Jesse Cannon has worked in nearly every aspect of the music business. Most notably, recording bands like Animal Collective, The Misfits and The Menzingers. All the while he has also been writing for his own blog Musformation and publications like Tape Op, Punk Planet and Maximum RockNRoll. Jesse knows what makes the music business tick and has been chronicling it with his words, for many years.
Producing records professionally by the age of 18, he quickly moved onto engineering bands at the esteemed freeform radio station, WFMU. For nine years, he recorded performances from groups like The Magnetic Fields, Spoon and countless others. During this time he began promoting concerts at legendary venues like The Pipeline and Coney Island High.
Playing in countless bands, he always handled their management. Taking these duties further, he took on the role of Publicity at Go Kart Records and buyer for Soapbox Records, a punk record store in NYC. It was here he learned what makes people buy records and what makes people ignore them.
Soon, after he started at Alan Douches’ West West Side Music, which for three decades has been the top mastering studio for indie labels. He then opened his own, Cannon Found Soundation Recording Studios. While producing records there he also went to work under producers like Ross Robinson and Steve Evetts with groups like The Cure, Limp Bizkit and Dillinger Escape Plan.
In 2008 he started his blog, Musformation – which gives daily comments on the new music business. He decided that since he was writing about DIY marketing for musicians, he should try putting this information into practice. He soon began managing Man Overboard, who became a huge national act, making a living from their music, while selling out national and international tours. Along the way, he also took on the group Transit. Both groups then signed with one of the world’s largest indie labels (Rise Records).
All he has learned along the way has been collected into a detailed work inside his first book, Get More Mans: The DIY Guide To The New Music Business.
Todd went to school at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington and graduated with a degree in Creative Writing. After a stint writing music reviews at the university newspaper, he began a job writing at the Star News (a New York Times company) as a music and entertainment journalist.
Todd’s musical industry perspective comes from real world experience as well. In the early 2000’s, he was the singer and guitarist in a buzzworthy band called, The Fashion Brigade from North Carolina. Following a few successful tours and an auspicious EP, the band decided to plunk down a large sum of money on a big name producer to help them get the sound they needed for their next big break. To their utter disappointment, this ‘esteemed’ producer was neither interested in their music or making it sound good, wasting both time and money and nearly breaking the band up from disappointment. After this dreadful experience in the studio, Todd was determined to become as self-sufficient as possible, focusing on empowerment through DIY values. It was during this time that he learned firsthand nearly every aspect of the music business – booking shows, touring, self-recording, PR, merch, fan engagement, marketing strategies and more.
As part of this ethos, Todd and his band moved to New York to pursue their music on a grander scale. Todd now plays in and self-manages a burgeoning band called Sensual Harassment. If you frequently read dance music blogs, there is no avoiding them. They have been featured in Pitchfork, Big Stereo, Vice, Dazed and Confused, Brooklyn Vegan, Oh My Rockness, Purple Magazine, and all over Hype Machine. They record and mix their own records, book their own shows/tours, do their own press and are all the more happy (and arguably successful) for it.
Todd also works as freelance marketing specialist. His latest venture includes an extended stay at Aegis Media, one of the world’s largest media marketing agencies. He has worked on projects for brands such as Gatorade, General Motors, Macy’s, Bailey’s and Procter & Gamble to name a few. He is a co-founder of Musformation and currently resides in Brooklyn.