Aaronbethune transcript


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Aaron Bethune comes to us from
Musicpreneur.ca – Where you’ll find his epic marketing book by the same name:
Musicpreneur: The Creative Approach to Making Money in Music.

While being a musicpreneur as well as an author Aaron is also a speaker, a music
educator, and an in-high-demand
creative consultant.

Aaron’s expertise in branding and marketing goes well beyond the music industry which has allowed him the opportunity to work with many major companies outside of music. You can find his agency at PlayItLoudMusic.com where he offers booking,
management and consulting services for musicians, artists and more.
Have a listen to my chat with Aaron Bethune

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

See highlights and links from of our chat below…
Check out the transcript or download it to read later: ENJOY!

Note: This could be in and of itself, an epic blog post…
You REALLY have to listen to the recording… or just download the transcript!


Podcast Highlights:

“Well, I think if you speak to anybody that’s doing what they’re passionate about, it’s something that’s been a lifetime in the making for me. Music has been a part of me for my whole life.”

Growing Up International
But one of the things that I found was that I was born in Montreal. I grew up in England well at least to the age of 12. Then I moved to Spain and then, in Spain, the last place I lived was in a village with four houses and there are a lot of great things about living in sort of an isolated area. But ultimately, music was always itching at me and so I felt that I really needed to make a move to where I felt there’s more of an opportunity. And so being Canadian, going to Canada was an option. And so I essentially moved back so as to be closer. So I took a degree at a University in Canada.

And so that was kind of, I guess, you can say, my journey into making music my life but at the same time, studying jazz performance, I mean who am I kidding, that’s not really a living. So along the way, I felt that if I was going to have a career in music, I was going to need to figure out how I was going to make music my business. And I quickly realized that talent is a starting point but it certainly isn’t what gets you across the start line. You need to have business skills and I also quickly realized that it was easier in some ways to learn how to do the business than it was to find people that do the business for me. And part of that, I think, sort of comes back to that golden rule, the rule of reciprocity. I mean if you ask people to do things for you, it’s unlikely it’s going to happen. But if you find ways to do things for other people, then they’re more likely to want to return that favor.

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Aaronbethune transcript

  1. 1. BigValueBigBusiness.com Aaron Bethune Musicpreneur.ca Transcript James: All right, welcome back my friends to yet another edition of the Big Value Big Business podcast. I am your host James Lynch. I am really big, big, big time super excited about my very special guest today. His name is Mr. Aaron Bethune. Aaron comes to us from playitloudmusic.com. It’s a highly specialized music management and booking agency that is dedicated to help each and every artist that they serve to maximize their career potential. Aaron is a musicpreneur, a speaker, a music educator and in-demand creative consultant. His expertise in branding and marketing goes well beyond the music industry which as allowed him the opportunity to work with many major companies outside of the music industry. So without further ado, let’s say hello to Aaron Bethune. Aaron, hello and how are you today, sir? Aaron: I am good, James. And I’m sure there’s going to be somebody who has heard the word, musicpreneur and has probably kind of like, oh my goodness! What the heck is that? James: Well, tell us. Tell us what it is, right off the bat, man. We’ll put your feet right to the fire, let’s go. Aaron: Well, I suppose my perspective on it is that I think it’s, in the music world, it’s going to be taking over the from the DIY musician the do it yourself, musician and it’s going to become more of this musicpreneur which is essentially; it sounds like it’s the musician entrepreneur. And I think that the big part of that is starting to see, in the case of music industry, being able to see your career and what you do in music as a business. Because at the end of the day, I think, when it comes to the music world, a lot of people have seen it for hobbies, as hobbies for a long time. And so when it comes to being involved in music, people quite readily spend more money than they make and it’s bad business and if you’re going to make it a business, you have to get smart about it. So musicpreneurs, a fairly new term but I guess I am just definitely used to certain people kind of turning their nose up at it. And of course you now get artistpreneurs now and what else did I see the other day and there’s probably foodpreneurs and who knows… James: Well there’s wanterpreneur and the wantrepreneur and there are a few others out there. But I love it. I love it. And that’s a great summary of what it is and yeah, you embody that. Dude, I just want to, I’ve been talking with you back and forth on social media and emails and really excited to get you on because I’m looking to get your unique perspective. I want to talk about your marketing strategies. It’s just amazing how the strategies that you incorporate in the music industry shed a whole new light on marketing strategies and for businesses overall. So yeah, I want to take a deep dive, talk about your book. Can we, let’s rock and roll. Are you ready? Aaron: I am absolutely ready.
