Punk Rock Streaming Talk: Sound Talent Group Agency Launches Podcast Network (Exclusive)

Powerhouse indie talent agency Sound Talent Group has done what many have during the coronavirus pandemic – the other big “P” word being “pivot” – with livestreams among the most prominent displays of making metal out of lemons (or something).
The agency, headed and co-founded by longtime rock agents Tim Borror, Dave Shapiro and Matt Andersen, has had more to show for it than many, with successful livestreams on their own partnered platform called Live From, most prominently with longtime rock client Clutch, which sold 7,000 tickets in its first Live From The Doom Saloon livestream and then did even better with a second stream.
Now, the trio is branching out to podcasts, partnering with Mike Mowery of JabberJaw Media Podcast Network to form Sound Talent Media. They’ve enlisted a mixture of already-popular podcasts and growing shows with the goal to publicize, cross-promote and monetize.
“We talked about the idea back in March, realizing we’re going to be in for a long haul here,” Andersen told Pollstar. “How does this business look and how can we keep artists and staff engaged and, frankly, employed?” 
Sound Talent Media’s curated network touches on many topics in the music and lifestyle space, with several shows hosted by artists. The company sees their connection with fans an important aspect to support during the pandemic.
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“There’s great podcasts across music, they aren’t getting millions of downloads, but there’s still a business there and something you can develop into something that makes sense for both the creators and us,” Andersen adds. 
While some of the more prominent podcasts on the network, including Punk Rock MBA, whose creator Finn Mckenty has 250,000 YouTube subscribers and 45,000 Instagram followers, are often related to heavy music, the network and agency itself is not strictly limited to metal heads. 
“The podcasts we’re working with do kind cast of wider audience,” Shapiro adds. “Definitely music in general right now is the focus. Obviously, we have a lot of relationships in the [hard rock] space, so there is a connection, there, but it is wide reaching.”
The company is in talks with more creators and plans to further expand the network in the coming months. Past episodes of all podcasts on the network can be checked out at soundtalentmedia.com.
The Punk Rock MBA himself says the network benefits him directly by helping to cross-promote his podcast to like-minded listeners, as well as help monetize.
“To have the expertise and network STG has is an awesome resource that can only help,” says Mckenty, who, based in Washington is director of marketing for online rock and metal education platform URM academy, with background in marketing and branding for major corporations.
“They’re helping with a few things but what I’m motivated by more than anything is being part of a network where all the shows can help each other grow, because discoverability is the most difficult thing for any podcast,” Mckenty adds. “The podcast services themselves such as Apple and Spotify don’t do a good job of helping people find podcasts they’d be interested in. Spotify is doing a few things but Apple is pretty useless.”
Other shows on the STG network include “The Ex Man With Doc Coyle,” guitarist for Bad Wolves, and the “Axe To Grind Podcast” hosted by Tom Sheehan (Indecision, Most Precious Blood), A&R guy Bob Shedd and Self Defense Family singer Patrick Kindlon. Still others include the “Honest AF Show,” “Prada Pod,” “The Tone Mob,” “Twiztid’s Freek Show” and “Fly On The Call.” 
“We started the idea about the podcast network initially when we started the company, but we were so busy running the company, and then we thought maybe this is a good time to run and jump into this thing,” adds Shapiro.  “It’s been kind of a silver lining to be able to actually do this now.”
With the pandemic putting things on hold for many in the live business, Mckenty, whose podcast offers business and marketing advice on a wide range of topics, says the most important thing for artists to do is flip the switch from “musician” to “entertainer.” 

“Your job is not to be a musician, exactly, or at least that’s not your business model,” Mckenty says. “Your business model is you have an audience and your job is to entertain them and monetize that in some way. 
“Sometimes that might be playing shows but people like Matt from Trivium or (Escape The Fate co-founder) Ronnie Radke are showing it could just be hanging out on Twitch with fans,  or playing fucking Backgammon, I don’t know, maybe someone wants you to play acoustic songs. It’s up to you to find different ways to do this. 
“That’s the switch everyone needs to flip, especially in the rock world, there’s a lot of people resisting this, who think they can play their guitar and that’s all they need to do. Like it or not, you’re a small business owner, and you have to roll with the punches. If you run a pizza shop and the toilet overflows at 11 p.m. on a Sunday, you’re the plumber.”