A Q&A With FMG CEO Jeff Yasuda
Now that the last episode of Season 1 of our limited podcast series: Voices Behind The Music, is live, we thought it would be fun to chat with our CEO and podcast host, Jeff Yasuda, to reflect on some of the conversations he’s been having.
Jeff’s guests have ranged from the likes of Taku Hirano, who has toured with Whitney Houston and Fleetwood Mac, to Babes in Toyland bassist Maureen Herman, Dave Boxenbaum, Founder of Octone Records who discovered Maroon 5, and Cherie Hu, a leading digital music journalist.
What has been the most interesting thing about recording the podcast?
First of all, it’s been super fun to talk to so many accomplished people who, between them, have had access to completely different and unique aspects of the music and entertainment industry: from being an artist, to managing talent, and buying and selling music tech companies. These conversations have served to reinforce my belief that there are so many different avenues people can take and still achieve success in the music industry.
Can you think of another business where being a huge fan is a prerequisite to being in the industry?
Honestly, no. The universal appeal for anyone working in the music and entertainment business is that people are passionate about music. I believe that it’s passion that makes the world go round, not money.
Were there any patterns or themes that emerged from your conversations?
One thing I noticed was that the age of digital has changed the industry and has blurred the lines between artistry and business. In the past, there was a great divide between the business side of the industry and the creators and artists themselves—meaning you picked one track or the other—today it’s much more fluid.
For example, my most recent guest Vivek Agrawal, was a tech executive for his entire career and recently decided to fully commit to becoming a musician and producer. Eddie Roberts, who’s been a musician for much of his life, is now really interested in the business side of things. I think those blended perspectives can only be good for the future of the industry.
Beyond this was there anything universal that made success attainable for your guests?
I will say, they are all really nice people. There was once a terrible mantra that to be successful you needed to be an a**hole. Fortunately, I’m seeing more and more that working hard, being prepared, and being kind, means that when your shot comes, you’re ready to step in and take the success that’s due.
Any final words?
One of the parallels I see between Silicon Valley and the music business is that the attitude of “fake it ‘til you make” will take you far. Credibility is the endgame and you have to fight to achieve that – whether you’re a musician or an entrepreneur. Hustling and getting it done, will ultimately… get it done.
VOICES BEHIND THE MUSIC – Behind every favorite artist, song, or lyric, is a story you’ve never heard. Podcast guests range from artists, producers, and managers to tech creators and more, each sharing their unique past experiences, current projects, and visions for the future.