IAM2065 – Consultant, AR Man and Journalist Helps Support Heavy Metal Artists

Podcast Interview with Matt Bacon

In this episode, we have Matt Bacon, the founder of Dropout Media, a company dedicated to providing marketing tools tailored for musicians.

Matt shares his journey from starting a blog at 14 to becoming a consultant, A&R man, and journalist in the heavy metal world.

He emphasizes the importance of understanding and marketing for musicians, his personal strategy of working intensively, and the significance of quick response times in business success.

Matt also touches on daily habits that contribute to his effectiveness, including meditation and reading. Furthermore, he gives insights into building relationships in the industry and the importance of being present and grateful.

The discussion provides valuable lessons for entrepreneurs, especially in the music industry, on building a business by combining passion with a strong work ethic.


Previous Episode: consultant-ar-man-journalist-helps-support-heavy-metal-artists-explicit

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Matt Bacon Teaser 00:00

And what I did was I built, I've built, and I'm building tools that sort of are just like marketing tools you'd see for any other small business, but they're catered to musicians. So it's like here, we're going to build out a marketing plan, but it's going to make sense for musicians.

Although I enjoy some of that stuff and I like to work on that on the side. It's just giving musicians a clear way to market themselves beyond getting a bunch of reviews.

Intro 00:20

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkness values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of.

This is the I Am CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:48

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I Am CEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Matt Bacon of Dropout Media. Matt, it is awesome to have you on the show.

Matt Bacon 00:58

Thank you so much for having me here. This is pretty great.

Gresham Harkless 01:00

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. But what I wanted to do was read a little bit more about Matt so you can learn a little bit more about him and all the awesome things that he's doing.

Matt Bacon is a consultant and A&R man and journalist specializing in the world of heavy metal. Having worked with everyone from glam rock icon Phil Collin of Death Leopard to black metal titans enslaved by way of legendary Thrasher's exhorter as well as labels including Prophecy Productions and Ripple Music, he has dedicated his life to helping young bands develop.

Having started his own blog at the age of 14, he views his career in artist development as a hobby that got out of hand. In 2015, he formed Dropout Media in order to better support the artists he loves. We sit here now years later with countless tours booked, records released, and deals signed, and he's loving every minute of it.

Matt, are you ready to speak to the I Am CEO community?

Matt Bacon 01:52


[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 01:54

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. The first question I have is if you can expound a little bit more upon your bio and tell us a little bit more about your CEO story, what led you to start your business?

Matt Bacon 02:02

A lot of it just came out of only caring about black metal, right? If you're, I grew up, or I went to high school in France, right? And I went to a private high school just because that's how it works if you're an expat. And just nobody there cared about like music that was interesting to me. If that makes sense.

So I started this blog because I was like, Oh, maybe this way I can meet the other 14-year-olds really into Dark Throne. Cause that definitely exists. And so, and that kind of turned into this thing where I was going to shows and I was a force in the scene and booking shows and then end up going to college thinking again that, Oh, I'd finally meet people who were like really into black metal.

And I didn't, because nobody explained these things to me. Which wasn't anyone's fault, it was just situations, right? And so I ended up dropping out to go work with my buddy James at Independent Music Promotions, and I moved to New York. Fuck*ng hustled, didn't work out after a few months.

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But One of the reasons why I wasn't working out was because I always was really into kind of sitting with the artists and being like, Hey man, here's some ways to like better market yourself. And it would take away from like the actual PR thing. You know what I mean? But then when it ended working with James, a couple of the bands were like, yo, can we like pay you to keep telling us how to do marketing?

And, so it was that it was just working with that and then this guy Gideon King from Lobe King hedge funds took me under his wing and taught me a bunch of shit about just running businesses.

I was like f*cking 19. It was ridiculous. And it just slowly grew from there. I got my first employee, I think, two years ago, basically. And now I have a team of five dudes I work with. Which is pretty cool. And yeah, we just keep modifying services and making spreadsheets that flow more smoothly.

I got to pick up the big thing that kind of got things moving was working with Ripple Music starting in the late 2016, I want to say. Just another mentor and Todd Severin, the head of the label, who brought a lot to me. Same with working with Prophecy Productions, which I've been doing for six months and getting to finally Just think about black metal when I wake up.

Of course, that's tied into, oh if I understand the music business, I understand business. So I started doing business consulting for CrossFit gyms, which don't ask me how, but that's in a nutshell.

