Episode 18:

Matt Still, Grammy Winning Audio Engineer and Producer

How much do artists promote and get paid for their music? How does Elton John write a song? Matt talks about the music industry from a creative’s POV.

Transcript

Matt Still  0:00

That’s just hilarious. Maybe one day I’ll write a commercial and you can record it.

Matt Still

Rudy Fernandez  0:03

I would gladly do it would be the worst commercial ever. Hey everyone, this is Rudy Fernandez from Creative Outhouse. And this episode I spoke with Matt Still, a Grammy Award winning engineer and music producer. Matt has worked with people like Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Santana. He’s worked with OutKast, Lady Gaga, and the list goes on and on – from legends to new artists. Matt and I have known each other for a long time, and I always enjoy talking with him. We talked about how he got started. We talked about the changes in music and the rights of artists, because Matt also advocates for the rights of performers and artists, which I admire. So I think people who make music have these magic powers that create this miraculous thing that profoundly affects us emotionally, makes us think and affects our lives. We talked about that too. Check it out. Welcome to Marketing Upheaval.

Earcon  0:54

You’re listening to Marketing Upheaval.

Rudy Fernandez  1:06

Welcome to Marketing Upheaval. My guest is Matt Still, Matt is a Grammy Award winning music producer and engineer. He’s a national trustee for the Recording Academy and an artist in residence at Kennesaw State University. In his 25 plus years in the music industry, he’s seen a lot of things change, and he’s managed to change with them. So we’re going to talk about that. Thanks for joining me, Matt.

Matt Still  1:27

Thanks for having me.

Rudy Fernandez  1:28

So, I’m going to just for the listeners, start with shameless name dropping, if that’s okay, because you’re pretty modest guy, but I don’t think you ought to be. You work with Elton John. Yes, you’ve worked with OutKast, Fallout Boy, Lady Gaga, Rod Stewart, Santana, Allison In Chains, BB King, Arrested Development, TLC. You’ve worked with Stevie Wonder and Patty LaBelle. Then it goes on and on and on. So how does a kid who grew up in Georgia and loved music grow up and become a guy who works with all these legends.

 

Matt Still  2:04

Well, I’ve been in music my entire life. I started playing the piano and taking classical piano lessons at the age of four. So music was always a part of everything I did. And I never really thought about doing anything other than music. Yeah, you know, really, and I wanted to be I wanted to be the performer. I wanted to be the next Elton John. My mom bought me an Elton John songbook, but when I was a teenager. I think it’s kind of ironic that I’m actually been working with him for over 26 years now. But I wanted to be the performer. And I remember when I was in bands in high school and in college, and we go into recording studios, and the recordings never came out sounding the way I wanted. They didn’t sound coming out of speakers the way it sounded in my head. I didn’t know what to tell the engineer to do or the person producing. I didn’t really understand the technical language of things. I was like okay I need to learn that. I wanted to sound the way I want it to – I need to learn what these guys are doing. Yeah. So I started taking recording classes, hanging out in recording studios and kind of worked my way up, you know, from an intern to an assistant engineer to an engineer, and then eventually the chief engineer the recording studio that I was a part of. I just kind of found myself starting to engineer for other people. And it came a little bit naturally, to me, it’s much better suited for my personality, being in the studio being at the point when you’re creating the art and when you’re making some magic happen. I really found that that was more suited to me. And I was fortunate enough to be at what was at the time, the best recording studio in Atlanta, it was called Soundscape. And that’s where anybody who was anybody came into record. That’s where I first worked with Elton. That’s where I got to work with the Arrested Development, James Brown, TLC, Stevie Wonder, because if you’re coming into Atlanta record, that’s where you went.

 

Rudy Fernandez  3:55

I love that. It’s because you’re a perfectionist and you wanted to sound as good as what you heard in your head. That’s neat. I guess I know some performers. But you you’re more, I think more introverted. You go out and put yourself out there, but still by nature, I think you tend to. Yeah. I mean, the engineering thing obviously seems to have worked out.

 Rudy Fernandez

Matt Still  4:15

Yeah. Well, I mean, I think engineers, you know, in general are probably more introverts. Yeah. Because we get to we kind of go into our little caves and, and we just sit there and turn knobs all day long. Yeah. And we try to make things as perfect as possible.

