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Kieve Huffman Special
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Kieve Huffman Special
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Having graduated from the University of Michigan with honors in communications and media studies, Kieve started his career at Sony BMG, pioneering digital media strategies. Most notably taking their digital business from $1mm to $125mm at his time there.
Creating his own companies including infospace, Dather, Future States Brand, and advising many others in the digital media space; Huffman focused on wellness, music, and specifically cannabis advocacy.
Now with his company, Engager Brands, he assists in building, owning, and operating a Portfolio of authentic cannabis brands targeting underserved demographics. He has been a powerhouse in all of these industries for over 25 years!
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Ethan Zohn Special | Hempire
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Welcome to another episode of hempire. I’m your host Pete Bamberg here always with my trusty co host and CEO and founder of pure Well, Nick DeFrancesco. Nick, how’s it going today?
Pete I’m doing I’m doing better than good. I have somebody on here that I’m very excited to talk to. And first of all, tell everybody who we’re going to be speaking with
a while the man is a pioneer in the industry of not only music, but we’re talking about live events. We’re talking about branding with music. We’re talking about branding, with events, branding with artists. And he actually took the digital age of business from BMG, to start making it what it is today, and we’re talking about the Almighty and powerful Keith Huffman. Hey, don’t give.
I’m doing great. Pete. Nick, great to be here. Thanks for having me on.
Pleasure. Pleasure having you on of course, and what an introduction. Key, I mean, very well, very well earned, that’s for sure. I mean, we could go into a myriad of things that you’ve done in your in your career, of course, but we’re obviously talking about cannabis on here on hempire. And, and so you’ve, you’ve worked with a lot of big brands, artists to bring them into cannabis you’ve also worked with, recently with with Slipknot, to launch their own cannabis line. Take me through what it takes to get a deal like this done with someone that it’s been already had a lot of success. I mean, how much do you have to put out your neck to make this happen for for anyone with that type of stature?
Well, first of all, it’s, it’s, we don’t you know, so I’ve built a lot of different brands, right. And one thing that I’m very careful with, and we are careful with that our company is we we generally shy away from building celebrity brands. And, you know, so it’s, we’re super selective, if we are going to work with, with with a artist of any sort. And there’s a lot of reasons for that having worked in the music industry, I know that artists are, you know, they’re creatives, right? So it’s very easy for them to get very excited about something and then you know, go off to the next shiny object very quickly. And so and then you’ve all you run, there’s, there’s just brand risk associated with with doing a celebrity type brand, because you don’t know what that that celebrities going to do. Right. And your your brand equity could, you know, kind of go down the toilet, but, but typically, so what we look for first and foremost, is, is whether or not there’s truly an authentic connection to the audience. And that it’s real, right, because a lot of a lot of artists have tried to jump into cannabis, because they see it as a quick way to make a buck. Right. And, and the reality is, is that there’s no quick way to make a buck in cannabis. You know, and it’s, it’s like certainly may look like that from the outside. But it’s it’s really challenging and it’s really hard. And really the only the only music focus brands that are celebrity focus that have survived and made it are the ones that are associated with like the authentic Oh, geez like the snoops like the Willie Nelson’s, right. It’s like, look, these guys like that’s where they come from, like, this is part of their essence. And therefore it is authentic. And so when, when, when we were talking to clown from from Slipknot, this was something that was very important to him, you know, he, he has used cannabis for medicinal purposes in his own life for a very, very long time. It really has helped him through a lot of challenging times. And, you know, for those in the audience who know a lot about the history of Slipknot, like that band has been through a lot, you know, they that’s for sure. A lot of lot of challenges. And so cannabis has been sort of this, the thing that’s kind of helped him, him through it. And so when we decided to launch clown cannabis with him last year, it was coming from an authentic place. And that was important. And that was the only way that we knew that we were going to, you know, be able to truly launch a brand around him as a celebrity in a way that was going to work. And because as you guys have seen, like, how many rappers are coming out with their own strain, and then they’re here today gone tomorrow, you’re like, you know, next, you know, it’s like they’re
oversaturated let’s be honest. Yeah.
