Hey folks, Scott Bradlee here. Postmodern Jukebox actually first went viral on Reddit, so it's good to be back for a visit. i'll try not to mess up all the new furniture.

I’ve written a book about my journey from broke musician to one billion YouTube views (so crazy) and tours on six continents called, “Outside The Jukebox,” and it's available for pre order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. But we can talk about whatever you like, I’m not that picky:) AMA!

Proof here.

UPDATE: i'm here now (i clearly pre wrote the above paragraph), let's go!

UPDATE: wow, this went on for way longer than i planned. i have to catch a flight to pmj rehearsal in a couple of hours and I'm not packed at all so i'm peacing out. thanks so much for your questions, i hope i gave some decent answers! and for those of you that ordered the book, keep in touch after you read it and lmk what you think! i'm @scottbradlee on twitter / insta.

UPDATE: ok this flight has bad WiFi but I’m bored so I may try and get to a few more ?s

Comments: 953 • Responses: 61  • Date: 

AMA-ButThat1138 karma

Are PMJ performers paid a flat fee or do you give them some type of recurring revenue as well based on view counts, etc?

I imagine it's the former for the sake of simplicity.

scottbradlee943 karma

it varies from performer to performer. usually a royalty deal like a record label.

dturk-bbx91 karma

How do you license the original songs to create the PMJ version? Does any of the revenue go back to the original songwriter?

scottbradlee163 karma

Yes, the songwriters get mechanical royalties

AMA-ButThat965 karma

Scott... Is Haley Reinhart likely to appear in a new PMJ video?

scottbradlee501 karma

hmm what's PMG?

and we'll see! it's definitely a great combination, isn't it:)

mmm_toasty686 karma

Hey Scott,

How was it working with Puddles?

scottbradlee1012 karma

ha Puddles got an entire chapter in the book! filming "royals" was definitely the moment that the front desk of my building figured out that some weird stuff was happening in my apartment.

embiggenedmind525 karma

Hey, thanks for doing this. What happened to Robyn? Wasn’t she a founding member of PmJ? One day she just kinda disappeared with no explanation.

scottbradlee834 karma

Robyn was the first PMJ singer to really go viral - most of our early subscribers discovered PMJ through "thrift shop" and "we can't stop". She still tours with us a ton. She's mostly on the East Coast working on her channel, but she still does PMJ videos when she's in California. it's all in the book:)

elbowsayles457 karma

Hey Scott! I've been following your channel for a few years now and it's amazing to see you and your work grow from just a small white room to grand sets and live shows. One thing I miss from your earlier days was your Saturday morning slow jams of popular theme songs and such. Do you have any plans to bring this back? Also, can you tell us what it was like meeting and working with Puddles your first time?

scottbradlee463 karma

i've promised to bring back SMSJ so many times that i really need to just clear my schedule and film a bunch of them. when PMJ first experienced some success i met a digital media strategist that told me i needed to remove the SMSJ series because the branding was so far off from the PMJ aesthetic. i refused, mostly because i'm stubborn. but, i also think there's a great value in having all those early experiments on YouTube. people like to see the journey.

also, ducktales might be my favorite video ever

Frajer288 karma

Do you or the guest singer pick the song to cover? Have there been any songs you tried giving the postmodern jukebox treatment but couldn't make it work?

scottbradlee471 karma

usually me, but sometimes the singers have better song ideas than i do and we go with that. i'm a big believer in "best idea wins," no matter where it comes from.

and all the time. sometimes ill start an arrangement and it'll just kinda fall flat. but far more often, ill have an arrangement ready to go, but by the time the band comes in and runs in, i'll have little parts i want to change. the band's sheet music is usually a mess by the time we record.

michaelfri280 karma

Hey Scott.

Have you ever planned to make a PMJ "cover" where the original singer sings their own song PMJ style?

Also, which countries (if any) where you never preformed so far would be added to future tours?

scottbradlee472 karma

we actually had a famous singer lined up to do just that awhile back, but last minute they came down with laryngitis and the whole thing got cancelled :/

by "last minute" i mean their tour bus was literally outside the house and we were all set up to record

CheziktheStrong52 karma

was this for real laryngitis or famous person bullshit?

scottbradlee67 karma

Ha! I’ll take them at their word

Queenofscots239 karma

Hi, Scott!

Two questions, one non-musical, one musical:

  1. Favorite childhood books/stories? I love that your Mom does a story hour on facebook :)

  2. What musicians/bands of today, if any, do you think might still be played years from now--do you think any of our music will have the lasting quality of Mozart's or Bach's, etc.?

