#28: Recording Over 2300 Podcast Episodes and How You Can Start Podcasting or Livestreaming with Darran Bruce
Welcome to The Creator's Adventure where we interview creators from around the world, hearing their stories about growing a business.
Today we are talking with Darran Bruce about how he's recorded over 2300 episodes of his podcast and how you can start your own podcast or show.
Darran Bruce is the executive producer of “The DJ Sessions”, a live podcast on Twitch where he interviews electronic DJs and leaders from the music industry. Darran built “The DJ Sessions” with his 30+ years of experience in the film/broadcast tv/internet distribution industry.
Learn more about Darran: https://www.thedjsessions.com
Bryan McAnulty: Today, we're talking with Darran Bruce about how he's recorded over 2300 episodes of his podcast and how you can start a podcast of your own. Welcome to the Creator's Adventure, where we interview Creator's from around the world, hearing their stories about growing a business. My name is Bryan McAnulty. I'm the founder of Heights Platform. Let's get into it.
Hey everyone. We're here today with Darran Bruce. He is the executive producer of the DJ sessions, a live podcast on Twitch, where he interviews electronic DJs and leaders from the music industry. Darren has years of experience in TV broadcasting, and his passion for nightlife led him to the launch of the DJ session.
He's worked in film, broadcast, TV, internet distribution, and all that industry for 30 plus years now. And has now expanded his knowledge into VR and AR distribution. His production schedule includes 12 music events per month and over 40 interviews with DJ producers, electronic music professionals. So Darren, welcome to the show.
Darran Bruce: Thank you for having me here today, Bryan.
Bryan McAnulty: My first question for you is can you walk us through the story behind the DJ sessions? What inspired you to start this show?
Darran Bruce: Yeah. Well, the DJ sessions was first conceived at, at winter music conference in 2009. I was there doing some interviews with a friend of mine who had, who had gotten us there and, and connected us with a very high profile PR rep Sarah Cooper who manages names.
Carl Cox and Dave Dresden, Gabriel, and Dresden, and some bigger names in the industry. And it was kind of a big deal for us because I had never really left the state of Washington to do broadcast segments or TV show segments. And you know, I was just really excited to be in Miami, Florida for this and realized at that time that We, the show we were doing was called ITV NW, which stood for Northwest.
And one of our taglines was featuring the best from the Pacific Northwest, but I'm in Miami and I'm realizing, I can't say best from the Pacific Northwest cuz we're in Miami. So throughout that, I, I kind of came up and changed the con concept of the show to IV NW in the NW, stood for network. Which now gave us the ability to travel anywhere we wanted in the world.
And you're part of the ITV network. And wouldn't matter what city we're in. And while we were there, there was a young man that was staying with us in the condo and he came to us and said, Darren, I'm looking into this live streaming thing and I wanna live stream my DJ sets online. I said, well, that's a very novel concept because I'm streaming internet, radio stations out of a server outta my apartment right now.
And I know what bandwidth costs look like for that. So I also know what bandwidth costs look like for video, which is excruciatingly painful. So I'm saying what's the catch and how are you gonna do this? Cuz. And bandwidth at that time, the most, you were really getting outta your house or even a business connection was maybe two megabit uploads.
And I'm talking about, if you were paying 150 bucks a month for internet, you were getting two megabit upload speech, which really translated to about 0.6 0.7 megabits, which in video terms is nothing, nothing. So You know, he bounced that idea off me and I said, well, what platform are you using? And he said, I'm using this place called Ustream.
Have you heard of it? And I said, no. So he said, well, this is what I'm thinking of doing. So I got back home from winter music conference and I started exploring with Ustream and, and looking at the platform, cuz I'm a Mac guy. And you know, in the world that time, everything was kind of built for PC. And I said, oh, there's probably not a piece.
There's probably not a Mac version or it probably doesn't work with safari or. But I started playing with it and I started doing what was called the YouTube theory, where I would wake up and I would just be talking to the camera going live. Cause I wanted to see if I could break this platform or not.
Before I actually launched this DJ show. And I also wanted to be respectful and not thinking that not have the guy thought that I was kind of stealing his idea, cuz he wanted to do a DJ show and I was gonna do a DJ show. So I bounced it off the, my friends over that course of that summer. And I came up with the name, the DJ sessions, and it was one.
September. So this is, this is like January, February, and the year we're going all the way forward to like September-ish of 2009. And I was talking with friends of mine at the nightclubs. I had a lot of DJ friends and all that, and we were trying to figure out where we're gonna produce this show from cuz no businesses had internet.
They all had internet to do credit card processing, but didn't have internet for video.
Bryan McAnulty: I remember around that time, like. because we were, we were doing some video stuff then too. And I remember like the challenge to get started was even like finding a video host. And I remember we, yeah, we got a video host to sponsor us for something we were doing, because it was like a couple thousand dollars a year to pay for the video hosting service.
And nowadays, like, you just don't even worry about that.
Darran Bruce: Yeah, that was the thing is what's the commercialism that it gonna be like, is there gonna be commercials? And like, if we're doing a one hour DJ set, one of our main concerns was if you saw a pre-roll commercial and a post-roll commercial, that's great.
