10 Questions with ... Jeff Ballard
July 1, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I wanted to be a rock star since I was in kindergarten (no joke). I played in bands my whole life to moderate success (toured different parts of the world, released a record) and had a lot of fun doing it. I latched onto Capitol Records in 2001 and did promo for four years there before joining Nettwerk. It's been almost eight wonderful years and it keeps getting better!
1. What got you interested in the record business?
When my rock star dreams landed with a thud, I lucked out by getting a College Radio job at Capitol Records (Thanks Steve Nice - Buddeeeeeee!). After managing all the bands I played in for so many years, working on the other side seemed the natural progression. I'm beyond thankful to still be surrounded by music all these years later.
2. What was your favorite station to listen to when you were a kid?
KY102 We ROCK Kansas City!
3. What may surprise people the most about Nettwerk Records?
That Nettwerk Music Group is a label, an artist management company (we manage fun. Family Of The Year, Guster, etc) and a producer management company (Tom Lord Alge, Chris Lord Alge, Howard Benson, etc)
4. Where do you get your greatest pleasure in doing record promotion?
I can say, without a doubt, building a foundation and base for an artist to have a career. It's rare we have only one record with an artist; usually it's two to our records at least. Nettwerk builds artists.
5. You have had some great success with Boy and Family of the Year - what's next for these bands?
Family Of The Year's new single, "St. Croix," just went to Triple A and Alternative. The band is on tour all summer and a fall tour with Atlas Genius.
BOY - new single, "Oh Boy," shipping to radio while "Little Numbers" will head to HAC. Big fall tour for them.
6. What new projects are on the horizon?
Hey Ocean, Ghost Beach and Savior Adore
7. How does your label increase exposure of your artists outside of traditional radio promotion?
Online/social media, touring, publicity and our Film/TV department ranks in the top 10 in the U.S. There is always one avenue that leads the charge with every band -- and the staff at Nettwerk works together extremely well to connect the dots.
8. 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 I'm currently working actually - Passenger and the track "Let Her Go." I started working it to Triple A one year ago. We bottomed out at #31 at the format but the tide could be turning as I'm starting to see some commitment at another format. Look out Triple A, I'm coming back at you! So you could say I've learned nothing from it, except to not give up!
9. Things are changing rapidly in our business. Were it up to you, what would you change in our "system" to give your bands a better shot?
We are starting to see the indie labels come to the table with quality bands, which is starting to put everyone on a more level playing field. It still comes down to the product in the end and if I started a list, it would be waaaay to long for this column on how to change/fix our system.
10. If you were to leave the record business today and you could choose any other occupation, what would it be?
Professional songwriter ... I've been writing music my whole life and one day I realized that I will still wake up at three in the morning with a song idea (whether a relevant one or not). So I currently write a few days a week and have been lucky enough to have musical pieces and songs picked up for film and TV licensing. Besides that, I've always wanted to be a weatherman.
Last Non-Industry Job:
Six years as a Printer and Computer Repair Tech
First Record Ever Purchased:
KISS 'Rock & Roll Over'
Motley Crue "Shout At The Devil" tour 1984
Favorite Band Of All-Time:
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
Chasing my twins around.