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Community Highlights: Meet Evan Stein of Experience Music Group

Today we’d like to introduce you to Evan Stein.

Hi Evan, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
Ever since I was a child, I’ve always been fascinated with the use of music in film, TV and advertisements and its ability to become part of the soundtrack of your life. I made the realization I wanted to work in the music licensing space in 2002 when my partner Martin Weiner and I spent a year researching and meeting with people we knew who worked in the music business. We had wanted to start our own label, but everyone we met with at the time suggested that we get into music licensing and publishing as opposed to the label side of the business. In 2003, we began signing artists to represent them for sync and for the first five years did mostly gratis deals in TV and Film just to get our foot in the door. In 2008 we landed our first big license for a song called “Good Times” by an artist named Latch Key Kid for a Coca-Cola commercial in the Super Bowl. That Super Bowl license opened up a ton of doors to new music licensing opportunities and since then we have gone on to license music in TV shows such as One Tree Hill, The Big C, Hawaii Five-0, Shameless and Cobra Kai movies such as I Love You, Man, American Reunion, Playing For Keeps, Movie 43 and The Late Bloomer and commercials for Armor All, Pioneer, American Eagle Outfitters, ESPN, Rogers, Toyota and Sony.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The music licensing space has definitely gotten more competitive, but at the same time there are more placement opportunities especially with the advent of streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney +, Apple and YouTube. When we first started in music licensing, we carved out a nice niche that was focused on licensing the music of independent artists who owned their own masters and publishing. We had the ability to clear the master and publishing together and were known in the industry as a ‘one-stop’ shop. At the time major labels and publishers were primarily licensing their artists’ songs for big budget spots so we didn’t encounter much competition from them on the lower budget licensing opportunities. As the economics of the music business changed and record labels and publishers realized they needed any and all income from music licenses, we started to compete with them much more as well as similar independent licensing companies that have since flooded the music licensing space.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Experience Music Group?
Experience Music Group is a boutique music licensing, artist branding and digital marketing agency that specializes in matching up-and-coming indie artists with brands as well as creatives in film, television and advertising. One thing that sets our business apart is the way we approach artist development with our clients. We always start with the ‘Why.” The “Why” needs to be well defined in order to build a strong foundation as an artist. We understand the importance of an artist needing to be remarkable and releasing unique work. We are most proud about helping our clients find their niche audiences and building real fan bases. We got to where we are today business-wise by making a ton of mistakes, learning and adjusting from them. We absolutely love what we do which has also helped us overcome most challenges. One of the biggest lessons we’ve learned along the way is the importance of being humble in the music business.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
Humility and our artist first mentality.

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