But if they do aro commercial, the middle of a DJ set, your viewers go, Ooh, you know? So anyways, my friend calls me up on a Tuesday night and says, Darren, I'm coming over. We're doing the DJ sessions. And I was like, all right, cool. He brought over a couple bottles of wine, put my headsets on. He sat behind me on a laptop.
I put two cameras on us and away we went, because at that time you could push Ustream directly to Facebook so you people could watch on Facebook. Unfortunately they did away with that later on. But we, we took U stream and after that test, we then moved it into my bedroom. The new studio and kind of just started inviting local DJs to come by and play.
And did a couple experiments with some DJs, but going back to winter music conference, 2009, I had actually interviewed Dave Dresden at that music conference. And he's one of the world's biggest known DJs played all over the place, a phenomenal guy, very nice person. He was coming to Seattle and I reached out to his PR person and said, Dave's come to Seattle.
Would it be okay if he came by the show and did it by my apartment? And did an interview and maybe played a set. I just went for broke and said, could he play a set? She hit him up. And he said, yeah, came by my house. Awesome. We had about 15, 20 people in my place here. We got Dave Dresden playing my bedroom.
That's awesome. You know, and my cat, my cat is my bed is a foot away from the DJ booth. My cat's sitting on the bed, you know, you can go back and watch that episode on our site. It was, it was phenomenal. I'll always bring that up and remember it. But at that moment I go, I'm onto something here. What if I can.
I, I always wanted to focus on local DJs and give them the exposure. Cause they didn't have $20,000 worth of film, gear, video, production, knowledge, internet knowledge, setting it all up, lights, microphones, all that switchers, all that live, live switchers and all that fun stuff. So I said, let me be the executive producer and let me invite my people that I know that are DJs on the show, but then when the A-list celebrities come to town, we'll get them to come by and do an interview and do a guest mix on the show as well.
I took that concept to Ustream. And they immediately made us a featured partner with Ustream. I also was knocking on the door of livestream at that time and they, they made us a featured partner as well. But at that time you could only stream to one place. Cause that's all the bandwidth you had. Mm-hmm actually, if you're familiar with a company now called restream.
Yep. I had designed kind of a server based thing that was gonna allow me. I had like, I was gonna make a tower of Mac minis and then each Mac mini would have an instance of the. Streamers like use stream livestream, just TV. And I could put that, plug it into the inner, plug them all into the internet, and then we'd be able to stream to all three platforms at once with this little rack Mount server thing of negative Mac minis I could take around with me, never made that happen, but that was kind of our concept cause we wanted to be everywhere.
Uh, and we just used restream we used the heck outta restream for a very long time. You know, and, and it was up until. Kind of went up and down through many years of many reiterations of personal endeavors burning out, you know, just figuring out where things going. Cause this is all independently financed to this day.
We're still independently financed. Uh, people think just cuz we got great numbers that we must be doing great numbers. Well, there's, there's a lot of money that, that kind of goes into paying for certain things and you know, we're still. We aren't making as much money as people think we are. I've had people literally think we're doing six to seven figures on the show per year.
It's like, no, no, no, no, no. So all this being independently financed out of my, basically my own pocket and my blood, sweat and tears and passion use stream comes to us. In 2018 and also one, one other fun fact about the show is the show is actually also a podcast series. I've been doing podcasting for 17 years and the whole backbone support of the DJ sessions is a podcast series.
And I know we're talking a little pre-show, we'll talk about the episode, count in a few moments, but it's a podcast series on the back end, but a live streaming series on the front end. And what happened in 2018 is. Ustream had gotten bought out by IBM and all of a sudden, IBM said, oh, you're on a grandfathered $10 a month hosting account.
That gives you five terabytes of data, you know, to store your files, but that's going away and you're gonna have to start paying us anywhere from 16 to $1,800 a month. And with your current production model, you're gonna look at growing from two to $400 a month for the rest of your eternity of life.
Going with this channel, going down the road. And they had moved from a. Consumer based format to a corporate based format. And they were getting rid of their consumer platform of trying to promote shows and do all that fun stuff. And I was like, oh, well that sucks. Well, there goes our. After we were just kind of heightening up for 2018 and then all of a sudden GoDaddy came in for like the fifth or sixth time and slapped my hand for doing about 90 to 120 terabytes of data on a $15 a month hosting account, cuz I'd host my podcast on the GoDaddy servers and they're like, you can't do.
And you gotta remove, you can't have a repo repository of files on here, this and that or other, but I, I go, but you say you give unlimited files storage and you give unlimited bandwidth on this $15 account. So why can't I do that? You know? Well, well you just can't. So the terms and conditions are good at are yeah.
Just know out there I've been using, 'em still using, I'm still recommend by everyone, but it's kind of like, you do what we say you're gonna do, or we're gonna kick you off our platform. That's kind of their thoughts. So I'm sitting there in 2018 and I had to find a new streaming. and I had heard a Twitch.
I, I remember Justin TV from back in the day and I said, Hey, does, does any of my friends know anyone working for Twitch? And I took the show and its entirety it's content at that point, got in front of the right people at Twitch, one of the top lead content curators for Twitch pitched in my pitch. And he.