 

Rudy Fernandez  4:29

But now switching advertising because you’ve done you do a lot of radio is pays it pays the bills in between albums.

 

Matt Still  4:35

Engineering is engineering. I’ve done everything from mixing, working on music in all genres of music. I’ve recorded rock, pop rap, country, classical jazz, recorded, you know, a 90 piece orchestra at Abbey Road. And then the very next day, I’ll be recording a voiceover for Toyota commercial. Yeah, you know, I’ve mixed feature films. I’ve mixed TV shows I’ve done you know, anything that has to do with audio in a studio. We’ll do it.

 

Rudy Fernandez  5:00

Well, how do you balance that with like doing a Toyota commercial with “I just recorded Elton John”, what’s the level of perfectionism?

 

Matt Still  5:08

Well, to me, I really don’t take a very different approach, you know, engineering – there’s a part that is universal. But in terms of my level of perfection of the way I approach it, it’s still very similar. A client as a client, you have to give them each the same respect. You’re being paid to do a job.

 

Rudy Fernandez  5:26

So the music industry’s changed a lot. Obviously, we all know it because we see it because I grew up with cassettes before. Yeah. And then you know, there’s growth but, eight tracks, albums, cassettes, how have you seen that the distribution of it impact the musicians that you work with just the fact that it’s not going to be released on an album anymore, or a CD or has an effect.

 

Matt Still  5:51

For artists, the economics of the industry have kind of flipped upside down from what they used to be. I mean, I remember I saw Prince on the Purple Rain tour. I had the stub and I think the cost of the concert was like $12.50, or $15, max. Prince. Yeah. 15 bucks at The Omni. Yeah. Because artists made their money through album sales and merchandising. You toured to support album sales. You didn’t have satellite streaming you didn’t have you know, or internet streaming and satellite radio, you only had terrestrial radio. Now, if you wanted to hear something, you had to turn the radio in your car or have your stereo at home on the radio station. Artists made their money through album sales, in-person shows. Now there is so much less money in sales. It’s like on the streaming. So streaming and albums are put out and often given away for free to support the tour to make people come back to the tour and go to the show. So now it’s the revenue model, which is why concert tickets are now $150, $200 $300.

 

Rudy Fernandez  6:48

Yeah. Does that change the type of performers that get recorded? I’ll give you an example. Many years ago now we saw a reunion of the Police. Right? Lot of greats. songs but the Police play instruments and sing. There’s no explosions. There’s no you know, dances they just sing. It was an okay concert. It wasn’t, let’s say, Bruno Mars, it wasn’t YouTube, we was just them. Do you think up and comers who just sing and play instruments have as much of a chance as someone who’s a better performer?

 

Matt Still  7:23

I think that someone who is a great musician will always have a good chance as much as they always have. Talent and musicianship has never been enough through the entire history of music industry, and to any industry. Yeah, it takes a lot more than just wow, they’re a great player. They’re great singer. They’re great guitarist or a great drummer, man. It’s a lot more than that. Yeah. And that hasn’t changed. So with technology, and the fact that you can record at home now, where you can do an entire album in your laptop in your bedroom, and there are people who do that and it sounds amazing. But I don’t think that’s necessarily going to change someone’s chance in terms of like a kid who picks up a guitar or chooses to play the piano. I don’t know that one necessarily has a leg up over the other because that’s all about the artistry. You know, and if you write a song that catches the public eye, you know, I think you stand as good a chance as anybody to be put into the limelight.

 

Rudy Fernandez  8:27

And you mentioned that I think at one time Adele was in town and I think tickets like $300 bucks.

 

Matt Still  8:34

And there’s someone who kept her album off of streaming and in sold like 5 or 6 million copies before it went to streaming. So she was very smart.

 

Rudy Fernandez  8:41

Say that again?

 

Matt Still  8:42

She did not allow her albums to be released on Spotify and all the streaming services when it first came out. It was a huge smash success. It was top of the charts. And the only place people could get it was to go buy it and so they went and bought it. She’s big enough that she can do that. Now emerging artists won’t really have that ability. But she’s a huge star.

 Rudy interviewing Matt

Rudy Fernandez  9:03

So how is music normally promoted? And what’s the standard when you’re not super huge star like Adele?