  2. 2. James: Cool. Aaron: I always rock and roll. James: All right. Can we get a little history from you; maybe tell us a little bit about Aaron Bethune and where you came from, a little bit about your journey that brought you here to where you are today? Aaron: Sure. Well, I think if you speak to anybody that’s doing what they’re passionate about, it’s something that’s been a lifetime in the making for me. Music has been a part of me. For my whole life, I, my father plays piano and my grandfather played piano for 80 years. And so I started to learn playing the piano when I was four. And I remember I used to lie under the piano. He had a grand piano and an upright piano and I used to lie under the grand piano & just listen to the sound it would make and watching his feet on the pedals and that, then progressed to taking lessons. And then when I was 7, I found my stepfather’s guitar and the piano kind of ended because I was being told to practice. And then the guitar got picked up and it sort of turned to people saying, hey, you got to stop playing. So I started literally playing 8 hours a day. And so I’ve been involved in playing music my whole life and later on, I ended up doing a degree in Jazz performance. But one of the things that I found was that I was born in Montreal. I grew up in England well at least to the age of 12. Then I moved to Spain and then, in Spain, the last place I lived was in a village with four houses and there are a lot of great things about living in sort of an isolated area. I mean the locals made cheese. I was about 50 years younger than anybody else. There’s some kind of unique experience that came from it. But ultimately, music was always itching at me and so I felt that I really needed to make a move to where I felt there’s more of an opportunity. And so being Canadian, going to Canada was an option. And so I essentially moved back so as to be closer. That’s when I took the degree. So I took a degree at a University in Canada. And so that was kind of, I guess, you can say, my journey into making music my life but at the same time, studying jazz performance, I mean who am I kidding, that’s not really a living. So along the way, I felt that if I was going to have a career in music, I was going to need to figure out how I was going to make music my business. And I quickly realized that talent is a starting point but it certainly isn’t what gets you across the start line. You need to have business skills and I also quickly realized that it was easier in some ways to learn how to do the business than it was to find people that do the business for me. And part of that, I think, sort of comes back to that golden rule, the rule of reciprocity. I mean if you ask people to do things for you, it’s unlikely it’s going to happen. But if you find ways to do things for other people, then they’re more likely to want to return that favor. And so I felt that if I could create my own business and start to build it, then I would be able to present the value that other people would want to take part in. And along the way, help others and hopefully that they are to help me in return. So I remember one day, I was living in an apartment building and there’s this guy who played guitar on my floor. And so one day, he came over and I didn’t even remember, I think the apartment manager introduced us because he knew that both of us played guitar. So he introduced us. And so one day, the guy came over we’re playing guitar and he said, man you got to check out my website. I’m like, wow you got a website? And he’s like, yeah. And he told me why, I pay like 10 bucks a month. Then he done it to himself, and I said wow! Shit, I can do that. And so I asked what’s the first step? And so I remember spending probably two days trying to figure out what to call the web the domain to purchase. And I came out all kinds of things, the
  3. 3. one was I think Bethune-electric, and then it was like, well, in my mind, I’m thinking electric because, kind of electric guitar. James: Now, you got to come to my house and fix something. Aaron: Exactly, so that of course no one’s going to get it. So they’re thinking, okay, what’s the power guy So I finally came up with this Play it Loud Music. And it kind of stuck and so I think the next, I spent another two days developing the site. Now, obviously, it didn’t come completely out of nowhere because before this I’d already been dabbling in the business and I’d obviously been pursuing my own musical career. And I had a certain amount of experience more on the performance side of it than the business. But when I started this domain, after figuring out what the domain was going to be, it was also going to be figuring out what the heck that does. What is Play It Loud Music? What does it do? So I made a business card and decided what I was going to be was a promoter. And so on a trip back to Spain one day, and of course, just to tell you some of the points, I think you’re kind of… but I went to this event and the friend of mine who was in-charge of the entertainment for a city in Northern Spain called me and said, hey, this blues guitar player that she knew I really liked was coming to town and she happened to be organizing the event. She said, you should come. You’re going to like it. And this particular blues guitar player had been giving a cassette tape when I was about 12 or 14. And so this is going to be the first time I get to see him. So I said sure, I’d be there. And she said I can probably even get you to meet him. And so I got there. It was raining. It was just not great weather but the show went on until finally she comes out from being backstage and she’s like, oh, he’s an asshole and this kind of thing. And then I said why is that? He wants go get paid before they play. I guess they’re concerned because of the rain, if people leave, if we are not going to pay them. In retrospect, that’s pretty smart because no one wants to deal with money after they play, when they stand on stage and wondering if they get paid for it. So she said I don’t think I’m going to be able to introduce you because it’s just not right. The mood is not there. And so I took upon myself to just go backstage anyways and there was not a very long line up backstage. I mean it was raining so people left fairly quickly after the show. And just the location permitted me to be able to get backstage very easily. And so I get into the room and I’m waiting in line and I’m trying to figure out what the heck I’m going to tell this person when I meet him because I hear what other people are saying. Oh, I’m a big fan of yours and blah, blah, blah. And I’m thinking, just to say I am a fan is going to end pretty quickly. I mean it’s going to be a handshake and I don’t know. They’re going to sign my breast or something, no, it’s a joke. But I thought I want to make this last a little longer. So when I got there, it just sort of clicked in my head and say, oh, I’m a promoter from Canada. And the guy turned around and he pretty much stopped talking to anybody else, and he said, I’m looking for someone in Canada that I can trust and can promote me. And so this was all too kind of weird. I was thinking, oh man and this is all true. And so I said, well, I might be your guy. And he said, do you have a cellphone? I said yeah. And so I gave him the number he phoned. So now, you got my number. He said call me on Monday. And then he goes to his guitar case which is a soft case. And out of the front pocket, he puts his hand in and he gets out like a scrap of paper. In fact, it was little bundle of paper. And he said, look, these are promoters in Canada that had been wanting me to come over and play. And so I mean, you think this is not real but it was. It was just too uncanny how the whole thing went down, and so anyways, I’ve got all these connections now given to me by the artist, by people that want him to play.
