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Post Malone’s Agent Breaks Down Strategy Behind His Success

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Post Malone is one of the most successful artists who rose from the streaming era. In 2015, he burst onto the scene with his viral hit “White Iverson” that was uploaded to SoundCloud. That song paved the way for a record deal with Republic Records, four studio albums, world tours, and headliner status at music festivals.

Cheryl became Post’s agent after meeting him at SXSW 2015. The duo, along with Post’s manager Dre London, have engineered one of the fastest and most successful come-ups for an artist during the streaming era. They have deliberately planned out his rise from the jump.

Cheryl prioritized live exposure early on by getting him in front of as many people as quickly as possible. Exposure was the key to building a fanbase with longevity. “To see him was to fall in love with him.”

They wanted exposure from all kinds of music fans too — a direct reflection of Post’s genre-blending talent that stretches from country to hip-hop to rock and everything in between.

Cheryl consciously chose artists from different genres for Post to support on tour before going on his own. He went on stages with EDM artist SBTRKT, Fetty Wap, and pop sensation Justin Bieber. If you ask five people what genre of music Post Malone makes, you may get five different answers. He’s a mood, not a genre.

This live strategy catapulted Post into becoming a must-see attraction — whether it’s on his upcoming 33-city Twelve Carat Tour or his own music festival, Posty Fest.

Here are some highlights from our conversation:

how artists can avoid the nightclub trap

“White Iverson” success brought in several invitations for Post to perform at nightclubs for an upfront check, but Cheryl had other thoughts.

Rather than perform in front of people who were there to party (and not there to listen to Post Malone), they focused on him performing at smaller venues capped at 500 or 1,000 people.

“You need to start the build from the beginning because you’re not going to want to go backwards.”

‘Going backwards’ means struggling to sell concert tickets—even if an artist has a lot of streams. Cheryl believes that’s a byproduct of not touring small venues early on. Many artists have made the mistake of overlooking the small-venue performances because they have a big hit, but they may miss out on creating a true fanbase.

social media followers do not translate to ticket sales

Just as streams don’t necessarily translate to show sales, the same goes for high amounts of social media followers. Cheryl says social media is a factor, but not THE factor for selling out shows. She has yet to see proof of a direct correlation between followers and ticket sales.

“To build yourself and start being successful in [live shows] there has to be the [live shows] piece there. You have to have the live show, the music, the connectivity with an audience moreso than creating cute Insta videos that go viral.”

Of course, TikTok changed the music landscape starting in 2020. We’re just now seeing the return of live shows since the platform’s breakout success. But if some artists struggle to sell tickets despite having massive Instagram followings, then that won’t change for them on TikTok.

longevity over everything

Cheryl says she’s always looking for headliner-potential in any artist she signs. Strategies may differ artist to artist, but the goal is always the same: build longevity.

That comes from the small venue performances. It also comes from giving artists resources to amplify their live performances — adding performance coaches or production people to the team. Cheryl wants her artists to eventually sell their own shows, not just open for others or rely on festivals.

“If you’ve reached a point when you can only play festivals, you’ve hit a ceiling.”

 

[3:15] Cheryl And Post Malone’s Joint Rise-Up

[5:13] Post’s Upcoming Twelve Carat Tour 

[6:44] Exposure Was Key To Post’s Early Success 

[9:11] Post Malone Being Genre-Less By Design

[10:32] Dynamic Between Post, Dre London, and Cheryl

[12:42] Post Headline Strategy 

[13:52] Factors That Influence Festival Headliners

[15:50] Touring vs. Festival Shows

[17:57] Main Trait Cheryl Looks For When Signing With An Artist 

[21:29] Philosophy Of Artist-Branded Music Festivals 

[23:07] Post Malone Brand Deal Strategy 

[24:18] Correlation Between Social Media Followers & Ticket Buyers

[26:01] TikTok’s Value-Add For Artists 

[28:00] The Trap Of Overperforming At Nightclubs

[32:03] How To Prevent Artist Burnout 

[33:28] Could Virtual Experiences Help Avoid Burnout? 

[34:43] Cheryl’s Personal Wishes For Post’s Career

 

Listen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSS

 

Host: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.co

 

Guests: Cheryl Paglierani, @cherylpags

 

 

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TRANSCRIPTION

[00:00:00] Cheryl Paglierani: I always say, like, you need to start the build from the beginning because you’re not going to want to go backwards. So I think that’s where the disconnect can take place if you’re not building and doing it all. Like, you have to be smart enough to strategize and say, okay, I’m going to go play the 500 cap or the thousand cap. I’m confident that I can sell it out. And when I do that, I’m going to make the club the after party. And I’m going to kill two birds with one stone, but they don’t always do that. And I think that’s where you see certain artists that will stream really well and have a lot of hits but have never built proper touring history fall into that trap. 

[00:00:37] Dan Runcie: Hey, welcome to The Trapital podcast. I’m your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from executives in music, media, entertainment, and more, who are taking hip-hop culture to the next level. 