And then, you know, also, I think it’s also important, you know, and look, this is just a general approach that we take to branding is, you know, we start with the we start with the target audience first, right and so, when you look at the target audience of the rap Community completely oversaturated when it comes to cannabis brands, right, it’s just like, we don’t really, like, we’ll go over here, right where there’s saturation, you know, opportunity. And, and so that’s when we decided to launch heavy grass, which is the umbrella brand for our hard rock heavy metal audience of which clown cannabis, you know, is a colab. You know, so we create lifestyle brands around a community, and then we will bring in artists, but we will use our umbrella brand as you might want to call, you know, the heavy grass to sort of, you know, do the collaboration with with the artists. And so what we’ll we’ll go after is, like, you know, we’re looking for where, like, there aren’t a lot of brands already, right, which is pretty easy to find, honestly, in cannabis, because it’s, it’s kind of crazy, even to this point, like, it seems like almost all of the brands are going after the same audiences, you know, like, Now whether you’re talking about the rap audience, or whether you’re talking about the like, the connoisseur, like heavy, you know, heavy consumers, or whether you’re talking about there’s been a real rush, you know, over the last several years to kind of go after what they call the soccer moms, you know, or the or the housewives like the more low dose, like kind of, but if you really take a look at it, like you can go a little deeper, you say like, alright, if you look at all of these different kinds of targeted audiences, like what’s their cannabis brand? And although there’s really not one for the vast majority of audiences out there, so it’s, it’s still very early days. So hopefully that answered your question. I kind of went off on a few tangents there. But But yeah, we’re, you know, there’s the whole the whole, the whole, like concept around creating brands right now in cannabis is still an evolving situation, because, you know, I think we were talking about this, Nick, a little bit, you know, before we came on the air is that most brands right now are being created with the sole idea of getting shelf space in their local dispensaries versus like being created, because they want to authentically connect to a specific audience and enhance that the, the lives of that audience, right? The light that audience connect with that audience, and really look at it like, Okay, what products makes sense for that audience versus what products do I have that I want to sell?
Right? Absolutely. I mean, there’s a lot of people that they don’t care about being cool, they actually have pain, they have inflammation, they have anxiety, they have real problems, and because of everything that’s going out in the world, and they need a brand that they can stay behind, and they can trust because of the values. And that was another thing that we talked about, we talked about all the brands that you normally see, we always get kind of compared to alcohol or to these types of things where you see a Johnnie Walker or Jim being or these have stories behind it, Budweiser, these are families that fought in prohibition, or have fought for something that we are and that’s kind of what we do if you’re well, as well. And I feel like there should be more of that. So do you feel like celebrities might not be the best option? Do you feel that think maybe social media influencers would do any better? We’ve heard both arguments that celebrities are more reliable and easier to coordinate campaigns with and hand floors can be a hassle. But again, are we still getting away from the fact is it quality, and what the brand is really stands for and how it can help you as a person instead of just the person who’s talking about it?
Yes, so, you know, kind of getting back to what I was saying before, it’s like, we really shy away from really focusing on individual’s right to as the brand spokesperson as the brand itself. Because ultimately, at its core, if you look at any other like consumer packaged goods industry in the world, they first start off with a consumer need or a consumer sort of base, right? And then work backwards from that to kind of figure out like, what product or products makes sense for that audience. And so that’s the approach that we try to take as well because in and so some of these audiences when you’re talking about cannabis are more on the you know, medicinal side, right it’s like hey, particularly as you start to get into like, you know, the older demographics which is a huge opportunity right for cannabis, which is like hey, and it’s it’s interesting because I put my mother into this category because she would have never considered taking you know, consuming cannabis exactly now, right? Meanwhile, she takes it now because it helps her with her her lupus arthritis. I guess you know, and it’s, it’s, it’s it allows her it’s one less pharmaceuticals she has to take, right? Because and and I think that whole generation now has really kind of, you know, made a significant transition. And but yet to this day like where are those brands? Like where is the where’s the brand for my mother? It doesn’t exist. Right?
