Arguing Michigan musicians don’t need to move to Nashville to ‘make it,’ the Rockford business development consultant aims to put a national spotlight on the state’s talent with a new TV network & more.
As a business development consultant with lofty credentials ranging from songwriting and music production to work in renewable energy and custom military fabrication, Nick Caster has seen his share of success stories over the years.
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Now, the Rockford-based CEO of NC1 Agency is bent on creating more of those success stories for Michigan artists who may not otherwise have the resources or industry connections to move forward.
And he’s convinced they don’t have to relocate to Nashville or some other “music mecca” to make that happen.
“I work to build strong relationships within the corporate world, as well as help bridge gaps between Nashville’s music community with Michigan’s film and arts scene by way of joint ventures that are both successful financially, but also allow me exposure across different markets at once,” said Caster, 39.
“I believe that musicians move to Nashville (because) it’s the place to be to ‘make it.’ This is untrue because the scene is where you make it. There are so many great paying music opportunities in Michigan and multiple venues for live music throughout West Michigan.”
As part of that, NC1 plans to launch The Michigan TV Network – an OTT (over-the-top) online streaming media service – that will feature “news and business insights within the state of Michigan” and serve as “a gateway for entertainers and musicians.”
The streamable network aims to curate “brand partnerships between music and film by collaborating with filmmakers and musicians who wish to feature their content” on the network.
The network debuting in March also plans to host a channel dedicated to up-and-coming talent – a “visual electronic press kit channel” for Michigan musicians that would be distributed on every platform, including Apple TV, Amazon, Hulu and Roku.
A one-time producer and songwriter who contributed to tracks that earned Top 10 iTunes placements in rock, electronic, pop and Christian music, Caster also serves as development director for the second-year House Music Awards being staged at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry in April as well as a new “Sync It” songwriting competition.
Caster, who was raised in Charlotte, Mich., boasts a long roster of artists with whom he’s worked over the years, with his NC1 agency “growing” artists such as Vara, Ty March, Payton Howie, Wendy Moten and Rockford singer-songwriter Dan Terry. His bio proclaims that he’s been “passionate about helping others grow behind the scenes.”
Team members at NC1 include agency co-founder, writer, blogger and marketing expert Dani Felt, renowned producer, engineer and songwriter Jordan Lake; and music, film and TV producer Steve Owens.
Caster said NC1 leans on its resources “to streamline an artist’s brand for success,” guiding artists in methods that “monetize their content effectively to gain a return on investment” for their time and money. That means focusing on search-engine optimization and producing high-quality content.
DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY EXPERTISE WITH ‘REAL-WORLD GRIT AND TENACITY’
In Caster’s view, musicians and songwriters are most likely to find success if they stay true to themselves.
“When it comes to music, authenticity is everything. Be yourself and try not to be too embarrassed by your errors. Everyone makes them,” said Caster, who brandishes a “BELIEVE” tattoo on his arm.
“Networking with other musicians will help you learn from their experience. Expand on what they know about networking in this industry so that when the time comes for promotion or representation by an agent or publisher, yours stands out amongst others’ workmanship.”
Terry, a veteran songwriter from Rockford who’s spent a lot of time in Nashville, has leaned on Caster’s expertise in marketing and social media to greatly broaden exposure for his songs and his presence as an artist.
“Nick has helped improve my digital presence on social media. He has exceeded all my expectations,” Terry said. “Most musicians don’t have the skills to navigate all the ins and outs of social media. Nick has those skills in abundance.
“When Nick first started working with me, we had five songs on social media that garnered over 4.1 million hits within a month. My phone blew up. I couldn’t imagine building a social media ad campaign without the help of Nick Caster. He is a joy to work with and he knows what he is doing.”
Paul Kwant, director of Ferris State University’s Music and Entertainment Business program, called Caster “a thinker” with “real-world grit and tenacity” who boasts a wealth of knowledge about search-engine optimization and digital marketing.
“He is consistently looking for opportunities that marry digital technology and marketing,” said Kwant, noting that Caster has assisted the Ferris MEB program and its students with video marketing and digital media.
“He has a mind for analytics and understands how to use digital marketing for growth. Businesses of all sizes can benefit from working smarter and seeing a positive return on their marketing spend.”
Caster, a University of Michigan alum, hasn’t just immersed himself in the music world. He’s also served as a data strategy specialist for Google, contracted with Live Nation and Geffen Records for his SEO expertise, and been involved in business development for S.A.F.E. Structure Designs and Newco/Blox.
But his passion remains centered on the entertainment industry and training a spotlight on Michigan’s music scene.
“My hopes are to bring more talented artists to Michigan,” said Caster, “and continue to grow our music community to expose unique talent that has the ‘It’ factor.”
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