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#120 Ben O'Brien Smith-Co-Host of the Sounds Like a Drum Video Series, Marketing & Media Guru & More!

#120 Ben O'Brien Smith-Co-Host of the Sounds Like a Drum Video Series, Marketing & Media Guru & More!

This week’s guest is Ben O’Brien Smith. Ben is a Musician, photographer, videographer, and all around social media geek. He has fused these elements into the services that Cadence Independent Media provides. Having spent nearly seven years working with the top brands and retailers within the musical instrument market as well as some of the greatest musicians of all time, He has developed a methodology and a means of execution for marketing individuals and products both inside and outside of the social sphere. He is also the co-host of the Sounds Like a Drum video series on YouTube.

Educational spotlight for this week…..

The WGI percussion championships were this past weekend and here are all the scores from the weekend. Special shout out to Spirit of America Winter Percussion for coming in third place. Damon and Marcos have done masterclasses for Spirit in the past for their Day of Percussion and we have interviewed both Ian Hale and Colin McNutt who have been on staff and written music for the percussion section. Spirit Winter Percussion of Orleans, Massachusetts is an indoor marching percussion ensemble whose members range from ages 10-22. Since their inception in 2004, every year in which Spirit has participated at the WGI World Championships (15 years), the group has been amongst the top 6 Finalists! Also, shoutout to Norwalk High School (Damon’s Alma mater) for coming in third place in their division.

The other educational spotlight mentioned is the Interlochen Summer Camp, which is located in beautiful northwest Michigan. Interlochen Arts Camp offers summer programs for grades 3-12. Students study music, theatre, visual arts, film, creative writing and dance, guided by an outstanding faculty and guest artists, and inspired by the scenic beauty of their campus.

The iconic recording this week……..

Is Afro-Blue by Mongo Santamaria. Also performed by Cal Tjader and John Coltrane.

Music News for this week…..

Friend of the show, Suz Paulinski writes and article about 5 steps to a more productive week as a musician.


The next article compares some of the best wireless headphones and earbuds. There’s also new bone conduction headphones that don’t go in your ear and keep your ears open to hear other sounds around you. Lastly, Music Creation Startup Splice Brings Its Funding Total to $105 Million. The music creation startup raised an impressive $57.5 million in a Series C funding round.  Existing investors Union Square Ventures and True Ventures led the round, joined by Growth, Flybridge, Lerer Hippeau, Liontree, Founders Circle Capital, & Matt Pincus, founder of Songz Publishing. In addition, the startup confirmed it had paid out $15 million in royalties to music creators who distribute their works on Splice Sounds.

Ben started his journey in percussion in the city of Burlington, Vermont. Damon and Ben talk about a couple of the venues that have put Burlington on the map like Nectar’s and Higher Ground.

After high school, Ben attended the Crane School of Music, which is part of SUNY (State University of New York) Potsdam. Right out of college, Ben got a job with D’Addario, specifically working with Evans Drum Heads and then Pro-Mark Sticks (and mallets).

The top two social media tips Ben has for individuals are consistency (posting on a regular basis) and making sure the content posted has some sort of value to the viewer.

Here are four articles for upping your social media game with tips and suggestions to make your social media engagement better. The first three are for the individual and the fourth is catered more to a band.

Article 1 - Article 2 - Article 3 - Article 4


There were two Sarah McLachlan commercials that were on TV a bunch. The first one was for the SPCA and the second (referred to by Damon) is the one for animal cruelty.

Ben mentions his Sounds Like a Drum co-host, Cody Rahn in helping with the videos and playing and tuning and more.

Damon brings up the visual aesthetic of Carter MacLean’s Instagram presence. Ben talks about the guy Carter studied with, Chase Jarvis.

If you’re wondering what Cadence Independent Media offers, Cadence Independent Media is focused entirely on social. They are social strategists and creatives. They execute and educate. They aren't traditional publicists or managers. They're there to aid you in the growth, engagement, and activation of your social following through strategic and effective storytelling. Every artist and business is different. As a result, their social strategy should align with their branding and customer base. They don't believe in a "one size fits all" philosophy and as such, they begin with a discovery phase in order to best understand the audience and marketplace.

The two Instagram pages that Ben brings up that use creative techniques are Reynolds Kitchen and Anderson Paak.

To balance multiple careers and schedule his day, Ben uses iCal and Asana project management software.

Damon talks about decision fatigue and how to combat it.

Ben really enjoys using Evans Drum Heads and ProMark sticks as well as Reflexx Practice Pads. The Synkd Metronome app is another product Ben digs.

You can reach out to Ben at Cadence Independent Media. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as Sounds Like a Drum on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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#121 Neil Larrivee- Vice President at Vic Firth & Zildjian/Staff at The Cadets Drum Corps

#121 Neil Larrivee- Vice President at Vic Firth & Zildjian/Staff at The Cadets Drum Corps

#119 DnP Round Table 3- Feat. Javier Raez, Marcos Lopez, Marcos Torres & Damon Grant

#119 DnP Round Table 3- Feat. Javier Raez, Marcos Lopez, Marcos Torres & Damon Grant