Story Gatherings | Nashville, Tennessee

An Interview with Daniel McCarthy, Founder of Musicbed & Filmsupply

Kellyn Robison
Written by Kellyn Robison

An Interview with Daniel McCarthy, Founder of Musicbed & Filmsupply

We love partnering with Musicbed and Filmsupply.  Like us, they serve creatives in any vein of work and believe in the power of stories, so the partnership makes so much sense for us.  We wanted to learn more about the story behind their work, so we sat down with founder, Daniel McCarthy to talk about everything from their creative process, their documentary film ‘Make’, and who’s the next-big-thing in music.

What is the mission behind Musicbed and Filmsupply, and the short story of how it all began?

We started both Musicbed and Filmsupply for similar reasons. As creatives, we wanted to make a platform where the most exceptional music and footage was easily accessible to every creative in the world. We believe in the power of film, and we get amped up to play a small role in the kinds of stories being told today. While we love to see the content we represent used in all kinds of ways, we get particularly excited when we get to see it being used in films that can inspire, change and motivate people.

So, the short story is that we saw a need in our industry for really incredible footage and music, and we wanted to help close the gap. That’s where both brands started, and something we’ve tried to keep in mind since day one.

Why did you decide to be a part of STORY this year?

We’ve always loved STORY. I feel like we share a similar view on creative culture. We spend a lot of time talking about shaping and developing creatives and I think STORY is a wonderful place for that to happen. Anytime you get a bunch of talented and creative people in the same place, good things tend to happen. We’re definitely not going to miss out on that. Plus, we’ll take any chance we can get to take a trip out to Nashville.

How do you approach the brand of Musicbed? What is your approach to marketing who you guys are and what you offer? Why so much content? Where did this approach come from?

The content is really a byproduct of the things our team loves. We believe in collaboration, constant learning, and self evaluation. We just want to create the content that we would want to consume. At the end of the day, the things we write, say, film, and make, are all just us speaking from our hearts about creativity and creatives. Whether it is about avoiding pitfalls, or ideas on inspiration, we want to continuously add value back in to the people we work with on a day to day basis.

Authenticity comes fairly easy for our team, I think, because we live the creative life as well. In the end our approach is to put people first and really value each individual. It shapes everything we do.

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Regarding that approach, tell about how your documentary, “Make”, fits into all of that. Why did you make, “Make”?

In the process of interviewing hundreds of creatives over the years, we were able to see common threads. The classic question every creative asks themselves is ‘why.’ Why do they create the things they create? It’s a nearly impossible question to answer, but you can sure learn a lot from asking it. Today more than ever, we see a lot of people creating things for the wrong reasons — fame, money, etc. We wanted to make a film that got creatives talking about why they do what they do. Through the process we — and hopefully the people that see the film — learned a lot about what it means to live a healthy lifestyle as a creative person.

What is the culture like internally for you guys as a company? You’re a company of creatives who are serving other creatives…we’d love to hear a little about your culture.

I’d like to think it’s normal. We (really) like coffee, we value each others ideas, we hate mediocrity, we fight for excellence, we challenge each other and then we come out the other side with a better product and better friends. I don’t know, maybe that is cliche. But we’ve grown a lot even in the last 4-5 months, as a company and as people. The transition from startup to real business is never easy in the realms of communication — department to department, peer to peer, we’ve worked really really hard to make good communication a priority.

What does your team’s creative process look like?

You’d probably have to ask them. I’m not in the marketing world as much as I used to be, but I can say that it’s a pretty natural flow. Maybe I’m just on the communication kick right now, but it’s all about communication. Collaboration doesn’t work if you aren’t good at communicating. Critiquing each other’s work, calling out flaws, expecting better, pitching your own ideas, knowing when to not back down, etc. To be a great creative team, you have to be all-star communicators.

We also protect our processes, and there’s a lot of freedom in that. There’s freedom to come up with ideas, good or bad, that really push each and every member of our team. Whether it comes from a business standpoint, development standpoint or creative standpoint, we don’t believe in staying comfortable. There’s always something to improve upon or dream up.

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Who’s the next band or artist we need to be looking out for?

Is this where I get to put a shameless plug in for our iOS app?

But really, we are releasing so much good music right now. I am surprised every time I open the app. My suggestion: download the app and use it frequently so that you are constantly on top of what is new, fresh, and about to break. We’re always releasing new albums from our artists and bringing fresh material into our catalog. There are too many to mention here, but just check out our What’s New playlist — it’s never the same for long.

What is inspiring you lately as a creative? What do you do for inspiration when you feel like you’re stuck or in a rut?

Hmmm. The lake. And the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth. I was stuck in a rut for a while. I took eight weeks off and did nothing. It was almost complete isolation, minus my wife and three daughters. I wasn’t sure if I was going to ever be able to come back (as CEO). You’ll be happy to know I’m back and more excited than ever about the future of both brands, but it took a lot of time away for me to clear my head. There was a lot of stuff cluttering it that I didn’t even know existed — fear, comparison, frustration, anxiety, etc. I honestly thought I was extremely self aware. It wasn’t until I forced myself to get off the hamster wheel that I realized how much stuff had taken root in my soul that I didn’t want living there.

What’s your favorite book? Or the book you’ve gifted the most often, and why?

Great question. My favorite book is usually the one I am currently reading. I don’t finish many books, so if I’m still reading it, I actually like it.

The one I just finished (which I would recommend to any creative that feels like they are about to pop) is ‘Soul Keeping’ by John Ortberg. Don’t read it if you aren’t ready to take a deep look in to your soul!

What’s something crazy about yourself or the company that most people do not know, that they might be surprised to hear about?

Man, who knows. Today I’m sitting in a lake house working offsite with a few of our team members. We just got done eating burgers and we’re about to go surfing. Our lead designer is starting the next issue of our magazine, our copywriter just stepped out to take an interview with one of our artists, our content director for Filmsupply just got off an awesome phone call with a great new filmmaker, and I’m sitting on a couch writing answers to this Q&A.

So I guess there’s nothing too crazy or weird at all. Maybe the craziest thing is that we’re in Fort Worth, Texas, and I work with all of my friends! Crazy, I know, but it works for us.

Kellyn Robison
Kellyn Robison

VP of Everything at Istoria Collective.

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