Oh, also, would you like a kitten?? We still have three! They'd look mighty cute gamboling about in a PMJ video :D

♥ StillAFirefly

scottbradlee325 karma

good ones! yeah my mom really got into the live streaming thing, and i def remember her reading "watership down" to me as a kid. i distinctly remember her not being able to make it to the end of that one or "charlotte's web" without bawling her eyes out.

for 2) i think our relationship with music is fundamentally different now because there is just so much of it. i don't think there will ever be a band more well known than the beatles, or an artist as famous as an icon worldwide like michael jackson. in addition to their talent, they were just at the right time for that "most famous EVER!" stuff.

and a kitten would prob get my videos at least a 100k more views, but i'm really bad at taking care of living things:(

kiltrout192 karma

Why are you called postmodern jukebox when you're doing everything in a severely retro modernist style?

scottbradlee558 karma

because i didn't really know what those words meant seven years ago when i had 300 subscribers :shrugs:

SiON42X147 karma

All things come around, just roll with it and the name will prove itself apt eventually.

scottbradlee128 karma

i like that line of thinking

BigHemi45164 karma

What is it like to work with Morgan James? Is her voice as powerful as it seems like it is?

scottbradlee225 karma

her voice is ridiculous. the high note in "maps" was that pitch perfect in every take.

she's also very funny, i don't think people realize that. she has an entire instagram of this character she created that she updates as often as her actual instagram

Jetlag923122 karma

I haven't listened to your music but I never get to these early enough to ask a question, so how has your day been so far?

scottbradlee166 karma

pretty good, about to order some lunch. yourself?

scottbradlee336 karma

don't leave me hanging :(

Jack6503113 karma

Scott. Big fan of PMJ. It seems like there are different musicians/singers each time (except you of course). What a pool of talent you must have to choose from. Where do you get these people?

scottbradlee221 karma

in the early days, it was almost entirely people i knew / friends of friends.

nowadays, it's that, but also lots of management submissions, fan referrals, etc. one thing i've learned is that there are A TON of amazing singers out there, and like pokemon, we gotta catch em all...

cahaseler110 karma

Hi Scott, please update your post and remove the URL shortened links. Reddit's spam filter tends to pull them and cause problems with your post. Thanks!

scottbradlee110 karma

gah I'm new at this. better?

HaleysTusk106 karma

Building on my Haley/Casey duet thing. When I was young there used to be variety hours, Donny and Marie, Sonny and Cher etc. With all the characters you've accumulated over the years, I thought maybe something like an annual Xmas PMJ special might be fun, is that possible?

scottbradlee98 karma

i do like that idea! i'm doing a YouTube 1 billion view live special at PMJ Manor on June 11 that I'm hoping will kind of have that vibe...

jcfct103 karma

Saw Postmodern Jukebox a few years ago at the Birchmere in Alexandria, VA. Loved the small venue. Haven't been to a show with that much energy in a long time!The next time you came to DC, the venue was much larger and tickets were out of my price range. Any chance you'll be back in the DC area for a smaller show?

scottbradlee76 karma

i'll be back at The Hamilton on June 18 for my book release party - although that'll be more of me and a couple of guests, rather than an actual PMJ show. I'm psyched for it, small venues are always so much fun to play

DoubleMeatDave77 karma

Scott,

I don't have a question. I just wanted to say thanks.

Thank you for being you, and working with the amazing musicians you have to create such beautiful music.

It helped my buddies and I keep a positive attitude during our deployment to Afghanistan in late 2013-summer 2014. I discovered PMJ a few weeks before we left, showed the band to a couple friends in my platoon and by the time we landed in Afghanistan, you guys were our defacto platoon band.

Your music means more to the guys I deployed with and I than you'll ever know, or that I'll ever be able to adequately put into words.

Thank you.


That was my original comment. Automod removed it because I didn't ask a question. So here's one; Ever thought of doing a USO tour?

scottbradlee22 karma

This is awesome. Thank you for doing what you do - much love from all of us.

poduszkowiec57 karma

Can you tell us about how were you approched to make the Bioshock songs?

scottbradlee63 karma

that's another one that gets a chapter in the book. but it happened after my "ragtime 80s" medley went viral

Crocas2846 karma

Hi Scott,

How do you feel by being the "mastermind" behind this project and yet, most of the show is "stolen" by the amazing musicians that integrate it? Do you ever think how would you be able to participate more actively on videos/live shows?

scottbradlee103 karma

nah I'm good. I'm not trying to be a frontman.

