Well! This is unique.
And really, I suppose it should be. I’d like to introduce you all to Kenny of Voice Media Partners – a man with a vision and a plan for the music industry, one shared with his partner Sarah. Together they’ve put together a new strategy and plan for working with indie bands and Kenny was extremely kind to lend us his thoughts on this latest project he’s involved in – a band called All New Episode.
So…you should be a believer by now…like I said…unique it shall be!
It was an interesting interview to take part in – I have to confess I wasn’t too sure who was/wasn’t actually IN this band All New Episode when I started this interview and at the time I couldn’t find any music by them either! So a lot of what I would normally ask to the band, I ended up asking to these key players behind the scene, ready to bring us new music in an “All New” way.
If you’ve been reading my blog, these interviews or watching our show SBS Live This Week! – you already know how I feel about the current state of the music industry and how desperate for a change it really is. Well – Voice Media Partners are not the type to fix a broken machine to simply use up what’s left of the good parts, not even close. These two are here with a different approach to the artists, recording process and representation and a genuine love for what they can do for music and the people that make it. You KNOW we love those ideals!
So check this out, Kenny is incredibly passionate and insightful about his methods and approach. Each answer given you can visibly see on the page just how truly committed he is to every task, leaving nothing unconsidered and no element to chance. Voice Media Partners are about bringing you the music through creative new ways; ways that make you genuinely interested in the story OF the music…the journey…the mythology…
This is a man born and bred to exist and live in the liner-notes of music history, just like I see myself. It was a pleasure to talk to Kenny and learn about the All New Episode project and what Voice Media Partners can do for music overall.
I could talk all day, but Kenny says it best. Check it out.
Jer @ SBS
Voice Media Partners Interview – Discussing All New Episode
SBS: Alright! All New Episode thanks so much for being here with us! Just the title of the band makes me excited – it sounds FUN and driven. From what I can read, the intense drive and smart marketing of this band of yours are two qualities deep rooted in your work – but for those that don’t know about All New Episode yet, tell us about the band, how you can to be and about the style of music that you’re making.
Voice Media Partners: Well first off Sarah and I work with the band and represent them, but we are not a part of the band. I think that many people become confused when they see us speaking and so I wanted to clarify that Sarah and I are from Voice Media Partners and All New Episode is the band we are working with. The band has a very unique story and I will touch base a little bit on your question without rewording the story for them. Ultimately this band came about from the love and passion of music. Like any group, company or band they have had their trials but have overcome them. Just in our dealings with the band they incorporate their music into all they do whether it be their goals, current plans, or just in how they approach life, they stick together and collectively work as a team to accomplish these things. I will let them fill in the details of how they came about in the next interview.
SBS: Tell me more about Voice Media Partners and how they play a role in the musical career of All New Episode. I’ve read as much as I can find, but one paragraph’s opening line really struck me. It mentions that Voice Media Partners more or less want transparency when it comes to their recipe for success. I have to admit – during my research I thought that All New Episode was anything BUT transparent. In many ways, especially with music yet to be put on there on the internet, this band is still covered in a shroud of mystery! I am assuming of course that the music of All New Episode is part of that recipe for success – so tell me about how Voice Media Partners are achieving this transparency in other ways…and where is our music!!!
Voice Media Partners: I have to admit that we are shrouding the group in a blanket of mystery and not just on the music, but we are targeting certain markets to launch certain campaigns. We are distributing this album in multiple venues across the world, so our campaign strategy for the UK will be different than that of Australia, Canada or the United States. Right now my main focus is on the UK since we have received a huge following there and even more so then here in the United States which is where the band is from. The campaigns have stages they are in and are released in various sequences that we are managing. So in some parts of the world we are doing direct publicity through certain venues. Our recipe of success is the story and music. The story and music is what will captivate people and the second part of our recipe is how we are delivering that music. In some parts of the world we are doing press releases and giving people the image of the music which is purposely done. We are approaching each region differently and going off of the market research we have done as well as what partnerships we have in each region, which in this case is by countries. So part of that does have some control over what as well as how much publicity is going into that region. We are running multiple campaigns at once that have different goals, target markets as well as approaches.
