Networking has brought Tammy Prock this far in her career, and it’s about to take her further as she launches a company which could revolutionize the music industry; the idea behind it is based solely on the concept of networking.
It’s all about who you know. “Knowing people” is how Prock made her own break into the music industry. She had friends in local bands in Pittsburgh where she lived, and helped create their newsletters, organize merchandise sales, or however she could pitch in to contribute. Her passion for music, and her musical connections led her to an event at a ski resort where she met all the guys in the band Slaughter. That connection led her to other shows where Slaughter played, giving her opportunities to meet even more musicians who she offered to helped.
After meeting the crew in 80s hair band Poison, she connected with ex Motley Crue frontman John Corabi when he was playing guitar with Ratt at a Poison show. Corabi and her formed a friendship which led to Prock securing Corabi as her first client in 2007, when she officially became his business manager. She also met solo artist Brandon Gibbs at a Poison show, when he too was playing on the bill (Poison drummer Rikki Rockett produced a CD for Gibbs’ previous band The Gibbs Brothers). Gibbs became another one of her clients. And when Rockett was looking for some marketing help, he turned to Prock, and she continues to help Rockett with marketing his custom drum company, Rockett Drum Works. One of her newest clients, the band Splinter, came through Corabi, when the guitarist of Splinter, Kevin Hunter, was playing guitar on one of Corabi’s tours, and he realized Prock could be a valuable asset to getting his band’s exposure efforts kick-started.
As a musician’s business manager, Prock handles all the financial issues, including merchandise sales, money they make from shows, and in general just looking out for them, making sure a business deal is beneficial to the artist. Her role is essentially bookkeeping, which is where some of Prock’s experience is based. In 2006 she started Notary On The Go, a company registered to handle bookkeeping, permitting and notary services. She still operates the business.
Prock has also owned other businesses, and has worked for individuals who have started different corporations. She understands how to start a business from the ground up, and has taken that knowledge to help musicians get started. A band is a business, and while musicians know how to play music, they don’t always understand the business side of it.
In 2000, Prock formed a friendship with Adria Hight, after they connected over their love of music and racing. Hight is the daughter of John Force, owner of the John Force Racing team. Prock’s ex-husband’s brother worked for the Force team. Hight and Prock started talking about ways to bring music into racing. Both were doing different things in the music industry already, with Hight working to get musicians into the studio to record, who didn’t really have the money to do it. Hight chose artists she really believed in, who just needed a little bit of help and she gave them a break. She believed in those musicians so much that sometimes Hight was paying them out of her pocket when they weren’t paid at shows. Prock was also helping musicians she believed in, in any way she could, often with no pay. So in 2012 when the ladies finally sat down to discuss how they could work together, they looked at each other and both said, “We want to help musicians,” Prock told us via a phone interview, and their desire to help artists spurred the creation of the company, Creative Defense Music.
So we decided that let’s get the people we know together and have a network of people who do different things in the music industry that we know are not going to screw anybody over, are not going to take advantage of somebody, who are good, honest people who just want to help each other.
Prock and Hight had already been helping musicians for years, but they decided to finally put a name on what they were doing, and join forces as a team. Prock says,”We decided to collaborate what we do. We wanted to start a networking of people we could trust. We felt like so many musicians had been screwed by so many people over the years. That the music industry didn’t always work out for the artist. Somebody along the way dropped the ball. And the artist got screwed. And so many of them, after all of their hard work, and so much they have put into this industry, and so many records, and so many tours, and they don’t have anything to show for it. Or what you would think they would have to show for it, for everything they have done. It’s just wrong. A lot of people get very excited about the fact they’ve got a deal, or they jump at the first thing that comes along. Because most musicians when they start, it’s not about money, it’s about the music. And what happens is they get excited about the first thing that comes along, and they agree to something, and it ends up it’s not necessarily beneficial to them. They don’t have an attorney to look at things and make sure it’s not a one-sided contract, and that they’re taken care of. So we decided that let’s get the people we know together and have a network of people who do different things in the music industry that we know are not going to screw anybody over, are not going to take advantage of somebody, who are good, honest people who just want to help each other. Everyone is in it as a business and of course they want to want to make money in their business, but they’re fair. And they can vouch for each other. So it basically came about as let’s get a network of people together. And we’re not doing anything different than we did before, except that it now has a name.”
Exposure is one key aspect of the concept behind Creative Defense Music. Shows like American Idol are one example of how people can get their name out there, without a record deal, but how many musicians, even very talented ones, ever make it on the shows? With Creative Defense Music, the network gives the musicians exposure to industry professionals as well as to other artists. It’s also about artists networking with other artists.
And how do they find people to be in the network? It’s based on the most reliable form of advertising: word of mouth. How they plan to find more people to be in the network, is by talking to people already in the network.
Because of Hight’s ties to the racing industry, Creative Defense Music has some big guns helping them with marketing. They have backing from the John Force Racing team. Brittany Force is on the front cover of the February issue of National Dragster, with the Creative Defense Music logo prominently displayed on her car. The John Force Entertainment Group, which provides media for various events, will point to Creative Defense Music as a resource, as well as use Creative Defense Music as a resource when they need music for their videos. John Force Entertainment Group videos and commercials are shown at race tracks events as well as other events.
The power of Creative Defense Music and networking was in full force when ESPN picked up Brandon Gibbs‘ song This Town from his EP Into the Ocean. It originally was used in a promo video for drag racer Courtney Force. The song caught the attention of ESPN, who contacted Gibbs and struck a deal with him to use the song on their NHRA shows as well. The process of propelling Gibbs’ song to that level happened because of the connections made. Prock says that situation is a perfect example of how Creative Defense Music works. “If you took one person out of the equation, the entire event wouldn’t have happened. That’s what we’re trying to do for everybody that’s involved as an artist through Creative Defense Music.”
Creative Defense Music is different than anything any other entertainment company is doing. They are thinking outside of the box, approaching it from a different angle and flipping the music industry upside down. The traditional way an artist secured financing for a tour was through signing with a label. But it doesn’t have to be that way. One of the goals behind Creative Defense Music is to help a band from the beginning, push them to get all of those things without a record deal. Every band that signs a deal is already in debt when they start. Sometimes they start out so far behind it’s not manageable. And many talented musicians don’t have a starting point, someone to ask for help. Having access to exposure opportunities and resources is where Creative Defense Music can help. If a band can sell a song for an event, or attract attention from an investor, the band can finance a tour or record an album, to help them advance to the next level of their career.
While Prock says they’ll help any band they can, she admits even Creative Defense Music has its limits. “Some people need way more than we can offer them.” Some bands may need an entertainment lawyer, booking agent or a manager. Creative Defense Music can just help them get started and point them in the right direction.
Her advice to musicians: “Believing in what you do and persistence in putting it out there is the only way to be successful. It’s not going to come to you. You’ve got to go after it. You can’t be afraid to try something different to get it out there. It’s a tough industry to be in. And there is A LOT of competition. Anybody who is a true musician…at one point or another they were ready to throw in the towel. Most of them will tell you that. What I tell all of them is, is there anything else in the world that you would want to do? That you really, with your whole heart and soul, want to do, besides music? If there’s not, then you were meant to be a musician and you should never give up on it.”
Check out the website www.creativedefensemusic.com for more information. It’s currently under construction, but should be up and running soon. Artists or anyone interested in speaking to the team can email Prock at firstname.lastname@example.org.