Artists: They’re just like us, whether binge-watching the latest comic epic or obsessing over sports stats. And as an ever-growing number of acts compete for ears in today’s saturated streaming market, a new breed of in-house digital content strategists (like those below) has emerged within labels, helping them tap into those personal interests through partnerships with film studios, fashion vloggers and more — all in the service of pulling back the curtain on their own celebrity and introducing them to potential new fans.
Interactive marketing and analytics coordinator, Warner Music Nashville
Day-to-day: Lots of scrolling through Twitter and Instagram in search of influencers. “Some of them are athletes or vloggers or post their outfits online,” says Swift, 23. “It’s someone that has an audience that could be fans of our artist as well.” Then she starts matchmaking.
Key partnerships: Knowing that signee Cale Dodds loves to play golf, Swift reached out to retired pro (and country music fan) Chelsea Pezzola over Instagram DM, inviting her to meet Dodds in person. The two hit it off and in June created a video in which they trade golf pointers for songwriting tips (both shared it on their social channels). In an effort to “tap into a pop culture moment,” Swift invited all of Queer Eye’s season three “heroes” to meet country star Hunter Hayes, a fan of the series, at a tour stop in June, where they snapped a group photo for Hayes’ Twitter — a relationship Swift plans to continue building.
Senior director of content strategy, Republic Records
Day-to-day: Every morning, the 32-year-old seeks out the latest news in nonmusic markets: “I’m on TechCrunch as equally as much as I’m on Billboard.” The rest of the day is divided between chatting with artists about their interests and communicating with current and potential partners.
Key partnerships: After rising pop singer Shaylen gushed to Chitayat about her love of Guardians of the Galaxy, he helped her score an interview on Marvel Entertainment’s official YouTube channel in March. Marvel shared the video with its 8.3 million “die-hard” Twitter followers, a count “way bigger than Shaylen’s,” adds Chitayat. Next, he’s helping tattoo-loving pop newcomer Baby Goth create a vlog documenting her newest ink.
VP strategic development, Atlantic Records
Day-to-day: A former Atlantic A&R rep, Bader now focuses on using technology and data insights to “create more paths up the mountain” for artists. The goal is to be discreet: “You’ve definitely seen our work out in the wild,” he says, “and the fact that you thought it was organic is part of our definition of success.”
Key partnerships: Bader oversees a pilot program connecting Atlantic artists with YouTube creators across the platform’s gaming, fitness and fashion communities. “When they’re sneaker shopping, [consumers] have their fashion hat on,” he says. “I want to be able to reach them in those moments.” Meanwhile, he’s using data to figure out which strategies actually work: When Melanie Martinez released a set of social media trailers in May to promote her upcoming film K-12, Bader used a new suite of analytical tools he developed to “holistically” measure the impact on her streaming numbers.