10 Questions with ... Adrian Moreira
January 3, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started out as a College Rep for Sony Music, then rose thru the ranks of distribution there as a field marketing rep and then sales rep. I then did Marketing and Sales for Geffen. Then I did Alternative promotion for London and local promotion for London-Sire. I then came to RCA about 10 years ago to work in the Adult department, before taking the department over about seven years ago.
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 business?
I worked in college radio in the bay area and at great independent record stores like Mod Lang in Berkeley and Rasputin's. I knew when I was 19 that music was the one thing I was most focused on and passionate about and so I made a conscious decision to try and see if I could work in music in some capacity.
Aaron Axelsen from Live 105 in San Francisco and I sort of joined forces to force our feet in the door of this industry we've come to call home. Jon Cohen and Sean Sullivan gave me my first shots in the business as a College Rep. I've been fortunate to have had a lot of great mentors: Tom Beaver and Jerry Pitti at Sony Distribution, Jason Whittington/ Kevin Twitchell/ Rick Sherman at Geffen, Bill Carroll at London, Clive Davis/ Richard Palmese at RCA Music Group/ J Records/ Arista, and many, many more that have provided great insight and knowledge to me along my path. I'm immensely thankful for their time, support and guidance.
2) What do you feel is the most important issue facing record labels in the current business environment?
I think piracy and the rapid rise and impact of the digital domain have really created a seismic shift in how we do business. We're still obviously trying to adapt and evolve, but it's a real challenge. Looking at the bright side though, I think the fact that music is arguably more pervasive and accessible than ever, bodes well for the future if we can navigate the obstacles.
3) What are your thoughts on the current methods of research used by radio today? What do you feel is the most valuable research tool that radio should be paying more attention to?
I think everyone still needs to remember that though the tools available to track trends and feedback may be more immediate and direct, the fundamentals don't change.
Records still need the opportunity to become familiar before judgments are made. Ultimately, you can't be overly scientific when it comes to something as visceral and emotional as music. It's an inexact science at best to assess, and especially to PREDICT what people want to hear. "Pre-search" in particular I think does far more harm than good and with the instant availability of feedback via PPM/ M scores I hope that the data is interpreted with a grain of salt and not accepted as Gospel. Radio stations, artists, labels and ultimately the listeners will all suffer if knee-jerk reactions are made.
I think talented programmers use ALL of the tools at their disposal to make the best and most fair determinations of what to play, when to play it and for how long. This includes traditional and online callout, sales on a local and national level, phones, requests, touring profile, "buzz" and probably most important the good old standby of "gut and ears."
If it were just about mathematical calculations and number crunching, then there'd be no room for talented programmers to know their marketplace enough to make these decisions and we'd simply have a bunch of computer programs running and scheduling the music. That's a pretty scary thought for everyone.
4) What was the craziest promotion you ever did with a radio station?
The post-Spitzer era of being buried in tons of paperwork and legalese for any promotion run has wiped my memory of most of the fun stuff from days of old, eh?
The craziest promotion I've ever been a PART of was probably the Foo Fighters promotion where winners were flown in chartered 737's to the desert outside of Roswell and the band played in hangars decked out in 50's sci-fi regalia near the original Area 51. Pretty damn amazing!
5) How do you feel about the new royalty rate increases for Internet and terrestrial radio?
I understand the arguments from both sides and I'm sympathetic to both as well. I know radio is certainly embattled just as labels are in terms of earnings, so any added expense is a difficult cross to bear. This burden is even more difficult for Internet outlets to bear, as they struggle to stay solvent.
With that being said, as I understand it, the rates here are coming more in line with where they've already been overseas. As in any broadcast industry, "Content is King." Whoever is providing that content upon which businesses are made should be adequately compensated for it.
6) Do you track which songs the audience is downloading? What trends have you noticed in your research?
We definitely track which songs are downloaded, and among other things, this can provide added insight into our single selections. In terms of trends, song downloads only further reinforce the importance of radio airplay and the resultant impact on sales. There is still no greater driver than radio when it comes to influencing the consumer.
7) Records sales are down for the past decade now. What can be done about this?
Abolish the internet? LOL! I'm kidding obviously, but I don't know that there is any "quick fix" or magic solution that can offer an immediate turnaround. I wish there was. I think it's important that we protect the rights of copyright holders and make it as difficult as possible for those that think its okay to steal music.
I also think that it's partly a function of there being SO many options now vying for the same entertainment dollar in a consumer's pocket. We need to be sensitive to pricing, we need to be aggressive in our marketing, and I think cross-platform promotions and tie-ins with movies, television, video games and the like will be more important than ever as we try to tie music into every aspect of people's lives and weave it into all of their entertainment options.
8) What can radio and record companies be doing with their radio station web sites or social media portals to drive more music fans to these sites?
We've obviously become an extremely fast paced, short-attention span society, so the flow of information and content has to be nearly constant. You have to provide compelling products at a break-neck pace to keep people engaged and interested.
I think as an industry, we've done a pretty good job of adopting platforms like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and the like to help promote our releases and interact directly with the marketplace. Content that is "exclusive" or special in some way can really strike a chord with fans and passionate supporters of music. Super-serving those folks is crucial to maintaining our business, and we've really become very adept at creating artist specific portals and programs that do just that.
9) What do you do to inspire your staff for success? How do they motivate you?
My boss, Richard Palmese, ends almost every conference call with our mantra of "Work and win as a team."
There are no "Armchair Admirals" here at the RCA Music Group. We all get down and dirty when it comes to closing the adds, working the rotations, supporting the airplay with engaging promotions, etc. It's a collaborative effort, and you want to inspire and motivate your staff by having a solid work ethic and by acknowledging their efforts out there and supporting them in every way that you can. Communication is invaluable in both directions, and anticipating your staff's needs and providing those tools they require to get the job done is vitally important.
I'm motivated and inspired by the commitment and diligence of our field staff in an ever-changing environment with an ever-increasing workload. Coming from the field myself gives me a full understanding and appreciation of just how difficult these jobs have become and I don't take our staff for granted in the least. I'm fortunate to be surrounded by some of the best and brightest in the business.
10) What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
That hard work and passion can help you accomplish almost anything you put your mind to.
1) Do you have any New Year's resolutions for 2011?
I want to keep running post-marathon and generally try to stay in better shape. To travel to at least one country I haven't yet visited. I also want to try and maintain our market share lead at adult radio.
2) What do you do in your spare time?
I like to read, play video games, watch movies, run, eat at tasty restaurants, and travel.
3) What are some of the artists we might find on your MP3 player?
Oh man, it runs the gamut dependent upon my mood...everything from Bluegrass (Bill Monroe/ Gillian Welch, etc) to Hip Hop (Madlib, Mr. Lif, Lil Wayne, etc.) to Punk (Minor Threat, Fugazi, Bad Brains, etc) to Contemporary Indie (Freelance Whales, Local Natives, Black Angels, etc.) to Pop (Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson) to Classics (Beatles, Kinks, etc) and everything in between. When it comes to good music, genres be damned!