A Conversation With Soul Asylum's Dave Pirner
Mike Ragogna: Hello Mr. Dave Pirner!
Dave Pirner: Hey how are you doing Mike, what's happening?
MR: All's well. Dave, give us some background on Soul Asylum's new album, Delayed Reaction.
DP: Well, I think we were a rogue situation and my drummer, Michael Bland, called me up one day out of the blue and said, "Hey man, let's go to LA and record some basic tracks for our next project." At the time, I was floating. I didn't know if I was going to make a solo record or make a soul asylum record, and we had a gaping hole in the bass player section of the band because our bass player Karl Mueller succumbed to cancer a few years back. I was searching for the motivation to make an LP in these virtual days, and we just went about it and it turned into something really fun. Michael is somebody that has become a real key member in the band. He's a studio rat like me, he's an incredible musician, and he has perfect pitch, etc. We got it started out there in LA, then came up to Minneapolis and worked on it with Dan (Murphy), then came down and built the studio in my backyard in New Orleans. It has a real homespun, organic, high-tech thing going on, which a lot of bands are doing these days. The technology is enabling us to, for instance, do our vocals at home. So I did all the vocals in my backyard in New Orleans, but the drums were all cut in Minneapolis or Los Angeles. I can't put Michael in the backyard, he just makes too much racket. You need big rooms for certain things. A big, loud electric guitar requires a certain situation. I also don't want to piecemeal it together, and it's just years and years of experience that you don't find much in this line of work. People have a tendency to burn bright and burn out. If you live through it, you find yourself with this odd skill set, which I think has been applied in many ways to this record.
MR: I bet it took quite a while to pull it all together.
DP: At times, Soul Asylum was spending a million dollars making a record. You spend so much money just in your hotel room costs and all kinds of crazy extras that you could be spending on. But in that situation, that's how you get it down. I'm in the studio and I'm spending $2,000 a day and everybody's waiting for me to do something and I've got to do it. You take two months in a studio in Florida or LA or New York and you don't come out until it's done. It works and it's efficient and nerve-racking. The way I did it for my new record is just a different way of doing it and this is the way I would prefer to do it. However, it is hard to keep the ball rolling, so-to-speak.
MR: On the production side, you had a little assistance from Mr. John Fields.
DP: Yeah, John is great and years ago, John said, "Man, I just want to get you and Michael Bland in a room together and record you and see what happens." Then Michael joined the band and he called me for this record and I said here is this opportunity now. Me, John, and Michael are going to get into a room and we just got a whole lot done. John in incredibly musical in a way that he can just pick up a bass or a keyboard and the whole time he's doing it, he's doing the recording, sitting at the console. He's really great at multitasking, so between me, John and Michael, we can really get a lot done.
MR: I wanted to ask you about your new member, bass player Tommy Stinson from Guns N' Roses.
DP: I just was talking to Tommy's wife the other day--she sang some background vocals on a song called "By The Way" on the record. She said that Tommy's in Moscow and it's impossible not to have a good time when Tommy's around, and there's plenty of waiting for Axl to call and we don't make jokes about it but we want to. It makes his availability a little discerning because you never know when Axl's going to call. That's Tommy's priority because Axl was there first. We really miss him when he's not around and I love playing with Tommy, but I understand. I was talking to his special lady friend, and she said they just bought a house and Tommy's in Moscow playing with Axl. If he had his druthers, he might be somewhere else. But the money's pretty good in Moscow for Guns N' Roses as far as I can tell.
MR: Can you go into the story of "By The Way?" It reminds me of "Runaway Train."
DP: Well, it's funny you should mention it because that song does go back almost that far, and at the time, I already had "Runaway Train." That song just got tossed to the wayside because I guess at that time in my life, I was doing a lot of introspective things. Michael has a tendency to push me towards the fast and loud and aggressive, which is what you need when you've spent your whole life playing punk rock, and then you want to stretch out and play the acoustic guitar. You get sucked into it because it takes less production. Michael just encourages me to rock hard, and that's a really nice thing. It's not like after rocking hard your whole life you have to be reminded that you have to rock hard, but maybe you do. Anyhow, it was a very simple song, by the way, cut in New Orleans. Michael tried to re-cut it in Minneapolis and there was just no way I was going to ever let him play it again because he was hearing it for the very first time. There's something that happens in the studio where you try to capture spontaneity at the same time. You don't want to walk into the studio unrehearsed. Danny suggested the song as a way to warm up on. Michael played it in a way that I had never heard drums on that song before, and it was exactly what the song needed to get it onto a record. So he tried to play it again in Minneapolis with Dan and I just said, "Man, you already got this, you played it in New Orleans." He played it once and it was exactly what the song had lacked. That's what made this process work, putting yourself into a situation where tape just happened to be rolling. Tommy got a hold of "By The Way" and added some really nice electric guitar in his home studio, and he added his special lady friend who's singing the background vocals and all those elements came together. You don't know what a song needs until somebody comes along and says, "How about this," and it's the exact right thing; it's a very unique process. This is going to sound like a pretentious comparison but it's like you have a half-finished painting on the wall and someone comes by and says, "Try this," and you're like, "I never thought of that color, that's perfect, thanks!"
