Above the Noise Music Industry Podcast with Data Journalist at Next Big Sound and Pandora, Liv Buli.

Big Data has become a term that we hear a lot these days. We are all trying to tap into available data and find ways to turn it into useful information. That’s where Data Scientists and Data Journalists come in. They are the ones that interpret the information and then turn that information into insightful information that we can all understand.

liv-buli-data-journalistThere are some great tools out there available to the general public. With some great companies helping make sense of it all, a few of which are focused on the music industry. They help turn relevant data into gold mines of information that can help advance your career and build your brand.

I have been a big fan of Next Big Sound and personally reaped the benefits of their product, as have my clients. In combination with other tools, it has given us creative marketing ideas, a new perspective on how and where to release music, the types of venues to focus on, concepts for custom merch designs that appeal to a specific demographic, and even the type of outside the box partnerships we have developed.

Liv Buli has been successfully turning the raw data into insightful articles that make even the least tech savvy person find an interest in big data. As she puts it, she uses data to decipher the business of music.

Liv has traveled all over the world talking about what she does – from Brisbane, to Chile, to NYU classrooms. She has been invited to speak and participate in panels at SXSW, CMJ, Music Biz, Future of Music Policy Summit, SF Music Tech, BigSound, ByLarm and more. Lately, she has been giving thought as to how to visualize data in simple, elegant ways to build better stories. As she says “…the best data journalism strikes a balance between finding (data science), showing (data visualization), and telling (journalism) a story.”

I enjoyed this conversation and as always learned something from it. I hope you do too!

Aaron Bethune
Music Specialist. Author. Manager. Creative Collaborator. Speaker.


Check out the interview here.

Above the Noise Music Industry Podcast with social scientist Ruth Blatt

Sitting here in my hotel room in Nashville I am happy to finally have some time to post this interview with Ruth Blatt. There are many of these yet to come! 4435 bw cropped

I first found out about Ruth when reading one of her articles in Forbes. She
writes about popular music using research on management and entrepreneurship. She shows a different side of musicians and music industry professionals by writing about them as navigators of their own careers, as leaders of small businesses, and as part of self-managed creative teams.

Since becoming a father I have thought many times about all the great things music can do to help a person develop their communication skills, relationship skills, leadership skills, how it helps to build confidence and it’s many other positive results. I would love and encourage for my children to experiment with music so as to experience the benefits that it has to offer. Most of all to have fun and be creative. Ruth’s articles include these same thoughts and present them as business insights to companies, entrepreneurs and the general public. I wanted to ask her some questions of my own so as to gather more insights this time geared towards musicians.

Ruth has a Ph.D. in Management and Organizations from the University of Michigan and taught Entrepreneurship to MBAs at the University of Illinois in Chicago. She has written for TheAtlantic.com, Psychology Today and Wired.com.She currently writing a book about the history and production of rock concerts. If you want to learn more about her you can visit: www.therockbandproject.com

This episode was edited by Andy Warren of www.applesandchocolate.com


Aaron Bethune.

Music Specialist. Creative Collaborator. Author. Musicpreneur.

Take a lisen to the interview here.

Above the Noise Music Industry Podcast interview with Lionel Ritchie’s guitar player, Ben Mauro

Ben Mauro

Ben’s publicist reached out to me a while back when he was in Vancouver with Lionel Ritchie. She connected the two of us which lead to this interview. It was fascinating hearing Ben’s story of how he got the gig playing with Lionel Ritchie, Brittany Spears, Christina Aguilera, John Fogerty, Tony Braxton, Don Felder and many more. I will hint that it had something to do with playing all the open mics and jam nights in NYC. Equally as interesting is hearing about how he is pursuing a parallel solo career as an independent artist.

We talk about how he got into music, the importance of practicing, getting the right type of support, persistence, playing out, remembering your beginnings, attitude, personality, learning the hits and how it has affected his personal career, as well as life on the road and his new album.