 

[00:00:57] Dan Runcie: Today’s guest is Cheryl Paglierani. She is a partner at UTA where she represents some of the biggest names in music. She does booking for Post Malone, Cardi B, Chance the Rapper, 21 Savage, Offset, Flo Milli, Dominic Fike, and many more. But today’s conversation. We talked a lot about her rise with Post Malone. Back in 2015, she met Post at South by Southwest after hearing his music and wanting to meet him in person. And she knew that there was the opportunity then to help develop a superstar. And since then Post Malone has grown into one of the artists that in many ways represents what’s possible in streaming. Here’s an artist who doesn’t necessarily fit in one specific genre, but he’s collaborated with so many and his music identifies and resonates with the vibe that is so relevant for today. So we talk about the journey with Post Malone. What it means for artists like him that are doing festivals versus touring and how she looks at some of the opportunities and advantages with both. We also talk more broadly about touring and how artists can make a tour off of a strength of a single, the importance of that. We talk about how she views social media, some of the pros and cons there. And so many other future trends with artists doing live performances. She shared a bunch of insights in this one, very relevant to where the industry is right now and where things are heading post-pandemic. Here’s my chat with Cheryl Paglierani. 

[00:02:24] Dan Runcie: All right. Today we are joined by Cheryl Paglierani, who is a partner at UTA, represents a number of big artists in hip-hop and music more broadly. But today I want to talk to you about one of the artists you’ve been able to see rise up the ranks and that’s Post Malone, and he sticks out because I’ve talked to many agents over the years and so many of them talk about that dream of finding that one artist that they can rise up with. And you found that with Post Malone and it was really inspiring hearing the story of you meeting him at South by Southwest, back in 2015, but it would be great to see and hear since then. What was the moment that it hit you that, wow, we did it. The dream and the vision that I had seen back in 2015, we accomplished it and here we are, let’s keep going.

[00:03:15] Cheryl Paglierani: Right. You know, that’s such a funny question because we all started together, right? Like, Post was essentially my first client, like, on my own. And so through rising, like, trying to pinpoint one moment, almost every moment every step of the way felt like that because you had never been there before, so take it back to just him supporting Justin Bieber. I remember being at the Madison Square Garden shows and you’re hearing thousands of kids singing White Iverson, and you’re looking around and you’re in an arena. And even though you’re not headlining that arena yet, you’re thinking, wow, this is really on the right track. And then I remember on the Stoney Tour when he played in his hometown in Dallas and we played the Bomb Factory, that was a 4,000 cap room. And at that point we were like, my God, we just sold 4,000 tickets in Dallas. We’re like, we’re popping, right? So you feel then that feels like a really special moment. Up until, you know, we’re playing two nights at The Hollywood Bowl, that felt really special. And you look like, wow. It never feels like the end, if that makes sense. It always just feels like a new height to be reached, and it just makes us more excited for what’s next. Two nights at Madison Square Garden felt amazing, like, wow. Now we just sold out Madison Square Garden ourselves or AT&T Stadium was then another one of those moments. Every time we reach one, there’s another one to be reached. And we’re always looking forward to that and, and planning and just excited for what the next one will be ’cause that feeling just never gets old. 

[00:04:33] Dan Runcie: Madison Square Garden, it was a great one because that’s such an iconic venue. And I think for so many musicians, being able to sell there, being able to sell out there is huge. It’s one of the biggest arenas and the most notable arenas in the country. And when looking at where a Post is now, he recently announced a tour that he has over 30 cities, whole arena tour. He’s done them before. This one, I’m sure, probably felt a little bit different though, because you’re booking in the middle of the pandemic. You’re hearing so much, from cancellations and what venues are being available. What was it like finding space for him just given everything that happened with touring in the past few years? 

[00:05:13] Cheryl Paglierani: Yeah. I mean, well, lucky for us, like, we had been planning throughout the pandemic, right? So, you know, it’s like there were certain tours where I had to rebook them and rebook them ’cause you wanted to be ready to go when tours were back. I think we had a little bit more leeway on this one for when we were planning, but it definitely got challenging with in terms of just avails. Because you’re not only competing with all the other tours to be going out at this time but competing with sports and just different things that’s all coming back at once. And so, I mean, that made it a little, a little bit more challenging, but also just making sure that, as we’re booking, we’re following all the right COVID protocols and that we’re being cognizant, too, of just where people are in their lives, and how we’re going to price it. And, and just trying to think of it holistically of where, not just he’s at, but where the fans are at and what’s going to set us up for success. And I think that we did a pretty good job. We had a very successful on sale and we’re looking forward to starting in just about a month from now. 

[00:06:04] Dan Runcie: Yeah. He’s one artist where I see the tour go up, I’m like, I know that tour is going to sell out. There’s other artists, not going to say names, but you’ll see the announcement and you’re like, I hope they can sell that one, but he’s not one that I ever have that thought with. And I’m sure for you, obviously, you’d seen the, from the beginning, but in those early years, like, especially in the Post, White Iverson era, I’m sure there was a lot where you, Dre, him, you see the vision, but likely may want to sell and get people to see the potential of where it’s going. What was it like selling at that perspective and trying to build the image when not everyone on the outside maybe was fully bought in and saw things the way that you may have seen it? 

