By Jim James, Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of The UnNoticed Podcast.
A filmmaker and a musician, Drew Stone grew up in the American hardcore punk scene as a teenager. And the ethos of that scene is do-it-yourself: You get up, go out, and make it happen. If you’re into music, don’t wait for a record company. Put a record out yourself, make flyers, and push through with your own shows.
Image from LinkedIn
Filming Music Videos
Though he came from a family of filmmakers, Drew’s career focused on filming music videos.
It began when he was the vocalist of Antidote, one of the early hardcore bands in New York. During his stint on the band, he got to play and meet a lot of other musical acts. Soon, people started asking him to do their music videos.
One of his films is called the “New York Hardcore Chronicles” and is currently available on Amazon Prime. He has also done music documentaries, one of which was on Netflix for a couple of years.
Image from Amazon
Over the years, his film catalog has helped him earn a fanbase.
The Birth of ‘New York Hardcore Chronicles Live’
Somebody once invited Drew to guest on a show. Upon guesting, that person also invited him to subscribe to his YouTube channel and follow him on Facebook.
This instance made Drew realise that he has also his own following on YouTube (which is Stone Films NYC, with around 11,000 subscribers as of writing) and on Facebook (which is New York Hardcore Chronicles, with 90,000 followers). And with the pandemic prompting him to be locked down for a while, he started his own show titled “New York Hardcore Chronicles Live.”
Drew put his show on a platform called StreamYard. It’s similar to Zoom but you need to pay to avail of a certain tier. In his case, he’s paying $24.95 a month to broadcast his show on three platforms: his YouTube channel, the “New York Hardcore Chronicles” Facebook page, and his personal Facebook account. If you want to have your show broadcast on five or six platforms, you can pay for a higher tier.
“New York Hardcore Chronicles Live” is a live video streaming show (episodes can be viewed on-demand on his YouTube channel afterwards). It airs at 3 p.m. New York Time, equivalent to 8 p.m. in Europe, which is a prime time.
Screengrab from Stone Films NYC on YouTube
When he broadcasts live, there’s also a live chat room wherein people from European countries like Italy and Germany are interacting. By a stroke of luck, as Drew calls it, he was able to garner a worldwide audience; a global community of hardcore punk aficionados.
Using Hashtags, Ensuring Brand Continuity
Drew doesn’t regard himself as a casual music lover, but a music historian; a music archeologist. What began as a passion became an obsession of sorts.
When he delved into filmmaking and started putting out clips on YouTube, he carried the same spirit and would always include tags and hashtags to make his content more visible.
Apart from tagging, another important part of promotion is brand continuity.
For instance, his brand is Stone Films NYC, which is in line with his name, Drew Stone. It’s also the name of his YouTube channel and film production company. Meanwhile, his Facebook page is called “New York Hardcore Chronicles.” One of his films, which bears the same name, is essentially about the hardcore scene that he talks about on his Facebook page. For his live streaming show, he used the name “New York Hardcore Chronicles Live.”
More than the Sum of All Parts
Drew shares that there are different things that enable him to be financially stable. And it’s more than the sum of all parts.
One is his Patreon page. Patreon is a platform that allows people to support an artist through a multi-tier system. In Drew’s case, he offers a $2, $5, $10, $25, and $100-dollar tier; each tier offers different incentives and products to his supporters.
He calls his Patreon followers, which is now close to 200, a community within the community. In this community, he invites people to support and watch his show and offers unique content — he uploads never-before-seen photos and video clips, and even does short, private shows.
Screengrab from Drew Strone’s Patreon page
Another thing is sponsorship. Drew’s sponsors are still in keeping with the ethos and brand of what he does. For example, two of his sponsors are a record store in Denver, Colorado, and a comic book store in New York. When a sponsor approached him for an exclusive sponsorship deal — which is something he’s not ready for yet — he turned it down.
Apart from Patreon and sponsorship, he also has YouTube monetisation.
Moreoever, Drew has a merchandise line available through the platform called Teespring. Teespring has a fulfillment house in China and they can put your logo on all kinds of products and ship them anywhere in the world.
His products include t-shirts, sweatshirts, and mugs, and some more unique items such as girls’ leggings and shower curtains. He incorporates links to his merchandise on his show to promote them.
Building his Network
Luckily for Drew talent and talent management runs in the family. Sister Kelly Stone-Binday runs Integrated Marketing Management and drives Drew’s media engagement including placing him on podcasts like the UnNoticed Show. She was the one who encouraged him to go on as many podcasts as possible because it helps in cross-promoting things.
He is also on Instagram and has a couple of Facebook pages so he can cross-collateralise his content.
You can know more about Drew on his YouTube channel and check out his show called “New York Hardcore Chronicles Live.”
This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast The UnNoticed, you can listen here.