You're on board. We're making you a featured, partnered, live streaming show on Twitch day one. And you're one of our first live streaming DJ shows that we're making as a featured partner. And I was like, whoa, awesome. Okay. We just entered the big time now. I didn't even know what a featured partner meant at that time.
You know, I didn't know anything about affiliate cause I'd never used the platform and it was a couple months after that. They they put us to the front page of Twitch in March of 2018. I was not ready for that at all. Uh, we had like 2,700 concurrent viewers. The chat room was blowing up. Luckily, the internet that we were at held, and we were doing a live streaming show and I said, okay, we just entered the big leagues.
I later found out those spots now. Well, back then they would charge 50,000 to a hundred thousand dollars for two hours for those spots. And they kind of put us there for free in the top 10 on Twitch. I was blown away and I said, we gotta get our act together. So I got a new website or version two, I should say, built of the website started dialing in socials.
We were doing physical in-person events with everything we were doing got right up to the end of 2019 and said, you know what, we're gonna make this huge push for 2020. It's gonna be an awesome year, cuz we're a live streaming DJ show. And there aren't a lot of people doing. Yeah, March of 20, 20, every single DJ in the world jumped online and went to Twitch or started making a podcast series.
I mean, I think Twitch's numbers, Twitch and podcast numbers doubled, if not tripled of content creation online and, you know, going through that whole journey, we kind of just took a seat. and said, we're gonna let you take the front seat for this. Cuz I called 2020. I just got out of an interview earlier this earlier today and I called 2020 in the live streaming and podcasting world.
The look at me here cuz every other post on social media was I got a show. I got a show. I'm going live. I'm going live. I got a podcasted podcast. I mean, you saw more of that than you did see social media posts and I kind of sat back going, this is gonna be interesting. Now everyone wants to play the game we've been doing for the last 10 or 15 years.
Let's see how this rolls out and kind of sat back. And we got to still do events and stuff because of a technology we use called silent disco or silent concert technology. Uh, we could do safe events and that kind of kept us alive and doing that and keeping our footage going. But. Yeah, the journey has been long.
We're going on 13 years of doing the show, but we have now focused more on not just the local environ. Or a national footprint we're now going fully branching out internationally, starting to actually, this October will be our first outing going to Europe. We're going to Amsterdam or ad. Uh, it's one of the biggest events in the world for electronic music, production networking it's business all during the day party, all during the night, 400,000 people a day for seven days.
The who's who is there. So that's one of our big kickoffs. It's kind of a cacheto of after all these years, finally being able to say, okay, we can go hit the red carpet again. Where are we gonna do that? Like we started in winter music conference in 2009, where there are hundreds of thousands of people set the wait clock forward 13 years.
We're now going to 80 and internationally launching our brand at ad with some partnerships we've worked out there. So it's been a long journey.
Bryan McAnulty: That was a good summary. I think I want to go into that. You mentioned all these different things. So you have like the online interviews, but then like you're complimenting that with the in-person events, the rooftop parties live DJ performances, the, the silent DJ thing you mentioned.
So what would you say is like the main focus in your business? And like how, how did like the in person events and all that connect to the virtual sessions?
Darran Bruce: You know, it's funny again, going back from the moment of starting the show out of my bedroom. and, you know, before that, at that time I was actually on broadcast TV.
I had exec two. I exec twice once the Fox and one to NBC my variety shows and looking at online distribution as a medium to reach a wider audience. And I already knew about podcasting cuz we had had. Great success with our podcast. Uh, when we launched it in 2005, we actually debuted at number 48 in the iTunes store and eventually reached number position.
Number 23 in the video podcast section went from a thousand downloads and eventually got it to 300,000 downloads a week. So I saw the appeal of putting content online. We did surpass and bypass the YouTube bandwagon jump on because we looked at when we looked at YouTube origin. It was a bunch of people talking to the camera, tubing.
They weren't broadcast television shows. And we thought that something like Hulu was gonna come out and we would pitch our shows. The Hulu and Hulu would bring us on as a broadcast show. And we could earn revenue that way, because there was no real way. In 2005 to earn revenue of a podcast, it was difficult cuz there's no Nielsen ratings, you know, there's no, that's interesting.
Bryan McAnulty: I wanna actually connect back because you were so much earlier than me with all. But I started the show with my, my web design business back in 2010, I guess is when the first episode went live. And we were saying, okay, we're a video podcast. This is not a very popular thing. We're gonna make these big video interviews and do all this.
And our whole like unique concept was we're actually gonna go to different countries and record interviews with people in different countries. And at the time, it just didn't make sense to put that on YouTube. No one was watching that on YouTube. And what we actually did is exactly what you're describing.
We pitched it and got it on smart TVs as a way of distribution. And, but that, that was actually the main distribution for it at the time. And eventually we started uploading it to YouTube and it got barely any views there at all. But now it's so interesting that it's completely shifted that now, something like that, something like what you're talking about would be perfect for YouTube nowaday.
Darran Bruce: Well, the difficult thing was too is at that time being independently financed and funded was licensing. You know, we're doing interviews, that's great. Put it up all you want, have somebody make a jingle for you and you own the rights to that jingle. You can contest that and have that jingle play. But when you're using other people's music and you got 12 to 14 songs every hour, and you're producing four hours a week, sometimes eight or 12 hours a week of content you're being flagged, your account's just gonna get shut.