[00:06:44] Cheryl Paglierani: I mean, I can’t really say that I remember selling Post ever being hard. I think it was always about how can we get him in front of the most amount of people as quick as possible because to see him was to fall in love with him. I think the second that anybody saw him live, they would always come back to me and be like, wow, this guy’s the real deal. The performance was never really a factor. I mean, I think it was really just finding the right opportunities and making sure that we were strategically building him to be able to be in a position to really build the right fan base and build to longevity I think a lot of people don’t know this, but Post actually supported three times before we have a headline. So he supported a DJ called SBTRKT. It was only a couple of shows, but it still, it was like EDM. It wasn’t what you would expect him to be doing at that time. And then we went on tour with Fetty Wap and so that was a hip-hop tour. So he supported Fetty Wap through, through that tour. And then it went straight from Fetty Wap into Justin Bieber. So we had built a foundation that would almost touch multi-genres before he ever even went out and headlined. So I think that it was just being strategic in terms of how do we get him in, in front of not only the most people but different types of people, because he really is so eclectic. And we wanted everybody to be able to see that ’cause he really does have something to offer to everybody. 

[00:07:50] Dan Runcie: That’s the piece that sticks out to me the most ’cause I’ve had so many conversations with people and they’ll ask me what type of genre do you think Post Malone is? Do you think Post Malone is hip-hop? And it’s always this ambiguous question and I think that’s by design. He can go and have different types of collaborators. You see it with who he’s worked with. You’ll see it with who’s featured on his album. Can you talk a little bit more about how that piece has helped shape his career and maybe his ascension as well? 

[00:08:19] Cheryl Paglierani: Yeah. I mean, I think that, like, you just hit the nail on the head, right, in terms of who he works with. Post is going to work with artists that he’s actually genuinely a fan of. I think that you’ll see sometimes artists will work with people just because, oh, this is the new hot guy right now. You should go make a song with this person, or this is who everybody expects you to work with so you should go work with this person. But Post is going to work with artists like Fleet Foxes ’cause it’s his favorite band ever, who I didn’t even know who they were until him, so he’s putting us onto them or he’s going to work with artists that, that really touch and resonate with him. I think, I don’t if you saw but this was record a while ago, but it kind of just started going viral. It’s his video singing a Brad Paisley song, like, his videos have gone viral singing country songs, but, you know, then he can, can go make songs with, hip-hop artists. And we always laugh when we see like a headline will write hip-hop, where he gets categorized as that because he’s so versatile that it, it isn’t that. But to pinpoint it is difficult because he touches so much. 

[00:09:11] Dan Runcie: Yeah, I also think that his position highlights what makes the streaming era work in a lot of ways. I’ve heard people refer to him as a post-streaming era artist or someone that’s a symbol of what’s possible now in streaming. And I was talking to a friend about this recently about, in a lot of ways, we’re moving past in genres. We’re moving towards moods and vibes. And I think that in a lot of ways probably captures Post Malone, but it also captures what people are looking for. You see that in how Spotify looks at playlists, right, it isn’t just genres. It’s moods that what you’re after. And I feel like he speaks to this piece a lot. 

[00:09:48] Cheryl Paglierani: Absolutely. I mean, he, he completely does. It just goes back to, I think, his love of music, right? He really loves so many different genres of music and you see that come through in his music. And I think that’s why he makes music that that’s so relatable to so many people. 

[00:10:03] Dan Runcie: And I think a lot of this, too, is the management of leadership behind. So it’s you, who’s the music agent, you also have Dre London, who is his manager, and you have Post as the artist himself. And it seems as if the three of you have a very strong dynamic that’s been intentional and clear about how you’re growing him as an artist. Can you speak to that in the different roles that you all have beyond the obvious pieces of where you stand there, but how you all work and how that dynamic clicks together?

[00:10:32] Cheryl Paglierani: No, absolutely. I mean, yeah, of course, it’s like me and Dre. And Dre has become one of my best friends in the business, like a brother to me. I mean, we have like the best dynamic, of course. It’s me and Dre and Post, but we have a whole team. There’s Bobby who’s Post’s day-to-day, and Jay who manages everything on the road, and Austin Rosen who’s Post’s co-manager with Dre. And I think really we’ve become like a family. And I think what makes us work so well is that we all have a role and a pivotal role, but everybody’s role is different. And I think, like, we all trust each other to be able to handle it. It’s like if you’re building a house, right, you need to be able to trust that the pillars in each position are going to hold you up and prop you up. We’ve been able to build like this beautiful foundation, this beautiful house together, just off the foundation of our, trust for each other and, and how everybody works together.

