always going to be a way forward. I’m glad I was right. I’ll put it that way.

Humans are resilient creatures, and there will always be a way forward. Click To Tweet

You have worked with some pretty big-name musicians. I’d love to hear maybe 1 story or 2 about your experience with that.

Much of what we’ve done here over the years has allowed me to connect with people as people. It was amazing to me. I had a young man who signed at Island Records by the name of Will Linley on the show. He’s from South Africa. He’s based there. At the time, he was starting to blow up there and in Europe. He was a young guy. He was 20 or 21 at that time.

I feel like I’ve heard him on TikTok.

You probably have because that’s where he blew up. It was TikTok.

My daughter sent me a TikTok of him.

Universal Music Group was connecting us to artists like Will for a good period there in the late UMC stage. Talking to Will was interesting because you have this guy who has the whole world in front of him and who’s blowing up but he was so real, authentic, humble, and grateful for everything that was coming into his life at that point. It was so refreshing to see somebody whose platform was exploding but still get to know them and where they started in their whole journey.

We know that it wasn’t too far in the past when they were starting and figuring out exactly who they were as an artist and how they were going to communicate that. Watching that come together for somebody in real time as it has for Will over the past couple of years is exciting and inspiring. It shows me as somebody building a platform and hopefully, other people who listen to or watch that episode of The Quinn Spinn that it’s possible for you too.

This is somebody who is from South Africa and used technology during the pandemic to connect with the rest of the world and grow his platform to the point where he gets to wake up and do this for a living every day. It’s possible for somebody anywhere in the world almost to do that. That was a cool story. It’s the opportunities we’ve had through connecting with these universal artists and the people in other spheres.

I had the opportunity to interview Nate Bain, who’s a Social Media Director for the Tennessee Titans. We’re connecting to that world while seeing how the NFL connects to the creative space, the community, and music. We had a good conversation. The Titans were doing a Battle of the Bands here in town for a couple of years giving independent artists a chance to participate and win a slot to perform at halftime during an NFL game.

It’s amazing to see the dots that connect when you’re in an ecosystem like this and how we’re all connected. A lot of that has informed this new direction. Seeing how close all these opportunities are for us to connect and build something meaningful without experiences like those I named and others, I don’t know that I would have had the chance to see that and put that together. It’s inspiring to me as the journey goes forward and it inspires everything we do.

It’s very cool that you’ve had that opportunity. It shows when we connect with the right people what cool new things we can do and create that we haven’t even thought of yet. I would love to find out how people can connect with you on social media and find out more about ECM Collective.

We’ll start with ECM, @ECMCollective on Instagram, Facebook, X, LinkedIn and YouTube. We’re in all those places, as well as ECMCollective.com. If you go to UndergroundMusicCollective.com, that’s fine. It’ll redirect you. Tap in with us. We’re building a great community. I’m excited to have so many brilliant minds across industries, disciplines, and locations involved.

The Quinn Spinn is still going strong. You can find us on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, YouTube, Stitcher, and more. On the social is @QuinnSpinnOfficial on Instagram. Our Facebook Page is gaining a little more traction again, which is interesting because, for a while, I pretty much found that pointless Facebook but it’s coming back strong. We should get a TikTok for both of those things too, pretty soon. I talked about all this embracing technology but as an elder Millennial, I resisted TikTok to this point.

There are so many. To be on all the different platforms and trying to play to the strengths of each platform can get exhausting.

If you want to follow me on Instagram, it’s @GerardLongo12. You can do that. There are a lot of updates about the things we’ve talked about but also some travel, family, and fitness stuff. If you want to get to know me personally, that’s where to do it.

Thank you so much for all the information about your collective and all the great things you’re doing to help musicians and connect them with entrepreneurs, how to even help promote the idea of musicians being entrepreneurs, learning how to function like entrepreneurs, and growing those skills. Thank you so much for all of that and for sharing with us.

Thanks for having me. I’m so happy to be here.

 

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About Gerard Longo

TPM 110 | Embrace EntrepreneurshipCancer Survivor. Ex-Football Player. Entrepreneur. Every Underground movement needs a leader who knows what it takes to rise through adversity. Gerard Longo is that leader. Gerard is the Founder/CEO of Underground Music Collective (UMC), a Nashville-based creative entrepreneurship and multimedia services company built from the ground up.

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