We’re right here. That’s, that’s what we’re saying. And and that’s okay, so So you’ve basically worked with all have major music, film TV companies, you’ve worked with major brands like Apple, Microsoft Mountain Dew Jagermeister. I mean, you know, he could rattle these off forever. But the truth is, is that, what do you think it’s going to take for cannabis to make a brand name as recognizable as Apple, Microsoft where the stigma is gone? Or because maybe it helps somebody? What do you think we could do?
Well, I think at its core, it’s like, it just starts from the base is that the brand itself needs to be created with with with a, with an international audience really in mind, and it doesn’t necessarily I’m not even, you know, like, actually maybe even a better way to say that is a borderless audience in mind, right? It’s like, who is this for? Right, and if the brand is created for an audience that exists everywhere in the world, then you’ve already got a leg up on most of the brands that are currently being created in cannabis. Right. And so because as things now are starting, you know, look, it’s a matter of, of when not if, right, like things are moving, you know, trending towards, you know, we’re going towards legalization. You know, I was just down in Mexico last week, it’s like, it’s incredible what’s going on down there right now, like things are going to be happening very quickly over the next couple of years. I mean, what’s what’s, I mean, how embarrassing is us as as, as you know, as US citizens that like Canada, we’re going to be the last country in North America to go, right? Like, what’s going on here?
We were used to be the first in everything, right?
You don’t really know what’s going on here. But but you know, regardless is like, you know, when I was down there in Mexico, what you see is like, you know, they love they love American brands, you know, down, right, you know, and so the fact that we were down there with our brands, we were promoting at a festival down there, it was called the machaca festivals, like 40,000 people in Monterrey, Mexico, first time ever, that cannabis brands were, you know, activated, represented presented to the general public at a music festival. Like I didn’t even realize this until after we were done. And like my business partner down, it’s just like, keep, I didn’t really want to freak you out, like kind of leading into this. But you do realize that this was incredibly groundbreaking, and that this has never been done before in the history of Mexico. And I was like, what?
And could you think that just a couple years ago, that that was even the case like, exactly, I mean, someone to say that, where, again, we’re constantly fighting this, and I remember you saying an interview recently, cannabis has literally been and I don’t want to take your words out of your mouth, but the hardest industry for you? I mean, you said those words. I mean, do you feel that way? Still? I mean, it’s gotta be right. I mean, people have no idea how hard it is to be in cannabis. As an industry.
Yeah. I mean, by, yeah, by magnitudes of, you know, multiples of whatever you want to put on, it’s the hardest industry ever, because, because of all the uncertainties because of the legal restrictions, because of the because of the hurdles that even all the even private companies put on you. Right. Like the the platforms like you know, you know, the social media platforms, the advertising platforms that, you know, the rules are constantly changing, like, where is the bar and even, they won’t even tell you what the rules are. Right? Like, you know, and, and, and so it’s just super, it’s just, every everything out there, you know, not having access to banking, not having access to, you know, having to do things in this country, state by state. I mean, it’s really crazy, right? Like, it’s like I’ve saw, like, I’d say, you know, during that first that first green rush that happened, this was probably like 2017 2018 All this funny money was being thrown into all these businesses. You know, in my last company was one of them. Honestly, we raised a crazy amount of money yet, you know, 25 million In over over six years, and but it was a lot of those being fueled from the Canadian public markets, because, you know, those companies got really overvalued, obviously. And then they came crashing down in 2019. But, but anyway, during the 20, that boom, you see a lot of these bigger cannabis companies were recruiting a lot of senior execs from outside industries. And I was thrilled, right, like, fine, we’re getting some, you know, some professionals coming in there. I mean, there’s been a lot of amazing professionals within the industry. But then there’s been some, like not so amazing professional, you know, of course, really professionals within the industry as well. So it’s like art, we’re finally getting some of this expertise to come in. And particularly on the marketing side, how many like high profile CMOS came into these companies? And they left screaming within like six months, right? Because it’s like, their entire toolbox was like, thrown out the window. It’s like, wait, wait a minute, I can’t do this, or this or this. It’s like, No, you have to basically reimagine the rules, because you have to figure out like everything from scratch. And that’s not for everyone. And, and it’s easier and thrilling. But But for most people, it freaks them out. And that’s what makes this industry. So both exhilarating, and budding, also incredibly frustrating, right?
