Interview # 1 With Brian Thompson of Thorny Bleeder

As a student of social media, I am interested in the role that content plays in the development of a personal brand. To get some firsthand insight into the processes and dynamics that are involved, I interviewed a social media marketing influencer I met through Twitter, Brian Thompson (of

Brian is a Vancouver-based music industry entrepreneur, record label owner, artist manager, marketing consultant, digital strategist, brand architect, web designer, blogger, podcaster and industry speaker. Brian’s been in the music biz for twenty years. Formerly the corporate head of buying and marketing for a large Canadian music retail chain, Brian faced a crossroads when his long-time employer went bankrupt. Using social media, Brian has since re-created himself over the past three years to become a well-respected voice on the convergence of independent artist development, music marketing, social media and technology.

Brian is both a social media content curator and creator. He is the publisher of The DIY Daily ( newsletter, which features links to articles about a wide range of subjects, from creative inspiration to music marketing and social media. In addition to his daily newsletter, Brian also publishes a motivational podcast every day on iTunes and Soundcloud. Search on Thorny Bleeder (two words) to follow him or link from his website or Facebook page ( Brian also co-hosts two other podcasts, the Music Biz Weekly and The Rock Star Branding Podcast with marketing consultants Michael Brandvold and Steve Jones. Brian and Michael also co-produce a series of free music marketing webinars. Finally, Brian creates more original content by blogging regularly on his website, on issues of interest to him such as branding, marketing, motivation and technology.

Active on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and a variety of other social media sites, Brian has accrued some impressive social media scores. With over 10,000 followers on Twitter, thousands of friends on Facebook and a Klout score of 70, Brian casts a wide net of influence in the music marketing industry.

In the first half of our hour-long discussion, Brian and I talk about the role social media has played in his personal branding, his daily work life, and in the lives of the indie musicians he communicates and works with every day. We cover

  • Brian’s Background and History As Head Buyer and Marketer for A Large Canadian Music Retail Chain
  • The Initial Formation of Thorny Bleeder and Brian’s Embrace of Social Media, No-Budget Marketing, Crowdsourcing and Earning Fans
  • What Brian Does on a Daily Basis: Consulting, Coaching, Creative Idea Development, Marketing Strategy, Social Media Training, Branding Training
  • Brian’s Social Media Content Curation and Self-Education
  • Content Curation as a Reflection of a Personal Brand, Acting As a Trusted Filter
  • Deciding What Content to Forward, Posting a Positive Quote Every Day
  • Making the Choice to Be Positive, Social Media Content Curation as a Self-Help and Social/Group Learning Process
  • Content Curation vs. Creation: How Much Time To Spend?
  • What to Share… or Not: How to Tell Good Content. Link Bait and Self-Promotional Content.
  • What Gets Brian Excited About Using Social Media with Artists Today. “Digital Natives” Using Social Media, Using Facebook. When Social Media Usage Becomes Natural. Integrating Social Media into a Marketing Campaign. Creativity in Social Media.
  • Brian’s Work With Art of Dying and Social Media. Driving The Social Media Strategy in Creative Ways. Believing and Using Social Media. Jonny’s Journal. Rocket Science.
  • Why Artists Have a Hard Time With Content Creation: Technology, Consistency, Authenticity.
  • The Rock N Roll Fantasy: Working Hard to Reach Your Dream. Gear. Technology.

Interview # 2 covers additional information like the evolution of the music consumption model, corporate branding and streaming services like Spotify, using pictures in personal branding online and more.

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4 thoughts on “Interview # 1 With Brian Thompson of Thorny Bleeder

  1. Thanks, Wendy! I was hoping to make this an interview that would be useful to students of social media as well as musicians who are really into trying to dissect how to be effective social media marketers. Part II of the interview follows soon…

  2. Great interview, so much good food for thought! What really resonated for me: “I don’t want to buy fans, I want to earn fans,” the focus on sharing positive content that helps others learn, striking the right balance between content creation versus curation, and the importance of good writing. And last but definitely not least, the importance of creativity plus discipline. Those who make it must have both.

  3. Pingback: Interview # 2 With Brian Thompson of Thorny Bleeder | Solveig Whittle

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