Happy Friday avid blog readers! This week Mike King, Inbound Marketing Director was joined by Tony “Tonedeff” Rojas.
Tony Rojas is the Creative Director at Nielsen, as well as a hip-hop artist and music label owner.
Among the topic they chatted about were relationships between strategy and creative, his role at Nielsen, his role in the ever-changing music industry and his new podcast Tacos and Chocolate Milk.[TRANSCRIPT]
Announcer: And now, live, from the iAcquire Offices in New York City, it’s
Lunch Break with Michael King.
Michael: Welcome back to Lunch Break ladies and gentlemen. We’re joined
today by Tony Rojas, Creative Director at The Nielsen and we
also have Tom Harari here, our SEO Manager. So, Tone, how you
Tony: I’m good. I’m fantastic. I couldn’t be better, Mike. I’m so
happy right now just to be with you.
Tom: What did you get on the sushi?
Tony: I don’t know what they put in the sushi. He is kind of cool. He
is almost like Andy Richter. I feel like there’s a very…
Michael: Not as fat.
Tony: Right. [inaudible 00:40] New York.
Michael: Yeah, definitely. [inaudible 00:46] is from Philly. Tony is
joining us today. We had sushi from the Aoki sushi. What
specifically did you have?
Tony: I had the salmon avocado rolls and I have an unopened chicken
teriyaki there which will be half eaten by the time I leave
Michael: You’re welcomed to take your time and eat.
Tony: I appreciate it. I might donate that to someone in the office
as a Valentine’s gift.
Michael: That’ll work. I just had edamame today because, I already ate
and my wonderful girlfriend brought me a cheesecake, in the
shape of a heart.
Tony: Nice. From Juniors.
Michael: Yes, from Juniors.
Tony: If you’re going to get a heart shaped cheesecake, get it from
Juniors. Not a plug.
Michael: Tone and I actually go back pretty far to like what 2000 or
1999 or so?
Tony: I’d say about 2000.
Michael: I know Tone from music because he’s an incredible musician,
singer, songwriter, MC, producer, record label owner, and then
he’s also a creative director on top of that.
Tony: Yes, that’s like the next slash. I also do bar mitzvahs and I
am very handy at making bathrooms out of plywood.
Michael: Nice. Me and Tone come from the same type of background but, in
digital, we landed on two separate sides of the fence. I’m
strategy and he’s creative. I wanted to start out getting your
insights as to how strategy and creative can work better
Tony: I think that strategy people need to let me do whatever I want,
not give me a hard time about the best presentable formats, not
tell me that my emails can’t be a certain size, and tell me the
I need to have Web fonts in all of my websites to optimize SEO,
and have to force me to go through 7,000 Google fonts, that
would be awesome.
Michael: What you are saying is creative and strategy will work best if
strategy did nothing?
Tony: In a weird way, yeah. In a weird way I feel that way. Honestly,
I think that putting stuff on the Web, in front of people, in
general, you are basically casting a huge, huge, huge net with
gigantic holes in it. So, whatever fish are confused enough to
land itself in the net you are happy to get those. So, the
trick is really coming up with weird ways to enamor people’s
eyeballs that will make them click on stuff. I feel like any
limitations that you are presented with murk the water up. Does
that make any sense?
Michael: Yes, I see what you’re saying. Let’s take a step back. What
specifically do you do? Are you doing the ads for the display?
Are you designing? What specifically does [inaudible 03:53]?
Tony: Specifically, I am the Global Creative Leader for Online
Acquisitions. So, we get the asses in the seats. Pardon my
Tom: Pardon your French.
Tony: Thank you. The asses on the seats. That entails direct to
consumer email marketing, banner ads, websites, a lot of
landing pages. The entire funnel. Everything that would be
encompassed in the entire funnel of from getting them off the
Web, getting them to click through, getting them on a join
Michael: So, you’re all across the consumer [inaudible 04:45]?
Tony: Right. And, then re-messaging them and making sure that after
we have them-, so it’s the entire spectrum of it. I handle all
of the creative, for all of that.
Tony: So, it’s a lot, as you can imagine, for several different
panels around the world.
Michael: Since you have such a large reach, how much input does Nielson,
as a company, have on what you’re doing? Are you defining the
brand specs and things?
