Dame shares his thoughts on the current state of the music industry, his obsession with sports and how it relates to music, Monster A&R, why he created the service, what it takes to get a placement and his vision for the future of music.
Note: This Interview was conducted via phone and parts of the interview are highlighted. The phone call lasted 1 hour and 37 minutes and many topics were discussed. Writing about sports for over 20 years, my colleagues and I find an interest in Dame, his vision and how it bridges the dynamics of sports & music together. I had a great pleasure conducting this interview and look forward to helping Dame to get his vision out to many others. I hope you all enjoy this candid conversation. - Sarah
Why are you more interested in working with people in sports than you are people in music?
“There’s more passion in sports, along with more structure, more money and more dedication from the people in sports. Music is a great environment, but it lacks structure. The majority of the people roaming around in the music world in LA, honestly just shouldn’t be there. A lot of them are clueless and have no passion, which is why the music industry is currently being controlled more by people outside of the music industry. Imagine if we could bring structure to the music industry? Imagine if we could raise the passion level for music artists & producers? The funny thing is, they all think their passion level is high, currently, but you can’t even get them to sit in a room for 5 days straight to press buttons, even if you told them that it would change their life forever... they’re not serious enough. Meanwhile, people in sports are breaking their legs, sweating for hours daily, and going right back out there to do the same thing, for years... That’s dedication. Unfortunately, my vision is a minority vision, because no one seems to agree... that’s perfect for me. I see it all as clear as day. Instead of talking about it, I decided to just, start it... My vision is, with structure, we bring more value and opportunity to the music industry... if we recess the current industry and build it back up, we make it stronger and consumers are happier and complain about the current state, less. Watch, you’ll see. What’s a typical day as the creator of Monster A&R? - “It’s just so crazy how so much happens in a day, and even with the best approach to sharing things on social media, you still can not show everything that happens in real life. I’m listening to new music all day, everyday. I’m responding to Facebook PM’s, Instagram DM’s, answering WhatsApp calls from members in Africa at 4 am because they’re just getting off of work, just to motivate them to keep going, letting them know that I believe in them and why I believe in them. There’s just so much, man, we’d be here all day, literally... but I love it all.” - “The amount of music that gets played in meetings and studio sessions... the reactions, questions and conversations that happen regarding Monster A&R.” - “All of the meetings, discussing every single member. From how and why I started the service, to if this producer has had any placements before to proposals like: “If I was interested in signing this producer to a 50/50 deal, would you pass them over?” - “All of the thoughts from listening to the music they submit... all of the feedback that I have, that is so immediate and can’t always be expressed.” - “All of the hours I put into developing learning tools for all of the members, to finding ways to innovate the creative process for artists & producers.” - “I know this business so well, from all of the different minds that roam in this industry; both the good and bad minds, I know how they both tick.” What do you think about the Music Business? - “Business in general is a great thing... it’s there to create lines; and depending on how good or bad the business is will determine how straight or crooked those lines are. My job is to look out for the best interest of all Monster A&R members, making sure that they all understand the lines of business. Once they understand, they can choose their own value levels, and decide how straight or crooked they want to walk in the business world once we find them opportunity.” How do you deal with the uphill battle of creating something so big that’s never been done before, and the criticism from the outside world? - “I know that people on the outside will determine Monster A&R’s success on how many placements we’ve gotten for our members, and I understand that.” - “The core values of this platform were formed on creating long-term success for the members through education and development. “We’ve already exceeded success, because nearly all of our members have developed more within their time as a member to Monster A&R, which is an avarage of 4 months to about a year... they’ve improved more within that short time than they have the 1-8 years they’ve been on this music journey by themselves before joining the service. The power is in the community and leadership, more so then the cool opportunities we receive.” “Of course the ultimate success is changing someone’s life financially, but the service has already changed so many lives, it’s overwhelming just talking about it.” - All quotes are from Dame Taylor (founder of Monster A&R and Monster Sessions)
Interviewed by Oakland Athletics Writer Sarah Slusser