De Novo Agency Profile: Elliot Tousley
Over the last decade, Elliot Tousley has been making a name for himself and establishing a career in the music industry. After pursuing a career as an artist, he turned his attention to establishing an agency that would work for and on the behalf of independent artists.
Elliot cut his teeth in the industry as one half of the rap duo, The Cave Boys, and as part of the Jig & Funk duo before getting into the business side of music. Being a musician has been nothing short of a competitive advantage for himself and De Novo Agency.
Coming from the artist side, Elliot is well-versed in the common mistakes of independent artists, the challenges they face, and he can authentically relate to everything they are going through as an artist trying to build a business.
For Elliot, the journey from musician to thriving music industry entrepreneur was not one paved in gold. Like any successful person (whether in life or business), he has proven that failures strengthen you, not define you.
After graduating from the University of New Hampshire (UNH), with a degree in Communication and Media Studies, he landed a steady job in the insurance world. When he was laid off a few years later, he found himself at a crossroads.
Determined to not be derailed by this moment, Elliot took this opportunity to plunge back in full time to his first love, music. When asked about the beginnings of De Novo, Elliot had this to say on the inspiration and company philosophy:
“We put De Novo Agency together while keeping absolutely everything artist-centric and in a way where the artist could truly benefit and learn something about how to create a profitable music business. I spent a lot of time being a musician recording my own music and trying to find ways to promote myself and this lead me to really understand what our customers are looking for, but also understand many of the hoops they have to jump through and what things they are concerned about.”
With his career shifting and an opportunity to pursue music full time, Elliot and business partner James Landry, took a small pool of money and went full tilt on their goal of building the most artist-friendly agency in the business.
It’s the heart and passion that Elliot brings to his work that makes him special, and it’s the heart and passion of the DNA team that make them so incredible to work with. This is not an agency where the “suits” aren’t personally invested in their artists.
On how the DNA team has been successful and the approach they have taken, Elliot had this to say:
“Getting into good physical shape isn’t a challenge to figure out HOW to do it, the challenge is in being disciplined or confident enough to stick with it when the changes are so incremental. But like trying to bust your ass into shape, if you work at it every day, when 6 months go by and you look back you notice a ton of change and differences. So in a similar aspect the challenge hasn’t been in knowing what to do or how to do it, it has been in being able to make myself get up and do it everyday even when the change or gains are incremental at first.”
What Elliot and the De Novo team have been able to do for their artists is inspiring, but they aren’t even close to finished. Fresh on the heels of all of the success they have been able to bring their artists another revolutionary tool.
All good entrepreneurs know that they are only as good as their next offering. In the case of Elliot and DNA, that next offering is Songflowr.
Songflowr is a music distribution service that puts artists’ needs at the forefront. It can best be summed up like this:
Independent artist music distribution where you can distribute your music for life, pay only once per song or album. No royalty costs or subscriptions.
You won’t find a better deal.
Both De Novo Agency and Songflowr were built to help independent artists better navigate the business side of music. Elliot and James bring personal care and attention to their artists and that’s what helps them stand out from the crowd.
Independent artists are always looking for the competitive edge, for the path to making it. Elliot’s best piece of advice to them is this:
“Treat your music as a business, because it is one. Put 75% of your time in marketing the music you have, not continuously making new music to release to the exact same audience again and again. Build a platform now to release content to later. Oh, and get an accountant.”
Elliot is a person who has been on both sides of the music industry and that experience and knowledge have helped him help artists of all different types. Together, he and James are taking a revolution to the music industry. Who’s coming along for the ride?