Peter Lin of Yardbird Entertainment: Bridging Passion into Career

January 5, 2021
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Photo Credit Mark Krajnak and Mirna Plakalovic

Tell us about your business/company or hustle. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of as a company? What sets you apart from others?

Yardbird Entertainment provides live music booking, audio/video editing, and livestream production services for world-renowned individuals and organizations. With the personal experience of being a Taiwanese-American jazz musician for over 10 years in the NYC area, I bring a strong musical background and understanding into these services.

When the whole world went into quarantine mode, our company (and my gigs) were all cancelled for the foreseeable future, which meant pivoting to our other strong skill of music and video production work. We quickly adapted, and became known for our ability to transform the live music experience into the virtual realm. Not many business owners understand music in the same capacity as we do, which means our quality and attention to detail for musical performances immediately separates us from our competitors.

The two Founders identify as Taiwanese-American and Mexican-American. As a minority-owned business, we strive to continue uplifting our communities by maintaining a diverse roster of musicians and clients that properly reflect the American landscape.

Photo Credit: Mark Krajnak, Mirna Plakalović

Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you got started and how you got to where you are today.

I grew up in the suburbs in Northern New Jersey raised by two Taiwanese parents, where I somehow fostered an interest for jazz music. Pursuing a Jazz Studies degree from William Paterson University and Rutgers University, I became enamored by the New Jersey and New York City musical landscape, and aimed to become one of the best trombonists in the area. After two self-released records and performing all around the world with established artists, I began to see the truth behind the music scene and industry. Seeing the financial problems that come with being an artist, I started Yardbird Entertainment with my musician friend to help establish a better business with not only myself, but with the community around me. We began booking younger artists we believed in and wanted to give a chance to perform in better situations.

When COVID19 hit and all the businesses and venues closed, we saw the opportunity to use our audio and video editing skills to continue serving our community with online content. We continue to think of ways of how to bridge the gap between musicians and technology through innovative business models, improved livestream processes, and breaking the current standardized music monetization methods.

What specific obstacles or challenges have you faced while on your journey? What were they and how have you overcome them?

When going to music school, business is the last item on the list of what they will tell you. With no experience of how to ‘sell’ my art, I had to learn from the older generation on the gigs, which in turn helped me to understand the live music industry. In addition, there are a minimal amount of ‘famous’ Asian-American jazz musicians to model myself after, so finding a pathway for myself was a journey.

Learning from the elders of our musical community, I became more equipped to make a niche for myself. I also took the time to study outside of my ‘work’ of the regular gig life, which put me at an advantage when I needed to pivot to other skills.

What quality or characteristic of yours do you feel is most important to you as an entrepreneur? Why?

The most important characteristic of an entrepreneur is the desire and passion to improve upon the current human condition. Many people can work hard, but if you don’t have a purpose or reason, you will soon find it hard to inspire and convince yourself to continue the work.

Have you quit your day job to pursue your hustle? If no, please write no. If yes, please tell us when, why, and how you finally left your job.

To be honest, my only day job I ever worked was at an office for a non-profit, which was really just an excuse to feed my insatiable hunger to be a musician. Once I had enough funds to sustain myself as a musician, I quickly formulated and executed a plan to make a name for myself on the jazz scene. I have been blessed to be doing what I love for most of my adult life now.

What advice would you give to someone who is just entering into your field?

There are only a few artists in the world who can really just ‘perform’ as their primary work. If you want to do what you love, you better have a plan! Find at least three others who reflect your desired future self, and ask for their advice as much as possible!

How has AHN contributed to your journey? Who have you met along the way? What problems has AHN helped solve for you?

AHN has given me a platform to express and share my story with other Asian entrepreneurs. This is a wholesome group with individuals who honestly care about supporting each other through difficult times. I’ve met some amazing individuals in so many different industries, which in turn has empowered me to continue my work.

AHN has filled that void we often label as ‘I am completely alone’. AHN makes me realize there are many who look like us, share cultural identities, and embody our features in the entrepreneur realm. Asian Hustle Network has made me comfortable to share success and failures with others, since I know that honest and positive feedback are the backbone of the AHN community.

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