10 Questions with ... Martino
July 17, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 1999-2002 - WSOU Seton Hall's Pirate Radio
- 2002-2004 - Elektra Records
- 2004-2007 - TVT Records
- 2007-2008 - Universal Republic Records
- 2008-Present - LAND SHARK Promotion Studio
1. What made you want to get into the music business? Early mentors? First job?
From a very early age I've been working records ... mMostly to my sister, friends and parents. When I discovered a band or a song that I was passionate about, I let everyone in my middle school and household know about it and tried my hardest to convey to them the importance of the music. Naturally this led me to pursue a career in the big leagues of radio promotion. Lucky for me, my next-door neighbor was Greg Dorfman, who was VP/ Modern Rock at Elektra at the time; he was able to help me get an internship working in College Radio Promotion. From there I was hired as the Active Rock assistant to George Cappellini. I've been extremely fortunate to work with and learn from some of the most progressive minds in Radio Promotion such as; Gary Jay, George Cappellini, Joel Klaiman, John Perrone and Joey Carvello.
2. Too many records, too few slots. What data seems to be most important to you when jockeying for an open slot on a radio station and why? Ticket sales? Tour info? Prior success? Retail? Other stations?
All of the above information is extremely relevant and important when trying to find a record its proper home in a market. Single sales should also be added into the mix. Current rotation slots come at a "premium" these days with the advent of Premium Choice programming and all of its variations. It's important to work with radio in finding a record that is consistent with their programming or finding a programmer who believes in a record that may be a bit left of center for them in the hopes to create a mutually beneficial relationship between the artist and the radio station. Ultimately, the access to the artist, a strong relationship and a superior product will be most effective when "jockeying" for a rotation slot.
3. It seems that set-up is more important now than ever. What do you do to inspire your staff for success in the field on a daily basis with the amount of material that recording companies are releasing in today's market place?
With the countless mediums available for transferring and receiving information at a fast pace, it is imperative that not only the lines of communication are wide open, but that there is a general sense of preparedness amongst your staff. Basically, know your product and know your competitors product. No one should know more about your artists and their music than yourself. Many potential opportunities can come and go over one five-minute conversation with a programmer, If you don't know all of the intricacies of that dynamic you could very easily lose out on an opportunity to capitalize on creating a successful situation for one of your records in their market.
4. Who do you consider the current tastemakers in the Rock world?
Every market is unique in its own way and caters to its own unique audience. The current tastemakers are the Program Directors who don't lean so heavy on the national chart to program their radio station. In this day and age, it's a very courageous task to go out on a limb and add a record with zero familiarity. Programming with your gut and with a genuine passion for the artist is what helps to drive radio to break new bands. The tastemakers realize this and it's one of the things that keep the industries stable of artists growing and profitable and the radio stations playlist fresh, healthy and listenable.
5. It has become apparent that in this research-driven time, records are taking much longer to "test." How do you go about making sure that your record will be given a fair shot?
First, it starts with a firm and unwavering belief in the artist and song you are promoting. One of the great things about working with LAND SHARK is that we get to choose the records that, as a company, we are passionate about promoting. Every record we work, we have a true and honest passion for. With that said, if you stay consistent with your stations and provide them with up to the minute information as well as opportunities available with your artist, there's a good chance your record will earn a fair shot.
6. Every promotion person has a record close to their heart that for one reason or another never broke through, "The One That Got Away"..... What is your "One That Got Away" -- and what did you learn from that record?
One record that "got away" was a very solid tune from Senses Fail called "Family Tradition." It's a great song with lyrics that have real meaning and spoke to issues that would be understood by the masses. What I learned is that sometimes the music doesn't always work at radio because of the lyrical content and that there are multiple variables involved in helping to create a hit record.
7. What are the most important tools/resources you use to stay on top of the rock formats' growth and constant daily changes?
Mediabase, Soundscan, BDS and All Access are all very important tools to stay on top of the format. Another huge resource that may sometimes get overlooked is a good publicist. Artists can now be read about or looked up through a variety of different means. It's important to be able to utilize a publicist to create new avenues of to help you promote your artist to radio with a new and fresh spin. At the end of the day, we are content providers for radio just as radio provides content for its audience.
8. The lost art of artist development. What do you do to ensure your artist is building a career as opposed to just breaking a song? And does it even matter anymore?
Artist development absolutely matters. An artist sustaining a long and successful career is good for everybody. For an unfamiliar band to develop nationally, they really cannot lose sight of the little details as the devil is in the details! They need to visit every radio station they can along their tour and be willing to do everything asked of them along the way to help with their in-market branding. A band will only go so far in their development as their will to accomplish every task handed to them.
9. Are you finding that today's "baby" bands are getting a fair shot at radio and, more importantly, are they being given the airplay they need to break through to the masses and be recognized?
Today's 'baby bands' have one of the hardest jobs in the industry. They have to be able to work 24/7 and in most cases, for free or very little money. If a band is unwilling to accept and comply with that challenge, then not only will they not get a fair shot, but they probably don't deserve one and aren't ready for prime time. From the industry standpoint, you need to have a solid plan of attack. The plan must be sound and must be executed in a proficient manner to help the band's chances of success.
10. What is the strangest record you ever worked and what ended up happening to the band?
The strangest record I ever worked is a band called CHICKENFOOT. Anytime you pair Joe Satriani with a vocalist, in this case, Sammy Hagar, you never know what you are going to get. What we got was a RIAA certified Gold record, as well as Canadian Gold.
How much has iTune's role increased as a data tool in the past couple of years?
With the advent of technology, the power has shifted from the music industry back to the consumer. ITunes is the new record store. The consumer can buy a single without having to buy the whole record. The music comes cheaper because there are no CD production costs, jewel cases, etc. It's the future of music buying and the future is now. With that being said, iTune's role has increased 10-fold and will continue to be utilized as more technologies are introduced to the mainstream.
What is the best live show you have seen this year?
It's a tie between Radiohead at the Santa Barbara Bowl and Roger Waters "The Wall" at Fenway Park. I've seen both shows multiple times and they always seem to just keep getting better.
When you're not rockin' out what other music do you enjoy outside your "format"?
I really enjoy old school Country -- Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson and David Allan Coe, amongst others. I also have a special place in my heart for some of the really good soft rockers like Radiohead, The Shins, Keane, etc.
What are your five all-time favorite albums?
This is by far the hardest question here.
- Led Zeppelin "III"
- Tool "Aenima"
- Iron Maiden "A Real Live One"
- Radiohead "OK Computer"
- Pink Floyd "The Wall"
What was your first concert?
Bon Jovi with direct support from Skid Row (and special guest Sam Kinison) at Giants Stadium, 1989. I was nine and begged my parents to take me. Yes, I'm from Jersey!!
What was the first album or single you purchased on your own?
The First CDs I ever purchased were Primus "Pork Soda" and Stone Temple Pilots "Core" in 1993. They're still two of my favorite albums.