Tony: The way it normally operates is there are different teams. We
will basically have one DMA we are looking to tap into or a
certain age group that we might be lacking in this month to
next month. It changes on a month to month basis for what we’re
looking for. I basically come up with the campaigns to put out
there to make sure that we get heads in there.
In terms of the input, I do work with a team. I have a communications
person that I work with that mainly handles messaging and
copying. We work together a lot. But, in terms of campaigns we
do have some brainstorming sessions from time to time. What we
will have is different panel leads to talk with me but, at the
end of the day, I will be the one that will sit down, come up
with the tag, come up with the imagery, and all design ends up
in my hands.
Michael: We talked at my party recently and you said that you are having
display ads that were showing super crazy high CTR [inaudible
06:34] I’ve never heard…
Tony: I am not going to sit here and brag about it but, yes. I am
sure there’s a reason I am able to keep my job.
Michael: My experience, every campaign ad I’ve seen analytics more. So,
I have done .0001% or something like that and you said
something like 4%.
Tony: No, it’s 2%.
Tony: Yes, 2.%
Michael: Even that is ridiculous.
Tony: Yes, and that’s the average over years. Here’s the one thing
you notice. When you’re doing something, at least with
acquisition partners, people that are trafficking all these
creative, they’re working with all these different companies
that are big basically feeding them ads to put out on the
networks and stuff. You know you are having an impact when we
generate something and a week later all the people are
generating the same ad.
We do something with a smiley face and then suddenly, everybody has
got a pseudo smiley face. We do something with a Post-it Notes
suddenly, everybody has something with Post-it Notes. So,
clearly what we’re doing is working enough to cause us to see
change in everybody’s creative departments. “We need more
smiley faces get on the horn now. Do what they are doing.”
So, it is been good and we refresh a lot, that’s the other thing.
With several different panels we are constantly drumming up how
do we say the same thing again but fresh; that gets really hard
to do after a while.
Michael: It is like making the same song over and over again.
Tony: Over and over again how can I say this in a new way? That is
the trick. You play a lot with current events and holidays. I
try to stay away from the holidays because I feel like it is
hokey and it is the gimme. But, current events you can play a
Michael: Steering away from your day job and more towards your own
creative. Because, I know you are also a painter. You do a lot
of creative stuff like cartooning and animation. So, what
changes has your own creative undergone from being in this type
Tony: Long story short, I was an art school kid. I did that. I
dropped out of my very first art school because I could not
deal with the pretentiousness of art school. I hate, hate art
school people, hate them so much. I will say that because I
can. I would walk into class and some kid has nailed four
planks of wood together and he’s like: “It’s an altar to
humanity.” And, everybody is like yeah. I am sitting there like
what? Why? I can’t do this. It was not real enough for me.
The thing I have always appreciated about marketing in general is
that I like that there is a clearly defined goal and I like the
challenge of that. I don’t like the fact that I could paint
something that I poured my heart and soul into and then not
know if anybody on the face of the earth cares. That it changed
anything or I don’t know why it sold, I don’t know why it did
not sell. I put all of that artistic nature of myself and I
pour that into my music and my personal art. But, for work, I
am able to have this one focused goal.
Now, I take anything that I have learned from work as how to apply
the psychological aspects of marketing into my own stuff.
Knowing, at least for an album artwork, what’s going to work
best. How to layout my website to better catch people’s eyes or
convey to them the information that I want them to get
Just the other day I did a blog post for my new EP, that I am working
on, and I was reading it and I was like: “Man, I wonder how
many rappers are sitting down going over copy a million times
to make sure that I’ve stressed exactly, exactly what I want to
convey and that this is the easiest way to digest all this
Michael: Right, like conversion, focus, copy basically.
Michael: We have to take a break. We’ll be back in about 20 to 30
seconds with Tone. We are going to talk more about his job a
little bit but, more about music marketing so, back in 20
And, we’re back. We’re talking to Tony Rojas Creative Director from
Neilson. What was your biggest take away from being a CD at
Tony: Wow, that’s a big question. I think the biggest take away would
be that I have been able to change a lot of corporate
expectations of the creative in a research firm and that’s the
biggest thing. People always ask me you do creative for a
research firm which is like you do pretty pictures for math
Michael: That’s true.
Tom: [inaudible 12:08].
Tony: That’s exactly what it is. A CD at an ad agency is a completely
different experience. That’s where you get your Don Draper on.