This is an interview that a lot of you that are working hard to get the big break you’ve been waiting for will find inspiring and insightful.

This episode was edited by Andy Warren of www.applesandchocolate.com


Aaron Bethune.

Music Specialist. Creative Collaborator. Author. Musicpreneur.

Take a lisen to the interview here.

Above the Noise Interview with CEO of Bandzoogle, David Dufresne

david-dufresneI recently had a great conversation with David Dufresne, CEO of Bandzoogle, an amazing company that probably a lot of you already use to build your websites. Bandzoogle is based in Quebec and have made a major impact on the independent music scene giving tools to musicians to help build their career.

In our conversation we discussed ways you can ensure visitors to your website are converting into fans and spending their time and money where you want them to, website dos and don’ts, apps and responsive websites as well as knowing your audience and who consumes your content. With David’s background as a venture capitalist he shares his unique perspective on this new music industry.

This episode was edited by Andy Warren of  www.applesandchocolate.com

Take a listen below!


Aaron Bethune.

Music Specialist. Creative Collaborator. Author. Musicpreneur.


Take a listen to the interview here.

Above The Noise Music Industry Podcast with Marketing Director of Deezer Canada, Greg Van Bastelaar

Greg Van Bastelaar Above The Noise InterviewIt has been quite some time since I last posted an interview. Although the posts have slowed down I have continued interviewing people on a regular basis. Of course this means I have numerous interviews backlogged. In fact so much so that some of the people I have interviewed have moved onto new roles at new companies since the time of the interview.

Greg Van Bastelaar is somebody I met at Rifflandia in Victoria while participating at a music industry panel. At the time Greg was marketing Director of Deezer Music Canada. After speaking with Greg I was immediately interested in interviewing him for the podcast. He has a lot of experience in the music industry ranging from working for FACTOR (The Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent On Recording) and seeing artists get funded for records to becoming the marketing director for the European streaming service Deezer Music.

“Greg Van Bastelaar’s career began in 2001 by studying Recorded Music Production at The Trebas Institute Of Toronto. It was there that he met world-renowned Songwriter/Producer Justin Gray. A relationship was struck and his time at Big Boom Entertainment resulted in a phenomenal experience working directly in the creation of music. 2006 brought an exciting opportunity with Warner Music Canada, working directly under the General Manager of Warner Chappell Music Canada. During this time, Greg’s knowledge of the industry grew considerably and a wealth of industry contacts were added to his network. Greg eventually jumped at the chance to work for The Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent On Recordings (FACTOR). This environment plugged him into the main-line of the Canadian music industry, allowing him to further develop key relationships as well as to directly help the industry thrive as a whole.”

Greg  is a big sports fan as well as music fan. I have always been intrigued with the overlap in fan behaviour and their impact on performance in the music and sports world. Speaking with Greg gave me a chance to cover this topic and get his opinion on the subject.


Aaron Bethune.

Music Specialist. Creative Collaborator. Author. Musicpreneur.

www.playitloudmusic.com  www.abovethenoise.ca  www.musicpreneur.ca  www.aaronbethune.com


To listen to the interview click here.

Interview with Music Photographer Mark Maryanovich

Mark Maryanovich PhotographerThis month (March 2014) my interview with photographer Mark Maryanovich is the cover story for the US publication “Regional Musician.”  Below is the interview with Mark. To read the rest of the magazine, see the photos and check out other editions you can go here: www.regionalmusician.com

Mark Maryanovich is a Canadian photographer based in Santa Monica, CA, born in Windsor, Ontario and raised on Canada’s rainy west coast.  He has won a number of awards for photography and is a referenced source of inspiration by many in the industry. His clients have included Chris Cornel, Randy Bachman, Gibson Guitars, Bob Rock, Chad Kroeger and Henry Rollins to name a few. His work has appeared on the cover of books, in Rolling Stone, Billboard, and Canadian Musician and that’s just skimming the surface.

