How Entrepreneur Steven Dorn Mastered the Art of Talent Scouting in the Music Industry

"There’s no way to accurately describe the amazing feeling that comes from watching my artists make it out there and become fearless leaders that are ready to take the world by storm."

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Talent scouting in the music industry factors elements that branch off of those that are commonly associated with headhunting in the corporate sector. When headhunting in the corporate sector, the prospects are expected to possess certain skillsets, and it’s a desirable bonus for them to also possess the creativity and initiative to think outside-the-box. Similarly in the music industry for instance, prospects would need to possess voices with marketable pitches that can become even better with minimal guidance, and it’s a desirable bonus if the person also has charisma and a unique edge to their performance.

For novices, this line of work takes some fine-tuning, and a lot of trial and error. After a brief period in putting his own time and money into investing in musical artists that demonstrated true potential and drive, Steven Dorn, an entrepreneur, talent scout, and social media expert, managed to make a name for himself for his success in identifying up-and-coming talents. After mastering the art of talent scouting, Dorn became the Founder of music management and VC firm, XYZ Media. He has consulted for numerous high-net worth individuals, athletes, and celebrities. He is credited for both discovering and kickstarting the career of Grammy-nominated R&B star, Bryson Tiller, and Yo Trane. He is also known for his early role behind the success of artists such as David Bowden (known professionally as Pink Sweat$.) Dorn and his XYZ Media team are very well aware of the importance of signing artists early, based on the direction that music trends are headed, and to sometimes bring something completely new to the table.

One of the many elements which make XYZ Media particularly different from most any other firm these days is the fact that Dorn elected to not develop any marketing collateral whatsoever. Through his experience, he saw that doing so only led to an influx of unqualified artists attempting to pitch him and his team. As a result, Dorn decided to rely on word-of-mouth, and count on building authentic relationships through sheer hard work and in industry events to approach artists he found intriguing. “When I got my start, the hardest part was finding my niche,” says Dorn. “At first I figured I could identify all types of talent across the board. But I quickly realized that it wasn’t necessarily the case. I found my own unique niche, and realized that I generated far better results by simply sticking to it.”

When Dorn decided to make a business out of his abilities in scouting, networking, and connecting, he realized the importance of maintaining close ties with other business entities, both in an official and unofficial capacity. “Partnerships went a long way in terms of making magic happen sooner for my artists. Simply having a great rapport with key players in all areas of the music production and promotions industries also helped make a big difference in terms of achieving success for all parties involved,” says Dorn. Without a doubt, his go-getter reputation and impressive ever-increasing track record plays a key role in influential people being quick to collaborate with him.

“I’m a firm believer in my network being far more important than my net worth,” says Dorn. “There are those that invest in companies, but I invest in people, and I’m an active hands-on investor. I’ve seen many who stress far too much on the weak points of their clients, instead of boosting their strengths. I’m all about shining light on my talented client base, and planning ways to keep it going for the long haul. The strategies behind all my activities are forward-thinking.”

The music industry is most kind to artists that demonstrate more than just talent. They are expected to also have a stand-out personality, demeanor, overall experience (and the work ethic that comes along with it,) hunger for success, ability to adapt, drive, analytical abilities, and creative thinking skills. Dorn personally factors other elements as well, such as their consistency in independently producing good quality material, current fan base/influence, unique individualized messages, and of course, the likelihood of commercial viability. 

Dorn is more than just an entrepreneur, talent scout, and an investor in people. He is also, in many ways, an acting manager for the artists that make his cut. He nurtures them, and plays an active role in making connections as needed with the best producers, songwriters, and promoters as needed. “In my world,” says Dorn, “Artist scouting is synonymous with artist development. There’s no way to accurately describe the amazing feeling that comes from watching my artists make it out there and become fearless leaders that are ready to take the world by storm.”

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