Kooby3344 karma

What is your favorite television show and why is it Frasier?

scottbradlee126 karma

because my tv doesnt pick up Seinfeld

Buffalo__Buffalo40 karma

That's because it doesn't have any arms!

scottbradlee62 karma

you don't know that

kickinchicken62441 karma

Hi!! I bought my tickets for a PMJ concert here in the states for September, but there's also a tour happening at the same time for you guys overseas. Is there any way to know if you'll be at the concert I go to? Or do you tend not to go to the live performances anymore? Thanks!!

scottbradlee47 karma

im not usually at the shows, but sometimes i take a week off and join the cast on the road- what city is it?

TimeWastingFun40 karma

Hi Scott! I've been watching you ever since your early solo days on the Nord. You've grown so much as an artist and an inspiration to watch how you've built yourself progressively over the years. I wonder what you have in store for us in the coming years.

My question is: Aside from practice, what else helped you to develop your technique? Did you have a practice regimen/repertoire that you used early on in your career?

Thank you for your response!

scottbradlee63 karma

thank you! but my piano technique isn't the greatest...i don't practice that stuff enough. put a classical piece in front of me and i'll sound like a beginner.

i did practice a ton of Joplin rags and other things early on, before I fully got into improvising jazz. that stuff was GREAT for left hand work, and anyone that wants to learn stride / early jazz piano should start there.

alfaflag33 karma

Hi Scott, big fan ever since I've heard your arrangements in Bioshock. Saw PMJ live in The Hague (Netherlands) - sadly you weren't there but the show was great.

My question is about selecting the artists for PMJ (Sara Niemietz is my favorite). Do they just contact you and ask to perform? Do they have to audition?

scottbradlee41 karma

it varies -- sometimes i reach out to people i hear, sometimes it's from a referral, sometimes it's from our "PMJ Search" contest (last week's Paramore cover featured Maris from PMJsearch). I think with Sara, she sent me an email and I took one listen to her cover of "God Bless The Child" and it was an instant yes. She's truly a remarkable vocalist, and already had a ton of subscribers before working with PMJ, so it's awesome to have her with us. She's also the sweetest person you'll ever meet -- you should write to her and I guarantee she'll write you back!

Jxmes_miller199729 karma

Hey Scott, Big fan from Britain 🇬🇧

Q1) What made you decide to put people on #PMJTour that haven't worked with the group before such as Emma Hatton and Cunio? (Loved them both btw!)

Q2) Whats the hardest vocal arrangement in the PMJ repotoire?

scottbradlee50 karma

hello from across the pond!

although we cast primarily from people i've worked with on videos, sometimes we stumble upon someone that makes us think, "cast them now, do the video later!" in emma's case, i met and jammed with her during the previous UK tour, and it was so obvious that she would be a great fit - plus, i had always wanted to try having a hometown favorite in UK. With Cunio, I saw a video of him and he was such a unique performer that I was excited to get him on the road, even if our schedules didn't align for a proper PMJ video. we'll get both of them in videos soon!

jochillin43 karma

in emma's case, i met and jammed her

Freudian slip?

scottbradlee31 karma

ha fixed it:)

Fattypies27 karma

Hi Scott! One of my favorite tracks is that Harry Potter jazz variations you guys did. Any chance of more just instrumental type covers ?

scottbradlee35 karma

i forgot how that one came about. i like to throw in those every so often, even though they aren't standard PMJ fare. I need to think of a new one...

lolofrosty25 karma

Favorite thing about being in the music industry?

scottbradlee109 karma

not having to be *in* the music industry:) PMJ is completely independent on the label side.

but music industry is fun bc you meet so many characters. even the execs have funny rockstar nicknames and dress kinda like johnny depp impersonating johnny depp

itssarahw25 karma

Have you received any pushback from any particular artists or, on the other side, compliments for your renditions?

scottbradlee53 karma

we received compliments from many of the artists.

only time we got a takedown was our "traditional irish" version of Get Lucky. one of the singers had a Guinness can prominently displayed and daft punk thought it was native advertising (it wasn't, we were just being silly).

but apparently we're in the daft punk netflix special so there's that.

hotwaffleman23 karma

Hi Scott. Big fan...thank you for a band with talented musicians and vocalists (and no $#%@# drum machines)! My Q's are... 1. Can you tell us more about your house? It looks like an old speakeasy...have any secret passages or a bathtub full of gin? 2. If you hadn't pursued music, what other career path would you have followed?

scottbradlee37 karma

PMJ Manor has had some recent renovations. we've moved the old time-y boxing gym out of the speakeasy room and into my office. also, my buddy Adam Kubota bought an SNES for the only TV in the house, which is inconveniently located in the kitchen. the gin bathtub largely goes unused.

