10 Questions with ... Shanna Fischer
March 31, 2015
1) What made you want to get into the music business? Who were some of your early mentors?
When I was in high school, I loved music, listening to the radio, buying albums with babysitting money. My family moved from living in a place I couldn't get tickets to any concerts (Garden City, NY) to a place I could get tickets to every concert (Dallas). I saw every show I could and soaked up radio shows liked George Gimarc's Rock and Roll Alternative. I was also a HUGE fan of Tom Petty and I just wanted a way to work with bands and make a difference. My early mentors - Jack Chase at the Sony SW Branch and Daniel Glass. Both amazing leaders, and as an executive I know I've combined what they taught me into how I work.
2) What was your first job and give us a rundown of the labels and positions you've held over the years?
My first promotion job was with SBK when it began, and my next promotion job was with Wind-up when it began (see a trend here?) SBK became EMI Records Group - I was the SW Regional (covering Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and New Mexico) and later did national AAA and ALT (for a minute). At Wind-up I had the ability to grow from one of the first employees to overseeing a 12+ member Promotion department and held the title of EVP/Promotion.
3) You spent quite a few years at Wind-Up and were really one of the original employees there. Can you give us some of the highlights of your years at Wind-Up?
We really hit the sweet spot of what could be done with Rock music. The multi-Platinum, multi-format successes of artists like Creed, Evanescence, Drowning Pool, Finger Eleven and Seether was exciting. I had the opportunity to work with some very talented and unique individuals - radio programmers, bands, agents, managers and co-workers.
4) Congratulations on your new position overseeing promotion for Better Noise Records. Once again, you're on the ground floor of a new start up label, but it must be nice to have the Eleven Seven brand behind this new label. How will these two labels work together?
Thank you! Better Noise and Eleven Seven truly stand alone as separate labels, although we share the same parent company. Better Noise has dedicated radio, press and marketing people. In regard to Eleven Seven, I've known Steve Kline a long time and am just getting to know Jackie - great promotion people -- I have always admired what they have been able to accomplish for their acts and hope to do the same for Better Noise.
5) Who are some of the bands you'll be initially working with for Better Noise?
Our first releases are from Apocalyptica, Art of Dying and a new band you'll be hearing a lot about, From Ashes To New.
6) You guys are now working with Apocalyptica, who just released an awesome new song "Cold Blood" and have a new album "Shadowmaker" coming out April 21st. Tell us about your promotion strategy for Apocalyptica at Rock radio.
Apocalyptica's first single, "Cold Blood," was chosen as part of an international plan. This band has a worldwide presence and everything is coordinated in every territory. The band is on the road consistently. They are in the EU now, will be here to tour with Sixx AM in April, then headlining dates in North America with Art of Dying mid-May to June. Afterward, Apocalyptica move on to play shows throughout the rest of the world. I intend to utilize these upcoming U.S. dates to show stations how extraordinary this band's show is and the added dimension the cellos bring to their music. You just don't see/hear this with any other band on the radio today.
7) Now let's talk about Art Of Dying. They have a new single, "Rise Up," coming soon. What can you tell us about this project?
We've just begun set-up (impact is April 21st) and I'm excited about the feedback we are getting. Art of Dying is a well-liked band who put in the hard work early in their career and, as a result, have some great relationships at radio. They have delivered a great album to Better Noise, which will keep us busy for a long time. I'm looking forward to it.
8) You've been in the record promotion business for a long time. What are the most important tools/resources you use to stay on top of the Rock formats' growth and constant daily changes?
There are so many ways to get information today it's important to have relationships and pay attention to credible sources - like All Access. Be knowledgeable in what is happening in all aspects of the industry at large. Audiences are constantly changing the way they consume media and all of it influences how success will happen for music in every format.
9. Let's talk about the Rock format as a whole. What's your take on the state of Rock radio today?
It's an interesting time for Rock radio. On one hand, you have industry leaders like Allen Kovac doubling down on Rock and starting Better Noise, a new label dedicated to the format. There are also people proclaiming "Rock is Dead' (which has to be a sure sign we are about to have a major resurgence of Rock). Ultimately, I believe success is about the music, and labels can't count on radio to break an act on its own. We all have to think about each of the aspects that contribute to the success of an artist. That well-rounded approach of convergence of activities is something I see in action at the Better Noise offices.
10. Finally, what does the future hold for Better Noise? Any new bands or projects in the works you can talk about?
2015 is going to be a great year for us - we are introducing a label backed by a company that knows the Rock business inside-out. Anyone heading out to Rock On The Range will want to not only see Apocalyptica, whose live act is legendary, but be sure to check out From Ashes To New, who are managed by Rob McDermott (the manager who brought us Linkin Park). Vinnie at XM/Octane discovered them and was playing From Ashes to New before they were signed to Better Noise.
What do you like to do for fun and relaxation when you're not in "work" mode?
I love food and I love trying new recipes and restaurants. I'm working to get better at my golf game and also worth mentioning since its Final Four season, I am a fan of the U Conn Women's basketball team. I started watching them two years ago during the Final Four and was hooked - they are amazing -- selfless teamwork on the court and the coaching - they play as a team and they WIN as a team.