 

Matt Still  9:10

Nowadays when you have, you know, things like YouTube stars and all these kids that have channels and apps like TikTok and yeah, and all these other, you know, avenues for people to hear your music. You’ve really got to just build your social following. Yeah, unfortunately, record labels used to develop artists, they would sign an artist and they would commit to three to four albums with them to try and build that artist up to who they think they could be. You know, U2 wasn’t the smash to U2, on their first record. Sure. REM, one of our Athens bands. was not the REM we know today or at the peak on their first album. They had several albums under their belt before they kind of took off. Labels don’t really get into artist development as much anymore. You already kind of have to have a following. I’ve brought artists to labels. And one of the questions that they ask is, you know, how many streams do they get on Spotify? What how many followers on or subscribers on YouTube? How many followers on Facebook and Instagram? Wow, what’s the average number of views on a YouTube video?

 

Rudy Fernandez  10:25

So seems to me there’s more opportunity for emerging artists because they have more channels, but at the same time, you also have to be a good marketer.

 

Matt Still  10:36

The tools are available to everyone to try and let their voice be heard through the things that I mentioned. But now you have this sea of mediocrity that’s out there because it’s so inexpensive and easy to do that everybody wants to do it. But that’s technology, emerging technology. It’s going to do great things for you. But then it’s also going to you know, have a downside to it.

 

Rudy Fernandez  10:58

So that you think the major changes you see artistically music coming out that there’s, we just have access to more mediocrity than we did?

 

Matt Still  11:06

Well I mean in terms of changing in artistry, new technology is always going to spawn a new direction in music. People are going to find creative ways to use something. And that is hard to predict. And that’s that that’s where, you know, the true artist comes out is someone who can take something and use it in a unique way.

 

Rudy Fernandez  11:27

Do you think it’s more artist friendly now or the previous way it worked?

 

Matt Still  11:32

I don’t view it as either I don’t view it as more artist friendly or less artist friendly. It’s just it’s a new tool for people to use. You know, you have like a, you know, EDM is  – electronic dance music…

 

Rudy Fernandez  11:43

Thank you! You saw puzzled look….

 

Matt Still  11:45

What is EDM? Yeah, electronic dance music. It’s one of the fastest growing genres in the world. Yeah. And, you know, it’s all or mostly the vast majority of things you start just inside your laptop inside a computer. Sure, but that’s just people being creative with a new tool that they’ve been given

 

Rudy Fernandez  12:04

There’s more opportunity for more creativity. But I want to ask you, because you said, I don’t remember your exact words, but you said, I’m sort of I’m just the guy in the booth. And that’s not true. Because you do a lot more, you know, more artistry than that. But also, aside from that, you’ve become an advocate for music in the last few years. In Georgia, you push for the Georgia Investment Act. You’re part of entertainment caucus, and you go to DC to advocate for the Case Act for artists. What’s motivated you to do that? I mean, to get out of the booth, as you say.

 

Matt Still  12:38

Well, you know, when we look at the changing economics of the music industry, things like the Music Modernization Act and the Georgia Investment Act, we have to protect the business of music, and make sure that artists get paid fairly for what they do. And you know, in the music industry, it is governed by these things called consent decrees, which was an Act put in place in 1941. So before World War II, yeah. Those are the rules that are governing the music industry in 2019. Wow. So they’re a little bit outdated. Just a little bit. Yeah. They had been revised twice. But the last time they were revised, was before we even had satellite radio. We didn’t even have iTunes at that point. You couldn’t even download records. This was it was right around the time of Napster, just before Napster. Yeah. And I think it was ’98 or ’97 is when it was last revised. So you didn’t have satellite radio. You didn’t have, you know, downloads of albums. You didn’t have streaming services like Spotify and Google and Amazon. Those companies didn’t even exist. Yeah. And so the industry has even changed several times since the last revision. Part of what we’re trying to do is revise the consent decrees that has to go through the Department of Justice, and they’re in the process of reviewing those. The Case Act is creating a small claims court for copyright infringement and intellectual property.

 

Rudy Fernandez  14:14

I bet that happens a lot.

 

Matt Still  14:16

It does when you have a copyright infringement. It’s not it’s a federal issue. You don’t go to the state that you’re in and follow suit. Its copyright. Its federal law. It’s not state law. Yeah. It’s not state jurisdiction. So it has to be a federal case. And to take a case to the federal court system is going to cost you between three and $400,000, minimum to fight a copyright claim.

