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YouTuber to Touring Artist feat. Anup Sastry from Intervals, Jeff Loomis, Skyharbor

Anup Sastry started doing drum videos on YouTube which got him a gig with Jeff Loomis on tour. Since then he’s released music / recorded with Intervals, Skyharbor, Marty Friedman, Monuments and many more. He used his YouTube channel like a resume to attract potential clients, and it helped turn him into a professional musician. In this episode we talk about how it all went down and advice he has for other people trying to do the same thing.

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Important Points:

Andrew and Anup talk about the importance of saying yes to opportunities and finding out where you can grow best. As a musician, it’s important to build your portfolio and constantly push yourself out of your comfort zone.

Anup stresses the importance of creating content that you love. While analytics are important, doing something you enjoy is equally important. It’s what makes the hard work worth it. 

Anup talked about his personal experience of going on a tour and how musicians make a lot of sacrifices, especially when on the road. The financial compensations are small, but the passion for music keeps them going.

Andrew and Anup also dive into the tools they use to put their music out there and monetize it. They discussed their experience using Native Access, Superior Drummer, Easy Drummer, and platforms like TuneCore, DistroKid, and Patreon. These tools help musicians distribute and monetize their music.

Andrew and Anup touch on the importance of playing not just to highlight your music but also to highlight the tools and creative process behind it.

Podcast Outline:

[00:31] Anup talks about how people from Leff Loomis’ record label contacted him on SoundCloud – Anup

[1:30] Anup started with a band, entered trade school for audio engineering while going to a community college for music theory – Anup

[02:23] Alex Ruther, inspired Anup’s content creation journey as he introduced him to creating YouTube videos based on his tour experience with his band, Threat Signal- Anup

[03:36] Andrew and Anup discussed how Andrew got into the little projects he’s worked on – Andrew and Anup

[04: 30]  Anup talked about how much time one has to invest compared to the amount of money you get paid for the work – Anup

[05: 21] His love for playing drums convinced him to say yes to the projects offered to him- Anup

[06:23] As a drummer, Anup will get called in to join tours for solo artists that don’t have a live band – Anup

[07:36] Andrew encourages listeners to just keep taking on the opportunities and keep pushing forward to build their experience and resume – Andrew

[08:39] Andrew and Anup looked back on how he has so many videos on YouTube and how his wife helped him create his content – Andrew and Anup

[10:38] Anup recalls how social media, YouTube, and Instagram were entirely different- Anup

[14:26] Andrew and Anup discussed how consistent content creation, especially in the early years of YouTube, helped Anup set up a solid community – Andrew and Anup

[16:05] Anup shares how instead of focusing on the numbers on his social media pages, he’s focused on creating the content he likes – Anup

[17:40] Andrew shares how he used to record so much content. Then, he used analytics to look at what kind of content he should invest in doing – Andrew

[21:10] The pandemic hits music promoters the hardest, and Anup shares how he feels toward this hardship in the industry

[22:50] Anup shares his personal experience of touring and how tours work best when the bands are reliable – Anup

[25:37] Relationship between musicians and managers factor in the tour’s success – Anup

[27:10] Professionalism, discipline, and working with different kinds of people and personality matter in a success of a tour- Anup

[31:38] Being on a tour doesn’t guarantee good pay. Anup shares the financial sacrifices and challenges of touring – Anup 

[33:28] Andrew and Anup discuss the quality of life when touring (food, sleeping, and travel arrangements) and how musicians will often find themselves in less-than-ideal conditions – Andrew and Anup

[39:10] Andrew and Anup talked about the transportation and logistics musicians have to go through when touring – Andrew and Anup

[46:50] Anup shared about signing up on Patreon and monetizing his YouTube content indirectly through TuneCore

[48:58] Andrew talked about how he used DistroKid instead of creating IDs for his music on YouTube

[49:55] Andrew plays his music on YouTube not just to showcase how he plays but also how the tools and gear he works with in case people want to work with him or hire him- Anup

[51:38] Anup shared that most of his time is spent on session work and monetization from royalties. Other streams of income include selling drum sample packs.

[54:45] Andrew shares how buying drum sample packs is more cost-efficient than hiring an actual drummer for a premium fee – Andrew

[58:17] Andrew and Anup unpacks the use of Native Access, Superior Drummer, and Easy Drummer – Andrew and Anup

[59:58] Anup shares how rich the music scenes are in countries like India and China

Wise Words:  

[07:36] If you have the opportunities at the moment, you might as well take advantage of it. ‘Cause I, I mean, I feel like it gives you a pretty dope resume. To kind of keep pushing yourself forward.- Andrew

[08:25] That just provides more things for me to make content for, you know? Right. So I saw it as a win-win for me. I’m getting the experience…And then when I come home, I’ve just learned like a full set for this artist, so I can knock out a bunch of videos in the time.- Anup

[16:05] I might glance at it here and there, but I’m not really doing anything because I’m not looking at those numbers because I don’t plan to change anything from that content. I just uploaded. If anything, I’m just trying to, you know, do covers of the songs that I want to do. Right? If it doesn’t do well or if it’s only going to do so much, then it is what it is.- Anup

[17:37] As I figured out my content over the years, I looked at the analytics and figured out, well, if I could do all of this stuff and I like all that stuff, maybe I could just cut out all the stuff that doesn’t really do anything for me and focus on one in terms of my channel.- Andrew

[49:55] The point of why I do videos is more so to showcase, “This is my playing. That’s cool, but here’s my gear. Yeah. You know, like, “if you hire me to play drums on your stuff, this is what you can get.”- Anup

Resources Mentioned:

  • Anup’s Youtube – link
  • Learn how to grow your Youtube channel – link

Learn More:

If you enjoyed this interview, you might also like this one I did with Noir Et Blanc Vie about being a music YouTuber, how to play the YouTube game, how sponsored videos can work, and how to diversify your music income.