Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Alright guys I’m Jordan Williams, I am the Founder and Owner of Snake Oil Music News. I am a massive fan of music and finding new bands and artists specifically in the Indie Rock’N’Roll genre proving that Rock’N’Roll is still alive and kicking even though some people would say it finished years ago.
We aim to get our content to anybody that loves discovering new upcoming and underground bands and artists and get their news and stories out to a wider audience from new releases, new tours, and just general music news around the world.
We do not make any money from our content. We put it out free of charge. We just love to help new artists and emerging acts as we know how hard it is for them to get recognized in the industry now.
However, we do have a website where you can buy Snake Oil Music News merchandise from T-Shirts, Beanies, Bucket Hats, etc which helps fund equipment that we use for content and any events that we put on.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I've always been into music and going to gigs from such a young age my first gig was Busted at Nottingham Arena in 2004 and since then, I just fell in love with music and going to gigs. As I got older my taste changed. I started listening to the indie brit-pop scene and was lucky enough to see Oasis in Cardiff at the Millenium Stadium in 2009 supported by Kasabian and The Enemy. That night changed my life, I just knew I wanted to grow up listening to music and going to gigs.
When I got to start earning money I would have got paid on a Friday and straight away looking at buying gig tickets to see bands and live music all over the country.
The idea of the page came in 2019, that year I attended 173 gigs, 11 Festivals all of which had me posting all about them on my personal Facebook page averaging 3 gigs a week. When new music came out I would always share it commenting my opinions and thoughts of the release a bit like a mini-review.
I got various comments and messages saying that I should do a blog and document all the gigs, festivals I attend, I don't know if they were being helpful or just sick of me spamming Facebook with gig posts.
I was uming and aring for months whether I wanted to do it or not until I said to myself why not this could actually be a good thing to do and have a page full of music, gigs, and memories that I love. So on 8th October 2019, I bit the bullet and launched the page “Snake Oil Music News”.
I was unsure at the start if this was going to work or even if there was interest there but as soon as the page launched it went mad and was gaining hundreds of likes and followers which felt great and were quite overwhelmed with the response of it all to be fair.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
The first review we ever did was an EP review of our good mates’ band from Leicester called The Lids. This was a good starting point as a lot of people who liked the page were friends and were already familiar with this band so it got a lot of love people sharing it about on to their socials and so on.
The next couple of posts were about gigs. One was Miles Kane in Nottingham at Rescue Rooms and the other was a one day Festival in Manchester that Miles Kane headlined and was part of his tour, this is when we started to branch out to people who weren’t familiar with the page as the bands started sharing it around on the socials. We reached people who didn't know who we were and gained more and more followers through that, it was a good thing to see, to be honest, that the bands liked what I was saying about their performances and gave me a lot of positive feedback to then kick on with.
All that was in the first week of Snake Oil Music News Launching so it soon got underway pretty quick.
Describe the process of launching the business.
We never had a big launch of the page. It was launched very subtly, but we did have a big week ahead with loads of new music being released and plenty of gigs to attend, we definitely did hold off launching the page until we had a busy week of content.
If you’re starting and your content isn't getting the recognition that you feel it deserves, keeps at it, keeps posting daily, keeps sharing your work. One day it will get recognized and the hard work and determination will pay 100%.
The ideas and structure of the page were in place a week before we just wanted to launch it when there was a busy week to get off to a flyer posting content daily on it and that is what we did.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Since launching the page we have come up with loads of different ideas for new content as when we first had the idea it was purely just going to get new music and reviews out there to give emerging acts the recognition that we truly believe they deserved. But since then we have always been thinking of ways to expand and attract new followers, so we got camera and videographer Rob O’Brien involved and we have now been filming interviews with bands and artist for extra content to post out all our interviews are available to watch on our YouTube channel and so far we've had acts such as The K’s, Gazelle, The Luka State, The Estevans and Simon Mason who have told us all about their careers in the music industry.
