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interview

Dick Huey

Toolshed

Dick Huey’s 25-year music career includes management of several music artists, which led to a global head of digital role at independent record label powerhouse the Beggars Group in New York City. He is the founder of Toolshed, a digital strategy and music license acquisition consultancy. At Toolshed he created digital campaigns for hundreds of critically acclaimed music artists and dozens of the world’s top independent record labels. 

Dick Huey

Where are you based?

Sleepy Hollow, NY

Where do you work? What do you do?

I’m the founder and president of Toolshed, a digital music strategy and licensing consultancy.

What are you listening to?

Gillian Welch, Run the Jewels, Kendrick Lamar, Sufjan Stevens, Local Natives

How do you discover new music?

I read Pitchfork’s emails daily. I pay attention to a number of blogs including Largehearted Boy, Stereogum, Brooklyn Vegan, and Consequence of Sound. I follow a handful of playlists, but not really any genre-based playlists. Enjoy Release Radar and Discover Weekly…and am a subscriber to a variety of artist-focused subscription programs, private ones and also on Patreon. Also subscribe to a large number of music newsletters and emailouts direct from artists. Follow a variety of labels and artists I like on social media.

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Services? Why?

I regularly purchase vinyl, and listen to it as well 🙂 Other than that, primarily streaming services.

Where do you do most of your music listening?

I listen when I’m cooking dinner over my Echo streaming device, and on the weekends at home on my Marantz stereo (the big guns). I am always listening to something in the car – these days, probably split 50-50 between podcasts and audio. I subscribe to a variety of services – YouTube Music, Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal. I’m part of Third Man Record’s vinyl subscription through Tidal. I might be one of the only people who regularly still uses a Pono player on airplanes, with noise-cancelling headphones…

“I might be one of the only people who regularly still uses a Pono player on airplanes, with noise-cancelling headphones…”

How do you find and listen to pre-release music?

I used to spend a lot of time looking for pre-release music. These days, with “Follow” buttons on streaming services, I’m usually happy to wait for the music to just come out 🙂

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?

I don’t get as many links as I used to when I had a music marketing company. I do use iTunes Match, have been subscribed to it since it started. I like listening to digital music in my car and when cooking. More likely to listen to hi-res digital music if I’m really listening. I listen to albums when I want to *really* listen.

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?

I “like” an album, and when I’m in an exploratory mood, I go through and listen to music I haven’t heard before. I also shazam music regularly.

Discover the #HowWeListen Playlist

Listen to the #HowWeListen 2021 Picks playlist. Curated by this year’s interviewees.

Listen on Spotify

Do you tip other people off to new music? How?

Yes I do – a smaller circle than I used to. Use Twitter primarily for this.

Anything you want to “promote”?

NIVA/Save our Stages

"I like listening to digital music in my car and when cooking. More likely to listen to hi-res digital music if I’m really listening. I listen to albums when I want to *really* listen."

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