I first caught wave of Shaun Burton back in 2015 when I attended Hip Hop’s version of SXSW, All 3 Coasts (A3C). I’ll be honest, I don’t remember a whole lot, but I do remember that he spoke on a panel regarding revenue streaming. None the less, I learned some game and kept it pushing. 2016 rolls around and I found myself at A3C attending another one of Shaun’s panels, this time schooling me on how to book gigs. Lucky enough, I was able to run into him that same night to grab his contact info in hopes to share some of his game with our readers.
Fast forward to today and here we are. Continue to scroll and learn about Shaun’s by-chance journey into booking, learn how to make money as an artist and see who he suggests we start paying attention to.
Who is Shaun Burton?
Shaun Burton is a hard worker. I pride myself on the dedication I have to my craft and the discipline it takes to be an entrepreneur. I am a proud father and husband. I’m just a cool down to earth guy. Lakers are my team and fuck Donald Trump. (in my YG voice)
How did you get started and what lead you to what you’re doing today?
I always knew I wanted to get in the entertainment industry. I’m from a small town in Ohio and there wasn’t much I could do from there besides being a promoter. So I did that and worked a 9-5 at a staffing company as a recruiter. The Universe has a knack of making things work out if you want it bad enough. I was over the regular job shit and was ready to make some moves. I got a call on New Years Day from a friend of a friend. They said our friend brought my name up when they were discussing this business opportunity. He told me about it and it happened to be in bookings. I was in. The crazy part is the very next day, I got fired from my 9-5. That solidified my path and started my journey. My old business partner and I started with one client, DJ Neil Armstrong whom I still book today. From there we added clients and progressed. A few years later, we parted ways and my current business partner, Lea Sindija and I teamed up. We both brought our personal clients to the table and formed The Jane Group. We’re a boutique referral basis agency. It takes a lot to be an entrepreneur. A lot of sleepless nights, broke days, and a very hard grind, but I wouldn’t take a second of it back.
I’ve seen you speak twice at A3C, once in 2015 and in 2016. What is your connection to the festival?
I actually just got a call from A3C and they asked me if I would sit on some panels. In 2015, I sat on 2 panels. I believe they were Booking 1.0 and Revenue Streaming for Independent Artists. I guess they liked me and I got some good feedback because they asked me to come back for this past A3C Festival for Booking 2.0. Hopefully I’ll be back next year. Lol
What are three ways artist can start making money from their craft?
1) Getting booked or curating your own shows/parties- build a fan base.
2) Merch – Invest in yourself and gain a return.
3) Music placement- A lot of people don’t know that you actually have an opportunity to get your music possibly places in tv shows. If you ever notice at the end of a segment before a commercial airs, they have a short snippet of the song that was played during that scene but for the most part its always an artist you don’t know. Well tv shows aren’t going to shell out extra money just to have a popular artist or song on the show for 10 secs, its just simply not in their budget. So they utilize not so known artists and that artist gets paid.
What are three important tools an artist can do to set themselves up for shows on a national level?
1) Solid/live fan base that will buy tickets.
2) Radio presence.
3) Heavy social media presence and following.
What mistakes do you see independent artist make today and what is your advice on correcting these mistakes?
The biggest mistake I see is when artists don’t have a plan. This is your livelihood and career so its imperative you have a solid plan that aligns with your budget. You can’t freestyle it and hope it works… there’s not many “overnight successes”. That’s a lucky few. Another big mistake is some artist refuse to learn all sides of the business. Major artists have a team of people that execute each part their business to ensure its running properly and effectively. Of course the majors have a budget but as an unsigned artist you have to learn and start doing all of this yourself and/or build your own team. Get creative and make it work.
What is the next big wave you see the industry heading into?
The great part of this industry and probably one of my most favorite is that its so unpredictable. You can never put a finger on whats next, but when it happens just makes sure you’re the first person hip to it.