I mean, people don’t even understand that we can’t mark it on any traditional platform, like you said, there’s like a cliff notes of marketing of how to build a company as well just throw that out the window, because none of it applies to cannabis at all. You can’t even mark it on Instagram, Facebook, people don’t realize this, any Google, you know, I mean, there’s just when the normal things that everyone’s like, yeah, we’ll just put myself on Google, I’ll just, you know, we’ll just throw some ads up on Facebook and Instagram. Again, very basic, two major marketing strategies that we talked about, and multimillion dollar companies. But something that’s simple, even talking about influencers and talking about celebrities, where so many people don’t even want to talk about cannabis and CBD, and they’re censored. But also we haven’t caught up. And because of that, right, we go through a lot of hoops. And it’s for the best of the best. I feel like it’s the Marines. It’s truly the top of the top that make it successful in cannabis. And it’s because and we’re gonna get back into this understanding, it’s not about slapping your name on something, it’s going to take time, it’s not going to hold weight. Because everybody’s tired of that. Everybody wants a quality product they want to, they want something that can believe in something that’s actually going to help them that stimulate, you know, this is why I made the show, you know that we’re doing this to bring people on like you to talk about the ins and outs of the industry. So people understand, but really understand and legitimize cannabis on a medical level. But also bring awareness to the deaf ears that are happening out in the world right now. And it can be from you, it could be from athletes, it could be from anyone that so many people are getting benefits from this plant that’s going on deaf ears, or how about if you want to take cannabis and you believe in it? Where do I go? Where’s the quality control? Where’s the regulation? You know, you talked about, you know, something on? It’s an article on Benzinga about music and cannabis branding. And I wanted to ask you a few things because obviously we talked about Bob Marley, Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, the Mount Rushmore of musicians who have devoted life and their career to cannabis, like you had mentioned earlier. And then you have popular musicians who have been very involved in their brands, but neither put themselves at the forefront of the brand. And it’s kind of what you mentioned before, and they’re letting the quality speak for themselves. And it seems to be successful. Why do you think that’s being successful?
