INTERVIEW WITH LOU PLAIA FOR THE EIY HANDBOOK
LOU PLAIA, 45 (Massapequa, NY)
YEARS IN MUSIC: 22
ON THE WEB: reverbnation.com // twitter.com/reverbnation // blog.reverbnation.com
CURRENT PROJECT: ReverbNation.com
WHAT FIRST GOT YOU INTERESTED IN MUSIC? Frank Zappa made me realize that there is more to music than what was being played on the radio. It was great musicianship, a way to spread a message, and a lifestyle to be part of.
DO YOU REMEMBER THE MOMENT YOU FIGURED OUT WHAT YOU WANTED TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE? I remember graduating college in the 80’s and thinking, “Do I really want to wear a suit and tie and be a stockbroker?” Well, I did it for a year before realizing it was tough selling investments with long hair! So that’s when I decided I needed to be in the music business.
WHAT WERE YOUR GOALS WHEN YOU FIRST GOT STARTED? My goal was to get my foot in the door at a major label because I didn’t really know anything else existed beyond that in the music business. I wanted to prove I was creative and could help with artist’s careers.
HAVE YOU ACHIEVED THOSE GOALS? Yes.
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS NOW? My goals are actually the same: help artists achieve their goals.
WERE YOU ALWAYS ON THE PATH THAT YOU’RE ON NOW? I started out in the Finance department because that was what my college degree was in. I did that for 6 or 7 years before showing the label that I could be more helpful on the marketing side.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU ON A DAILY BASIS? When I see an old artist I used to work with at the label still going strong, I am pleased that artist development worked and it was not just a one hit wonder. And now at ReverbNation, I get excited when I find killer bands that nobody knows about yet, and I get excited when I see bands on the site using our marketing tools and seeing it work.
HOW MUCH OF YOUR SUCCESS HAS COME FROM LUCK? TALENT? HARD WORK? Luck was a factor, in that I didn’t know anyone in the music business and still got lucky enough to find a job in it. The rest was talent and hard work. Nobody puts in more hours than the people in the music business, which is why I always tell artists they need to work just as hard if not harder. And maybe I’m not the smartest person in the world, but I get these ideas in my head that wind up coming to fruition years down the road, by my efforts or someone else’s.
HOW HAVE YOU MEASURED YOUR SUCCESS? Respect is the most important thing in to me. I think most people who know me respect me. That goes for family, friends, artists and business associates.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS? Achieving your goals, getting the respect you deserve from family and peers, and being able to leverage all of that to make a good income to support your family the right way.
DO YOU HAVE ANY REGRETS SO FAR? No regrets.
DO YOU THINK THE BEST BANDS IN THE WORLD GET FAMOUS, OR STAY UNDISCOVERED? What does “famous” really mean nowadays? Is it being a household name? Assuming it does, I think there will always be a few great bands that will rise to the top and stay there for a long time, but not as many as before. Nowadays, “famous” bands are only “famous” for a minute. I think a ton of great bands now have the ability to make a good living at doing what they love but may not be “famous”. They are “famous” with their fans but just may not be a household name.
ANY FAVORITE UNDISCOVERED BANDS? Way too many too list here, but I just found a band, H-Beam, that I can’t stop listening to because they remind me of Frank Zappa, and that is very rare.
Read Lou’s answers to 50 questions about music and the music business in the EIY HANDBOOK, available in print or eBook version at www.earnityourself.com
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