Monthly Archives: September 2017

Huka Entertainment runs four annual gatherings

I discovered live music at a young age. My first experience was Eric Clapton around 1983. I was addicted right out the gate.

Naturally, I wanted to get paid to be around music, so I worked in retail and did the college radio thing. One summer, I interned for a young man at Mercury Records who got paid to call radio stations and convince them to play his artists. I thought that was the coolest job in the world.

Riding Waves
[My mentor] said, “Pick five places you’re willing to live and write to the record companies and radio stations every week and eventually somebody will take your call.” Sure enough, the head of BMG in San Francisco saw on my resume I was a surfer. After about the 10th week, he took my call. He said, “Call me every week, we can talk about waves for a minute or two and when a mailroom job opens up I’ll give you a shot.”

Online Frontiers
I spent seven years working for record companies. After doing regional marketing plans and working to break artists at the ground level, I was offered the opportunity to head up the digital division. I moved to NY and found myself in what was the beginning of marketing online. It got my heart racing to think about how bands could better communicate with their fans.

I wound up on the programming side, because in ’97, when you were building web assets for artists to reach fans online, you were a video producer, an audio producer, a writer and an editor all in one. A bunch of us jumped to AOL and amassed an audience of 30 million fans.

Always-Connected Brands
I was hired to build an online strategy for Clear Channel, which is now iHeartMedia. I always appreciated the power of radio and thought there was a tremendous opportunity for radio to continue that relationship through the digital space. Giving listeners an opportunity to stay connected to their brands during the day made a lot of sense. We developed the strategy

and created the iHeartRadio app. I believe we forever changed the way radio is perceived, because radio is no longer about one exclusive delivery—it’s about the strength of the brand.

Location, Location
I was finishing my time at iHeart and thinking about what excited me. I met a guy named A.J. Niland through an industry friend. He had his eyes wide open to expand and was looking for a partner who could help him grow.

What makes our approach special is the destination locations we choose. We have three festivals right now. Our festival in New Orleans, called BUKU, is right on the water at Mardi Gras World, where the floats are built. That’s a pretty cool location to experience music. People have been vacationing on Florida’s beaches
for some time. To go to Ft. Lauderdale and have the biggest names in country performing while your feet are in the sand is pretty special. The same goes for our site in British Columbia [for Pemberton Music Festival]. It’s absolutely breathtaking. We’re sitting there in July on several hundred-acre fields looking at snow- capped mountains while we have 100 artists performing. It’s a unique experience to have a festival in such an amazing surrounding.


No music-maker can afford to neglect the value and power of music video in today’s music world. Artists are making new fans and are even being discovered by major-label A&R scouts thanks to videos posted online. No one understands this field better than artist Ari Herstand, and he shares his hands-on, real-world knowledge with you in the following excerpt from his best selling new book, How To Make It in the New Music Business: Practical Tips on Building a Loyal Following and Making a Living as a Musician.

“Most of the time if you do a video, unless it’s a Kanye West video or something, it doesn’t have a real shoot. You scrape together a little bit of money and go out and do something.” – BEN FOLDS

It’s hard to look good on camera. And it has nothing to do with your looks. The act of lip syncing (and acting on cue) is incredibly unnatural. But then again, so is performing onstage in front of a bunch of people. It takes practice to get good at it. Whether you’re creating a $200,000 music video with a cast and crew of 150 union members or a $100 music video shot by your roommate with a cast and crew of your girlfriend, brother and mom, there are some key components that every video needs in order to meet today’s professional standards. You don’t need a ton of money these days to make a great-looking video. All you need is a great concept, people who know what they’re doing, a little bit of gear and lots of time.

The Concept
An inexpensive creative concept will perform better than a high-priced paint-by-numbers music video every time. So get creative. Obviously, if you’re making a video for an intimate piano ballad, you aren’t going to go skydiving for it. The concept, as creative as it may be, should match the song’s vibe, energy and feel. The purpose of a music video is to enhance the song. Not detract from it. A super creative video (that perfectly complements the song) is how you go viral. And it doesn’t need to be expensive. OK Go were the first to prove this with their “Here It Goes Again” music video back in 2006. The video, which got over 50 million views, helped propel the single to the Billboard Hot 100 charts. The video cost very little. It was shot with a single, stationary camera and had no cuts. No edits. The band did a choreographed dance on six treadmills. It matched the tone of the song (and band) perfectly.

Gotye exploded because of his creative, body-paint, stop-motion video for “Somebody That I Used To Know.” Sia’s near one-take video for “Chandelier” featured an uber-creepy, wildly talented and super captivating dancing 11-year-old girl. Kina Grannis spent over a year making her jelly-bean–themed stop motion video for “In Your Arms.” Black Keys’ “Lonely Boy” video is a single-take shot of a boisterous dancing businessman. Oren Lavie’s “Her Morning Elegance” video is a single-angle shot of a bed while the sleeping protagonist gracefully explores pillow adventures through fantastical wonderlands, all by the magic of stop motion photography.

These videos were all created on a relatively low budget. But this takes convincing very talented people to work hours upon hours for free or very little. So, getting the right crew is crucial. To help generate inspiration and focus your creative direction, make a list of music videos you love that don’t look too expensive.

The Crew
Hollywood has special titles for every single person who works on a film set, from Best Boy and Grip to 2nd AD and PA. Two minutes of network television could take six hours and 100 people to create. Your music video doesn’t need fancy titles or craft services to be great. You need a dedicated crew of passionate people who all believe in the success of the video. For most of your early videos, you will wear most of the hats, but you will need at least a few people to help out. Learn as much as you can, though, so you can be as independent as possible.