Every once in a while, this musical passion of mine brings some amazing people into my world. I love to surround myself with inspiring individuals who not only work hard and grind every day but do so in a way that helps others follow their dreams. Ryan Donnelly is one of these people. I have interviewed him about his music promotion company Empire Music Promotions in the past. Well, he is back with us at ArtistView to share with us some exciting changes in his world. He has raised the bar and found a way to give the power to the rightful owners, the artist. He stands for everything that we do here at ArtistView and we are honored to share his story with you!

 

 

ArtistView: First off, Thank-You for taking the time to speak with us at ArtistView.

Ryan Donnelly: It’s my pleasure to be invited to speak with you, thank you for the opportunity!

 

AV: Although only a few years old, Empire Music Promotions has been creating some serious waves in the music industry. You are known for both your approachable demeanor and your hold-nothing back attitude. How easy is it to juggle these two polarizing attitudes?

RD: I think these ideas are both one and the same, it comes down to how you want to present yourself really. Yes, I think that artists should know the hard truths and not just sold on the industries lies; because it will, ultimately, save them both time and money, and I think that is what matters the most, to have a Music PR company that cares enough to hold nothing back and truly puts the artists best interest first. I also think that you don’t have to offer that advice with an aggressive attitude or to come from a place of arrogance. I have learned a lot about the music industry through paying attention to what artist have done to become successful, and in many ways, these incredible indie artists are always teaching me something new; and they deserve my full respect and gratitude for that.

 

AV: You said it, so I have to ask. What do you mean by “the industries lies?”

RD: Haha, I figured that you wouldn’t let that one slide. This is something that we cover in our new Music Promotion Mentorship Program, but without giving away too much, the fact is, we are living in the age of the DIY (Do It Yourself) revolution, and musicians are not being made aware of what that means to them; which is leaving them dependent on the idea that Music PR Firms are the only ones who can open the industry doors for them; which is bleeding them dry financially, and weakening their ability to gain exposure for their own music.

 

AV: It is not often that you see a well-established company do a complete 180 and change their entire mission statement, which is exactly what happened with Empire Music Promotions recently. Can you explain some of your reasoning behind the idea of going from promoting artists, to teaching artists to promote themselves? Isn’t that a bit like shooting yourself in the foot?

RD: Haha, yes, I did make the conscious decision to burn the old Empire to the ground, which is where the “Join the new Empire” slogan is coming from; but it had to be done, for both the artists and myself. The fact is, I saw the market changing a long time ago, and stories after inspirational stories surfacing of unknown and unsigned musicians just crushing it in their own music PR efforts! There was no point in denying my own excitement for this awesome revolution, as it captured exactly what I always felt; that us artists are now in control of our own destinies, and that we need to start spreading the word! We need to start shouting it from the mountain tops!

Yes, this meant that I had to take a successful business model, that is being used by over a thousand Music PR firms right now, and throw it out the window, which meant I was going to have to accept that the old Empire was dead, just like the music promotion industry as we know it. This wasn’t a difficult decision. I knew that not teaching musicians how to promote themselves and continuing to do what we do, was not helping them to the best of my abilities. Now that I have years of promotional experience behind me, the idea of teaching musicians how to promote themselves is just a natural extension of my own desire to help artists all over the world in succeeding with their music.

 

AV: There is no denying the integrity and passion behind your decision to change Empires mission statement, but no doubt this is going to create some friction between you and others in the Music PR business, does this concern you at all?

RD: In a word, no.

I have been up against adversity since day one of opening Empire’s doors. From personal attacks to slanderous and untrue statements to having our company confused with another one altogether, the entire building of this Music PR Firm has been an exercise in personal resolve; and we are still here, continuing to grow, because both our clients and our subscribers can see that we care about them and the success of their music.

The promotional side of the music industry is quite dog-eat-dog, as everyone wants to be the one to get paid at the end of the day and everyone promises what they have to in order to sign a client on. Guaranteeing this. Guaranteeing that. It all boils down to who can get your music the most exposure…but you know who that person is? YOU, THE ARTIST! The artistic community is far more welcoming to sharing ideas and building others up and for that powerful reason, I created the Music Promotion Mentorship Program. If that makes others uncomfortable, so be it. No one is going to get in the way of Empire Music Promotions and our mission to teach musicians to promote themselves!

 

AV: I thought you might say that. What can you tell us about Empire’s new Music Promotion Mentorship Program?

RD: The main reason this program was created was that we receive so many emails from independent musicians asking us about building their own brand, understanding social media, how to grow their audience, how to sell their music effectively, how to plan a tour, and ultimately, how to reach a much wider range of listeners. They came to us for music industry advice and, at the time, all we could offer was music promotion. Which is a great thing to offer, just simply not all that we were capable of offering. As a company that was all about music promotion, we had to stick to our position as the promoters who held the keys…Until now.

Our Music Promotion Mentorship Program is the best way for us to answer all of those questions that we received but could not answer before. The program is designed in such a way that it fits both the limited budgets of many musicians (they don’t call them starving artist for nothing, haha) and the busy lifestyle of most artists.

This empowering and informative program is an analog and warm experience, as it focuses on personally working with the musicians to achieve their goals, by first discussing with those musicians what those goals exactly are. Instead of just telling musicians what to do, without first getting to know that artists level of industry awareness, we create a dialogue with our clients that opens-up an understanding between both parties. This allows us to personalize every program to suit that artist. It’s a great experience, it feels very human. You can pay a lot for music promotion, or you can pay a little to learn how to do it yourself. The decision is ultimately the artist’s decision to make. One road leads to Music PR Firm Dependency (which is incredibly expensive), while the other road leads to the freedom of the New DIY Music PR Music Industry Revolution!

In an industry where everyone throws the word “guarantee” around like they invented the concept. We guarantee that an artist’s best decision is to bet on themselves and their own power to gain exposure for themselves, every single time!

 

AV: This is everything that ArtistView stands for. But it sounds too good to be true. Is there a catch to this program, like a hidden contract and such?

RD: Nah, it’s completely transparent. Our program starts on the 1st and the 15th of every month and spaces are limited due to the one-on-one nature of the program. As for contracts, we only ask that our clients meet us halfway on working with us for their month. We are giving you our best effort and we want yours in return. Sound like a fair deal?

 

AV: Sounds fair to us. Once again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us and shedding some light on this very exciting new program. Any free advice for our readers?

RD: You are welcome, my pleasure! As for free advice, yes of course.

Do not make the mistake of putting all of your thinking into the creation of the music and then putting the promotional aspect of it on Auto-pilot. Start to take a genuine interest in how people are finding music, how they are sharing it, and how they are succeeding in gaining exposure. Make a conscious decision to be a part of the music community and not just living on the outskirts of it.

 

Ryan Donnelly, Founder of Empire Music Promotions and author of the powerful DIY music
promotion book “From Indie To Empire” which you can purchase here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find out more about Empire Music Promotions through their website and in their social media world:

 


Extended Plays is an ongoing music series of all the music that I stumble upon. I listen to the music, go with my gut and spill my honest and sometimes brutal opinion all over this blog. I hope you take the time to check out the artists I review for yourselves. I tend to believe that I am always right about everything but the most beautiful thing about music is that my opinion doesn’t matter to anyone but myself.

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