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The Golden Rules

Author: Tim Gray

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The Golden Rules is a podcast and video series featuring interviews with Nashville's TOP music industry executives, marketing heavyweights, and brand leaders about their golden rules for life and business.
13 Episodes
On Episode 13 of The Golden Rules, Partner and Entertainment lawyer, Derek Crownover, of the law firm Dickinson Wright joins us to share his journey to success and his golden rules for life and business. #QOTD "I want to make you more money than you will ever pay me"#Knowledge- Don't be a bastard- Pull and all nighter- Commit and Vacuum - Do the things you do not want to do with joy- Work extremely hard- Pick up the phone and communicate - Decide to get better everyday- Learn to really listen- Collaborate- Ask the right questions- Build real relationships with your clientsDerek is an entrepreneur, attorney, 22-year music industry veteran, former adjunct professor of entertainment law at the Curb Music Business School at Belmont University in Nashville, TN.Over his career his music clients have sold over 450 million records and gained 100 billion streams. He's serves as counsel and Board Member for T.J. Martell Foundation, has been named to the best lawyers in America list, honored as a 2017 Attorney for Justice by the Tennessee Supreme Court, listed in Chambers USA, named "Best Lawyer in Entertainment Law", Best Lawyers and Best Law Firms, 2009-present, named a "Super Lawyer", Selected “Best of Bar” by Nashville Business Journal and many more.
On episode 06 of The Golden Rules, the National Director of Promotion for Big Machine Label Group Records, Michelle Tigard Kammerer shares how she 10x's everything and her golden rules for life and business.- How she got into the music business- How she 10x's everything- Her golden rules for success in life and business#QOTD: Make sure your work and conduct, speak for itself#Knowledge- Play chess, not checkers- Treat people with respect- Bloom where you are planted- Never eat lunch alone- Stay true to you- Be the best you can fro the people around you- Chase joy- Follow your morals for big decisions- Spread JoyMichelle Tigard Kammerer, is 14 years music industry vet with music industry experience in booking, management, strategic partnerships, label operations and radio. As a booking agent, she has booked shows in Arenas, Coliseums, Amphitheaters, Fairs and Festivals throughout the entire US and Canada for mega-agency CAA, Creative Artist Agency. After 6 years at the agency, she transitioned to CRB (Country Radio Broadcasters and Country Radio Seminar) as the Director of Brand Marketing and Strategic Partnerships working with brands like Coca-Cola, Loews Hotels, and Virgin America Airlines. Michelle had the opportunity to begin working with, the force of nature, Big Machine Records after a few years at CRB in Nashville. She currently serves as the National Director of Promotion for BMLG Records - Big Machine Label Group, where she has worked with incredible artists including Florida Georgia Line, Lady Antebellum, Steven Tyler, Justin Moore, Montgomery Gentry, Billy Currington, Brett young, Maddie and Tae to name a few. She has worked with artists and teams earning dozens and dozens of number one hits and millions of albums sold and streamed. Been mentioned and featured in Billboard, music row magazine, all access, and every other major music industry publication you can think of. And she has done it all the right way. MTK's relentless drive, passion for music, and the ability to build relationships are unparalleled. She holds herself and those around her to a high standard of effort and truth. It's infectious. When you around her you want to do better and be better because she is the type of leader and person that pulls that out of you. She will be one of the few that lead Nashville and the music industry one day, and we will all follow, happily. 