 

Rudy Fernandez  14:35

And don’t all musicians have that?

 

Matt Still  14:37

Oh, yeah. It’s just it’s just falling out of my back pocket. The fact that musicians have not had or anyone with intellectual property because the case that applies to any sort of copyright infringement, not just music, but we support it because we see how it will be advantageous for music creators. Yeah, but anyone who has any sort of intellectual property, copyright infringement case, it’s a small claims court. They don’t have to go through the expensive federal court system. They can go that route if they choose to. I mean,  if it’s an artist that’s big enough that steals your song or, you know, some movie puts your song in there without getting the rights. Although most companies, I don’t think would would take that risk. Yeah, you know, you can still go through the federal courts, if it’s if you think that that’s the best route for the size of the complaint that you have. But this puts you into a small claims court with judges who know copyright law, and who I believe it is capped at $15,000 per infringement and like $50,000 per case so it’s considered Small Claims at that point, you can handle it through the mail you don’t have to have a lawyer so there’s it’s a lot more of an economically viable route for artists and creators of all types. Whether it’s music or photography, or or videography, or whatever other type of copyright infringement you may have. It is a much easier route and more economical way for small claims system.

 

Rudy Fernandez  16:00

Is it my imagination? Or are songs more easily stolen? Now, before if you wanted to steal a song, you had to actually have equipment to do that. Now, it just seems like the ordinary citizens would just like, I’ll just grab a piece of that song. I know somebody who just did a video that he’s putting online, and he stole a piece of music and just put it on there. Is that happening often or am I just him?

 

Matt Still  16:26

It’s happening a lot. And that’s why the Case Act is very important for that pass.

 

Rudy Fernandez  16:31

Because otherwise, you know, what, is an artist’s recourse?

 

Matt Still  16:34

Spending $400,000 in federal court. Yeah, okay. So I mean, that’s, you see that a lot. And YouTube has tried to crack down on what they consider fair use and what they consider an infringement.

 

Rudy Fernandez  16:49

What is that? What is fair use, other than I paid you for your music fairly?

 

Matt Still  16:54

I believe it is fair use is when you use someone’s music, like say you have a YouTube channel and my monetizing that. If you’re making money off of the content that you’re putting on and you’re not paying the people whose copyrighted material you’re using, that is not fair use. Now, if you have a YouTube channel, you know, it’s your family vacation video and you wanted to put a YouTube song behind it, and you’re not monetizing the channel, you don’t click on it, and a commercial immediately come up, and there are no banner ads on so the kind of stuff associated with your channel, then then it’s not monetized so I believe that can be considered fair use. You’re just putting it on there for personal use, essentially. But if you if you have a YouTube channel where you’re regularly putting up content and you’re trying to gain clicks and you’re trying to monetize your channel, you cannot use someone’s copyrighted material.

 

Rudy Fernandez  17:42

So you mentioned Spotify, iTunes and all the streaming music. Artists get paid obviously, but it’s got to be minimal.

 

Matt Still  17:53

It is so minuscule and they’re in its in its not a consistent rate from format to format, which is strange, which is another thing that the music industry would like to see, we would like to see that rate standardized across the board. Spotify pays a different rate than Apple and they pay a different rate than then Title and they pay a different rate than Google. They pay different rate than Pandora, and Rhapsody and all these other – YouTube. YouTube is one of the worst at it in terms of how much they pay. So we would like to see a standard rate set across the board.

 

Rudy Fernandez  18:22

The reason that bugs me is I’ve always been awe of musicians and singers because I don’t do that myself. But I’ve always figured being able to play music is like having a magic power – how it affects the brain, the body, the soul, everything. And the fact that you know, we don’t pay people who create this stuff is is just amazing to me. We had talked about going back to the promotion aspect of it and we talked about Lil’ Nas X, and I won’t say everything you said but – and just how that song broke a record. For being in Number one for 18 – 19 weeks, I forget now.

 

Matt Still  19:03

And like you pointed out in your blog, it’s a perfect case of marketing. Yeah. And the business side of it rather than the artistry. I think we can be honest in that it’s not the greatest song ever written. No, it’s not. It’s not even. It wouldn’t even be in my top 10. No, I agree. It was the longest number one in history. Yeah. And why is that because a lot of the things that you talked about in your blog of, of how they marketed they were very smart in the way they marketed that song and got it out there.