Well, because like, you know, it goes back. So what am I at my last company, it was called prohibited media. We had an in house agency, we worked on over 60 different brand projects. And we turned down a lot of brand brand projects because we didn’t believe in them. But one of the one of the brand projects that we did believe in was working with this guy named Chavo. And Chavo is the IS is for those of you don’t know the bass player for a System of a Down and he came in because he is a he’s a true believer. It’s authentic. He he he believes in the power of the plant. And for Him everything was about was about quality. You know, like it was super important to him like he wanted to have incredible quality control for his brand. So one of the first things that we We did was like Chavo, you know, you should, first of all, let’s not put you first front and center here, let’s let’s create a brand that kind of makes sense. And then you can kind of help, you know, bring awareness to this brand. And the brand is called 22. Red, it’s in a lot of states now, I think they’re in more than a handful of states, but they started here in California. And what’s interesting is I just ran into Chava recently, and he told me, he’s like, Look, man, at this point, like, I actually almost try to hide from my brand, I don’t even want people to know that I’m part of this brand, right? Because I want the brand to stand on its own, you know, and, and, and I stand behind the quality I stand behind, you know, what it stands for, and I will always talk about it, you know, obviously, it’s my baby. But, you know, I don’t want to get in the way of it, because it’s its own thing. So to me, that’s why that’s working. And that’s why 20 To red is in multiple states now, because most of these brands don’t make it out of a single state. Because they don’t, again, they’re, it’s, it’s almost like a vanity project for some of these guys, right? I just want to say my, I want to see my name on a package, right? Or I want to see my name on a strain. You know, I want my strain that was like, the big thing. And it’s still it’s like, I want to have my own genetics. And it’s like, you know, well, good luck with that. I mean, and, but, but yeah, so, you know, I think that that is really, like, at the end of the day, let’s face it, consumers, you know, you gotta don’t, you gotta give consumers a lot of credit, you know, they’re, you know, they’re, they’re pretty intelligent. At the end of the day, people know, they can see through, they have incredible BS detectors, right? It’s like they see through this, like, Look, if this is not coming from an authentic place, then then they’re going to see through it. And so if they’re looking for, like, look, I want, I need it consistent, you know, quality experience. That, that helps. It aids me in whatever it may be aids me and relaxing, AIDS me in, in in with my pain, AIDS me in being able to go out and have a good time, you know, whatever it may be right, whatever the experience may be. It’s like, they’re not like looking at like, well, well, what celebrities name is on the package, they’re looking on, what brand can I rely on, because I know that they’re gonna, that this delivers for me. And those are the brands that are going to succeed. And that’s what we’re starting that the cream is starting to rise right a little bit. And it’s it’s bit by bit mad, because it’s like, there’s not a whole lot of those out there still
now. And I mean, we were we were reading something yesterday about, you know, nerds and nerd ropes and how people just basically plagiarize off of just regular candy bars and things like that. And any way they can get into cannabis, they’re going to do it to make a quick buck. And look for the rest of us that haven’t been doing that. It’s it’s been a journey. It’s been a long journey. But it’s a rewarding journey. Because people come to us every day and say, Look, thank God, you’re doing it. Right. Thank God, you’re pairing with people that are doing this. And that’s all I wanted to get through and say, especially to someone like you who are always worried about brands doing the right thing. I mean, you’ve launched some amazing I mean, your story is is incredible. And and I really wanted to get you on to see coming from other industries coming from the music. I mean, look, I think it’s extremely smart going into non saturated markets not going into reggae and rap, because let’s be honest, I mean, reggae and rap are, you know, if you thought marijuana you think Jamaica, you think Rasta I mean, that’s what areas ago people are gonna get high or rappers always smoking weed on camera. And I’m sure you’ve got some crazy stories about that too. So going into again, Slipknot hard rock, but you also have something going on. Now with an EDM, I think you’re focusing on you’re working with a company that founders had been in the club scene. So EDM, and you’re tapping all the music major, major music, festivals and events? What are the opportunities? Maybe in the dance market? Again, I’m trying to understand from a music point of view, it’s not really my specialty. It’s definitely yours. What are they saying in that industry? Or that part of the music industry?