  4. 4. And then that proceeds into, I’ve got the guy’s phone number. I mean this is the person that I sort of listened to and learned some of his licks when I was 12 or 14 or whatever. And so it’s all kind of surreal and then Monday comes along. I begin, you know what, it was probably the Jack Daniels talking. I don’t think it’s going to be, whatever. So I phoned the guy and the first thing is, Aaron he says, I was waiting for your call. I was like, wow, okay. So anyways, fast forward, I think it was probably about a close to a year. I think that was in the summertime and then the following summer, I sure enough had him in Canada. But the thing that was so cool was this that I put myself in this position of saying, this is what I do. And I actually followed through with doing it. And I spent probably a year just contacting not only the people that he gave me the connection for, but also a lot more than that as well. I ended up dealing with everything from paper works you name it. And I actually went back and I met them in Madrid. And I flew back from Madrid with them in the plane. So we got a lot of hangout time. It became this friendship, and basically this guy had recorded then from Double Trouble so that’s Stevie Ray Vaughan’s band to Larry Graham from Sly and the Family Stone to written songs for Santana who had performed on his albums as well as live at the second Woodstock to perform with Prince, all these different people. And so what happened was this that this experience of working with him evolved into, obviously working with other people. But these connections I remember it’s hard to sort of try and summarize all of this but I ended up getting involved in bringing talent into Spain because I realized that there’s a lot of fantastic performers that never made into the country and I couldn’t figure out why because where I live now is three times the size of Germany. That’s just our province whereas if you’re in Europe you really can move throughout Europe very easily especially with the EU all that. And so I couldn’t figure out why people couldn’t come to Spain. And so I got involved in directly connecting with artist managers agents and bringing them in to Spain. And so at one point, because of my connection to this blues artist, I was able to deal with Prince and Prince was doing, there were 21 dates at the, what you call? The O2 arena in London and someone had tried booking him on Spain through the government and they contacted me to find out if I could figure out if the person they were dealing with was legitimate which they weren’t. But I was able to do this through these connections. So I was always this building of contacts and experience and so that led to, of course, people starting to… and by the way, this did, I guess sort of come out of trying to figure these things out for my own career which soon became okay, well, I’m doing this and this is actually starting to make a living for me. To then, people come in to me, hey can you do this for us which in itself, developed in management and the big thing was, is that I was always trying to figure out what’s next and how does this connect to that, and there must be more. And so it went from the touring world, and I worked with people like Sly and the Family Stone, and Johnny Cash’s band and people like that. And then it moved into the world of TV and film and how music is placed into movies and TV shows. So I got into that. And then it was marketing and branding and management, and all these different aspects. And now, I work with a lot of people outside the music industry and tell them I make them the rock star and they’re clients, the fans because I think there’s a lot of take homes from the music industry for other businesses. So does that sort of summarize it? James: It does. It brings us to present day. Now, I was going to ask you. You’re a musician, you’re playing, you’re passionate, as young as 4 years old, and you went to school for Jazz music. You come out and… so there’s a point in time where you say, I’m going to, I mean did it come when you said that I can make more money as a promoter/manager/marketer or what kind of, like what went through your head? Because obviously, you’re still a musician, you still play. Where did that separation come? And
  5. 5. how do you keep that balance because once a musician, once an artist, always, so tell me a little bit about that in the separation. Aaron: Sure. Well, I think, I mean I do play music. I don’t think I’ll ever stop playing music. We have instruments here so piano, guitars and all kinds of things like that. I have a 4-year-old son who’s definitely interested in music. So I mean playing music is a big part of what I do and if an opportunity comes to play with someone that I think would be fun, I do it. But the big thing for me is that the music has come back to being fun. And I think, by sort of going through the business of music, it started to be a little less fun probably because I was paying so much time doing the business. So my music career per se, these days is mostly to just do it because I enjoy doing it and never stop. But the turning point with the business and my personal music career was I think that by trying to do my own business and then starting to be a part of other people’s careers and really finding enjoyment in their success. It just started to bring about a new interest for me. I mean it’s, I don’t gamble but I guess some of this whole industry is a bit of a gamble. And so when you start to get good at what you do for business and you start to realize that there is a certain amount of a, I guess a pattern. I don’t want to call it formula. But there’s a certain amount of, I guess it’s almost like a checklist that you go through that’s going to at least indicate a certain amount of success. And then, proceeding to work with that client or that company or whoever it might be and seeing those successes happen. It’s very exhilarating and it’s almost addictive, I guess. I mean that, I really do enjoy what I do. So I spend a lot of time with my work, and of course, what’s not to like about the music industry. I mean there’s… I was just down in Mississippi doing something for a add agency out in New York for a scotch company but it was directly involving an artist, a musician. And then I’ll be down in Vegas next month for a rooftop party for an App with a rock band and then I’ll be back in Mississippi for celebrity event, and these kind of things. I mean that’s my work and at the same time, it’s like, well, explain to the industrial revolution generation that that’s a job. James: I love it. I’m convinced that I’m from that generation. I am totally convinced. Aaron: So it’s definitely not hard but yeah, that was, I think that was the turning point, realizing that I could do this business, that music could still stay fun. I could still play music but I took the pressure off myself from having to try and go okay, I need to do a career and part of that too. I won’t, lie it does happen when you have a family and realize that you need to be able to provide things on a consistent basis and not just when you’re playing shows or on the road, so. James: You have the luxury of playing music for the music not to put food on the table. Aaron: Yes. Yes. James: That takes all of the stress and all of the mandate out of it. Aaron: It does. And I think that it’s funny when you figure out how the business works, sometimes or all the time, I tell people you need to understand how business works in order to do business but at the same time just like, if you’re going to speak to musician about what their thinking about when they’re playing, they’re not going to say, well, I just think that this scale is cord progression or I was thinking this. They’re going to tell you, they probably weren’t thinking of anything and it’s kind of the same way. I mean you need to understand the business and then sort of put that out of your mind per se and then just focus on playing. Because at the end of the day, it’s really the informed musicians that make it, but there has to be talent and that ability to move forward in a career.
