10 Questions with ... Wendy Goodman
February 27, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 1995 - Maverick Records/Los Angeles (Intern)
- 1995 - Maverick Records/Los Angeles (Promotion Assistant, Rock & Alternative)
- 1997 - Maverick Records/Dallas, TX (Southwest Regional Promotion Manager)
- 1999 -2000 - C2 Records/Dallas, TX (Southwest Regional Promotion Manager)
- 2000-Present -- RCA Records:
- 2000-2004 - J Records/Dallas, TX (Southwest Regional Promotion Manager)
- 2004-2006- J Records/Los Angeles, CA (National Director, Adult Promotion)
- 2006- Present - RCA Records/Los Angeles, CA (VP Promotion, Adult Formats)
1.) What led you to a career in the music business? Who are some of your earliest mentors who gave you a shot in the music business?
Sherri Trahan, who was the head of Alternative Promotion at Maverick Records, gave me my very first position in the music industry. The internship quickly turned into a full-time position when Sherri and Darren Eggleston hired me as the Promotion Assistant in the Maverick Records Rock & Alternative department. Once Maverick started to put together their first field staff, Terry Anzaldo gave me a promotion as the Dallas Regional Promotion Manager.
2.) Records Sales are down for the past decade now. What can be done about this?
The great news is that for the first time since 2004 the industry saw an increase in total album sales (physical/digital) in 2011. Record sales were up 1.3% overall in 2011. Another milestone happened in 2011 when digital album sales surpassed physical for the first time with 50.3 % of all sales. Making a record that is comprised of truly amazing songs is what propelled Adele to sell 7.5 million albums domestically and currently having her biggest sales week yet!
3.) What do you do to inspire your staff for success? How do they motivate you?
I pride myself in leading by example. The key to a successful department is to work as a team and treat everyone with respect by encouraging our team members' strengths to build a cohesive unit. The inspiration comes from the music and the thrill we get as a team by breaking an artist into the mainstream. We are all in this business because of our passion for music. The RCA Records team is comprised of top tier promotion executives because of their commitment to excellence.
4.) Are new technologies like on demand music, videos, TV, streaming, and mobile smart phone apps replacing consumer's interest in traditional media such as radio, the CD, or even the MP3 player? Or are these new technologies actually enhancing traditional media?
Although it feels like these new technologies are replacing consumer interest and we are moving toward a subscription base model, terrestrial radio is still the #1 market trigger in the US. When an artist has a #1 song on the radio, multiple opportunities are created for their brand.
5.) As music purchases have migrated to the internet, the music industry has transformed back into a "singles business." How can record companies persuade consumers to buy the entire album of their favorite artist?
It is all about the music and making a full album that feels like a collection of music from start to finish. Creating compelling music is about telling a story and having cohesion from track to track and not just a "single." It is also crucial for the artist to create an authentic relationship with their fans via social media. This relationship creates a bond through access which energizes and encourages fans loyalty. Today, there are more ways than ever to expose and consume music. It is more competitive than ever to gain the attention of a fan, but there is opportunity to sell an entire collection of music. The fans must be engaged with the artist as a whole and willing to spend $12.99, not just $1.29. Once again, this stems from the passion for the music we are making.
6.) How do you stay in tune with today's music audience and consumer trends?
I read All Access on a daily basis to stay current on headlines occurring in our industry. A daily sampling of other important resources include: billboard.com, Ross On Radio, RAMP, Digitalmusicnews.com and my Twitter feeds.
For a more grass-roots approach, I am always intrigued by the artists and songs that my niece is into. I always pick the brain of my friends and family members and how they are discovering music. The power of the millennial generation when they start chattering with their friends via social portals is fascinating.
Ever since getting an iPad, the way I consume everything has changed, from reading news headlines to listening to music and watching videos. The one touch access we get from these applications makes consumption seamless.
7.) What is the biggest thrill about breaking new music to the masses?
This is the reason I landed in record promotion. We are on the front lines and it is our job to expose new music to the masses. It's a thrill to one day be driving an artist from radio station to radio station introducing them to programmers, when you start to experience the music connecting and the ground swell heats up. It is a feeling of accomplishment to walk up to an arena, and see their name on the marquee. One of the greatest highlights in my career was being part of Maroon 5's campaign from the beginning and watching them grow to superstardom.
8.) What was the most difficult project you've ever worked that finally broke through?
If I had to pick only one, it would be Alicia Keys. I remember as a member of the original J Records team when I first heard "Fallin'." I was completely mesmerized and moved because of her brilliant talent. The song sounded different than what was on mainstream pop airwaves at the time which made it a challenge to garner airplay. It wasn't that programmers did not like the song, quite the contrary. They were telling me, "it is heavy rotation in my car" or "my sister is obsessed with that song." But the resistance was still there in terms of pop airplay. Then, Clive Davis booked Alicia to perform "Fallin'" on The Oprah Winfrey Show in June 2001. The reaction to the appearance was out of this world! It instantly changed the trajectory of our campaign. Needless to say, I am proud that I had one of the first of four pop stations (KRBE/Houston) to play "Fallin'" and as they say, "The rest is history." The song ultimately went to #1 at Mainstream Top 40 in October 2001. Alicia went on to win five Grammy Awards for "Songs In A Minor," and sold over 6.3 million copies in the U.S!
9.) Do you think that showcases, artist visits and conference room concerts are all viable in getting new acts introduced to radio? Are they worth the investment?
Yes. It is still crucial for an artist to build a relationship with radio station personnel and their listeners in individual cities across the country. When we have the opportunity to showcase true talent, it builds excitement inside the building and generates chatter in the social media sphere as radio personnel and their listeners share their enthusiasm across numerous platforms. Building relationships early on between the artist and the radio station is the key. Radio is the foundation of each cities community; it is all about the bond from day one.
10.) What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
The one truth I have taken with me throughout my career is that great music always rises to the top and captivates global audiences. I have had the honor to be a part of teams who has broken many global superstars; from Alanis Morissette to Ricky Martin to Kelly Clarkson. The truth remains that great songs are still the most important ingredient to create a long-standing career.
What do you do in your spare time?
I love my spin classes at Crunch and I enjoy my weekly shopping trips to Target. I am also a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan. I also enjoy spending time with my amazing family.
Do you remember the first record that you ever bought?
On vinyl, it was the "GREASE" Soundtrack, and on CD it was Motley Crue "Girls Girls Girls."
What was the first concert you ever attended?
Men At Work in Denver, CO.
What's one thing that would surprise many people to learn about you?
That I have an incredible baseball card collection I started when I was a kid in the 1970's!
Who is your best friend in the business?
What are some of the artists we might find on your MP3 player?
The top 5 artists who take up the most real-estate on my iPod are: Kelly Clarkson, Madonna, Sarah McLachlan, Dolly Parton & Britney Spears.
What music do you listen to when you're not working?
I am a big fan of Country music - Dixie Chicks, The Judds, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Zac Brown Band, Dolly Parton & Lauren Alaina (one of the best new Country albums I have heard in a long time!)
Favorite Movie of all-time?
Favorite Current TV Shows?
"The Good Wife," "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," and "The Closer."