Press Lives Matters: Gavin Johnson, A&R/Marketing Expert of Volume Hub
Written by Greg Harris
When it comes to the "Press Lives Matter" platform, it was initially for people who played a part in being in the music scene, but it has extended to be a platform for innovative individuals in the midst of their respective industry. Figuring out the stories of these people is essential because it leads to telling the stories of these figures who are next up in their own lane. In this edition, we stray away from the studios of music, and focus on the press/marketing portrayal that it takes to not enhance the careers of artists, but knowing how to pinpoint any industry in a modern age of technology and how to utilize it to the best way possible.
We recently tapped in with Volume Hub's lead A&R, Gavin Johnson. This bright minded young guy from the depths of Wisconsin has found his way in the art of music by paving a way with his strategic marketing tactics and the huge advantage of being forward thinking with technology. He and innovative media expert, Nate Iapalucci have laid the foundation for creatives to get familiar with their platform, and it has paid off with giving these people in a new creative space.
We had the chance to talk to Gavin about his upbringing, working with Nate, the importance of strategic marketing, and more.
How’s your Modern Life?
I’m at an interesting point in my life, but I’m more focused now than I’ve ever been. It’s a long story.
What are three things you have to do when you first wake up in the morning?
If I have a dream I remember, I usually think about that for a few minutes. Dreams fascinate me. Then I have to check my phone. Before jumping in the shower, I gotta decide what I’m gonna to listen to. Music is an essential part of starting my day.
Growing up, how was your upbringing?
It had its ups and downs, but no complaints here. I’m from a small town outside of Madison, Wisconsin. My parents got a divorce when I was six, so I grew up going back and forth between their houses. We had some more family troubles as I got into high school, with one of my older brothers who had drug issues.
It’s easy to go down the wrong path when you’re a creative mind without many outlets. In a small town, it seems like people want you to be a certain way - to fit the social norm. Some people hardly get out, but I had the privilege of doing some traveling and attending a summer camp, which helped shape my perspective.
During this time frame, what was a significant time for you when you started getting involved with technology?
Technology was always around me. It really started with video games though. I have so many great memories of playing Call of Duty with my friends. My friend Brandon posted gameplays to YouTube, and actually started making good money from it, well, at least for a 13-year-old. From there, I ended up making my own YouTube channel, where I vlogged before it was cool lol. I bugged my brother Connor to show me how to pirate computer software, and eventually, he did.
During my freshman year of high school, I downloaded FL Studio and began learning how to make beats. So to answer your question, between my eighth grade and freshman year was when I started to truly get involved with technology.
Seeing how effective this vehicle can be in the future, how did you tie in the aspect of incorporating modern marketing with the growing evolution of technology?
I realized that I needed to use social media to my advantage, instead of wasting my time on it. It’s simple: everyone’s eyes, all the attention, is on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. Marketing is about where the attention is, and how to get your product or service in front of the right people, who’ll benefit from it.
For now, these platforms are the best avenue for a person or business to get their stuff out there. Like you said, technology is constantly evolving. Virtual Reality is on its way to bringing major change to the market.
"Most creatives want to be recognized for their work, and many want to make money off of it. We combine creative insight and analytics to create our approach for working with deserving creatives on breaking through the market. We understand the importance of developing a strong aesthetic and brand, along with using hard data to push it in front of the right people. Volume is Value."
Growing up it’s typical to take the route of going to college and aiming to capitalize on the “American Dream” after you graduate, but you decided to drop out and pursue different dreams. What inspired you to make that decision and how do you feel about it?
I had a weird college experience. My mom wanted me to get my bachelors, instead of attending a two-year program like I had planned. I took a chance and went to Belmont University in Nashville, where I intended on studying audio engineering. After a year there, I decided the social environment wasn’t for me. I enrolled in a community college back home, where I studied fashion marketing.
I felt the program was outdated, besides my intro marketing class that I enjoyed, and I ended up leaving after one semester. My decision to drop out was made based off of my mindset, which is that I can be successful without a degree. I feel good about my decision because I can always go back if I need to. People forget that colleges are businesses too - they aren’t always looking out for your best interest.
In the process of finding your way in your respective industry, you’ve grown to have a relationship with Nate Lapalucci, who’s done a lot in his own right. How’d you say your relationship is with him and what have you learned from him so far?
Nate and I have built a great relationship. I reached out to him in November 2016, about possibly working with him. He made sure to keep in touch through text, checking in every other week or so at first. From there, we started to talk more often, which lead to us working together. Although Nate’s younger than me, I view him as a mentor.
Age doesn’t mean much to us. Knowledge and experience is what matters. I’ve learned how to balance compassion and assertiveness. It’s important to care about others, but being too caring has its disadvantages. Being direct with someone, while still having their concerns in mind, has been the biggest shift in my behavior. I credit that change to working alongside Nate.
Seeing that both of you have your hands filled with Volume, how would you say this is offering a different approach when it comes to modern marketing?
Our approach is working with creatives on their direct needs. There’s no doubt that the creative market is oversaturated. Modern technology has made it so anyone who can get their hands on a phone or computer can create, then upload their creations to the internet.
The thing is, most creatives want to be recognized for their work, and many want to make money off of it. We combine creative insight and analytics to create our approach for working with deserving creatives on breaking through the market. We understand the importance of developing a strong aesthetic and brand, along with using hard data to push it in front of the right people. Volume is Value.
In this day and age, how important is it to strategize and organize campaigns and executing an excellent advertising/marketing plan?
Creating a strong plan and executing it is everything. That can be the difference between taking off and falling off.
Not only is organizational tools play a significant part in campaigns today, so does the aspect of differentiation. How would you say you try to separate yourself from the pack when it comes to the way you deliver your content?
The insight we provide varies from client to client, depending on what they do, who they are, and how we can make an impact with them. We work with each client on developing a specialized target audience that fits them and their brand. This is what separates us from the rest.
In three ways, how do you want to improve yourself in 2018?
I want to become more organized, more focused, and more connected.
What are three goals of yours you want to achieve within the next 5 years?
Travel to Norway
Have a home
Live through creative mediums
When it’s all said and done, how do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as someone who inspires people to follow their dreams. Cliche but that’s how I’m rocking.
Follow Gavin here