Tell us a little about yourself and your experience.
Hello! My name is Eric and I’m the head of Awfully Good Records. We are a new California based record label.
What drove you to choose your career path?
Two for Tuesdays at the original House of Blues Anaheim. Haha! I’ve always been a concert fanatic but usually went to larger bands and festivals. One day I realized there were shows out there that were cheaper than movie tickets. I got introduced to some amazing local bands that day and it was like a doorway into another world had opened up. It’s been about a decade now and I haven’t looked back.
How did you go about getting your job? What kind of education and experience did you need?
The head of Soundcheck411.com asked me to start reviewing shows and interviewing bands for her site. About a year later I started By the Barricade to focus on promoting local bands because I saw some real talent right down the street. As the site grew I wanted to start promoting the music offline as well so Awfully Good Records was born.
It’s been a pleasure to be a part of so many amazing teams but mostly it just came down to seeing a need and trying to help. There are so many ways to get involved with the scene that you don’t need to wait until you’re. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that it’s ok to jump in and help wherever you can.
What do you actually spend the majority of your time doing?
Our team is intentionally very small so many of us wear multiple hats. Most of my day is spent getting our artists’ music in front of eager ears and implementing systems to expand the company.
What misconceptions do people often have about your job?
That success comes overnight. A lot of our conversations with artists are aligning expectations and capability. Everyone wants to grow as fast as possible but a release is a group effort so a “set it and forget it” mentality makes things difficult.
What are your average work hours?
7am-2am. I work in bursts so I’ll often sit down to start a project and get so absorbed that a whole day will go by without me even noticing. I’ve learned to set alarms to remind myself to eat meals so I can focus.
What personal tips and shortcuts have made your job easier?
I don’t know about “easier” but growing a dedicated team has been really helpful. The trick is to become hyper aware of your own skills and shortcomings. That way I’m able to put a team in place that complements each other and can accomplish more than just one person.
Do you have any advice for people who need to enlist your services?
Be professional! If you’re going to send an email to ANYONE in the industry that you are not personal friends with treat it like a job application. Emails that start with “Yo dawg whatz up” get trashed immediately.
Also, include as much information about your band as possible (without attachments). If you can create an online EPK and include a link in your email that speeds up the process exponentially. We get TONS of emails without any links (sometimes not even a band name). It’s my priority to listen to all music that gets sent my way but I’m not spending an hour hunting down your demos.
What's the worst part of the job and how do you deal with it?
I love stability and that’s not always a guarantee when starting your own business. Luckily I’ve had an awesome support network of friends, family and colleagues that allow me to live my dream. Our team actively works to create stability in the business wherever possible so we can sustainably grow. It takes a lot of planning and foresight to keep the lights on and wheels turning but we are confident that Awfully Good Records will continue to grow.
What's the most enjoyable part of the job?
Seeing a large project come together. Sometimes these albums take more than a year to put together so it’s awesome to see them become a reality.
What kind of money can one expect to make at your job?
There’s a large range since record labels come in all shapes and sizes but if your goal is money pick a different industry. So many musicians and their support networks work together because it’s their dream. The passion is what gets me out of bed every day.
How do you move up in your field?
Networking, networking and more networking. You never know where a great opportunity could come from so keep meeting people as often as possible. On that same note, the music industry has a very close-knit community (even across genres) so think long and hard before burning bridges.
What advice would you give to those aspiring to join your profession?
START! There are so many free ways to get involved. You don’t need to wait for an invitation to join some sort of exclusive club. Just start helping out where you can and it will be noticed.