As Well as filming and editing interviews we've also put having Rob to good use as we have now started filming music videos for artists under “Snake Oil Productions” we have only currently ever worked with singer-songwriter Perry Manning on 2 music videos for his tunes “Dithering” and “Nothing To Take Me” as the Covid-19 pandemic put us into another lockdown but as soon as we get the go-ahead we have plans to get out there and do more so get in contact with us at [email protected] for any inquiries.
We have also put on events in 2020 which again was never in the original plan. Our first event happened so Saturday 14th March 2020 at The Cookie, Leicester we were very lucky to have this event go ahead as this literally was the last weekend before we went into a national lockdown for the first time.
We had a good friend of mine Ben Taylor AKA The Magic Mod headline this event. He is Rock’N’Roll’s favorite magician after he has been on tour performing magic with some of the greats such as Paul Weller, The Libertines, Reverend & The Makers and many more give him a follow on the socials to follow his incredible journey. On that night we had 2 acoustic music acts, singer/songwriter Louis Croft from Nottingham and Gazelle frontman from Leicester Ryan Dunn. It was a fantastic night which I thoroughly enjoyed hosting and a night that will go down in Snake Oil History.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we haven't had a chance to host any more events until we were lucky enough to host a socially distanced Bank Holiday August - Acoustic Sessions when Borris gave the green light for seated events to take place. We organized two full days of live music at The Railway Inn Pub in Oakham starting at 12-00 pm going all the way through to 10-30pm at night.
This was an incredible weekend and was something we all needed at the time we had loads of various acts play all across the weekend too many to mention, organizing this event all happened so quick and get a response of acts and bands that all was willing to come and play for free was a real overwhelming moment and I couldn't be more grateful for everyone's time and dedication for that weekend really did appreciate the support.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Where we are now is pretty comfortable where we are always gaining followers and getting great compliments of the work that we do, our shop selling merchandise has taken off a bit now so we're making sales from that which then we reinvest back into the company for plans.
Obviously, we're in lockdown right now so can't get much filming done but when we get the green light we have a long list of interviews and music videos to shoot to then get on our YouTube channel and get some traffic building from there and getting some well-earned views on our content.
Events again, we have loads in the pipework so when live gigs can resume we will be going around the country putting on events and giving emerging acts a stage to play their music on because they sure going to need it when all of this is over so future is looking really bright for us we just want the thumbs up so we can go out and get things done.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Yeah, I’ve learned a bit, especially when writing the reviews. As I just say what I think. I never went to university to study journalism so what you’re reading is my honest opinions and over time I have learned to write and produce better reviews and better content I guess.
I've met so many great people along the way of this journey too, who have helped us out massively giving their input from other reporters and bloggers, bands and arts, and even managers. It's a great recycle of everyone trying to help each other out and especially in these times it's great to see that and pull each other through these difficult times.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
Good question. Growing up I've always been into reading magazines, blogs, and websites. Always used to buy NME and Q magazines when they were physical copies and exciting course. It's all online now on your phone so they gave me a bit of inspiration to get into writing reviews and that.
But for me when it comes to interviewing bands I definitely look up to Soccer AM presenter John Fendley. He's a cool guy when it comes to clobbering music and football, all the boxes that tick my personality. That's how the idea came about for the interviews with bands as I sit there every Saturday morning watching him thinking “that's a great job, just talking about music with some of your favorite bands”, we could do something like this for the page and that's how that started. So yeah, John Fendley is a big inspiration to me.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
Yeah, if you’re starting out and your content isn't getting the recognition that you feel it deserves, keeps at it, keep posting daily, keeps sharing your work. One day it will get recognized and the hard work and determination will pay 100%. I’m still keeping at it as I would love one day to do the page full time that would just be a dream listening to music and talking to bands as your job, yes please I want some of that.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Yes, we are always looking for volunteers to write for the page as now we have gotten our name out there, we’re getting emails to review new music daily and as a one-man band who does all the writing, it's hard to keep up with it all. So if you're into journalism and want a platform to put your work on please do get in touch. We would really appreciate the help, just send us a message on socials or even an email we would love to hear from you.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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