You walk in with some skinny jeans and some Pumas and a blazer.
Michael: That’s everybody at AKQA.
Tony: You know what I am saying, like that guy. They are all art
school people, right there all of them. That is a completely
different experience and it is definitely a lot. It is a
different kind of pressure, you know what I’m saying, because,
essentially, if a campaign at an ad agency does poorly any CD’s
ass is on the line especially, if there is a lot of money
invested in it.
With research, people understand that there are ebbs and flow to
traffic. So, there are going to be good weeks there are going
to be bad weeks just depending on what is happening in the
world and how many people are online at any given time. They
understand that the numbers are the most important thing. It is
not necessarily about like hey this is cool and this is not
cool. You know what I mean?
Michael: What does the seasonality look like for a research firm like
Tony: Honestly, it is week to week, man. I really honestly feel like
it is week to week. That is why there is such a high refresh
rate in terms of creative. We have churned out hundreds of ads.
Like, hundreds. It is just constantly like: “Oh, we’re dipping
in 18 to 24 we need to come up.” “Oh, 55 plus is hemorrhaging
we need to make some non-Viagra looking ads with old men and
women holding phones and looking longingly into each others’
It is a tough sell sometimes but, as long as you stay on the ball and
you are constantly refreshing you are okay with it. My point is
the biggest takeaway is having a research team understand that
creative is not just this PowerPoint presentation. It is not
clip art that you put into your Word doc.
Michael: Trust me, I agree, if it was up to me, I would have a creative
on my team. But, that is whole other story.
Tony: That is a whole other story. He takes a breath in there and he
held it in his chest.
Michael: Do you feel your work gets in the way of your hip-hop career or
does your hip-hop career get in the way of your work?
Tony: That is a hell of a loaded question. It is like this my mother
wanted me to be a lawyer. She wanted me to be a chemical
engineer. Any weird vocational degree I could have gotten would
have been preferable to what I got. I got into the Web when
there was not a Web. Does that make any sense?
Michael: Me too.
Tony: You know what it is. Everybody in our age range we understand
what it was like sign on with a 14.4 modem.
Michael: 2400s [inaudible 15:14].
Tony: Yes. I got my first computer in ’98. Ever since then it’s been
whatever. I don’t know, man. I don’t know. I feel like things
just change so much.
Michael: It has, it certainly has brother.
Tony: [inaudible 15:39]
Michael: To that point you just made, I remember when I first started
making websites the only job you had was webmaster and that
person did everything. They did the admin on the site, they had
to know UNIX, they had to know how to code, they had to know
backend and front end.
Tony: Yes, now, everything is so specialized. But, in terms of does
the job hurt the music or music hurt the job, I basically
bought all that up to say I have learned so much doing the
music aspect of it that it has helped me do my job.
Michael: I agree.
Tony: I know you could say the same thing. Because trying to figure
out how to get your music heard is one of the hardest things
you could possibly do.
Michael: Yes, so, marketing is easy after that.
Tony: Yes, it is like: “For real, like that’s it. Wait, you’re going
to pay, really? Okay. I’ve been trying to sell underground rap
CDs to kids in Ohio for the past 10 years and you’re telling me
you’re going to give me thousands of dollars to just . . . the
whole world is going to see this. This is great.” It is true.
Michael: It’s very true.
Tony: It is very true. The music thing, especially with running of
the label, the QN5 thing, you learn so much about just how far
you can take a dollar with just placing things in the right
spot or just advertising in the right way. I can stretch a
$10,000 budget for an indie record farther than some major
labels can with $250,000. You know what I’m saying? That is
just from 12 years of refining the approach and refining it and
refining it. It was hell.
Does the job get in the way? No, because it allows me to pay my
bills. You know what I’m saying? But, does the music get in the
way? I would say no, more often no than anything else. I have
had CDs delivered to my office simply because nobody is home to
get my packages. But, aside from that, I think it’s actually
made me better at both in a weird way.
Michael: Yes, I would agree with that. About a year or two ago I gave a
presentation at SEOmoz is like what being an independent rapper
taught me about SEO. It is exactly what you are saying. I had
to be a one man inbound marketing team. I did not have money to
spend on a marketing budget so it’s like: “Okay, what can I do
for free? What kind of content can I make that’s going to go
the farthest? How activate people? How can I find a community
that can build around my brand?”
