Chris Bianchi of CB Entertainment employs his music industry wisdom across a wide variety of business ventures, Chris effectively handles contracts and branding, finds events that match the artist’s career strategy, and creates multiple Grammy-Nominated band moments. He handles media relations, gives advice through his newest book for aspiring artists, The Music Agenda, and still finds time for his growing family at home. Chris is ambitious and brings consistency in his commitment to excellence, to accomplish his goals of helping others succeed. He has contributed to publications such as Forbes and The Huffington Post. He also owns a merchandising firm (My Tour Merch), and a record label (Legend Recordings), which partners with INgrooves Music Group. His clients have been nominated for 2 Grammy Awards and sold over 25 million albums. When he’s off professional duties, he enjoys learning and reading about the realities in our history of esoteric subjects that can help shed clarity to the masses in these current events and times.
Before getting into artist management, you were in a band called Forever In Terror. How did you move from being an artist to a manager?
I think like a lot of people in the music industry, it was just a natural progression. I knew that working in music was something I’d always find a way to do. Understanding from being in the musician seat, touring, etc had helped me learn the early ropes “hands on” out there while living it. First I was booking national shows around our area and management sort of progressed by natural need.
Chris, you said in an interview with Rage Against The Mainstream Podcast that music has always been a part of your life, but was there anything else you were interested in before getting into the music business?
It’s inexplicable but music feels like it was built into my DNA and meant to be. There’s still nothing else I’ve ever felt so passionate about. To me, music is an entire broad spectrum of the creation, or so-called “music business”.
Before that or still, I’m also into my family! My Wife and Son, my close friends, and spending quality time in nature connecting back with the earth. Beyond that, some creation usually. Be it painting, drawing, making my own music, writing blogs or books, or researching conspiracy and esoteric knowledge.
The business has adapted and shifted. I always look for the positives. It’s always going to change. You can adapt or be swept away by the past is how I see it. Before, things like physical CD sales, Albums in stores, Magazine covers, and a lot more physical interactions took place. Now, you have the same power as the “majors” to reach an audience if you are creative and talented. Learn to build your core audience and keep them entertained and engaged instead of competing in a useless cycle of noise.
What are the most demanding challenges modern artists and people within the music industry encounter today?
How to proactively and consistently keep people’s attention who are current fans while also gaining a new broader audience along the way. While we have the largest reach ever available today. Knowing how to use it or better yet, along the way, fine-tooth each and everyone is a never-ending challenge. What works for one song or artist usually doesn’t work at all for another.
From your experience, what do you think are the keys to success in the music industry?
Image. Story. Decent Music. Image. Image. And…Image. Pair that with a little sprinkle of magic that no one can ever predict.
Even when you work as an artist manager and entrepreneur, do you continue to play and have that creative musician spirit in you?
Absolutely. That is something that I never stop doing. I write songs, record them and release them under differnt monikers all the time. It allows my personal expression, however, I’m more about just painting what I feel on the canvas so to speak. Then, I put it out there and if someone happens to discover or enjoy it – great. It’s not about the business in my creation but that is my choice personally. I have plenty of that fulfilment helping others reach their goals!
In your opinion, what is the most valuable public target in music today, and why?
Bands and Artists seem to have this notion that the only thing that counts, matters, or “makes you” now is landing on Spotify playlists. I personally don’t believe in that hype and never have. While of course, it’s nice to land them and helps grow numbers. More times than not, I’ve seen acts with huge numbers on Spotify like 100 million, and still draw hardly 100 people to a show. I think it’s more about again, making a core connection within and using those streaming tools to help that.
Let’s discuss your book “The Music Agenda: Best Practices For Your Music Career.” How did you come up with the book’s concept? Was it a challenging process writing it?
The Music Agenda was written out of necessity and also a labor of love. It was a collaboration between myself and my good friend William Metzger (Entertainment Attorney) to help provide a modern guide in our eyes of the music industry and the how it works. It covers things like booking, band agreements, marketing, distribution to name a few in today’s modern world. There are a lot of music business books out but none seemed to be modern in any way. This was something we wanted to just put our brains on the paper from our perspectives. It was challenging and took months to create and fine tooth. I’m very proud of this achievement and hope it can help many!
What would you say is the book’s focus? Is it made from a musician’s or a business perspective?
Great question! It’s a perspective of being a musician but also covering your business side of things. If you plan to make any sort of career, earnings, or growth in music. Learning at least the very general business terms, phrases and a few tips are a must for any musician. We tried to provide that with ease and understability.
CB Entertainment is a worldwide artist management, event management, and marketing firm based in Cleveland, OH. Over the years, we’ve signed over 17 record deals for our artists to numerous labels, had artists tour the world, play many major tours and festivals to name a few.
LEGEND Recordings is my distribution and record label side of things. Partnered with Ingrooves/Universal Music to help reach new capabilities for both our signed artists as well as partners that we handle just distribution or marketing for.
Chris, you have had a successful and senior career in the music industry. Is there any piece of advice you would give to your younger self?
Yes, hire employees earlier and work less. While I love what I do and never get tired of it, after 15+ years, nearly 7 days a week at this. You have to have a team you can trust in order to stay afloat or continue growing. Don’t try to do it all on your own.
Is there anything else you would like to share with By The Barricade and your followers?
You have a very nice publication here. I’m thankful you asked to feature myself and I look foward to sharing some great up and coming new artists with you! Be sure to stop by www.instagram.com/chrisbianchi1!