Young Guru Partners With The Marketing Arm, Named Chief Music Strategist
Young Guru, the veteran engineer, DJ and producer who has helmed albums by Jay Z, Beyoncé, Fabolous, Alicia Keys and T.I. over the years, among many others, will become the Chief Music Strategist at brand engagement agency The Marketing Arm. The partnership extends to Guru's education, social and tech startup Era of the Engineer, which has provided scholarships and consulting work in the music space for the past five years.
As Chief Music Strategist, Guru will be contributing original music and collaborating on ideas and campaigns with The Marketing Arm's clients, which include Pepsi, State Farm and DirecTV. The Marketing Arm, which aims to connect brands with musicians on campaigns and activations, recently worked on Pepsi's Super Bowl Halftime commercial featuring Janelle Monae, for instance, and spearheaded State Farm's summer-long presence at music festivals across the country.
"I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with The Marketing Arm in the past and we share a mutual love of innovation,” says Young Guru in a press release. "This partnership is a natural step in our evolution as we look to work to deliver bigger thinking to brands with music at the center."
Era of the Engineer, launched in 2011, has been one of Guru's passion projects over the past few years, working on an educational tour with the Grammys and Hewlett-Packard in 2013 to speak about creative engineering at 13 college campuses. Through the organization, Guru has collaborated with schools like Georgia Tech, Skillshare and the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music, where he serves as Artist In Residence.
"Partnering with Young Guru and Era of the Engineer solidifies our long-standing reputation as collaborators and shows our commitment to elevating how we use music and entertainment to create culturally relevant and authentic opportunities for brands," said Larry Weintraub, The Marketing Arm's Chief Innovation Officer and president of music, in a statement. "We are thrilled to have a prolific creator and authoritative expert in music available to ideate forward-thinking ideas with both our teams and clients."
In an interview with Billboard, Weintraub elaborated further on what Guru's role will be within the company. "You're talking about someone who brings more than just a song, more than just an idea -- it's strategy, and someone as talented and experienced as he is brings more to the table," he said. "Here's a guy who has technical experience, education experience, hip-hop culture experience, he makes music -- all of those things just make all of us stronger."
The partnership with Guru, Weintraub said, is also the first of several more artist and industry partnerships that his company will be developing moving forward.
"Here's the reality: we're always working with our clients to tell the story of their brand, and we're trying to tell that through music," Weintraub said. "[Guru is] very forward-thinking, very interested in the new tools and processes, whether that's virtual reality or new forms of songs or the way songs and music are created. Those are the types of areas where I believe Young Guru will be instrumental. We're going to make sure that our relationship and partnership with Young Guru is the best it can be, and from that we hope to do more."