Help Wanted: 88Rising In Search Of 'Energy Director,' Hybrid Creative Director-Marketing Manager

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The Asian hip-hop collective is tapping an 'energy director' to steer its creative output.

Help Wanted is Billboard's spotlight on new types of jobs across the music biz.

88rising is a "new face of music" from an Asian perspective, says CEO Sean Miyashiro, who founded the label, management firm and creative agency in 2015. Its Head in the Clouds festival in L.A., dubbed "Asian Coachella," returned for its second year in August to a crowd of 22,000, with sets by Japan's Joji, China's Higher Brothers and Indonesia's Rich Brian and Niki. Miya­shiro's next priority is tapping an energy director — a hybrid of creative director and marketing manager — to work with his acts. "We don't want any derivatives," he says, but a manager for the company's creative output who can just "geek out."


The job entails a focus on artist collaborations and partnerships; effectively, shaping an artist's brand. A fluency in Asian music culture and the ability to parse data and trends in that market is key. "We're not even thinking about the Asianness of the music, but understanding our place as Asians in music and how can we embrace that to break through," explains Miyashiro.


Being a niche startup brings challenges, one being that each new endeavor is an uphill battle, says Miyashiro. "The why, how and who's involved — the taste level — has to be tremendously high," he says. "I liken it to the way Kanye [West] used to think about everything when he would roll shit out, from a visual perspective to how it makes people feel."


Managing 88rising's energy requires both a strategic creative vision and a fiscal shrewdness. "Everybody knows I'm harshest on creatives," says Miyashiro. "There isn't one person at 88rising that doesn't feel inspired. That's what drives me: when you make something and you see people react. It's priceless."

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 21 issue of Billboard.


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