You may have been on our website and have seen the short explanation of the Noise Complaints Group, but today we want to share the full story of who we are and our mission to empower creatives and artists to build successful careers in the digital and information age.
Chris and I met in 2010 at a summer business program at the Wharton School of Business. Chris was a Resident Advisor and I was a student. Over the course of the month we chopped it up about music and business, passions we both had. After the month, we parted ways and didn’t really keep in touch, except for small updates via social media. So our story doesn’t really start there, it’s more of a prelude.
In 2015, I graduated from college and moved out to Seattle to start doing management and strategy consulting, which ended up focusing a lot on marketing. With a new job and new city, I began thinking about who I could reach out to connect with. Remembering that I had seen a while back that Chris had moved to Seattle to work for Microsoft, I reached out to link up. Eventually it became obvious that it was meant for us to reconnect. Chris immediately invited me to meet up and show me the city a bit. We caught up and I had learned that Chris had recently left Microsoft had was hustling for various startups in the city doing business development, sales, and marketing. Then after the formal chatter, we got back to talking about what we were both passionate about, music, culture, lifestyle, and marketing. He told me about the Seattle music scene and discussed up and coming artists that we both liked and who we had been listening to recently. At some point in the conversation, I mentioned to him that I had a friend who is an up and coming rapper, and how I would routinely give him advice on marketing ideas and overall strategy. After a couple hours we parted ways, but made plans to meet up again.
A couple weeks later, Chris hit me up wanting to discuss an idea he had. The idea was for a company that provided full digital marketing and strategy services for musicians, called the Noise Complaints Group, but at the time, it was essentially artist management. I’ll let Chris step in and write what his initial vision was.
Personally, I’m a nerd and fanatic when it comes to discovering and following the journey of brand new music artists. Once I discover someone who I think is unique and can push the culture forward with their creative approach to music and self-branding, I dig into all of their interviews and discography. Additionally, I’m obsessed with innovative and cools ways to market brands in the digital world, especially when it comes to bootstrapped musicians. Eventually I ended up writing a marketing strategy plan for artists in my spare time. I did this for fun and initially had no intention of selling it, but rather wanted to connect with friends who played music and thought this was my way to get involved, since I’m not a musician myself. However, once I connected back with Lyle and shared my ideas and plans, we realized we could actually turn this into something impactful. Eventually we realized with our experience and knowledge, we could help artists move from being indistinguishable in a crowded market, to a recognized brand with opportunities to earn revenue and freely do more of what they do best, create. As a fan first, this is a win-win situation, because artists will only continue to create dope art when their minds are freed up to do so. Finally, the fire for the company name came from my neighbor at the time who would perpetually ruin my happy place by complaining how loud my music was...so I decided to flip that negative into a positive.
Now back to Lyle’s story...
We approached a friend of mine and offered our services for free as a test run. He was excited about it. We got on the phone with him and did a light interview to get an idea of his goals and his brand. Our biggest take-away was that he wanted to be able to quit his nine to five by the end of the year and focus solely on music. This eventually became the centered focus of our goal and mission, to help artist eventually have the mental and financial freedom to create.
Next, we mapped out a strategy plan for an entire year, focused on the build up to his next project and growing his fan base and brand after the release. With all the goals and vision set, we built a website aligned to the his image and brand.
We also met with a local band who reached out to Chris to see about working with us. We sat down with them for dinner, talked about their needs, and finally did a music assessment for them.
As excited as we were to work with these artists, during this time, we felt like our vision of being artist managers was limited as we wouldn’t be able to help a large amount of artist. Instead we’d be placing bets on a select few. And to further pile on, realistically, with both of us working over 40 hours a week at the time, the ability to give these artists the amount of attention and hands on help they deserved would be a challenge.
Still, we tried to make things work, going back to the drawing board to figure out how we can make a real impact and help artists, not just ourselves. During this time I had just finished Tim Ferriss’ book The 4 Hour Work Week, which gave me an idea. The 4 Hour Work Week is all about automating work wherever possible, and figuring out scalable ways to make money to give you more time to live how you want. One of the concepts he spoke on was how to make products and services that earn money without you having to sink all of youe time into it after development. I also came across a post on the forum Niketalk, where a member discussed building their tutoring program that taught adults how to code and how he also turned the knowledge into an ebook and saw more success. Remember, while helping artists was something we wanted to do, time was a constraint for us as we wanted to give the highest quality outputs possible to artist to help them succeed.
Inspired by The 4 Hour Work Week and that Niketalk post, I had a new perspective. So I set up a meeting with Chris at a local Starbucks (we’re in Seattle...they’re everywhere!). I shared my new insights with him and from there we basically decided not to play the hand we were dealt, and change our cards. However, we both still agreed that helping artists be successful and continuing to pursue our passions ought to be the goal.
To start off, I proposed that we write a series of ebooks to give artist the tools they need to succeed. It would be similar information to what we could provide in a personal one-on-one service, but we would be able to distribute further, reaching a wider audience and helping thousands of artists empower themselves. Chris immediately loved the idea, and from there we pivoted from a service to a product.
So we began outlining the first series of books. The idea was to make them short and consumable since we live in the information age where everyone is facing a constant barrage of information that’s all trying to steal their attention. We focused on making the content crucial and immediately useful with no filler, delivering exactly what artists need to know. The plan is to start with the basics and introduce more complex scenarios and topics in later books. For us this was just the foundation, artist empowerment, so that they can execute their goals to the highest degree and achieve their dreams. However, that initial conversation in Starbucks lead to a wealth of ideas, and we have a full vision for Noise Complaints. While the ebooks are a valuable product to deliver to artists, they are just a stepping stone as we strive to create and deliver more for you all very soon!
As we continue to grow, we will further empower artist by providing more learning materials and tools so that you all can be stronger entrepreneurs and marketers. We hope to provide you with entertaining, engaging, and relevant content as we go forward that will aid in your journey toward success as financially independent artists.
Remember...Turn the volume up…don't worry about your neighbors.