Podcast Spotlight – Episode #43: Tom Jackson

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tom_jacksonIt takes a lot of time and effort to create your album, but what do you do when it’s time to take the music into the live setting?  That’s where Tom Jackson comes in. He works with independent and major label artists from all over the world in order to produce stage shows that will create a memorable experience for concert-goers. Knowing your songs and reproducing your record live isn’t enough to dazzle an audience. Tom helps artists develop shared moments on stage that often send an audience dashing towards the merch table. This is just a small excerpt from the audio interview that has been a long-standing listener favorite.  It’s highly recommended that you check out the interview in full here – http://cdbabypodcast.com/?p=108

Why don’t you give us a little background in what you do with artists?

I’m a live music producer and what I do is take an artist that has recorded a record and then we move that over to the show part where they’re going out on tour, going to do a showcase, important gig, award show. A presentation live. I get them prepared for it. Same job in some ways as a music producer in the studio who is sitting there trying to think, “How do we write this song?” They know their format is radio. In most cases, if we’re being honest, a lot of artists write with the thought of getting on radio. So they record with that in mind with the hope of getting on radio for the exposure. I’ll go in there, and in a sense, mess that up because playing songs live and playing songs for the radio are two different things.

We always talk about how touring and playing live is the best way for artist to generate income and build a fan base, and yet, sometimes I think their show is the last thing artists think about.

I think it’s actually becoming a little clearer to them now….Artists are realizing that their revenue comes from their live show. Probably 90% of their revenue come from their live show.  So how does that happen? Well, different streams of revenue and one of those is merch. People who go to a show don’t buy CDs. They don’t buy songs. They buy MOMENTS. And if artists can create moments on stage, people will go back to the table and say, “Where’s that song?” But what they’re really saying is, “Where’s that song that made me feel that way because I want to feel that way again?” And if you don’t create those moments or they happen by accident, one night they happen and the next night they don’t and you don’t know why, then you are going to struggle in your career forever. Unless you have the massive hit on radio which is hard.

What do you thing one of the biggest mistakes artists are making when they approach putting together a show?

First thing is the assumption that because I play music and I’m a good musician or a good band, that we have a good show. That’s a big mistake! Just because you’re a great player doesn’t mean you can write a good song. Because you’re a great player or a great band doesn’t mean you’re going to make a great record. Every vocalist has heard that they should take voice lessons and you get vocal coaches. That’s part of the process. When you go into the studio, of course you get a producer. That’s just part of the process. We’ve been trained that way. But when it comes to the show, somehow- magically- you’re supposed to know it. People don’t. In fact, musicians are speaking a different language than what the audience relates to, often times. There is a disconnect emotionally and that’s the problem. So that’s a big mistake, the assumption that because I’m a good band, because I’m a good player, because I’m a musician, I know how to do a show.

To hear the complete audio interview with Tom Jackson (Did we mention we highly recommend this one?), click here – http://cdbabypodcast.com/?p=108

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