After working with every major artist, label and management company in Canada, Mark’s logical next move was to expand his career south of the border. His personal preference being to shoot outdoors made California the ideal place to relocate. Working in cities like Vancouver often required numerous days to be set aside in order to ensure one day of good weather!

While shooting in LA has the advantage of the weather it has the disadvantage of being home to many, many photographers. So how do you stand out from the crowd and what can artists learn from Mark’s success and experiences?

The reality is that there is little difference between achieving success in music, photography, art, acting or any line of work for that matter. It takes undeniable talent and expertise along with commitment, dedication, passion, work ethic, persistence, self worth, belief, among other things and all of which are traits that Mark has learned from his mentor Raphael Mazzucco.

I have known Mark for a number of years. I was already a fan of his work before we met and didn’t even know it. I had albums with his work on the cover, not to mention some of the most recognizable photos of bands I dig have been taken by him.  It was a pleasure to get the chance to ask Mark some questions about his career, what artists can do to have a more successful photo shoot and from his perspective what stands out about successful musicians. Here is the Q&A:


Aaron Bethune: When did you first have an interest in photography? 

Mark Maryanovich: My interest in photography started late, I wasn’t introduced to it as a career until I was 25, when I met artist and fashion photographer Raphael Mazzucco while I was living in Montreal.

AB: What inspired it to become a career?

MM: The first portrait I ever shot was printed in Ocean Drive magazine. It was of musician David Usher, and seeing it in print was incredibly inspiring.

AB: Why music and how did you get into photographing musicians?

MM: Raphael taught me that you should photograph what you’re passionate about, and I was always passionate about music. To me it combined art and style, and capturing that made for good pictures.

AB: What was your first big break?

MM: My first big break was photographing The Tea Party at Le Studio Morin Heights for Canadian Musician Magazine.

AB: Where did that lead?

MM: I moved to Vancouver shortly after that and started my career on the west coast. I began by assisting fellow friends and photographers Johnathon Vaughn Strebly and Gregory Crow. I also learned about the importance of personal style from Tracey Pincott, a brilliant stylist. In the early days, we were still using film, so testing and learning how to shoot was much different from today. Expensive for one thing, as we had to pay for film for each shot we took. Photographers these days are extremely lucky to have the freedom of digital both creatively and financially, to test, learn and grow.

AB: Has the work always been word of mouth? Are you a hustler? 

MM: Pretty much, the work has been word of mouth. I’ve been really fortunate over my career, in that most of business comes from repeat clients and referrals. I guess the hustling part would come in with the fact that on every shoot I hustle to make sure the client’s expectations are exceeded.

AB: What are your keys to networking? How do you build relationships?

MM: One thing about choosing to be a music photographer, is that my clients are incredibly cool people. I always enjoyed going to shows, meeting and hanging out with musicians. I’m interested in music and getting to know them so a lot of my relationships build organically, but they’re always about the work, which is what I most enjoy.

AB: What do you feel beyond talent makes people want to work with you?

MM: I usually try to make each shoot different, and usually it’s on location and somewhere interesting and new to the artist that makes it compelling for both of us. Also, I shoot very differently from other photographers, I think. I prefer to work one on one with the artist, and a lot of artists have said that they appreciate that, and find that it makes the shooting process a lot easier and more enjoyable for them.

AB: What does a typical shoot consist of?

MM: A typical shoot consists of collaborating with the artist beforehand in terms of locations and style, researching the client and their music to fully understand the direction they’re looking to go, scouting locations, planning set ups, then executing the shoot. Beyond that, every shoot is different, which is another aspect I really enjoy about my job.

AB: What makes an enjoyable experience working with an artist? 

MM: Good energy and an open mind, a willingness to try something different, even if it’s not been planned beforehand make for an enjoyable experience, because you never know what might work on the day.

AB: From your perspective as a photographer, what stands out about artists that have achieved a high level of success? Is there a certain feeling you get from them, a particular personality, recognizable traits?