Well, look, there’s, there’s so many opportunities right now. Because we’re kind of getting back to I think my one of my first points is like, look, there aren’t there aren’t brands that are targeted for these audiences? Right, right. You know, so, it’s like a, you can almost take a dartboard out right? And put every single music genre on there and throw the darts and like, you know, you’re gonna land on one that doesn’t have a cannabis Read the two that are oversaturated. You mentioned right rap and reggae. You know, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Right? You know, it’s like, I mean, it’s like insane. There’s, and but you know, like, you look at almost every other, you know, genre how they also
don’t even stay around to build a name right? I mean, a lot of these rappers are one in one day out the other, they don’t have sustainability. And of course that’s doesn’t help the brand or the industry as a whole as it is so,
yeah, well, it’s an interesting we were, we were part of a panel. This was back I think last December at a at a conference called Hall flowers. And it was it was be real. From from Cypress Hill Chavo was there, clap we had clown on. And then you know, there were a few a few others but like I think be really kind of laid it out there in a way that I felt was, you know, really like poignant and how he called out like, look, the only the only brands that are going to be successful are the people that are coming into it, that are putting in the time, they’re going to lay down the groundwork. And also, when I say laying down on the ground is like you’re showing up, right? It’s not like, Oh, I’ve got my people that are going to go out now and promote this. It’s like you’re going to the dispensaries, you’re going to be events, you’re putting yourself out there because if you believe in something, then you need to kind of be out there and showing that you truly are do believe. And I’ll give b you know, look, he’s got two brands right now in cannabis. He’s got insane, which is doing really well. And then he’s got his dispensary chain called Dr. Green Thumb. And so he like he’s doing it right. He’s doing it right, because he’s like ground from the ground floor up. And he’s showing up. And, and again that gets to that. That authenticity, right? Like the audience like like, look, oh, be showing up like he’s, this is his thing. He believes in this right? And this isn’t like, Oh, I gotta check it out. Like, oh, you know what, this is a great product, or this is a great dispensary.
Isn’t that kind of sad, though. Now in society where we feel like a good contractor is just one that shows up to work on your house, like, and you’re talking about brands. And again, you’re coming from an unbelievable lineage, but brands that lived and breathed it. Again, going back to alcohol or going back to these brands that have been around for 100 years where this has been their life. I mean, they believe in everything that this stands for, whether it’s sneakers, to clothing to food, but just behind what they do, and back. And this is just not the case anymore. Let’s sprinkle a couple of affiliates. Let’s get some influencers, let’s throw a slap a celebrity on there. Why I think it’s important is the people, these people, these celebrities, these influencers, could be musicians could be politicians could be anybody that gets behind it, because it actually helped that for their own story. And having a company that understands that and builds quality, and wants to give you something that you’ll take, but it’ll actually help you in whatever you’re trying to deal with on an everyday basis. Or the fact that you have somebody said, Look, you know, we have a lot of people wanting to I’ve been fighting with addiction. I’ve been looking with opiate abuse, or, and these very experienced high profile doctors told me to do this. If I would have just known that there was an alternative like cannabis that had no side effects to help me. I wish I would have known that a long time ago, because a lot of these things wouldn’t have happened. But understanding the brands to building a brand that worries about quality and bringing that to the people. And I just I know that’s something it’s got to be important to you, especially with all the minutia that’s in you know, music and you know, everything else is out there. There’s a lot of real musicians that are you know, when they speak from the heart and they make a song. It’s because they live that song, right? They came from a place where they made that song because it meant something to them. You’re talking about Slipknot went through a ton of stuff. But there’s a lot of different bands that use their stardom for positivity. Coldplay, you too, I mean, we can go on and on and on. So why don’t we not just use it for our star status, but really the medical benefits of it. And again, I know I’m hammering this home, and I know that this is important to you, but because there’s not a lot of this in the industry. Why Because everybody’s trying to make a quick buck.
