Music Industry Veteran Paul Peck on launching a benefit platform to “Save Tipitina’s”
Guest Feature: Paul Peck
Paul Peck is a music industry veteran and Co-Founder of Okeechobee Music Festival, where he served as Chief Creative Officer and Head of Programming. Paul’s extensive production background includes his work as Superfly and Bonnaroo’s Creative Director of Original Media, where he led the Production of Broadcast and Streaming Media Content.
He is most known for working closely with artists and producing once-in-a-lifetime, special collaborative shows at Bonnaroo, known as Superjam.
Paul got his start while attending Tulane interning at his favorite club Tipitinas in New Orleans, where he could produce his projects and pitch big ideas.
His latest endeavors include co-founding one-stop-shop music and entertainment-focused digital marketing agency, L1NEUP DIGITAL. He also founded Fandiem, an all-in-one sweepstakes marketplace that allows fans to donate to causes and win virtual & in-real-life experiences with their favorite musical heroes, world-class festivals, and iconic performance venues.
We sat down with Paul to hear his stories about starting new companies during a global pandemic and how they facilitated a beautiful ‘full-circle-moment’. Allowing him to produce a benefit show, ‘Save Tip’s’ for the world-famous Tipitina’s, helping save the club that gave him his start.
Can you tell me a little about your experience with Tipitina's?
Tipitina's is what gave me my start in the music industry. I lived in New Orleans as a college student, and I was always a passionate music fan. A couple of my friends from school were in college bands, and some started to ask me if I'd be interested in managing for them. I took the opportunity very seriously. I communicated with different people in the community and worked with various artists to figure out strategic ways to grow our audience. I did an internship at my favorite club, Tipitina's in New Orleans, where I wanted to produce my projects. At that time, I was vibing out to Stevie Wonders, and I wanted to bring this music genre to life at Tipitina's. I followed my intuition, and I vouched for this idea at my internship to produce this all-star collaborative Stevie Wonder's show. Finally, after a lot of hard work, they gave me a date. I immediately went to all my favorite artists and asked them to be a part of the show. Even with the artists, I was managing at that time I was able to grow my reputation and network. Even though there were some minor setbacks before the show, they were overcome, and it was a success. Overall, it was a real eye-opener for me and a great experience.
What was the inspiration behind Fandiem?
Early on in the pandemic, I wanted to foster a sense of connection while everyone was stuck in their homes, feeling this sense of isolation. I wanted to do something that felt timely and of the moment, but also reinforces the concept that we were all in this together and all going through different but similar versions of the same thing. Also, there were so many organizations and people in need that I wanted to raise funds for them.
I connected with an old friend of mine, a talented director named Jesse Dylan. I came up with this concept for a music and comedy virtual show, kind of a late-night show vibe. I have a relationship with the comedian J. B. Smoove, one of the most fantastic improv comics. He’s on Curb Your Enthusiasm as Larry David’s perpetual houseguest. I reached out to him and was like, hey, I want to create this show that can be impactful and positive’ and he was really up for supporting and being part of it. We got together with the filmmaker and began producing some episodes to benefit this organization’ GiveDirectly’ that generates funds for people suffering from extreme poverty.
The show was really awesome, it had great content, and we did well in terms of viewers. We were trying to raise money for this great organization and had NPR involved presenting public health segments because this was back in March and April when no one knew what was going on and there was a lot of fear. The show’s premise was J. B. checking in with his friends, musicians, comedians, and other personalities through zoom and seeing what they were going through while doing music and comedy around it and having NPR involved. We did good in terms of views, and we didn’t even market it that much, but we didn’t do exceptionally well in raising money for GiveDirectly. I was thinking about how much work was going into this and how much we were raising for this organization, and I wasn’t thrilled with that conversion rate; I wanted to do a lot better.