On episode 12 of The Golden Rules, Mike Molinar, GM for BMM "Big Machine Music" joins us and we hear his journey, leadership style, and golden rules for life and business. - How he got into the music business- What he looks for in songwriters- His golden rules for success in life and business#QOTD Are they your kind of dog?#Knowledge- Listen to the whispers on the wind- Have a goal, build a plan, work it backwards- It's not a job, it's a lifestyle- Always believe you can do better- Feel responsible for your team- Take pride in building relationships- Quality songs never go out of style- Commitment, preparation, and execution- Mistakes lead to opportunities- Be self-aware
On episode 11 of The Golden Rules, Executive Director of the International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA) Pam Matthews shares her story and her golden rules for life and business. - How she got into the music business- What it takes to last 30 years in the music industry- Her golden rules for success in life and business#QOTD "Actions Speak Louder Than Words"#Knowledge- You can always tell what people value most by where they spend    their time and money - You can pretend to care, but you can't pretend to show up- Living well is the best revenge - Don't be scared of money or math- You need a hard skill- Bloom where you're planted- Eliminate unhealthy fears- You can’t be 23 when your 53, and you can’t be 53 when your   23...everyone has their own value- Wisely and slow, they stumble that run fast" Pam Matthews is a 30 plus year music industry veteran that got her start at 15 years old in Memphis TN working with legendary concert promoter Bob Kelly, with Mid-South Concerts. She loves live music and is a true road warrior that began as a runner working her way up to touring accountant for artists like KISS, Ozzy Osbourne, and Judas Priest. Pam moved to Nashville in 1985 to help veteran concert promoter, and later the CEO of the Country Music Association, Steve Moore build the 17,000 capacity Starwood Amphitheatre in Nashville from scratch under PACE Concerts and Louis Messina. From there she served as the Vice President and Treasurer for three of the Judds’ corporations before transitioning to General Manager of the Ryman Auditorium. The Ryman Auditorium, aka The Mother Church, the historic music venue in downtown Nashville had sat empty for almost 20 years before Pam became involved.  The once grand theater had been shuttered with holes in its roof from 1974-1994 before renovations and when Pam came onboard the theater was only hosting about 12 concerts a year. When Pam left, utilization of the venue was about 220 events a year. Over her time serving as GM of The Ryman she promoted incredible concerts and hosted legendary artists. She was able to win Pollstar's theater of the year and have the historic venue listed as a National landmark.The stories and shows she oversaw and promoted are legendary. A few of the artists she mentioned working with include Robert Plant, Johnny Cash, Harry Connick Jr, Merle Haggard, Annie Lennox, Kenny Rogers, WIllie Nelson, Vince Gill, Al Green, Etta James, Carole King, George Carlin, Erykah Badu, Keith Urban, Coldplay, Jason Mraz, R.E.M. and hundreds more. Her depth of experience in the industry also made her an ideal candidate for her current position as the Executive Director of IEBA. IEBA is the International Entertainment Buyers Association with over 1400 active members including 850 buyers and promoters and 300 booking agents. She has been named to Billboard Magazine's “Twenty Top Women in Music.”, Nashville Business Journals - "Women in music city Award' and countless other industry publications. She has been there, seen that and got the shirt. She is a straight shooter that has built her incredible career by doing it the right way and holds others accountable for following her example. The wealth of knowledge and relationships Pam has in the music industry is incomparable and we unfortunately barely scratched the surface in this interview.
On episode 10 of The Golden Rules, President of Red 11 Talent Agency Jon Folk shares how he build his agency and his golden rules for life and business. #musicbuisness - How he got into the music industry- How he became successful - His golden rules for success in life and business#QOTD: "It's not a job, it's a lifestyle"#QOTD: "If you need to cut out at 5 or 6 o'clock every night to go home and turn off it's not the right industry for you"#Knowledge- Fall in love with the day to day- Treat people with respect- Never wake up not wanting to go to work- If you chase the money you could lose the career, if you chase the career the money will come- Work harder- Do what you love and do it well- It takes time and you will know when the tie is right- Take advantage of opportunities - Make an impact- Become invaluable - Build relationships- You have to really want itJon is a 22 Year music industry veteran, booking agent, and entrepreneur, who got his start interning at the booking agency World Class Talent. He then transitioned over to an agency which at the time was one of the largest most successful independent booking agencies in the country, Buddy Lee Attractions. There he began working with artists such as Dixie Chicks, Tracy Lawrence, John Michael Montgomery, Jeff Foxworthy, Mark Chesnutt, Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean, Ronnie Milsap and Bill Monroe. Over the next 15 years, Jon worked his way up to Vice President of the agency alongside other incredible leaders and agents. Jon then pivoted toward entrepreneurship and followed his heart to begin working with artists he felt extremely passionate about. He founded the booking agency Red 11 Music which is currently located in Texas and Tennessee. Red 11 is home to a great team of agents and an amazing artist roster that includes Turnpike Troubadours, Charlie Crockett, Travis Meadows, Ole 97's, Jonathan Tyler, Cody Canada, Jack Ingram, Shooter Jennings, and more. Jon is a passionate leader and truly loves the music. For him, the song comes first and is closely followed by the live side of the business. His golden rules include falling in love with the day to day, building the audience and the rest will come later, letting the artist be the artist, working harder, making your songs great,  being what you've always wanted to be, and building a great life. When you live by golden rules like that, it's no surprise that he's had the success he has over the last two decades.