I did not have the words for all those things then but, that is what
I was doing. Then when I saw what people were doing in SEO I am
like: “Oh, yeah, that’s easy. Wait, what do you mean? These
people run these other verticals are receptive to this? Oh,
yeah.” And speaking at conferences I don’t have to make it
Tony: This is so easy.
Michael: It’s not a . . . yeah. And helping each other.
Tony: It does. Being able to speak in public is a big thing. When you have
been onstage in like . . . I don’t know . . . Tuskegee.
Michael: How about Czech Republic?
Tony: If you have been on stage speaking to people that don’t speak
English and you are still able to get your point across, you my
friend have been a hip-hop artist at some point.
Michael: It is true because I think that is an art. If you can rap at
people in English to people that don’t speak English, still get
them to be into it, and respond to your call and respond to the
little bit of English they know that is transcending that
communication barrier. That allows you to communicate even
better in your own language ultimately.
Tony: I agree.
Michael: What is your favorite job of the three: label owner, musician,
or creative director?
Tony: I would probably say, of course, being creative director is the
best thing that has ever happened, clearly.
Tom: [inaudible 20:06] taking it up another notch.
Tony: He’s jamming the pull stick LL Cool J style with a pull stick.
I know you know that.
Michael: I do with Omar Epps.
Tony: Yeah, Omar Epps. In Too Deep, Is that what I was?
Tony: For those of you who haven’t seen In Too Deep make sure you
watch In Too Deep with LL Cool J. I would say my dream always
as a child was to own a label and to basically, put out records
for talented people, talented artists. I love to make music
but, I find myself more compelled to quarterback projects. I
love doing that, I love putting it all together. Just because I
have so many interests in terms of, visual art and music. I
have a vested interest in doing all of those things well.
Running a label enables me to put all of that into action.
Michael: Basically, owning a label allows you to be a strategist.
Tony: There you go. I will be strategizing son. I will be
Michael: All right. So it’s all those points. How has music marketing
changed since people started stealing your music?
Tony: Since you started stealing my music marketing has changed
because, now, I don’t ever advertise anymore. I will not spend
money an ad. I just won’t do it.
Michael: There’s no ROI, it makes sense.
Tony: It makes zero sense. The only way to advertise music nowadays,
because everything has changed so much, is through blogs,
social networking, and concerts and doing shows. I don’t really
see any other way to do it.
Licensing clearly is a huge thing. If you can get yours on a TV show
or a movie or something that is always great. But, if you are
Johnny go random, and don’t know a lot, from Butte, Montana.
Tom: That is a [inaudible 22:19].
Tony: Right. You visit Montana.
Michael: I’ve guessed.
Tom: [inaudible 22:26] Eastern European.
Tony: It’s in Czech Republic. [inaudible 22:31]. The only way you’re
going to get you stuff seen being in that low level stuff is
doing the social network way or trying to be clever.
Michael: We are talking about the concept of the big idea inside of
content marketing for music marketing. You were saying that the
only way to really make it big or get that type of coverage in
music now is to have that big idea of behind whatever you are
doing. So, if you could just expand a little more on that.
Tony: Yes, basically, what I was trying to get at was, being that
nobody buys music anymore, the only real way to get your stuff
out there is to have a really unique and great idea. You could
spend money on anything, on any sort of advertising, you could
spend money on a gigantic publicist and try to get your stuff
in as many outlets as possible but, if don’t have a good
product, or good content or a great idea it won’t matter.
If you notice a lot of major label artists that get signed you will
hear about: “Oh, so and so got signed to this.” And they signed
up for many million dollars and then a lot of dudes get
shelved. That is money spent on their end. Or, there would be
artists that come out, they drop and then you never hear about
them again. The single never took to radio.
The reason for that is proof that even if you are spending hundreds
of thousands of dollars to break a major label artist on a
national scale or a global scale, if the music is not there or
if the idea is not there, it does not matter.
Tom: Do you think the model is broken?
Tony: It’s completely. It’s basically them making cookie cutter
things of statistically proven types of music. “Oh, this is
working this year so we’re going to make this copy of this
song, with this artist that had a hit over here, with this
producer who has this sound that we need, and we are going to
pour autotune over it. It’s going to have this repetitive
Rihanna hook, it’s only going to be three chords [of the max] and it’s sequence, sequence, sequence. It’s all going to be
under 2 minutes and 45 seconds, we are going to put this out,
we are going to make a whole bunch of this, and throw it at
Tom: [inaudible 24:59]
Tony: Yes, spend a lot of money on it and then the one or two things
that actually hit usually are the things that are the big
things. Look at I always point out…
Tom: [inaudible 25:10] lost leaders basically.
