“Ottawa is booming with talent,” says Ted Adler from across the coffee table. “There are high standards for excellence, but not enough audience turn out. It should be stronger.”
We’re sitting in the café area of the Nordstrom department store. Over my interview subject’s head, there are displays of designer shoes. I’ve got my notebook out, and am scrambling to keep up as Ted speaks with calm confidence. He has limited time, as he’s in the process of moving downtown to be closer to his clients.
At a networking event over a year ago, a friend introduced him jokingly as “the guy who makes sound decisions.” Ted laughed at the pun, and then decided to put it as the tagline on his business card.
After he graduated Algonquin College’s Music Industry Arts program, Ted started looking around to join a music industry company. Even though he’d been working in the industry for over 15 years, the cut-throat competition to get those positions left him thinking “maybe I’m doing this the wrong way.” And so, Ted Adler founded his own business, called Sound Decisions.
As of writing this, Sound Decisions has been open for business for approximately six weeks. In this time frame, Ted already has 12 recurring clients and also does one-off jobs for artists wherever he’s needed. He plans to bring others on board to cover the niches as the company grows. “Instead of introducing people to people, which is what I’m doing now, I want it all to be in house.”
Ted has experience performing, recording, engineering, mastering, producing, promoting, managing artists and coordinating events—but his most popular requests have been for obtaining bookings, coordinating band member auditions and holding consulting sessions for aspiring artists.
“It’s a lot of phone calls and Facebook messages. I’ve always got one earbud in to listen to local artists.” His main method of client acquisition has been to research the artist, listen to their music, then reach out to them online. “Artists crave feedback,” Ted explains. “so they’re always happy when someone reaches out to them. A lot of artists need guidance, so I’m there to help the artists that want to be helped.”
Ted explains it still isn’t easy going. “Becoming successful in this market is difficult, and I’m not here to be a Yes-Man. You are going to have to invest as an artist if you want to build. We all want to get paid, but it doesn’t happen overnight and it’s not likely to happen at all if the pieces aren’t in place. I’m here to help build the engine, if you will. My goal is to present musicians from losing steam. What I provide is momentum.”