10 Questions with ... Jennifer Lyneis
October 1, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Jennifer Lyneis (Pronounced LINUS) Like the little boy with the blue blanket from "The Peanuts"
Ue3 Promotions - CEO & President Â· 2008 to present Â· Los Angeles, CA
Fieldhouse-Music/BMG/Chrysalis - Director A&R/Special Projects West Coast Â· 2012 to present Â· Los Angeles, CA
1) What led you to a career in the music business? Who are some of your earliest mentors who gave you a shot?
Interestingly enough I had my sights set on becoming a Dentist! I got sidetracked when I wanted a new car and my father told me to get a job and I ended up doing an internship with Dick Clark that turned into a job 48 hours later. There was no turning back for me. I saw Clive Davis walking in the front door and Garth Brooks walking out the back. I was done! I knew I had to work in this business.
One day Dick said to me you know your voice could get anyone on the radio. I was like, "Really?" Do you just call the stations and get people on the radio? A few years later I met a woman named Linda Roberts who had just left Warner Brothers and was launching an independent radio promotion company. We just connected. I wanted to start a family and I knew that this was something I could actually do from home. There was a lot of travel involved for awhile but it was my dream job.
A few years before Linda retired, I accidentally licensed a song in a video game and a light bulb went off! I saw a revenue stream for the artist. I started putting my energy into building relationships with music supervisors like I had with Program Directors. I also started doing large corporate event sponsorships and radio advertising, so when Linda retired I re-branded myself from people associating me with just radio to a consultant who is well rounded in all areas of developing an artist.
I would say a few other mentors would be Producer Gary Katz (Steely Dan), I had the pleasure of working with him and he taught me the old-school music business model of making it about the artist and what their vision is. Gary was in the A&R department during the years of Mo Ostin and Lenny Waronker at Warner Brothers. I feel like he has taught me so much I can't begin to list everything. I also have my back up ears Mark Rizzo who was the head of Promotion for Arista under Clive Davis, and Sam Kaiser who was formally with Atlantic and MTV. They are my go to guys with anything pertaining to radio singles. I am blessed with these incredible people in my life. These were the guys who worked in the industry when A&R guys were producing records and developing artists. Now it is up to people like me to connect these artists to songwriters, producers, agents and labels.
2) You were previously in radio, what made you decide to transition into the music side of the business.
I felt that for those who could not afford it, I wanted to build them revenue streams so they could it is really that simple. Remember when they said satellite radio would go away? That radio isn't going to be relevant? I think not. It is and you need to be on it.
3) What do you feel is the most important issue facing today's recording artists in the current business environment?
Obviously Napster was a big part of why people seem to think that music is free. It is extremely unfortunate as those artists are working just like you and me and they should be paid. I am constantly coming up with ways through corporations who have the money and the strong marketing teams to get artists paid and exposed. It used to be that artists looked at brand partnerships and music licensing as selling out. If you look at it like that now you are going to lose, you will not win.
4) What is the role of today's music supervisor? How do you connect the music with the advertising or film client?
The music supervisor in my opinion is vital. When we place a track in a popular TV show, video game or film we see an incredible spike in sales and social awareness of the band. I try very hard to research the shows to see what style of music they place and target them which obviously going to be different per client. I also approach a lot of advertising agencies and make them aware of my client and talk with them about their upcoming campaigns and marketing initiatives and try to find them a song that hits the mark or I have clients that will create it for them.
5) Where do you see the industry and yourself five years from now?
Well, I have taken tremendous steps to make sure I have the right people working for me. It has afforded me the opportunity to dive into more of the publishing side of the business which has actually helped my clients at Ue3. I have been doing A&R for Fieldhouse/BMG Chrysalis. My role is to seek out the best writers I can find and help place their songs and help to work their way into publishing deals. I knew that brand partnerships were going to be a big part of what is fueling our industry and big syncs in film and TV. I am completely in the mix of both. My scenario at Fieldhouse has brought me back to the reality that "Yes you need the look, the fan base, the tours, and the radio play, but at the end of the day it's about the song. I want to continue to work with great songwriters who inspire me to work hard for them."