 

Rudy Fernandez  19:30

Yeah. He seems to be a very intelligent person and how he marketed it, and and using TikTok to to promote it. At the beginning.

 

Matt Still  19:40

You just showed your age there with a what do those little whippersnappers use?

 

Rudy Fernandez  19:46

You know, it’ll change tomorrow.

 

Matt Still  19:48

It will change to something different.

 

Rudy Fernandez  19:50

Yeah. So how has the act of recording changed over the years?

 

Matt Still  19:56

Well, technology has definitely changed a lot. The recording the way we’re recording now we couldn’t have done this 20 years ago.

 

Rudy Fernandez  20:02

Yeah. Back then  – we started doing podcasts in 2006. And we had to do in a studio.

 

Matt Still  20:09

Yeah, you had to have a studio you had to have big, expensive equipment. When I first started out we were in studios and we had you know, multi track tape machines that were these big reel to reel thing, two inch tape and you could record 24 tracks on on each reel of tape and we wouldn’t even have to lock two and sometimes three machines together to get 48 tracks or more. And you had this huge long console with with you know, thousands and thousands.

 

Rudy Fernandez  20:37

You’re sounding old by the way, just Yes, I know. I know. I’m sounding experienced.

 

We should really show pictures, Matt’s not that old

 

Matt Still  20:45

I remember seeing a documentary and for Heartbreak Hotel, they had Elvis in the band recording the hallway, to have that sort of reverb and give it a lonely feel but they have all these cords going out into the hallway and he’s singing in a hallway is how they got that sound.

 

It took a lot of very expensive equipment to make a quality recording. Technology has changed. Everything has gone inside of the computer, even though we still use big consoles and big expensive recording studios. The medium in which we record now, meaning digitally for the most part, you know into something like a Pro Tools or a Logic or you know Ableton Live or any other digital workstation format that you choose. You can record in a big studio you can record at home, I did an Elton John record where we actually we went into Center Stage Theater and setup and recorded there kind of in a live format. Ah, I was in the room with Elton and the entire band. There were no walls, there were no isolation booths, and I had my little workstation and all of my outboard gear that I needed to record everything. I was listening through headphones and we do take it and everybody come back and we put it through the speakers we’ve listened through and you couldn’t have done that. It would have been much more difficult and cost prohibitive to do an album like that.

 

Yeah, yeah, well that’s, that’s just being creative with the environment you have. You know I have recorded, like I know one time I recorded Jason Bonham on drums John Bonham’s son playing with foreigner, and we were recording a lot of their songs, and you know the bottom sound is that big, Led Zeppelin size – a huge room drum sound. And we were recording in a studio here and they had this hallway, there’s like an atrium. It was in between the studio and the lounge and wasn’t even part of the recording space. But I was I kept hearing the echo and the reverb in there and I was like, well, let’s just leave the door to the studio open. And they put two microphones as high up as I can get as far away from the drum kit and as much in that reverb as I can. And when we put those when I put those mics into the mix, it’s like I would listen to the drums of Jason playing and the normal rooms and that we got out of just the recording space and, and everyone was happy with it. But then when I pulled up those microphones of that room that was not designed for anything, but just had this massive amount of reverb. Jason’s eyes lit up – it was just like, That’s the sound. That’s it right there. So, just getting creative with the spaces that you’re recording, and

 

Rudy Fernandez  23:20

I stand now with technology, you get more, more spaces to choose from, kind of.

 

Matt Still  23:26

I don’t think anything really replaces the real thing.

 

Rudy Fernandez  23:30

Because you’ve worked with Elton John, for many years – 26. Through the years, over decades, he’s managed to be successful in so many areas. How does he manage to do that, despite all the changes in music and tastes and all that?

 

Matt Still  23:43

Well, Elton is a classic songwriter. It all starts with the song. Yeah, if it’s a great song, it can last for a long time. Still, you turn on the radio and you’ll hear your Rocket Man, Tiny Dancer. I mean if you’re on a classic station, when you hear your song you don’t change the station. You listen to it, you turn it up. He writes great songs. And his songs stand the test of time and stand a switch in genre.

 

Rudy Fernandez  24:14

Well, okay, so what is it then because you know, this is called Marketing Upheaval. We’re talking about music. It’s all about change. Everything changes, things change. How do you create something that’s classic? That’s going to be timeless?