Thekokza22 karma

Hey Scott! Do you like Jamiroquai? That's all.

scottbradlee17 karma

they were the jam

arche2220 karma

How much of a mess did you make of your living room shooting the "Umbrella" video?

scottbradlee46 karma

fortunately, we got that one in a single take. there was water on the microphones, the tap boards, everywhere. between that and our clarinetist Jacob jumping out the window and trampling a rose bush during "Love Yourself," that poor house took a beating.

arche2215 karma

Was it a thorned rose bush, and did Jacob learn his lesson?

scottbradlee48 karma

jacob never learns his lesson

ABCforCharlie19 karma

Hey Scott! Music Teacher here, and you are a staple in my classroom. Anything we can do to request more Saturday Slow Jams? And perhaps, a few covers of more modern day tunes for the kiddies?

scottbradlee26 karma

i need to bring SMSJ back for sure! I'll need to research modern day cartoon themes, though. i'm sure there are some good ones.

tell your class hi from me!

danielrichtea19 karma

Hi Scott, what's the achievement you're most proud of with regards to PMJ?

scottbradlee50 karma

headlining radio city music hall. i used to visit NYC when i was a teenager sneaking into jazz clubs, and i had always dreamed of playing a legendary venue like that.

HaleysTusk18 karma

Not meaning any shade to your other keyboard players, but I always thought "Creep" with Haley sounded best with you on the piano, every performance unique. Since then, I've seen Jesse Elder play several times seeing him on tour with Haley and I'm now convinced Jesse is amazing too. Anything you can tell us about what impresses you about him as a fellow piano player?

scottbradlee24 karma

Jesse is a musical genius - his playing fuses classical and jazz in such a unique way, especially in his solo work. it's also noteworthy that he had never played stride piano before touring with PMJ - I gave him one lesson, and he spent a good week in a practice room figuring out the genre. he's a quick study.

Daredizzle16 karma

Hey! Thanks for doing this AMA. I work with artists and musicians to build their brand, grown their audience, and reach new ears. Unfortunately, everyone wants to bank on "going viral". How much control do you feel you had on that experience vs. hard-work/luck contributing?

scottbradlee22 karma

i think hard work and luck kinda go hand in hand. part of the hard work is constantly creating opportunities for discovery. i was somewhat fortunate back in 2013 to be able to take advantage of reddit, youtube, etc. back when big media companies had very little presence on there, which led to our "we can't stop" video being the most-watched video on YouTube for a day. i was definitely cognizant of the fact that certain things increased your chance at going viral, and that was built into the concept of Postmodern Jukebox - at least in the very early days. But after that, building a brand is all about consistency and maintaining a high quality output.

mandaloredash14 karma

Hey Scott. What are your plans to expand PMJ in the future? Do you plan on ever making something like a movie, TV show, or Broadway musical based on PMJ's music?

scottbradlee17 karma

i definitely want to get into different things in music, now that PMJ has opened so many doors. writing a book was the project of the last two years, so i'm still in book mode. but after that, who knows? a movie score would definitely be fun.

Zonz433214 karma

Sweet!

I find that I dislike/am indifferent to a lot of the original versions of the songs you arrange until I hear your version. Are there any songs you’ve chosen to record that you feel similarly about? Or are all the songs you choose favorites of yours/purely based on notoriety?

