Gerard Longo is the Founder and CEO of Underground Music Collective, a music publication and multimedia services company based in Nashville, TN. With a passion for music and empowering independent creatives, Gerard has built a platform that provides an ecosystem for musicians and creatives to share their stories and navigate their creative journeys.
As the host of the 10-year-old podcast The Quinn Spinn, Gerard has been fostering a community of like-minded individuals who strive to have a positive impact in the music industry.
With a commitment to the human element and the power of art to connect people, Gerard and his team at UMC continue to make a lasting impact on the music landscape.
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We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Gerard Longo: My name is Gerard Longo and I am the Founder and CEO of Underground Music Collective, a music publication and multimedia services company based in Nashville, TN. The goal of our platform is to provide an empowering ecosystem for musicians and creatives to share their stories, as they build community and learn how to navigate their creative journeys.
I’m also the host of The Quinn Spinn podcast, which turns 10 years old in 2023, and features weekly conversations with musicians, creative entrepreneurs, and real humans who aspire to have a positive impact. In addition, UMC’s NashLive! brand presents music showcases and other live event experiences throughout the Nashville area.
If you were in an elevator with Warren Buffett, how would you describe your company, services, or products? What makes your company different from others? What is your company’s biggest strength?
Gerard Longo: Underground Music Collective (UMC) provides musicians and other music industry-adjacent creatives with an ecosystem that empowers them to share their stories and navigate the creative journey.
In addition to featuring new music releases in our online publication, our multimedia content, live music events, and educational opportunities are meant to inspire independent creatives to build community, while thinking holistically about how to get the most from their creative endeavors.
Our biggest strength – which sets us apart – is the human element. We believe in the power of art to connect people – to each other and to truths about the shared human experience. That remains at the core of all we do.
What advice do you wish you received when you started your business journey and what do you intend on improving in the next quarter?
Gerard Longo: That overnight success is the world’s biggest myth! This entire UMC ecosystem began with our Official Podcast, The Quinn Spinn, which launched in September 2013. It was my first attempt at launching an independent creative project, and not only was I unaware of what it takes to succeed, but I don’t think I even knew what “success” truly is. We were hoping to be “discovered” by SiriusXM in six months. Oh, to be that naïve again…
The podcast turns 10 years old this year. The UMC publication itself just turned 7 in January. Between those two platforms, it has taken all of that time – plus a lot of trial-and-error – to grow to the level that we have. We now find ourselves in a position where our voice in the music landscape is stronger than ever. But make no mistake – if you’re going to build something that has a lasting impact, be ready to do it for the long haul.
Over the next quarter, we look to expand upon that reach and impact, to attract more artists and industry thought leaders to our community.
Online business keeps on surging higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for the year to come and how are you capitalizing on the tidal wave?
Gerard Longo: We’ve always been an online-first platform, and our presence continues to evolve. Daily music-centric content is what brought UMC to the dance, and that will remain our bread and butter for the foreseeable future. It’s the best way we know how to build community!
Having said that, I’m excited for our offerings to take a more educational turn across the board. We’ve recently announced a series of virtual panel discussion, beginning with Succeeding as a Black Entrepreneur in the Music Industry on February 15 to commemorate Black History Month.
In addition, our new Wednesday Wisdom series invites industry thought leaders to share their hard-earned music industry experiences with our audience. We have an opportunity to do something special for our greater music community with these new initiatives, and we’re all excited to see how things unfold.
Christopher Hitchens, an American journalist, is quoted as saying that “everyone has a book in them” Have you written a book? If so, please share with us details about it. If you haven’t, what book would you like to write and how would you like it to benefit the readers?
Gerard Longo: I’ve had so many book ideas that I think I’ve forgotten a few! At the moment, one idea that I’m fixated on involves the 10th anniversary of The Quinn Spinn. We feature in-depth conversations with musicians and other creatives about their journeys, and there are so many lessons from these conversations to expand upon.
It’s going to take a lot of internal research on my part, as far as listening through old episodes, to pull out the best nuggets. With that said, there has been so much wisdom shared by guests that this book is just begging to be written. Stay tuned!
In your experience, what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company? Can you share an example?
Gerard Longo: Right now, time management is the most important thing to me. As UMC itself transforms from “solo project” to full-blown company, I’m on the clock more often than not. I don’t mind, because I love and believe in what I do, but there are definitely sacrifices that have to be made.
Free time is at a premium, so it’s important to budget it toward worthwhile activities that have little chance of turning into larger distractions, and to give energy to people and activities that have an additive, positive impact on our lives. Setting boundaries around my time and how/with whom I spend it has been absolutely paramount toward the platform’s growth.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Gerard Longo: I know that there’s truly no such thing as being “fearless,” but I’ve always marveled at those who seem fearless in their endeavors. Being an entrepreneur comes with a lot of unpredictability and risk, and in those situations, it can be easy to let our doubts and insecurities take over.
I’ve certainly evolved in my relationship with fear; I’ve (mostly) made peace with my lingering fears of rejection, and my imposter syndrome has diminished. However, we all still have our moments of doubt, and I still have work to do to consider my level of courage to be a “superpower.”
I’m working on turning it into one by making 2023 the year of calculated risks, and finding ways to rise to those occasions. This is one of the best ways to grow, and to learn of our own true capabilities.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Gerard Longo for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Gerard Longo or his company, you can do it through his – Instagram
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