10 Questions with ... Tommy Delaney
October 4, 2016
1. What made you want to get into the music business? Who were some of your early mentors?
I wanted to attend Seton Hall so I could get a job on WSOU. That is it in a nutshell. Be on the radio playing Rock and Metal. Done and done. It was after I got there and was exposed to labels and their record reps bringing bands to the station that I knew where I wanted to go in my career. My early mentors were all the reps that called on me as MD as WSOU. A ridiculous roll call including Cheryl Valentine, Mike Schnaap, Charlie Londono, Karen Rait, Chuck Slomovitz, Mike Rittberg ... I could go on.
2. What was your first job and give us a rundown of the labels and positions you've held over the years?
I turned what was an internship, calling college metal radio, into my first full-time gig. That was working for Bob Chiappardi's Concrete Marketing, where I worked pretty much everything in the metal world. After that, I moved onto a short stint at Atlantic Records, followed by six years at Virgin. I started with college promo and moved into the National Alternative roll. I moved onto short run at Disney, working for label they had acquired called Mammoth. The label was shuttered after 20 months and I caught on at the newly formed Lava Records, starting as NY Local and moving on to become the National Rock Promo. After six years, Lava was folded into Roadrunner, and I was traded to the Independent Label Group for cash considerations and a player to be named later. ILG was then merged into ADA, becoming the services division when I currently reside. This is year 15 with WMG.
3. Tell us about the origin of ADA and some of the services you provide for your label clients?
ADA has been distributing independent music for over 20 years. The Services division has only been around for the last five years or so, but basically it allows our label partners to take advantage of services available to them if they were signed at a major. Promotion, Publicity, Online Marketing, etc. Projects can be set up as full services or they can choose to hire us project to project, dept to dept.
4. Let's talk about some of the bands you are working with on ADA, starting with Thrice. Getting this into the Top 20 makes it a very successful project for you guys right?
Indeed it does. In fact, as of this writing, "Black Honey is #14* and still climbing after almost five months out. The band's previous high-water mark at radio was somewhere in the mid-20s. Every step forward we take is blazing new ground and making a stronger statement that this band belongs in its current company.
5. You guys are also working with Of Mice & Men who just released an awesome new song. Tell us about your promotion strategy for OM&M at Rock radio?
The amazing growth story on OM&M is entering Phase II. Their last release was their introduction to the rock format, and they had a pretty successful run with three singles, two of which made it to the cusp of Top 15. "Real" is probably their most accessible song released to radio to date. We just debuted a couple weeks back and are currently sitting at #34* We will be looking to further expand the base of bands in this genre as we have with a couple other ADA released bands like Asking Alexandria (Sumerian), A Day To Remember (Epitaph), and Bring Me The Horizon (Epitaph -- When all the work was done, not after they TTC)
6. Give us some of the other bands you are working with now and how these projects are progressing?
Rival Sons is a band I am very excited to be involved with. They have been touring the States opening for Black Sabbath. This band combines everything epic and great about Rock from the 70's while still making music that is relevant to this decade. They scored the Sabbath gig when Ozzy and Sharon saw them play at the Classic Rock Awards early this year. Got invited to open the tour on the spot. They will finish with Sabbath next year overseas where they will play with them on their final gig EVER in Birmingham, England. Kind of a big deal...
7. 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?
I keep an astrologer on the payroll to guide me through these tumultuous times.
8. Let's talk about the Rock format as a whole. What's your take on the State of Rock Radio today?
The music is fine. There are plenty of new bands making headway and getting their shot at radio. The toughest hurdle of the moment seems to be getting these records to sell. The bands themselves are taking the necessary measures ... playing live, selling vinyl, offering VIP ticket packages ... but our report card at the end of the day is what these records are doing once we secure them airplay. Ultimately, that will be the deciding factor, as programmers want to see records react off their airplay.
9. What can ADA and other labels, both major and indie, do a better job of to help break the next major Rock acts to Rock radio?
It's simple. Sign and develop great bands. Make records people want to listen to straight through. In ADA's case, as a distributor, help our partners take shots on bands that can grow album to album. Take advantage of the commitments we get from radio to help launch the next one. You can't run to radio saying you have the next big thing every time you pick up the phone or send an e-mail.
10. Finally, living and working in the New York City area is very exciting, but when you're not in "work mode," what do you like to do for fun and relaxation?
I coach little league baseball. I spend time strategizing with the other coaches on game plans. BEST. TIME. EVER. And I play Marvel's Contest of Champions on my phone. I'm pushing 140 Champions. On the hunt for a 3 Star Quake right now. And I'm all about Zombie and Vampire TV. Yea sure, you probably watch The Walking Dead, but are you watching Fear TWD? Z-Nation? Van Helsing? The Strain? I didn't think so....