Humpty-Backed Camels and Chimpanzees… my interview with Aideen O’Brien

I know. You are thinking WTF?  At the latest Indie Week Student Session on Sep 19, the panelists Kyle Merkely, Jennifer Beavis and Aideen O’Brien talked about Licensing and Synching.   Ever meet someone for like 2 minutes, and think “hey, I really like you?”  That was me with Aideen from eOne.  Aideen has seen and done just about everything and she was more than happy to share a few thoughts with me. 

Ingrid:  You mentioned at the end of the panel the importance of saving.  Many attendees were “whaaa?”, except me of course.  What compelled you to say that?

Aideen:  Absolutely.  Everyone needs to have a savings or investment strategy. Mine started with a house purchase with rental income with my brother.  Yes, it was easier to get into real estate then, but if you can join forces with others, it’s a good idea.  You just need to be careful, have a solid plan and a Plan B in the event someone wants out. If real estate is not in the cards, save somehow, some way.

Ingrid:  I totally agree.  I encourage artists to save at least 20% of what they make, usually into a Tax-Free Savings Account. Need to start somewhere!

Ingrid:  Unicorns or Flying Monkeys?

Aideen: Unicorns.  Wait, what the heck?  Yes, yes unicorns!  I’m Irish, The Irish Rovers have a Unicorn song.

Ingrid:  What are some ideas for artists that can generate multiple income streams?

Aideen:  There are many things.  Take small contract gigs.  Volunteering and networking at industry events like CMW and Indie Week can open the door to contracts.  Artists can publish samples and play on a performance or single.  You can synch your material to commercials, TV, films, co-write songs.  Whatever you do, you need to have discipline, focus, and know what your circle of competence is. Are you a songwriter first or performer first? If you hate performing, then that’s not in your circle of competence.

Ingrid:  Cat Lady or Dog Lover?

Aideen:  Ohhh not a crazy cat lady that’s for sure.  I love, love dogs!  Just can’t have one with the amount of travelling I do.

Ingrid:  A lot of artists are looking for that magical unicorn (now do you see the theme here?) to make them hugely successful.  What are your thoughts on that?

Aideen:  There is no unicorn.  Do they want a publicist?  A manager?  A distributor?  Artists need to know what they want, and what they need.  They need to be comfortable and trust with whoever they are dealing with.  If they get a sense that someone is trying to sell them that they are indeed that unicorn, they should walk away.  Find out from other similar successful artists who they use. If your sound is heavy metal, then don’t go looking for those who made pop artists successful.

Speaking of Unicorns, I watched a pilot last week on Global called The Unicorn…now how weird is that?