The Art of the Show


Putting on a show isn’t easy. But with each year the good news is, it’s starting to get easier, well sort of.

Emerging technologies and creative use of existing technologies are changing the way musicians approach live performances. What 20 years ago would required a 20-piece band and a 10-person stage crew to give off the full effect, can now sometimes be achieved by a mixer and a laptop. Simply put, a great musical performance can now be achieved with less people and resources.

Social Media Week has had its share of musical acts and larger scale events. It’s a tough thing to pull off without the consultation of someone in the know.

For this year’s closing party, we were lucky to come across a trusted partner in Nue, to curate the closing party. Want our advice? Anytime you’re looking to do a big show, get on the phone with someone who knows what they’re talking about.

IMG_1211 (1)Nue is a creative music agency located in NYC, and it was recently named to Inc Mag’s 500|5000 list as the 3rd fastest growing Media Company in America. Led by brothers Jesse (CEO) and Alex (President) Kirshbaum, Nue specialize in curation and booking of talent, artist representation, and strategic partnerships.

In addition to Nue, the Kirshbaum Brothers co-founded SoundCtrl. SoundCtrl is the destination for exclusive interviews, reviews, and trend forecasting surrounding the evolution of music through technology. SoundCtrl is also the producer of the FlashFWD Award Ceremony, honoring excellence and innovation in music technology. The FlashFWD Awards take place every year in New York City during the upfronts. The invite-only ceremony gathers together the elite of both the music and tech industries for a night of celebration, recognition, and illumination.

In working with Nue, what we’ve learned is the journey of curating a set of awesome performers can be much less stressful, more fun and effective when you’re in the same room with people who not only call this their jobs, but people who truly live for this.

Given their passionate and bustling schedules, we were thrilled when both Jesse and Alex were able to take time to sit down with us to talk about the latest trends in live musical performances and how to be smart in approaching putting on a show.

  1. At the most basic level, what are some of the most important considerations for folks who are deciding on which musical acts to approach during their event?
    Jesse: I think you need to take into account a lot of variables when it comes to finding the right artists for a certain campaign/initiative. The brand needs to have a clear understanding of their objectives when aligning with talent. If they don’t know specifically what they are trying to achieve, we can help walk them through their plan/vision to ultimately figure out their goals and desires, and in turn, line them up with initial talent suggestions.

    Alex: We call that “goal digging.” Haha, but for real, a brand needs to figure out what is driving the talent portion of the event. Is it ROI; is it social impressions; is it brand affiliation; is it personal taste; is it being ahead of the curve; is it great live performance? What the performance logistics are, budget parameters, or other factors that affect the overall experience. Then, it just comes down to pricing, availability, and talent’s interest in the initiative and relationships.

  2. “It’s all about the music” feels less and less relevant vs focusing on the entirety of the overall performance experience. Is this true? If yes, what are some of the tactics that you’re seeing artists use to create a more immersive experience?
    Alex: Call us purists, but at the end of the day we still believe it’s the music that speaks loudest and stands for the most. Sure, there are lots of factors that play into an artist’s buzz, market value, and ultimate success, but if you look at the talent that breaks through the clutter yearly, it will most likely come down to their music.

    Jesse: With that said, Nue’s DNA comes from the live space, and we are seeing many artists and innovative music x tech companies that are keeping performances fwd thinking and dynamic. There is certainly a lot of room for creativity, where musicians/performers can push boundaries with their artists production riders and their artistic expression as new technologies continue to emerge.

  3. The EDM genre seems to continue to gain steam as a more cost effective way to have this immersive performance experience. Can you speak to this trend?
    Jesse: The Electronic Music space is particularly interesting right now because it’s becoming the soundtrack of the youth. Music is more global than ever. It’s easier to release tracks, and it’s more viral. The experiential component of the the genre is being constructed to complement the sound.

    Alex: It’s not necessarily more cost effective. It really depends on the level of production and artists’ creative vision. Some electronic artists are very particular about their live production and will only perform in instances where everything is top-notch. Others are willing to do a more stripped down set in the right scenario. This all comes back to the goals and desires of the bands & brands.

  4. Are there any social and mobile technologies that currently exist to help the audience engage with the musicians that have real staying power?
    Jesse: So, the obvious players are still most pertinent at this point. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat are all driving the social and mobile conversations. However, there are lots of companies doing interesting things… (cut off)

    Alex: Check out our nominations right after SXSW this year for FlashFWD V to find out the best and the brightest music x tech companies in Artist Discovery, Mobile & Tablet, Live, Artist Support & Gaming.

  5. The Nue Agency has a nice mix of established artists and also up and coming artists. What are some of the new and unique tactics that you’re seeing upcoming artists use to breakout in gain recognition?
    Jesse: Nobody likes to do the tough job of A&R’ing anymore. We look at this an opportunity to nurture emerging talent. Our agency has seen tremendous success and received recognition for being there early and helping artists break! A lot of times we are there even before managers and record labels are there.

    Alex: That’s in part why we never looked at ourselves as just a booking agency, but a nue-aged music company with a lot more to offer through live brand strategy, creative partnerships and other unique ways for artists to gain exposure, increase revenue and build their chops!

  6. Do you think Youtube is still a great place to discover artists or break out as artists?
    Jesse: Yes. Through Google, YouTube is probably my first destination when searching for a visual of an artist’s music. However, it’s more and more cluttered/saturated with videos, and the videos are bogged down with commercials. I like the way YouTube has invested in premium content partners, and some of those channels are crushing it. We have our show CRWN on the WatchLoud Youtube channel, and it’s top shelf.

    Alex: In term of breaking artists on YouTube, I’m a big believer in artists needing to have a presence there. YouTube is the quintessential video platform and a necessary component of an artist’s video strategy. It will be interesting to see how it evolves and how some of these new elements they are talking about will play out. Not sure if it becomes as crucial once they start charging artists for certain tools.

  7. Have you noticed if artists trying to breakout to other platforms?
    Jesse: Yes, artists are exploring new platforms every day. SoundCloud is turning into a tremendous platform for finding talent and an exciting ecosystem for artists to connect with other artists and producers. That’s one of the best sandboxes for finding new talent right now.

    Alex: It also could potentially turn into an era of discovering through the streaming sites. Spotify, Beats, and Pandora sure have the capability to give heavy exposure to artists and help amplify their music.

Nue is a creative music agency located in NYC. Recently named to Inc Mag’s 500|5000 list as the 3rd fastest growing Media Company in America. Led by brothers Jesse (CEO) and Alex (President) Kirshbaum, Nue specialize in artist representation & booking/curation, endorsements & sponsorships, digital/social/experiential marketing campaigns, web content and strategic partnerships in tech.

In addition to Nue, the Kirshbaum Brothers co-founded SoundCtrl. SoundCtrl is the destination for exclusive interviews, reviews, and trend forecasting surrounding the evolution of music through technology and executive produce the hit web show CRWN.

Social Media Week