 

Matt Still  24:28

I don’t know there’s really an answer to that.

 

Rudy Fernandez  24:31

Be a, someone like Elton John. Yeah.

 

Matt Still  24:33

Be a genius? Be unique?

 

Rudy Fernandez  24:36

What are the qualities that then of those songs you think?

 

Matt Still  24:39

Trying to not get too down into the theory of behind how he does things. It starts with the melody for him. If you have a great melody, yeah, that’s the foundation for a great song. It’s not the only thing you need for a great song and it’s not necessarily where everyone would start. It’s just that’s where he starts. The lyrics are written. And he’s just down the piano when he just starts kind of playing, he just kind of starts fiddling about and finding a chord structure, finding a melody, he’ll kind of, you know, you’ll hear him humming, he’ll just kind of start going over, you know, a line over and over until he finds something that he likes and then all of a sudden, you kinda, it’s like you can when he’s writing, you can kind of hear it click. It’s like, Okay, he’s found the path. Now he’s going to go down and finish the song and usually he’ll finish writing the song within 30 minutes.

 

Rudy Fernandez  25:29

Once he gets that point,

 

Matt Still  25:30

No, from the time he sits down at the piano to like he has the lyrics are in front of him. The time he sits down to the time he’s done writing the song, it’s about 30 minutes. Wow, roughly, give or take. Sometimes he’s written then in as little as 12 to 15 minutes. Because he just kind of gets in that zone. And I find that the faster he writes a song better it is usually. It’s even hard for him to describe because I’ve heard him have conversations with people he’s like, you know, I really don’t know how to explain it. And that’s the genius of Elton John. It’s not something that you can really quantify and say, Oh, well, he’s just doing this. Well, let’s just go to that now.

 

Rudy Fernandez  26:04

We’ve done your share of ads, lots of radio, TV, voiceover recordings. I’ve sat in sessions and I’ve run sessions, been with edit sessions. What advice do you have to people who run a recording session? I’ve been in other people’s sessions so I ask and I don’t think they’re always run very well. What advice you have someone running a voiceover session, for example.

 

Matt Still  26:27

I’m trying to take as critical of an ear as if I had written the spot myself. And you know, some clients, I feel more comfortable giving creative input. Um, what do you think about them reading of the line this way? Should they hit this or should they, you know, put a pause here or whatever. Some clients, I don’t know them that well, I’ll just kind of sit back and just make sure that I’m good time on my stopwatch. I know exactly what we’re going forward. I give them good advice on you know, yes, I can make this spot this read fit within the time allotted. Or no, I can’t. Because that’s one thing about advertising. It’s like, you know, when you’re doing a 30 second spot, you don’t have 31 seconds to do it. So, advice on running a spot or running a session, just be professional, just, you know, be on top of it be ahead of where everyone else is in the room, be ready to record whenever the producer and the talent are ready to go. You need to be able to hit record and not just you know, “hold on. Sorry, hold on a second. Wait a minute mics, not working. Now. Let me..”

 

Rudy Fernandez  27:29

Because I’ve noticed, you know, we’ve known each other for a long time and we’ve worked together before and you’ve never won me a Grammy. I’ve never noticed that. No, I think it’s not me, but

 

Matt Still  27:41

I win Grammys for people who have talent.

 

Rudy Fernandez  27:46

That’s fair. That’s fair. I didn’t I didn’t realize that was necessary.

 

Matt Still  27:50

I kind of is necessary.

 

Rudy Fernandez  27:52

So you traveled? You said you were at Abbey Road you record all over the world. Do you see any difference in music industry in other countries as opposed to the U.S.? Or is it just like one global industry?

 

Matt Still  28:03

There is a global aspect to it to those artists and those nations have the same sort of situation here with sort of Spotify and the distribution models. For the most part, Spotify is over there. And so there they are dealing with the same issues. There is a there is a terrestrial radio issue with performance royalties going on right now. There’s a debate going on between the National Association of Broadcasters and the music industry. When you hear something on the radio, the performer gets paid nothing. But over in the rest of the westernized world, they get paid a performance royalty anytime a song is played on the radio.

 

Rudy Fernandez  28:42

Why is that? Why do you think from a financial point of view that the artist is so devalued here?