MR: Dave, let's get to "Gravity." After my first listen of that song, it seemed like an amalgam of both the concept of gravity itself and the gravity of the situation. Is it a merger of the two?
DP: Absolutely. There's a Vic Chesnutt song--he's one of my favorite songwriters--and he has a song called "Gravity Of The Situation." I'm sure that over the years, things like that have informed me where I was going with the concept of feeling like people are keeping you down and admiring people who are light on their feet and feeling this burden, and this ability to want to add some levity to the situation. I was feeling like something is holding you down, and then seeing your friend who is happy all the time and doesn't really care when something happens, and then thinking, "I wish I were a little more light and could float above this situation a little bit more." I was talking to somebody last night and I was going, "It's weird, the longer I'm around, the more I just give in to the world of science fiction." I think when I was growing up, I was not into the whole outer space thing. I don't know...it's just too much fun to wonder about what life would be without gravity. I just started thinking about outer space more as an adult than I probably ever did as a kid. That was also inspiring, the concept of being stuck to the earth.
MR: I have a different read on that because if you look at comic books, they have been aimed at adults for a long time now. Sci-fi isn't just for kids. Though DC and Marvel have aimed at adolescents and pre-pubescents, they know their readership also includes adults. I think it's more of a clear to us geeks who love sci-fi and comic books. (laughs)
DP: Well, we can certainly bond on that, Mike. I'm a severe graphic novels junkie. People ask me about it, and I say I like the graphic novels. Comic books are for kids and graphic novels are for adults. But you can't really separate the two. If you're going to call it a graphic novel, you might just be attaching a pretentious name to a comic book, so you can't really make the separation. But for me, it's the thrill of trying to put the words together with the artwork. To me, it's like trying to put words to music. There has always been this connection, and I really bonded with some of the fans of graphic artists like Peter Bagge and people like that. In the meantime, I just saw The Avengers and you see Marvel taking it back from Hollywood. You see four superheroes in a movie...you have The Beatles.
MR: To me, that was an amazing movie. I thought they achieved something you don't see in big star-filled ensemble movies. I felt that every time one of those characters got on screen, it suddenly became their movie, but it was seamless, the was a script held everything together. I actually was really shocked at how good it was.
DP: Yeah, it was like seeing four movies in one. You walk out thinking "That was a no-brainer." It's pretty cool seeing that being so indisposable in our culture. You can't make the Hulk go away, they're just going to keep making movies about him, and he's going to keep being an interesting character. I keep thinking about Lou Ferrigno and Bill Bixby. I like the David Banner character, and you think about all these ridiculous things when you're watching these movies because they are suddenly generating so much money. You're sitting there watching The Hulk think, "I wonder how Ed Norton is feeling now that this is a blockbuster." He thinks he can't be the Hulk anymore because it's bad for his acting career, and then when a bazillion people went, he thinks, "Eh, maybe I should have been the Hulk one more time?"
MR: Yeah, maybe, huh. I'm a huge Ed Norton fan, so when I heard he wasn't going to be in this movie, I was sad. But then you see Mark Rufalo in the role, and after watching him in action, it was a no-brainer.
DP: Yeah, I really liked it. He did remind me more of Bill Bixby than the other guys who played Hulk. I liked Bill Bixby, I don't know why. I thought he was a good David Banner.
MR: Me too. Hey, getting back to you sir, how do your words and music come together? What's your creative process?
