In the world of music, no matter who you are it takes a team to make an artist successful. However when you are an up and coming artist it is especially important to find a great team, from booking agents ,radio promoters to someone running your social media, etc. When you find someone that can multitask successfully it makes an artist’s job easier so that they can go perform without the worries of running every aspect of their career. There are few that are successful in multitasking, to make sure fans can hear and see the artist on as many radio stations and in as many venues as possible, and many are highly respected. One in particular that comes to mind is Dillon Steen of Steen Entertainment.
Steen, who is from a sleepy little town buried in the middle of 287 between Wichita Falls and Ft. Worth, began with a dream that has become reality. He has became one of the most respected and recognized people in Texas Music while also enjoying some success.
I recently had the chance to ask Steen a few questions on how his business has gotten to where it is today and here’s what he had to say.
How did you decide to start Steen Entertainment?
It’s actually a really odd story how I ended up where I am now…and there are multiple steps that happened. It started out as D&B booking but as time went along and more responsibilities came into the picture,things grew and it was more than a booking agency but to elaborate a little more I have a friend that is a musician that lives over in England that was coming to the states to visit his family and he had asked me to find him a show that he could play to help a local organization where his family lived.. Well I did and I had let him know about it and he said, as an off the cuff remark, “you should do this for a living”… I gave it tons of thought and talked to my wife about it. It was a huge risk as I was quitting a full time 40 plus a hour week job and diving in to something with no guarantees..and we had two kids at home still and plenty of bills to pay…but on a wing and a prayer we took the chance. I started out booking bands…first band I ever worked with was a band called County Road Zero…the band doesn’t even exist any more .From that I grew the roster into 8 bands I was booking…but one band was really taking off and I was having to spend more time working with them and it was hurting my work with the other bands. So I finally told the others that I just couldn’t do them justice any more and I focused on the one band only…management,etc. etc.. All was rolling along great until the lead of that band ended up with some throat problems. However when I was working with that band was when radio promotions came in to the picture. It was decided after two singles that the band wanted to bring all promotions in house and do it from that camp rather than use another radio promoter. They told me they wanted me to promote their next single.. I had no damn clue how to go about doing that…or even if I could…but I got on the phone and called some folks that are my mentors to this day and talked with them about it.. and here we are now.
Who was the first artist signed under the Steen Entertainment banner?
Under D&B the first band was County Road Zero…under Steen Promotions it was Scotty Thurman & The Perfect Trouble Band. D&B and Steen Promotions are both under the Steen Entertainment umbrella but two separate entities.
How many artist do you have on your current roster booking and radio?
17 in radio and 16 in booking…a couple of them are on both rosters.
How do you determine what artist to promote or book?
Most times artist’s come to us or they are recommended by others industry people. On the booking side it’s a team decision…I talk with all the agents and of course we listen to their sound, we look at their performance schedules past and present, we talk with the other bands, how much they work on their own careers?..are they 100% dedicated to making their career better or do they just sit back and expect someone to do it for them? The same is true in radio although there I also listen to see if the song they are wanting to promote is “radio” material, just because a song is good doesn’t mean it will work at radio. Professionalism and dedication are the two biggest things for me..sometimes I am wrong about folks and don’t see the true colors until after they are on board..but you won’t see them last with us very long.
What process goes into determining what single gets released?
Many factors in that.. from the time of year, to length of song, to tempo,t o content of lyrics,etc.etc..can’t really just pin point a few things because at times you just take a chance on what people think are crazy for trying.
Do you have any artist exclusively signed to D&B Management or Steen Promotions?
Not with D&B..I don’t agree with signing an artist exclusive on the booking roster unless you can guarantee you will have them working every single date they want to be working… I do not want any artist missing an opportunity that they might wanna get somewhere else. In Steen Promotions an artist is exclusive with me only for the lifetime of the single we are promoting.
When folks visit your website they will notice D&B Management/Booking and Steen Promotions. What are the differences between the two?
D&B is the booking agency side of Steen Entertainment..I have 4 agents that work for me full time there…I do no booking myself anymore as these fine folks handle all of it very well.. However I do know everything that is going on and I keep my hands firmly in it. Steen Promotions is 100% me. Although both are parts of the music industry they are different and have to be handled differently..and being on the roster on one side of the business does not mean you are on both sides of the business… in other words you can be on our booking roster but not represented by me in radio..and the same goes the other direction too..just because I represent an artist in radio does not mean they are on our booking roster..
Tell us a little bit about the artist you work with.
Each one is different from the next, each one is unique in their own way ,everyone of them has a sound and a performance we totally believe in.
What services does Steen Entertainment offer?
That list is getting larger by the day hahahahaha…we offer booking,talent buying (yes it is different,one you work for the artist…the other one you work for the venue) management can be discussed, but since I believe management is so much more than just updating someone’s pages, it is very time consuming and requires one on one dedication, so at this time we are not offering full blown management but some management services.. Other things we offer now are social media and website updating services, media design, graphic designs (flyers,posters,etc.) and we recently added duplication services…art work,pressing and packaging of singles,EP’s or Full cd’s…this part is in the infancy stages as we are just getting started with it but the projects so far have turned out very well.
What would you tell fans,venues or PD’s about Steen Entertainment?
We believe in these artist’s and their music… we don’t expect you to like each and every one of them…but we do ask that you at least listen to them before you just shrug them off.. We stand for and support the “up and comers” and the “underdog” because everyone started out that way.. We don’t ask to change the world..just to make a difference in it.
So with that, there is your insight into a company, and the man, who has said that his goal is to provide the best services to artist’s that don’t have large bank rolls,sponsors,labels,etc. without losing quality or professionalism. He ultimately wants to see each of his artist’s careers to move to a higher level that is too big to work with him.
The ultimate dream according to Steen is to hear “Thanks to Dillon and all the folks at Steen Entertainment for believing in me when nobody else did” as an artist stands on stage one day receiving high honors and awards. There is no doubt that the folks at Steen Entertainment have only bigger and better things to achieve.