behind the scenesIn 2013 a video producer named Dan Shinder from an unknown company called Drum Talk TV showed up at NAMM with two cameras and a helper ready to shoot interviews. The team was a little ragtag. In fact, Dan had just taught the assistant how to use the camera in the parking lot before the show. This was Drum Talk TV’s humble beginnings.

Almost six years later everyone reading this and millions more have seen a Drum Talk TV video, be it an interview that Shinder has done or one of many curated videos from users on the Drum Talk TV websiteYouTube channel, or more likely its Facebook page with more than a million followers.

Today, in addition to running Drum Talk TV Shinder also teaches social media marketing to corporations in a variety of industries and has lots of advice for drummers (which we’ll get to shortly). But like all good career stories, his is a bit circuitous.

After receiving his first drum kit at the age of seven in 1970 he started practicing hard, getting an early indoctrination into the styles of the ‘70s rock legends whose influence still hangs heavy over the drummer’s art: John Bonham, Ian Paice, Phil Collins, Alan White, Carl Palmer, Bill Bruford, and less common names like John Weathers of Gentle Giant.

The practice paid off. At 15 he was good enough to audition for a singing group going on tour. He snagged the gig and spent his summer before tenth grade traveling the country playing state fairs and even opening for bands like Heart and Blue Oyster Cult. Shinder recalls, “Literally the day after the tour I was at school registering for classes. I had just had this amazing experience and now I wondered What am I doing here? I told my mom I wanted to drop out and get a GED. She said ‘We’ll talk about it.’”

She used that excuse for the next three years, ensuring that young Dan got his diploma. But once out of school he spent the ‘80s playing in bands up and down the Sunset Strip from Madame Wong’s to the Whiskey to the Troubador. As the ‘80s turned to the ‘90s and stardom eluded him, Shinder began composing music for commercials, producing up-and-coming artists, and eventually leaving the music scene to enjoy family life. He got into video production, and one day found himself working for a client in Australia in 2011. That’s where our interview begins:

DRUM!: I find it interesting that you worked in several places in Australia.

Shinder: That’s really related to Drum Talk TV because it is a little bit after that experience that Drum Talk came about. I had a video production company. One of my clients was Neuro Linguistic Programming and they were teaching marketing for NLP in Australia. So I went and ended up getting a lot of work staying a long time.

On location in the Whitsunday Islands of Australia

I came back in March of 2012 because my father was dying. I landed in Las Vegas… and was taken to his house and tapped him on the shoulder. Here was this man who looked nothing like my father… he was emaciated… and he smiled and we hugged. He ended up living 16 more weeks. During that time I stayed with him and I got on Facebook. I had been on Facebook in Australia but sitting there taking care of my father I saw a picture of Neil Peart and it was like I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to do something with social media. So I started marketing my wife’s art. After three months of that she said “You need to do something to fill your own cup. Why don’t you teach drums? You used to teach drums, you know video, you’re a trained trainer — why don’t you do something online?”

That’s all it took?

I started something called Dan’s Drum Clinics and I ran that for six months. Then one day I was going to take a trip to see my sons and I had some video gear and my wife asked what all that was for and I told her I might try to interview some drummer friends of mine in Temecula and San Diego while I was there. I said, “I believe that lessons can be learned not just at the drum kit or the practice pad but also by sharing each other’s experience from their unique perspective.” She said, “That’s it.” I said, “What’s it?” She said, “What you just said. That’s what you should do.” I ended up a month later closing Dan’s Drum Clinics and started Drum Talk TV, and three weeks later I was at NAMM. I ended up interviewing Tommy Aldridge, Nicko McBrain, and Gavin Harrison while I was there.

Why did you put all the emphasis on Facebook?

I just knew from the beginning that Facebook was going to be the platform that we would explode on. I knew the size of it and where people were spending their time. We started and within seven weeks we had 47,000 fans and had reached a million people.

Did you feel it would be a success at this point?

I spent 18 hours a day on Drum Talk TV but I knew we couldn’t survive on interviews alone. So I started curating other types of content. That was partly because during that time Facebook made some stifling changes that made it hard to grow organically. I was set on not buying likes or boosting posts because I was determined to figure out how to get past whatever Facebook threw at us.

I’ve thought about this a lot. Facebook will say the reason they don’t show all of your followers your posts is that they want to provide a great user experience. But I wholeheartedly believe it is because they want to sell more ads and get users to boost posts. That does not fulfill what they say their goal is. If you have a post that sucks and no one shares it and you pay to boost it is creating a worse user experience.

Did learning to overcome Facebook’s limitations gave you the skills to teach social media?

Yes, we crossed the million-fan line in 2017. It could have happened a couple of years earlier if not for changes Facebook kept making to the algorithm. I started teaching social media at the same time I started curating other types of content. When I taught social media it was important to me to say we did all this organically. So I kept trying to create great content to share with other people and inspire them in some way.

Shinder teachs social media for the music biz at NAMM U each year.

What lessons were most important along the way?

A great epiphany occurred when we started curating user videos. I was watching a video a user had sent and I started smiling. I realized that if I liked it the audience would like it and so we ended up creating all these categories for kid videos and prodigy videos and so forth. Success with social media really comes down to understanding the rules you have to play by and doing the best you can to skate by the rules to get the best outcome. It can be a little difficult. But we are still reaching 20 million a month with our Facebook page alone and acquiring 2500 new fans ever seven-day period.

You’ve started a product line called Social Media On Steroids that you are teaching and targeting at musicians. What kind of messages do you have for musicians when it comes to social media?

Most musicians don’t want to wear the business hat and would like it done for them by someone else. They don’t want to learn it or use that side of their brain. I get it. But this is not the 1970s. The record companies do not have millions to fly you around or block out the studio for a month. There’s no guy with a cigar in the back office looking out for you. Every musician is a brand and has to behave themselves like a business sometime.

But isn’t it tougher for individual musicians to keep up, if channels and distribution keep changing?

What I teach has nothing to do with things that change. The platforms change, the algorithms change, and all that. What I teach is how to define and understand your target market and how they behave on different platforms. For example, when people take one post and shoot it out to four or more platforms, it’s only going to be effective on one. Say you’re a band. You send out messages: Buy our CD, Come to a show, Download a single. Then the next day, Download our CD, Buy a show, Come to a single. It’s boring. You can’t build a community around that. As it is Facebook is showing at most 5 to 16 percent of your posts to your fans. If you screw it up and get no engagement it’s worse. 

What does this mean in terms of a musical career advice?

[More than ever] it comes down to relationships, networking and what you can do. Know your fellow musicians and drummers who can vouch for you. If Ace Frehley is going on tour and Matt Starr is busy, then he needs to know that he can recommend Brian Ritchie for the gig. You need to be as versatile as possible, good at your niche, and importantly, you need to know how to work for somebody as opposed to being in your own band. There’s just more of that kind of work than new bands being signed into huge deals today.

So you’re saying artists must do more for their own artist development?

Yes. In order to get signed you have to put something out yourself and show it has legs before they sign you. That is how record companies view artists and bands, and how bands should view themselves and their career. All these things fall under the business hat that so many artists are unwilling to wear. They need to embrace it and pay attention. Watch a little less TV, play a few less video games, and put in the work.

You can get Volumes I and II of Dan’s new book/eBook series “Social Media Marketing for Musicians That Works!” on Amazon. You can follow the series and opt-into free webinars with Dan based on the books at



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