Yeah. Yeah. You know, that's just a given. So you know, that's another reason with the DJ sessions never went to, to YouTube was because of that. So U stream, we had certain license agreement. There's there's certain rules with the DMCA and copyright that if it's a one time broadcast is believe always, I always try to pronounce it.
Right. But it's aural or firm use that. If it's a one time broadcast, then you don't have to get the licensing for it. But the moment you hit that record button, Okay. That's cool. You can record a copy for yourself, but the moment you put that as a VA or video on demand, anywhere the red flags start going all over the place.
Yep. Yeah, because the, these
Bryan McAnulty: DJ sessions are people playing this license music that then there has to be some kind of rights or license for
Darran Bruce: yeah. And I could go down. That was the big conversation I had for like the first from March to probably June and still try to educate people on over the course of the last couple years.
No, it isn't on Google or YouTube or it isn't on Facebook or it isn't on Amazon or Twitch to pay these licensing rights. It's on you, the end creator. And you're supposed to have these rights before you do it. Yep. And when you go to a DJ and say, Hey, I want you to play these. You can only play these 12 songs says, that's what you gotta play.
I have to go get that licensing cleared, paid for. And then go say, okay, we have this for the video on demand. And nine times outta 10, they won't give you perpetual rights. They won't give you, you know, forever. You know, they'll give you a certain amount. It's a, it's a nightmare out there for this stuff.
But the live streaming portion of it is, is gonna be a very interesting issue coming up here. I won't try to touch too much on it, but the EU just put into play where they removed the what's called the safe Harbor of the DMCA. So basically all they know all these C. There's so much content going up.
But I think a few years ago I was in college. I get my second degree. And my marketing teacher said there was over a million videos, a minute being uploaded to YouTube. There's no way they could monitor all that content going up. It can go up, the algorithm can go, but if something's slipped through there's, what's called a safe Harbor.
And if a, if a copyright holder says, Hey, we're gonna Sue you for that. They're like, no it's written in there. We know this is gonna happen. And if we make a way for it to be removed and penalize the end user, then you can't get at us. The EU just did away with all of that. So now the moment of video on demand goes online in the EU territory.
If it's up there for one second copyright, they can come in and Sue YouTube, Twitch face Facebook. Whoever's hosting that from the EU side. Yeah. Yeah. States still hasn't gone through yet, but now they're going to, what's called active monitoring and you'll see this on Facebook or YouTube when you're streaming, it goes, we detect copyright content.
If you don't shut this down and we're gonna shut you off and there's no recording, they go whoop and you lose your whole production. It's gone. You know? So that means, I mean, there's obviously you can record it, no BS and keep it back in log of it, but then go, where are you gonna make it live? Exactly. So like I said, I can talk about that subject matter for a long time, but yeah, podcasting was really something we saw as international distribution as well as live streaming, you know?
And Twitch has have been really friendly with us. As a matter of fact, I got a call with them after this interview. Super excited to, to rekindle that. Because again, with everything that happened in 20 20, 20, 21, everyone jumping online and us kind of taking a backseat, it let us actually get.
Ish together. You know we've, we've now built out our new website version three. We're actually on version 3.2 of it it'll have probably about four or six more reiterations under those points till we launched version four gave us time to really develop our social media. Our back in, put a team together.
I mean, I have a team pre 2020. It was just me. I mean, I had resident DJs. It was me and the resident DJs, but now I. Guy in the UK. I got a guy in New York. I got a guy in Thailand. I got a two developers in Germany for VR. I got a, an app development team that developed our app. I have a web dev dev team, including myself.
I got my Roku, Amazon fire, apple TV, and Google play dev. You know, I mean, it, it takes a village to make this happen. If you want to grow. If you really want to grow and get in line with the big sponsors, cause that's really wanna be our content should always be free to the end user. It will always be free for the DJ or performer to come and play.
There are publications out that charge to be on their network.
Bryan McAnulty: Yeah, that's that's why I next actually. So you have, it looks like over 26,000 Twitch followers and you have all these guests, but if you're not charging the guests to, to be on and give them that exposure, then what is like the main revenue source for you guys?
Darran Bruce: Sponsorships. And, you know, unfortunately when we went back into 2020, we were in, we were talking our goal. My goal for 2020 was to raise 2.5 just for 2020. Uh, and it started out really well with one sponsor coming on board. It was an alcohol sponsor and they wanted to do a bunch of field marketing for them using our mobile studio and driving around to different cities, doing our silent concerts, inviting celebrity DJs to come by and play.
It was a three month gig. Uh, 12, 15 cities in the states. Well, we got everything approved by west coast operations. Got everything approved. East coast operations. And we were getting ready to drop and say, okay, what days would you want? And I was putting preliminary numbers down. It was somewhere between a quarter to three quarter, quarter million, 300,000 deal for three months worth of work.
And that was gonna be our big, okay, here we go. Now we got money to expand and bring on more people and do more stuff. And then they came back in June and said, I think we're gonna have to launch in August. Cause they wanted to be a summertime thing. And then they come back and say, I think we're gonna have to launch two cities in October.
