Evange Livanos and Zack Zarrillo own a full service music management company called Alternate Side that rakes in over 30 million Spotify streams per week. They manage artists like Caveton, Erra, Fit For A King, Chelsea Grin, guccihighwaters and many more. They do a lot more than just streaming, they support their artists.
Listen on your favorite Podcast platform
Andrew and Zack tackle how alignment and trust are crucial components when artists and music companies choose to build a relationship and work together.
Zack emphasizes the significance of monthly listeners as the primary metric in the music industry. To maximize their bargaining power with listening platforms, he and Evange compile a catalog of exceptional artists as collective leverage.
Andrew and Zack discuss how artists can use their online presence, including TikTok followers, to negotiate rates. However, Zack points out that having a large online following doesn’t guarantee ticket or record sales. The key is for artists to actively engage with their community and build a dedicated fanbase.
Evange encouraged managers to constantly communicate with artists to ensure their emotional and mental wellness. She shared how they have honest conversations and share resources to help them take care of themselves.
[00:44] Andrew asks Zack what one piece of advice he would give artists if he only had one minute: Never give up on your career and love it more than anyone else ever could. –Zack
[01:36] Zack introduced what he and Evange are up to: Alternate Side, B-side, and Public Consumption Recording Co.
[02:44] Andrew and Zack discuss prerequisites for artists collaborating with music companies, including a strong music portfolio, shared values with the team, and a clear brand vision. –Andrew & Zack
[06:50] Andrew highlights that trust is crucial to building a good working relationship between the music company and the artist –Andrew
[08:20] Zack mentions various ways they connect with artists, such as reaching out through direct messages on Instagram or featuring and promoting their music on his blog. –Zack
[12:44] The Music industry is one that relies so much on building the right relationships –Zack
[13:32] Andrew and Zack discuss commissions in the music industry, with companies typically charging a commission rate ranging from 15% to 20%. –Andrew & Zack
[14:47] Zack shares that there are many earning opportunities for artists: royalty in music, publishing, merchandise, tours, etc. –Zack
[16:57] Zack emphasizes the significance of monthly listeners as the primary metric in the music industry. To maximize their bargaining power with listening platforms, he and Evange compile a catalog of exceptional artists as collective leverage. –Zack
[19:36] Many Hat Distribution and their Merlin membership, which incurs a 1% fee but grants access to distribution channels for optimal streaming rights. –Zack
[22:47] Evange discussed how they established a collaborative approach with their promoter to drive ticket sales and offer comprehensive marketing assistance for the tour. –Evange
[23:24] Evange talks about how they leverage contests and ticket giveaways to drive hype for the tours they organize –Evange
[25:14] Evange talks about the different relationships and kinds of promoters artists will meet along the way –Evange
[26:38] Andrew shares the reasons why many artists are wary of working with promoters, such as high venue fees and unreasonable commissions on merch. –Andrew
[28:23] Zack highlights the risks that promoters take and balancing that with leveraging benefits for the artists –Zack
[30:55] Evange emphasizes that having a label or a manager doesn’t guarantee your value as an artist to be part of a tour –Evange
[34:13] Evange shares that the currency of the touring world is how many tickets an artist can bring in –Evange
[35:03] Andrew and Zack point out that Tiktok followers and social media presence don’t guarantee music or ticket sales. A dedicated and engaged fanbase does.-Andrew and Zack
[39:04] Evange shares how some artists go viral on TikTok with a hit song, but people don’t really know who the artist is-Evange
[41:33] Evange encouraged artists to still go out and meet fans in actual shows to build a relationship with them outside social media platforms-Evange
[43:39] Evange shares how they take different parts of the songs to tailor it according to what works for each platform (TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and reels) –Evange
[46:37] Online platforms allowed struggling artists to have a career in Music –Zack
[49:17] Zack shares the story of Cavetown an artist that has 3.5 billion streams on Spotify alone and sold hundreds and thousands of tickets but he’s not popular on mainstream-Zack
[52:01] To ensure the emotional and mental wellness of their artists, Evange and Zack make sure they have honest conversations. Then, they share resources to help them take care of themselves-Evange
[53:00] Evange shares tips on how to have difficult conversations about artist’s behaviors and points for improvement-Evange
[06:50] It’s also a very intimate relationship. You know, it is business, but at the same time, you know, sometimes we talk to our artists more than they talk to their own families. So there has to be that trust first and foremost. That’s the most important thing to me is the trust. Can you trust them? Can they trust you? And that relationship is crucial. –Andrew
[12:44] But also the music industry, I think, like many entertainment industries, is so relationship based. You know, it’s kind of everyone’s sharing things all the time, and when the musical chair stops, hopefully, you have the artist. –Zack
[14:47] Every artist is a business that owns multiple sub-businesses —royalty music, royalty publishing, merchandise, touring stints, et cetera. So there are so many opportunities when developing an artist’s career. –Zack
[39:04] I think in addition to that, when it comes to TikTok, and this is a little off-topic, but kind of the same. There are artists who get a viral song, right? They have a viral moment and that what gets them signed. But what’s interesting and what I’ve discovered in my experience working with certain artists like that, people know the song, they don’t know the artist. That’s hugely different.-Evange
[39:43] You know why does anybody go see music? Because it makes them feel something. There’s a song they sing that speaks to them or the artist’s message. Right. That is hugely important. If an artist doesn’t have that, what’s the value there? Besides, you know, a fantastic song that everyone likes, but they just do not know who the artist is. And there’s a huge difference between a viral song and a viral artist.-Evange
[48:04] I just saw a stat from Music Business Worldwide today that said, there are now 120,000 songs uploaded to streaming platforms every day.- Andrew
- Alternate Side Website – link
- B-side Website – link
- Public Consumption Recording Co. Website – link
- Distribute your music through our Melodist – link
If you enjoyed this interview you might also like this one I did with Chris Greenwood (Manafest) on how he’s achieved 1 million monthly listeners on Spotify, has been signed to multiple record labels, and has sold tens of thousands of albums.