SURVIVING THE MUSIC INDUSTRY PODCAST
FROM SURVIVOR TO THRIVER
NASHVILLE SINCE 2010
“People love stories, and that’s my business,” Surviving the Music Industry Podcast creator Brandon Harrington says. The self-proclaimed music industry survivor is taking the lessons he’s learned and creating a unique dialogue with those thriving in the industry.
Brandon grew up in Ignorant Hill, Arkansas – “my grandfather named it, and the population was like 20, and he would mark the x’s as people died,” Brandon laughs. He got into music at 15, when he discovered the guitar. “I locked myself in my bedroom for 8 hours a day and learned “Crazy Train,” Ozzie Osborne, straight through.”
For Brandon, music provided a path. “Farm life wasn’t for me,” he says. “We had 300 acres of cattle … I’m literally from a town where there’s more cows than people, and I just didn’t get it. Somehow the guitar and really just music opened up this landscape of a whole new world.” He was determined to be in a band, and eventually landed a spot in a Christian band. A full time high school student who was also on the football team, Brandon balanced his high school life with the band, which was actively touring.
From there, he got a full scholarship to attend the University of Central Arkansas to play guitar. He studied classical guitar, and began to play for more acts, including Frank Sinatra Jr. and Kris Allen. He formed his own band, Cypress Creek, which was on the TV show America’s Next Greatest Band. “We didn’t get very far, but that made me realize, oh, I can do this,” he says.
“It feels like yesterday, and it brings up so much emotion, of hardships and just trying to figure things out,” he says. “The more I’m talking, I’m realizing of course Surviving the Music Industry makes sense for me, because I mean, we were homeless for a large part of the time.” Though Brandon was landing gigs, it was a rice and beans diet, watching other people make a living in music and trying to figure it out. “I wanted to discover that through conversations,” he says.
In 2015, the podcast was born. Though initially a passion project, the podcast began to gather some traction. When Brandon was let go from his touring gig at the end of the first season and he watched their savings account, he decided to make a change. “I sat down one day, just thinking, here I am, a failure, again,” he recalls. “What do I have in my own control, at my hands right now? It was the podcast.”
From a passion project, SMI quickly gained traction and became a pilot of sorts. Currently, they boast over a million downloads and impressions, and are in the process of recording Season 3. He’s also turned it into a business, called DiMe Collective, a podcast network which creates original content for brands looking to tell a story, replicating the success model they’ve found with SMI.
“Every thriver that comes on this show, they all started out as a survivor,” he says. “Real hard moments, that’s real life.” Though Brandon classifies himself as a survivor – something that makes his interviews relatable and unique – he’s building his own story as a thriver, as well.