But by the time July 1st hit all field marketing was done. No events were being put on no sponsorship dollars were out there for what we do because we couple not only our online presence, but also what we can do in the physical world through our events, cuz we can do pop-up nightclubs or when we're driving our mobile billboard trucks, our mobile studios through the cities, which we just launched another one in Phoenix, Arizona.
Which now gives us a whole Southwest division. So we have one in Seattle, one in Phoenix, and we can now do concerts and events and do advertising on the side of the trucks while still promoting our own brand on the side of the trucks in these cities. So sponsorship dollars is where, where we wanted to be.
Ho like I said, always making it free for the end user to watch and free for the person who wants to perform on the show as well. I mean, if somebody ever offered me money, I'd say I mean, and I, I wouldn't turn it down necessarily, but I also would say, no, we're not that kind of organization. A lot of people see our roster and lineup and they get a little intimidated going, well, do I have to pay to be on this?
I'm like, no, it's free. And they're like, oh, well, okay. You know?
Bryan McAnulty: Cool. Yeah. Well, I like that approach. I mean, that's, that's our approach here. We didn't, we didn't charge you to be on, on this show here, but so you, I like that you mentioned also before we started recording, you were talking about. You have a range of people on the show.
It doesn't have to be like the most successful DJ. Right? So can you go into that a little bit?
Darran Bruce: Absolutely. You know, I realized after years and years and years to do the show, this is something that was just a new concept that I came up with working with my, my PR outreach person out at the UK when we were strategizing everything and, and the number of people that he knows and has in his Rolodex, I came to him and said, you know, we featured DJs, we interviewed DJs, we played DJ sets.
And I said, you know what, let's open the floodgate, man. Let's just open it and say everyone in the electronic music business. And if you use an electronic instrument, a keyboard or anything, we are, we're interested in having you on the show as well. This started opening up to labels audio engineers, lighting designers, promoters, PR management.
You know, it opens up to a different, like I've had artists like younger who is not a DJ he's straight sampling artist and has 10 keyboards in his room and will sample stuff and play it and very talented young man. You know, but it just really opened the floodgates. And it just a couple weeks ago, Luke, who is who my guy in the UK is like, that was one of the best things you ever did for the show.
You know, like opening it up. Uh, now we're, we're, I'm in talks with partnering with a major label to have us be their live streaming partner and premier interviewer onsite interview at ad. And this is one of the bigger, bigger, big, big, big labels in the world. You know, and so super excited that when that opportunity hits, I like to speak in positives when that opportunity happens.
And if that opportunity, when that opportunity happens, they've already. The VP's already signed off on it, but we're talking about pitching them to do the next two, do this for them for the next two to five years, not just in Amsterdam, but also at winter music conference in Miami, south by Southwest in Austin and IMS in Abitha and, you know, and, and going back to Amsterdam dance music event and becoming a partner with them.
And that would be so huge for our brand, but also give them what they need is an onsite production crew. To handle the live stream into their events and then take that back and do all the red carpet kind of interviews. But then we couple that with my connections over at Twitch, being a featured partner and say, Twitch, put this to the front page.
Every time we do these from all these events and Twitch says, Hey, we like the direction you're going. This is now next level. Stuff and, you know, but it takes a lot of time to put this together and you have to have your brand ready to go. And in, in, in 18, we were not ready. Even in 20, we were not ready to go.
Uh, it was getting ready to go and it wasn't until 2021, where you can go back. If you use a website called the way back machine, kind of joke about this in interviews, use that website called the way back machine and go look at the DJ sessions. Start back in 2013, you'll see the first version of the website.
Then that website, I lost dev team and it kind of, I couldn't develop or do anything with it cuz they disappeared set the way forward clock to 2018 and look at version two of the website. And I thought that was the bees knees, but one of my DJs came to me, avian invasion. I, he wasn't giving me crap, but he's like, he builds websites a little bit and he comes to me early 20, 20 when January.
And he goes, Darren, what's up with the website? I go, I know, I know we need something better. Don't we goes. I went out and found a team, got a template build. And then I spent with the team the next three and a half months designing the site and adding in features that they didn't even have for other users that had the site and was putting things in there to build this platform.
Where people could come and obviously ingest our content, watch our interviews, watch the shows we're doing. Watch the live streams have news being part of that. We just added to the site, a new live interview section. Uh, I used to not tell people who was coming up on the show, unless it was day of on socials.
Here's who we have coming up. Now you can go to our site and see our calendar. We're booked out to like mid-September. With interviews and it just keeps going and going and going, and that'll be constantly going all year long. So you be like, oh my gosh, he has so and so coming up or he has so-and-so so you'll know who's coming up and then can jump into that show and do the best thing that I think is in live streaming is get that interaction of people talking during the show.
So really cool.
Bryan McAnulty: I actually wanna go into that. I like the point that you made that the time it took you to, to get to where you're at now. And so it was, I think like you made it sound like the, the time in 2020 that helped you get a lot of clarity in your whole vision for your brand and figuring out like, cuz now the, the way you're talking to me, it sounds like you're super clear on the value that the things you're gonna do are gonna bring to your brand.