DP: A big pain in the ass in a home-spun record is learning how to use all the technology itself, so that is the part of the creative process that really dogs me because I'm not that technical-minded. But like I was saying, Michael likes to take me in a harder, more aggressive direction and for stuff like that, it's a little bit harder to sit around with an acoustic guitar and imagine this loud, explosive thing. So to that effect, I like getting together with the drummer to get the energy going, that helps to realize something faster when you're experiencing it. When I'm sitting around and imagining that I'm rocking out, it takes a little more hands-on experience. I will work and work and work at an idea for years or however long it takes me to get in a place where I can present it to Danny or Michael or Tommy, and this time around, we weren't all together in a room at times, so I had been making demos and pitching them to the band and trying to get the band behind certain songs. That process takes a really long time because Soul Asylum is kind of a fake democracy in a way, but I really like everybody in the band to be behind what the band is doing. That means you've got to like the song, because if you don't like it, you're not going to play anything good on it. With a band like Soul Asylum, the taste is so incredibly broad with the band members, and they're just jaded. I've got some jaded fellows here that have heard it all and, of course, they know it all, Mike! But that part of the process makes the process bizarre because my inclination is to go on a really experimental direction. I end up pitching things at Danny, and he looks at me and says, "Are you making a hip-hop-from-outer-space record here? How does this apply to Soul Asylum?" So I enjoy that part of the process. Unfortunately, it's really pure because I end up making a lot of music that nobody ever hears. It needs to be put out on the table and scraped off the table so something can be put on the table that the band is going to go, "Eureka, that's what we want!" But I have all this other really strange music that I just don't know what I'm going to do with. It seems to really inform the process of getting to the more accessible ideas.
MR: I'll just throw this out there...could you have your accessible songs on one disc and then a second disc of all the experiments?
DP: Yeah, I'm hoping I can realize that one day. Even when I made the solo record, it was the same sort of process of the songs that speak quickly to the individual that are going to be the songs that people are going to jump on and play something cool. Otherwise, they're just like, "Where are you going with this Dave, what's happening here." I am also traveling through a dark tunnel believing there is light at the end.
MR: Who is the character in "The Streets" as in the one who "...keeps me off the streets"?
DP: I was just talking to a buddy of mine and he said, "Dave, let's get together and write a song." He's been bugging me about it for a while, so I walked over to where he was and we started working on the first verse. Then he goes, "A guy meets a girl in a bar," and he explains to me a situation and I'm trying to think of rhymes. Then his wife walks up and his wife looks at him and I realize it's autobiographical. He's telling me the story of how he met his wife and she's standing there. It's really funny because it's not autobiographical for me but the experience of just being in a rock band, the jokes are like, "What do you call a drummer without a girlfriend? Homeless." Stuff like that when you're coming up and embracing being in a rock band, you have to embrace being able to live anywhere and sleep on couches on the road and just be a part of this really crazy world that is not pretty and not comfortable and not clean. I came down to New Orleans with no plan, nowhere to stay, nowhere to go, no one that I knew in town. I just started living amongst the people on the street and that's what happens to me. I'm a little more comfortable in the company of strangers sometimes than I am around people who know me. That led to a bunch of interesting conversations with people on the street--cab drivers, and people from all over the world. It's a really great element and I can really get sucked into it. Some people like myself are not that inclined to be domestic, and there's this constant struggle going on of being this dirty f**king road urchin and then coming home and needing to shower all the crust off. The ladies don't dig that too much, so I do think that it's semi-autobiographical in the way that we, people in bands, find that you have to go home every now and then and you need that traditional support of a significant other. That's perhaps what's going to keep you showered and shaved.
MR: (laughs) I think it's time to discuss the song "Let's All Kill Each Other."
MR: That's what I'm saying. Mmm-hmm. (laughs)
DP: Yeah, Michael tried to explain that in the band bio and I'm glad he did because people don't always assume the writer's sense of humor. To me, it's just a lot of Hatfields and McCoys in the Middle East and the West, and it's a lot of feuding and fighting. In a scenario where you're living in a post-Hiroshima world, it's like either we're just going to squabble forever or just get really sarcastic. That's where that song is going. I just get so tired about the fussing and the feuding and trying to understand it and trying to understand what makes Bush Jr.'s relationship with the Middle East different from Obama's, and this, that, and the other thing, and trying to understand these age-old conflicts. It's throwing your hands up in the air, being sarcastic as hell, saying I'm an anti-violent person. The quote that makes me laugh is a George Harrison quote where he says, "If everybody who's a gun-owner shot themselves, we wouldn't have a gun problem."
MR: (laughs) I want to ask you about "Runaway Train." You got a Grammy for it. What's your take on The Grammys?
