Dave Pensado and Herb Trawick on the Importance of a Profitable Niche


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In any competitive industry, even the best in the business need to pursue new routes to expand, even redefine, their areas of expertise. Dave Pensado and Herb Trawick know all about this. In fact, they've built a profitable business around it.

L.A. music industry pros and lifelong friends, Pensado and Trawick not only have the expertise to run their web series, Pensado's Place, they also have a personal connection built on years of collaboration that makes working together a perfect fit.

A Grammy Award-winning sound mix engineer, Pensado has extensive expertise on how to mix music that will get an artist noticed. Having worked with the likes of Mary J. Blige, T-Pain, Mariah Carey, and Kelly Clarkson, he has the resume to back up his legendary status as one of the best in the business.

A music manager working with some of the world's top artists and bands, Trawick helped get artists he manages— like Brian McKnight, Robin Thicke and Tyrese Gibson— signed and touring. He's consulted with labels like Def Jam Records and knows the value of collaboration.

But as we all know, past accomplishments will only get you so far.

In order to survive in the entertainment industry, you have to accept feedback, adapt and innovate. It was this innovative spirit that really opened the doors to Pensado's Place, their web series about the audio engineering aspect of the music business.

The series was born when the pair recognized that there was an opportunity in the market they were perfectly adapted to fill. Thanks to the internet and widespread broadband access, music and the tools of production are more accessible than ever. And musicians, sound engineers and mixers at all levels are looking to get their work noticed.

That's where Pensado and Trawick are able to apply their expertise.

Through brand integration and sponsorship deals with brands like Warm Audio and Groove 3, the web series hosts events and offers giveaway promotions. For instance, their Fall Free For All Sweepstakes provides contest winners with top audio gear.

The web series has even inspired its own award show, The Pensado Awards. Founded as a way to celebrate music producers, mixers, engineers and songwriters, this annual show hopes to encourage collaboration between the pros, amateurs and brands recognized.

With more than 17.5 million views and 200,000 subscribers on YouTube, it's safe to say that viewers have bought into the series and are eager for more.

Being industry leaders, capitalizing on the professional and amateur audiophile niche market and utilizing the audio and video capabilities of the internet, Pensado and Trawick are aware that they cannot get complacent in their success. In a space that is now full of similar programs, their commitment to innovation is what ensures the longevity of their show.

“You have to be open to being wrong and being able to hear it," said Trawick. Surrounding themselves with a team that is honest and provides necessary creative push-back has helped the pair keep their show fresh and relevant.

For example, their utilization of social media— Twitter, Facebook, YouTube— was something that team members encouraged them to adopt. Not as savvy with social media as with a sound board, the pair took the suggestion to heart and made it a focus for expansion. Now, all of their platforms are linked and updated with the content and information their followers demand.

According to Pensado, if business owners lack candor and open communication, they can get “painted into many creative corners" when it comes to their business approach. “The strongest things you have are your ears; not your mouth. You have to listen to what comes in, process it and execute on that," Trawick said. 

This video is for general information and education only and is provided as a courtesy to the clients and friends of City National Bank. It is compiled from data and sources believed to be reliable, however City National Bank does not warrant that it is accurate or complete. Opinions expressed and estimates given are those of the speaker as of the date of publish with no obligation to update or notify of inaccuracy or change.