Business

He Has a Rarity in Music: A Steady Paycheck

Posted January 12, 2018 4:05 p.m. EST

Joe Shadid, 30, is a music and content specialist for Reverb.com in Chicago.

Q: What is Reverb.com, and what do you do there?

A: We’re an online marketplace where people buy and sell guitars, drums and other music gear.

I appear in our YouTube videos, demonstrating music instruments and gear, giving guitar lessons and discussing music theory. I also teach users how to replicate or change artists’ tones. In other videos, I interview musicians, usually about one of their songs or their gear. This is a good way to earn a steady paycheck and stay close to my art.

Q: When did you know you wanted to be a musician?

A: My brother and I loved music as kids. When I was about 9, we’d sneak across a busy road to buy albums at a music store. One night, I was listening to “I’ve Just Seen a Face” when a switch turned in my brain. I ran into my parents’ bedroom and asked for a guitar. Santa brought one that Christmas, and I’ve played it every day since.

Q: How did you get this job?

A: In 2015, a family friend working here asked me to demonstrate a guitar pedal on a video. I was hesitant until I realized what I could do. I love sharing, talking about and exploring the language of music. There are endless things to discover.

Q: Did you study music?

A: I attended Berklee College of Music but left before I finished when I had an opportunity to tour with the band I was playing with. I discussed it with a couple of professors I looked up to, who said: “You came here to prepare yourself for an opportunity like this. Go.” I felt like it was the right call.

Q: How do you decide what goes in the videos?

A: Every month, I meet with the content team, which runs like a newsroom. We map out our video plan based on artist birthdays, album anniversaries, holidays, bands that have resonated with viewers, audience suggestions and so forth.

Q: What was a memorable moment?

A: A couple of years ago, I was playing at a music hall when a teenager approached me. He said he and his dad had lived in different cities for most of his life, but they had bonded learning to play guitar from my videos and playing together over Skype. I still get emotional thinking about it.

Q: How has this impacted your music career?

A: Last January, I was attending a trade show for Reverb when I saw Rex Brown, the bassist for the now-defunct band Pantera. He looked my way and pointed, and I glanced over my shoulder to see who he was looking at. It was me. He complimented me on my videos and called that night and asked me to join him on tour with his new band and record. Last September, I went to Europe with them, which was great fun. We’ll see how it goes.