MM: Artists that have achieved the highest level of success are usually the most professional, and are focused on getting the job done in the time allotted. Also, good business skills or management with good business skills are really recognizable traits.

AB: What are the key elements to a successful shoot? What can artists do to ensure the best experience and result?

MM: Being on time is a key element for a successful shoot. Waiting for one band member to show while the light is perfect and you have 10 set ups to achieve is no way to start the day.  Bringing lots of options in terms of clothing is a great idea. Getting a haircut or doing anything that radically changes your appearance right before a shoot is probably not a great idea, in case you’re not happy with it. Hitting the gym doesn’t hurt either!  And as mentioned earlier, good energy, an open mind and a willingness to try something different that may involve working a bit for, are also key elements.

AB: Where do you get your inspiration? 

MM: Most of my inspiration comes from listening to the artist’s music, and discussing the themes and things that went into writing and making the songs.

AB: What is your favourite medium to work with? Posters, album covers and portraits/band shots seem quite different in terms of space and dimension.

MM: I like working with bands because it’s challenging to come up with something different, and to have two, three, five or sometimes more people all looking great and interesting at the same time. I love the format of 12 inch vinyl, there’s nothing like seeing big artwork. Bands that are putting out vinyl in this day and age, to me, it adds a touch of class and nostalgia that I love.

AB: Have there been any disaster shoots or exceptionally good ones of note?

MM: Chris Cornell for Gibson Guitars was a definite highlight. I’ve been really lucky, there haven’t been any disaster shoots I can think of.

AB: What kind of music are you listening to?

MM: I usually listen to every kind of music, as I work with artists from a lot of different genres, from rock to country or hip hop and dance. Right now, I’ve been listening to a lot of Terraplane Sun.

AB: Are you a fan of anything?

MM: I’m a fan of old cars, music, art, photography and film.

AB: Who hires you?

MM: I usually get hired by bands and artists themselves, management companies, record labels, magazines, or marketing departments at product companies.

AB: You have received a Canadian Country Music Award not once but twice, had your work featured in major magazines including Billboard, Rolling Stone, ION, Canadian Musician, Modern Drummer, Guitar World, and Regional Musician to name a few, Randy Bachman’s autobiography has your photo of him as the cover… what’s next? Where are your sites set?

MM: My sites are set on developing artMARKet and clothingMARKet. I’m branching out into art photography, and down the road into some select clothing items. It’s new for me, the art part, because I’ve never really considered my work to fall into that category. I’ve been really fortunate though, to have been recognized by the California art community recently, with placements in two juried art photography shows, and a few of my clients have commissioned some personal work of mine, so I thought that maybe this would be a good idea.

AB: How has the internet affected photography?

MM: When I began in photography, the iconic album cover and one or two promo photos/ tour posters were what people identified with the music for one to two or even three years. Now the constant demand for new visuals is phenomenal. As a photographer, I love it, as I love shooting a lot of photos and getting a lot of different pictures from one shoot, and I love it when artists update constantly, it’s a treat for their fans.

AB: Who do you respect in your industry?

MM: Raphael Mazzucco, Anton Corbijn, and Annie Leibovitz I completely respect in the industry, and I’m a huge fan of their work.

AB: Who have been some of the people that you have most enjoyed working with?

MM: I’ve been really fortunate to have worked with amazing clients across the board. I always learn something from each of the artists I work with. One of my favourite experiences was working with Randy Bachman( Guess Who, BTO) at his home in Salt Spring Island. The place was amazing, I remember I was moving some things around his studio to set up a shot & I uncovered a set of bongo drums that were signed “To Randy, Wow, Ringo Starr”… that was pretty cool. Shooting Chad Kroeger(Nickleback) for his custom Gibson guitar at his house in BC was a great experience. He’s a true class act, incredibly intelligent, generous and fun to be around. One of my favourite shoots with 54*40 was our first one together, when we shot 8×10 polaroid. Pulling apart that big sheet of film on the day after running it through a processor hooked up to my car battery with Neil & the guys was a once in a  lifetime experience. Having producer Bob Rock in my studio with his son was overwhelming & the interest he took in my work was incredibly inspiring. One of my first ever shoots I’ll always remember was with Henry Rollins. Super intense.