SBS: The recent blog posting at your home site also goes on to mention that this ISN’T the first album release coming up for All New Episode – so again I ask you Kenny and Sarah – WHERE is our music? Ha! Sorry – I’m completely musically greedy and I love to listen to new music I haven’t heard…I’m just excited to hear All New Episode – I’m sure you understand!
But in looking at this during the research – I’d have to admit – this almost does look like the beginning launch of the band, or perhaps re-design if there has been music previously released before. So tell me about why NOW…it seems like you and your camp are really firing up the machine to support this new album Signature Edition – what stopped you from pushing the earlier material as hard as this?
Voice Media Partners: Jer, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said the re-design. I look at this as a partnership between Voice Media Partners and All New Episode. Furthermore, I think that we are taking the image of the band and launching it globally in a new way. All New Episode has a story to tell and we are presenting that story in a unique way. I am a published author so I love to be visually compelling and descriptive. I have done launches for my own books as well as for start up companies and have worked with some of the biggest companies in the world. So imaging and branding is my expertise specifically. So what we are doing is re-designing and branding the bands image as unique, innovative and a mix of a smooth blend that is fun and exciting. In the promo video we play their song and that is to only give a sample. The band did have another album and we have re-created that album and added a unique approach to it along with new tracks, the bands distinctive character and flavor and collaborated with the band to do what no other band I have seen has done before on not only a national level, but a worldwide level. Where have you seen an album you can receive the digital copy, provide a proof of purchase and then have a chance to not only receive an originally signed copy of a limited edition but also have it endorsed to you? We also are making it possible for people outside of the United States in several countries to receive this.
We did not know All New Episode when they released their first album. So we have been talking for almost two years and this project as well as our upcoming movie project has been in the works for a while. We collaborated and found what would make this launch unique and best for fans and so we went with that and built upon it. Voice Media Partners are experts in this type of thing and we handle this for the band so they can focus on their music. It is a unique but great partnership we have that we hope to continue and to a certain degree replicate with select bands over the years to come.
SBS: Tell us about that upcoming album Signature Edition. From what I can read and research – you all sound extremely excited about the music, the production, the promoting of…well, the whole thing really – which is awesome! I’m always stoked to see artists passionate about what they do and armed with the determination you all have, so on a personal level, I’m inspired to see just how much work you’ve been putting into this. But specifically, for you personally, what makes this album stand out?
Voice Media Partners: Signature Edition for me and Sarah shows the final product of an idea that has sprouted and evolved. We were not even sure how this was all going to play out for the final product and the title of the album changed until we developed the concept. Then we flew ideas around the concept and it evolved to this. We have partnerships around this concept and it is a unique way to approach the market. I feel we are innovating how albums are sold as well as the interaction that bands can have with their fans along with the types of roles companies can play when working with bands. That is what this album is all about.
SBS: What was the biggest challenge that you faced during the recording of the new album and how did you manage to get past it to achieve the end goal?
Voice Media Partners: Well the band recorded the songs on their own. We then took the songs and worked with them from there. The biggest challenge I faced was separating this from Huge Mistake their EP and reinventing how to make this album matchless and how to present it.
SBS: Your site mentions how this band…almost chose NOT to have a home in a specific area, but to make the entire GLOBE their home. Explain that a little more for us if you could. That’s a wide net to cast out; but as we’ve seen from many bands in the past, staying in one little safe spot doesn’t necessarily work either, so you could very well be on to something here. The theory and scope of that ideal are extremely large – how do you plan on going about it?
Voice Media Partners: Well the band does have a home where they originated from, but we are making the home of their music the planet earth until we find aliens then we will conquer their planets with their music as well. But really, our societies everywhere are connected that any person who targets their location only geographically is missing out. I work with people all over the world and thought that our audience is anyone who loves music. Look at you Jer, you have an awesome setup and I really love what you do and we are in two different countries. So I think people need to think out of the box and expand their home to one world united. Voice Media Partners was founded upon that, the band believes in that and so do I personally. All New Episode and Voice Media Partners are very ambitious and we are globally reaching one person at a time, changing their lives with music, with the passion for doing this and showing people that this was accomplished by people working together with a common goal. That is what makes this so unique. At the end of the day it’s about partnering and using our talents and abilities to accomplish this goal. I think we are setting a new standard for the music industry. Not only will people around the world hear that music, but then when they hear our story of how that music was delivered to their part of the world, it only makes it that much more special.