[00:11:17] Dan Runcie: Yeah, it seems like it because I think it’s so rare that you can see all three of you really be able to work in sync because we know how many times changes happen in this industry and how many times things shift as well. And I do think that continuity is one of the things that get so underrated. There’s so many aspects of music that can be a revolving door or things change quickly. But the fact that there is, in many ways, a tight unit where the three of you can work together. I honestly wish we saw more of that in the industry because I think sometimes the continuity hurts the potential of or the lack thereof hurts the potential of a lot of artists and how far they could go.

[00:11:55] Cheryl Paglierani: What’s also interesting, I think, Dre and I have our birthdays are a day apart, so it’s almost like, even though we’re so different in a lot of ways, we’re actually so much alike. We can literally look at each other almost and know what the other one is thinking and not have to say a word which has become just this beautiful dynamic between us and I mean, just, you know, working with them, their whole team, I couldn’t have asked to be on this journey with better people. I just feel really lucky that they let me be a part of it. 

[00:12:17] Dan Runcie: No, that’s special. Speaking specifically about his live performances and how he goes about things, we talked a little bit about festivals in the beginning piece, and obviously Post is headlining several festivals in the US. When people reach out or you’re looking for spots now, do you even consider anything that isn’t a headline slot or this point, or you’re like, no, if we’re not getting a headline slot, sorry. 

[00:12:42] Cheryl Paglierani: No, not Post anyway. I mean, he’s just a bonafide superstar at this point. I can’t even really think of any acts that would make sense for him to play in front of. So for him, definitely not. For others, I mean, of course with other acts, it’s really just a strategy and sometimes more about the look than necessarily the exact position. You know, you want to obviously be billed properly and be in the right slot. But for someone like at Post-level, it’s a headline or it’s not at all.

[00:13:06] Dan Runcie: That’s what I figured because sometimes I’ll see for certain music festivals, again, I’m not going to say a festival or names, but you’ll see people slotted in. You’re like, really? Well, they must have a superstar agent that made that happen because I would think that they would be a third row or there’s people that are also on that lineup that I think could have been in that headline spot instead. And I’m sure that, you know, the mechanisms of so many of those things more than anyone, and probably think a lot about that, too. What are your thoughts on that piece of it and how the artists do get chosen for headline slots? And I’m sure you sometimes may see it yourself when the festival Posters come up and you’re like, okay, that makes sense, but, huh, really, that person? Interesting. 

[00:13:52] Cheryl Paglierani: Yeah. And like, look, I think every market’s different, right? A lot of it comes down to hard ticket sales usually, and I mean, when, when a promoter’s booking a festival, there’s two, usually, two things that they’re looking at the closest and that’s how many tickets have you sold in the market and how fast can you sell them? So while you might look at a lineup and scratch your head and say, how is this person headlining? It could be because it’s that person’s hometown or because that person’s show in the market blew out, there could be a number of different reasons. But you know, there’s certain artists that can blow out a show in LA that might not blow out that show in New York. Or a certain artist you might see headline in New York festival because they’re from the East Coast or they’re from the Northeast that would never make sense to headline in LA. So I think some of it has come down to digging a little deeper as to what’s that artist’s connection to the city or to the festival, to the market, what’s their history, have, they done there before ’cause plays a lot into it. 

[00:14:38] Dan Runcie: Yeah. That makes sense. Certainly, there are artists that just aren’t going to work everywhere. Again, you mentioned the venues that Post Malone has sold out, whether that’s his hometown, doing the stadiums, or even the arenas in other places, this isn’t as much a discussion point for him. So I do think that that does play a factor. There are other times where I still do see wow, you know, great agent, you know, hats off to them. But it’s fascinating though. 

[00:15:03] Cheryl Paglierani: I think that sometimes, too.

[00:15:05] Dan Runcie: It’s fascinating though. And I think the broader growth. And as we’ve seen, especially the past decade-plus proliferation of music festivals has been great. And I think it’s created more opportunity for the bigger artists to really decide how do you want to prioritize the opportunities. Of course, there’s some artists that are strictly for the most part, only doing festivals. They may get the bigger guarantee up front, but there’s a chance they may not be playing in front of as many true fans as they could have if they did their own concert. And there are plenty of pros and cons there, but I’m curious from your perspective, what’s your philosophy on balancing touring versus doing the festival shows, and how do you look at it for the artists you represent?

[00:15:50] Cheryl Paglierani: You hit it right on the head with the word you just used. It’s a balance, right? So I think you never want to say, like, I don’t believe it’s ever too early to play a festival. Sometimes people are, you know, you’ll hear that said, or it’s too early for you to play or you need more momentum. But I think there’s certain opportunities and certain festivals to be targeted when you’re a new artist and through your journey. So let’s say you’re a new artist and you’re ready to go do that 500 cap tour and you’re ready to go, you know, start selling tickets at the bottom level. Yeah, you’re probably not ready to then go pitch for the Coachella slot ’cause you want to be in the right position when you play a festival like Coachella or a major one, but you could still be perfect for the Thursday night at Bonnaroo. That is great for showcasing new artists. So I think you want to find that healthy balance of like, okay, what festivals can we target that might be in a market that we wouldn’t necessarily go headline, but could still put us in front of a lot of bottoms in that market. And that’s what I usually try to find from the ground up is, okay, what festivals are we targeting this year? What’s going to be our target next year? What’s your plan with the music and how are we building our headline shows around that so that we can be growing as a headline artist at the same time? And then with every artist, it’s different too, right? ’cause some, it might not be you’re building festivals into, headline or some artists it’s going to be, it makes sense for them to find a support slot first. You might need more time to develop your show. You might need, you know, you might not have a full set that’s long enough to headline. You haven’t put out enough music yet. So I think every artist is different. It’s just about your strategy to where the artist is at in your career.