They're gonna bring to the potential sponsors and partners that you work with. And all that, but probably when you started, I would guess you, you didn't really know about those things. So thinking about this from the, this kind of standpoint of, if someone's listening to this right now and is saying, I wanna make some kind of podcast or start some kind of show, what could you say to them that would help them get from that, that first spot where they're they wanna do something locally, or maybe it's a, an internet podcast, whatever it is to help them get to that point where you're at today a little bit.
Darran Bruce: Yeah. The first thing that I tell people when they think of they wanna start a live streaming show or a podcast series is one, know your topic, know what you want to really talk about. If you come out and I'm just gonna pull something right off the top of my head, the first thing I see, if you wanna talk about cars and it's gonna be a podcast about cars, how many other podcasts are there all about cars?
Dial it down a little bit. Do you wanna talk about Corvette's? Do you wanna talk about Ferrari? Do you wanna talk about electric cars? Do you wanna talk about forge? What kind of cars you wanna do? You wanna talk classic cars? What do you wanna talk about and find that and, and, and research, what you really wanna talk about, find out what your competition is like out there.
When I started the live streaming DJ show, there were other live streaming DJs, but none of those DJs. From an executive producer background of producing shows to broadcast television, where at one point we had eight separate television shows approved to air on 12 network stations on the west coast. And we're looking to raise with eight sponsors per show.
Anywhere from 10 to 12 million per quarter to put those shows on I'm talking, I'm trying to raise 50 million out here, you know, and put that together and then coming into this live stream and think a lot of DJs that were doing this were, Hey, I got a webcam, I've set it up in my bedroom. I put a backdrop behind me and I'm spin in my music online.
And I also maybe DJing my local market, the big name DJs. They weren't doing it really. Because they're busy touring and making music. Why add one additional show, making live show, radio show to their plate. Some of them might have had a podcast going. And that was cool, you know, but it really wasn't mainstream until 2020 popped up and everyone goes, hi, I'm gonna try to do this.
And it's like, oh, okay, cool. But a lot of what I heard, you know, or a lot of advice I would give people is find out your topic, find out what your competition was. Again, we didn't have much competition with where I was climbing the rake. So when I was speaking to people like Ustream and, and, and livestream and Twitch, they're like, okay, this guy, this guy has it dialed.
Because they're talking to multimillion dollar people and, and, you know, big, big name, big, big dollar people. And I'm like, I'm this independent guy, but I'm talking the big game, you know? Uh, but I can walk the walk. I can talk to talk and walk the block. Yeah. So you got their topic. Think your topic research,
Bryan McAnulty: they saw that you got their platform early on.
And so now people understand the platforms. Yeah. So now you have the competition, you have to have some kind of unique advantage or difference of knowledge, and that's what you gotta bring to the table.
Darran Bruce: Yeah. And the, yeah, exactly. And the unique advantage is, is what is your content gonna be about? And let's say, I do look at cars as a subject.
I'm like, well guys, there's 85,000 podcasts about cars. How am I gonna make it through there? Or how am I gonna make it to the top 100? Why is my content gonna be better? Or how am I gonna get some of those subscribers or get those people out there to, to look at my show, because at the end of the day, you only go on stage.
If you wanna be a bedroom in the industry, we call it a bedroom. DJ. If you wanna just play in your bedroom and play for yourself and, and maybe your girlfriend or your friends come over, throw a couple of housemates. Great. That's an aspiration do that. But if you wanna be on a stage, your goal is to get performers.
Your goal is to get people, to look at you and, and, and get booked and get more people to look at you, especially with a podcast. You want subscribers, you want people noticing what you're doing. You want people sharing your content, that content better not be. If, if if 85,000 podcasts are going B, C, D E F G, and you make your podcast coming out, going B, C, D E F G.
What differentiates you? What differentiates you? What makes your podcast different than anyone else? It isn't and I saw that whole thing happen when everyone jumped online and I'm like, oh, now they're using multi first. They were using one cam. Oh, now they're using multi cam. Oh, now they're using green screen.
Oh. Now they found out that nobody's watching 'em cuz they're just posting it on their socials. And there's only 5% on people that see their posts on Facebook. And they're wondering why they can't get more viewers hope, but they're also doing it at a. Everyone else in the world is going live. And you got the biggest names in the world going live at 8:00 PM Pacific standard time.
And you're trying to push a, a live stream at 8:00 PM Pacific standard time. Come on. That's just, you know, position your shows and knowing when to go on at the right times. And. We found successes going on on Mondays and Tuesdays from six to 10:00 PM and taking number five in the world and number four in the world, you know, and then that matters.
And even when you can build a following going on those times, that when you go live on Fridays and Saturdays, those viewers come with you, cuz you're now able to announce, Hey, we're gonna be going live on Fridays too. And then you can get those numbers to come in and pump you up on a Friday or Saturday night against everyone else in the world.
That's trying to do a Friday night or Saturday night. But yes. Content.
Bryan McAnulty: Well, what else though? Actually, if, if I'm starting a new podcast and I don't have too many resources with money or to invest in ads or something like that, what else would you say I could do to figure out how to grow it and grow my audience?
Darran Bruce: Yeah. Again, again, I believe knowing your content, researching your content, becoming kind of almost a laser focused Um not advocate. What's the word I'm looking for? Just, I guess say knowing your content in the way that is gonna make it authority, say, I trust this person's authority. Get, get a position of authority on your content.