SBS: What would you say is the number one attribute that sets All New Episode apart from other bands and why? What defines your sound?
Voice Media Partners: The passion they have for the art of music and for being themselves. From a third party point of view, All New Episode has that sound that you know is going to stay fresh for years to come. I like to compare them to the Foo Fighters or Nirvana, because no matter how old these bands songs get, they still are great. I believe All New Episode is going to be like wine, just getting better with age. I also think that the band speaks from the heart. When I asked Nicole about what inspired Huge Mistake, she gave me insights to an experience the band had. I think that is what drives this band from my perspective, so do not quote me on saying this is how it is, but I think the passion for doing what they do is what makes them different. They are not trying to cater to trends or what people are trying to hear; they are just making their own sound and being the unique them. There is nothing artificial about this band and they are not trying to sound like anyone except themselves. I have heard some bands personally just from looking at musicians to work with and they sound the same. I am not trying to be mean but some of these bands sound like their version of a well-known artist. To truly make your mark in this business, you have to bring you to the table and not try to be a No Doubt, or a One Republic or any of these other artists who made their sound from who they are. If someone said any time during the reviews, “Oh, this band sounds just like Foo Fighters,” then I know we would be in trouble, because they are not trying to be like them. All New Episode says what they feel with no regrets because that is them. They do not need to fake it until they make it. They do not need to try to be like some other band to get the world’s attention. They are just them. Funny, witty, sincere and passionate about being All New Episode and knowing people will embrace them because this band is real.
SBS: In terms or production, mixing and mastering – how much input do the two of you have into the final recordings of All New Episodes material? From what I’m reading – it seems like much of what you do you’ve learned to do from the ground up…so I’m thinking that you’re pretty hands on if not in full control. But I am just assuming! What’s the real deal?
Voice Media Partners: I am glad you asked that question because this is what defines a record label from a partnership. We give all rights and control to the band. I do not try to control anyone. I hate being micromanaged myself so I do not do it. The band comes up with the sound. They actually record their own stuff and we trust and respect their musical abilities. Going into this I had told All New Episode I believed in their music. I did not just like it or want to jam to it myself. I “believed” in what they were doing and why they were doing it. I think a record label tries to go with what is hot and what works. I am more of a risk taker. However, the way I selected who to work with was with one very simple rule. Would I pay for it to buy an album at double the price of what a normal album would be and would I break my neck trying to go to a concert? If the answer is no, then it is a no go. I listened to hundreds of bands before coming across All New Episode. They were the only ones I contacted. So the real deal is, during the mixing and mastering they approved of their own music. During the remixing that we are preparing to do, they are going to approve or not approve if it is released. Simply put, they are the artists and we are the publishers so they will decide. I do give my input and my viewpoint as to how I feel about things, but ultimately it is their brand, their music so their say. I chose to work with them due to trusting that they are going to be them and they are going to do the best they can do to make their music. What more can you ask for then that? A person can only do the best they can do and everything else is beyond their control. Voice Media Partners collaborates but does not dictate the band’s music. That is why we are partners and not a “record label” who works with them.
SBS: Describe the studio atmosphere where you recorded Signature Edition – how did you set it up to get the best out of All New Episode? How was it maximized to inspire your creativity and create the best music you can make?
Voice Media Partners: The band recorded the music and we published it. We are working with several DJ’s to remix some if their sounds and then we will bring it to All New Episode to see if they want any of it published, but they had full control of recording their music with a sound engineer the way they wanted it. We just took the final pieces and made the other aspects of the design, marketing and partnerships to distribute the music come to light. Even with the DJ’s we are working with we are letting them take their musical talents and apply them to the remixes. I mean, you do not go to a mechanic and tell them how to fix your car right? I know how to mix, write and score music, but still, I am not going to have everything become my style. I have samples given to me, ideas presented from different people then I give my input and they review it, but ultimately I let people experiment and freestyle. If I come across something I know does not work then I definitely stop it there, but if it is good and something I like and can work with then I make it happen.