6) Pandora, Apple, Amazon, Spotify, and many others have recently introduced music in "The Cloud" and many artists are not happy with the minimal payments they receive from these services. What is the perception you hear about streaming services from your clients and do you think there is a better way?
Honestly I'm not impressed with any of the above mentioned. I think old school: get in a van, play shows and sell your products to the people who just watched you play is my model.
7) What are the most important tools/resources you use to stay on top of music trends, and how do you seek out new talent?
I never seek out talent. Somehow they find me, and most of my work comes from referral and bands seeing what I do for others. I'm too busy with my own clients to look for more. I am very open to people sending me music. It may take me a minute to get back to you but I listen to everything.
8) How would you compare the challenges and/or the advantages for a recording artist to sign with an independent label versus a major label?
I honestly think there are advantages and challenges to both. I think it really depends on the type of act you are. If you are a big Top 40 radio band, how can you compete if you are signed to an indie without the machine supporting you at radio? If someone figures that out then perhaps that will be the start of the demise of the majors. I am unsure if it will ever be a level playing field, but I also think that we have auto-tuned the hell out of these Pop acts and the consumer is used to songs sounding a certain way. Those are the people who just buy into what is popular at the moment. I call them the "sugar-pill" fans. The fan of the album artist is what you want.
9) 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?
I think there are singles artist and there are album artists like I mentioned before. It's difficult to persuade a teen who likes club dance sugary pop songs to buy an Ingrid Michaelson album. I think it's all in whom you are marketing to and finding the artists core fan base. I think a key component when you are developing an artist and building their brand is aligning them with products you know their fans will love. An example of this would be Donavon Frankenreiter and Billabong. Don's core fan base is surfers who wear that clothing and buy into his lifestyle. "Lifestyle marketing"... I say these two words 75 times a day.
10) What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
I believe in total honesty. If I don't think I can contribute to building your brand and elevating your career to another level from the moment you walked in my door, I won't take the project. It's all about Karma to me and if you give back it will come back to you. I'm at a place where I can pick and choose who I want to work with and a lot of people don't have that luxury. If I take on just anyone where would my credibility be?
What do you do in your spare time?
I love travel, camping with my family; I am a total beach bum. My perfect day is a book while on the beach it's my happy place and where I feel the most centered.
Who is your best friend in the business?
My best friend in the business is Amanda Alexandrakis owner of Music Promotion INC. She is a music consultant as well and we are just cut from the same cloth. We met at SXSW years ago and had done numerous radio projects together. Meeting Amanda was the first time I felt that I met another female that approach's marketing and career building like I do. It may be that we are both moms and we have that nurturing side to us, but it's such a pleasure to have someone cheering me on. It has been difficult quite honestly finding supportive women in our business which is surprising. In an industry dominated by males one would think we would want to band together. I often wonder why women don't always support each other in business? It's a mystery. The good thing is I don't mind hanging with the fellas too. Wait should I have said Mark Strickland?
What was the most unique marketing campaign you've ever been a part of?
I think the most unique one was a regional marketing campaign I did with General Mills where we put a CD single of a band in Cereal Boxes all trough the Midwest. A very fun campaign and a ton of free breakfast.
What creative ideas are you using to promote your new artists?
I'm currently doing a lot of "Cause Marketing" I'm connecting fans to bands, brands and a charity in one big swoop and everyone wins. I am also doing a lot of branded radio contesting which offers listeners a chance to meet their favorite act with chances to win products.
What are some of the artists we might find on your MP3 player?
In my IPOD - Jack Johnson, Walk The Moon, Passion Pit, Imagine Dragons, Courrier, Adele, and The Script to name a few of about 10,000 songs