Yeah, well, and also there still is, like, there’s still a lot of, there’s still a lot of artists that for either personal reasons or, you know, industry reasons are very uncomfortable about kind of being out front about this. So like, you know, still you’ve got like, like, let’s, let’s go, let’s move over to sports for a minute, you know. So you see a guy like Al Harrington, former NBA player who created an incredible brand called the viola, and it’s named after his mother, because it’s an authentic brand, because this is something that helps has helped his mother has helped his family. And also, he’s trying to really take an approach of like, bringing this to the the black communities, you know, of like quality products that have represent the medicinal benefits of cannabis. But you know, the one thing about our is he’s retired, right, so that’s where he’s can go out, there’s like, these guys that are active athletes, they can’t, they can’t mess with their endorsements, they also get drug tested. So they don’t want to put a you know, bullseye on themselves. We had a, we had a brand at my, my last company. That was folks focus on action sports. And there were some actually tough actions, sports athletes, that were investors in this company, that could not be spokespeople in any way shape or form. Because action sports now is an Olympic sport. So like, they would have been putting their Olympic careers in at risk by stepping forward. So these are some other you know, these are some of the stigmas, some of the issues that we still kind of have to overcome, to be able to have this become more of a, you know, D stigmatized, and be able to have these more mainstream conversation. So, in many ways, music is really leading the charge, because the musicians, they don’t have to worry about that, you know, but although I will say we talked to a lot of musicians that are and I will say, there are some musicians that I know that are investors in a variety of different cannabis companies that prefer to stay behind the scenes stuff, you know, and you know, it’s To each their own, you know, but, but it certainly isn’t healthy, right? Because the more people we have out there kind of like talking about it, normalizing it. It just helps the industry as a whole. So I kudos to all these you know, everyone who is out there, I’ll tell you an industry that I you know, a sport that I’m really excited about because they are starting to really take a much more pro cannabis approach is MMA, you know, MMA CB they allow CBD sponsors of their events and of their athletes. So you know, they seem to be moving really kind of pick you know, kind of paving the way in many many respects when it comes to athletics and it’s just you know, look we’re just chipping away man we’re getting there you know bit by bit you know, and can can’t move fast enough for any of us right that are already in it. It have been in it for a minute now.
We had we had Riley coats on and he talked about the NHL kind of turning a blind eye to positive drug tests and stuff so they’re starting to get it we did have and you said MMA and of course Joe Rogan of course is all about it. You know always bringing on athletes and because being in South Florida you know we have America top team here we have most of the big mmm guy MMA guys are down here always. We see them constantly.
But what did we have?
Adriana Mariah has just recently came to to our headquarters and loves our products uses them and things like that. But he’s the flyweight champion of the world in in one. And here’s the thing, can’t bring it up. I can’t even tell people this works for me. Because in Singapore, where his next fight is, it’s completely outlawed to a point of it’s like murder. So I mean, someone that actually uses it and like, look, it actually helps me every day, not paid. We don’t have anybody that’s paid or sponsored or anything like that. These are real athletes that come to us that use our products. And they say to them, you can’t ever talk about it. Don’t say anything. Don’t put it on Instagram. Don’t do anything. Because it’s CBD and it’s cannabis and yet I have somebody like Kyle Turley come on and say, Oh my God, I’ve gone to everybody that’s any type of thought leader and nobody wants to hear it. Knowing how the benefits that it is, so it’s just um you know, a It’s, you know, I wanted to ask you about the path you laid out working on the digital side of BM BMG, one of the largest music companies in the world. Did you ever expect the digital disruption of streaming would hit music so hard? That the idea of going to music to a music store and pick up an album or a single would nearly be obsolete?
