Categorized | Shoestring Startup

Montauk Music – DIY and Professionalism are the Keys To Our Success

Name of your company?

Montauk Music (http://www.montaukmusic.com)

Date started? June, 2010

What is your product or service?

First and foremost, Montauk Music provides music publicity services. We take a boutique approach to music publicity, meaning that we focus very closely on each and every client to plan and execute customized publicity campaigns. We limit the number of active publicity clients so that we can provide the level of attention and service that they need, which they typically would not receive with other music publicity companies.

We also provide music licensing services, in which we source opportunities for our artists to place their music in television shows, films, commercials, and other viable creative media where licensing the right music is critical to the success of a particular project.

Montauk Music also provides marketing consulting and services. We act as a trusted advisor to artists who need to harness certain marketing concepts and practices in order to further their careers.

Why did you start your company?

I started Montauk Music because in February of 2009 I was laid off from the software company I worked for. I headed up marketing for that company, and at first I tried looking for a similar position, but I soon found that the economy had decimated the job landscape. Considering that and the fact that I always dreamed of going into business for myself, I took some time to think about exactly what it was I wanted to do. Once the seed was planted for starting a music publicity, licensing and marketing company, it was a matter of putting a great plan together before going to market to ensure that Montauk Music had a strong and clear message about who we are and how we do it.

How was it financed?

Montauk Music was financed with some of the money I received from my severance, and with my own blood, sweat and tears. Thankfully, my skill set gave me the ability to do almost 100% of the work required to get up and running, keeping my startup costs to a minimum. For example, I created the logo and I built the website. When planning the startup phase I was very careful to keep costs low to start with, in order to make profitability a reality much sooner than later.

Date officially launched?

August 1, 2010

What free online or offline tools do you use?

WordPress for website content management system, Flickr, several sources which I can’t divulge for sourcing music licensing opportunities.

How many people are currently working, including employees (freelancers or independent contractors for specific projects)?

Three

What is the best advice you never got?

The best advice I never got was that most musicians are very hungry for success, but very few will actually be willing to invest the money and time to do the things they need to do in order to drive toward that success. If I had known this at the outset I would have saved considerable time that was spent chasing down artists that will never invest in their own success.

What almost killed your business in the start?

Trying to find the time that I needed to do everything that had to be done to market my company, land new clients, and also deliver on the plans and objectives that were laid out for my early clients. There was always something else to be done, and finding the time to balance all these things at the beginning almost made me want to give up on the whole thing.

What is the one thing that you did right?

Taking a very professional approach to going to market. Many independent service providers in the music industry don’t do this; instead, they take a very casual, laid back approach. I was initially worried that this approach would make Montauk Music seem too stuffy and corporate, but I have found that my music clients truly appreciate knowing the level of professionalism and experience that goes into all of the work that we do. This approach has made the difference in landing several of our early clients.

This approach is our signature, and it will help us continue to be successful in the ensuing years because it speaks to how we perform for our clients, and the integrity and drive that goes into our work. When clients that have never worked with an independent music services provider tell you that “you’re not just working for us, you are part of the band,” you know you have done things right.

What was the biggest transition you had to make (i.e. new skill set, habits, abilities, focus)?

The biggest transition was going from dealing with bosses who were CEO’s when I worked in the corporate world, to dealing with musicians and managers. The dynamic is quite different, obviously.

Another is that although I had previously worked in the music business as a freelance writer and doing other minor jobs, it was definitely a big transition jumping into the music industry as a newcomer. I think I was lucky in the way that I approached it, that I was able to hit the ground running and get clients, while learning the intricacies of the music industry as I went.

The last transition I want to highlight is learning about music licensing. My primary knowledge was about 75% of what it needed to be when I started the licensing catalog, but that last 25% was the most crucial, detailed and difficult to learn. I am still learning the licensing ins and outs today, which is normal, as I have found most people involved in music licensing are continually growing and adapting their licensing strategies in what is an ever-changing market.

Are you currently in the black or red?

We are in the black. And we’re proud to say that after less than a year in business. We’re not getting rich, but we’re making a good living doing the business that we love.

What would make your business more “Successful”?

The ability to hire two or three more seasoned people to assist with music licensing. And an assistant to handle some of the tasks that I could easily take off my plate without losing any momentum.

Would you want to be acquired by a bigger company, run it yourself or sell in a couple of years?

I love what I do right now, and I envision keeping with it for a long time. So I see myself running Montauk Music in a couple of years. Further down the line, depending on how things progress, my answer may very well be different. But for now I am proud of the business I have built, and I love being at the helm of it, so I don’t have any kind of exit strategy in mind. This business is my baby. That being said, I know that every business needs a good exit strategy, so that is something that will be developed at the correct time.

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One Response to “Montauk Music – DIY and Professionalism are the Keys To Our Success”

  1. Dacey says:

    Professionalism is the first thing that is needed for a successful business and DIY is also needed to promote your music.DIY is different from other music promotion companies and i think it is the best way to promote your music.

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