 

Matt Still  28:49

I think art in general is devalued in this country. It is seen as unnecessary. When to me it’s kind of like one of the reasons to live is to experience beautiful things. And art is central to that. You keep seeing funding reduced in schools here in the US. And the first programs to get cut are music and art. You know, and there are educational arguments going on with STEM versus STEAM, where arts are included in one mode of thinking and arts are excluded and another. And, you know, it’s been proven that when a child takes music lessons for only two or three years, it changes the way they think. It changes the way their brain works. It expands the creativity of their minds. If we’re going to advance anything in this world. You need people who think creatively who think different than the person before them. And when you just teach math and science and you don’t teach art, you’re teaching people how to do it the way it was done before you teaching. Here’s the process. Here’s how you solve this problem. And they’ll be great at solving that problem all day long. But then when a problem comes along that that no one has known how to solve before you need the creative thinkers to come in and figure out how to solve it. And if the end if they haven’t been learning how to think creatively and artistically their entire life, then how are we going to advance society if we can’t have the creative thinkers

 

Rudy Fernandez  30:14

Agreed. Throughout history the creators aren’t the ones who get paid. It’s the people who distribute that. That’s that are the artists are always the ones who were just left.

 

Matt Still  30:22

That’s why the owner of Spotify is worth three and a half billion dollars. With  a B.

 

Rudy Fernandez  30:31

So let me ask you this. When you look ahead in terms of the music industry, and music and art, what excites you the most about what’s coming and what concerns you the most?

 

Matt Still  30:44

What excites me the most is that there’s still great music coming out all the time. There are young artists out there that I continually just blow me away. There’s young girl Brandi Carlile. She puts out some amazing music. She did really well with the Grammy Awards last year, deservedly so, and I think she deserved more than she got. But she did get recognized in the end. What concerns me is, the very things that I’ve been going to Washington to fight for, is making sure that the people who create this music can earn a living from it. Because if you can’t earn a living from it, then it kind of makes it difficult to, you know, to do this. And I think that we need to make sure that artists get fairly paid for their work. We’re not asking for handouts, we’re not asking for anything that’s undeserved. We’re just asking for fair payment and control over getting paid for our own works. Allowing us to set our own rates that we get paid rather than, you know, Spotify and Apple and YouTube saying, “Oh, no, we’re going to pay you point 000004 cents per stream.”

 

Rudy Fernandez  31:51

Wow. Geez.

 

Matt Still  31:55

So that’s the part that’s concerning. And we’re taking steps to try and get that and trying to ensure a good future for music creators everywhere that we need to get on top of that.

 

Rudy Fernandez  32:07

That always burns me that in every art, but especially music because it’s just such it’s something that I don’t do. Everybody steals it. If they feel like they, it belongs to them. Because, it’s probably because it’s touched them emotionally and they love it. And they paid $1 for it. And the person may have to take their heart and soul, not just that person in group of people who created that. And then it’s like, well, thanks.

 

Matt Still  32:34

Well, not just the group of people, but every person behind the scenes. Yeah, you will never know their name. Yeah. You know, as a producer and engineer. I know no one looks through the credits to find out who produced it or who engineered it outside of somebody who’s in the industry.

 

Rudy Fernandez  32:51

All right. Well, thanks, Matt. I really appreciate it. This has been a lot of fun.

 

Matt Still  32:54

Thanks for having me.

 

Rudy Fernandez  32:54

Anytime, man. Thanks for listening to Marketing Upheaval from Creative Outhouse. Check out Matt’s website at MattStill.net. And remember to always, always advocate for music and art programs and your local schools. It’s not a nice to have, it’s a must have. For show notes, previous episodes and previews to upcoming episodes. Visit CreativeOuthouse.com/podcast. And if you liked this podcast, give us five stars. Subscribe and share it with your friends. Our producer is Susan Cooper. Special thanks to Gopal Swami and Acoustech Music for creating our earcon. Jason Shablik for his audio advice. That’s it for this episode of Marketing Upheaval. And remember, if the current state of marketing has got you confused. Don’t worry, it’ll all change. See ya.

 

Podcast credits:

Host: Rudy Fernandez

Producer and Cover Art: Susan Cooper

Earcon sound design: Gopal Swamy

Audio Consultant: Jason Shablik

Post production provided by: Music Radio Creative

Hosting provided by: Buzzsprout

Transcripts by: https://otter.ai