Justin Goodwin

E004 - Don't Miss A Beat

Justin Goodwin (Last Name Good) joined Plantastic Events podcast on January 13th, 2018. He’ll share tips on how to plan a live music event and how to work with different artists.

Hot topics for episode 004:

  1. DJs and the ‘DJ world’
  2. How to find the right venue for a live music event
  3. How to work with artists with different backgrounds and how to build their fanbase
  4. Strategies on budgeting for a live music event

Justin Goodwin (Last Name Good) is an entrepreneur, a podcaster, and has been in the music industry since 2007. He is also the founder of Str8outdaden and works with over 400 artists through blogging and his events.

Produced by Stoogeapp.com.
Host: Nausheen Punjani.
Guest: Justin Goodwin.
Music: Justin Mahar.
Support: Aly Hussaini from Stooge and Prototype Prime.

Login is required

Got skills and want to share? Apply here to be a guest speaker.

Podcast Transcript

Transcript by Nausheen Punjani

Nausheen: you are listening to Plantastic Events podcast episode number ten
Nausheen: hey everyone welcome to Plantastic Events I'm your host Nausheen Punjani, this is a weekly podcast dedicated to help you plan your events with ease be sure to subscribe at stoogeapp.com and stay up-to-date. That's stoogeapp.com plus you'll receive tons of resources, freebies, guides and show notes. Thank you for joining and now let's get into the show.
Nausheen: Hi everyone I'm your host Nausheen Punjani and today our guest speaker is Justin Goodwin also goes by J Good he is an entrepreneur a podcaster and has been in the music industry since 2007 that's more than 10 years he is also the founder of straight out of den and works with over 400 artists that's the number he can remember probably more and that's all through blogging and all of his events my thoughts Justin thank you so much for inviting us to your first to your last event we were honestly very inspired I don't think I've ever seen so much support and love from others as much ever attending an event from the person who organized the entire event I was truly inspired thank you so much for sharing that but I wanted to get started and ask you how are you doing today
1:48 Justin: I'm great I'm great thanks for having me I do appreciate it this is a very nice space by the way I may add loved love to set up here
1:57 Nausheen: thank you I wanted to ask you what inspired you to stop start straight out da den
1:58 Justin: straight out the den really started mmm high school for me which was 19 I said 19 well 1998 but really I'll say 2000 if I'm being honest and it started as a production company that's my background and at the time when I was in high school my father has a studio set up in the den of our home and so that's really where the name came from I was making music straight out of the den of my parents’ house and so that's the origin of the name and through the hustle and you know the tussle of the music industry I really just not it wasn't even became bored it was more so I just kind of fed up with the industry a little bit and I was in a placement game and for those that don't know about music placements it's basically you work with songwriters and then you hope that the music that you put out people want to pick up and you know purchase it so it was it was a hurry-up-and-wait game and honestly it wasn't working for me I ended up with a couple of independent placements and mixtape placements but nothing substantial and so I just got tired of that game and I set out for a little bit and during that transition of sitting out I already had to domain a head for a couple years and I was like you know something let me I've been having these conversations with some of the artists that I  continue to work with I was like why don't I just create my own website you don't start a music blog and really have a place to house my podcast as well and so that was November 2012 2012 the way that people know straight out to then today you know it started November 2012 and we kind of just went from there and it one thing led to another and you know it became a thing you know so it's what we had now 
4:05 Nausheen: when did you start hosting your live music events
4:07 Justin: my first will as straight off the din may be 2013 okay 2013 I would say prior to that I worked with different people doing events and in college I me and six other friends of my close friend cities to this day we start an entertainment company and we put on different events in the city at the time but we you know things we just we were not organized at the time we were kind of just like doing it and we didn't continue that but that was kind of the origin of learning how to put an event together and the ins and outs and looking at oh this is what I like and just what I don't like and so I kind of took that experience that I have from then and added it to what I'm doing now 
5:10 Nausheen: so, we have quite a few listeners that are interested in hosting live music events and especially around DJ's okay how do you work with DJs I know you had a podcast session about this right I'm gonna use the terminology DJ world I want to ask about that how do you hire how do you budget for them or any of that 
