10 Questions with ... Tom Mazzetta
March 11, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started out in 1972 at MS Distributors, in Morton Grove, IL. Then I moved to Heilicher Brothers in Chicago where I was a sales and promotion man for two years. From there I took the Polydor local promotion job in Florida, where I was handed the Mercury bag as well. I then transferred to Los Angeles as the Western Regional Rep/Trade Liaison for Polygram. From there I did stints at London, First American and International Artists. I started Mazzetta Promotion in 1994 and we have grown from a 'radio only' promotion firm to a full-service company that offers marketing, label consultancy, management, and International Representation including Midem.
1) What do you feel is the most important issue facing record labels in the current business environment?
A realization that while radio still plays a crucial role in an artist's development. We are dealing with an entirely new paradigm that must be addressed. The Mazzetta Promotion approach to the 'new model' is to build an artist fan base.
At the end of the day, it is has become a head count. In other words, how many "warm bodies" do you have supporting you? Additionally, we feel that fans can show their support in many ways beyond spending money. Everything that is addressed for the artist from 'gigs' to radio to social networking involves 'growing the fan base' as a focal point.
2) What is the biggest thrill about breaking new music to the masses?
It is a personal edification as it is old hat to the family. My parents thought for years that my brother Pete and I just moved boxes of records from one room to another. The Record Business!
3) Apple, Amazon, Spotify, and many others have recently introduced music in "The Cloud." What effect will these new music services have on the radio and music industries?
In the big picture they are amazing and should be embraced as a significant 'tool.' (I am especially partial to Spotify).
4) How would you compare the challenges and/or the advantages between working at an independent label versus a major label?
You always have to be a bit of a politician to fit in well and prosper at the labels. A skill which has heretofore eluded me! What can I say, it was fun!! I was a bit of a "specialist."
5) 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?
We feel that any tool that can be utilized should be as it pertains to breaking a new artist or initiating a 'comeback' for someone with a solid history. They can be complimentary if you allow them to be.
6) What was the craziest promotion you ever did with a radio station?
"If you remember the 60's & 70's--You weren't there..."
7) Who are some of the best promotion person you ever worked with...
A few that are still active: Claire Parr, Joel Newman, and Richard Palmese. Those who are no longer with us include my brother Pete and Lelan Rogers.
8) What are some of the artists we might find on your MP3 player?
Cee Lo, Ray Lamontagne, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Troy Newman, Hall & Oates, Train, lots of Motown, Richard Kincaid, Dave Koz, Boz Scaggs, Lisa Loeb, Frank D'Angelo, Jimbeau Hinson, a little Classical, some Paul Butterfield, Muddy Waters, and Sugar Blue.
9) Do you have a great road story you'd like to share?
Yes but we don't have the space... But you can read it in my memoirs entitled, "I Think I Was There That Night?"
10) What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
Deliver what you promise. Your word should be gold!
What do you do in your spare time?
I work out. I'm like the furniture in the gym.
What's one thing that would surprise many people to learn about you?
I was a bus-boy at the "Last Supper."
What was the most unique marketing campaign you've ever been a part of?
My existence! I have lived the life most people only dream about!