  6. 6. And I think that sometimes, started a conversation by saying, well, you just need to play and hopefully they’ll find you, isn’t necessarily going to be what people want to hear but there’s a certain reality to that and if, I think that if music stops being fun, and you’re going to apply this to anything. I mean if you’re a baker and you don’t enjoy baking anymore or you’re a golfer and you don’t enjoy golfing anymore, whatever it might be. As soon as the fun goes then, especially in an industry that’s about having fun and creating moments for others to enjoy, if you’re not having fun then definitely do something else. So it’s, yeah. James: That’s not the case with you. But, let’s talk about the marketing aspect because you turn the corner there and you started to branch out, I guess, your musicianship or your art or love of music. You were able to transcend that into marketing and help other people become successful. Enter the book, Musicpreneur at musicpreneur.ca, The Creative Approach to Making Money in Music. Now, I read the book, most of it. Fantastic! From the opening introduction that you wrote, it talks about some challenges you have and I’m a no-spoiler alert here. But it’s just, what I took away from that was a lot about setting goals and see the goal to the end. Don’t get to the top and not know how you’re going to get back down, kind of, and you know what I’m talking about. You know what I mean. So could you talk about that a little bit and why you chose that particular story for your book. And then we want to take a deep dive in the book. I want to talk about 10,000 hours and I want to talk about breaking patterns, fan profiling. As much as we have time for it today because I want to say to folks that are listening, this book, and I’m going to plug it again, and I’m not an affiliate, musicpreneur.ca. The book is The Creative Approach to Making Money in Music. I was blown away. I’m a marketer and the similarities and the fan profiling, it’s just, it’s a must-have. It needs to be on the book shelf with Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, Epic Content Marketing, all of these books that have come out recently. This thing is right up there. It gives you such a unique perspective. So let’s start out with the introduction… Aaron: And bless you, James. James: No, cut it out. Let’s just start with the introduction why you chose that particular story about goals and elements and belief, because you were young. You were 19 years old. And then let’s get in to just some of the nuts and bolts of the book and how it relates to Monday Marketing because you are now not just working with musicians, you’re able to work with other larger companies that are not musically involved, just in a consulting capacity from what you’ve learned in the music industry, correct? Aaron: That’s correct. James: Beautiful. Aaron: I think we all have moments in our lives that stand out for we can say was a real life lesson and for me, one of the highlights I guess you could say was, I’d actually just turned 19. It was a week, if I’d been there a week earlier, I’d be 18 and basically, I climbed one of the Seven Summits which are for those who don’t know it, there’s a thing I guess that people like to do which is climb the highest mountain on each of the Summits. And so you have Everest in Asia and then the next highest in the world outside of Asia is Aconcagua which is in Argentina. And so, previous to this, I guess you could say that aside from music, my second passion was mountaineering and I’ve been an outdoor instructor and mountain guide and that kind of thing. And so when this opportunity arose, which really came about from a friend saying, hey, you got to do this. That was really funny too because a friends is going to be there and in the end, they couldn’t go so I
  7. 7. went by myself. But what happened was I went to climb this mountain and I spent a lot of time training for it, very passionately. And again, I was essentially living in this tiny place in Northern Spain in the mountains. So I have this ability to be in the right environment and I had enough time to be able to really give quite a big part of my day to training. And so essentially, I guess one of the things that happened was I trained with the Summit in mind the entire time. I never ever gave it the slightest bit of thought that I needed the full journey or the complete trip was coming back again. It was essentially, in my mind, it was the Summit and that was it. And so the thing about this overall journey was that there’s lots of things that happened in the way and it started with being early at the airport by at least, I think, 2 hours if not close to 3. And anyone that knows me knows that I like to get there just on time. And there I was, first person to come and check in that British Airways but it was until 5 minutes after the plane took off that they found me on their system. And there I was standing at the airport, thinking man, this sucks. I just missed this plane. How could they not figure this out until 5 minutes after the plane leaves? So I said, well you know, we’re at it. Why don’t we wait and see… and make sure that my flight tomorrow is going as planned that you can find me. They said sure and said where you’re going? I said, well, I’m going to Santiago in Chile. And they said, okay. And they said, oh, well, we have you down for San Diego in California I’m thinking, man! So I’m missing the first flight and now you got me flying to California? Come on. So this resulted in, essentially they made it right. I probably ended up paying half price for the flight that it would’ve cost me to Santiago in Chile. But I paid the San Diego price. They put me up in a 5 star hotel in front of the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao. I was taken there back in a Mercedes. All of a sudden things were kind of changing. And the book, I said I’ve talked about thinking back on these things and how things are, I guess, meant to be. But anyways, I got to Chile because we were doing the acclimatization mountain and whole idea of that is this that when you’re climbing an altitude, you need to do a certain amount of acclimatization. And the best way to do that is to climb a mountain that’s an altitude and then come back down to essentially sea level. And then that way, when you go to climb a higher mountain, you’re getting acclimatize. Then there’s this climb highest sleep low which is basically you always push yourself to a new limit. And then you come back down slightly to be able to sleep. So that your body is, at that point, feeling a little bit more relaxed, I guess you could say, for sleeping. But you’ve always kept pushing yourself further and so this mountaineering experience, when you climb an altitude, you really do have to sort of take 10 steps and stop and try and breathe because there’s no or even half the amount of oxygen you get at sea level. And it’s a real battle with your mind. I mean it’s a given that you have to be in good physical condition to be able to do it. But ultimately, it’s a mind game. I mean you know that there’s no way any helicopters coming at that altitude. It doesn’t matter if you see people or not. You’re hearing your breath then you’re hearing your heart and there’s this, it’s a very personal and individual thing. And so, and I think it also partly, after the fact, I could never have anticipated it being such a mind game and it really does come down to that 10 steps or one step at a time. And when you look at a mountain that you sort of have to almost hurt your neck to look at from the base, you never think that little steps would get you to the top and that’s really what it takes. It takes one step and one foot in front of the other not sort of trying run up ahead or lie down. It’s just that consistent little steps that it takes to get to the top. Now, the problem was, again, I was pretty, that was just my first altitude experience.