Tony: Yes, that’s exactly what they are. They are tax write-offs.
Everybody says [inaudible 25:17] tax write-off. They are
basically just there…
Tom: [inaudible 25:20]
Michael: It’s a common thing in musicians.
Tony: And it is a little tax write-off. You just get excited it is a
tax write-off. But, the best ideas always stick. Especially in
the medium now, YouTube, where anybody can make a video on
their own that looks like 35mm professionally shot video.
Everybody can make an album in their bedroom, etc., etc., etc.
Everybody is mastering tools now. You don’t really need to do
anything outside of your own bedroom if you have the right
Michael: It is true.
Tony: What is going to make you stick out? Now that everybody is
making albums, everybody is making videos, what is your idea?
How unique is your idea? And that is what is going to carry
you. If you spend money on a good idea then you are talking
Tom: [inaudible 26:09] parallels here between inbound marketing and
Michael: They might be wrapped up in the idea that it is music but, it
is the same thing essentially. We do so much with content and
try to give an extra push behind it with a little bit of
outbound marketing as well but, ultimately, we are trying to
build a community of fans behind the brand and then continue to
put out content.
Is the same like I put out an awesome song and I do a video where I
am rapping really fast and making pancakes. Everybody sees that
and I have my community, I continue to put stuff out like that,
and I grow that asset for my brand through my content.
Ultimately, I can sell you things over time.
Tony: Right and that is exactly the same thing that we do in music.
Michael: Exactly. You mentioned that you can stretch a marketing budget
way farther than a major label. What are some of the successful
marketing tactics that you have used at QN5?
Tony: I feel like we have come up with so many things that just got
jacked over time. We were the first record label ever to
Michael: I remember it, WQN5.
Tony: Yes. That for me is like the. Nobody was podcasting back then.
It was difficult nobody could figure out how to do it, like
what is an RSS feed? It was complicated back then. That was
like ’04, it was this new thing and I was like: “I want to do
that.” Because, I thought it would be cool as a radio station.
We were not consistent with it and it fell off by the way side
and everybody else started doing it. There are some very, very
popular, powerful, and very influential podcast out there right
now that have been doing it consistently for a long time and
that is the truth.
Little things like when MySpace was around we use to do–how can I
call this–we would do an occupied top eight or if there was a
top 12. We would make sure that everybody in that top eight was
displaying the same profile picture to emphasize the release
that we had going on. So that everybody in that loop would see
that. We would tell everybody if you are down with this or if
you want to support this, tell your friends to put this as your
cover. Then we would hit them off with a little incentive like
a T-shirt or a CD or something like that.
That way it just sort of spread so that everywhere you went you had
to look at it. It was like a free ad posted. It was
exponentially compounded by how many people were in the top
eight. Little things like that.
But, the most successful thing we have done was creating this
collective culture in our fan base. Our fans literally will
hunt down things from overseas. Because of the limited pressing
market of the indie market, what we do is, we only press a
certain amount of things and then we put it out. Whoever gets
it, gets it. We don’t make any more past what we press.
It becomes a thing for new fans or older fans to “oh I am missing
this,” and then spending so much money trying to get this
thing. The fan community that we built, we have done XBox
tournaments with them where the artists are playing on teams
against the fans. It is creating an integrated fan artist
relationship; truly integrated not just like: “Buy my record,
ho.” It’s more sort of like: “Hey, if you buy my record I’ll
totally, like, have a beer with you when we come through.” It
is more of a friendly thing.
That creates a level of friend support that you don’t get normally
with an artist-fan relationship. They treat you like family and
they really value what you are doing. Building the QN5
community which is one of the most hardcore fan communities on
the Web, in my personal opinion, for hip-hop especially, I have
not seen a hip-hop community like this. They are very, very
unique. That is my biggest achievement in doing the marketing
thing for the label.
Michael: One of the strong parallels I have noticed between Tone QN5 is
SEOmoz for our space. They are so about the community. They
have a lot of events. QN5 has what they call a Megashow. They
will have fans fly in from all over the world to see this show
and it will be a packed house to see all the QN5 acts and such.