On episode 09 of The Golden Rules, power agent and talent booker Joe Atamian with Paradigm Talent Agency shares his path to success and his golden rules for life and business. - How he got into the #musicbusiness - How is finds, signs, and develops artists careers- How he batches his day for success- How he thinks through decisions #QOTD "Be the dumbest person in the room"#QOTD "Time is the only trading currency we have, use it wisely"#Knowledge- Work hard- Be a sponge - Unplug totally when you unplug- Don't be an asshole - Don't be reactionary - Follow Up - Emails can wait a few daysJoe is an 11-year music industry veteran who has been listed to Billboard's Power Player list, been awarded Pollstar's Third Coast Agent of the Year, the is agent side of the super successful tumbler account Agent Vs. Promoter, and a talent agent at Paradigm Talent Agency. He currently oversees the touring careers of some of today's hottest and most successful bands and musicians including Grammy award-winning artist like Sturgil Simpson, The Lumineers, Anderson East, Cherub, Big Gigantic and many more. Over his career, Joe has moved across the country building his career starting in College. Over the last 11 years, he has continually developed as a leader in the music industry and within his Agency. he has proven that he has the magic ear and the know how to break artists. From the day I met Joe he has always been open, kind, and willing to make time. Agents like Joe are just one of the reasons I love the music industry. His passion for artists and music runs deep and his ability to take an artist to a new level is nearly unmatched.
On episode 08 of The Golden Rules, co-owner of the artist management firm Big Show Music CO. and Director of Operations of Ask4 Entertainment Al Mcmanus talks about about his golden rules for the life and business. - How he got into the music business- How to really communicate- Learning everyday- Being present and accountable#QOTD "The real music business is the artist and the artist real business is the show"#QOTD "Don't worry about the hours you're putting in, in the beginning, how early or late you work, just do your absolute best"#Knowledge- Be Patient, Show Up, Give a shit- Take your lumps- Make the most out of each opportunity- Work as hard as you can- Learn something new every day- Follow Up and Follow Through- Believe in yourselfAl is a 22-year music industry veteran who has worn nearly every hat in the music business. His two-decade career includes experience in record label negotiations, artist development, tour management, artist manager, tour routing, tour press, entrepreneurship, event promotion and now operations. Al currently serves as the Director of Operations at Ask 4 Entertainment. A4E experiences include the Ship-Hop Cruise, Ship-Rocked Cruise, Motörhead's Motörboat and currently the Crimson Tide Cruise. Artists and performers include Sevendust, Vanilla Ice, Five Finger Death Punch, Korn, Salt N Pepa, Seether, Buckcherry, Naughty by Nature, POD, Godsmack, Blackstreet, and more.Over his career, he’s worked alongside artists that have sold over 44 Million albums, generated 53 #1 singles and won CMA, ACM, Americana, ASCAP, and Grammy awards. Among those artists also include members of the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame.Al's knowledge of music doesn't stop on the business side of things. He is a music lover, musician and guitar player. In addition, McManus is also a father, husband, friend, mentor, and one of the best I’ve ever seen when it comes to connecting with people. Over the years that I've known Al, he has always shown himself to be responsible, detail oriented, selfless, passionate, easygoing, and thoughtful.It's because of Al and his business partner and lifelong friend Jeff that I am where I am today. Together, they taught me that you can be serious, work hard, be passionate and have fun while doing it. They taught me about building and maintaining real relationships in the music industry,  not being afraid to pick up the phone, showing up early and staying late, being willing to learn and try new things, giving my all while helping the next generation up and thoughtful/real communication. I think we can all learn about hustling, communication, real human engagement, and accountability from leaders like Al and hope you all get something out of this episode.