  8. 8. It was funny too because there’s other guys in the expedition and I remember and I got to Santiago day before everybody else. And when I got there, of course no one else is there yet, but the first experience in meeting the other guys in the expedition was at the bar at the hotel. And I get there, and they’re talking about their previous climbing experiences. And they’re talking about Mount Blanche and Elbrus, and then the Matterhorn which is fairly ridiculous technically, and then the Himalayas. Now, I think to myself, man. I just, I haven’t done any of that. What I’m a going to tell these people? They’re Swiss and German. They’re big huge beards. I’m baby face or whatever. And so anyways, this going up the mountain, the last night before we went for the Summit, I started hearing this guy and this other tent saying, Mike, Mike, Mike. And no one was answering, and I believe there is Polish people, there’s Germans, I was with them, and I guess the guide was Chilenean and I was there coming from Spain. But no one was answering this guy. So finally, I stood my head out and say, hey, over here because they start asking if anyone had a radio. So basically, what had happened was that this guy’s climbing partner had left about one in the morning the day before. And they still weren’t back and it was 10:30 at night. And one of the things about the Aconcagua is it has some of the deadliest storms in the world on the Summit. That If you’re there past noon, that’s not a good, you’re not looking too good. So that he wasn’t back by 10:30 at night was almost a given that he wasn’t going to be alive. And I just remember, lying in the tent that night, what if we find this guy and have to step over his body, I mean what it’s going to feel like to see someone dead? That is essentially attempted what I’m about to try myself and so that, that was a very weird feeling. And I remember because I was sharing a tent with the guy and he was telling me about all kinds of different experiences he’d had and different ways to lower body down in a mountain, and all kinds of stuff. And I was just, it was just a really weird sensation. And so ultimately, it’s fast forward to going for the Summit. I basically, I got within view of the Summit and by 200 meters which is really not very much. And a lot people say why you didn’t keep going? And I just remember some of this when it hit me that I had trained for this summit and not getting back. It was almost like a panic. It was like I didn’t ever think about having to get back down again and so I remember that point in time, my grandmother died very recently and it was pretty clear she said, it doesn’t matter, turning back is the harder decision, that no one’s going to say that I did the wrong thing. In fact, people will be proud that I made this tough decision. And so, which what I wrote might have been else to saying this but I was able to use that, to feel my decision and I said, look I’m going back. I’ve had fun to this point but it’s not to be fun anymore. And I remember Tristan who is the guide said no man, we’ll get you down. I said I don’t want to be got down. I want to have fun with this and this had been fun. And I remember we had this hug and I basically started turning back by myself and low behold on my way down I find Mike. I think when you read the book you can see all kinds of things that happened from the Argentinean Army coming up not being acclimatize so they can’t do much and then have the lower them on ski poles and across glaciers and paraglide. They’re trying to do a world book of world record or whatever, jumping on the summit and crashing behind. It was this long journey back down again but I think one of the things about it was as soon as the focus changed, and I realize that the true goals to get back down again, every step I took, every decision I made was clear because I knew what the goal was. And I’ve been a little bit, I think, a little bit off when I had thought my goal was just the Summit. And so, having that clear goal and mind really helped in, in making decisions and continuing forward. And a big part of finding Mike was this - what are the chances that you spent six months training, you missed the first flight, the prices then becomes half-price of the flight that I would have had to pay for,
  9. 9. then all these little things go on and then ultimately I find this guy. I mean what are the chances? Is it possible that that was meant to be, that at that point in his life and my life we were supposed to cross and that experience we had? It led to a lot of questions I guess for me, in regards to, such as, are people born talented? Or is it a coincidence that people find success? Or is it something that you were? What are these different elements? And so I started a book with that story because there’s a lot of the little parts of every step. One step at a time with consistency and persistency and strength, mindset and all these other little pieces that I know, so there’s a chap from PR and I talk about story telling and how important story telling is to whether it’s in branding or marketing that a story sticks whereas data doesn’t. And so, I felt that it was important to start the book with a story that would hopefully give people a feel of the person writing the book. I also tell people right off the bat. I didn’t make it to the top. I didn’t get to the top and I think by being honest, there’s an element of what I hope people realize is honesty throughout the book. And I wanted to give an example of telling a story and how that helps to connect in an organic way. And so, it had a few different reasons but I know that wasn’t very long and round about way of telling it, but that’s my answer. James: I wanted you to try, I’m fine with what you said but I wanted you to keep the Mike thing so people would read it say, what happened to this dude? But it so much more in there that could be taken away especially when you read it as long as you don’t mind telling it. There was no spoiler alert. Aaron: Well, the only thing I didn’t say in the book which, was that I remember that Mike… so Mike wasn’t the death but the death the happened that year on the mountain was, I mean, was tragic, but it was, just to give you an idea of the storm. So basically, a lady who’s there to climb in the mountain and this was at the same camp that we slept out in the high altitude camp, went to go pee and got blown off the mountain and that was not even the summit... I’m not, I guess I did laugh but I shouldn’t laugh but I mean that was the tragic death that year. But that gives you feel I think for the type of conditions that a mountain like that is, you’re at. James: Yes no doubt. So let’s just shift gears just for a second. Now, we talked about the journey and just all the, I keep thinking Lemony Snicket series of unfortunate events, that led to this piecing of and great parallels, great metaphors with the one foot in front of the other, I say that all the time. But let’s talk about the happen stance and how it relates to musicians, success, some people say it’s the right place, right time, it’s who you know it’s… this is what business be it marketing, internet marketing whatever. Tell me about, you speak about the 10,000 hours and what it takes to be a virtuouso so the 10,000 hours, and I wasn’t able to grab from the book if you thought the 10,000 hours was a deal breaker whether or not. It was a combination of working as how your 10,000 hours, or if it was a combination of that and circumstances. Aaron: Well, I think as far as the 10,000 hours are concerned, I mean a lot of this burred from like I was saying, this element of do things happen for a reason? Or do things.. are things out of your power or your own control? And so I spent a lot of time just trying to figure out what the elements or within the context of the music industries. But again, I think it applies anywhere to people that are highly talented that have no career in music and those that do find a career. And so the 10,000 hours I think, I mean Malcolm Gladwell talks about in his book, Outliers and there’s a lot of other, of course research on this number. And I remember a lot of different mentors and teachers telling me throughout my life about these 10,000 hours and the more you look into it, you start to realize that every person who reaches a assuring level of success does have 10,000 hours onto their belt.