[00:17:12] Dan Runcie: That makes sense. And especially with the balance piece of it, too. And I know that you represent a number of artists that are at different stages of their careers as well. Do you have any that lean more into the festival-heavy and touring light because I know that’s another thing I’ve heard from many artists where they feel like touring is a bigger risk and they don’t necessarily want to do that. They would rather do things a bit more on-demand or do things a bit more when the opportunity comes up, as opposed to having a set time to have an event where, yeah, they’re doing a 500 or 2000 cap event that they go around. Are there any artists you have that lean towards that way? And how does the strategy shift at all for any of them?

[00:17:57] Cheryl Paglierani: I just think it through my personal roster, I actually don’t think I have anyone that’s more only a festival-centric artist. I think, you know, just for me personally, too, when I’m looking at artists that I want to sign and who I want to work with, it all first and foremost starts with passion. Like, to me, I’m not really looking at streaming numbers. I’m not really looking at stats that most people would. I’m looking at do I love the music? Do I believe in the artist? And do I think that they can grow into arena selling headliner? So I’m always looking for that from the start. So it’s almost like it would be very strange for me to end up with artists that only play festivals ’cause I always try to get involved, you know, very early. There’s some artists I work with now that haven’t been day one, but almost my whole roster has been day one and, and builds from the ground up. And even though every strategy is different, the goal is pretty much always the same in terms of how are we going to build longevity, how are we going to build a real fan base that wants to keep coming back and keep seeing you over and over again. If maybe the live show’s not great from the beginning, the things that we can do to help you amplify your show, can we help with connecting with performance coaches, can we help with bringing production people into the team? Like, how can we help add value to get the artist where they need to be so that there’s not a ceiling because if you’ve reached a point where you can only go play festivals, you’ve hit a ceiling. If you can sell the festival yourself or you get to that point, you want to be able to get to the point where you can book the area out yourself and, and do an open-air show and sell it all on your own. That’s where you want to get to. So there’s always going to be a ceiling, I feel like if you cap yourself there. And I say it’s kind of similar to, like, artists that you see only play nightclubs because I think it can be hard, in the beginning, to turn down nightclub money. If you’re a new artist and you come out and you have a song that’s big and all of a sudden, clubs, want to throw a check at you to come play your song and three songs in a nightclub. Like, sometimes that’s hard to turn down and they’ll take that over, playing the small venue and trying to sell the tickets ’cause the money isn’t the same. And so I think like that’s just always the trap that I tell every artist avoid, avoid, avoid. You have to go build a fan base if you want longevity. 

[00:19:50] Dan Runcie: Where do artists starting their own music festivals fit in this dynamic? Because Post obviously has Posty Fest. He’s had it, it’s a success. And obviously again, now that we’re at least coming on the other side of the pandemic, where do you see that fit in with this dynamic in that balance? 

[00:20:07] Cheryl Paglierani: There has to be a connection. There’s so many festivals now, right? That if you’re an artist and you want to start your own, you have to have probably a good amount of the draw, or I would like really advise against it. But I think that, you know, with Post and creating Posty Fest, he just had such a strong connection to Dallas and a passion for wanting to build a lineup that was multi-genre like him and, give artists an opportunity that he believes in and kind of create something where his fans could really step into his world. And we have an incredible brand team who is able to help us really turn Posty Fest into what Post world would be and bring in all of his partners. And create that without it feeling like overly branded or forced, it felt very authentic to him. And yeah, we’re excited to just see how we can keep growing it.

[00:20:53] Dan Runcie: Yeah. And especially with a festival like that, the hometown, the audience, the fan base is there. I’m curious how it’s viewed from a business perspective because I’ve talked to some folks in the industry that feel that the artists-run festivals are almost more of a passion play project. The economics may not be necessarily better than what they could do elsewhere, but it’s just actually a unique opportunity to be able to create something like that. But then others feel well, people run their own music festivals for economic gain, obviously. And if you have it there, then there is plenty of upside to be had. So how do you view it? 

[00:21:29] Cheryl Paglierani: Listen, what you said is absolutely right. I think for starters, you need to start it off as a passion project because to have a festival that’s profitable year one, year two, usually isn’t very realistic. You have to be able to build it up. With Posty Fest, I mean, we were pretty smart about it. And like I said, his brand team and my partner, Toni Wallace absolutely killed it. We were very lucky to be able to make Posty Fest profitable. And both times that we’ve done it, just because Post has so much love in the brand space, but it’s expensive. It’s expensive to create an event like that and to book talent and you just have to be willing to make sacrifices in certain places and be willing to really put in the work to build it year after year, to get it to a place where it’s going to be economically profitable.