5:21 Justin: for me I've just been lucky to have a nice pool of talent you know surrounded by talent and so for a while I was exclusively using you know maybe one or two DJ's and really it's always been like that for me but to answer your question the best way is number one find out the DJ know who the DJ is and you know a lot of times we might go off of the name and what we hear and that's fine but me personally I like to actually go out to one of those DJs events and see how they work a crowd and you know find out what's their tone as a DJ and the things that they like to play which they arrange what can they play you know how do they make the audience move and so once I have a that you know at my disposal then I kind of match that with the event that I'm trying to put on and if it's   you know if it's a hip hop event I don't want to have a DJ that place exclusively pop music it doesn't now so you want to get the right DJ for the  right gig and as far as budgeting everything is upfront with me I asked what's your you know you ask directly that's directly like what do you charge and if I can't work with it I'll just tell them but hey I really want to work with you but that's out of my budget and then we go from there it's just negotiations that you know at that point and you know sometimes it works and sometimes it's like you know well hopefully you know maybe next time and that's fine too I think in business in general you just have to learn how to say no right some things are just now for you regardless you 
6:59 Nausheen: it's not working out definitely right no yeah absolutely I think the startup world we're also learning that process definitely not easy and I'm sure the same for major live music events too but I know that you mentioned you work with quite a few artists I wanted to know what are the best tips for rising artists and how can they sell their music so my idea would be iTunes Spotify things like that but correct me if I'm wrong how do they build their fan base
7:30 Justin: that's all of all of those places are great I mean that's where your music is and for me anyone that kind of follows the podcast know that my primary focus are indie artists and so with that being said the number one thing that I try to explain to indie artists is you should be getting that data and so for example if you buy a song off of iTunes right now right the artists don't know who bought the song they don't know where you're from they don't have any of that information and at one point in time that wasn't a big deal because we were in a world where people exclusively bought music you know online but now we're in it we're in a place where you need that data because as the independent artists you need to know who your fan base I need to know who my fan base is right and so I encourage people to build their own platforms and if you don't build your own platform at least have something in place to where you're constantly getting emails and just sell your album digitally on your website streaming of course you know that's a little bit different and you really have to have the bandwidth and you know developers to really make that work but if you don't have that I would say at least have a platform built where the majority of the traffic initial traffic is coming to you you're gathering that information so at least you can reach out because there's nothing better than reaching out and saying like hey I know you bought my song back in November you actually bought us t-shirt - and so when you have that type of information the conversation is different as opposed to yeah thanks for coming out to the show like no I can actually walk up to you at the show and say hey I know you purchase my album you purchase a mug and you purchased a t-shirt you are a fan let me shake your hand thank you for you know everything that you've done because you have kept me in business you know so I think that's very important
9:18 Nausheen: I have to admit I think you've created a fan here just from I've heard all your podcast oh thank you definitely follow your list on Spotify and I'm going to put a shout out here I think my favorite song is being a girl oh by Layla thank you thank you amazing 
9:35 Justin: that's great shout out to Layla Martinez we've been working together since 2007 actually yeah and we're actually releasing an album for those that don't know I also produce - and I produced being a girl so I think thank you for yeah thank you for loving that  record but we are releasing an album and her album is called lala land chapter 11 11 and that song will be on the album so I'll be sure to let her know  that you enjoy
10:05 Nausheen: but definitely very exciting my other question is I know you know live music events can get challenging because you have to deal with things at the moment I think one of the biggest challenges is not only finding the right venue but a venue that supports like stage space or area or even sound surround sound systems anything else that you need to know right how do you actually search for the right type of venue for your artists once again
10:40 Justin: for me it's all about experience so I will never book a venue that I've never been to it's just as good practice to only excuse me go places where you've been and or at least have a high referral you know so for me it's all about the type of environment that you're trying to create also for any event and so if you have an event where it's gonna be a house party type vibe you want everybody to be relaxed and have a good time I feel no pressure then a club is probably not the best place to have that you might want to have it as something where you can either rent out a warehouse type you know places that people will walk in and they feel like oh we have no worries while we're here right if you want something that's kind of plush and fancy than a club or upscale club might be you're better being so it's really for me it's all about experience I typically stay away from certain things just because I'm trying to kill my overhead so for me I like certain clubs because then I don't have to worry about paying for security I don't have to worry about you know paying for staff because that's included in the club and you have to be mindful of that so if you want something that a and I'm forgetting a term for the  type of space but kind of like a turnkey I think is space where you walk in you basically are responsible to turn this into anything you want to turn it into okay that type of space it requires a lot of overhead because you have to have security you have to have you know maybe you want to put a bar in there so you have to do all of those things and if you're gonna do that during your budget you know it's gonna go up and up and up and for me I'm all about let's keep the budget down you know unless you have you  know certain sponsors in place where you can kind of open the budget up a little bit more but if you're  coming out of your own pocket you know you gotta minimize those expenses as best as possible you know 