SBS: Was the possibility considered, that in building all of this up and promoting the band without accessible music posted up, that it could possibly discourage potential listeners? At the end of the day, music fans want to listen to new music, see new music videos and read about their favorite bands. The last one of those three you’ve done extremely well – but from my experience the “typical” fan is pretty much looking for those three things and actually in that order as well! I guess the question really is, are there any potential downsides to early exposure? Or does the old adage “any press is good press” apply here?
Voice Media Partners: I honestly considered everything when coming up with this project. I had a very distinct plan and that saying, “There is a method to my madness” does apply here. See the way you described things is traditional marketing for musicians. That is following the traditional plan. In the traditional plan, the listener hears the music and decides if it is good or no good. It is like looking at a car without really getting inside of the vehicle. You are judging the car off of what you see and the first impression. However, I think outside of the box and put myself in the shoes of what I like to know. I have heard songs at first glance that do not seem like great songs at first. Later on, I read about the song, I hear the musician’s inspiration for the song and get an inside look of the song. When I do that and look at the lyrics the song then gives me a new meaning. So, if I look at music that way and see the industry doing it the old fashioned way where people are flooding the music scene with music that gets heard for a moment then sticks or does not stick, with the end result being hundreds of bands never getting anywhere, then why would I want to follow that business model? I have literally had people send in e-mails talking about the story. Saying how they love what we are doing and what can they do to become a part of it. They did not do that because they just listened to the music. They did it because of the story behind the music. People want to be told and not sold. I think this shows the uniqueness of the band. We are not trying to sell you the music, we are trying to tell you the music so that a listener can have a true understanding of what to expect and the meaning behind everything we are doing. We are setting a new standard for how music is made and published as well as how you release it. All New Episode is buzzing worldwide and we have not paid one radio station to play their music. They will be released through major outlets such as AT&T and Sony and we have not created any samples other than the promo video that gives a slight inside to the bands story. Everything we have done has been story driven and has educated the music lover about what we are doing and why we are doing it. This band is transparent in the idea that we do not just do something off the wall, but we explain everything that we are doing and why we are doing it. So to answer your question, in a way any press is good press, but not any press with me taking the time out is good press. If a news reporter wants to cover the band and talk about how awesome they are, then that is great. However, if they want to interview the band or I, then yea, that is not just happening just to happen. I specifically targeted the venues for who we wanted to work with for these types of interviews. We are indie, the band is indie and we want to target the indie market first hand. I want to give front row seats to the indie fans who love and support indie music. The word has spread about All New Episode and not because we are playing their music all day every day, but because people love the story, they can embrace the music and they want to be a part of the group who is doing things differently. They want to be a part of the partnership that is bringing music on a whole new level and who is presenting it on a whole new format. People want to see the story. Look at reality television. It blew up because it is not staged, it is not faked and you become and experience the story in real time. That is what we are doing. Giving people that real experience, showing them, this is how we approach music. People want to be told, not sold the same corporate BS that they hear. That is why music stores and chains have gone out of business and artists are self-publishing and self-releasing their own music and pulling away from record labels. Voice Media Partners and All New Episode deliver that in a unique partnership that hopefully people will catch onto and start becoming a part of. So potential listeners may not like they have to wait for the music, but they will love us for it, because when they do get it, they are educated on the band and the music and it means that much more. It is like seeing the behind the scenes of a movie on how it was made then watching the movie itself. This is the new way of doing things accompanied by a new trend that we are setting.
SBS: What would you say that the current challenges are for independent music today? You seem to have excellent plans for exposure and releasing your upcoming album – is there a hope that some of these independent bands and artists out there will take notice of the hard work and effort you’re putting in and kind of adopt this framework of yours on how to attack a musical career? You’ve got some amazing ideas, a great website and a great plan – but what’s the real key to overcoming the challenges facing indie music today?
