Overview of the Podcast
From concepts to companies ….
How do you take a project from $500 to $500k in revenue? How do you take a label from nowhere to 200 songs and 80 million streams in a year? How do you do both while remaining focused on God and Kingdom Building?
From concepts to companies, Doc Watson (Jacob Makaish), Co-CEO of Reflection Music Group and Trig (James Rosseau, Sr.), CEO of Holy Culture, come together to share their long-standing relationship, as well as their individual and interwoven journeys through CHH. More importantly, they share their collective experiences with the intent of helping others that are embarking on this journey.
Reflection Music Group is one of the most prominent entities in CHH, releasing more than 200 songs in 2019 alone, amassing more than 80 Million Streams. RMG’s roster includes Derek Minor, Canon, Byron Juane, DJ Standout, Danielle Apicella and Tony Tillman and through RMG Amplify, Thi’sl, Dee-1, Propanga, Roy Tosh, Mission, Brvndon P, Kurtis Hoppie, Ryhan Lamarr, Quinten Coblentz, and Sada K.
Holy Culture promotes Christ, serves the Christian community and provides tools, all in a manner that is relevant to those engaged in hip-hop culture. Our tagline is "Connect, Collab and Inspire." We endeavor to create systems and processes that increase the efficacy of CHH, to create a community where iron sharpens iron and people work to understand each other’s gifts and how they work towards the benefit of the entire body (Proverbs 27:17 NIV, Romans 12:4-8) and to create a place where works are organized to edify believers and share the gospel with non-believers.
The A&R Process
The A&R (Artist and Repertoire) process can be daunting. Doc and Trig break down the different components of the process, discuss the give and takes between the artist and the label, along with key considerations that artists should have as they approach a deal. Special gues Byron Juane joins and shares his experiences too!
Music Publishing and Licensing
How critical is publishing and licensing and how do you do it? If you plan to have a successful career as an artist, you need to find out!
In this episode, Doc and Trig are joining by Lynn Lowe, President of Music Services where they have managed the catalogs for more than 250 companies including Reach Records, Goatee Records, Clear Sight Music, Spring Hill Records and more. Throughout they have helped over 34,000 writers involving over 450,000 songs and the issuance of over 250,000 licenses.
You’ll be sure to pick up some nuggets from this discussion.
Building for Longevity / Doc meets “Bristol Poppins”
The key to longevity in any business is sustainability and momentum. In the music industry that comes down to catalog power. To build that, one cannot go it alone. We discuss the importance of building a team, what some of those roles are, the trade-offs, and what typically holds people back from doing so.
Doc also gives counsel to our hypothetical artist, “Bristol Poppins,” who aspires to become a breakout artist and label owner in five years.
Growing Pains … Establishing the “Blueprint”
How do you handle the various stages of business growth, stabilizing a company, building a team, and shifting from founder/owner to CEO and team-leader?
When you’re growing your venture in the public eye, many see the climb, but not the journey. Entrepreneurship can be filled with the weight of “carving a new groove in the wood,” bouts of loneliness, the fear of failure, and a barrage of key decisions.
Making Marketing Money Matter
Doc has had his share of experiences after driving nearly $500,000 of revenue from the Redemption release with a minimal budget. He and Trig discuss marketing strategy and ways to optimize spending. They go in-depth relative to understanding consumer behavior and what drives better online conversion and what things are sub-optimal (e.g. Linktree unfortunately).
Launching Reflection Music Group
At the time of this recording in October of 2019, year-to-date, Reflection Music Group had released more than 200 songs and amassed 80 million streams. However, this didn’t happen overnight. Doc shares some of the insights on how they launched and run Reflection Music Group.
We discuss the concept behind the Amplify brand, which helps veteran artists continue to expand their platform through distribution and marketing, touching forty to fifty careers annually.
Doc explains why he says “I never saw myself as a businessman.” He shares some of the real lessons learned around business plans, budgeting, timeliness, etc.
History, Relationships, and the Foundation
Doc Watson and Trig kick off the interview and discuss how their relationship started. Further, Doc shares his transition from the military to music production, mixtape, events, selling tracks, radio, his migration to Christian Hip-Hop, joining forces with Derek Minor (formerly known as Pro) and the birth of Christlike Entertainment (now Reflection Music Group).
Trig shares his journey in secular music, his healthy confrontation with members of the Cross Movement and the enduring relationships that introduced him to CHH.
About Doc and Trig
Doc Watson (Jacob Makaish)
Doc Watson is the CEO and co-founder of Reflection Music Group (RMG), an independent hip-hop label based out of Nashville, Tennessee. He started his journey in the music industry working in radio and as a producer. After garnering success hosting parties and releasing his own wave of projects at the height of the mixtape era, Watson found a need for a deeper purpose. That’s when he connected with Nashville-based artist Derek Minor to establish Reflection Music Group. Since the label’s founding in 2009, RMG has produced numerous nationwide tours, hosted its own SXSW showcase, and placed numerous projects on the Billboard charts, including multiple placements for Canon on the Top Rap Albums list. Minor, also a Grammy-winning artist, has had two projects on the prestigious Billboard 200.
RMG now houses RMG Amplify, a distribution and marketing service available to artists without the commitment of signing to a label. Watson prides himself on being a marketing expert, emphasizing consistency and authenticity. Before getting into music, he spent 10 years in the Army as a member of the highly-respected 101st Airborne Division where he learned discipline and the importance of execution. Now, he and his wife enjoy working out, hiking and exploring the city together.
Trig (James Rosseau, Sr.)
James Rosseau, Sr. (Trig) is the CEO of The Corelink Solution (the parent company for Holy Culture), a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization that exists to revitalize communities through programs that empower people to reach their potential. Coinciding with Trig’s 20 years in CHH as an artist, producer, radio host, event promoter and media owner, he has spent the same in senior leadership positions in companies such as JPMorgan Chase (SVP Credit Card), Allstate (president - Affinity Solutions), and LegalShield (president - Affinity, Chief Commercial Officer), creating and guiding high-performing teams through delivering double-digit growth, mergers and acquisitions, offshoring, outsourcing, startups, and well over 300 partnerships.
He serves on the DeVry University Board of Trustees, is the author of Success on Your Own Terms: 6 Promises to Fire up your Passion, Ignite Your Career and Create an Amazing Life and holds an Executive MBA from the Kellogg School of Management.
He initially joined the Holy Culture Radio family in the early 2000s with The Corelink Radio program, quickly became a partner in the business, which at that time was the HolyCultureDownload Store, which the team expanded to be a mainstay in the genre prior to the launch of iTunes. Looking to broaden its services, Holy Culture launched its media outlet not long after that and the rest is history.