12:34 Nausheen: I think the venue that the was it in December that we attended his event late November late November that venue was awesome you had I downstairs section upstairs going it was like happening on both ends right people love that free style amazing absolutely wonderful to see that
12:55 Justin: it was good times and that's the music room to that it's a great venue I have a good relationship with the owners there and it's just one of those staples in the city of Atlanta for especially for hip-hop it's located on Edgewood and anybody that know anything about Edgewood Avenue is its you know it's a music scene and that's I can I dare you to ask any artists in the city of Atlanta have they performed on it on Edgewood Avenue if they haven't then they're not where they say they are and that's just being honest like it's kind of you have to come through Edgewood at some point or East Atlanta village at some point as an you know a new artist
13:38 Nausheen: so, I think one of the things you mentioned especially when working with artists how your entourage can kill your show oh yes can you talk a little bit about that and how it can hurt many rising artists that are interested
13:49 Justin: sure first off I could tell you really been listening to the pot but yeah your entourage can really kill a lot of things but they can kill your show they really can kill your show and the first thing and I'll tell you from all different levels so from the beginning walking in most artists you know when you're new you don't have a lot of leverage and the one thing that artists like to do when they initially started say like hey can I get my homeboys and homegirls with them right and so on a whole another level where you're messing up at as an artist by inviting your whole crew with you to come in for free is you're conditioning them to always walk in with you for free and it's not a good thing you're not conditioning them to pay for anything and so what you're doing you're setting up for when you do become uber successful everybody's gonna be like well their hands are gonna be out because they don't know how to give you've been giving them everything and if they're really fans and they're really there to support you what's five or ten bucks it's really in the grand scheme of things is not a lot right so my goal has always been to condition your fans regardless if they were your friends families or you know strangers condition them early everything there's a there's a price point and so your entourage can really kill that because you walk in the door especially if you haven't established with the promoters what's going on and so you kind of show up at the door with ten people and now the promoter is you know there with a problem I can't let ten people if I let ten people invest ten dollars that's 100 bucks that's coming in the door you got  to look at it from all aspects like that's really hurting business and so that's the first thing and now is once you get in and we've seen it all happen you have an entourage of people just want to get on stage with you and it's just a big no-no for one if I'm a fan if I'm a consumer I came to see you and they kind of seed the other ten people that barely know the song they're just happy to be on stage 
15:50 Nausheen: and it dilutes the moment absolutely
15:51 Justin: it takes away from the moment especially because there hasn't been any practice you know now if you have an entourage of people that are on stage and they're serving a purpose there's a way around that right
16:03 Nausheen: like they're managing something
16:04 Justin: or serving in the background absolutely if they're playing a band I mean right you can get away with it but if they're just there just to kind of stand and you know you have like three people here there have been awkward because they really don't you know don't know what it means to be on stage so they're awkward and want you know they're you have two guys here who you know they're just standing there they're there and then you have the three people that are really there to support you and they're going crazy with everything and so they look good but then there's no you know cohesion it's just a bunch of random and guess what nobody's paying attention to you they're looking at everything else and so it kills your show what I would strongly suggest is something I call a stack the audience
16:48 Nausheen: that was my next question