[00:22:10] Dan Runcie: You mentioned the brand piece. And I imagine for Post that’s huge. Can you talk a bit about how that factored into the profitability? 

[00:22:19] Cheryl Paglierani: Of course, as we’re selling tickets, but, you know, every time we do a brand deal with Post, we would build Posty Fest into it. So it’s like, okay, you’re going to do your deal with Bud Light. Bud Light, we’re going to need you to come onto Posty Fest. You’re going to do your deal with, we had Nerf, we had Crocs, there was just a laundry list of all of his partners, but every time we would be doing deals, we would be building the festival into it. So come time for the festival, we had economics and, and money from all of his partners to come in and create activations for us, so it’s authentic to him, but they’re coming and they’re creating activations and they’re helping us create the experience. And that just took a huge cost off of us to have to create those things organically.

[00:22:55] Dan Runcie: His brand partnership with Bud Light feels like one of the most authentic artist-brand collaborations. I can’t think of anyone else. Like, so many people are like, oh, Post Malone being the ambassador for Bud Light is perfect. 

[00:23:07] Cheryl Paglierani: Perfect. Like I said, he is not faking it. He really drinks Bud Light. That’s his drink. And you know, he’s always going to do what’s authentic to himself.

[00:23:14] Dan Runcie: I could imagine what the success of that. Something else that I think has been fascinating with touring has been the influence of social media. And I think there are a number of people who have strong social media followings that people couldn’t actually assume that, okay, you had millions of fans that are following you on Instagram or TikTok or wherever that would then translate to those millions of people coming out and buying tickets for your show. And while there’s some correlation there, I’ve always thought there’s a bit of a disconnect to some extent because while having a large number may be great, your followers on socials may not always be the fans who are buying tickets for your show, but I know that when you’re making decisions for these shows, there’s all the data. There’s also that instinct factor that you have when deciding who to pitch in, book where, but for you, how important is social media and the numbers or metrics you see from social media in the live performance decisions you’re making, whether that’s for touring or for festivals?

[00:24:18] Cheryl Paglierani: It’s definitely a factor, but it’s by no means the factor because there are artists that have millions and millions of followers who can’t sell a ticket and there’s artists who can stream really well, but also can’t sell a ticket. Like, there is definitely not any proof of a direct correlation between the two, but I do think that being on socials is really important. It also depends on how you are using your socials. Are you using your socials to connect with fans or are you just posting when you have to post something, right? Are you just posting a flyer to a show or you’re not going on your Insta stories and talking to them, or you’re not responding in the comments and they don’t really feel like, for artists, I feel like we use it as a connection point. We’ll see it translate more into, you know, the live side. But I haven’t seen yet where I feel strongly enough that, like TikTok specifically, like if you have millions of followers on TikTok, are you going to be able to go sell out a show? That I don’t think directly correlates. I think that to build yourself and start being successful in live, there has to be the live piece there. You have to have the live show, you have to have the music, you have to have the connectivity with an audience more so than just creating like cute Insta videos that are going to go viral. But it is going to be interesting to see, I think, as we’re getting back into touring and more tours are going out and if that changes at all, but I haven’t seen it be directly correlated just yet. 

[00:25:36] Cheryl Paglierani: I’m glad 

[00:25:36] Dan Runcie: you mentioned TikTok because there’s been so much talk about how influential TikTok has been in the music industry. It is the place where so much music gets discovered that ends up performing well on streaming, but given the way the algorithm works, you can have tons of followers or tons of engagement proposed, but like you said, it doesn’t exactly translate to having fans that are actually going to buy tickets. 

[00:26:01] Cheryl Paglierani: There’s no question, right? There’s no question at all that TikTok has become super important to breaking new music and bringing awareness to new music, whether you’re a brand new artist or your Post Malone, the label’s going to try to push TikTok because that’s where so many kids are. And that’s how you can just make things more visible. When you talk about breaking records and stream, like, I think TikTok can really add value into the streaming side of things and just being heard. But in terms of it, like, translating over into hard ticket sales, I don’t think there’s a direct, I think it helps, but I don’t think there’s a direct correlation where you can say, oh, okay, if you have X amount of views or followers on TikTok, you’re going to sell this room now. It’s not realistic. 

[00:26:37] Dan Runcie: And Post has talked about this too. I saw a quote from him recently that was like if I was a new artist that was being pushed to use TikTok right now, maybe there’d be a little bit of pressure to try to find a natural way to use it or even he himself wanting to find a natural way to use it. How have those discussions been? Because on one hand he already has the fan base that was there long before TikTok blew up, but there’s so many established artists that are leaning into the platform now. 