Tone has been awesome about being an early adopter of technology. He
is probably the first person I knew on Twitter. I was like:
“What is this thing?” He’s like: “Get on it, get on it.” Tone
has always been that guy to put me on to something before
anybody else was on it and then also maximize the usage of it.
Yeah, I would say that you guys have been really awesome about
that and the community building.
Tony: Thank you.
Michael: What would you say is the future of marketing for an aspiring
Tony: For an aspiring musician video, video, video, video, video,
Michael: Let’s just leave it at that.
Tony: In a nutshell, as a musician, if you made a song and it does
not have a video, it does not exist.
Tom: That is true.
Tony: Simple as that. Simple as that. Your song does not exist unless
it has a video.
Tom: [inaudible 31:50].
Tony: Basically. And just on social networking, if you post a music
link with a [inaudible 31:56] nobody…
Tom: Looks at that.
Tony: …even looks at it. But, a video people are compelled to look
Michael: The thing is so much music discovery happens on YouTube rather
than in other channels at this point. People hardly listen to
the radio anymore. They are on YouTube. They are looking for
I want to get back into the specifics of what you are doing. Tell us
about the marketing with your new Polymer series?
Tony: How much time do you have?
Michael: Like five or six minutes.
Tony: Okay. Essentially, what I figured out was, with the reach of
the fan community that we have, I am not a big fan of
Kickstarter. I feel that it is public begging.
Michael: It is.
Tony: “If you put $20 towards my campaign, I’ll call your house and
we’ll have dinner together and I’ll write you a personalized
letter about why you’re so cool.”
Michael: I’ve noticed I have contributed to a few different
Kickstarters, people do not follow through on those things.
Tony: No, they do not. They absolutely do not because some of the
things are so ridiculous. Some of the things are so
ridiculous. That is like why would you get on camera and say
you are going to do all of this stuff? Like we can go to dinner
together. I saw somebody say we are going to go to dinner
together. It’s a date? Like, what?
Michael: I am paying you to go on a date so you can put out a record?
Tony: Right, it’s just gotten nuts. So, what we figured out a long
time ago was if you build a community preordering is your
Kickstarter. So, we fund our releases through preorders.
Basically, if you buy any QN5 record you are supporting the
next release because it all goes back into the label and then
we just keep it going.
With this project, what I wanted to do was extend the life of the
preorder. Because, normally, what happens is you have a
situation where you put out a new record, it’s going to drop,
everybody knows it is going to drop, and it comes out said
date. So, you have X amount of months to promote it, then you
get to the end and that is it. Why not extend the life of that?
Michael: Turn it into a series.
Tony: Turn it into a series where basically, in a nutshell, I am
releasing four EPs. These four EPs become an album in the end,
but only at the end. EPs one through three are released
digitally at three month intervals. Digitally, okay. From the
day EP number one drops, preorders are available for the whole
thing all the way through. EP two comes out, preorder is still
Tom: For that…?
Tony: For the whole album.
Michael: So, each one promotes the next one.
Tony: Promotes the next one, promotes the next one. It gives the fans
more of an opportunity to preorder because they are limited
edition, collector’s edition records, we’re only pressing as
many as are preordered. After that, they do not exist anymore.
So, if you want a copy of this, you have to preorder it,
period. Do you see what I am saying?
Michael: Yes to parallel that back to ML marketing, like I was telling
you, we are doing this e-book with HubSpot and they split it
into four different e-books. Obviously, the scarcity is not the
same as what you had…
Tony: Right, because it is digital.
Michael: Right, but, it is the same thing where it is compelling the
people that are going to want to check it out. So, you check
out the first e-book you are like: “Wow, this is awesome let me
sign up to the mailing list and make sure I find out more
information about the next one.”
Then somebody might find out about only the second one, they sign up
for third one, and then go back and get the first one, so on
and so forth. So, there are more opportunities for you as the
brand to capture these leads essentially.
Tony: Right, exactly. The reason why I wanted to approach Polymer
like this was I have never seen anybody do this before in a
record so, that’s a challenge to me, I love to do interesting
novel things with the format. Because EPs right now, are the
new album. That is essentially what it is because people do not
have the patience anymore for albums, albums take a long time
to produce, and there is an expectation with an album that
people do not have on EPs.