DP: Soul Asylum won Best New Band in Minneapolis when the band had been around for six years. Music is not a contest, it's not a competition, so giving out trophies seems a little bit like the sporting world I left behind when I was a kid. It doesn't make any sense to me to make a contest out of making music, so when I won a Grammy award, I had already been through the "Here's a trophy for the fastest runner, etc." It didn't really have that much meaning to me at the time. But now that I've been living in New Orleans for fourteen years, the Rebirth Brass Band just got their first Grammy, and goddamn if I'm not thrilled about that. That's a really important organization, institution, band, that's being recognized on a much bigger scale where the whole town celebrates it. I didn't have that feeling for my Grammy because it's a different sort of thing. But at the same time, I have a hard time getting my foot in the door in New Orleans because I don't play Jazz music. It's a whole different education, mentality, way of going about making music, that people can't believe I have a Grammy in New Orleans...like how the hell did you get that? So to that effect, it's kind of a kick. (laughs) I haven't really had to use it yet, but the day you see a poster that says "Grammy-Winning Songwriter Dave Pirner" playing at some s**thole club tonight, you know I've gotten desperate. If it impresses people, there you go. I'm out to impress you. (laughs) But in the meantime, a trophy is an odd thing to hand out at artsy things. But the song doesn't go away, and I'm very thankful that I was able to get myself in a place that was so alienated and down in a psychopathic way that I was able to come up with a tune that people really identified with. It's nice that it's not a song about dancing and screwing and dating, it's just something else that hits a nerve somewhere. To that effect, it never gets old for me.
MR: It's one of those songs, that I find myself breaking into occasionally. It's right there in the strangest and most appropriate moments.
DP: It's a really strange process. When I first came up with that song, it had different lyrics, so I'm glad I changed them.
MR: What were the original lyrics?
DP: It was called "Two Souls." It was like, "Two souls laughing in the rain, one is crazy and the other's insane..." It was that thing that I tried to explain to people, that the song Paul McCartney wrote called "Yesterday" was first called "Ham And Eggs." He was singing a tune on the piano called "Ham And Eggs" and then threw a "yesterday" in there and thought, "That's sounds pretty good." He explains that people are crushed because they can't understand that it started off as ham and eggs.
MR: As do many people's days.
DP: Probably, exactly what he was having for breakfast.
MR: And Soul Asylum had me as a fan from "Somebody To Shove." I heard that song and I was in.
DP: Thanks. That was the last song to end up on that record, and the beginning of the end of my journey to find my awesome drummer. That was a drummer that came in named Sterling Campbell and I had the song "Somebody To Shove" and I just couldn't get it right. He played it once and he nailed it and at that point, I knew that so much of what I'm doing is coming from the drummer just in what you hear. It's the loudest thing and if that doesn't have the right feel and the right sound, it's sometimes hard to engage people past the beats. It's like Dick Clark. What did you like about that song? It had a good beat. So I have that going on and that's certainly part of the foundation as far as what's going to hit your ear bone first.
MR: Dave, what advice do you have for new artists?
DP: I always think of Doc Severson on The Tonight Show. I was very young and Johnny Carson said, "Well Doc, what do you have to say to young trumpet players?" At the time, I was a trumpet player, another reason I ended up down here in New Orleans. Doc just looked at the camera and said, "Kids, be a doctor or a lawyer." It struck me as really disappointing because I was looking at the trumpet-playing dude to give me a tip and he said don't be a trumpet player, it's a hard life. That's the advice I would also extend to kids, especially in this age of virtual-reality. It's still in this strange place where people are taking their music in a way that we don't really know how the hell we're supposed to make a living doing this. To that effect, learn the piano first. Here in New Orleans, what a lot of the musical families do--and this is a romantic concept on my part--is they teach their kids to tap dance first. Then after tap dance, you learn piano, and after piano, you get to pick between all the instruments that are out there. That's where it's at for me. I just watched a bunch of eight-year-olds doing synchronized dance moves. You can see it in every single one of their faces--some kids are counting, some kids it comes naturally to, their parents are dancers... Some kids hate being up there, some kids are so challenged by it that they can think about what they're going to eat afterwards, and you can just see it in every single kid. That's where you have to follow your focus. If the flute's not working out for you, try the tuba. (laughs)
MR: Proving once again that it's all about the tuba. Let's get an update on what's going on in New Orleans. A few years ago in August of 2007, I went down there to present Fats Domino gold record replacements since his collection was destroyed in the flood. But while I was there, I recorded a music video and was shocked by the state of the Ninth Ward. I haven't been there in a while, so what's the current status of New Orleans in 2012?