16:49 Justin: oh yeah no problem no problem so uh stack the audience for those that don't know is say you have those same ten people right and the thing is for artists I just really try to stress that you have to be honest with yourself the music will move people but initially nobody knows you so you have to give them a reason to want to move it and want to react to your music right so what I would strongly suggest that same those same 10 people stack the audience with them and so you're looking at the audience and you kind of treat it like a square if you will or actually look at it more so like a reverse triangle mm-hmm and so if you look at a reverse triangle if this is the stage and you have your triangle going here it stack it so you have four up front right so you have one in this corner and then for those that can't see one in the left corner one kind of you know left center one right center and one you know stage right that's your first level so that's four of your fans yeah I mean four of your friends that came to the show so they're there their job is to just interact with you jump up and down have a good time know the actual records that you're performing encourage the crowd that next section kind of go you know maybe depending on how big you can do the math but if you're in something that's a decent size you know maybe have them 15 20 feet back they have a row of three people so instead of doing all the way stage left you kind of do in the middle so you'll do stage left here one person is dead center and the other person stays right and so if you see if you can visually see this what you're creating is an effect that you have a lot of people in the crowd with you so there's four and there's three that's seven people now you have two you get these two people to kind of stand here and then you have that one person all the way in the back right so what you're doing you're stacking your audience and what that creates is an effect that you have more people there perform watching you perform than you actually do even if you only have ten people there it looks and it's gonna feel like you have 30 people there because you have people all over it's not if we're all bunched up in one spot I guarantee anybody with a little bit of sense would be like oh those are his friends all of those are his friends Yeah right there then front in the front but if you stack that you stack your audience and you move these people and spaced them out it creates a feeling that you're bigger than where you are and on top of that you're encouraging other people surrounded by you to interact because they're like hold on I said no one wants to be left out when it comes to a concert everybody wants to feel included right and so if I don't know your music but I see I'm looking around so I hold on that's ten people that know what's going on kind of okay and now I'm gonna pay attention a little bit more and if I'm paying attention more and now you're starting to create a fan and that you know that's stacking
19:36 Nausheen: and in general, I guess I would think of it as you're occupying space just empty space but it makes it look much larger
19:43 Justin: absolutely and you want to do this according to the crowd like you don't want to have that same stack and nobody is in between their clinic it looks kind of crazy but you know you're just you're switching the dimensions depending on the amount of people they're in the size of the stage either way you don't want your people that came with you all bunched up together you know spread them out it makes sense
20:05 Nausheen: I also like Ali has mentioned this to me in the past before where you said that everyone is a VIP everyone is has the same almost the same entrance wait to come in I love that I feel like almost every event planner that listens to this or event manager should know that and feel that I think I want you to share a little bit about that and how you came up with that idea
20:28 Justin: sure it's awesome what else say is everyone is the VIP what that means to me is because we've been to places where there are different price levels and right structures where you know and eventually you kind of get priced out and I get it I'm not really knocking that I understand the whole idea behind it but for a Den music festival what I wanted to do is create a vibe that everyone was there and they felt inclusive you know at one time and so what I did was I made it one price one price for everybody so the price levels were different if you waited to buy tickets of course but no matter if you bought a ticket and in October or you bought one the day of the event everybody felt the same so there was no VIP there was no paying a hundred bucks and you get to meet and greet with the artist right I didn't I didn't want to do that I really wanted people to feel like it's all about discovery at the end of the day you're looking at this list of artists and you may not know them but if you pay the same price as the next person you feel a little bit more inclined to get to know these artists and I wanted to I wanted that to be the focal point of the festival as opposed to you know yeah
21:37 Nausheen: I think it also it also changed the environment for the guests that were there absolutely I love that because when I walked into the event I thought that you know what I'm gonna be an observer I'm gonna stand here I'm gonna enjoy the music I'm gonna enjoy that right everything else that's going on but as soon as we entered we felt welcomed we heard the free styles that were happening and sometimes it would happen about you as you entered you felt welcome immediately not only by any of the artists that were there but also by the people that were there I think they started communicating with everyone around there as soon as you're around they're talking to you it's like a very welcoming space no one felt like they were above anyone else or below anyone else was just all together right all combined in one space enjoying the moment right so that was just definitely an incredible experience
