Friday, March 2, 2018

Moe Shalizi | Lefsetz Letter

He’s the manager of Marshmello.


That’s exactly the point, you can manage an act that does double digit millions, drive a Lamborghini and live in a multimillion dollar house and most people have no clue who you or your act are.

Except for the fans.

I met Moe at a dinner at Jake Udell’s house. It was them and me and the manager of Logan Paul, before the YouTube star shot himself in the foot.

Anyway, at that dinner Jeff, Logan’s manager, went on about being in front of your audience each and every day. That if they’re not watching you, they’re watching someone else. Moe went home and sent a message to his team. They had seven digits of YouTube subscribers but they were only putting up a clip a month. They too wanted to have one a day.

So they’ve got a cooking show. A minute and a half long. It’s not like Marshmello is a chef, but his fans tune in for everything he does, so once a week he lays out a recipe and they focus on the markets where he’s hot, like Indonesia, Singapore and Brazil. Marshmello tops the cooking charts because of his rabid fanbase. This is not your daddy’s music business, after all, Moe is only 27 years old!

There’s a ton of data out there, how do you utilize it?

So Moe becomes Marshmello’s manager. Only the act’s not called that then. And the DJ starts making a new type of music, more mellow, and the two put their heads together and come up with the concept, Moe comes up with the name. That’s right, a great manager is creative too.

And then they put the stuff on SoundCloud and Skrillex becomes a fan and…

Marshmello has no label. He jumped from SoundCloud to Tunecore, he puts his own music out. Not that the labels don’t come calling, they offer double digit million offers, but Marshmello is already making that money himself, so why does he need them? But as a result of these interactions Marshmello has worked with Khalid and Selena Gomez, because when you’re hot the opportunities arise, and people are giving to get.

So Marshmello doesn’t rely on terrestrial radio, certainly not before he started working with these household names.

And his audience doesn’t watch the “Today Show” or late night TV, what can the major provide? After all, Moe already has a tight relationship with Apple and Spotify, Marshmello gets playlisted.

This is the paradigm shift. Non-pop acts who are developed outside the system and when the big boys come calling, they say no. Used to be you had to say yes, you couldn’t reach the audience, but now you can reach the audience better than the major. They use spray paint, you employ a brush and touch them one by one.

And there’s so much money to be made.

And you have to stay loyal to your core, Marshmello has a deal with Hostess, it’s a natural, but has turned down so many branding offers for fear it will muddy the waters.

Sound like the sixties?

You see no one has a hold on today’s music scene. We just hear about hip-hoppers and bitching rockers. But in between there are so many opportunities. Marshmello sold out three Shrines, that’s 15,000 tickets!

And all this is on my mind because I just interviewed Moe for the podcast. It’ll be a couple of weeks until it is up, but I’m both energized and feel inadequate. On one hand, I’m doing it right, writing constantly. On another, I’m not working the socials and playing the YouTube game. If you’ve got a presence, if you’ve got fans, there are many ways to make a buck, not only recorded music. But you’ve got to think outside the box. And seemingly only the young people are able to do this.

Marshmello – YouTube

Cooking With Marshmello” (they even have Spanish versions!)

Silence” 466,508,150 streams

Wolves” 360,608,759 streams


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