Build value, and the money will come. I heard this early on and never understood it, but when i started chasing money instead of value and failed, i realized what it meant. If you chase a cat, he will always run away, but if you have food for that cat, he will come to you. It is the same thing in business, if you chase the money, you’ll never get it, but if you build value, money will be the last thing you have to worry about
As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nick Cianfaglione.
Nick Cianfaglione is the CEO and Founder of Artist Republik. Artist Republik is a decentralized networking and management platform that allows independent musicians to manage, market and book themselves as well as grow their industry connections and career. . Being an early adopter of the entrepreneurship mentality, Nick launched several small entrepreneurial ventures throughout middle school and high school. After the loss of his father, he was introduced to the inner workings of the music industry while initiating a charity concert series to raise money for cancer. The series entitled ‘Club For Cancer’ was the catalyst to his prior firm Northeastern Entertainment Solutions, which hosted local, regional and national artists in over fifty different venues across the country. As a student of Rhode Island’s Bryant University, Nick found success in college by launching NES360, a leading fan base growth and marketing company. His experience with NES360 introduced him to working with over 500 clients worldwide; interviews with these artists brought the problematic workings of the music industry to light. As a solution, he launched Artist Republik in 2018 and has assured a series of big developments for the company in 2020 and beyond.
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?
My story started when I was 15, 2 years after the loss of my father from cancer. I was involved in running a relay for life team with some of my friends in high school and I came up with this idea to host a neon glow party concert to raise money for our team. The first year it totally failed.. out of a total 250 people that could come, only around 25 showed up. But I knew I was onto something, I just needed to go all in. I spent the next year planning one of the biggest parties I could think of. In May 2015, I hosted “Club for Cancer” Neon paint party. We ordered 80lbs+ of paint powder and sold out the concert in under 2 weeks. When sitting backstage, looking at this packed music venue, I knew I was on to something big and that anything was possible. That night I raised over 3k dollars for cancer awareness and knew this was what I wanted to do. Club for Cancer was the start of one of the most insane entrepreneurial journeys of my life.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
Artist Republik is disruptive because it completely changes the structure, flow, and daily operations of the music industry, both traditional and new music tech companies. It enables music artists of all sizes to obtain and manage all the resources they need to grow their careers without the middle man, contracts, hidden fees, and sketchy back channeling.
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?
There have been a lot of mistakes I have made over the best 7 years in the music industry. I don’t know which of them would be the “funniest” but a lot of my mistakes came from my early days hosting concerts. I was young, naive, and didn’t understand how the whole business worked. All I knew is that i loved hosting concerts, I was addicted to selling out concerts and counting the money after shows, and I didn’t learn anything from the classic routes. I never took a business class before college, I didn’t listen to podcasts or read books so I learned from failure. Whether it was misjudging my market when hosting concerts, hearing no more then yes on sales calls, losing significant amounts of money due to shows being under sold, losing staffing members due to a lack of commitment, hiring the wrong teams to build Artist Republik in the start, and so on. The list is HUGE. But every single one of those small, or big, failures is what is guiding me to success today. I know I am nowhere near done “failing”, I am just confident that now I have the resources, the knowledge, and the support to fail, learn, and bounce back.
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 have a lot of mentors… and I mean a lot.. Currently in Artist Republik, I rely on my board of directors, my advisors, and a large group of mentors which include, but not limited to, David Beirne, Humble Lukanga, Ann-Marie Harrington, Ken Sutton, Jeff Taylor, Nick O’Hara, Ryan Buonogorio, Adam Alpert, and many many more. But there is one mentor that has always been there and it’s my oldest brother Mike. Him and I are always at odds on decisions and thats what makes us great together. He hates risk, doubts everything, is insanely minimalistic, and very cautious. Myself on the other hand, I love risk, I operate in a world where you have to be cautious but also daring. So I know that I am a very daring, overly trustworthy, risky person who will do anything to make my business ventures advance so having him as a mentor is great because he questions everything I do and enables me to see a different view point. By no means is he an industry expert like some of my other mentors, but he is a psychological challenger for me that always causes me to analyze a situation deeper and view it from a different perspective.
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 don’t know if disruption is not always good, but I am a firm believer that innovation is not always good and individuals can very easily over innovate. I have ingrained this idea into every company I have run and it has always worked. Innovation is not reinventing the wheel, it’s improving the experience and removing the pain points of a consumer. An example I always use of this is Tesla, they didn’t make a better tire, they made a better power source for a car. You can see this a lot in today’s tech world with failed companies, their mission statement may have hit the pain point but they went too far, they over innovated and they confused the customer, or drained resources into developing this innovative technology that no one asked for. Tesla could spend billions of dollars on building a better tire but are consumers asking for that? No they want a better, greener car, so focus on that. Like everyones teacher would always tell you in middle school, KISS- keep it simple stupid.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
- Build value, and the money will come. I heard this early on and never understood it, but when i started chasing money instead of value and failed, i realized what it meant. If you chase a cat, he will always run away, but if you have food for that cat, he will come to you. It is the same thing in business, if you chase the money, you’ll never get it, but if you build value, money will be the last thing you have to worry about
- No days off: this is a simple one and a lot of people joke about it on social media but if you actually mean it, and do it, you will succeed sooner or later, because if you work 12 hours a day, everyday, for a year, you will be 56 days ahead of your competition if they only work 8 hours a day, during the weekdays. So if you want to succeed, you better be ready to work.
- That brings me back to my last piece which is hard work, always beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard. I am by no means the smartest person in the room, but I can guarantee that I will always be working harder
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
Artist Republik is nowhere near done. We have a lot up our sleeves, and a lot we cannot talk about but I can say, we are going to completely change the entire structure of the music industry and how it operates.
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?
Sadly I don’t, I’m always working, I listen to my hustle playlist on spotify probably everyday and just learn by doing. I’ve tried to start some books or podcasts and always get distracted with work.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“If a driver has the courage to create his own conditions, then the rain is simply rain.” This is my favorite quote because a lot of people run away when life gets hard, just like alot of drivers get scared when it starts raining. But if you calm down, clear your head, adapt to your conditions (change your tires, braking distance, and level of control), well the rain is nothing more than rain. It doesn’t stop you from racing, it just changes how you race. Just like in life, you have a life changing event but that doesn’t stop you from living, it just changes how you live and if you have the courage to redefine this, then you can still live life to the fullest.
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. 🙂
I would love to inspire a movement of love, equity and critical thinking. I think all of our problems would be solved if we were able to sit back, love, have compassion and understanding and apply some critical thinking to every situation. We could solve global warming and climate issues, we could solve wealth gaps, and more. We’re all on this crazy ride of life together, so let’s all work together. That’s what inspired Artist Republik, I sat down with over 500 artists and had compassion, and understanding, and critical thinking and now we are creating a platform that will hopefully change the trajectory of millions of people’s lives.
How can our readers follow you online?
You can find me on instagram @chalkerbeachboy, you can find Artist republik on everything @artistrepublik
And checkout artist republik online at artistrepublik.com
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!