I can imagine how it’d be fun to take bland pop song and spice it up a bit. (Can we all agree chainsmokers closer is the most generic thing ever?)

scottbradlee13 karma

good question. there are def lots of songs that we've covered that i didn't like in their original forms.

it's usually obvious when we are covering a personal favorite of mine because they tend to be non-obvious choices for PMJ covers e.g. "this must be the place"

StopYouAnimal12 karma

Have you ever seen an artist perform and just thought to yourself - this person has the "it" factor. If so, what are some of those performers? What do you think makes the it factor?

scottbradlee22 karma

all the time! i think "it" factor usually means "unforced uniqueness" -- someone that remains authentically and un-self consciously themselves when performing. we're fascinated by people that express themselves without fear of being judged, so there's a vicarious thrill that we experience when we watch a singer really going for it (as long as it sounds good, of course)

RockabillyOx11 karma

When you choose the songs to cover, what do you base it on? Vocal range of the singers, songs you or they enjoy or based on popularity? "Creep" is my personal favorite.

scottbradlee30 karma

i like to take songs that are familiar to a lot of people and put them into a different historical time period where it's somewhat believable that they could have been written. for instance, "sweet child o' mine" has a lyrical scheme that sounds like an old folk or blues song, so I imagined it getting recorded by Bessie Smith in the 1920s

MrFaceBag11 karma

What kind of formal music education do you have and how much do you think that helped you in your career?

scottbradlee28 karma

i went into this a ton in my book, but short answer: I spent a couple years studying jazz at college, but in all honesty it didn't change my style that much - i kinda liked being self-taught and doing my own thing. but college was great for meeting other talented people and experimenting with putting together bands. my early projects were definitely pretty weird and not at all successful, but they taught me a ton. and today, postmodern jukebox features a lot of the same friends i used back in college, and some of them even live at the pmj house. it's like 'entourage,' but on a budget

Pythagoreuhhh10 karma

Is Puddles the Clown always dressed like that?

scottbradlee21 karma

pretty much. but he used to have a different clown suit, he's updated his wardrobe.

ImagineHeart2 karma

How do you feel about other artists emulating the style you established with Postmodern Jukebox?

And how did you come up with the name "Postmodern Jukebox"?

scottbradlee18 karma

tbf, retro covers have been around for a long time (richard cheese, the puppini sisters, etc). i think what makes postmodern jukebox unique is that we craft an entire universe around this idea. so, when someone does a purely retro cover of something, it's not like they're copying my idea or anything. i only get annoyed when reality shows try to pass off an actual pmj arrangement as a contestant's original work. that's just lazy

bgo42911 karma

Hey Scott!

Where do you guys do your recordings for youtube? It always seems like really cool venues compared to the early recordings when they were clearly in someone's apartment.

scottbradlee5 karma

it's still a living room, actually - just a bigger living room with crazy high ceilings. we call it 'PMJ Manor.'

TheCantrip1 karma

(1) Did you know (hope) that you would inspire a meme about us making the"Roaring [20]'20s" a thing and partying like Gatsby while listening to PMJB?

(2) What's your feeling on Gatsby?

scottbradlee2 karma

  1. no, but i am happy to exploit said meme for wider awareness of PMJ!
  2. the character? the movie? or the NES game?

lolofrosty1 karma

Did you see any of the new movies that came out like Han Solo or Deadpool 2?

If so what have you seen? And what would you rate it?

scottbradlee4 karma

i randomly saw both of those, and I'm bad at movies.

i thought deadpool 2 in particular was great! but i hear I should have seen the first one...

wulfman_HCC1 karma

I always assumed the Easy Virtue soundtrack in 2008 inspired you / started this. is that the case, or where did the first idea come from?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBWgrJUvWUk

scottbradlee3 karma

haha i hadn't seen this, but it is very PMJ.

i started doing the old time-y cover thing back when i was in high school, just for laughs when hanging with my friends. i would do things like play Notorious BIG's "big poppa" as ragtime

DanielleFL21 karma

What is your most memorable moment from touring?

scottbradlee3 karma

there was an early show in Pawtucket that totally went off the rails. everyone that was on that first show will always remember that one, and it got a few pages in my book.

Fake_Tacos1 karma

Hey Scott, two things. Will you ever come to Charleston, SC? Also, you were the inspiration for me to start playing piano and because of you I absolutely love it. So thank you very much!

scottbradlee2 karma

PMJ hits Charleston once a year! great town. and i'm honored! it's amazing to be able to inspire someone

dontthrowmeinabox1 karma

My favorite video of yours is still the advertisement for a service where you and some other people would play the background music for NES games. Did anyone ever take you up on that?

scottbradlee2 karma

haha! i think i forgot to write down the password for that email address and never checked. hopefully i didn't disappoint too many people

PsykoPhreak1 karma

Hi Scott, 2 questions.

  1. What dip do you use on your chicken nuggets?

  2. What inspired you to start PMJB?

scottbradlee7 karma

  1. honey mustard
  2. i was struggling as a musician and figured that making clever youtube videos might be help get me more cocktail piano gigs