22:30 Justin: yeah thank you that and you know something to hear you say that that's it's great to hear because that was the planning like we wanted people to walk in it felt you know feel like it was a sense of belonging like oh I belong here like this is where I supposed to be you know and you can have a good time the entire night and there were no worries about whatever went happened before you walked in it was there and when you came in you kind of forgot about everything it just lived in the moment and that's really what we were trying to do
22:58 Nausheen: it was awesome definitely awesome I also wanted to ask you because you've hosted events like this you have to definitely budget and sometimes you have to deal with small budgets too right so what are your most important things that you would budget for obviously you've mentioned deejay and venue different types of venue you really have to focus on that prior to the event right but other things that you could at least you know share with our audience that would be key points
23:22 Justin: the one of the most important things is marketing it's the one thing that we all forget about at some point of time if you've been a promoter if you've created music if you've done any anything creative you forget about the marketing side at some point yeah because your soul engulfed in trying to make this the best event possible that you forget about let people are not just gonna show up because you put something on Instagram I think it's just not gonna happen so you have to you have to be creative in your approach to marketing so you know prior to anything happening I already knew the good thing was I did the festival at a spot that I've have a great relationship with and I've been working that for you know for a while working with for a while and so I already knew my expenses when it came to the venue and the DJs I already knew that going in the one thing that I really had to account for was I did I had a partner with the event so I had to account for you know my partner's expenses I also had account for artists that were coming from out of town that I had to look out for them some of them need a hotel situations and some people needed flights so that part was you know that was a I open experience for me if I'm being completely honest it was just some things you just can't account for and you have to kind of roll with the punches and but at the same time I wanted to make sure that the event was a very successful event and so I knew that regardless of how much I had to spend to get people here I had to get people here right you know and I know that by doing my research and looking at festivals that the first year I know that you know to make money at a festival the first go-round is very tough to do and I'm happy to say that we did make profit on it but for the most part we you know we covered our expenses and we made sure everybody had a good time but it was it was tough and you know different parts of it you know I mean there was a time when we were promoting this and doing all the marketing for it and we had about like 10 pre-sales and I was just looking around working all right here and I don't know what's going on only ten pre-sales and you know at that point I had to take out the emotion right and really just like you know it's something that I learned I went to Georgia State University graduated from Georgia State and one thing that we learned there when it came to marketing is that you have to really trust the process effective marketing creates a buzz about an event and sometimes that bus will take days sometimes it'll take months sometimes you won't know all of your hard work won't pay off until the day of the event so you really have to trust your process and Trust what you're really doing with marketing the event and you know the best feeling in the world is to open your doors and people are already there that's there's no I don't care about pre-sales or anything like that like you can do you know 100 pre-sales for tickets or 200 and that feels great but there's nothing better than opening up if you say that the doors open up at 7:00 and you open the doors at 7:00 and people are lined up to get into your event that's a great feeling because you know that people are taking this serious they're not waiting to come there's potential like 7 o'clock we opened up the doors and people were ready to come in and that's a great it was packed it was it was we sold out the music room upstairs downstairs we had a full house we were at capacity we were moments away from fire marshals being a call so that was good and thank you to the security guards and everybody else that you know let me know that we were very close to having to shut it down but you know fortunately for us we were able to get out of there with no issues and that's one thing that I'm very I pride myself that that every event that I've done since 2013 we haven't had any incidents good and there I mean we've had no incidents no police no nothing crazy as yeah nothing and that that is the blessing in disguise because all it takes is one major thing to happen and you're starting all over and you know one thing I really take to heart is it's the brand a straight out to din I cherish that and so I want to make sure that it you know it's in a good light
28:11 Nausheen: definitely thank you for sharing that I don't know I wanted to also ask you do you have any upcoming events that you would like to share with our listeners especially in most of our listeners are in Atlanta Georgia