AB: What drives you? What gets you excited?

MM: The picture I’m going to shoot next.

AB: How do you approach photography of people vs. of product/instruments?

MM: My experience with shooting product has been that usually the musician is included with the instrument. Then it becomes more about the person, more of a portrait.  Photographing people is about building confidence with them, whereas in shooting products and instruments I’m always looking for how to be creative with it.

AB: Where have you had to travel to for photo shoots?

MM: All across Canada, from Salt Spring Island to PEI, New York, Texas, Nevada, Nashville, and all over California.

AB: What are some of the most unusual places/sets you have shot?

MM: Monahans Sandhills in Texas, Valley of Fire Nevada, Death Valley in August, Brooklyn Bridge at 5am, rooftops in LA.

AB: Who would you like to photograph?

MM: David Bowie.

To see Mark’s work visit: www.markmaryanovich.com

Interview by Aaron Bethune

Aaron is an author, music consultant, creative collaborator and musicpreneur.

Author: www.musicpreneur.ca

Podcast: www.abovethenoise.ca


Musicpreneur : The Creative Approach to Making Money in Music

Musicpreneur : The Creative Approach to Making Money in Music

Two years ago I started writing a book, today I am excited to tell the world about it.

I was fascinated with what set successful musicians in today’s music industry apart from those with talent but no music career in their future. Research for the book had me taking a serious look at successful musicians and artists through to CEO’s, athletes and the world of neuroscience.

I wanted to present a resource that gave the reader the mindset, tools and approach for success in music. And I wanted it to be a book that related to left and right brain thinkers alike, hopefully connecting the two. The result is Musicpreneur : The Creative Approach to Making Money in Music

Although it will be officially released in late January I would love you to take a sneak peek by clicking here.

Musicpreneur connects the dots between music and business. With a healthy dose of creativity, it provides the tools, knowledge, mindset and approach for you to get heard above the noise and build a successful career in music.

Aaron Bethune. Music specialist. Creative Collaborator. Musicpreneur.


Musicpreneur : The Creative Approach to Making Money in Music

“If you have a dream to turn your music into your career, this is a must-read. Today’s musician is part artist, part entrepreneur, and part marketing expert. Aaron covers all of the bases in this fantastic book.”

Steve Jones, author of Brand Like a Rock Star: Lessons from Rock ’n’ Roll to Make Your Business Rich and Famous


“It’s tempting, when you go into the music business, to think that all you have to do is write a great song. That certainly helps. It’s also a necessity to know all aspects of the industry, so you’re able to tackle any challenge you’ll ever face. This book might just be all you’ll ever need to read.”

Eric Alper, Director of Media Relations, eOne Music Canada

Musicpreneur : Creative Approach to Making Money in Music

Above The Noise Music Industry Podcast. A follow up interview with author, music marketer and radio host David Hooper

David Hooper Above The Noise Music Industry Podcast

A while back I interviewed radio host, author and music marketer David Hooper about his book Six Figure Musician. We did the interview in Nashville about a week prior to the launch. At the time he told me about his plans for the book and how he intended to market it. I thought it would be interesting to follow up with him and find out how his marketing strategies were working and what he had learned about his audience. The book is available for free as well as a number of paid versions too. Would people value them differently? Was there any unexpected insight as to what people would go for? I have noticed that free can often result in less interest due to a lower perceived value of the content, whether it is a free music industry panel, workshop, webinar, concert or album download… What can David tell us about the world of book marketing within the music industry?