So people want to come back and listen to you again. And if you start doing that and you know, your content, you're gonna be able to go pitch to other people to say, Hey, would you like to come on my show? And talk to me about the content that I talk about, and you'll be able to find those industry leaders or, you know, cuz everybody's interested in something.
And like I sometimes say, oh well, if, if let's say you like cars, but you find out cars isn't gonna be at, but you like fly fishing. Maybe there aren't that many fly fishing podcasts, you know, or maybe there aren't that many puzzle making contests or. It could be whatever you want, there's whatever your heart's desire, but really try to be a leader in that and seek out other people.
There's Facebook groups, there's discord groups, there's Reddit groups. You know, there's something CRA and if there isn't make it and maybe you'll get people gravitating towards you and going, this is the first and foremost authority, and look who they're getting on the show, you know just, it was again, I think being in, starting at such a young age, in, in, in public access in broadcast television, Really helped refine those skills.
So when I went to go pitch somebody, I knew how to make a good pitch deck. I knew how to make a good case. I knew how to find the numbers. And a lot of this is numbers driven. You know, if I said, Hey, we got 50 people a week to watch our show. I probably wouldn't have had some of the DJs I've had on this week.
They're like, no. Or I got a hundred downloads a week that shouldn't be discouraging, cuz we all start at zero, zero and the only way you can go is up, you really can't go below zero with a podcast, nobody listens and it might be 5, 6, 10, 15, 20 podcasts in or 20 shows in you still gotta, unless you're a professional actor, you're probably still looking like crap on camera and talking like crap on camera, you know, unless you got a good script.
Again, research other podcasts, see how they do it. Get an intro and outro script. You don't have to spend a lot of money on this. Either. Most of us have a phone with a 4k camera. Nowadays, most of us have a laptop or a webcam at home. You know, you can get a decent $50 mic. The lights I'm using right now, the two L E D lights.
I think I got 'em online. They're really nice. They're adjustable temperature, adjustable lighting barn, doors, 50 bucks a piece online. I wish I had the link for you. I'd drop it right now. No kickbacks, but I mean, I got a green screen, but I'm on my blue screen behind me, just so I look a little bit fresher when I use my, when I use my blue screen, you know, but 200 bucks, you can start off on a podcast series and just start getting your feel for it.
And I used to tell people if you're really serious about. Come to me when you have a hundred episodes produced. If you're producing one episode a week, cuz that tells me you're really into it, you know, you come in
Bryan McAnulty: And you'll learn from some mistakes yourself. Then you can go to somebody who can teach you those next things that you wouldn't have learned yourself in those first a hundred episodes.
Darran Bruce: A absolutely. I think that's, that's the key is are you really into it? Cause a lot of people get into it thinking fortune fame, I'm gonna thousands of people listening and they get in. They're like I had 10 people listen and I had six people listen. And, but are you promoting through your socials correctly?
Are you going to those Reddit groups? Are you finding discord groups? Are you networking and not everyone just saying, Hey everyone, I got a podcast. It's like, are you genuinely networking, finding people in your target niche? Niche that, that that are, are all about what you wanna talk about. And then when you're done with the podcast and it's pushed out there asking them as an influencer to share that podcast, you know, it used to perplex me back in the day so much.
I put so much effort in all my shows and I wouldn't get the DJs that were playing on the show to share the episodes on social media. I'd see him sharing everything else every everywhere day of the week, when I came to the DJ session. If they wouldn't tell anyone they were going live. I put the episode up online.
They wouldn't tell anyone the episode was there. I would get really frustrated cuz here I am doing all this production work and they're not sharing it, which is why I launched the DJ sessions resident program. And we used to do a lot of outreach to a lot of local DJs. Now we kind of live what we buy, what we call an open table, same as like an open door policy, but an open table program.
If you wanna be on the show. Come on the show, have a, have a passion for music, have a passion for wanting to have a fun and, and show up on time. Pretty much. There's a few other caveats and addendums, but show up, have fun. We'll make you a resident DJ. And I promote the resident DJs. You know, it's not about just trying to reach out and get everyone in the community anymore.
Because I did that and it, it burnt me out. You know, it, it was kind of disappointing. You do all this work and then somebody doesn't share the hard work that. Produce for them, you know? Yeah. But now those are less.
Bryan McAnulty: I got one more question for you. Yeah, go ahead. We're we're running outta time soon, but okay.
One thing that really impressed us was seeing that you've released now more than 2000 episodes. And I think that, like, this is a huge number we're on our podcast. We're on. About 30 episodes now. So to get to 2000 more than 2000 episodes, can you tell us a little bit, like, what does the process look like to be able to guarantee a new guest?
Every single time?
Darran Bruce: I believe the number would be after today would be 2,369. Wow. Uh, episodes over 13 years. The, that was very, how that came about was very interesting. I used to do. Interviews go to the nightclubs and do the onsite interviews, lights, camera action. One interview at a time, maybe try to grab two interviews, three interviews at a time.