[00:27:03] Cheryl Paglierani: Yeah. I mean, lucky for us, Post has an incredible creative director, Bobby, who is also his day-to-day. I’m not really involved so much in the what goes on his TikTok, but Bobby’s really good at finding authentic ways, whether they’re out somewhere and Post is just there doing some of capturing those moments and then helping translate them over to TikTok. But even though it wasn’t around while Post was on the come out, so it’s a relatively new thing. I think they’re figuring out really cool ways to still have him featured on the platform, and there’s been a number of videos they’ve put up there that have gone viral. 

[00:27:34] Dan Runcie: Yeah, that makes sense. That makes sense. There was something else earlier that you mentioned about streaming specifically. We talked about how there’s some disconnect between social media and being able to sell tickets. But you also mentioned that there’s some artists that stream well, but can’t necessarily sell tickets as well. What are some common or things that can have that type of dynamic exist or that is the reason why that can happen that you’ve seen? 

[00:28:00] Cheryl Paglierani: The nightclub situation, I think is one that can be a total killer, right? So like, there’s so many artists you’ll see that will come out. They’ll have a song that will get really hot in a nightclub. And instead of going out and doing the work and building the fan base, they’ll go take the 10, 20, 30 grand to go to the club, just play the song. It’s not their real fans. It’s just people that want to party. And then they’ll feel like, you know, they’ll get to a point where, okay, now you’ve had two hits. Now you’ve had three hits. But going backwards to start at the beginning, to really build the fan base and sell the rooms and the money you’re going to make to play a 500 or a thousand cap just feels to them like a step backwards. And so they hit that ceiling. I always say, like, you need to start the build from the beginning because you’re not going to want to go backwards. So I think that’s where the disconnect can take place if you’re not building and doing it all. Like, you have to be smart enough to strategize and say, okay, I’m going to go play the 500 cap or the thousand cap. I’m confident that I can sell it out. And when I do that, I’m going to make the club the after party. And I’m going to kill two birds with one stone, but they don’t always do that. And I think that’s where you see certain artists that will stream really well and have a lot of hits but have never built proper touring history fall into that trap.

[00:29:07] Dan Runcie: That lines up with something else I’ve heard you say, which lines up with how artists now can build a tour off of a song or off of a single that does really well. And you don’t necessarily have to always rely on going after the short bag or trying to do the short-term things. No, if you have the single that works, you can build on that. Can you speak a little bit more about that? 

[00:29:30] Cheryl Paglierani: Yeah. I think like when you’re a true artist, like, I remember when we first started building out Dominic Fike’s first tour and his EP was incredible. He had a real fan base. We had no doubt that the shows were going to sell. But I think the whole thing was under 30 minutes. Like it was almost going to be a struggle to get a show to where, you know, you want to be at least a 45-minute set if you’re going to headline. But having the creativity that, okay, I’m going to throw in a couple of covers that are unexpected so that I can stretch this out and really go, build from the ground up and do that tour, and that’s what they did. They figured out a way to make the show entertaining and interesting and with the band and to fill that time, even though it was only one project and, you know, 3 Nights was a big radio hit for him. We were able to still get out there and, and do that tour and start building it the right way with him as a headliner from the start.

[00:30:14] Dan Runcie: Yeah, that’s great. I mean, I think, now, especially just because there are so many hits where you can clearly tell that, okay, I don’t know if that one’s really going to last, but other times he’ll hear hit, be like, no, you can truly build something off of this. And that’s what I think is unique about this era. And that’s what I think is unique to see artists like Post and others as well who’ve literally been able to say, okay, I have the awareness. I have the exposure. How could we continue to build on whether you’re taking your time for whether it’s the album or the launch, whatever it is. There are so many unique ways to be able to continue to just build momentum and build the fan base today. And I think that’s one of the more exciting things about where the industry is right now. 

[00:30:55] Cheryl Paglierani: Yeah, absolutely. Shout to Dre and to Post, we talked about this a lot in the beginning because of course when White Iverson came out, we were getting all the clubs that were reaching out and me and Dre were totally aligned and on the same page of like, that’s not what we’re going to do and we’re going to build this the right way. And here we are. 

[00:31:11] Dan Runcie: For sure. And I’m sure part of this, too, with the artists you represent is that so much of the booking and so much of the time can be reflective of just them feeling burnt out, right? Maybe burnout isn’t as much of a piece on the touring side, at least for Post, just given the fact that you’re touring in arenas now. He’s not necessarily doing 200-plus arena shows a year, but there are other artists that are doing nightclubs or doing smaller venues that are doing that clip or potentially even. How is it with some of the artists who that clearly is the phase that they are in their career, but there’s just so much more awareness right now in this industry of how do we prevent burnout, how do we support the artists without having them be on the grind that, I think, in many ways became so standard for artists in the industry? 