On episode 7 of The Golden Rules, Partner of Hard 8 Working Group Management, Dirk Hemsath talks about entrepreneurship, risk, reward, leadership and his golden rules for life and business.  - How he got into the music business- The risk he took to scale his businesses- His golden rules for success in life and business- Figuring it out#QOTD "Empower Your team"#Knowledge- Roll over barriers- Stay fascinated with your business- The details matter- Stay hungry for knowledge- Be patient- Be an optimist For those not in the music industry, an artist manager, also known as a "band manager", is in charge of the business side of being in a band. Often, band members are great at the creative side of things but aren't so great at promoting themselves, booking their own gigs, or negotiating deals. In a very general sense, the task of a manager is to take care of the day to day running of the band's career and business so the band or artist can focus on the creative side of thingsDirk is a 30-year music industry veteran and serial entrepreneur that started his first record label at the age of 17. Over his incredible career, he's gained experience in distribution, media, merchandise, A&R, record labels and now artist management.As a young record label founder, Dirk found himself acting as the CEO (Chief Everything Officer) at the beginning overseeing all artist recruitment, design, distribution, sales, and operations. The year was 1988 when Dirk founded Dog House Records and over the past 30 years, the label has built a catalog of over 150 releases while also discovering and developing artists that have sold millions of albums and songs. All in all artists under the Doghouse name have sold almost 6 million albums and more than 15 million songs worldwide. The largest is the artist with Billboard’s biggest song of 2009, the All-American Rejects. Other artists like Get Up Kids and Say Anything have also sold hundreds of thousands of albums and songs.While serving as CEO of his record label Dirk also purchased a music distribution company, Lumberjack, out of the Carolinas. He had no previous experience running a distribution company but through dedication, sheer will to succeed, and a willingness to figure it out he was able to scale the company from a business doing $300,000 annually to over $7,000,000. He literally drove a 27-foot truck from his Ohio home and packed every aspect of the business by himself into the moving truck and got started.  Lumberjack went on to absorb a competitor in the space morphing into Lumberjack Mordam Music Group in 2005 becoming one of the most successful punk rock distribution companies to ever exist. After shuttering the company Dirk went on to consult at The Warner Music Group in New York City in the areas of A&R for 5 years working alongside longtime music industry executive, Lyor Cohen and other amazing music leaders. Over his life Dirk has mentored dozens of up and coming entrepreneurs, young executives and future A&R persons. When ask, Dirk says he's pulled to do it because he never had anyone to help him learn the path forward. Starting businesses at such a young age, he was always the boss and still is today. Dirk is currently a partner at Hard 8 Working Group - a newly formed artist management firm developed from a merger if Working Group management where Dirk was the founder and CEO and Hard 8. The company oversees more than twenty music artists, including Cheat codes, Brantley Gilbert, Dashboard Confessional, R.LUM.R, Michelle Branch, Anberlin, and producers, and writers that have worked with artists such as Taylor Swift, Pink, Florence + The Machine, Lanco, Dierks Bently, Allen Ston
