Act as the host to everyone equally, specifically in the live event space equally juggling the happiness of the bands/artists, staff, and customers who at times might all want completely different things.
Jeff Menig is an entertainment industry professional with years of experience in-band management, live events, merchandise, consulting, artist development, and marketing. Now, the co-founder of artist collaboration platform Featured X, we sit down with Jeff to discuss how his work is disrupting the industry, in a very necessary way.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
It all started in High School for me back in 1999. I was in a hardcore band that played our local venue once every three months or so but we wanted to play more often and in more locations but just didn’t know-how. My friend jokingly said if I booked and promoted my own shows I could put my band on whenever I wanted which was just the most interesting thing I had heard in my life until then. 4–5 months later I had done my first show, made $1,000.00 without overpaying everyone, and had a literal ‘lightbulb moment’. I decided right then to skip college and just start doing events full time. The rest as they say is history.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
In many ways, I’d like to think my entire career has been one long disruption. From a very young age, most of my memories are questioning ‘why?’ most things were the way they were when obvious better solutions seemed so apparent to me. My biggest current one is spreading information on master ownership and self-value for bands/artists. This is my biggest goal with the Artist Republik acquisition of Featured X.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
That very first show I booked, it never crossed my mind that the “cool kids” from the scene would just try and walk into the show through the back where the bands came in and I had to remember to have someone checking that door too.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
I’ve had 3 main mentors throughout my career.
First was Ted Etoll of Step Up Presents. While I was still in my DIY show era he would take me out to dinner and let me pick his brain and then just let me shadow him at events. I would just follow him around and watch how he dealt with/talked to everyone. From the customers to the bands/their crews, to the bartenders, security, and every other staff member. I’ve always been observant and could reverse engineer why things were being done quickly and soaking up all of this information completely set the foundation for the rest of my life.
Second was Juan Diaz of Rhythmden Productions. I worked for Juan from May 2004 to June 2006. Most of what I learned from Juan was what NOT to do, and not on purpose, except 1 thing that I took with me onward. He really tried to make every show feel like that touring band’s hometown so they were as comfortable as possible. I loved that and kept that with me forever.
Third was John D’Esposito of The Bamboozle Festival. I worked on The Bamboozle from 2009–2012 and then also with John on Six Flags festEVIL and Skate & Surf Festival 2013. He really instilled in me that I was a star and could do anything I wanted, whenever I wanted. It wasn’t one thing, more so just the culmination of the amount I was able to absorb from him mostly simply because of my proximity to him. Fly as close to the sun as you can get!
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
I’m sure if my job was to lobby for the continuation of most industry’s I could I create an argument well enough to convince most but I honestly don’t see any institution that in a 2021 world/reality is perfect the way it was built back when everything was built in the shadows behind the greater public’s backs. I’ve almost to a fault done everything in my adult life different than everyone else just to prove you can — for some reason the inference of ‘that’s the way things are’ has always rubbed me the wrong way. Shift the background to mold to yourself, do not make yourself flexible to fit the mold. It’s doable.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
Act as the host to everyone equally.
– specifically in the live event space equally juggling the happiness of the bands/artists, staff, and customers who at times might all want completely different things.
Never doubt your gut.
– that instinct is there for a reason, trust in it and just go and second guess less.
You can’t do everything yourself.
– burnout is real and this is something I still deal this to this day but asking for help is not only beneficial but necessary.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
My main focus is creating new revenue streams for artists that haven’t been explored before. We’re just getting started with this new Artist Republik / Featured X merger. Expect an almost endless rollout of new ideas over the next handful of years to come.
Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?
The Lex Friedman Podcast has been one of my favorite ones in recent years. I’m obsessed with the future and using data to predict what’s next. He touches on a ton of things that interest me lately including AI, VR/AR, Neuroscience, and more, and really helps me to continue to expand my mind.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”
Something I’ve learned way too many times over the years is you can give others the answers to the test but they’re still going to write down their own answer based on who they are and you can’t force anyone no matter how talented they are to do the things necessary to become successful.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
It would be that the collective always has more power than the few in power if they can just take time to breathe and get on the same page. This not only goes for the greater vision of things but also for Artists within the music industry. It’s a movement that technically has already started but Artists understand the value of ownership and retaining the rights to their masters’ long term. They’re the ones in charge.
How can our readers follow you online?
@JeffMenig @FeaturedXdotcom @ArtistRepublik
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!