Gresham Harkless 04:18

Nice. Nice. Nice. That's good to hear. This idea of like scratching your own niche, so to speak, because like you said, you're just creating something just because it was a hobby. And next thing you have a business, you have employees and a whole team in front of you.

So, I wanted to drill a little bit down. I know you touched a little bit on it about your products and services. So how exactly do you help serve the clients that you work with?

Matt Bacon 04:36

What I noticed very early on, because when I was in high school, I would write a review of a band every day.

And I, my big focus was unsigned bands because I was 16 and didn't know how to get promos for signed bands. So just by being like a curious kid, I would see things that bands were doing where I'd be like, huh, the bands that don't have Facebook pages clearly do worse than the bands that have Facebook pages.

And then, oh, the bands who do their bio this way are clearly better off than bands who do their bio that way, and so I took that understanding of just being deeply immersed in the scene and brought that kind of to the forefront. And what I did was I built, I've built, and I'm building tools that sort of are just like marketing tools you'd see for any other small business, but they're catered to musicians.

So it's like here, we're going to build out a marketing plan, but it's going to make sense for musicians. We're not going to deal with a lot of the bullshit that maybe normal small businesses deal with. Although I enjoy some of that stuff and I like to work on that on the side. It's just giving musicians a clear way to market themselves beyond getting a bunch of reviews

because you can get a bunch of reviews and that's cool, but that doesn't actually do anything unless you've got a plan to follow it up.

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And exactly is it helping to move the needle as well? Because like at the end of the day, a lot of musicians are people that are really, really great at what it is that they do. But a lot of times they don't have that business background. So being able to lean on somebody like you is huge for them to be able to be successful, not just from a musician standpoint, but also from a business standpoint.

So, I wanted to drill down a little bit deeper and ask you for what I call your secret sauce. What do you feel distinguishes you and makes you unique?

Working 16 hours a day and answering emails f*cking quickly. Like literally if you want to make money, the number one thing you can do is have an under one hour turnaround time on emails.

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Like I'm sure there's other things people do that make them a lot of money. And there's things I do that feed into that. Like you have to have a good product, et cetera, et cetera. But if you respond quickly to emails and you're someone people know they can get in touch with. At the drop of a hat, they're going to want to work with you because people value in an age where no one has any attention span. People value response time.

Gresham Harkless 06:45

Yeah, no, it's huge. And I think, and that's all across industries that I've seen is that a lot of times people don't follow up, especially if you can do that in under an hour, or you can respond to an email or phone call or whatever, and quickly that can definitely, set you apart.

So I think that's a huge thing.

Matt Bacon 06:59

And the Facebook Messenger era, I think that people like me who grew up communicating with Facebook Messenger find that to be a lot more automatic, and I think that having that automatic response. Just being able to say, yo, what's up? Will go miles.

Gresham Harkless 07:12

No, you're absolutely right. You're absolutely right. Where you're always connected and instantaneously, you can provide a response or whatever somebody is looking for is huge.

So what I wanted to do was switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. And this might be an app or a book, or it might be a habit that you have, but it's something that makes you more efficient and effective as a business owner.

Matt Bacon 07:31

There's a couple of key things I do outside of the. answering emails quickly. One thing is I have a checklist of shit I do every day. So, and this is like writing a review because I still have that blog from when I was 14, introducing two people, sending three relevant articles to people on my network, the list goes on.

So that means that on any given day even if I feel like I have a shitty day and I didn't get a lot of stuff done, I can still look back and be like, Oh at least I, wrote an article and went running. And, at least there's five or six things I got done, even if they're the basic things, the other key in my experience has been meditation.

I try to meditate for half an hour a day, 15 minutes before I start my day, 15 minutes before dinner. And then I have an evening work time. And that sort of keeps you balanced, especially I think at the end of the day, if you're listening to this, you're probably in some sort of customer service type position, right?

Like you've got to deal with other people and that can be stressful and overwhelming. So taking the time to meditate has completely changed my life. And then, of course, there's It's just that thing about reading a book every week, and obviously you can't always do that, especially like I've got a lot, I've got to go to a lot of shows.

I went to 10 shows in the last 13 days. So I didn't read a book, unfortunately, but I think like Mark Cuban reads for three hours a day and he's f*cking Mark Cuban. I don't care that you're reading articles on the internet. That's very informative. I'm sure.