On episode 05 of The Golden Rules,  Vice President of Ole Music Publishing, John Ozier, shares his music publishing journey, writing hit songs, and his golden rules for life and business. - How he got into the music business- How he balances writing #1 hit songs & being a publishing executive- His golden rules for success in life and business#QOTD You're only as good as your reputation#QOTD Everyday we start back at zero#Knowledge- Walk toward the barking dog- Be a no secrets leader - Be present in everything- Tell the truth and respect others- Do it for the right reasons- Take more responsibility gracefully  - How he balances writing #1 hit songs & being a publishing executive- His golden rules for success in life and business- Ten #1 songs in 2018For those not in the music industry, a publisher is someone who signs songwriters, gets their songs placed on albums, sets up co-writes, and helps guide songwriters into the most successful opportunities.John Ozier is young, straightforward and honest. He has built his successful 14-year career from the ground up by staying true to his passions, trusting his gut, and good old fashion hard work. He has served as Executive Director of Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP) and won the Nashville Business Journal's 40 Under 40 to name a few. John has been responsible for over 20 #1s as an A&R executive, a publisher, and as a songwriter. In 2016-2017, Ozier led the Creative team to over 100+ singles internationally, including #1s by Randy Houser, Kelsea Ballerini, LOCASH, Jason Aldean, Dan + Shay, Justin Moore, Chris Janson, Brantley Gilbert, Brett Young and more.John has not rested on his laurels and has the track record to prove it. Over his career, he has placed songs recorded by Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Florida Georgia Line, Rodney Atkins, Clay Walker, Love & Theft, Ronnie Dunn, Jo Dee Messina, and many more. In 2010, Ozier was responsible for four songs in the Top 15 on the Billboard country charts, including the longest-ever running single, Lee Brice’s “Love Like Crazy,” at 56 weeks. More recently, he was responsible for No. 1s by Rodney Atkins (“Take A Back Road”) and Lee Brice (“A Woman Like You” and “I Drive Your Truck”).He is also a published songwriter with cuts by Lee Brice, Kelli Pickler, Charlie Worsham, Kid Rock, Josh Thompson, Tyler Farr, American Young, Air Supply, and others. He co-wrote Lee Brice’s multi-week No. 1 and platinum single, “Hard to Love," which won a BMI Award in 2013, as well as an NSAI Award for 'Top 10 Songs I Wish I'd Written.' Ozier also co-wrote Tyler Farr's  34-week #1 and Gold Single, "Whiskey In My Water."John believes in the Golden Rule, treat people the way you want to be treated. He also prides himself on work ethic, leadership, and truth. It's the combination of those values mixed with a great ear for songs, and the talent to craft one, that makes him not only unique in the industry but one of the best publishing executives in the business.
On Episode 04 of The Golden Rules, Peter Hartung shares his journey to success in the music industry and his golden rules for life and business. Peter Hartung, President of L3 Entertainment and manager of Country Music artists - Dustin Lynch, Justin Moore, and Tyler Rich stops by the studio.Golden Rules: ▪Family - Above all else▪Be honest, be forthright, say what you mean▪Don't be afraid to ask questions▪The body is a gift, take care of it▪Never, ever ever, give up▪Don't hesitate to do what needs to be done, to keep the dream alive.Peter has 40 years of music industry experience. He's been a touring musician, a promoter, personally received two record deals, been a booking agent, founded multiple companies before starting L3 Entertainment.Over that short time, Peter has led his team and artists to multiple Number #1 singles, Platinum selling albums, Hundreds of Millions of Streams, and several awards.His connections in the music industry run as deep as his core values, and that's what sets Peter apart in the business. His approachable demeanor, know-how, resolve, and ability to build lasting friendships is something we can all learn from.