28:18 Justin: sure well do know that Den Music Fest 2018 is in the works we're planning that so I look forward to that it will be in November I don't have the date just yet but it will be in November but as far as anything that I'm doing up I actually have something in the works right now that I want an ounce it yet because we're still ironing out that you know the kinks and everything up but I'll tell you the date for that okay so every month I have a residency at music room so every first Thursday of the month you is there will be a straight out to dinner vent there so if you want to know where to find me first and so I can give you those dates but just know the first Thursday of every month you will see us there at the music room at least for 2018 I can't talk about after that but yeah 2018 will be there every month the first Thursday of every month so yeah that's the best thing I could tell you
29:13 Nausheen: it works for me 2018 is enough well look to 2019 a little later down the road do you also have any resources you can share with our members related to any of the topics you talked about even links which we can add to our site by the way
29:32 Justin: well first and foremost this is a plug but listen to the straight out too damn podcast absolutely good use other words to say that but listen to the straight out the damn podcast especially if you're an indie artist because that we really pride ourselves on providing that guidance for indie artists and so I would strongly suggest listen there if you have any kind of questions also if you here's my number four oh four nine zero two eight seven six they're gonna be getting a bunch of calls well I tell you this text me text me or leave a voicemail because I probably won't pick up initially but that that is our number there if you have any questions regarding anything music industry related or you know doing shows or anything like that that's the best place but other resources I'll tell you some things that help me right and just in business in general so smart passive income you should definitely look into a smart passive income look into Gary Vee Gary Vaynerchuk looking to John Lee Dumas entrepreneur on fire he's I think is that let's start with those start with those are great resources that really helped me just learn not only about podcasting but learn about just business in general and also I would strongly suggest that you find somebody that's in your circle that that has a business and just get next to them and soak up as much game as possible even if that's the owner of your company that you work for you'll be surprised how many owners of companies are waiting for somebody to just ask them questions right yeah you don't have to think that oh because I work for this person I shouldn't ask him about business because they'll think that I don't want to work here look it's 2018 please understand that the job that you have now more than likely would not be the job you have 20 years from now it's just a different time so use of resources that you have while you're there
31:35 Nausheen: and to all the listeners I'll add those links on our site too so definitely we'll share your link as well you said that your artists can be found on like Spotify iTunes anywhere else that you would like to share with her
31:46 Justin: um all of the artists that I work with I'll tell you go if you go to Apple music right now I have a playlist last name good playlist so those are all of the it's called produced by last anklet so that's every song that I've produced that is on you know the streaming services you can go there and you'll find that and I have to update it tonight actually so I'll update that with all the more current songs but outside of that the best way to find out anything that's going on with me there's two places you can go to straight out to din on IG in and I use IG pretty heavily I'm always I'm on Twitter I'm on everything but I'm on IG a little bit more than anything but you can follow us on instagram at str&outdaden if you want to follow me personally all of my social media handle is last name good and everything spelled correctly last name good also in his songs oh yeah
32:51 Nausheen: but again, it has been such an honor to have you on our show thank you are definitely great to work with and just an inspiration for all of us thank you so very much
33:04 Justin: oh yeah, no problem at all any time you want me up here I'm here I love to do this podcast and it's fine for me
33:10 Nausheen: absolutely listen to his podcast listen find him on Spotify iTunes anywhere else and go check out his site
33:17 Justin: oh and um I have a couple other podcasts that I'm developing so yeah be on the lookout for those there's one I'll give you the because they're still in development and we haven't released them but I'll tell you there's one there's a relationship podcast and I'm working on there is one that's a producer podcast I don't working on and the other one is just a business more so I don't we I don't have a category for that one we're really an early development of them but I got off a conference call last night about that one and I'm super excited about it so yes work in progress but uh stay tuned 2018 I'm playing to launch all three of those podcasts and some other special treats so yeah just follow us we will show it
34:00 Nausheen: and we'll hopefully have you back on this show sometime soon
34:04 Justin: yeah, I will do it
34:05 Nausheen: thank you thank you so much
34:07 Justin: no problem thank you
34:10 Nausheen: although the event industry includes a lot of stressful work and late meetings or late events just remember that every event you helped to bring to life creates memories of a lifetime for many people out there. Did you love this episode of Plantastic Events, we’d love for you to subscribe rate and leave a review on iTunes each week we'll give a shout out to the reviewer of the week also don't forget we have resources available at stoogeapp.com. thank you for listening and I hope you'll join us next time. Goodbye
34:42 Nausheen: produced by stoogeapp.com music by Justin Mahar