[INTERVIEW] Paul Reed Shares Details About Co-Founding BLNK CNVS & Miami Music Week 2023
Miami Music Week 2023 is just a few days away and absolutely stacked with top-tier lineups, featuring the hottest EDM acts from across the globe. Over the last decade, event promoter and brand BLNK CNVS has played a substantial role in MMW by putting on a wide selection of thrilling label showcases, pool parties, and other experiences. This year will be no different. BLNK CNVS is doubling down and delivering more than 25 events during the flagship week for electronic music. Its team has joined forces with the most immersive venues, imprints, and artists, to give music fanatics the optimal MMW adventure.
At the heart of BLNK CNVS is its innovative co-founders, Paul Reed and Eric Fuller. After working together for Life In Color, the two visionaries launched BLNK CNVS and have dedicated themselves to building it into the extremely successful and unique organization that it is today. We were lucky enough to talk with Paul about his history in the music and entertainment industries, as well as a behind-the-scenes look into BLNK CNVS itself.
Check out iEDM's exclusive interview with BLNK CNVS's co-founder Paul Reed below.
iEDM: During the early phases of your career in event planning and promotion, who are a few mentors that you most looked up to and why?
Paul: There were a lot of people I looked up to when I first got into this business - the founders at Life In Color, Disco Donnie, folks from Electric Zoo, and Jacob Smid from SFX. I was inspired by the business they built and how they were pushing the envelope to innovate and give fans these incredible experiences.
iEDM: How were you able to network and get opportunities for yourself before having any connections or experience in event planning?
Paul: I always tell people to be friendly to everyone even if they are like some big name in the business because you never know who they will grow into. I just was friendly with people and spent time building genuine relationships with them that were not based on me asking them for favors. If you spend time building those relationships, they will be a lot more fruitful than just asking everyone you meet for a job.
iEDM: What are some things that newbies in the event space can do to sell themselves or bulk up their resumes to get their foot in the door with an entry-level position? What are a few good options to look for when searching for initial experience in the music, entertainment, and event industries?
Paul: The best advice I can give is to reach out to people and be friendly like I was talking about above. Don’t be afraid to take roles that you think you're above, you will always learn something. You can often still find me working the door at events or artist hospitality. You need to learn every aspect of the event game. It will help you in the long run.
iEDM: After meeting your co-worker Eric at Life In Color, you guys eventually partnered up and launched BLNK CNVS. Why do you think you and Eric clicked, along with sharing a similar vision? How do you play to each other's strengths when working together?
Paul: Eric and I have this great yin and yang relationship. He is a wizard on the event planning, production, and budgeting side of things and that is an area I don't have that much expertise in. I handle all the marketing, branding, etc., and this balance definitely works. We have full trust in each other and know we are both going to hustle to create the best events possible and build an incredible brand together.
iEDM: How did your roles at Medium Rare and Life In Color overlap with one another? What is the most significant experience from them that has transferred over to prosperity with BLNK CNVS?
Paul: Life In Color was a whirlwind and I was constantly learning new things and implementing them. When I started at LIC, Instagram was totally new and Facebook ads didn't even exist yet. I think the one thing that sticks out to anyone who knows me is my background and expertise. I developed in my time with LIC and Medium Rare to build incredibly effective paid digital plans with a solid creative vision.
iEDM: What are the different positions and roles among your team at BLNK CNVS? What strategies do you use to divide up tasks and make sure each show is receiving the right amount of attention?
Paul: We are a super small team with just 5 people right now so we all wear a lot of hats. But the business is really divided between the operations and marketing sides of things. We are in constant communication with each other about what's going on with each show, sales, budget, talent, production, and everything else. This guarantees we all know where we need to focus and what needs to be done first.
iEDM: What is the process behind picking solid additions to BLNK CNVS Promo Team? What can influencers do to help bring more attention to BLNK CNVS or anyone’s events?
Paul: The influencer and street team market was one of the first areas I got a lot of opportunities in when I was new to the events game. I figured out early that those opinion leaders on socials really carry some social currency and value if you get the right people onboard. It's been wild watching the influencer market grow into the beast it is today. But the basis of a great street team/influencer program is identifying people that bring real value and support your brand genuinely, not that they just want quick free tickets or cash.
iEDM: Why do lineups often include ??? or blurred-out names on them? What impact do you think this has on ticket sales?
Paul: Lineups for MMW often include ??? or blurred names mostly due to radius agreements with other festivals that prevent them from being announced until a certain time or at all. I think fans are smart though and piece things together. It is always fun to look at the comments and see everyone's guesses. This is actually very helpful for the IG algorithm to have all those comments.
iEDM: How do you match up venues with the proper event theme and lineup? What is an example of when you altered the appearance of a venue to align with the show’s vibe?
Paul: This is super important and something we are always discussing with artists and agents for our shows. I think Anjunadeep is a great example of this, MAPS Backlot is the perfect outdoor venue for the label and fans love it. On the flip side, if I threw that party in a dark warehouse people would be a little confused. The brand has a certain look and feel that we try to match so we can give fans the best experience possible.
iEDM: What are the frequent tough obstacles you have faced when coordinating with an artist or label’s team on a project? How are you able to overcome them?
Paul: When it comes to planning events, the obstacles are always changing. The only thing you can count on is that no matter how well you plan something will be off, like an artist missing a flight, a delivery being late, and so on. We work really hard to have our events run smoothly and I think the best way to work through them is just remaining calm, communicating with the proper parties, and remaining flexible to pivot if needed. Having an awesome team like ours really helps with this and they are the best to work with. It is great to know your team can take on any curveball that gets thrown your way and work through it.
iEDM: What goes into selecting the tracks on BLNK CNVS’s Spotify playlist for MMW? Is it based on the acts you are hosting or a variety of criteria?
Paul: It's a combination of stuff that is related to our events, stuff we are listening to, and just promoting tracks of artists we work with a lot. We are all huge music fans at BLNK CNVS and love finding new artists and music to share with everyone.
iEDM: What is the most unique piece of knowledge you picked up when it comes to separating BLNK CNVS from the competition and how have you leveraged it?
Paul: The secret is in the sauce 👨🏻🍳
iEDM: What tips do you have for MMW attendees who want to hit a bunch of different shows without getting burnt out mid-week?
Paul: You have to remember it's a marathon, not a sprint! I would suggest planning the events and sets you really want to see, then work on your schedule based on that. Don’t forget to get some sleep, stay hydrated, and eat!
iEDM: What makes Nashville a prime location to expand BLNK CNVS’s operations? What are any major differences between promoting shows in Nashville versus promoting them in Miami?
Paul: Nashville is an incredible music city! It's growing so much and tons of young professionals are moving to Nashville and calling it home. It's wildly different from Miami though and shows that crush in Miami often don't have the same response in Nashville and vice versa. It's been super interesting learning all the ins and outs of the dance scene in Nashville.
iEDM: What are your favorite things to do outside of music and event planning? Are there any interests or hobbies you would like to pick up in the future?
Paul: I’m a huge outdoors person and love spending time in nature and traveling. But my biggest vice is food. I'm a super foodie and love exploring new restaurants and cuisines with my fiancée.
iEDM: What future aspirations do you have for BLNK CNVS in 2023 and beyond? What new sectors in the music and event space would you like to see BLNK CNVS expand into?
Paul: For us, we want to keep doing what we are doing and building a super solid brand, with its foundation on booking incredible talent and providing amazing experiences for our fans. We have some big plans in the works for 2023 and beyond but are not ready to share those yet. Music fans will just have to give us a follow to find out all the details when the time is right!
Photos courtesy of Paul Reed & BLNK CNVS
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