DP: Well, last time I was in Ninth Ward, there was still nothing there and the part of town where I am right now, where there is a rehearsal studio, there are a lot of Hispanic people in this neighborhood who came to New Orleans and rebuilt the city. You have a different population than you have after Katrina, and you also have a city that is so goddamn resilient. That's why everybody believes in the saints and that's why corruption is a part of the fabric. If you hit a place that's as screwed up as New Orleans with a hurricane, people are trying to recover back to something that was screwed up in the first place. There's this douching factor that happened that I just really wasn't ready for. These days, you're still standing in lines at Lowe's and people are still talking about fixing s**t from Katrina. It's such a fascinating, transient place that's always in a state of chaos anyway, and that's why I came here. Nobody is happy about the toxic sludge that roles around here when something like Katrina happens, and it's disgusting, a dirty place full of crazy people, and that's why we love it here. There's a lot of tragic comedy going on and there's a lot of suffering. There's suffering by people who have come from a place where all they've ever known is suffering and you've got this incredible dichotomy of people who depend on a second-line dance just to make themselves feel okay. I guess, most recently, I was flying down here after spending Christmas in Minneapolis where I'm from, and I was sitting next to a black woman on the plane heading from Minneapolis to New Orleans and we got to talking. She said that she was up in North Dakota doing some sort of factory line work and she was a scab, she was walking across the picket line, working on Christmas day. I'm thinking to myself, "How are you going to say that it's not right to cross a picket line when you're traveling from New Orleans to North Dakota to work to make some money on Christmas day?" I mean, come on! I asked her, "What are you looking forward to when you get back to New Orleans." This woman was clearly exhausted, she had been working her ass off and I didn't get that far in the conversation, but I'm sure it was to cover her holiday expenses. She just said, "I can't wait to get to the Second Line." She needs to parade and dance down the street to feel good about her life and that's a profound reality of New Orleans and part of the reason why I love it so much.
MR: That's so beautiful, I don't know how you top that. Can you say one last brief thing about one of the songs on the album?
DP: Let's go with "Into The Light (Breaking Horses)." It is about as poetic as a record gets in a way that's just rife with metaphor. Hopefully, it's going to make sense to whoever is listening.
MR: And topically?
DR: Sure, it's a song about growing up. The chorus is something I've re-written a few times and just stuck with the way it is. I'm singing something called "breaking horses" and I've realized that's a little bit too poetic for me. In rock 'n' roll, I think you're supposed to spell things out and there are a lot of people who are using a lot of impressionistic language. But to me, a broken horse is a horse that has been trained to ride and trained to adhere to whatever its rider is telling it to do. To me, that's what growing up is in a really strange way. You're still a horse and the word "broken" just seems so horrible to me, it's like being housebroken. (laughs) It's trying to live within the confines of not being an anarchist that's just running around throwing bricks in windows and growing up and being part of society in a way that's good and is going to be good. So it's a really positive song and it deals with trying to be a part of something.
MR: Any touring?
DP: The gigs are rolling in, so we're going to go out and tour as much as we can around this record and see what the world has in store for us. It's always a different thing when you go out for an extended period of time, and we continue to play year-round, but when a record comes out, we really go after it. I'm really looking forward to getting to some of those places that I haven't been to a lot recently because you tend to end up playing in the bigger cities. So we're going to go out there and find some of those people we haven't seen in a while. That's always great to be in a job where you get to bring the job to the people, you know?
2. Into The Light (Breaking Horses)
3. The Streets
4. By The Way
5. Pipe Dream
6. Let's All Kill Each Other
7. Cruel Intentions
8. The Juice
9. Take Manhattan
10. I Should've Stayed In Bed
Transcribed by Narayana Windenberger
A Conversation With Todd Smith of Gyroskope
Mike Ragogna: Todd, what is the origin of Gyroskope?
Todd Smith: My background is in the music business, first as an artist, then as a producer and indie label owner, so I basically lived through the transition, from the time when people paid for music to the time when music became free. I'm not down on free; free is great, but eventually, you hit a wall. If nobody ever replenishes the stream, eventually it will dry up. Artists and producers need to make money in order to do what they do, which is bring us music and art and stuff that makes the world a better place. So Gyroskope is a possible solution to the problem of what is the best way for independent content producers to monetize their work, given that the paradigm for digital content consumption has shifted from paid to free?