On episode 03 of The Golden Rules, owner of Homestead Entertainment / Red Light Artists Management, Brad Belanger shares his story of how he hacked the music industry. - How he got into the music business- How he helps keep his artist cool- His golden rules for branding- How he helped Sam Hunt sign a record deal#QOTD "Always Play Offense"#Knowledge- Care - Give a shit- Do what inspires and scares you- Don't become concerned with others opinions of your dream- The big things are made up of a million little pieces. Focus on the small things- Love Monday morningFor those not in the music industry, an artist manager, also known as a "band manager", is in charge of the business side of being in a band. Often, band members are great at the creative side of things but aren't so great at promoting themselves, booking their own gigs, or negotiating deals. In a very general sense, the task of a manager takes care of the day to day running of the band's career so the band can focus on the creative side of thingsBrad started his own record label at 15. He learned how to screen-print merch, booked & promoted shows & fronted a three-piece alt-rock band.After graduation from Middle Tennessee State University, Belanger started working as a booking agent at APA in Nashville. A few months prior to YouTube launching, Belanger bought a camera along with editing software and taught himself the ins and outs of photography, videography, editing and graphic design. After working with clients like Taylor Swift & Warner Music, he was hired to a full-time position with country music superstar Keith Urban.While working with Urban, Belanger was introduced to an up-and-coming young songwriter named Sam Hunt. Hunt was looking for a manager to help launch his solo career.He then took his savings & started HOMESTEAD, his artist management firm. Belanger also shot/directed/edited the first 5 music videos for Hunt; shot and designed the album cover for Montevallo, and now oversees the career and brand of one of the country's hottest acts.
On Episode 02 of The Golden Rules, Justin Levenson speaks about life, love, survival and the music business. Justin is an entrepreneur, 18-year music industry veteran, a cancer survivor, author, speaker, board member, motivator, artist manager that is a passionate music professional from Birmingham, AL. Throughout his life, Justin has been drawn to a life spent serving others and practicing the mindset of mastery and positive thinking. Simply put, Justin lives his life by the mantra that "If we can think it, we can have it!"#QOTD Have a Mindset of Mastery#KnowledgeIs- Develop meaningful relationships to position your awesomeness. - Quietly develop your awesomeness- Be the least smart person in the room- Bloom where you are planted- Have a Mindset of Mastery- Get out of your own way
On episode 01 of The Golden Rules, Partner and General Manager of THiS Music Publishing, Rusty Gaston, talks about success in the music business. - How he got into the music business- What he looks for in songwriters- His golden rules for success in life and business#QOTD Love + Fun = Success#Knowledge- Never giving up- Providing a service like no other- Be consumed with the details- Action creates action- Love what you doFor those not in the music industry, a publisher is someone who signs songwriters, gets their songs placed on albums, sets up co-writes, and helps guide songwriters into the most successful opportunities.Rusty hit the ground running with his first job at SmithHaven Music where he secured artist deals for writer/artists Jeff Bates and Will Hoge. From there he was hired by top producer Byron Gallimore (Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Jodee Messina) to run his publishing company, Song Garden, which thrived under Rusty’s guidance. His next venture was THiS Music, a partnership with songwriting superstars Tim Nichols and Connie Harrington. As managing partner, he has built the company into one of the most successful publishing houses on Music Row.As General Manager and Partner of THiS Music, Rusty Gaston oversees all creative and day-to-day operations of the publishing company he owns with partners/songwriters Tim Nichols and Connie Harrington. The roster of writer/artists he manages included Nichols (Live Like You Were Dyin) and Harrington (I Drive Your Truck), as well as Ben Hayslip (2011 & 2012 ASCAP Songwriter Of The Year), Jessi Alexander (The Climb), JT Harding (Different For Girls), Jimmy Yeary (I Drive Your Truck), Marv Green (Shotgun Rider), Deric Ruttan (What Was I Thinking), and Molly Reed (Centricity Records). His approach to music publishing is much like an artist/management relationship — he sees it as imperative to create and manage opportunities/brands for all his writers. Previously, Gaston spent five years as GM of Song Garden Music, a publishing company owned by producer Byron Gallimore (Tim McGraw/Faith Hill).Rusty Gaston is a force of nature.  His relentless drive and passion for growing songwriters’ careers are legendary in Nashville and beyond.
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