Well, certainly not. When I started in the industry, did I, although I was probably one of the earliest people in the industry to come around to thinking that and honestly, that’s, that’s a big reason why I ended up leaving the industry is because I was becoming the squeaky wheel. You know, it was like, Hey, guys, like, look at this, look at this pent up demand that we haven’t been, you know, serving and, like, we need to change our business models, and we need to change the way that we, that we, you know, deliver music to fans. And at the time, that was not a very popular opinion, it was more of like, well, how do we put this genie back in the bottle, you know, let’s start putting copy protection on CDs, like we really need to re widgetized you know, the industry and getting people back to buying shiny discs. And guys, those those days are long gone are long gone. Right? And, and I left and I was like, Man, this is going to be ugly. And it was you know, but now it’s kind of come out on the other side. And, and now the industry is, is healthy again. But you know, things got reconfigured, right, like, there’s a lot, you know, more money in like, certainly streaming obviously, is become a lot more of where the money’s coming from. But there’s also a lot of a lot of the sort of licensing opportunities have become bigger and bigger and bigger for making money. And certainly the live music aspects become a much more important part of like how musicians, you know, make their money now. So it just kind of things like, had to readjust. And but yeah, during that time, it was crazy. Because it was just so disruptive, right? It was like when when Napster first came out and all these I mean, everyone remembers that. It was just like, wow, this is crazy. Like, oh, I can get any music I want like, I can rip it, you know? And? And yeah, well, look, it was a hard look, when you built an entire industry around, like, like, Oh, you have to spend $18 For this shiny disk that’s got 12 songs on it, of which you only want one or two. That’s not really a very consumer friendly. And, and so, you know, like the customers eventually, you know, of course, as they always do they want right? It’s like, look, I want to be able to play whatever song I want to play whenever I want to play it. For example, right? You give me that and I’ll sign up for it. And now like, how many members does Spotify have? I have no idea. But like, it’s, I think it’s over 100 million,
I believe, Oh, yeah, it’s insane. Like throughout the world, it’s it’s huge. So, so like Hall of Fame artists, both living and dead, are cashing out and selling out their legacy saw, you know, songwriting catalogs. Now the record labels are offering their music to new artists to use them as an interplay. Do you think record labels need to look at different ways to operate now that they are doing this and, and maybe go about it a different way?
Well, I mean, look, there’s, and I can’t blame any of these artists right now for taking a big payout. Like, you know, it’s sort of like, hey, who am I to say, like, yeah, you want, right, money’s money. I
mean, it’s you want
to set up your family for, you know, to be set for, you know, gender, you know, multi generational wealth, you know, opportunity, you know, I can’t, you know, say, you know, that that’s not the right thing to do. However, what’s what’s, you know, what is starting to happen, right, is that, you know, having more and more of this consolidation is that, you know, look, these, these companies that are buying these catalogs, they’re not, they’re not in this for charity. Right. So they’re their for profit businesses. And so, you know, what, what will be interesting to see is just how they, how they try to continue to monetize that, you know, and, and is there’s always this constant like, and it’s just market forces at play, right of like, well, the rights holders want more money and the consumers want easier access, you know, for less money, and so figuring out where that where that balance is going to lie. But I’m going to be fascinated, you know, I don’t work in that industry. On that side of it anymore.
Right now I
understand it’s really, it’s really going to be interesting to see how things play out.
I mean, I don’t know how much more we could hit on the fact that this has been a great interview. And hopefully we could, you know, maybe talk after the show. But I mean, I don’t know, take us out pain. We always want to say, this is why we’re doing this show. We want to hear from you. Please like, subscribe, comment, tell us what we could have done different. Tell me what I could have asked him differently. Give you know, there could have been some other questions or how we can make this show better. I mean, we’re here to do this for you for the people. And and we’re just so happy that you came on here. Is there anything else that you wanted to mention that we didn’t, that we didn’t touch on? Well,
I would love to mention that we are going to, you know, again, sort of breaking new ground is we’re gonna allow the people to invest in our company, we’re doing the first ever brand, we’re the first ever brand cannabis brand portfolio to go out and do a crowd fund. And we will be launching that that soon you can, you know, we’ll be we’ll be announcing that you can follow us you can go to our website and gauge your brand’s dot com, you can go to my LinkedIn page and learn more. But that’s that’s something coming that I’m excited to, to get going. Because, you know, the fact that if you’re a music fan and a cannabis fan, you’ve never have had the opportunity to actually participate. You know, so we’re gonna we’re gonna provide that opportunity here very soon. And yeah, that you know, it’s it’s been it’s been a pleasure to be on here. Thanks for having me on. And, you know, let’s, let’s definitely, you know, keep in contact or all this stuff and as things continue to evolve and develop as it relates to branding, always happy to talk.
I really appreciate that. Remember, check us out on Spotify. Tune Dan. apple to apple podcast, or obviously cannabis Radio. Thank you so much for tuning in and take care everybody, get educated.