But, for whatever reason, the human brain gets better when you sit the f*ck down and read a f*cking book. And it's not hard to find books that are going to directly help your career or be directly relevant to your interests. I always encourage people to kind of balance. The books I read, I try to, I have a rotation, like I'll read a, like a biography, a nonfiction historical text, a piece of like fantasy or some other sort of fiction, and then a marketing book.

So, so that I never burn myself out, if you f*cking read, you will f*cking succeed. Like that's, that's the thing. Literally, all that matters.

Gresham Harkless 09:22

I love that quote. If you f*cking read, you'll f*cking succeed. So we can get that on t-shirts.

Matt Bacon 09:27

Oh my God.

Gresham Harkless 09:27

There you go. So now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget.

So this might be something that you might have already touched on before, but this is a more of a word of wisdom or piece of advice you might have for business owners.

Matt Bacon 09:40

Keep pushing and keep being grateful and positive and Just generally be present because if you're just present over a course of time and people start to just respect that in and itself, I think people, if people see that you take, have the wherewithal to show up.

They're going to care. You know what I mean? And this can be showing up in terms of always being on time for conference calls. It can be showing up in my world. It's often just being at shows. You know what I mean? If you take the time to just be there, be present, and then just are nice to people, that's going to go very far.

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It might take time, but eventually you're going to start to meet people who will introduce you to other people. And it evolves, just last night, just because I went to this show, it was one of my artists. I wasn't expecting anything other than to hang out with the artist. And I met the metal director for Google Music.

I wasn't expecting that. I just was present and it came.

Gresham Harkless 10:39

Yeah. It's huge. And just like going back to also being active and like you're saying, just showing up and being there and being impressed sometimes opportunities dropping or fall in your lap sometimes. So it's great to hear that's been consistent with you.

And now I wanted to ask you for what is my favorite question, which is like the definition of being a CEO and we're hoping to have different CEOs on this podcast. So I wanted to ask you Matt. What does being a CEO mean to you?

Matt Bacon 11:02

Working your f*cking face off until you puke like that is like you think I'm exaggerating, but there is a non-zero amount of days where I'll work until a point where I'm bent over a toilet and that's just and I'm f*cking sober,

like that's just the level of dedication you need to have sometimes, is you need to just be able to be like, I'm going to get everything I need to get done and I'll go to bed sometimes shaking. But I got what I needed to get done done.

And that's, and you need to know when you need to step back I don't usually take weekends, this weekend I stepped back a little bit, did some hardcore shit with my hardcore friends, but most of the time, you have to push through and work your f*cking face off.

Gresham Harkless 11:41

Yeah, I mean, that definitely hits home because a lot of people forget, how difficult it is running a business and understanding like what the failure rate is for those people that do even start to run businesses is extremely high and it can be high. Sometimes you just gotta, roll up your sleeves and start working and get it done.

So, I appreciate that definition and it's a good reminder for everybody that's running a business. So, Matt, what I wanted to do was just pass the mic to you to see if there's anything additional that you want to let our readers and our listeners know and how best people can get ahold of you.

Matt Bacon 12:07

So a bunch of stuff. Check out if you like ambient, dark music, black metal doom metal, whatever I have this really cool festival happening in Brooklyn on November 2nd and 3rd. Alcest is headlining. There's November's Doom, Zest, they're so hideous. A ton of other great bands, Knitting Factory, check it out, Prophecy Fest.

It's going to be a blast. Other things, follow me on Instagram at Matt Bacon 666. Every single day I put up a video helping band marketing and general entrepreneurial advice. I have a podcast, Dumb and Dumbest, which you should check out. It's on Spotify now, which is f*cking ridiculous. I don't even know how.

And check out my writing at Independent Music Promotions, where I have a music marketing blog and Two Guys in Idol Reviews, which is the blog that started it all when I was 14. Those are the main things. If you want to get in touch with me, DM me on Instagram at Matt Bacon 666.

Hit me up on Facebook. You can email me anytime at DropoutMedia.Net. I'm very accessible. I want to help you out.

Gresham Harkless 13:04

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. And we'll have those links in the show notes. So Matt, truly appreciate you and all the awesome things that you're doing to help out these artists and also spending some time with us to learn a little bit more about you.

And I just hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Matt Bacon 13:16

Thank you so much. You too.

Outro 13:17

Thank you for listening to the, I Am CEO podcast powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at I Am CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Don't forget to schedule your complimentary digital marketing consultation at This has been the I Am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless Jr. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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