Being that I am messing with this EP format, I want to do something
with this format. So, on top of splitting an album into four
pieces, thematically and artistically each EP is a completely
different style that comprises this Voltron like Tonedeff
Tom: And that still kind of works [inaudible 36:41] .
Tony: Yes, it is all cohesive in the end because of the way that I am
approaching it. But, each EP is a completely different style.
Michael: Each one could stand alone if it wanted to.
Tony: Right, but, when you blend it all together it becomes this
Voltron thing. It is literally putting a slant on the EP idea.
It is not just this is my maxi-single, this is a smaller part
of a larger whole. You know what I mean?
With Cold. Killed. Collected., the last release that I did, I did 500
limited edition CDs for diehard fans that I charged an arm and
a leg for it. We ran out. Then there were people that were
like: “Hey, I want to buy that too and I missed it when it came
out. I really want that, I’ll pay you anything.” And I was
like: “I don’t have anymore.” So, how do I set this up so that
going forward, if you miss a preorder in an entire year, it is
your own fault.
Michael: [inaudible 37:38].
Tony: Then there is always the resale market. You can go on eBay and
pay super extra for it. There will be no excuses now.
Michael: Right. I also wanted to talk about your new podcast. Because
you talked about that WQN5 but, now, you have Tacos & Chocolate
Michael: Tell us about that.
Tony: Tacos & Chocolate Milk is completely, capital letters NSFW. Do
not listen to it in front of your wife, unless she is into that
sort of thing, definitely do not listen to it in front of your
kids. It is the most . . . anyways.
Michael: It’s funny.
Tony: I started a comedy conversational podcast. Actually, it’s not even
comedy, it is just a conversational podcast with my BFF for
life Mr. PackFM/Omar Tull.
We just started talking because, we always had these conversations
and we love comedy. But, when we talk it, is an incessant
parade of laughter. I do not know why we make each other laugh
incessantly. So, we started recording these conversations. We
set it up one hour from start to end. No editing, nothing, we
just talk about anything, we have no plan, we have no jokes.
Michael: It is funny as hell.
Tom: Modern day Seinfeld.
Tony: Yes. There’s no point but, it works for some reason. We have
been very fortunate so far. We were in the top 100 podcasts
immediately after starting. We were featured as number four of
one of the top 10 music podcast by Paste Magazine; over NPR,
can I just say.
Tony: That was fun. We were featured on iTunes’ New and Noteworthy
section on the front page. So far it has been really good. We
have done over 1.3 million downloads so far with no money into
Michael: All they do is talk.
Tony: All we do is talk.
Tom: [inaudible 39:36].
Tony: Word of mouth. Absolutely, word of mouth. I do not know what
happened. I think someone somewhere that we do not know about
tweeted about it. I do not know what happened it just took off.
We are trying to them every single week. That has been a big
focus for us because, we get busy with our schedules and since
we are not making any “money” off of it. It gets like we can
wait a couple of days but, it is dangerous territory to not be
Tom: [inaudible 40:09] every week [inaudible 40:12].
Michael: It is just that natural. Just them sitting around talking. Kind
of like this.
Tony: Yes, you never run out of stuff. As long as you are alive and
something happened to you that week. There is an endless well
of material to build from. I basically rag on Pack, he will try
to say something horribly offensive to me, then I would mope
about it for 10 minutes, and then we will get right back into
it. Listening to that ebb and flow of the conversation is a lot
Michael: You actually have fans in our company. I wanted to let you know
that. One of their questions was when can we expect to hear a
new Tonedeff and iCON record?
Tony: You have to ask iCON because he is too busy getting his SEO
pimp game on. [inaudible 41:06] to be messing with any of that
rap stuff anymore.
Michael: I think everybody, if you made it this far in this video, I
really appreciate your checking out Tone’s music. He is, hands
down, by far, one of the best musicians I have ever met, heard,
seen, and been around. So, check his stuff out.
Put it on the screen right here.
Tony: Right there.
Michael: Thanks for joining us. This has been awesome.
Tony: I appreciate it.
Michael: I have learned some stuff I did not know about you doing this.
This has been pretty incredible so, thanks for coming by Tone.
Tony: You got it.
Michael: We will be next week for another episode of Lunch Break. I will
see you guys later.
Tony: And I’ll be eating sushi.