I was also doing a lot of other shows at the time, experimenting with different models while doing a lot of benefit shows in these first several months of Covid. I started really thinking about how we were collecting money and raising funds, it was either pay to watch something which is kinda a hard sell because there's such saturation in the virtual show market right now, or it's a passive donation mechanism that entails promoting donating to a website during the show. I think people want to support things, but the passive mechanisms are kinda a long process which people get distracted and don’t follow through. I thought about what we could do that would be a motivator for people to donate by creating an active donation mechanism. So what if they were donating for a chance to win something really special? And that’s kinda what Fandiem and our first benefit using it ‘Save Tip’s’ was all about in terms of fundraising. We were able to get Fandiem into the starting line in order to use it to support the event and it turned out that we had a bunch of great offerings. For example, people could donate to win a fly away package to New Orleans so when it's safe to do so and shows come back we're gonna fly you out, put you up, give you an amazing meal catered by Jacques Imo’s Cafe the real authentic food spot in New Orleans, and were going to feed your soul with music. We are able to provide viewers with these really inspiring and authentic experiences. We had some virtual experiences also. People could donate to win these backstage hang out experiences during the show, like with the lead singer David Shaw of The Revivalists and the guys from Galactic. We found that good prizes and good content really was able to raise funds and make an impact. That was the idea behind Fandiem, we accomplished exactly what we wanted to do and also created an opportunity for people to celebrate. The Fandiem platform really is powerful in leading the revenue but also enhancing a show and the experience behind it.
Can you tell me more about the Save Tip’s event?
So with Tipitina’s in New Orleans, we just produced a benefit show for them. It's this really historic music venue, a pillar of the New Orleans culture. They’ve been doing interesting things throughout the pandemic to stay relevant. For example, they’re in this great location in uptown New Orleans on the corner of two iconic streets. They used this great location to their advantage to set up a coffee shop for people in the community to hang outdoors. Then they did a series of streamed events and concerts live from the club, offering them on a pay-per-view basis. So you know they're kinda doing everything they can and using what their brand is, this historic spot which has a history of artists starting out there everyone from Pearl Jam to Sonic Youth. These legendary artists played there when they were coming up. They started doing these vintage record releases to celebrate the history of the club. Since the club has an international following they are selling these records world-wide.
They’re also in a unique situation where they're artist owned. Galactic bought Tip’s, they're a Nola institution and tips stomping ground, which was a beautiful turn of events and fairytale ending for the club. Galactic is also a touring band, so with the salaries of the staff, which is more like a family, and the club closing paired with no touring, they found themselves in this dire financial situation.
So they reached out to me to conceptualize and produce a benefit for them. Basically we did this whole event that was really a celebration of what Tip’s stands for, the independent nature of the club, the vibrant audience community, Nola culture, flavor, and spirit that people around the world were missing. It turned out to be a really successful event with a lot of viewership and a lot of people willing to spend to support the club to make sure they could stay open.
In the conceptualizing phase I was thinking what would be the right type of event for this club. Each venue, event, or situation is its own sort of like universe and understanding their community is the first part in thinking of what you can and should be doing.
For Tip’s, all these artist’s had these formative moments there, just like the fans had magical moments there through new music, new experiences, and new friends they've made. We created the vibe of the show to be different from like a telethon, we didn't emphasize how bad the financial situation was or how badly they needed money; it was really more about exploring the personal stories from Tips, the magic, and the fun times there.
We were highlighting how much we want to be back there. We had artists hanging in a backstage setting socially distanced, and telling their stories from Tipitina's in a conversational manner. This brought the fans backstage and created this amazing sense of community. For me, this is what made sense for this club. Each venue has its own community and a little bit of thinking of what the community wants and what they need, is the path for creating a way to stay relevant.
It was such an honor that I was able to really make an impactful difference and help save the club that gave me my start in the industry.
If you need marketing support on your upcoming music release, virtual/live event, festival, tour, or ecommerce product, contact us at L1NEUP DIGITAL. The consultation is always free.
Check out Fandiem’s current partnerships featuring amazing experiences & prizes with LA GIVES BACK, GEORGIA COMES ALIVE, & ABRACADABRA!