I think there is a feeling among music fans that, it's okay to share these files because the artist isn't going to see any of the money anyway. And you know what, they're right. I think fans want to support the artists they love, and Gyroskope is built to facilitate that direct transactional relationship. I think there is a feeling among artists that, if I work my ass off and get a hit, why should the guy who owns the pipeline get most of the money? And you know what, they're right too, and Gyroskope is built for that as well. Gyroskope gets the same small monthly fee no matter how much you sell.
MR: Can you explain what's its role is with regards to social media?
TS: Gyroskope is built for the social web environment, harnessing that power to work on behalf of the artists and content producers. We have a share player that producers can embed on their Facebook pages that plays previews and pulls fans over to their Gyroskope profiles to complete a purchase. We have relationship tools built-in for producers. For example, YouTube views are sort of anonymous or faceless to the video producer. On Gyroskope, producers can message fans who have purchased their work, to let them know about new titles or just build that relationship. Finally, as a fan, you can use your Facebook or Twitter accounts as your Gyroskope login, so you don't have to keep track of yet another login, and your friends will see your Gyroskope activity, which will help bring exposure to the artists you support on Gyroskope.
MR: Can you give an example of how this would be useful to someone with, let's say, a music video?
TS: Yes, if you have created a music video, Gyroskope is going to be your best option to sell that content, versus free sharing sites where you don't make anything, or e-commerce sites that are going to take a chunk of your sales revenue. So you go to https://Gyroskope.com/producer and set up an account quickly and easily. All producer accounts come with a free 14-day trial, so you can try it out and start selling at no cost. Once your account is created, just go to your Media Manager and upload your video; set your title, description, tags, and price, and you are in business. From your producer dashboard, you can grab code to embed into your website or Facebook. You can also track your sales and views, message your customers, etc.
MR: As I understand it, it's an asset for monetizing for various mediums, such as music, film, athletic programs from schools, anything that uses visual representation. What is the heaviest use at the moment and which areas do you see major growth in the next couple of years?
TS: Gyroskope was originally built for music and entertainment-related content, since that was my background. As a result, most of the current producers on Gyroskope fall into this category. But we have realized that that really is the tip of the iceberg; this platform could be useful for creators of digital content regardless of genre or audience. We are starting to see some educational and instructional content, which I think could be a next wave of innovation in terms of digital delivery of this type of content, and we hope that Gyroskope can play a part in that. We also see non-profit organizations using Gyroskope as another way to take donations. I see us getting deeper into college and high-school sports, digital content distribution for business, virtual tourism... The possibilities are endless.
MR: How do creative artists come on board and how expensive is this?
TS: Gyroskope has three pricing levels for content producers: The basic plan starts at $19 a month; the standard plan is $79 a month; and the premium producer plan is $499 a month, which includes unlimited storage and bandwidth, as well as branded mobile apps and the option to embed the Gyroskope functionality within your own web environment.
MR: There has been a lot of emphasis in the initial phase on music, but how can others monetize their assets using Gyroskope?
TS: Gyroskope is for anybody that needs to sell a video. It might be a music video or your feature film, but it might also be a school play for a fundraiser. It might be a keynote speech at a conference or graduation. It might be a lecture or a virtual tour of an historic landmark. No matter what it is, we want to be the YouTube for independent content producers that need to not only distribute, but also sell their work.
MR: How do you compete with a YouTube that's free or a Netflix that has an established value for their billing? In other words, why would someone use Gryoskope over other platforms?
TS: Content producers can't sell their videos through YouTube, so in that sense, YouTube isn't a competitor. Netflix is more of an aggregator or a middle-man, meaning it's not really a platform that allows producers to have a direct transactional relationship with their audience. There are some other options, such as Amazon CreateSpace, which can take over half of the sale. In addition, we worked hard to create a high-end user experience for producer and fan. It's more of a premium environment without ads. For all these reasons, we humbly believe that Gyroskope is the best option.
MR: What's the next step in gathering more content?
TS: We have been focused on improving the service and creating the best possible experience for producers and fans based on feedback from early users; we are now moving into an aggressive sales and marketing phase, where we will reach out to all types of producers who may be in need of a monetization platform.
Transcribed by Jeffrey Smith
HuffPost Entertainment is your one-stop shop for celebrity news, hilarious late-night bits, industry and awards coverage and more — sent right to your inbox six days a week. Learn more