In our conversation we talk about marketing, getting a #1 on the billboard charts and a best selling book on Amazon. We discuss the global business market and the ability to choose the best partners on a global scale. Although I am not one for talking about hype, on this occasion I ask David his opinion of the media around Miley Syrus from a marketing perspective.

As always the conversation takes many twists and at every turn David has some hugely valuable insight to share. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Aaron Bethune. Music Specialist. Creative Collaborator. 

www.playitloudmusic.com  www.abovethenoise.ca  @playitloudmusic


Interview with David Hooper

For more on David Hooper and his book Six Figure Musician please visit:



Above The Noise Music Industry Podcast with Associate Director, Music Marketing Strategy & MuchFact at Bell Media Inc., Gregg Stewart

Gregg Stewart Above The Noise Music Industry PodcastToday’s interview is with Gregg Stewart, a marketing expert with over 13 years of first hand experience in the entertainment industry.

As the Associate Director, Music Marketing Strategy & MuchFACT he’s the main point of contact for music industry partners at Bell Media Inc. when it comes to music and entertainment.

Gregg leads the music team in weekly committee meetings, promo opportunities, communications, production, programming, appearances on all media platforms across their brands. Brands include MuchMusic, MuchMore, MTV, MTV2, MuchLoud, MuchVibe, MuchRetro, Juicebox, The Loop, E!, at broadcast and for all of their digital offerings.

Gregg also leads the MuchFACT team which is a funding board that supports Canadian music through content creation for all media platforms.

He was instrumental in the launch of MTV in Canada in 2006 and also grew the audiences of the major shows by 40% from year one! He has been involved with MTV events nationally from Wakefest in Kelowna to World Ski and Snowboard Festival in Whistler.

This interview covers topics including:

  • How to get into the music industry
  • Building your value
  • Instant gratification and YouTube
  • New music discovery
  • Making the most of music placements
  • Building relationships and following through.
  • SXSW and beyond
  • Factors that count beyond the music
  • Timing
  • How MuchMusic and MTV formulate their own countdown chart and what factors in
  • MuchFact and creative pitching

Gregg is a very knowledgable guy and offers some great insight. Get out your pens and paper and take notes!

Aaron Bethune. Music Specialist. Creative Collaborator.

www.playitloudmusic.com  www.abovethenoise.ca  @playitloudmusic

Interview with Gregg Stewart:

To visit Gregg’s blog:

Good Music Is Good Music

Above The Noise Music Industry Podcast with Director of Music Programming for Sirius XM Canada, Jeff Leake

Jeff Leake Above The Noise Music Industry Podcast

Today’s interview is with Jeff Leake,  the director of music programming for Sirius XM Canada and host of The Leak In Review. I met Jeff at a music industry panel in Victoria, BC.  He’s a knowledgable guy, a funny guy and most definitely a very well connected guy!

We got together at his hotel to do the interview and drink tea. Rock n’ roll.

I am always interested to ask questions about what people do but I’m especially interested to find out how they got where they are. The more I have looked at successful careers the more overlaps I have found with the types of events that lead to success. To be more specific, the types of opportunities that have been the stepping stones to success.

Finding success in music or business is all about the accumulated experience and knowledge that allows us to recognize and seize the opportunity that ultimately results in what the general public observe to be “overnight success.” I was curious as to what those opportunities had been for Jeff. With his experience and first hand stories to tell about artists and their careers I was curious as to what advice he could offer for those looking for a career in music.

In our interview we talk about how to get your music on the radio, how to submit it, the importance of having a story, how to incorporate airplay into your overall strategy, the importance of follow up, but more importantly when to approach radio and why. Jeff also talks about networking and being ready and willing to take opportunities when they present themselves no matter how big or small they may seem.


Aaron Bethune. Music Specialist. Creative Collaborator.

www.playitloudmusic.com   www.abovethenoise.ca   @playitloudmusic

Interview with Jeff Leake

To listen to Jeff’s show:  Jeff Leake In Review