  10. 10. I mean Sting will say something like every breath you take I will, I sat down, I wrote that in five minutes but he didn’t write it within the first five minutes of playing music. He wrote it after he had gained experience and knowledge and literally over 10,000 hours which breaks down to 10 years or four hours a day. And Ed Viesturs, he was the first American to climb all 14 - 8000 meter mountains without oxygen. And he happened to, I remember reading an interview, he said that he basically attempted Everest for the first time after 10 years into his climbing career. I thought well, that was a coincidence but guess what? He probably has his 10,000 hours of climbing which led him to have that ability to do it. I think that the example in the book references this music school in which they essentially took the violinist which playing violin is, it’s a very tough instrument. It’s getting intonation right. It’s nothing you can learn over a year. I mean you could learn to play some nearly young songs on guitar in a year but you wouldn’t be able to go and be the lead violinist in the orchestra. And most violinists are starting at three and four years old so basically, with the help of the professors, they put the violinist of the school into three groups. One was destined to be the world class, those that were really good but not world class and those that were destined to be teachers. And essentially that the whole motive of the research was how much time they’d put in, how much practice. And essentially it all started out with the same amount of hours that they put in, and that led to, I think, up to about the age eight and that started to branch off by age of 12. There was a large difference. And by the age of 20, those that were destined to be world class had put in well over 10,000 hours. Those that had destined to be really good but not world class, they put in abruptly 8,000 and those that had put in, well, destined for to being teachers, they put in about 4,000 hours. And so what the research showed, part of it showed was that, I should probably add that there was nobody in the world class that haven’t put in 10,000 hours and there was nobody in the destined to be teachers that had put in 10,000 hours. And so with that led to believe is that, we’re not born with talent. It’s not that, oh well, you got the gift and now you’ll find success but more that people do have to work for it and it does take a certain amount of time to reach that level of success. And so, in the music world, how can a band that has just started playing together expect in the first year to get some sort of a record deal. I mean he take you at a Justin Bieber and the reality is that he had very close to a 10,000 hours when he got discovered. Let alone I mean, now he surpassed that. But again, I think that when you apply that 10,000 hours, it’s almost as though what we need to do is learn to be patient because it doesn’t matter if your climbing a mountain, it doesn’t matter if you’re starting a company, I mean it doesn’t matter if you’re learning a language. One example I talked about in the book because I think the music industry is, it’s very difficult to decide or to demonstrate where in your career you stand. So no one knows if you’re about to graduate per se but if you were to translate that into college, you have people that are in their last semester, fourth year in their last semester, two weeks from graduating, friends and family know exactly where the student’s had and the can support them. Whereas in the music industry, I mean they have no clue how close they are to breaking or to making it. And so, one of the things I talk about too is kind of like saying, well if you want to go to the gym and get buff or if you want to learn a language, or you want to get a degree, there’s a clear path to doing that and it’s not going to the gym for one day, for one hour or do you like taking French for two weeks that’s like it’s too difficult and you’re going to switch to German because it’s easier or that you’re going to go to school for one semester. If you want the degree, if you want the great body or if you want to be fluent in a language you have to give it time. And so I think this 10,000 hours is hugely important. So if there was any confusion, I think that it’s mostly for people to kind of judge where they’re at in their expertise, in their career, how close they are to those 10,000 hours.