[00:32:03] Cheryl Paglierani: Absolutely. I mean, I think that’s actually really important. And I always, personally, when I’m putting together a routing or I’m thinking about what are we doing, I try to put myself in the artist’s shoes and think would I be able to handle this? Could I play four nights in a row? Like, am I going to get burnt out if there’s not a day off after this many shows in a row? We think about that a lot with Post ’cause even though you’re not playing 200 arena shows a year, even playing two nights in an arena back to back and be really exhausting, and that’s going to take a toll on him and on his voice and on his body. And I think, like, if you’re an artist and you’re getting up on stage and you’re giving it your all. That’s going to wear you out. So, it’s always something that we’re thinking about when we’re routing of, like, okay, let’s not make sure that we got this amount of time. We’re going to fit this amount of shows in. We’re going to make sure that there’s a proper amount of days off. And I’m always thinking about that when I’m routing as to how is this going to physically be on the artist because that’s first and foremost is keeping them healthy and keeping them wanting to do it. We never want an artist to start feeling like, oh, this is just too much. I can’t take it. So we try to make it as comfortable as possible. 

[00:33:03] Dan Runcie: Do these VR and metaverse experiences help with this to some extent? I know he recently had the VR experience for his project, the Twelve Carat Toothache, and I know that he had had the Pokémon collaboration that he had recently. Do these types of things help a bit? Because there obviously is less travel and you could still reach an audience and potentially a growing audience based on the way things are heading. 

[00:33:28] Cheryl Paglierani: Absolutely. I mean, I don’t think it helps per se in a sort of like taking anything off the touring side ’cause the touring’s still going to be there, but those opportunities are just easier to pull off because you can do them in LA or like he did the Nirvana live stream from his house in Utah, things like that, where through the pandemic and we were able to still stay out there in a real way without having to go anywhere. So that definitely helps when there is something like that that can be done and adds so much value to your album rollout and just be really cool and really different. The VR experience, I mean, they built out different sets almost for every single, so like that was a full two-day production to film all of that. So it was still a lot of work, but it was again, staying in one place made it easy to pull off. 

[00:34:09] Dan Runcie: So five years from now, when Post is still headline status and is booking all the top festivals and touring around the world. What do you think shifts? Because obviously so much has shifted in the industry since White Iverson came out, streaming and all of the other types of opportunities for artists to go direct with their fans or anything else has expanded as well. And we’ll continue to see more evolution on that front. What do you think will change specifically in the live performance or, more broadly, how Post and some of your other artists may go about it? 

[00:34:43] Cheryl Paglierani: What do I think is going to shift? I mean, I hope that one day with Post and you say, what will change, well, he’s always been a one-man show. He’s never played with the band. It’s always him. And he gets up there and he kills it. I kind of hope that in the future we’re seeing him, he might hear this and say, why would you say that? But my personal wish, I hope that like one day we see the show shift into him playing with a full band or maybe playing, you know, everyone always says to me, when’s Post making a folk album? When’s Post making a country album? I almost hope that maybe we see him shift and actually take a stab at a different genre completely. And just do something that’s completely unexpected. Does that happen? I don’t know, but it could be a shift. And I also think he has the potential and will reach stadium status. I hope somewhere in the next five years we maybe see. Like, we’re able to go into baseball stadiums or something of the sort. Maybe it’s not a full tour, these are just like my aspirations and my, my goals and what I want to see, whether, you know, that aligns with him, we have to discuss, but I think those are a few shifts that could be really interesting and cool.

[00:35:39] Dan Runcie: Well, Cheryl, this has been great. I think that there’s just so much that’s happening in this space and I’m excited for you. I’m excited for Post and all the other artists you represent, but before we let you go, is there anything else that you’d like to plug or let the capital audience know about?

[00:35:57] Cheryl Paglierani: Anything else I want to plug? I probably should have something for that, but nothing comes to mind. I’m not much of a self-promoter. I don’t know what I have to plug.

[00:36:04] Dan Runcie: Or where people can find you if they want to follow you.

[00:36:07] Cheryl Paglierani: People can find me on Instagram. I’m just @cherylpags. 

[00:36:10] Dan Runcie: Okay. And then big things coming up for Post, obviously, we mentioned the tour, a few festivals coming up as well. 

[00:36:17] Cheryl Paglierani: I don’t know if you saw, but we also announced we’ll be doing stadiums in Australia with the Red Hot Chili Peppers in January. So we’re really excited for that also. 

[00:36:24] Dan Runcie: Oh, that’s awesome. That’s awesome. Another collab that makes a bunch of sense. All right. Well, Cheryl, this has been great. It’s a pleasure. Thanks again for coming on. 

[00:36:32] Cheryl Paglierani: Thank you so much for having me.

[00:36:34] Dan Runcie: If you enjoyed this podcast, go ahead and share it with a friend. Copy the link, text it to a friend, post it in your group chat, post it in your Slack groups, wherever you and your people talk, spread the word. That’s how Trapital continues to grow and continues to reach the right people. And while you’re at it, if you use Apple podcast, go ahead, rate the podcast. Give it a high rating and leave a review. Tell people why you liked the podcast. That helps more people discover the show. Thank you in advance. Talk to you next week.

 

Dan Runcie

Dan Runcie

Founder of Trapital

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