Once we started producing the DJ sessions, I said to myself, how long do I want a DJ set to be? It was supposed to be kind of an expose of a DJ. Was it supposed to be a four hour set? Was it supposed to be a two hour set, supposed to be one DJ playing for one hour? If you wanna see him come back next week or go out to the nightclub and watch him.
So when we sat down, I would produce a series of shows. It would be a four hour show and I'd have four DJs come and play. Well, one episode, two episode, three episode, four episodes. Every time we filmed, I get four hours of content. And so if I did that four times a week, we'd have 16 episodes a month, or basically 180 episodes a year.
Right. Uh, it wasn't until just recently that I moved everything to two hour sets. And gave my, my, my resident DJs, a little bit wider room to tell a little bit more of a musical journey or musical story. Cause the hours kind of really come back. You only get 12 to 13 songs and you're kind of like, oh, what do I get play?
What do I do? But you give 'em two hours. You give 'em some breathing room. They can really tell that story online and, and have fun with it. But in addition to that, the interviews, I. Two months ago, I did 56 interviews last month. I think it was 39 interviews. This month we're tracking now our set pattern is a minimum of 32 interviews every well.
We'll have a minimum of 32 interviews every month with probably some add-ons. So probably 32 to 40 interviews every month, coupling that with our Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday events, which is a minimum of four hours of content there. So another 12 hours every week. Which is times four. So there's 48.
So we're looking at a hundred, some odd hours of content a month or 1200 episodes a year. You know, it's uh, yeah, and then we got a lot more in the works for that as well. So but using silent concert technology was also something that accelerated our growth. If you're not familiar with silent disco or silent concert technology, basically think about it.
You go to an event and you hear the loud. well with silent disco, silent concert, you put headsets on and you're listening to the music through headsets, but I can have multiple DJ stations, tables playing at the same time, right next to each other, cuz there's no amplified music. So you got the red channel green channel blue channel orange channel.
Well, now we have seven channel headsets, so I could record 12 episodes in four hours. Got it. Wow. And using silent disco technology. Yeah. So it definitely increased our production value and we were one of the first companies to ever make the, what, what I call the roundtrip process using that is I could also stream live red channel blue channel green channel.
You could be at the event, listening to the red channel. You go pick up your phone and say, Hey everyone, look at me, look at the show. I'm listen to the show. I'm listening to right now, online, your friend at home, they jump in, they start listening to the red channel. Put your friends on the website and they scroll down and they see the green channel.
They click on, start listening to the green channel. They hit you back and go, Hey, check this out. You should listen to the green channel. You're at the event, you click over to the green channel, and now you're all having the same party, whether you're online or in person with multiple channels of multiple music, I'm a kind of a foodie.
My favorite food to my favorite thing to do is go to a, all you can eat buffet. So when it comes to music and being able to diversify and have multiple genres of different styles of music playing that my audience can interact with, but my online audience can interact with as well. It that's just something really cool.
Bryan McAnulty: You turn your content into an all you can eat buffet.
Darran Bruce: Oh, you eat buffet. Exactly. Awesome. And my TikTok all full of food videos right now, but ,
Bryan McAnulty: I got one more question for you, if you could ask sure. Anyone uh, our, our audience, if you could ask them a question, what would you ask them?
Darran Bruce: You know, something that I've wanted to do.
I, I haven't necessarily been asked to professionally speak at an event or an engagement I have in the past, but not in regards to, you know, what I do as the DJ sessions or video content creation. Right. That I would say the question I ask is if you could present a Ted talk, what would your laser focus subject?
what would be your, what would be the one subject you would wanna speak about to an audience at a Ted talk? I think cuz I would love to be asked to be a part of a Ted talk. I should submit to be, I think you have to submit to be picked to be part of a Ted talk or a TEDx. And I'd even have to wonder what my laser be focus would be because I got a bunch of things going on.
But yeah. What would be your topic conversation? If you could do a Ted.
Bryan McAnulty: A great question. And I think kind of the answer to that will also help you figure out how to start your podcast if you're thinking of one E
Darran Bruce: exactly. Exactly. I think that, yeah, I'm gonna start using that now. When people ask me what would be a subject, if you could talk about a Ted talk, there you go.
Bryan McAnulty: Awesome. All right, Darren. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show. If people wanna find you online, where can they find you?
Darran Bruce: Oh, the best place to go is the DJ sessions.com. All of our information, everything is on the website. All of our social links are there. We publish over 600 news stories a month.
We have our live interview calendar that's happening. We have our event calendar that's going on. If you're local in the Seattle area, we'll be launching Phoenix events here shortly. Multitude of other online events. We have our VR nightclub information is. I do have to put up the information about the Roku, Amazon fire, apple TV, and Google play as well.
Cause you can find us there. We actually live stream on those platforms as well. Mobile app is there. If you want to carry us in your pocket and check out what's going on, our merchandise, our store, everything at the website, the DJ sessions.com. all right. Awesome.
Bryan McAnulty: Thanks so much, Darren.
Darran Bruce: Absolutely. Thank you for having me on the show today.
Bryan McAnulty: If you enjoyed this interview and won the chance to ask questions to our guests live tune in on Tuesdays when new episodes premiere on the Heights Platform, Facebook page, to learn more about the show and get notified when new episodes release, check out the Creator's Adventure dot com until then keep learning and I'll see you in the next episode.