Career Spotlight is a new interview series that focuses on regular people in the music industry and the jobs you might not hear much about—from publicists, artist managers, booking agents, label owners, and everything in between.
Digital Tour Bus has that extra edge to dig deeper into the backstage antics of touring musicians – and quite literally – goes where most fans and friends have never gone before. We talked to DTB founder Joshua Weidling who uses his academic background to help grow his business.
Tell us a little about yourself and your experience.
My name is Joshua Weidling and I'm the owner of the music/entertainment website, digitaltourbus.com. In the past, I've been everything from a band manager to a concert promoter, and almost everything in between.
What drove you to choose your career path?
I've always been the type of person that has to be fully invested in what I'm doing. I can't just be the casual music fan or even just a music fan, I have to be involved in every way possible. It all started when I was a sophomore in high school when one of my friends joined a band. Instead of just helping him promote his shows, I went to the lengths of starting my own promotion company. Once I was in the industry, I couldn't stop myself from learning as much as I could and branch out into different areas.
How did you go about getting your job? What kind of education and experience did you need?
I started Digital Tour Bus when I was a freshman in college and I learned everything I needed to know as I went. There wasn't really a plan at the beginning. It was all just a big idea that everyone told me I was crazy for trying to do. I do have a bachelors degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago in Business Marketing, which has been a big help with running and growing my business.
What do you actually spend the majority of your time doing?
A lot of Digital Tour Bus' visitors/viewers think I spend my days hanging out and interviewing bands, but that's definitely not the case. For the most part, I spend my days answering email, posting content, running the social media accounts, assigning work to DTB's staff and tons of other miscellaneous stuff.
What misconceptions do people often have about your job?
The one major misconception that people have about my job is that I don't have much choice over what bands/artists that I film with, especially for our Bus Invaders series. I approach a lot of artists every week and for various reasons, I end up getting 5-10% of the acts I request for. So, if I haven't filmed with an act that people really want to see, I probably tried to get them, but got turned down. If it was up to me, I'd film with every touring act that I can because I think that everyone has their own story to tell.
What are your average work hours?
They vary, but I'd say, on average, that I work around 15 hours per day.
What personal tips and shortcuts have made your job easier?
Staying organized and developing systems that work for you is probably the best tip I can give. I use Evernote for note keeping, Dropbox for sending files and old-fashion pen and paper for to-do lists. There is nothing better than the feeling of crossing off something on your to-do list!
What do you do differently from your coworkers or peers in the same profession?
The one thing I try to do differently, as often as possible, when compared to my peers, is try to do stuff that hasn't been done before or to at least put my own spin on something that is already out there. This is especially reflected in Digital Tour Bus' diverse content strategy, as well as in our spreads in each issue of Substream Magazine and HM Magazine.
What's the worst part of the job and how do you deal with it?
Dealing with rejection is easily the worst part of my job. It's something I've had to deal with since day one of starting Digital Tour Bus. When I first started developing the concept of invading the touring vehicles of bands/artists, people thought I was crazy and told me I could never get bands to say yes. After over 5 years, I still have publicists, managers and labels who don't consider what I do a “legitimate” press opportunity and refuse me up with their acts. I get denied, for various reasons, almost everyday, it's just something you learn to brush off.
What's the most enjoyable part of the job?
Honestly, it's got to be the flexible hours. If it's been a bad week, I know I can take a night off and still be able to get caught up. Being your own boss has a few perks.
What kind of money can one expect to make at your job?
All I can say is to be prepared for the long-haul.
How do you move up in your field?
The only way to move up is to grow your audience. That can be done by getting bigger artists for interviews, connecting with potential fans on social media (and in person) and a number of other ways.
What advice would you give to those aspiring to join your profession?
Work hard and don't give up. If you truly love what you do, people will notice.