Voice Media Partners: I think that indie bands are plagued with trying to copy the big record labels and big backers for big name artists. I look at it like this. You have to be realistic. I love doing films and a director once said that if you are indie then you cannot copy the big time companies because they have bigger budgets. Quit trying to copy the big labels. Set your own trend. When we first did this idea for this album we were just planning on going national. We got worldwide partnerships going to do an album in multiple countries and the funny thing is we were not even planning to do that. The reason why it happened is because we set up our own trend, we did our own thing and we were just ourselves. I told people we were a small, two-person company that had some awesome ideas that involved an awesome band. People embraced us and not because we were some huge corporation, but because we had passion and thought about a great idea. Fear is what holds us all back, but you do not know unless you try. We are not trying to go platinum or attend the Grammies. This is just a small company and a cool band that worked together on an idea and wants to present this awesome music we both believe in to the world. My advice to the bands out there is to be yourself. Use your ideas and if you do not have ideas then contact Voice Media Partners and if we believe in your music then we may decide to work with you. If you want advice or direction and my personal input then contact me. I will not charge to give you a review of your strategy. We work on many projects and this next year we are working on an independent animated film as well as a video game project that we put on hold, along with another novel I am working on. We have experience in doing big projects and marketing them.
I think the real key facing independent musicians is to get the distribution and the marketing of how to reach their target audience. The problem is that musicians need to find people who can do this and not do it themselves. I do not know too many musicians who can market their own products. I know how they feel though. When I had my first book published I thought I was going to be on the best sellers list. I was shocked to find out I was just another author who got a book deal and would get lost in the bunch. Well I went to big name companies and bookstore managers and pleaded my case. Luckily for me I had a marketing background. I was successful and even then I did not make a huge dent in the book world but enough to get paid and write another book that turned into a screenplay. The reality is this, is that you can have the best music in the world but unless people know about it, they cannot buy it. Then it is like that old saying, “It is not what you say but how you say it.” To overcome this challenge you need to reach out to people or companies like us who can get you that reach. Find someone who is starting their own marketing agency or marketing business. Ask them if they would split profits. Publicizing a band will be a great add on for a company who has never done it but has the resources and know-how of how to market products. Another reality is, and this is a harsh but truthful reality, that if you end up doing what you are doing, you will only be a band that will play locally only, use the outlets that are free or that only a small budget can afford and you will be another indie band lost in the shuffle. For some people that is great. For others, that sucks. Regardless of how this album sells, All New Episode can say they were distributed worldwide; they got to be a part of a movie, as well as have been given offers for a product line we are redoing along with other project opportunities. That is a lot better than just being another band in the shuffle and they ended up there by not previewing their music first. So that is just a thought. You can always contact me @ Contact@VoiceMediaPartners.info and just mention Jer and if you want to Jer, you can refer people directly to me.
SBS: Theoretically – there’s a TON we could have talked about! And there’s no doubt that you guys would have wanted to mention something I probably didn’t even bring up – which is why we have this next space for you guys here in the interview. This is the SBS Open Floor – a spot for you to say anything you like, mention anything you want that you want to pass on. Kenny and Sarah – it has been an extreme pleasure to learn about All New Episode and I personally can’t wait to hear the new album! Though I’m sure that’s implied somewhere here in the interview, lol…
Keep in touch and take care of each other! Thanks for your time Voice Media Partners!
Voice Media Partners: We are working on a movie project with All New Episode on Kickstarter. View the details here, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1710717084/the-kenny-and-sarah-show-animated-movie and see what we are doing. We also are going to be releasing some merchandise related to the album and All New Episode. We will have updates coming up on that and previews of that merchandise in January. Look for that as the merchandise will be personalized to make it unique and your own. Look for the album worldwide and pre-order through select outlets. Jer, we also are going to be giving you a special signed edition of the album as a special thank you. So look for our updates and new interviews as well as the movie coming out the winter of 2014, The Kenny and Sarah Show featuring All New Episode and their music.
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