  11. 11. And the other part of it is that I certainly make a point of in the book is, I think that a key to success is to be the ability to recognize opportunities and then to take them. And it takes experience and knowledge before you can recognize an opportunity. I mean the way I see it is it if everyday of your life is a sunny day, then how’d you know it’s a good day? I mean you have to go through those experiences of bad weather or storm or whatever it is, to recognize that. And again, that doesn’t happen overnight. I mean that’s something that you need to gather experience with so it’s partly the observation of the opportunity at hand and it’s also that 10,000 hours that allows you to recognize the opportunity. James: Okay, let’s turn this on its head and talk up to the entrepreneurs or the wantrepreneurs that are part of my listening audience. So are they to give up hope thinking that if they got to bang their head against the wall for four hours a day for 10 years or nearly get their 10,000 hours or is it metaphorically subjective to you going to get it out of it what you put into it? Aaron: Well, yeah it is somewhat metaphorically. I think it’s actually quite true though that if you’re actually going to be an expert and this doesn’t mean that you’re not able to make a living from what you do but the idea of expertise to be out to really be someone who has complete understanding and really is an expert, I truly believe it does take that amount of time. However, I think that the recognizing opportunity is, in some ways more important because it’s not just 10,000 hours as much at it is to what those 10,000 hours consist of. Now, I could sit on the couch and I could play the same blues lick for 10 years and that doesn’t mean, okay, now my next blues lick is going to give me a record deal which will turn into platinum or something. It’s 10,000 hours of actual practice and pushing my boundaries and learning new things. I think if you apply that to recognizing opportunity, one of the things that my experience and the time I put in life come to realize and again, this is partially music industry but I think it relates to any industry, is that I see a lot of people that get in to something, entrepreneurs that are starting companies of businesses or musicians that are trying to have a career in music. They’re looking at other people within their same industry and they’re going, okay well, this person did this and they became successful. So what’s that recipe and so they’ll try and determine what it is that that person did to reach that level of success. And the problem is you can come up with this recipe but the key ingredient is different. And if you repeat what made them different the more it gets repeated the less different it is and you don’t really start to stand out, so there’s sort of this leaders and followers thing. I mean you have to create your own niche and they’ll follow you. But if you’re always being a follower, you’re not really setting yourself apart from the pack and part of that is the opportunity I think for someone who has gained a certain amount of experience, seeing an opportunity that could seem a little risky or could be a little bit kind of like I don’t know if I should do that because these other people aren’t doing it, can really lead for a lack of an experience that could lead to ultimate to success. And so it is a 10,000 hours but it’s… a big part of it is being able to ensure that every step you take is in the right direction, and that isn’t necessarily by following behind somebody else. Many times, it’s finding your own path. I mean I could easily go back to mountaineering. Every mountain that’s being climbed has been climbed by somebody first and someone has come along behind them and sort of following their footsteps, but the first people to see the Summit weren’t those who were following. James: Understood, and I was trying to again, draw parallels to the internet marketing space, the entrepreneurs that are listening and I think a key take away and tell me if you agree, is within those 10,000 hours of your journey, number 1, you never know success can be right around the corner. It’s not like a college degree where you do your four, six or eight years and at the end you get your diploma and bam! You have your degree. People give up too soon. People change. They change direction. So I think if
  12. 12. you learn your craft and Steven Pressfield, I love his discipline and the resistance and he talks about just do the work, do the work. Everything he talks or writes about is about revolves around writing and just show up and do it. And it is about becoming that expert but I think you need to have faith, you need to stay the course, and because success can virtually like your artist that’s working, working, working, and they don’t know when they’re going to get they’re big break but it could be right around the corner. Aaron: I completely agree and I think that, that people do give up all too soon. And there’s no proof anywhere that giving up will ever determine success and I think that one of the things that at least became a big thing for me is I remember early on… I’m an entrepreneur. Part of it was kind of going okay, I got this job, this is going to create income but I need to make sure I’ve got the next job, so that I can ensure that, that’s going to be, okay now I can foresee how I’m making income over the next X amount of time. And a big thing for me was realizing, no, no, no, no, no, what you need to do is you need to go number 1, believe in what you’re doing and the value that you bring to something. Because ultimately there’s a lot of trying to sit and look for that next client so they suggest that maybe you’re not going to continue with the client you currently have. And so you really need to believe in what you can do for the people that you’re working with or what you know in your product is because it takes a little while. Branding expert Marty Niemeyer told me once, and I though it was a great analogy was, he called that the French shower, I think that’s what he called it and it was this idea that you go to your friend’s house and you have a shower at their house and you get into the shower and you turn the water on and it’s not very hot so you turn it up a little more and you turn it up a little more and it’s still not. And it’s still not hot and you turn it all the way and still not hot and then suddenly jumped out of the shower screaming because you got burned. And it’s because there’s this lag in which it doesn’t mean that a great idea catches on immediately. And so, for that reason along, you need to stick around long enough for your concept to actually start to connect with the right people and so that in itself is a huge reason to be consistent and persistent when stepping in front of the other. James: Yeah. You’ve got to let it grow legs. Aaron: You do… that and I think if you talk about making sure every step goes in front of the other. I mean a big part of it too is going, okay well they’re writers it’s a business , who is your product for or who you writing for, who is your client, who is your audience and I don’t think people spend enough time really researching that. And I could give you some examples of how researching an audience led to essentially bringing about some great marketing ideas and ultimately leading to successes, through really researching audience and finding results that weren’t expected. James: Yeah, I want to see in your book you talk about fan profiling and that is totally awesome for any business not just to find in a target audience but you also supply some really good tools that can be used outside of the music industry. Absolutely knowing who they are, what they’re pain points are, where they hang-out, what they’re demographic is. It’s not just about they’re 30 to 54 and they’re male but totally, totally, totally. And another thing I wanted to say and we’ll move from the subject and start to wind things up a little bit. Staying the course in our industry is tough because of these so many distractions that ticking a different, everyone’s got an angle and everyone has a bright shiny object that they want you to come consume. So as we move on a little bit, let’s find out what’s going on with you. What do you have cooking right now? You mentioned offline that you have a couple of projects taking you around the country. But anything you want our listeners to know about, obviously, we’re going to talk about the book on the way out as well and I will have on the short notes all your websites and the website to purchase the book, but what’s happening with you?
