Today we have an interview with James Shotwell. James is a label owner, reviewer, blogger, podcaster, mover and shaker all over the music industry, and a fantastic human. We spend a lot of time in this interview talking about a company he works for by the name of Haulix. I’ll let him explain what they do:
#1. First of all, how did you get involved in the music industry? Where did you first get hooked?
I first got involved with music through my parents. My earliest memories of family outings are almost entirely made up of concerts, festivals, and related events where live music was present. My grandfather on my father’s side is pastor, so many of my earliest live experiences were at shows performed by contemporary Christian artists, like Big Tent Revival or Audio Adrenaline. I didn’t know the difference between Christian and secular music then, I just knew that I enjoyed what I was experiencing, and I believe I still find that same basic and pure sense of joy in music today.
The first time I was hooked by music occurred sometime in the mid-1990s. Audio Adrenaline released an album titled ‘Some Kind Of Zombie’ and I thought it was the greatest creation since sliced bread. I committed every word and every line to memory.
#2. And now you are doing a ton of things, you have Under The Gun, Antique Records, Inside Music Podcast, Haulix, am I missing anything?
Not that I know of, but there is always a small possibility I’ve committed to something and completely forgot about it. That is not something I would be proud of having done, but I won’t act like it hasn’t happened in the past. Finding a balance between what I want to do and what I’m actually able to do has never been easy for me.
#3. I feel like Haulix offers something pretty unique in the music industry, can you explain what haulix does?
Haulix is the leading digital promotional distribution service, offering state-of-the-art watermarking technology and anti-piracy tools to variety of industry professionals around the globe. We make it easy for anyone to create and send secure, fully customizable album promos to members of the press and industry at large. We also help labels and artists battle piracy with a wide variety of tools that do everything from reveal the person responsible for leak, to crawling the web and automatically distributing RIAA takedown notices.
In short, we exist to promote a secure and productive music business.
#3b. Is that something anyone else is doing?
Like any company, we have competitors, but I believe Haulix is very much in a lane all our own. There are others who offer services that are similar to ours, but no one else can deliver the kind of well-rounded, fully functional and secure promotional platform we have created at Haulix. We aim to be a ‘one stop shop’ for anyone looking to promote their next release, and as I partake in this interview our team is quickly preparing a new version of our platform that will further these efforts with new tools and customization options that have not yet been revealed to the general public.
#4. Now, as I briefly mentioned you also run a pretty popular review blog too!. So as a reviewer, how much does the delivery method chosen by a band effect your decisions as far as what you cover?
When I started reviewing music there were very few platforms like Haulix, and there were even less labels who had embraced those platforms as a means to distribute new music. Most albums I covered during my first two years in writing were sent to me through the mail, often in CD form, by labels I had only been in contact with for a matter of weeks or months. I certainly didn’t mind the free music, but the number of albums quickly began to add up, and before long I was having trouble storing the large quantities of discs that would arrive from week to week. The stress of finding a way to store the albums, let alone finding time to listen to them all, only added to the stress I felt over covering them.
From the first time I used Haulix I knew I had stumbled across something special. For the first time ever I could experience a new album and its supporting documentation free of any physical packaging without leaving the comfort of my couch. As the new updates rolled in, Haulix made it possible to view every promo sent from every one of their clients in one screen, which only further simplified the listening experience. This made accessing and enjoying music easier for me, which in turn made me feel less stressed about work in general.
Simplicity is key to productivity in music today, and Haulix has simplified advanced music promotion to the point it has become an art form all its own. I believe there is value in that, and I like to think others do as well
#5. What would you say are your 2-3 favourite ways to receive music?
This one is actually quite simply…
- I like to receive music through Haulix, preferably right after I requested it.
- If it’s music I’m unfamiliar with, I prefer to receive it through Haulix with a creative pitch in the email subject line. ‘For Fans Of ______’ does not grab my attention.
- If you’re looking to get my opinion on a single or video, tweet at me.
#6. Thanks so much for your time and advice! I know that Haulix also has a really popular advice blog that you have actually featured Checkered Owl on a couple times. Can you tell us what you focus on over there?
Our blog is dedicated to promoting the future of the music business. We believe that the only way to create a better tomorrow is through sharing the experience of today, and we do this through a series of advice columns, editorials, interviews, podcasts, and the like. Check it out sometime: www.haulixdaily.com