Thomas Cussins is the co-founder of Ineffable Music Group, a company which manages the careers of Collie Buddz, Hieroglyphics, Stick Figure (who is personally managed by Thomas), and many more. Cussins is also the Head Talent Buyer for the Catalyst in Santa Cruz, CA, the Mystic Theatre in Petaluma, CA, The Cornerstone in Berkeley, CA, and the Fremont Theater in San Luis Obispo, CA. He also produces the Levitate Music festival just outside of Boston, MA.
We conducted this interview live from the bar upstairs at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz, so there’s a little background noise, but you’ll get so many great lessons from this episode. Thomas breaks down the business in digestible, detailed, and transparent manner, so take his advice and run with it.
Thomas also reminds us of the importance of taking chances and making mistakes. Having achieved success as both a manager and talent buyer, Cussins offers a unique perspective. This episode is a must hear for anyone looking to stand out from the crowd as an artist, manager, promoter, or entrepreneur.
8:57 Never burn any bridges
9:58 Thomas isn’t afraid to make mistakes
17:13 Thomas explains what impressed him about Stick Figure at the beginning
21:05 How Thomas created his own position with Collie Buddz by promising him $100,000 in his pocket
23:36 Having a business mind and the ability to produce can set an artist apart
25:49 Thomas breaks down how his company Ineffable is structured
27:02 Why producing festivals is such a high risk
30:05 What makes Thomas easy to work with
31:35 How upcoming artists should approach Thomas to get on shows
33:09 Opening artists should always have something material to give or sell to fans at shows
35:00 The biggest advantage of being independent is that we can move fast and make quick adjustments
37:40 The most important part of branding is having consistent content
40:07 The one thing Thomas makes sure to teach people he takes under his wing
42:53 What Thomas would spend a $1000 marketing budget on when promoting a live show
50:00 It’s important to swing at a ton of pitches
55:09 Making money in the music business often comes down to connecting people
56:40 Bouncing back from failure is essential
1:00:02 If Thomas had a $5000 marketing budget to release an album, here’s what we would spend it on
1:01:39 Thomas’s thoughts on buying onto tours
1:03:31 It’s important to roll the dice and take chances