  13. 13. Aaron: I guess this is when I say what’s not happening but then I recognized that’s what everyone goes through this busy, so. Well, I think and the book has added another layer to things and it looks like some schools are going to be picking it up. There’s one school in particular in San Francisco that’s basically wants to do a course around Musicpreneurship so that’s sort of an unexpected thing I guess you could say. I mean it’s differently uped my speaking engagements which I think a lot of people write books for is to then go out and speak that kind of thing. But actually what’s cooking today is, a lot of what I do is connect dots and I try and find as many dots that whether it’s for company that makes them who they are or whether it’s for an artist, a musician on the personal branding side of things. And I’m trying to connect those in a way that makes sense and creates value for their clients or their audience or whoever that target demographic might be, and so I guess it’s sort of a merge is partly one of my expertise as to, 1. Be able to identify the dots and 2. To connect them in a meaningful way that allows for creative brand partnerships and ways to move forward except the huge thing is that everyone has something that they’re good at or they like to do or their sort of rock star dream or I don’t know, just taking their company public whatever it might be. But sometimes it’s hard to decide, sorry, not decide but sometimes it’s hard to sort of envision how you get to that place. And a big part of connecting dots, for me, is to be able to go, okay well, when these dots are connected we’ve now come up with a brand essentially. And once you’ve determined what makes that brand stand out, then every step you take makes sense. It builds that brand and ultimately as we know, a great brand is not so much about connecting the audience with the brand but it’s more about the audience connecting with the audience and the brand being what represents them. And if you don’t know what you represent then it’s a little difficult to get to that point. And so, one of the projects I’m working on that sort of connecting these dots is a guy who has one of the top five most played songs on country radio since year 2002. He is a radio by golfer’s digest in the top five, of the top 100 celebrity golfers. He’s a philanthropist. Turns out he’s an incredible chef. He got all these different things going for him and all these dots that haven’t been connected, and so I’ve connected them under the, I guess, the brand of what we’re calling the Delta Man. And the Delta Man stands for something that happen, just kind of like the Marlboro Man or the Dos Equis guy, but it’s a little different because it’s a real person. And it’s an easy thing to do because the lifestyle that he lives is true to him, I mean it’s not trying to make something up and that’s where the Scotch company that I was talking about comes in because we created a brand partnership with the Scotch company and so the Delta Man drinks this scotch, and the Delta Man does this and the Delta Man does that, and it’s connecting all these dots. I mean, other than that, I’m always placing music and TV and film and working with a lot of different artists. There’s a few artists that I’m working with that through discovering who their audience were, brought about some interesting opportunities and one of them was just, country demographic is 35 to 45 year old women. We realized that they’re target demographic were this the audience thinks these were actually 13 to 17-year-old girls. I realized that 13 year olds and turning 17-year-old girls probably have 45 to 55-year-old women are mothers. And the best place to target these girls was in schools. We realize they’re, it was a hugely important and influential time in their lives so this particular artist had a great story for her own. She had some bullying in school and upon finding her own voice she was able to gain confidence and one thing led to another and her thoughts were able to essentially talk to anybody. There’s no dream too big and don’t let people say you can’t when you can. And that got picked up by Tim Hortons in Canada which is now in the States. Now, she’s a music director this year for camp Kentucky which is run
  14. 14. to privilege kids that come down from Canada to Kentucky and then we’re looking at North American tour and that came about from looking at the dots that existed, finding an audience and that’s something that’s been, that was another band that’s really connected with the yoga, vegetarian West Coast lifestyle. And again, it was a 26 to 37-year-old women and we flip the approach and sort of go, okay well I know it’s a band but how are companies like Lululemon, targeting this audience which also on the same audience and looking at who their PR company was and different ways of approach. So that’s kind of the things that I’m involved in as far as connecting dots and of course the book and other things like that, so. Again, it’s where to begin. James: That’s awesome. I love that connecting dots and it just goes to show that there’s so much out there that we can mine and that we can build it, that’s great. Aaron: It’s exciting. That’s what it is. It’s extremely exciting. James: This has been inspirational, again, reading most of your book, totally inspirational. That is Musicpreneur.ca we can find the book and it’s also on Amazon. Where else can we find you? Where Aaron’s hanging-out on Twitter, Facebook? What’s going on? Aaron: I was going to say I do go grocery shopping. I do like church and shows. I go to the gym. James: Long walks on the beach. Aaron: Yeah, long walks on the beach under the moonlight. Where can you find me? Well, on Twitter you can find me @playitloudmusic. I try to give as much marketing and branding and other types of content as possible there. Playitloudmusic.com is my website. There’s actually going to be revamp done to it. So stay posted. Musicpreneur.ca is of course were the focus of the book but of course there’s a blog posted I think has content that would be relevant to anybody. And there’s abovethenoise.ca which is my journey into doing interviews with people, haven’t done one for a little while but there’s lots there to check out. And I think that just about wraps up where you can find me. Other than like I said, the grocery store or the gym, or long walks on the beach, climbing… James: Awesome, awesome playing with your 4-year old. Aaron: Yes, playing guitar too, how about that? James: Awesome. Aaron: Or spending time with my wife, everything so. James: Cool stuff man. Aaron Bethune, thank you so much for being in the podcast today. Aaron: Thank you. James: Thank you so much for being just so generous with your time and we hope to talk to you soon. We will check you out and we’ll going to go buy the book! Aaron: Thank you. I really appreciate this.
  15. 15. James: You’re welcome sir. We’ll talk to you again soon. Aaron: Thanks. James: Okay. Bye.